And She Brought Forth Her Firstborn Son…

And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. Luke 2:7

A BEAUTIFUL CHRISTMAS STORY

About a week before Christmas the family bought a new nativity scene. When they unpacked it they found 2 figures of the Baby Jesus. “Someone must have packed this wrong,” the mother said, counting out the figures. “We have one Joseph, one Mary, three wise men, three shepherds, two lambs, a donkey, a cow, an angel and two babies. Oh, dear! I suppose some set down at the store is missing a Baby Jesus because we have 2.”

“You two run back down to the store and tell the manager that we have an extra Jesus. Tell him to put a sign on the remaining boxes saying that if a set is missing a Baby Jesus, call 7126. Put on your warm coats, it’s freezing cold out there.”

The manager of the store copied down mother’s message and the next time they were in the store they saw the cardboard sign that read, “If you’re missing Baby Jesus, call 7126.” All week long they waited for someone to call. Surely, they thought, someone was missing that important figurine. Each time the phone rang mother would say, “I’ll bet that’s about Jesus,” but it never was.

Father tried to explain there are thousands of these scattered over the country and the figurine could be missing from a set in Florida or Texas or California. Those packing mistakes happen all the time. He suggested just put the extra Jesus back in the box and forget about it.

“Put Baby Jesus back in the box! What a terrible thing to do,” said the children. “Surely someone will call,” mother said. “We’ll just keep the two of them together in the manger until someone calls.”

When no call had come by 5:00 on Christmas Eve, mother insisted that father “just run down to the store” to see if there were any sets left. “You can see them right through the window, over on the counter,” she said. “If they are all gone, I’ll know someone is bound to call tonight.”

“Run down to the store?” father thundered. “It’s 15 below zero out there!”

“Oh, Daddy, we’ll go with you,” Tommy and Mary began to put on their coats. Father gave a long sigh and headed for the front closet. “I can’t believe I’m doing this,” he muttered. Tommy and Mary ran ahead as father reluctantly walked out in the cold. Mary got to the store first and pressed her nose up to the store window. “They’re all gone, Daddy,” she shouted. “Every set must be sold.”

“Hooray,” Tommy said. “The mystery will now be solved tonight!”

Father heard the news still a half block away and immediately turned on his heel and headed back home. When they got back into the house they noticed that mother was gone and so was the extra Baby Jesus figurine. “Someone must have called and she went out to deliver the figurine,” my father reasoned, pulling off his boots. “You kids get ready for bed while I wrap mother’s present.”

Then the phone rang. Father yelled “answer the phone and tell ’em we found a home for Jesus.” But it was mother calling with instructions for us to come to 205 Chestnut Street immediately, and bring three blankets, a box of cookies and some milk. “Now what has she gotten us into?” my father groaned as we bundled up again. “205 Chestnut. Why that’s across town. Wrap that milk up good in the blankets or it will turn to ice before we get there. Why can’t we all just get on with Christmas? It’s probably 20 below out there now. And the wind is picking up. Of all the crazy things to do on a night like this.”

When they got to the house at 205 Chestnut Street it was the darkest one on the block. Only one tiny light burned in the living room and, the moment we set foot on the porch steps, my mother opened the door and shouted, “They’re here, Oh thank God you got here, Ray! You kids take those blankets into the living room and wrap up the little ones on the couch. I’ll take the milk and cookies.”

“Would you mind telling me what is going on, Ethel?” my father asked. “We have just walked through below zero weather with the wind in our faces all the way.”

“Never mind all that now,” my mother interrupted. “There isn’t any heat in this house and this young mother is so upset she doesn’t know what to do. Her husband walked out on her and those poor little children will have a very bleak Christmas, so don’t you complain. I told her you could fix that oil furnace in a jiffy.”

My mother strode off to the kitchen to warm the milk while my brother and I wrapped up the five little children who were huddled together on the couch. The children’s mother explained to my father that her husband had  run off, taking bedding, clothing, and almost every piece of furniture, but she had been doing all right until the furnace broke down.

“I been doin’ washin’ and ironin’ for people and cleanin’ the five and dime,” she said. “I saw your number every day there, on those boxes on the counter. When the furnace went out, that number kept going’ through my mind. 7162 7162. Said on the box that if a person was missin’ Jesus, they should call you. That’s how I knew you were good Christian people, willin’ to help folks. I figured that maybe you would help me, too. So I stopped at the grocery store tonight and I called your misses. I’m not missin’ Jesus, mister, because I sure love the Lord. But I am missin’ heat. I have no money to fix that furnace.”

“Okay, Okay,” said father. “You’ve come to the right place. Now let’s see. You’ve got a little oil burner over there in the dining room. Shouldn’t be too hard to fix. Probably just a clogged flue. I’ll look it over, see what it needs.”

Mother came into the living room carrying a plate of cookies and warm milk. As she set the cups down on the coffee table, I noticed the figure of Baby Jesus lying in the center of the table. It was the only sign of Christmas in the house. The children stared wide-eyed with wonder at the plate of cookies my mother set before them.

Father finally got the oil burner working but said, “You need more oil. I’ll make a few calls tonight and get some oil. Yes sir, you came to the right place”, father grinned.

On the way home father did not complain about the cold weather and had barely set foot inside the door when he was on the phone. “Ed, hey, how are ya, Ed?”

“Yes, Merry Christmas to you, too. Say Ed, we have kind of an unusual situation here. I know you’ve got that pick-up truck. Do you still have some oil in that barrel on your truck? You do?”

By this time the rest of the family were pulling clothes out of their closets and toys off of their shelves. It was long after their bedtime when they were wrapping gifts. The pickup came. On it were chairs, three lamps, blankets and gifts. Even though it was 30 below, father let them ride along in the back of the truck. No one ever did call about the missing figure in the nativity set, but as I grow older I realize that it wasn’t a packing mistake at all.

Jesus saves, that’s what He does.

Christmas Story shared from the following website: http://christmas.spike-jamie.com/inspirational.html

 

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Do You Believe in Miracles?

He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted Unknown

How Much is a Miracle?

Author Unknown

Tess was a precocious eight year old when she heard her Mom and Dad talking about her little brother, Andrew. All she knew was that he was very sick and they were completely out of money. They were moving to an apartment complex next month because Daddy didn’t have the money for the doctor bills and their house.

Only a very costly surgery could save Andrew now and it was looking like there was no one to loan them the money. She heard Daddy say to her tearful Mother with whispered desperation, “Only a miracle can save him now.”

Tess went to her bedroom and pulled a glass jelly jar from its hiding place in the closet. She poured all of the change out on the floor and counted it carefully. Three times, even. The total had to be exactly perfect. No chance here for mistakes. Carefully placing the coins back in the jar and twisting on the cap, she slipped out the back door and made her way 6 blocks to Rexall’s Drug Store with the big red Indian Chief sign above the door.

She waited patiently for the pharmacist to give her some attention but he was to busy at this moment. Tess twisted her feet to make a scuffing noise. Nothing. She cleared her throat with the most disgusting sound she could muster. No good. Finally she took a quarter from her jar and banged it on the glass counter. That did it!

“And what do you want?” the pharmacist asked in an annoyed tone of voice. “I’m talking to my brother from Chicago whom I haven’t seen in ages,” he said without waiting for a reply to his question.

“Well, I want to talk to you about MY brother,” Tess answered back in the same annoyed tone. “He’s really, really sick… and I want to buy a miracle.”

“I beg your pardon?” asked the pharmacist.

“His name is Andrew, and he has something bad growing inside of his head, and my Daddy says only a miracle can save him now. So how much does a miracle cost?”

“We don’t sell miracles here, little girl. I’m sorry but I can’t help you,” the pharmacist said, softening a little.

“Listen, I have the money to pay for it. If it isn’t enough, I will get the rest. Just tell me how much it costs.”

The pharmacist’s brother was a well dressed man. He stooped down and asked the little girl, “What kind of a miracle does you brother need?”

“I don’t know,” Tess replied with her eyes welling up. “I just know he’s really sick and Mommy says he needs an operation. But, my Daddy can’t pay for it, so I want to use my money.”

“How much do you have?” asked the man from Chicago.

“One dollar and eleven cents,” Tess answered barely audibly. “And it’s all the money I have, but I can get some more if I need to.

“Well, what a coincidence,” smiled the man. “A dollar and eleven cents — the exact price of a miracle for little brothers.” He took her money in one hand and with the other hand he grasped her mitten and said “Take me to where you live. I want to see your brother and meet your parents. Let’s see if I have the kind of miracle you need.”

That well dressed man was Dr. Carlton Armstrong, a surgeon, specializing in neuro-surgery. The operation was completed without charge. And it wasn’t long until Andrew was home again and doing well. Mom and Dad were happily talking about the chain of events that had led them to this place.

“That surgery,” her Mom whispered, “was a real miracle. I wonder how much it would have cost?”

Tess smiled. She knew exactly how much a miracle cost… one dollar and eleven cents… plus the faith of a little child.

—–

A miracle is not the suspension of natural law, but the operation of a higher law.

According to Snopes.com, the validity of this story is ‘undetermined’ since 2007. Whether it’s true or not, this doesn’t diminish the value of the message… nor the faith of a child.

Today’s inspiring story was shared from the following website: http://www.inspire21.com/stories/faithstories/howmuchmiracle

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Are Your Limiting Beliefs Holding You Back?

You cannot swim for new horizons until you have courage to lose sight of the shore William Faulkner5 False Beliefs that Are Holding You Back

Over the years you’ve created a set of beliefs in your mind that you hold to be true.  Some are indeed helpful and true, while others have completely fooled you.  It’s these latter, false beliefs that quietly hinder your potential and hold you back from the life you are capable of living.

Here are five such false beliefs to be aware of:

1.  Life owes me something.

Just because you’re alive doesn’t mean life is going to hand everything to you.

Life doesn’t just get better by itself.  It isn’t like flying in a plane through turbulence.  Life doesn’t just improve if you fasten your seat belt and wait.

Sadly, so many people expect that a great life is coming to them automatically.  They believe it’ll come next month or next year.  So they continue thinking the same thoughts and doing the same things, just waiting for that day when life will get better.

They come home from work, heat up a microwave dinner and sit on the couch for hours watching TV.  They get on the Internet and spend entire evenings getting nothing done.  They keeping hoping and praying for a change without ever taking action.

When you were younger, you got a trophy if you played sports.  It didn’t matter if you were the leading scorer or the leading benchwarmer.  Adulthood is a bit different.  You don’t get trophies anymore for just showing up.  You have to earn them.

If you keep believing life will somehow automatically improve on it’s own, then you’re going to waste many years of your life in a state of disappointment.

It’s up to you to decide how you want to be.  You are the one that determines the quality of your life.  It is not the people around you, your boss, the government, or anyone else.  If you are serious about being healthy, wealthy, successful, respected and loved, then you are going to have to do something about it.

No one is going to give you the life you dream about except YOU.

Let this be your wake-up call.  Take full control of your life, starting now!

2.  The universe is out to get me.

It seems like life has gone wrong for you in every imaginable way.  You can’t catch a break.  You don’t know why other people are successful and happy, but you’re not.  You believe the universe is somehow working against you.

The truth is the universe doesn’t care about you one bit.  That might sound harsh, but it’s true.  The universe isn’t out to get you.  You aren’t cursed.  You don’t have bad karma following you around.

Why would the universe choose you to be the unlucky one?  It wouldn’t and it hasn’t.  We are all born with a chance to live a full and happy life.  It’s up to you to use the resources the universe has given you – the ones you have right now within you.

If you have an unlucky streak, it’s because you are choosing your own reality with the thoughts in your head and the action you take or don’t take.  If the universe really picked sides, those who grew up poor would always remain poor while the rich would always remain rich.  Obviously this is not true.  There have been many rags to riches stories, and stories of those who have grown up rich and lost everything.

Understand the universe isn’t out to get you.  It wants you to be happy and succeed, but you’ve got to go out and create your own opportunities for happiness.

To start changing how you view the world, start a gratitude journal by writing down three things that you’re thankful for every day.  What this does is to get you in the habit of focusing on what you do have in life – the good, instead of what you do not – the bad.

3.  I am stuck in my current life situation.

Humans are the only creatures on this planet that can choose to change their life situation at any moment.  A shark can’t one day decide to be a chef.  An ant can’t decide it wants to be a dancer.  Their lives are built into their DNA.

You, on the other hand, can change if you want to.  Oftentimes the only problem is that the fear of change is holding you back.  Excuses keep piling up.  You only remember the times you failed, and this memory scares you off from trying again.  You feel hopelessly stuck in life.

What you need to realize is that life isn’t meant to be a straight line that goes from point A to point B.  Life is meant to be a series of zigs and zags.  It should look like a mess, but a beautiful mess.  It shows that you have changed throughout the course of your life.  You’ve had your ups and downs.  You went down one path, but decided to change course… perhaps on many occasions.

That’s how life should be.  Life is a continuous experience of independent present moments and choices.  So whatever situation you are in right now, just know that it can change if you want it to.

It’s up to you.  You just have to choose something new.

4.  It’s too late to start anything.

How old would you think you are if you didn’t know and couldn’t see yourself in the mirror?

Age is just a number.  What’s important is how you feel.

The only reason you think it’s too late to start is because that’s what you grew up believing.  You believe that you should have everything figured out in life before you reach 30, 40, 50, etc.  The older you get, the less opportunity you think you have to do something new.

You think that you have to cram everything in before the general retirement age of 65.  After that, it’s time to play golf, work on your garden, travel, and play with the grandkids.  This simply isn’t true.

If you’re determined to do something, it is never too late to start.  Here are some famous examples of people who started late.

  • Ray Croc was 59 years old when he bought out the McDonald’s brothers.  He turned it into an empire.
  • Stan Lee, creator of Spider-Man, The Incredible Hulk, and Iron Man was 40 when he began drawing these legendary superheroes.  He’s now 90 years old and makes a cameo in every movie based on his comic books.
  • Julia Child didn’t even learn to cook until she was almost 40 and didn’t launch her popular show until she was 50.
  • Colonel Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken was 66 when he began to promote his style of cooking and create an empire.

Can you imagine if anyone of them thought it was too late to start?  They wouldn’t have created their best life’s work.

Don’t let age stop you from going after your dreams.

5. Others will think what I’m doing is foolish.

You worry so much about other people’s opinion.  You’re afraid you will get laughed at.  You don’t want people to reject your ideas.  You don’t want to look like a fool.  What you need to realize now:  None of this matters.

At the end of your life when you look back, what you want to remember is a journey that makes you smile.  Regardless of what everyone else thinks of you, if you’ve followed your intuition and done your best, win or lose, you won’t regret a thing.

There have been so many crazy ideas that even the so-called experts thought was a bad idea.  That did not stop these people:

  • J.K. Rowling was penniless, recently divorced, and raising a child on her own.  She wrote the first Harry Potter book on an old manual typewriter.  Twelve publishers rejected the manuscript.  A year later she was given the green light by Barry Cunningham from Bloomsbury, who agreed to publish the book but insisted she get a day job cause there was no money in children’s books.  The series has sold 450 million copies and made J.K Rowling a billionaire.  So much for publishers who told her, “There’s no money in children’s books.”
  • Can you imagine a gentleman telling you he wants to build a massive theme park where families can spend time together in a hot Florida swamp?  You might not think it’s too crazy now.  However when Walt Disney wanted to build Disney World, he was rejected for financing over 300 times.
  • The Beatles were rejected by many record labels.  In a famously quoted rejection letter, a music label said, “Guitar groups are on the way out” and “the Beatles have no future in show business.”  Shortly thereafter the Beatles signed with EMI, brought Beatlemania to the United States, and became the most influential band in the history of rock and roll.

These are just three examples, but there are countless more.  Each person involved was ahead of his or her time, but they didn’t let other people’s opinions stop them.   There might be something you’ve always wanted to do, but haven’t because you’re worried about what others will think or of being rejected.  Let these stories inspire you to realize that good fortune favors the bold.

Final Thoughts

If you suffer from one or more of these false beliefs, it’s time to make a change.  When you were younger you didn’t believe these untruths, but as you’ve grown up they have been given more power simply because you have given them more attention.  By doing so, you have slowly become your own worst enemy.

Take back control of your life now.  You can do that by shattering these beliefs and choosing to take positive action today.

 

This article was written by Benny Hsu and is shared from the following website: http://www.marcandangel.com/2013/06/25/5-false-beliefs-that-are-holding-you-back/

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Happiness Comes Through Living the Teachings of Jesus Christ

Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in Harmony Mahatma GandhiEver heard the expression “Heaven on Earth”? Everyone wants earth to be like heaven but few seem to think about what would take to create that environment.

I have seen heaven and it isn’t just about singing choirs of angels. Heaven is heaven because of the choices and attitudes of those who reside there. Heaven is heaven because of the reverence and honor that its inhabitants have for each other. Heaven is heaven because God is there and the energy of His love and perfection permeates everything and everyone there.

Every mortal I know wants to be happy. However, in order to be happy, there are actions that must be consistently adhered to.

True happiness is not found in the carefree attitude of eat, drink and be merry. True happiness IS to be found in love, serve and having an attitude of gratitude!

Today, I am sharing the next excerpt from the article called The Gospel Path to Happiness by Jeffrey R. Holland.

In order to overcome depression, we have to live in a way that brings us to happiness. We cannot lie, cheat, or bad mouth others and successfully overcome depression. Jesus did not teach us to be kind, to give service and to tell the truth to help him out. He taught us those things because they would bring us the greatest joy, peace and happiness.

As you read today’s excerpt, think about how you are doing in cultivating your own happiness. If there are ways that you can improve, think about how you might go about that process.

Last, but not least, remember that anytime you need to change in a positive way, prayer is there to assist you! Be sure to ask the Lord for help in your positive endeavors!

Live the Gospel

Above all else, ultimate happiness, true peace, and anything even remotely close to scriptural joy are found first, foremost, and forever in living the gospel of Jesus Christ. Lots of other philosophies and systems of belief have been tried. Indeed, it seems safe to say that virtually every other philosophy and system has been tried down through the centuries of history. But when the Apostle Thomas asked the Lord the question young people often ask today, “How can we know the way?”—which for many translates, “How can we know the way to be happy?”—Jesus gave the answer that rings from eternity to all eternity:

“I am the way, the truth, and the life. …

“And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do. …

“If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it” (John 14:5–6, 13–14).

What a promise! Live my way, live my truth, live my life—live in this manner that I am showing you and teaching you—and whatsoever you ask will be given, whatsoever you seek you will find, including happiness. Parts of the blessing may come soon, parts may come later, and parts may not come until heaven, but they will come—all of them. What encouragement that is after a mournful Monday or a tearful Tuesday or a weary Wednesday! And it is a promise the realization of which cannot come any other way than by devotion to eternal truth!

In the words of then newly ordained Elder David O. McKay (1873–1970) just short of a full century ago, unlike gratification or pleasure or some kind of thrill, true “happiness is found only along that well beaten [gospel] track, narrow as it is … [and] straight [as it is], which leads to life eternal.”5 So love God and each other, and be true to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Today’s excerpt from The Gospel Path to Happiness by Jeffrey R. Holland is from the following website: https://www.lds.org/ensign/2017/09/the-gospel-path-to-happiness?lang=eng

 

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Persistence and Determination

Energy and persistence alter all things Benjamin Franklin

I wonder how many people have had a dream and worked hard to accomplish their dream but gave up…just before they would have succeeded?

I love Thomas Edison – I love his determination and persistence. I especially love his attitude!

Do you have a dream in your heart? I believe we are all meant to leave our positive imprint on the world that we are a part of. I’m not talking about everyone having their day of fame or becoming incredibly wealthy. I’m talking about the day to day positive influence we can choose to give to those that we know, love and come in contact with.

I hope that when it comes time for my obituary to be written, that everyone I know can think of a kind word I shared or some way in which I made their life both better and happier. If I am successful in that endeavor, I will have been blessed with a wildly successful life!

What about your dream? Is your heart begging you to listen to it? Is there something wonderful you are meant to do for this world? Do you need to share a compliment? a kind word? some time?

As you think about the dream of your heart, I hope you enjoy today’s inspiring story!

Thomas Edison

When he was a young boy, Thomas Edison’s parents pulled him out of school after teachers called him “stupid” and “unteachable.” Edison spent his teenage years working and being fired from various jobs, culminating in his termination from a telegraph company at age 21. Despite these setbacks, Edison never deterred from his true passion, inventing. Throughout his career, Edison obtained 1,093 patents. And while many of these inventions — such as the light bulb, stock printer, phonograph and alkaline battery — were groundbreaking, even more of them were unsuccessful. Edison is famous for saying that genius is “1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.”

One of Edison’s greatest stories of perseverance occurred after he was already wildly successful. After inventing the light bulb, Edison began a quest to find an inexpensive light bulb filament. At the time, ore was mined in the Midwest, and shipping costs were incredibly high. To combat this, Edison opened his own ore-mining plant in Ogdensburg, New Jersey. For roughly a decade, Edison devoted all his time and money to the plant. He also obtained 47 patents for inventions designed to make the plant run more smoothly. And after all of that, Edison’s project still failed thanks to the low quality ore on the East Coast.

But as it turned out, one of the aforementioned 47 inventions (a newly-designed crushing machine) revolutionized the cement industry and earned Edison back nearly all of the money he lost. In addition, Henry Ford would later credit Edison’s Ogdensburg project as the main inspiration for his Model T Ford assembly line, and many believe that Edison paved the way for modern-day industrial laboratories. Edison’s foray into ore-mining proves that dedication and commitment can pay off even in a losing venture.

Today’s inspiring story shared from the following website: http://www.growthink.com/content/7-entrepreneurs-whose-perseverance-will-inspire-you

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