For God So Loved the World…John 3:16

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16

I have made a few sacrifices in my life but nothing that I can brag was significant.

Even with my near-death experience, I am in awe of God’s ability to sacrifice his only begotten son. I cannot fathom how a being who is mortal or immortal could stand by and watch while the greatest eternal sacrifice was taking place.

I am so very thankful for the gift of everlasting life. It is one of my goals to never take it for granted. I hope that not only at Easter time, but every day that I live, that I find some way of expressing my gratitude for the incredible gift that has been given to me through Jesus Christ.

Today’s story reminds me a little of my experience with my granddaughter while she remained in PICU and under heavy sedation. I hope everyone will forgive me providing a story that pulled at my personal heart strings! Enjoy!:

An Easter Sunday Miracle

Sometimes a miracle doesn’t come in the form that we expect it to. Instead of a burning bush, we experience a gentle nudge. Or a quiet voice. Or, in the case of Ken Trush, a poke.

Back in 1997, Ken’s 12-year-old son, Daniel, suddenly collapsed on-court at a basketball game in his school’s gym. Doctors discovered five aneurysms in his brain, one of which had burst. He was in a coma for more than 30 days. Every night, Ken kept watch by Daniel’s bed at the hospital, hoping and praying for a miracle–some sign that he would wake up. But weeks passed and nothing happened. The doctors prepared Ken and his wife, Nancy, for the worst: Daniel might never come back.

Though all appeared hopeless, Ken refused to give up. And on Easter Sunday, he finally got the sign he’d so desperately prayed for…

Danny was still not showing any signs of life. It was coming up to Easter. I just had this feeling that Easter was going to be special. I kept thinking, This is the holiest of holy days. This is what our faith revolves around. What better day than Easter Sunday to see something? Any kind of sign.

I left the hospital for 9 o’clock Easter mass. I didn’t tell anyone my hopes. It felt like it was just between me and God. Nobody else knew. I went back to the hospital after church hoping to find a miracle. I was waiting, looking for a sign. But there was no sign.

Everyone in our family was going to celebrate Easter at the hospital with us. I was sitting in the chair with Nancy next to Danny’s bed. My brother-in-law Steve and sister-in-law Debbie came to visit. We didn’t have enough chairs in the room, so I sat at the foot of the bed by Danny. At that point, no miracle had happened and I was starting to feel like nothing would.

And then, all of a sudden, I got this little poke… from Danny. I turned around, looked at him and said something a little outrageous for me: “Did you just kick me in the butt?” Danny gave the faintest of smiles. Everyone saw it. Nancy, Debbie and Steve. We all saw it.

Danny has always had a really good sense of humor. He was still in a coma, but that little poke was a sign that Danny was still in there. The doctors said it was impossible, that the smile was just reflexes. That Danny was too deep in a coma. But I knew my prayers were answered. I knew what I saw. And I knew that smile–a reassuring, “I’m here.”

It was the most beautiful Easter. And two weeks later, against all the doctors’ predictions, Danny woke up.

Story shared from the following website: https://www.guideposts.org/better-living/health-and-wellness/healing/an-easter-sunday-miracle

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For Surely He Hath Borne our Griefs…Renewal Through the Atonement

Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed Isaiah 53:4-5This week, as we approach Easter, I hope you share wonderful inspirational stories that relate to healing and Easter.

The Savior of this World has sacrificed for each of us. With that sacrifice has come the ability to heal if we will accept it.

I hope that hope and healing are a part of your life!

Please enjoy today’s story:

Easter Blessings Written by Allison Massari

I must share a true story that is so miraculous, so inspiring, that it must be known… I hope to lift your spirits and create a bright light for you and within you when you read this incredible story! Do you still believe goodness and abundance can blossom in the midst of challenging circumstance? As a child, I learned that there was wonder and brilliance, but I also learned the reality of intense sadness and pain in the world. More than anything, my parents wanted me to believe that good could prevail; they wanted me to believe that no matter what, even in the darkest of places, beauty and love could bloom.

When I was seventeen, I was handed a newspaper clipping. It was one of the most painful things I had ever read, about a little 2-year-old baby by himself in the closet of his home, playing with a Bic lighter (at the time, there were no child-proof safety latches). Within seconds the entire closet and all the clothes were consumed in fire around him; he was completely helpless. His body was burned so completely, the doctors didn’t know if this small child would live.I was so affected by this story. I remember the feeling vividly. I was touched and felt deeply connected with this little boy. I didn’t know what it was, but something about the story would not let go of me. It was one of those situations where you pause and think, “There is no good that can come from this. There is no reason. There is no way.” I felt hopeless. I carried that story with me my whole life and never forgot that little baby.

I could not have known that years later, at age 32, I would be burned. I too was consumed by fire all around me in an enclosed space. I was watching myself in a horrific scene – burning alive. I was trapped and unable to breathe when a total stranger ran towards the colossal blaze,

kicked in the window and saved my life. The pain I went through was beyond my ability to explain. I should be dead, but I came through. I healed.

After my accident, I understood at the deepest levels the needs of other burn survivors. I was compelled to create a program for teens with burn injuries, and with the help of volunteers, my dream became reality. The program has been running for over a decade now, through the Adaptive Sports Center in Crested Butte, Colorado. The minute these kids get off the plane, there’s a jam-packed schedule. They go to snowboarding and skiing lessons. They go dog sledding, ice climbing, rock climbing and snowshoeing at night… The week is full of adventure. It’s an incredible thing, a privilege, to spend time with these remarkable young people; year after year, we’ve healed together. I’ve witnessed again and again how the right attitude changes everything.

One participant was an extraordinary young man named CJ. His face and body were burned in totality, and his fingers were gone except for nubs an inch above the palm, but he did have one knuckle- and a very charismatic smile. Year after year, he was the guy who would show up and throw a party for everyone. He’d play the music. He’d get the snacks. He’d spread the word. He was that person who walked into the room with such a quiet assuredness that you quickly forgot he was burned; his love just burst out of his body. He is in his twenties now and is an amazing person.One day I was on the phone with CJ. We were talking about life, brainstorming ideas, catching up. “CJ,” I said, “All these years I’ve known you, we’ve always had fun when we talk… But I never asked you what your story was. How were you burned?”He paused, “Did you ever hear the story of the baby with the Bic lighter? That was me.”

I was silenced.It took me two weeks to call him back. I was so stunned. I finally contacted him and told him how I knew of his story when he was just two. We were both speechless. There was love there. It was real. My whole life, I needed to know if that little baby was okay. Not only is he okay, he’s an incredible person. He’s my friend.

Even in the most painful of places, in the most tragic and horrific of stories, love and beauty can unfold in ways we never imagined. Life carries poetry. This is a reminder to watch for the goodness – to pay attention. Don’t let the poetry of life pass you by. Turn the pages of life with expectation for magic, because the miraculous is budding everywhere.

Story was shared from the following website: http://www.mdjunction.com/forums/dependent-personality-discussions/lounge/1372100-an-inspirational-story-for-easter

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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

 

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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

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As We Observe Evil and Opposition

Female climber struggles up the edge of a challenging cliff.

Opposition and trials are a part of life. They are also a part of growth. There is no question that, at times,  great suffering comes as a result of the choices of others. However, we should be quick to note that great blessings also come because of the choices of others.

We would all do well to remember that each of us is a contributor to the world we live in. None of us has an anonymous effect on the world. It is our choice whether our contribution will be positive or negative at any given moment. Choices are a blessing and we are given great power in the blessing of choice.

I am often inspired by stories that share the power of positive choice – especially under adverse conditions. I believe that positive choices combined with faith and prayer constitute the ingredients for receiving some of God’s greatest blessings!

It is in that spirit that I want to share a story from the blog of Seth Adam Smith at:  https://sethadamsmith.com which was shared on March 27, 2014:

I’ve been feeling really discouraged lately—like, really discouraged. While struggling to move forward, I was quietly reminded of this true story. It is—quite frankly—one of the most inspiring things I’ve ever heard.

It was the summer of 1941, and the Nazis were rapidly tearing through Russia, destroying everything in their path. Adolph Hitler had pompously declared that by August 9, 1942, Nazis would celebrate the taking of Leningrad (present-day St. Petersburg).

On September 8, 1941, the Nazis surrounded the city of Leningrad, forming a blockade.

The city’s almost 3 million civilians (including about 400,000 children) refused to surrender and endured rapidly increasing hardships in the encircled city. Food and fuel stocks were limited to a mere 1-2 month supply, public transport was not operational and by the winter of 1941-42 there was no heating, no water supply, almost no electricity and very little food. In January 1942 in the depths of an unusually cold winter, the city’s food rations reached an all time low of only 125 grams (about 1/4 of a pound) of bread per person per day. In just two months, January and February of 1942, 200,000 people died in Leningrad of cold and starvation. Despite these tragic losses and the inhuman conditions the city’s war industries still continued to work and the city did not surrender. [Source: Saint-Petersburg.com]

By the end of the siege, the number of deaths in Leningrad outnumbered those who died in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, combined.

Under these conditions, in the midst of what would become an 872-day siege, the Symphony of Leningrad planned a “counter-offense.” They resolved to perform the newly-completed Seventh Symphony of Dmitry Shostakovich, a native of Leningrad, and broadcast it on loudspeakers throughout the city, towards enemy lines.

The score—both long and complex—called for a 90 piece orchestra, and only half of the members of the symphony at Leningrad had survived the horrors of the siege.

Despite extra rations, many members of the symphony would faint from exhaustion during rehearsals. They all had strength enough to play through the whole piece only once—three days before their big performance.

Their performance was set for August 9, 1942. It was no coincidence that August 9th was also the date set by Hitler to celebrate the capture of Leningrad.

The Philharmonic Hall was packed – people came in their finest clothes; city leaders and generals took their places. The musicians, despite the warm August temperature, wore coats and mittens – when the body is starving, it is continually cold. Outside, throughout the city, people gathered to listen at loudspeakers. Hours earlier, Leonid Govorov, Leningrad’s military commander since April 1942, ordered a barrage of artillery onto the German lines to ensure their silence for long enough time for the work to be performed without interruption. Loudspeakers, on full volume, pointed in the direction of the Germans – the city wanted the enemy to hear.

‘This performance,’ announced Eliasberg in a pre-recorded introduction, ‘is witness to our spirit, our courage and readiness to fight. Listen, Comrades!’ And the city listened, as did the Germans nearby. They listened as the city of Leningrad reasserted its moral self.

At the end – silence. Then came the applause, a thunderous applause that lasted over an hour. People cheered and cried. They knew they had witnessed a momentous occasion. It was, as Eliasberg described later, the moment ‘we triumphed over the soulless Nazi war machine.’…

…Years after the war, Eliasberg met some Germans who had been sitting encamped in their trenches outside the city. On hearing the music, they told the conductor, they had burst into tears, ‘Who are we bombing?’ they asked themselves, ‘We will never be able to take Leningrad because the people here are selfless.’ [Source: History in a Minute]

When I get really discouraged, I often think about this symphony of Leningrad. They were starving, dying, and surrounded by forces that wanted to destroy them. And yet, in the face of such evil, they found within themselves the strength to play music. And their music was a force that turned the tide of the war.

So, if you’re feeling discouraged and defeated—don’t quit. Play on, hope on, and move forward. Just like the symphony at Leningrad, the music you play—even in the midst of incredible darkness—can and will turn the tide of your own battles.

May great blessing be yours! Have a wonderful weekend!

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