Hard Lessons

Four young men stand gaping up at the mountain. One is determined to climb while the others try to talk him out of it, telling him he is inexperienced and will never make it.

The young man takes a deep breath and states, “I’ll go alone if you aren’t coming!” and hikes up the heavy backpack on his back and heads determinedly toward a narrow path that leads part way up the mountain. I can do this myself. I don’t need them! He thinks.

The others watch while shaking their heads. “He has a real death wish,” one boy states.

The young fellow climbs and climbs and before long he looks to be a small speck on the side of the mountain to those watching below.

He grabs at the crags in the rocks. He slowly pulls himself up another inch or two. Sweat drips down his face. His hands are already bloody and blisters form on his fingers.

Another six inches and he stops, breathing hard. His backpack feels fifty pounds heavier.

He finds a narrow ledge just wide enough for him to sit down and rest. He slides the backpack off his back and it suddenly drops over the edge falling hundreds of feet until the lad can no longer see it or hear its crash.

Out of the corner of his eye he sees movement and quickly twists his head to see what it is. Much to his surprise a Man appears at the other end of the ledge.

Clinging to the ledge, breathing hard and scared out of his wits, he yells, “Can you help me, Mister?”

The Man slowly makes His way to the young fellow and sits down beside him. He offers him some water from His water bottle and the boy thanks Him, then takes a long gulping drink.

The young fellow swipes his arm across his mouth and hands the now empty water bottle back to the Man. He scoots back a fraction of an inch to press closer to the rock wall.

“We all have mountains to climb,” the Man states. “But we don’t have to climb them alone.”

The boy looks at Him and asks, “Who are you, and how’d you get up here?”

“I am the I Am and mountains are my specialty.”

“Huh?” The boy replies.

“There are mountains and there are valleys. Lessons are learned in both. It’s how well you traverse both and how well those lessons are learned that will determine your journey.”

The young fellow slowly slides his back up the rocky wall and stands cautiously. “Well, I’ll climb this one!”

His foot slips sending loose rock over the ledge.

The Man grabs him.

“You have much to learn.” The Man states, and helps the young man to the next ledge.

(Sue’s version) Prov. 29:23, 16:5, 11:2

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With Me or Without Me

The city lights have dimmed and the crowds have gathered. The people have been protesting and groups for one side of the controversy gather on one side of the street while others on the other side of the controversy gather across from them. Signs are painted, faces painted, children hug their mothers legs.

The police line along the center of the street. It looks like there could be trouble. Curse words have started being shouted, some have a sack of rocks in their hands. Their signs spew filth.

People on the other side have their signs painted also and instead of rocks in sacks, they hold their Bible close. Prayers are lifted and small groups gather in a circle to pray for Divine intervention. There are no shouts, no accusations, and their signs speak love.

A speaker steps out from the rowdy crowd and steps up to a makeshift podium and begins yelling into the microphone. Cheers rise as the speaker praises the killing of innocent children and proclaiming it is the women’s rights.

A Man walks to the podium when the speaker has wound down a bit and gently asks if He may say a few words. She starts to object but steps aside.

The Man looks out across the crowd and silence fills the air. He doesn’t shout but calmly states, “I am the I Am and I knew each of you before you were ever formed in your mother’s womb. I am who formed you and I have given each of you a divine purpose.”

Some boo’s are heard and are quickly hushed when the Man states, a little louder. “I love each of you and the child that is within the womb is mine! If you choose to rid your body of what I have created, you rid yourself of me. For I am in you and you in Me.”

The speaker quickly steps to His side and tries to push Him aside and grab the microphone. He looks at her with a look that only He can give and she quickly steps back.

He stands quietly looking out over the crowd and then speaks.

“I ask that each of you reconsider your position. Eternity is at stake. Live it with Me or live it without Me. Your choice.”

He then steps aside and disappears.

Silence permeates the air and slowly the crowds quietly disperse.

(Sue’s version) Jer. 1:5 – John 3:36 – Matt. 7:13-14

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Sweet Aroma

The child stands at the edge of heaven. She’s curious about what goes on below and stands quietly while pondering all that she sees.

Waves of strife waffle up to her, streaks of stress zip past, anger thunders through the clouds, and as she is about to turn and walk away, The Man appears beside her.

She looks up at His face and with furrowed brows asks, “Is there no love there?” He kneels down beside and places His arm around her small shoulders. She nuzzles up closer to Him.

“Listen with your heart,” He tells her. She cocks her head a little and  scrunches up her face as though that helps her to tune into her heart.

“I don’t hear anything” she finally states.

“Close out the sounds of anger, hate, and dissension.” He whispers.

She tries again.

A sweet aroma engulfs her and she suddenly jumps away from Him and excitedly shouts, “I hear it. I feel it, I can smell love!”

“When we focus on God’s aroma we will escape the foul smell of sin.” He replies.

He leans over and gently kisses her on the cheek.

(Sue’s version) 2Cor. 2:15

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In An Instant

the grizzle grist mill

Too often, we take for granted what we have right before our eyes. We get into a routine, and we expect everyone who’s in our little orbit to always be there tomorrow. We expect to wake up in the morning, and everything be the same.

We have no guarantees.

All we know can be gone in one instant.

Car wrecks, terrorist attacks, earthquakes and floods happen in the blink of an eye. Breakups, broken promises, angry flare ups and heartaches may take days in the making but take only a moment to occur. Crushed dreams, destroyed relationships, words unspoken, volumes that can never be erased come in a split second.

We have no guarantees.

All we know can be gone in one instant.

Are you ready to say goodbye? Do you cherish the one you’re with? Will you make the moment last? Could you build the memories of a lifetime?

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Three Swans

The trees and flowers are in full bloom. The Cherry trees blossoms are in their pink and white splendor. The Azaleas are full with a variety of colors as they line the parks pathway.

The birds can be heard chirping and whistling their songs loudly as the sun rises further up toward the sky, streaking it with the colors on a painters pallet. God’s painting splashed across the horizon.

The park seems still as she slowly strolls along the paved path as she soaks up the solitude, peace, and quiet around her. But her thoughts are troubled and she’s escaped to try to find peace. Where is this God everyone talks about? she ponders as she moves to take a seat on a nearby bench.

She looks up at the painted horizon, hears the birds, and a distant frog croaking at the nearby lake. He’s never done anything for me, she thinks.

A Man strolls up the path and as He approaches she starts to stand. “Don’t leave because of Me,” He states gently and adds quickly, “It is beautiful, isn’t it?”

She sits back down and mutters, “Yes,” but awe is showing in her eyes as she stares at the painted sky.

“I hear people say it’s God’s art work,” the Man says, pointing to the colorful sky.

She looks at Him for a long moment in silence. “I’m not sure there is a God,” she finally states.

The Man smiles and asks, “Who do you think created all this?” He then begins a conversation with her. By the time their discussion is ending the sun has warmed the day and puffy clouds have replaced the kaleidoscope of color. The birds continue to fill the air with their songs and the Man asks, “Do you hear the birds?” Before she can answer He says, “If God created the birds and takes care of them, don’t you think He cares for you more?”

Her eyes have filled with tears and she nods her head, yes.

“Let’s walk,” the Man says, and they stand and stroll down the path toward the waters edge. He’s pointing out various flowers, asking questions of her, and giving her little nuggets of information to dwell on.

They finally reach the lake. Small ripples cascade across the blue water as a breeze pushes them gently.

She stops suddenly and gasps at the beauty when she sees three delicate swans lazily swimming near the waters edge. She seems transfixed.

The Man smiles and quietly backs away leaving her to drink in the grace and beauty before her.

(Sue’s version) Matthew 6:26-27

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