I AM – Devotional Style Short Stories – “The Last Stop”

The Last Stop

A whistle breaks the silence, wheels speed across the tracks, smoke billows filling the air with white steam as the train speeds along the tracks.

There’s only one car to this train and only two stops. It’s filled with passengers from all walks of life. A lady, dressed in fine silk, jewels dangling from her ears, neck, and wrists. Her fine feathered hat sits proudly on styled hair. Her husband sits next to her typing on his laptop computer, paying no attention to her constant babble.

Families sit together with their children gaping out the window at the scenery as it speeds by. The scowl of a mother catches the Conductors eye. He smiles but she snarls under her breath and digs an elbow into her husband’s side. He grunts and ignores her.

A few teenagers, with their multi-colored hair, nose rings, tattooed bodies, and slouchy pants, sit slouched on the benches discussing the latest horror movie and Rap song with its lyrics of back to back cuss words and condemnation of all that is good. The Conductor stops beside them. They don’t acknowledge Him.  He states, “Follow Me.” They ignore Him. He rubs the dust off His shoe on His pants leg and moves on.

As He approaches another group tears threaten to spill. Women in ragged dresses, men in torn dirty shirts and infants in dirty diapers fill a corner in the back of the compartment. Sandwiches are set aside while heads are bowed in praise and thanksgiving as the Conductor steps among them.

The Conductor touches the shoulder of a lame man, “Be healed,” the Conductor states. The man immediately jumps to his feet and runs in a circle shouting, “Praise God, I can walk!”

The Conductor moves to a woman with an infant with a cleft lip. He smiles down at the infant and with compassion, looks heavenward, whispers a prayer, and places His finger on the child’s lip. It’s instantly healed and the baby smiles brightly. The mother cries tears of joy and thanks Him.

None of the Conductors actions have gone unnoticed. Some begin praising, others shout, “Hosanna,” and yet others raise a questioning eyebrow and announce, “It’s a trick!”

The train begins to slow. Some of the passengers begin gathering their fine leather bags, others pick up the toys of their children while others kneel in praise and thanksgiving for the blessings of a meager meal and the warmth of the compartment.

The train stops and the door slides open. The Conductor stands beside it and as one passenger after another line up to exit, the Conductor announces, “Many who are the greatest now will be least important then, and those who seem least important now will be the greatest then.”

He points His finger at the ragged group in the back of the line and states loudly, “You, My children, step forward. For those who believe shall inherit the kingdom of God.”

Angry shouts fill the compartment, some try to shove their way through the door. Many stand quietly waiting to be called forward. As the line moves forward, the Conductor instructs some to return to their seat, others, He smiles and tells them they have been “good and faithful servants.” Each child is given a loving hug as He tells them to be careful stepping off the train.

The engine of the train roars to life, steam bellows forth, and a loud clank is heard as the door slams shut and the train speeds off down the track for the last stop. The majority remain aboard.

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John 3:3 “Most assuredly I say unto you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God”

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There are some who have said that death begins the moment we leave our mother’s wombs. Life is a journey and as we grow and mature we make decisions each and every day. There is one decision that is more important than any other decision we will ever make in this life; where we will spend eternity. Some take life with a slow motion attitude, cruising along with seemingly no cares, and others feel they are on a fast track and rush around in chaotic furry. At the end of it all it is not what we do or how we do it but what we believe, who we have believed in and who we have served. Do we serve ourselves as though we are God or do we serve the One who is God? Who we serve will determine where our last stop will take us.

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Unsuspecting

The stream runs high. The trees are green, the grass lush, and the birds sing their songs. Along the bank a snake lies beneath a rock waiting for the nearest prey to come near.

A shadow falls across the rock and the snake coils. A foot lands close by. Without knowing the danger that is coiled and ready to strike the Man turns. He senses something but hasn’t put His finger on quite what it is. He takes a step and hears the hiss.

Looking down He sees what made the noise and begins to laugh. The snake uncoils and looks at the Man. “Why do you laugh?” the snake asks perturbed.

“Because you have no power where power is not given,” the Man states. He chuckles and takes a step.

“Wait!” The snake yells.

The Man stops and turns to look down at the snake.

“There are those who do not believe and those who are weak. Leave me to my tasks so I may inject my venom.” The snake states.

“It is written that man may choose whom he will serve. Go.”

The snake smiles happily and slithers off through the grass to a group camping nearby.

(Sue’s version) Joshua 24:15

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Every Choice has a Consequence

party-in-the-park-2009

The day is sunny and bright. People are gathered in celebration of the holiday. Flags rustle in the wind and cheers fill the air as the speaker on the podium completes his speech.

The aroma of barbecue fills the air. Ice tea is served up by the gallons, potato salad is chilled on ice, and the baked beans are hot and savory. People are heard laughing, talking, and sharing stories of times past. Families sit at long wooden tables or gather on blankets on the grass enjoying the day and the celebrations.

As evening light begins to fade the crowd begins to disperse. The roar of a motorcycle’s engine deafens the person standing near by. Slamming his hands over his ears he yells at the rider, “You’ll be sorry for that, sucker!” The rider laughs and roars off down the street.

Night falls and the country road is dark. The beam from the single head light reaches out in front to guide the way. The rider is engrossed in thoughts about the day and doesn’t hear the engine of a pickup truck speeding up behind him.

The crash can be heard for miles as the motorcycle rider is thrown several feet in the air as his motorcycle slides haphazardly down the pavement. The pickup truck flips and rolls several times off the side of the road.

An ambulance arrives and a Man steps out and looks about. The smell of spilled gasoline fills the air. He sees the overturned truck and sees the driver lying sprawled beneath the carnage. Kneeling down He reaches under the metal to try to pull the driver to safety, but the driver is dead.

He sees the motorcycle and finds the rider sprawled several feet away in the grass. He approaches and kneels down. The man groans and is barely alive.

“I’m here to help you,” the Man states.

The rider groans and asks in barely a whisper, “Am I going to die?”

The Man leans close so the rider can hear Him. “Yes, but you can live forever.”

“How?” the rider asks weakly.

“Ask Me to forgive you and be your Lord and Savior.”

The Man leans far down with His ear close to the rider’s mouth. The rider whispers so softly that the Man can barely hear him.

“I give you my life. Forgive me, Jesus.” His eyes slowly close and with one last breath he enters the kingdom of God.

(Sue’s version) Romans 10:13 – Romans 6:23 – 2Peter 3:9

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Man’s Free Will

The wind howls through the mountain pass. Dark clouds roll across the sky. The Man looks up as He takes hold of the long gnarled branch He’s using as a walking stick. He grips it more tightly. The path is narrow and treacherous.

Walking carefully across the rocky path He stops for just a moment. Glancing up He sees an eagle off in the distance. His majestic wings spread wide and as though floating on the currents, the eagle glides with the wind.

The Man walks a little further and stops again when He hears the screech of a hawk. He smiles as He watches the bird flutter to a stop at the top of a tree.

Rain begins to suddenly pour from the sky and He lifts His face allowing the large drops to pelt His bearded face. His hair is soon soaked, His beard drips and squinting His eyes closed He sticks His tongue out to catch the drops of rain.

“Oh Father, what a beautiful and glorious sight,” He whispers. Rain pelts His head, His shoulders, His back and soon He is dripping wet. It doesn’t bother Him as He continues to follow the narrow path.

He comes across a man sitting on a stump under the protective arms of a large Oak tree. He walks to Him and says hello. The stranger looks tired but says nothing. The Man offers him His canteen of water and says, “Here, drink. It’s living water.”

The stranger hesitates and snarls, “What’s the difference, water is water?” He suddenly snatches the canteen from the Man’s hand and gulps thirstily.

“I am the Living Water.” The Man replies. “Whoever drinks of My water will never thirst.” The man hands the now empty canteen back to the Man; grunts, swipes a hand across his mouth and beard and stands.

“Thanks for the water,” he states gruffly as he tugs at his pants waist, stretches, and without another word walks on down the narrow path. The Man watches as the stranger approaches a Y in the path. He stops and looks to the narrow path, then the wider path. He runs his hand through his long wet hair as though trying to decide which path to take. He glances back at the Man watching him.

“Father help him to choose the right path.” The Man whispers. Continuing to watch the stranger, the Man lowers His head, swipes at a tear, as the other man steps onto the wide path and disappears.

(Sue’s version) Matthew 7:14 – John 4:14

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