I AM -Devotional Style Short Stories – “The Game”

 

A pick-up truck pulls up and parks near the fence. A moment passes and three more pickup trucks pull up and park beside the first one. Close behind a car speeds across the gravel and slides to a stop. More cars and trucks arrive and before long the parking area is almost full.

Suddenly screaming kids are throwing open vehicle doors and running toward the fence. They gather together and are talking and laughing. One throws a ball to another. These little guys are decked out in their little blue and white uniforms with “Fireballs” stamped across the front and their name, in large letters, on the back.

They’re fired up and ready to play ball. They stand together and wait for the Coach to arrive while their parents take seats on the bleachers and chat with one another. A mother stares worriedly at her young son. He’s just joined the team after crying and begging to play with the other players. She argued for days with her husband that he’d be hurt, but finally gave in.

Little Sammy is strutting about the other boys slamming his fist into the mitt that is much too large for his small hand, just like his Dad does. Mom has to grin and then laughs out loud when the glove flies off his hand when he “takes the stance” and tries to sock the mitt harder.

Suddenly a truck pulls up and the Coach steps out. The kids roar and run to Him for their assigned positions. He greets each one joyfully and tussles each head of hair and tells each what position they are to play and the game starts.

“Strike one!” The Ref. yells. The crowd groans.

“Strike two!

“That was a good ball! You’re nuts, Ref!” A Dad yells from the stands.

“Strike three!” The Ref yells throwing his arm in the air.

The boy quickly glances up to the stands at his father as his father swears under his breath and throws his soda can down on the ground angrily.

The ball game continues and after the last inning all the boys run to the Coach laughing and yelling. They’ve had so much fun and in their joy and excitement the Coach finds Himself on the ground laughing with a bunch of little boys piled on top of Him.

***

Luke 18:16 – “But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”

***

A child’s laughter is infectious. The joy that bubbles up from within a child touches God’s heart like no other. Watching small children at play can be medicine for our soul. To see a group of youngsters having fun and being the child God created them to be is a blessing to all who watch – except some adults. Too many times there are some parents that press their distorted values onto their children. Dad wanted to be a great ball player and by hell or high water his son will be, whether he wants to be or not! How sad that some press their desires, live their lives, through their child. Let us look within and see what it is that we are doing to our offspring. Are we living a lost childhood through them or allowing their God-given talents, gifts, and innocence to be expressed in their play? Children are God’s gifts. Give them to Him and watch their joy spring forth.

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I AM – Devotional Style Short Stories – “A Jesus Encounter”

A Jesus Encounter

Entering the wide glass doors brings the woman into a whole new environment. The entrance is clean and friendly and glancing around one can see a modern, well-kept facility.

A long hall meanders off to one side of a large living space with comfortable chairs and couches. Another long hall winds toward a sitting around where games and Television can be enjoyed. Each hall is lined with doors and each door has a name and picture of the one who occupies the space behind the door.

Walking briskly down one hall the woman gently knocks on the door hoping she isn’t disturbing the occupant of the room. “Come in” is softly heard through the door. She opens the door slowly and steps inside.

Sitting in a recliner is an aged woman. Her smile lights the room as she enthusiastically greets her visitor, the one she calls her angel. The elderly woman stands with outstretched arms, “Give me a hug,” she states and her arms enfold her visitor.

Taking a seat they chat. The visitor can’t help but love this woman even though they have only been acquainted a few months. When she looks at her she sees Christ within her. Her soft-spoken, loving voice is like a soft melody floating through the air. Her graciousness and love for Christ is so evident it almost brings tears to her visitor.

So often we read in God’s Word how we are to love our neighbors as ourselves. This woman seems to love everyone, regardless of their physical or mental health. Each visitor is welcomed with love.

She speaks kindly of those in the community she now lives in. Her laughter is joyous, and although her eyes don’t always sparkle His light shines through them.

The visitor rises to leave after their short visit. She doesn’t want to tire her precious friend. Hugs are in order again as the elderly woman takes hold of her walker and walks her visitor to the door.

As the woman slowly walks down the long hallway toward the entrance of the Assisted Living and Memory Care Home she thinks, I have just encountered Jesus.

~~~~

Matthew 5:16 -“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”

~~~~

We have all met people of all walks of life and there are few that we know of their life stories. We often wonder what is in the heart of those with the sour expressions, the harsh words, and seem to be angry just for breathing. There are others we meet that seem to shine. Their faces are aglow and their smiles infectious, and their joy seems to just bubble up. Then there are those that are somewhere in between. We call those, “Normal,” or maybe even “Christian.” For those of us that have had the absolute pleasure of meeting someone that shines the light of Christ in what seems to be all they do and say, we are truly blessed. The Lord has said in His word to let His light shine through us. We don’t necessarily have to say a word and people can see His light within us. Our goal must be to let our words be His words, our love of others like His love for us and  our behavior as His. Our hope should be that when others encounter us they will see Christ in us and walk away thinking, “I have just seen Jesus.”

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Pure Joy

She walks down the street seemingly without a care in the world. Her blonde hair swishing down her tanned back and the flip-flops on her feet make a slapping sound on the pavement.

Her heart is full and with a glint in her eyes and a smile on her face she faces the day with a heart filled with hope and joy. In the distance she hears the sounds of seagulls as they swoop and dive near the oceans waters. She is anticipating the cool water on this hot summer day.

She throws her blanket on the hot sand while slipping the flip-flops off and pulls the “Love God – Love people” T-shirt over her head and tosses it onto the blanket. She heads for the cool water.

The waves crash against her back and she laughs. She splashes happily in the salty waves and glances up at the sun. Oh what joy she feels as the worries, concerns, and frustrations of the past week are washed out to sea as the waves strip them from her.

Standing waist deep in the water she sees a Man approaching her. His dark skin glints in the sun and his beard drips with water. He dives under the water as a large wave crashes down over them and upon rising when the wave has passed He laughs joyfully.

She laughs and says hello as he shakes the water out of His long hair. She stretches out her arms wide, throws her head back, and shouts, “How can anyone not believe in God?”

The Man smiles broadly.

(Sue’s version) Psalm 146:6 – Romans 1:20

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The Search

For years the girl searched. She walked the streets, made numerous phone calls, scanned the newspapers, and talked to people, all to no avail.  She feels dejected, alone, without hope of ever finding what she’s looking for.

Wandering through the park she finds a secluded place and sitting down in the shade of a large Oak tree she sobs her heart out. With her head lowered on her folded arms resting on her knees she suddenly feels a presence and quickly swipes at her tears and looks up.

A Man is standing a few feet away and in a gentle, loving voice asks if He may join her. “Maybe I can help,” He states and she nods her head yes.

The Man sits down on the grass and leans against the tree trunk. “You have much pain,” He states softly. She asks how He knows that and wipes more tears off her cheeks.

“I am the I Am,” the Man states. “Tell me why you’re upset.”

The girl looks at Him for a long moment and something deep inside her wells up. She senses she can trust this Man like no one she has ever trusted before.

“I was adopted when I was a baby and I’m looking for my father. I found my biological mother but she doesn’t want me. She said she should have had an abortion and now I would be a scourge to her reputation and sent me away. Maybe my father will feel differently.”

The Man places His hand gently on her shoulder. “Where are your adoptive parents? They must love you very much for they chose to raise you as their own.”

“They were killed in a car wreck five years ago.” Tears fill her eyes and run down her cheeks. The Man gently wipes His finger across her cheeks wiping her tears away. “You are very much loved and you are never alone.”

“Yes, I am alone! I have no one.” She begins sobbing and the Man gently pulls her toward Him and lets her cry into His shoulder. When her tears have abated He releases her.

“My child, you have a Father that knows your pain, knows your every desire, and loves you deeper and greater than any earthly parent can ever love you.  Your mother and father left you but this Father will never leave you. You will never be alone. Trust Him and He will guide you, soothe your hurts, fill you with His joy, and you’ll traverse this life with a peace beyond your own understanding.”

The Man rises. The girl sits fingering a blade of grass while in deep thought. When she looks up, the Man is gone.

(Sue’s version) Psalm 27:10

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Thursday’s Pen Tip – Joy, Peace, & Contentment

“Come unto Me all those who are weary. I will bring healing to your souls.

Leave not the Lord Jesus out of your everyday life and your life will be more meaningful.

God loves you and came that you may have life more abundantly. Walk and live in His glory. Feel His joy, peace, and contentment – forever more.”

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Surf’s Up

 

“Surf’s up,” the young man yells. He grabs his surf board and rushes toward the water.

The waves crash against the shore and wading out toward the vast raging sea the young man jumps onto his board and paddles frantically against the waves.

Others follow with shouts of joy. A young girl hesitantly carries her surf board to the waters edge. She stands looking out at the raging water, takes a deep breath, and wades out into the sea.

Paddling towards the oncoming wave a shiver skirts down her spine. She hesitates just a moment and plunges her hands down into the salty sea to press against the force of the oncoming water.

She isn’t strong enough to skirt the top of the huge wave raging toward her and suddenly it overtakes her. Frothing foam, salt stings her eyes, her long blonde sun-streaked hair covers her face. Her surf board has escaped to the unknown.

Water swallows her up. She tries to scream. She needs air but the only air is far above her as she is swirled, slammed and tossed about as easily as seaweed with tons of water. Her body weakens as she fights to live.

“Please Jesus, save me” she silently screams.

As her body slumps in exhaustion and the last of her precious air seeps away she feels strong hands slowly lifting her. With the slight effort left in her body she slowly opens her eyes.

The face she sees is smiling, love filled eyes look at her. “You asked, My child, and I have answered. I’m here and I will never leave you nor forsake you. You are safe in My arms.”

Moments later, opening her eyes, like Jonah being spit out of the fishes belly, the young girl finds herself safely lying on the beach. People are gathered around her asking if she’s alright. Concern covers their faces and someone asks, “How did you get here? Where’s your surf board?”

Glancing from face to face the young girl weakly smiles and whispers, “Thank you, Jesus. You saved me.”

***********

As we journey through this life and face the good times, the bad times, the times of joy, and times of peace, we are safe in the Father’s arms if we have accepted His Son, Jesus Christ, as our Lord and Savior.

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Give Hope

 

There are times in all of our lives that we feel that what we do is not worthwhile or significant and that no one cares. There is One who does care and regardless of what society, an individual, or even small groups of people think, we are significant in the eyes of the Almighty Lord.

I have gone through those times at various times of my life. I was insignificant in a dysfunctional family growing up. But God didn’t see me that way! He gave me the ability to survive the atrocities that were being inflicted upon me by others. I was loved by the Great I Am!

Through the years I experienced what could be called “love” from others. Men who I thought I could be the “apple of their eye.” Only to be used as their “conquest.” I have experienced the rejection of others more times than I can count, but God never rejected me!

Through the years I have learned many lessons in this journey through life and most have been valuable and some inconsequential. But the one thing I have finally learned is that no matter the circumstances we find ourselves in there is One who knows every tear we shed, knows every bit of the hurt we feel, knows every disappointment, has bottled our tears and has stored them in a secret place in heaven. He knows our heart and when we reach out to Him or to others. He cares!

Today, I am feeling quite humbled that the Lord my God, my Savior Jesus Christ would use someone like me, someone who rejected Him for years, to bring hope to others who are going through tough times.

My fingers are sore. I have a callous on my thumb from a crochet hook flying through the yarn. I am greatly humbled that the gift, or talent, He has given me is bringing joy to several patients with hair loss, vomiting, and fevers from the side affects of chemotherapy. The hats and the scarves that lend warmth on a cold winter day seem like such a small gesture but the joy in the eyes of those who are suffering makes it all worth while.

There’s no intend of patting myself on the back. I give all praise, honor, and glory to the Lord Jesus Christ for how He can, and will, use me and you to bring a little joy in the lives of others.

So what is my message here?

No matter what your circumstances, no matter what life has shoved at you, you can be used by God to bring a smile, a tear of joy, and hope to others. What has the Lord Almighty gifted you with? What talent can He use through you to give hope and joy to others?

Let His Holy Spirit work through you, within you, and for you. His healing from all those life situations and circumstances will bring you the joy and peace that only He can give and with that same Holy Spirit you can share it with others. Let His light shine within you and through you and fill the hearts of others.

“Lord my God, I called out to you for help, and You healed me.” Ps. 30:2

That is the message on the little tag I attach to each item given.

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