It was a cold New York December day just before Christmas. A little boy, who was about 10 years old, was standing in front of a shoe store on the roadway, barefoot, peering through the big plate-glass window, and shivering with cold. An older lady approached the boy and said, “My little fellow, why are you looking so earnestly in that window?” The young boy responded, “I was asking God to give me a pair of shoes.”
A few years ago, at the Seattle Special Olympics, nine contestants, all physically or mentally disabled, assembled at the starting line for the 100-yard dash. At the gun, they all started out, not exactly in a dash but with a relish to run the race to the finish and win – all, that is, except one little boy who stumbled on the asphalt, tumbled over a couple of times, and began to weep.
Discouragement is often seen in the hearts of those who struggle with relationships. Despite all the great technology assisting us with communication, when it comes to effectively communicating love and heartfelt matters between individuals, many people experience frustration and disappointment. This is especially true within a family and with those we love the most.
One of them, named Cleopas, asked him [the stranger walking in their midst], “Are you only a visitor to Jerusalem and do not know the things that have happened there in these days?” “What things?” he asked. “About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel…”
When Jesus came to be a man, He satisfied God’s greatest plan. This is the story of His birth, And how the brings His peace to earth. The angel came, there was a voice, “Come all nations and rejoice. It is the birth of God’s true Son, Come and worship, everyone!”
Then he noticed the woman walking down the center aisle. Her face was like a white sheet. “Pastor,” she asked, “Where did you get that tablecloth?” The pastor explained. The woman asked him to check the lower right corner to see if the initials, EBG were crocheted into it there. They were. These were the initials of the older lady. She had made this tablecloth 35 years before, in Austria.
After the lady finished her meal, she paid with a hundred dollar bill. The waitress quickly went to get change for her hundred dollar bill, but the old lady quickly slipped out the door and was gone by the time the waitress came back. The waitress wondering where the lady could be noticed something written on the napkin. There were tears in her eyes when she read what the lady wrote: “You don’t owe me anything. I have been there too…”
Finding joy is a challenge for me. I’m not naturally an upbeat person; I’m more of a melancholy. When I talk about joy, I’m not doing so from the perspective of a generally peppy person who never has a bad day. In fact, it’s because of my own inability to live with joy that led me to explore why my experiences didn’t line up with Scripture.
Amid the jumble of her unclean, disheveled belongings, the officials found two keys to safe-deposit boxes at two different local banks. In the first box were over 700 AT&T stock certificates, plus hundreds of other valuable certificates, bonds, and solid financial securities, not to mention a stack of cash amounting to nearly $200,000. The second box contained $600,000. Adding the net worth of both boxes, they found well over a million dollars.”
When we look at Scripture we can’t help but recognize the joy of our salvation. The joy that surrounds us as we witness God’s great creation. The joy family and close friends bring. And as we see in His word the delight God takes in loving His children. These thoughts bring special emotions and a sense of peace (and joy) to our hearts and minds.
With Bob on its back, the deer passed by his two astonished friends who were laughing out loud and evaluating Bob’s ability to stay on. While trying to keep his balance, all Bob could do was “hang on” to the antlers and ride it out. He knew that eventually, the animal would slow down enough for him to escape.
Motivation often occurs out of the huddle of encouragement. In football, there was probably no greater leader and encourager than the Hall of Famer quarterback – Bart Starr. When Bart was in his prime there was none better. He utilized his mind and voice to prompt and inspire his team.