Abide With Me

One of the most famous hymns in the world came out of Brixham in Devon.

In those days it was a poor obscure fishing village and the vicar was the Reverend Francis Henry Lyte (1793 – 1847).

It was a discouraging place to be a pastor, but Francis felt that God had called him to this place. Francis suffered ill health and at the age of 54 he contracted tuberculosis and his family knew he was dying.

It would have been so easy to look back on his life and feel a failure; yet Francis knew that in life it is not worldly things that matter, but how much we follow and respond to Jesus Christ.

In 1847 he went to France. The day before he left he read the Gospel of Luke about the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, who met Jesus and said to him, “Abide with us for it is getting dark.”

These words struck a cord with Francis as he knew that it was getting towards evening for him in his life. He sat down and wrote the hymn as we know today as “Abide with me’; shortly after this he preached his last sermon.

A few weeks later in Nice, France, he died. Today, a hundred years later, we still sing this hymn.

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God Bless

Geoffrey

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Three Hymns

One Sunday a pastor told his congregation that the church needed some extra money and asked the people to prayerfully consider giving a little extra in the offering plate. He said that whoever gave the most would be able to pick out three hymns.

After the offering plates were passed, the pastor glanced down and noticed that someone had placed a $1,000 bill in offering. He was so excited that he immediately shared his joy with his congregation and said he’d like to personally thank the person who placed the money in the plate.

And there sat our Rosie all the way in the back shyly raised her hand. The pastor asked her to come to the front. Slowly she made her way to the pastor. He told her how wonderful it was that she gave so much and in thanksgiving asked her to pick out three hymns.

Her eyes brightened as she looked over the congregation, pointed to the three most handsome men in the building and said, “I’ll take him and him and him!”

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With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

 

 

The Collection Plate Children In Church

A little boy was attending his first wedding.

After the service, his cousin asked him, “How many women can a man marry?
“Sixteen,” the boy responded.
His cousin was amazed that he had an answer so quickly.
“How do you know that?”
“Easy,” the little boy said.
“All you have to do is add it up, like the pastor said,
4 better, 4 worse, 4 richer, 4 poorer.”

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After a church service on Sunday morning, a young boy suddenly announced to his mother,
“Mom, I’ve decided to become a minister when I grow up.”
“That’s okay with us, but what made you decide that?”
“Well,” said the little boy, “I have to go to church on Sunday anyway,
And I figure it will be more fun to stand up and yell, than to sit and listen.”

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A 6-year-old was overheard reciting the Lord’s Prayer at a church service,
“And forgive us our trash passes, as we forgive those who passed trash against us.”

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A boy was watching his father, a pastor, write a sermon.
“How do you know what to say?” he asked.
“Why, God tells me.”
“Oh, then why do you keep crossing them out?

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A little girl became restless as the preacher’s sermon dragged on and on.
Finally, she leaned over to her mother and whispered,
“Mommy, if we give him the money now, will he let us go?”

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Ms. Terri asked her Sunday School class to draw pictures of their favourite Bible stories.
She was puzzled by Kyle’s picture, which showed four people on an airplane, so she asked him which story it was meant to represent.
“The Flight to Egypt ,” was his reply.
Pointing at each figure, Ms. Terri said, “That must be Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus. But who’s the fourth person?”
“Oh, that’s Pontius – the pilot!”

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The Sunday School Teacher asks, “Now, Johnny, tell me frankly do you say prayers before eating?”
“No sir,” little Johnny replies, I don’t have to. My mom is a good cook.”

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A little girl was sitting on her grandfather’s lap as he read her a bedtime story.
From time to time, she would take her eyes off the book and reach up to touch his wrinkled cheek.
She was alternately stroking her own cheek, then his again.
Finally she spoke up, “Grandpa, did God make you?”
“Yes, sweetheart,” he answered, “God made me a long time ago.”
“Oh,” she paused, “Grandpa, did God make me too?”
“Yes, indeed, honey,” he said, “God made you just a little while ago.”
Feeling their respective faces again, she observed, “God’s getting better at it, isn’t he ?”

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With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

One Pastor’s Painful Experience

A pastor in a Christian establishment resigned from his post. Subsequently had had to experience considerable hardships.

He had to endure hunger, fasting, poverty, tears, ridicule and curses.

Nevertheless, he began the Lord’s ministry in the very same town.

This could not be tolerated by the Christian organisation which had previously employed him. Some of them, therefore, assembled together and started fasting and praying to God with great zeal that his ministry should not be blessed!

But will our Lord and Saviour heed a prayer offered with the wrong intention?

Within a few days, those who had been praying against the pastor were attacked by a virulent dysentery. Some of them even died!

On the other hand that lonely pastor’s work flourished and spread.

May our Lord and Saviour grant that we ourselves do not harbour such iniquity in our hearts!

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With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

Open Doors – Serving Persecuted Christians Worldwide

In North Korea it is an unforgiveable crime to be a Christian.

Hye’s mother and father would open up their house to friends on Saturday nights. Five or six would gather to read from the Bible and sings songs silently. Hye would stand on guard outside, so she could run in and warn them if anyone was coming near the home.

One day, the security forces raided the house during a worship meeting. Hye’s father was arrested and taken away. Hye never saw him again.

Two weeks later, her grandmother passed away. Before she died, she told Hye’s mother to fetch her Bible. “We knew they were coming for us,” Hye remembers, “we had to burn it. My grandmother said it was okay, as long as we stayed true to our faith in God. But when the flames devoured the pages, my grandmother wept intensely.”

Hye’s family were deported to a remote Mountainous area, where they live a hand-to-mouth existence for 10 years. Then, one day, a Chinese pastor, who had managed to find out where they had been sent to, came and offered Hye a chance to defect to China. Her mother convinced her to go, and eventually Hye managed to make her way across the barbed wire, electrified fences and military patrols of the border to cross the river into China.

The pastor and his wife were waiting for her. One of the first things they did was to take Hye to church. As soon as she set foot inside, she burst into tears. “I couldn’t stop thinking about my father and grandmother. They would have longed for this service.”

In prayer, you can take time to reflect on this terrifying walk of faith.

Our Christian brothers and sisters draw strength and encouragement knowing that they have not been forgotten by the family of God. I ask you, from the very bottom of my heart, that you include all persecuted Christians, wherever in the world they may live, in your prayers.

It may surprise you to know that there are at least 50 countries where it is very difficult to be seen publicly to be a Christian.

In many of these countries Jesus means being marginalised and stigmatised, or even facing hostility, violence and death.

Christians are the most persecuted religious minority in the world.

It’s time to pray for the persecuted church, to speak up on their behalf and to support those in greatest need.

For more information about persecuted Christians worldwide please go to:-

http://www.opendoorsuk.org/

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Please share this message on all your Facebook Groups and blogs. Let us not remain complacent when so many of our fellow Christians are suffering the extreme penalty for their faith!

With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

In God We Trust

“Watch out! You nearly broad-sided that car!”

My father yelled at me. “Can’t you do anything right?”

Those words hurt worse than blows. I turned my head toward the elderly man in the seat beside me, daring me to challenge him. A lump rose in my throat as I averted my eyes. I wasn’t prepared for another battle.

“I saw the car, Dad. Please don’t yell at me when I’m driving.”

My voice was measured and steady, sounding far calmer than I really felt. Dad glared at me, then turned away and settled back.

At home I left Dad in front of the television and went outside to collect my thoughts.

Dark, heavy clouds hung in the air with a promise of rain. The rumble of distant thunder seemed to echo my inner turmoil. What could I do about him?

Dad had been a lumberjack in Washington and Oregon. He had enjoyed being outdoors and had revelled in pitting his strength against the forces of nature. He had entered gruelling lumberjack competitions, and had placed often. The shelves in his house were filled with trophies that attested to his prowess.

The years marched on relentlessly. The first time he couldn’t lift a heavy log, he joked about it; but later that same day I saw him outside alone, straining to lift it.

He became irritable whenever anyone teased him about his advancing age, or when he couldn’t do something he had done as a younger man.

Four days after his sixty-seventh birthday, he had a heart attack. An ambulance sped him to the hospital while a paramedic administered CPR to keep blood and oxygen flowing.

At the hospital, Dad was rushed into an operating room. He was lucky; he survived.

But something inside Dad died. His zest for life was gone. He obstinately refused to follow doctors’ orders. Suggestions and offers of help were turned aside with sarcasm and insults.

The number of visitors thinned, then finally stopped altogether. Dad was left alone.

My husband, Rick, and I asked Dad to come live with us on our small farm. We hoped the fresh air and rustic atmosphere would help him adjust.

Within a week after he moved in, I regretted the invitation. It seemed nothing was satisfactory. He criticized everything I did. I became frustrated and moody. Soon I was taking my pent-up anger out on Rick.

We began to bicker and argue.

Alarmed, Rick sought out our pastor and explained the situation. The clergyman set up weekly counselling appointments for us. At the close of each session he prayed, asking God to soothe Dad’s troubled mind.

But the months wore on and God was silent.

A raindrop struck my cheek. I looked up into the grey sky. Somewhere up there was “God.” Although I believe a Supreme Being had created the universe, I had difficulty believing that God cared about the tiny human beings on this earth.

I was tired of waiting for a God who did not answer.

Something had to be done and it was up to me to do it. The next day I sat down with the phone book and methodically called each of the mental health clinics listed in the Yellow Pages.

I explained my problem in vain to each of the sympathetic voices that answered. Just when I was giving up hope, one of the voices suddenly exclaimed, “I just read something that might help you! Let me go get the article.”

I listened as she read. The article described a remarkable study done at a nursing home. All of the patients were under treatment for chronic depression. Yet their attitudes had improved dramatically when they were given responsibility for a dog.

I drove to the animal shelter that afternoon. After I filled out a questionnaire, a uniformed officer led me to the kennels. The odour of disinfectant stung my nostrils as I moved down the row of pens.

Each contained five to seven dogs. Long-haired dogs, curly-haired dogs, black dogs, spotted dogs – all jumped up, trying to reach me.

I studied each one but rejected one after the other for various reasons, too big, too small, too much hair. As I neared the last pen a dog in the shadows of the far corner struggled to his feet, walked to the front of the run and sat down.

It was a pointer, one of the dog world’s aristocrats. But this was a caricature of the breed.

Years had etched his face and muzzle with shades of grey. His hipbones jutted out in lopsided triangles. But it was his eyes that caught and held my attention. Calm and clear, they beheld me unwaveringly.

I pointed to the dog. “Can you tell me about him?”

The officer looked, then shook his head in puzzlement. “He’s a funny one ~ Appeared out of nowhere and sat in front of the gate. We brought him in, figuring someone would be right down to claim him. That was two weeks ago and we’ve heard nothing. His time is up tomorrow.” He gestured helplessly.

As the words sank in I turned to the man in horror. “You mean you’re going to kill him?”

“Ma’am,” he said gently, “that’s our policy. We don’t have room for every unclaimed dog.”

I looked at the pointer again. The calm brown eyes awaited my decision. “I’ll take him,” I said.

I drove home with the dog on the front seat beside me. When I reached the house I honked the horn twice. I was helping my prize out of the car when Dad shuffled onto the front porch.

“Ta-da! Look what I got for you, Dad!” I said excitedly.

Dad looked, then wrinkled his face in disgust. “If I had wanted a dog I would have gotten one. And I would have picked out a better specimen than that bag of bones. Keep it! I don’t want it.”

Dad waved his arm scornfully and turned back toward the house.

Anger rose inside me. It squeezed together my throat muscles and pounded into my temples. “You’d better get used to him, Dad. He’s staying!”

Dad ignored me.

“Did you hear me, Dad?” I screamed.

At those words Dad whirled angrily, his hands clenched at his sides, his eyes narrowed and blazing with hate. We stood glaring at each other like duellists, when suddenly the pointer pulled free from my grasp.

He wobbled toward my dad and sat down in front of him.

Then slowly, carefully, he raised his paw. Dad’s lower jaw trembled as he stared at the uplifted paw. Confusion replaced the anger in his eyes. The pointer waited patiently. Then Dad was on his knees hugging the animal.

It was the beginning of a warm and intimate friendship.

Dad named the pointer Cheyenne. Together he and Cheyenne explored the community. They spent long hours walking down dusty lanes. They spent reflective moments on the banks of streams, angling for tasty trout.

They even started to attend Sunday services together, Dad sitting in a pew and Cheyenne lying quietly at his feet. Dad and Cheyenne were inseparable throughout the next three years.

Dad’s bitterness faded, and he and Cheyenne made many friends.

Then late one night I was startled to feel Cheyenne’s cold nose burrowing through our bed covers. He had never before come into our bedroom at night. I woke Rick, put on my robe and ran into my father’s room.

Dad lay in his bed, his face serene; but his spirit had left quietly sometime during
the night. Two days later my shock and grief deepened when I discovered Cheyenne lying dead beside Dad’s bed.

I wrapped his still form in the rag rug he had slept on. As Rick and I buried him near a favourite fishing hole, I silently thanked the dog for the help he had given me in restoring Dad’s peace of mind.

The morning of Dad’s funeral dawned overcast and dreary. This day looks like the way I feel, I thought, as I walked down the aisle to the pews reserved for family. I was surprised to see the many friends Dad and Cheyenne had made filling the church.

The pastor began his eulogy. It was a tribute to both Dad and the dog who had changed his life. And then the pastor turned to Hebrews 13:2. “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers…”

“I’ve often thanked God for sending that angel,” he said.

For me, the past dropped into place, completing a puzzle that I had not seen before: the sympathetic voice that had just read the right article ~ Cheyenne’s unexpected appearance at the animal shelter ~ His calm acceptance and complete devotion to my father ~ and the proximity of their deaths. And suddenly I understood. I knew that God had answered my prayers after all.

~by Catherine Moore~
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With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey