Alphabet Prayers

AlphabetPrayers

Grandpa was up early, as was his routine. He quietly finished his morning chores, careful not to wake his wife, then headed to the kitchen to turn on the coffee.

Next stop was the newspaper, just outside the front door. Before he shut the door, he glimpsed a ray of red shining over the eastern horizon. He liked all the seasons, but was grateful for the early summer sun.

Some hours later, the newspaper finished and a second pot of coffee simmering in its berth, he heard his wife stirring.

He entered the bedroom and helped her shift to a semi-sitting position before he sat on the edge of the bed.

“Here you go,” he said, offering her the warm mug with the straw.

She smiled. “Is this the dregs of the first pot, or have you made another?”

He waited a moment until he could correctly interpret her slurred speech, then smiled back. “Uh oh.” He grinned at her. “Busted.”

He sat with her, holding her hand, offering her coffee, and filling her in on the day’s news until hospice arrived to help her out of bed and accomplish her morning chores.

Later, in the living room, he reminded his wife that they were expecting their granddaughter and her little boy after lunch that day. Smiles filled their eyes as they anticipated the visit.

The visit was so fun! Little Caleb must have been schooled beforehand to be gentle with great-grandma. At one point, Caleb had been excused to go to the bathroom, but took a long time in coming back. Grandpa thought he would just mosey down the hallway and call in, see if everything was alright.

As he neared the bathroom, he saw the door was ajar. Caleb was on his tiptoes at the sink, washing his hands. Grandpa lingered in the hallway, listening. He could hear Caleb speaking, but couldn’t make out the words. As he continued to listen, he thought he might be saying his abc’s, but it sounded so respectful it must be something else. He saw that he struggled to turn off the faucet, so stepped in to help.

“You’re learning your abc’s, huh?” he asked as he turned off the faucet and handed Caleb a towel.

Caleb cocked his head. “I already know those, Papa. I can say ‘em easy.”

“Oh, I thought maybe you were practicing them just now.”

“Nope. I was praying.”

“Praying?” Grandpa could see the astonishment in his own eyes in the mirror.

“Yep. Mom said you and Nana need our prayers, so I was praying.” He handed the towel back.

“You pray with abc’s?” Grandpa could hardly wait to untangle the amazing mind of this child’s thoughts.

“Sure.” He looked his Papa in the eyes. “I’m not that good at praying yet, but God really is. I figure, if I just give Him all the letters, He’ll make the prayers with His Words. He’s really smart that way.”

“I have to agree with you, Caleb. God sure is smart that way.” He chucked his great-grandson under the chin. “I think you’re pretty smart, too.”

After the visit was over, and before his wife took her nap, Grandpa related the story of Caleb’s prayer to her.

“Why,” she whispered, “That’s just like in Romans.” He helped her slowly recite the familiar verse: “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”

Some mornings later, Grandpa knew before he opened his eyes that he slept alone. He reached for his wife’s hand, now cold.

“A, b, c,” he stuttered. “D, e, f….”

*           *           *

First, I must say that the idea of alphabet prayers is not mine. Somewhere, perhaps on Facebook, I read a blurb like this, and my story is a reworking of whatever I read before.

Second, I must thank Stuart, who originally came up with the idea of an Alphabet Challenge. Please visit and read his story, then stay and be blessed by his other writings. Thank you, Stuart, for the nomination.

And I thank Amy from A New Life for also nominating me. Amy did an amazing job with her challenge, so please jump over to read hers – and stay to read some more amazing writings.

Here are the guidelines:

Acknowledge the blogger that challenged you.

Display the challenge photo or create your own.

Link back to this post so I can read yours

Create one post or multiple posts, as Stuart did, using a word that starts with each letter of the alphabet and share your thoughts on the word you chose and how it can be applied to our lives.

Be creative and have fun!

Nominate 7 (my favorite number) bloggers to participate.

I nominate anyone who knows their abc’s and who comes up with more creative ways to use this unique challenge.

A Christmas Story: The Man And The Birds

Enjoy this beautiful Christmas story, and the beautiful slide show. Thank you. Lee!

(Click to view the original post to see the video.)

Birds of the Bible For Kids

This is the 1965 recording of Paul Harvey’s Christmas story classic titled The Man and the Birds. Christmas Day in 2013 I spent the morning putting it all together with a picture slideshow to illustrate the story. I hope you enjoy it. Please share with others.Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God.” (John 1:1-2 KJV)

ABC’s of the Gospel

The Wordless Book

View original post

The Greeter and The Grunt

TheGreeterAndTheGrunt

“You be the greeter, and I’ll be the grunt,” my husband said as I juggled treat plates.

‘Twas the season. I had spent a whole afternoon with flour up to my elbows, my husband had been to the store for me more times than I imagined he would be nice about, and now we had treat plates to disburse to our neighbors.

“Load me up,” he instructed. I complied, and carried only one, myself.

My job was to knock on each door and hand a neighbor one of our plates. We struck out at half the houses, but caught up with the rest later that night. Knocking on doors, we interrupted card games and board games, grandmas holding grandkids, new mommies and daddies fawning over their babies, parents waiting for grown kids to come up the driveway.

I must insert that my husband is ‘way more social than I am, much better at chit-chat. He’s a good grunt, but he’s awfully friendly, too.

It blessed my socks off. Christmas, the time for families to get together – and families were actually getting together! We were invited in through all the doors we knocked on, invited in to share the smiles and the cuteness of the babies, introduced by name to kids and grandkids.

I’m pretty sure none of the households needed any of the treats we gave out. I commented to my husband, on the way back to our house, that the plates were really just an excuse to get out to see the neighbors on a cold, star-lit Christmas Eve, and wish them Merry Christmas.

The Greeter and the Grunt returned home with empty arms and full hearts.

A Brief Encounter

I watched as she filled her plate for the third time. To her credit, she hovered around those items that carried some semblance to a nutritious food group. Those little party plates, though, couldn’t hold much, and she was nibbling as she went. She resumed her seat near the Christmas tree, and I went over to sit next to her.

“Oh, such a busy party!” I exclaimed. “I haven’t seen you around the departments before. What’s your name?”

She flushed as she mumbled through a barbequed meatball. “Miranda.”

“Hi. I’m in the languages department. Are you in History, or…?” I trailed off.

“Um, mostly science.”

“Well, our university is growing all the time,” I held out my hand. “It’s nice to meet you.” I looked down at the tree next to me. “Have you picked out your present yet?”

Her face turned even redder. “Oh, I’m sure there’s nothing with my name on it.”

“Nonsense,” I replied as I reached down to a red envelope. “Here it is right here. Miranda.” I showed her the tag.

She practically choked. “There must be someone else. Really, it’s not me.”

“I don’t know of any other person it could be for.” I looked again at the tag. “Your hands are full. Want me to open it for you?”

Her face registered horror. “No! I mean, please, no. I’m really sure it’s not for me. I’d feel terrible, opening someone else’s present.”

“Look,” I said. “There’s a lottery ticket attached to the name tag. It might be a winner, you know.” I detached a piece of tape. “Let’s see what’s inside.”

Tears sprang to Miranda’s eyes as she stammered. “Please. I know that’s not for me. I’m not even supposed to be here.” She put her plate on the floor below her, and started to pull her coat from the back of the chair. “I’d better go.”

I put my hand on her arm and spoke gently. “I wish you’d stay. We’re glad to have you here. And, I’d really like you to take this gift. Why do you think you shouldn’t be here?”

She hung her head and folded her hands. “I don’t belong here. I’m just a student. I don’t work in any of the departments. I crashed the Christmas party. Please don’t tell anyone. I’ll go; you don’t have to kick me out.”

“I don’t want to kick you out. I’d just as soon refill your plate for you, and chat for a while.” I smiled. “Why did you come?”

Her eyes closed. “It’s so embarrassing.” She shook her head. I waited. My hand, still on her arm, gave her a little squeeze. She sighed. “I was hungry. I came for the food.”

“Ah. A poor college student, are you?” My arm went to stroke her hair. “I’m glad you came, then. We surely have plenty of food. Eat up!”

She looked up. “You don’t mind?”

“Mind?” I chuckled. “I’m pretty sure we have more than enough food here, none of which any of us needs to eat.” I looked at her. “You, however, look like you could use a few more meals.” I opened the present, still in my lap. “Ah, look here.” I held up the gift inside. “Gift cards for WalMart and Red Lobster. What a combo! Here you go.”

She looked uncertain, hesitant. “Those aren’t mine.”

“They do have your name on them. See, I wasn’t kidding. Read for yourself. Someone must have known you were coming. Miranda isn’t a very common name. Please. Take them.”

While she turned to put her coat back on the chair, I reached into my pocket. She caught me as I added three more gift cards to her stack and met my eyes. “I’ve been carrying these,” I explained. “You know how people carry extra gifts around, just in case they run into someone who gives a gift, and you have to give something in return, or someone you forgot? These belong to you, too.” I put them all into her hand.

“That’s very generous. I don’t think I should take all this.”

“Yes, you should. I absolutely know you should.” I looked around. “Every other person in here, including myself, can buy whatever he or she needs at any time. Those gift cards may seem to be generous to you, but to anyone else here, they are surplus. Please take from our excess to fill your need.”

Miranda looked me in the eye and saw that I meant it. “Well, thank you.” She dropped her eyes, then looked at me again. “Really, thank you.”

Later, after Miranda had taken her coat, her gift cards, and a couple of full food containers with her, I was on my way to my office. “Miranda!” I heard and turned. “Miranda.” Lucy smiled at me. “I saw you with that young lady. Entertaining angels again, are you?”

I smiled back. “Oh, maybe. You never know.”

Hebrews 13.1,2: 1 Let brotherly love continue . 2 Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

[This is a work of fiction, based on real-life events.]

Only You

OnlyYou

Thank You, Lord, that it’s only You

Thank You, Lord, that Your Word is true.

Only You can call Your own,

Only You can fill Your throne.

 

Only You have provided a way.

Only You can take sin away.

Only You can make me whole.

Only You can deliver my soul.

 

Only You, there is no other.

Only You are Son, Spirit, and Father.

Only You, You are my peace.

Only in You is my sweet release

 

Only You, in Whom I abide

Only in You may I truly hide.

Only You to be my Guide

Until I forever will be Your bride.

A Tale of Three Boxes, Conclusion

[Read Part 1 of A Tale of Three Boxes here.]

As the years passed, the father grew more and more proud of his wise sons. He was intrigued with their new faith in this Jesus, Child King of the Jews, and he sat with them often to listen to their impassioned intercourse on their favorite topic.

The decision was made to follow up on their visit with regular journeys to Jerusalem and surrounding areas, to find this Jesus and observe His story. Their first return was five years after His birth. They inquired and investigated until they found Him in Nazareth, living the life of a carpenter’s son with His parents and siblings. They stayed in Nazareth for some few months. The visiting father was amazed, hearing the story of Jesus’ birth straight from His parents, along with details and remembrances of the five years since. The father and his sons delighted in chatting with Jesus and watching the interaction with those around Him. They took their leave, finally, with many hugs and promises of future visits.

They made the journey every few years, each time marveling and learning. The father was proud to travel with his sons and their growing families. It was the year when Jesus was twelve that they found Him in Jerusalem, in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions; it was in this year that the visiting father looked at his sons with a new light in his eyes. The chatter on their way home was filled with excitement as the father exulted with his sons: he understood now, he knew and believed that this child was God’s Savior to the world.

As the years continued, the visiting family wondered how this King of the Jews would rule. He was certainly wise and just and gentle and kind – but poor! How would He come into His throne?

Finally the time came when the father was unable to journey with his sons. But he bad his sons urgently to continue the visits, and waited with enthused wonderment until they returned to him, filled with new stories and wisdom. One year they returned with a story of Jesus’ miracle of turning water into wine at a wedding feast. This was the first they’d heard that He did such things, though they were not surprised, knowing Him as they did.

One day the father and his sons were mingling at the marketplace when they heard word of betrayal and crucifixion. Immediately they knew they must hurry to Jerusalem to find the state of affairs. The boys left their families at home, not knowing how things stood, and their father exhorted them to take a care, watch out for harm, and return to him having full understanding of what had transpired.

The sons, now growing gray, arrived in Jerusalem in due time, and went straightly to see Mary. Expecting sorrow upon sorrow and dread, they were exceeding surprised to find a joyful mother, now under the roof of a man, John.  They listened, incredulously, to her recitation of the events: Jesus’ miracles, His following, the religious leaders’ persecution, the awful day of His arrest and accompanying trepidation, the horror of the crucifixion. Then the antithetical shift to joy at seeing Him again, of worshiping Him, of watching as He returned to His Heavenly Father. And, finally, the eternal joy of being indwelt with God Himself, the Holy Spirit. The sons met Peter and other of the apostles, confirming all this and confessing even more. They made sure to invite all they knew to visit their own home, to share the Good News and provide current accounts.

The sons danced and rejoiced all the way home. They embraced their father with the joyous news, and spent days explaining and relating all they’d heard. Together they knelt and worshiped. They and all their household were baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and set out to spread the Gospel to all they met.

A Tale of Three Boxes

Prologue: A tip of the hat to Tosin and Daily. 😊 Click here and read down through the comments to get the backstory.

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A Tale of Three Boxes

Long ago, in a country far away, a great man had three sons, all born together brothers. As his sons came to the age of maturity, the father called them to him.

“Sons,” said he, “I ordain for you a great purpose. It is the time in your lives to grow mighty in wisdom. I have a gift for each of you.”

He motioned to his servants, who entered with the gifts.

Father took the first gift and beckoned the first son to him. “Son, I present you with this box crafted from finest ebony wood.” The first son received the gift, bowed himself, thanked his father, and took his place again.

The father presented a box wrought with intricate gold to his second son, and a fine ceramic box to his third son, each bowing and giving thanks. The sons looked to their father expectantly.

“My sons, you know how proud I am of you. You have grown to be excellent young men, learned in many letters and languages and crafts. It is time for you to go out into the world and receive there the education the gods have for you. Bring with you your boxes. Fill them with the greatest things you find. And,” he added, with a twinkle in his eye, “return to me in one year to tell me of your adventures.”

The sons readied themselves. The day came for each of the sons, with their servants and processions and goods, to go their separate ways. The father called down prayers from the gods upon the heads of his sons and sent them off.

The father prayed and offered sacrifices to his gods for the safety and wisdom of his sons for the full year.

At last the time arrived, and all three brothers came to him as one. They fell upon one another with kisses and tears, and a great feast was held.

When the time came, the father called his sons to himself again, to give report of their adventures and of the greatest things they had brought back in their boxes. He called upon his first son to begin.

“Oh, my father! Such miracles as you could not imagine,” began the first son. He looked at his brothers. “We did not understand they were miracles at first, but we were overjoyed as they were heaped upon us. As you know, we three brothers set out in separate groups and in separate directions when we left you that year ago. I had traveled with my procession for no more than some few weeks when, lo, I spied another, larger cortege in the distance. As I drew near them, I could see also other groups converging on this same objective. You cannot imagine my surprise when we three saw and realized it was each of us, coming together to meet these new people!”

The second son continued the tale. “After we had exchanged our surprise to one another at thusly meeting, we set out to inquire the origin and purpose of this company moving west. We were able to ascertain the leaders, and to sit and commune with them.”

“As it happens,” the third son explained, “Three wise men from the east had felt a call to follow that bright star – surely you saw it from home, Father!”

Father nodded.

The third son elucidated, “We had each of us wondered when we saw it, thinking mayhap it was a sign from the gods as we set out on our quests. We said so to our new friends, and they agreed with us! When we asked where they thought the star might lead them, they told us they expected to find the King of the Jews. Father, they wanted to worship Him!”

“We remembered,” explained the first son, “in our studies, learning of this peoples and their belief in One God, Jehovah. When we heard of their intent, we discussed among ourselves whether to disband from them or keep on. It was a funny thing,” he mused as he sought his brothers’ eyes, “we knew for a certainty, deeply in our hearts, that we must go with them.”

The sons looked at each other and nodded their agreement.

As the tale unfolded, the brothers learned of the wise men’s gifts for the Christ Child. They had brought with them gold, frankincense, and myrrh. When at last they reached Bethlehem, the brothers were agreed to add their boxes: the gift of gold was placed into the ebony box; frankincense was placed into the gold box; and myrrh was poured into the fine ceramic box. And they found and worshiped the Child King.

After the wise men had received visions to leave Bethlehem on a different route, the brothers elected to stay. They chatted with the locals, heard stories from the shepherds of a heavenly chorus, elucidation from the innkeeper regarding his choice of accommodations for the young family; spoke with Joseph and Mary before they departed with their infant son.

After a time, the brothers and their entourage traveled to Jerusalem, compelled to learn more about this God of Israel. They studied the Scriptures and held discussion with rabbis and leaders.

“And so, Father,” the third son concluded. “We have come to know and believe that the God of Israel is the one true God, and there is no other. He has provided a way of salvation to us, and it is through this child, this King of the Jews whom we met and saw with our own eyes. We filled ourselves instead of our boxes with the greatest things, and we brought this infinitely precious gift home to you.”

To be continued…