|+++ The Christian Banner - March 2011 +++
Submitted by: Edith Kearns
How are you? I just had to send a note to tell you how much I care about you.
I saw you yesterday as you were talking with your friends. I waited all day hoping you would want to talk with me too. I gave you a sunset to close your day and a cool breeze to rest you - and I waited. You never came. It hurt me - but I still love you because I am your friend.
I saw you sleeping last night and longed to touch your brow so I spilled moonlight upon your face. Again I waited, wanting to rush down so we could talk. I have so many gifts for you! You awoke and rushed off to work. My tears were in the rain.
If you would only listen to me! I love you! I try to tell you in blue skies and in the quiet green grass. I whisper it in leaves on the trees and breathe it in colors of flowers, shout it to you in mountain streams, give the birds love songs to sing. I clothe you with warm sunshine and perfume the air with nature scents. My love for you is deeper than the ocean, and bigger than the biggest need in your heart!
Ask me! Talk with me! Please don't forget me. I have so much to share with you!
I won’t hassle you any further. It is YOUR decision. I have chosen you and I will wait. I love you.
Kindness During Life
Submitted by: Lela Farlow Trotter
I would rather have one little rose
From the garden of a friend,
Than to have the choicest flowers
When my stay on earth must end.
I would rather have a pleasant word
In kindness said to me,
Than flattery when the heart is still
And life has ceased to be.
I would rather have a loving smile
From friends I know are true,
Than tears shed round my casket
When this world I've bid adieu.
Bring me all your flowers today
Whether pink, or white, or red;
I'd rather have one blossom now
Than a truckload when I'm dead!
Written & submitted by: Irene Wright
Old man winter marches to the beat of his journeys’ end
Grasping onto his chilling friends
One more arctic wind to appear
Oh, how we await for spring to be here.
Wrapped in icicles and blankets of snow
He hurries to draw one more breath before he must go.
And as quickly as he waves good-bye
Spring arrives before our very eyes
Stretching and yawning perhaps
Spring awakens from her winter’s nap.
Then with precision and awe
She begins her seasonal thaw
Clothed in splendor and beauty, royalty takes it place
As the hands of God touches her face.
March opens the door to the circle of life
Leaving behind winter’s strive
Providing hope of something new
Seeing results from a little seed that grew.
A master piece displayed so long ago
Vivid colors placed just so
Only by the hands of our Lord
Can a perfect-picture be so adored.
March opens the door to those summer days
Warming our soul with golden rays.
And as March goes out
Let there be no doubt
That she will tread the waters deep
And climb the mountain steep
And return again
To the realization of how spring would begin.
Written by: Frankie L. Morton, Asheboro NC
Submitted by: Alice Harrelson
When I’m busy blaming others,
Looking for a fault or two
Then it’s time I started counting
All the petty things I do.
There’s a lot of good in others
And a lot of bad in me
So I have no right in judging
Faults of others that I see.
Before I look for faults in others
I have found a better plan,
It’s to keep my own house cleaner
Before I judge another man.
Looking for a Home
Written & submitted by: Pat Lewallen
My sister and I were in Momma’s kitchen
We were both busy as could be.
All of a sudden Sandra screamed,
What was wrong? I had to stop and see.
I saw in the sink just a wiggling
A thousand-legged centipede.
I told Sandra to step aside
And leave the disposal job to me.
I wanted to get rid of the ugly creature.
How dare he be in the kitchen sink!
He was lost and going in the wrong direction.
These were thoughts I began to think.
I started reaching for the faucet handle
Soon down the drain he would go.
“Oh no, you can’t do that!” Sandra cried,
“He’s alive and breathing; don’t you know?”
My sister is so tender hearted,
If near her house a cat or dog does roam
No longer a lost stray,
It’s found love and a good home.
Sandra reached for a paper towel
And coaxed the centipede on it that day.
I opened the door to let’em both go outside,
And out she ran, screaming all the way.
This little adventure soon blessed my heart.
Sandra’s compassion saved the centipede that day.
It reminded me of the Lord’s compassion on me,
The day He came into my heart to stay.
I can still recall the time in my life
Like the centipede I was lost as I could be.
My life was going in the wrong direction
Until I met Jesus and His love saved me.
Each day I’m looking toward the future
To a day earthly troubles and trials will end.
I’ve got a home awaiting me in Heaven
There with Jesus, my loved ones and friends.
During the minister's prayer one Sunday, there was a loud whistle from one of the back pews. Tommy's mother was horrified. She pinched him into silence and, after church, asked, 'Tommy, whatever made you do such a thing?' Tommy answered soberly, 'I asked God to teach me to whistle, and He did!'
|+++ The Christian Banner - February 2011 +++
Written & Submitted by: Lela Farlow Trotter
These true stories from my years of teaching Sunday School are dedicated in loving memory of: Lavone Rush Hinson, Kimberly Maness Robbins, John Miller and Brad Lewallen. I taught all of these in Sunday School when they were children. I have many memories of them and I will never forget them.
I started teaching when I was sixteen years old in 1961. I taught until February 2006. I loved working with children. Each child was precious and I still love all of them. I have so many memories but I can’t share all of them. So I’ve decided to share four stories that actually happened.
The first one took place in the 1960’s. I taught each class that prayer was important. So before each class, I told them to close their eyes, bow their heads, and not talk unless they were praying. The children had started saying their prayers. Terrie Henderson said, “Lela Mae, Anthony Farlow has his eyes open!” Without raising my head or opening my eyes, I said, “I know someone else who has their eyes open!” A few years later I saw Terrie and she said she never had forgotten that.
The second story happened in another class. In this class we were having prayer and I had two boys named Gary Richburg and David Henderson. Gary prayed first and he prayed for his dog that he said hurt his leg and he asked God to make his dog better. And then he said, “And he’s not very cute. Would you make him cute?” And then David prayed and said his dog had hurt his leg too. I then thought it had been a bad week for dogs. David then added, “He’s not very cute. Would you make him cuter and would you please put black spots on him?” I wanted to laugh but I couldn’t. I don’t remember ever asking about the dogs.
The third story happened in another class. Our lesson that day was about King Jehoshaphat. Mark Lewallen was in the class and he was always so well behaved. Every time that I said Jehoshaphat, Mark started laughing. He thought it was the funniest thing he had ever heard and I had to say it a lot! Mark still remembers that and he’ll still laugh about it.
The last story took place a few years before I stopped teaching. We had a Christmas party. After the party the children exchanged gifts with numbered gifts for the boys and the girls. Everything was going fine until I looked at Josh Hogan. He had a look on his face like “I can’t believe this”! A mistake had been made and Josh had gotten a doll. I quickly told him that wasn’t his gift. I don’t know how it happened. We worked it out so that Josh got a boy’s gift and a girl got the doll!
Yes, I sure enjoyed those years teaching and my memories are many.
And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 18:3 (KJV)
Written by: Pat Lewallen
Are you ever surprised at how really fast time goes by? I was surprised to hear that January 28, 2011 was the 25th anniversary of the space shuttle Challenger disaster. I still remember the day it happened and how very sad I felt for those that lost their loved ones. Probably none of the seven on board the Challenger thought that January 28, 1986 would be their expiration date.
On December 30, 2010, I lost a good friend I had worked with for many years. He was my boss when he first started his career with the company. His name was John Yowell. He went on to become an executive in the company. He was promoted to Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer in January 2008. John was an extremely talented executive and yet he never lost his concern for others. He was as comfortable talking with a janitor as he was talking with another top executive. John was also a highly respected community leader who had a deep love and compassion for others, especially children.
How well I remember the last time I personally talked with John. He took time to eat a Christmas meal with my department just two weeks before his death. As we sat and talked that day I had no idea I would never share another face to face conversation with him again. Had I known, I would have told John how much I cherished his friendship and appreciated his love and concern for everyone in our company. I would have told him how much his words of encouragement had comforted me during difficult times in my life.
The night before John died; he went to the doctor with flu like symptoms. He was told he had the flu and to go home and rest and take Tylenol. John’s wife found him slumped in death on the floor at their home early the next morning. John was 59 years old. It was an extremely sad day for everyone at work that Thursday. John was always so friendly and full of life. What a total shock it was to everyone who knew John to learn of his expiration date being that day.
I often think about how short life on this earth really is. We all are born with an expiration date on our lives. It’s hidden deep in our souls. I’m glad it isn’t stamped somewhere where we can easily see it like so many of the products we see daily in our cabinets and refrigerators. We should live our lives to the fullest each and every day. Tell those you love how much they mean to you and that you love them. Remember that each of us is born with an expiration date. Be sure to ask Jesus to save you and forgive your sins before you die. Please don’t leave this earthly life for eternity without knowing Jesus as your personal Savior.
And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.
Hebrews 9:27 (KJV)
Submitted by: Joyce Freeman
(I received this article from my niece via email and wanted to share it with others.)
There once was a man named George Thomas, pastor in a small New England town. One Easter Sunday morning he came to the Church carrying a rusty, bent, old bird cage, and set it by the pulpit. Eyebrows were raised and, as if in response, Pastor Thomas began to speak....
"I was walking through town yesterday when I saw a young boy coming toward me swinging this bird cage. On the bottom of the cage were three little wild birds, shivering with cold and fright.
I stopped the lad and asked, "What do you have there, son?"
"Just some old birds," came the reply.
"What are you going to do with them?" I asked.
"Take 'em home and have fun with 'em," he answered. "I'm gonna tease 'em and pull out their feathers to make 'em fight. I'm gonna have a real good time."
"But you'll get tired of those birds sooner or later. What will you do then?"
"Oh, I got some cats," said the little boy. "They like birds. I'll take 'em to them."
The pastor was silent for a moment. "How much do you want for those birds, son?"
"Huh?? !!! Why, you don't want them birds, mister. They're just plain old field birds. They don't sing. They ain't even pretty!"
"How much?" the pastor asked again.
The boy sized up the pastor as if he were crazy and said, "$10?"
The pastor reached in his pocket and took out a ten dollar bill. He placed it in the boy's hand. In a flash, the boy was gone. The pastor picked up the cage and gently carried it to the end of the alley where there was a tree and a grassy spot. Setting the cage down, he opened the door, and by softly tapping the bars persuaded the birds out, setting them free. Well, that explained the empty bird cage on the pulpit, and then the pastor began to tell this story:
One day Satan and Jesus were having a conversation. Satan had just come from the Garden of Eden, and he was gloating and boasting. "Yes, sir, I just caught a world full of people down there. Set me a trap, used bait I knew they couldn't resist. Got 'em all!"
"What are you going to do with them?" Jesus asked.
Satan replied, "Oh, I'm gonna have fun! I'm gonna teach them how to marry and divorce each other, how to hate and abuse each other, how to drink and smoke and curse. I'm gonna teach them how to invent guns and bombs and kill each other. I'm really gonna have fun!"
"And what will you do when you are done with them?" Jesus asked.
"Oh, I'll kill 'em," Satan glared proudly.
"How much do you want for them?" Jesus asked.
"Oh, you don't want those people. They ain't no good. Why, you'll take them and they'll just hate you. They'll spit on you, curse you and kill you. You don't want those people!!"
"How much? He asked again.
Satan looked at Jesus and sneered, "All your blood, tears and your life."
Jesus said, "DONE!" Then He paid the price.
The pastor picked up the cage and walked from the pulpit.
|+++ The Christian Banner - January 2011 +++
I Will Be with You
Written and submitted by: Richard Lewallen
This past week God gave me a Christmas present. It was the Sunday school lesson I was to teach. It was entitled, “I Will Be with You”. What a wonderful lesson! It was as if God had placed this lesson on the very week I needed it. My stepmother had just passed away, Pat’s mother was not doing well, and I was concerned about my 90 year old Dad. God proved to me and Pat to be a way maker in a most difficult situation. The title of the Sunday school lesson is a promise from God to all those who place their faith and trust in Him.
Our former pastor, Bud Frye, had a favorite verse of scripture I heard him quote many times. It was Hebrews 13:5 where God said…. “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee”. It is one of my favorite verses also. Our lesson focus was that apart from God there is no Savior. As I thought about this my mind went to John 6 where Jesus was teaching his disciples some spiritual truths. He told them that His flesh was meat indeed and His blood was drink indeed. “He that eatest my flesh and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.” John 6:56.
After Jesus spoke these words, some of Jesus’ disciples said, “This is a hard saying; who can hear it?” Some began to walk away. Jesus then looked at his inner circle and asked, “Will ye also go away?” Then Peter spoke up and said, “Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life.” At this early stage of Jesus’ ministry, Peter already knew apart from Jesus, there is no Savior.
Let us make the title of this lesson our new year’s resolution. As God as chosen to be with us, let us choose with all our hearts to be with Him as we enter 2011, a new year full of unknowns.
Top 10 Predictions for 2011
1. The Bible will still have all the answers.
2. Prayer will still be the most powerful thing on Earth.
3. The Holy Spirit will still move.
4. God will still honor the praises of His people.
5. There will still be God-anointed preaching.
6. There will still be singing of praise to God.
7. God will still pour out blessings upon His people.
8. There will still be room at the Cross.
9. Jesus will still love you.
10. Jesus will still save the lost when they come to Him.
Maybe the atheist cannot find God for the same reason a thief cannot find a policeman.
A Wish for the New Year
Author: Phillips Brooks
Submitted by: Lela Farlow Trotter
Health enough to make work a pleasure.
Strength enough to battle with difficulties and overcome them.
Grace enough to confess your sins and forsake them.
Patience enough to toil until some good is accomplished.
Charity that shall see some good in your neighbor.
Cheerfulness that shall make others glad.
Love that shall move you to be useful and helpful to others.
Faith that shall make real the things of God.
Hope that shall remove all anxious fears concerning the future.
It is not doing the things we like to do, but liking the things we have to do that makes life blessed.
New Year’s Prayer by Rev. Billy Graham
"Our Father and our God, as we stand at the beginning of this new year we confess our need of Your presence and Your guidance as we face the future. We each have our hopes and expectations for the year that is ahead of us—but You alone know what it holds for us, and only You can give us the strength and the wisdom we will need to meet its challenges. So help us to humbly put our hands into Your hand, and to trust You and to seek Your will for our lives during this coming year.
In the midst of life’s uncertainties in the days ahead, assure us of the certainty of Your unchanging love. In the midst of life’s inevitable disappointments and heartaches, help us to turn to You for the stability and comfort we will need. In the midst of life’s temptations and the pull of our stubborn self-will, help us not to lose our way but to have the courage to do what is right in Your sight, regardless of the cost. And in the midst of our daily preoccupations and pursuits, open our eyes to the sorrows and injustices of our hurting world, and help us to respond with compassion and sacrifice to those who are friendless and in need. May our constant prayer be that of the ancient Psalmist: “Teach me, O Lord, to follow your decrees; then I will keep them to the end” (Psalm 119:33).
We pray for our nation and its leaders during these difficult times, and for all those who are seeking to bring peace and justice to our dangerous and troubled world. We pray especially for Your protection on all those who serve in our armed forces, and we thank You for their commitment to defend our freedoms, even at the cost of their own lives. Be with their families also, and assure them of Your love and concern for them.
Bring our divided nation together, and give us a greater vision of what You would have us to be. Your Word reminds us that “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord” (Psalm 33:12). As we look back over this past year we thank You for Your goodness to us—far beyond what we have deserved. May we never presume on Your past goodness or forget all Your mercies to us, but may they instead lead us to repentance, and to a new commitment to make You the foundation and center of our lives this year.
And so, our Father, we thank You for the promise and hope of this new year, and we look forward to it with expectancy and faith. This I ask in the name of our Lord and Savior, who by His death and resurrection has given us hope both for this world and the world to come." Amen
Written and submitted by: Pat Lewallen
Pew Research Center took a poll in October 2010 of more than 2600 Americans. Forty percent of them said marriage is becoming obsolete. Is marriage going the way of the pay phone or the passenger pigeon? Disney is practically synonymous with “princess movies". The studio has been making fairytale films since 1937 with the debut of "Snow White", but for now, they aren't going to continue making them. According to the L.A. Times, the studio said these type films are appealing now to a very limited audience of little girls.
With the USA in its worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, four million additional Americans found themselves in poverty in 2009, with the total reaching 44 million or one in seven residents. Millions more were surviving only because of expanded unemployment insurance and other assistance. One in five children now lives in poverty.
Higher food commodity and energy prices have put pressure on wholesale and retail food prices. The U.S. Agriculture Department is reporting food prices will “accelerate” during the first half of 2011 and predicts food price inflation of 2 to 3 percent.
The Christians United Outreach Center is a major supplier for food assistance in Randolph County. On Tuesday, October 5, 2010, their shelves had been depleted down to nothing. For the first time in its existence, the CUOC had to close their doors until the community responded and provided more food.
Randolph County’s unemployment rate in October 2010 was 9.3 percent. Just three short years before the unemployment rate was 4.3 percent.
Americans are facing lots of scary things now. Many Americans have lost their jobs due to our American jobs going overseas. Many families have lost their homes due to foreclosure because they’ve lost their jobs. Have you noticed the increase in prices at the grocery store lately? Have you filled up your vehicle at the gas station lately? It’s scary to go to the gas station and see gas prices as they just keep going higher. Just this week I saw a news story on the local news channel predicting gas prices to be $5 per gallon in 2012.
We are living in scary times that I believe will only get worse. America needs to return to faith in God. Do you know Jesus as your Savior? If not, there’s no better time to put your faith in the Lord than today! No matter what happens in this life, Jesus will never leave you nor forsake you. If the Lord has been dealing with your heart, please don’t turn Him away. You’ll find that Jesus will always provide the comfort you need, especially in the scary times.
When we put our cares in His hands, He puts His peace in our hearts.
Every evening I turn my worries over to God. He’s going to be up all night anyway.
~Mary C. Crowley