Monday, July 19, 2010

Keep Your Fork

There was a young woman who had been diagnosed with a
terminal illness and had been given three months to
live. So as she was getting her things "in order," she
contacted her pastor and had him come to her house to
discuss certain aspects of her final wishes. She told
him which songs she wanted sung at the service, what
scriptures she would like read, and what outfit she
wanted to be buried in.

Everything was in order and the Pastor was preparing
to leave when the young woman suddenly remembered
something very important to her. "There's one more
thing," she said excitedly.

"What's that?" came the pastor's reply. "This is very
important," the young woman continued. "I want to be
buried with a fork in my right hand."

The pastor stood looking at the young woman, not
knowing quite what to say. "That surprises you,
doesn't it?" the young woman asked. "Well, to be
honest, I am puzzled by the request," said the Pastor.

The young woman explained. "My grandmother once told
me this story, and from there on out, I have always
done so. I have also, always tried to pass along its
message to those I love and those who are in need of
In all my years of attending socials and dinners, I
always remember that when the dishes of the main
course were being cleared, someone would inevitably
lean over and say, 'Keep your fork.' It was my
favorite part because I knew that something better was velvety chocolate cake or deep-dish
apple pie. Something wonderful, and with substance.

So, I just want people to see me there in that casket
with a fork in my hand and I want them to wonder
"What's with the fork?" Then I want you to tell them:
"Keep your fork...the best is yet to come."

The pastor's eyes welled up with tears of joy as he
hugged the young woman good-bye. He knew this would be
one of the last times he would see her before her
death. But he also knew that the young woman had a
better grasp of heaven than he did. She had a better
grasp of what heaven would be like than many people
twice her age, with twice as much experience and
knowledge. She KNEW that something better was coming.

At the funeral people were walking by the young
woman's casket and they saw the cloak she was wearing
and the fork placed in her right hand. Over and over,
the Pastor heard the question "What's with the fork?"
And over and over he smiled.

During his message, the Pastor told the people of the
conversation he had with the young woman shortly
before she died. He also told them about the fork and
about what it symbolized to her. The pastor told the
people how he could not stop thinking about the fork
and told them that they probably would not be able to
stop thinking about it either. He was right.

So the next time you reach down for your fork, let it
remind you ever so gently, that the best is yet to
come. Friends are a very rare jewel, indeed. They make
you smile and encourage you to succeed. They lend an
ear, they share a word of praise, and they always want
to open their hearts to us. Show your friends how much
you care. Remember to always be there for them, even
when you need them more. For you never know when it
may be their time to "Keep your fork."

Cherish the time you have, and the memories you
share... being friends with someone is not an
opportunity but a sweet responsibility. Send this to
everyone you consider a FRIEND even if it means
sending back to the person who sent it to you.

And keep your fork.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Story of a Boy Who killed a Duck

There was a little boy visiting his grandparents on their farm. He was given a slingshot to play with out in the woods. He practiced in the woods, but he could never hit the target. Getting a little discouraged, he headed back for dinner. As he was walking back he saw Grandma's pet duck.

Just out of impulse, he let the slingshot fly, hit the duck square in the head, and killed it. He was shocked and grieved.

In a panic, he hid the dead duck in the wood pile, only to see his sister watching! Sally had seen it all, but she said nothing.

After lunch the next day Grandma said, "Sally, let's wash the dishes." But Sally said, "Grandma, Johnny told me he wanted to help in the kitchen." Then she whispered to him, "Remember the duck?" So Johnny did the dishes.

Later that day, Grandpa asked if the children wanted to go fishing and Grandma said, "I'm sorry but I need Sally to help make supper."

Sally just smiled and said," Well that's all right because Johnny told me He wanted to help." She whispered again, "Remember the duck?" So Sally went fishing and Johnny stayed to help.

After several days of Johnny doing both his chores and Sally's he finally couldn't stand it any longer.

He came to Grandma and confessed that he had killed the duck. Grandma knelt down, gave him a hug, and said, "Sweetheart, I know. You see, I was standing at the window and I saw the whole thing, but because I love you, I forgave you. I was just wondering how long you would let Sally make a slave of you."

Thought for the day and every day hereafter?

Whatever is in your past, whatever you have done... and the devil keeps throwing it up in your face (lying, cheating, debt, fear, bad habits, hatred, anger, bitterness, etc.) ...whatever it is....You need to know that God was standing at the window and He saw the whole thing..... He has seen your whole life. He wants you to know that He loves you and that you are forgiven.

He's just wondering how long you will let the devil make a slave of you.

The great thing about God is that when you ask for forgiveness, He not only forgives you, but He forgets.

It is by God's grace and mercy that we are saved.

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Last Wish of a Cancer Patient

“You have a choice. Live or die. Every breath is a choice. Every minute is a choice. To be or not to be."
Chuck Palahniuk

Doug and Margaret Nichols have faced their share of obstacles. After
surgery for colon cancer in April 1993, Doug sat across from his
doctor and listened in disbelief. "I'm sorry, Doug," said the doctor
nervously, "but you do have a 30 percent chance of recovery."

"You mean I have a 70 percent chance of dying?" Asked Doug, with a

"I wouldn't put it that way," said a surprised doctor. "But my best
estimate is that you have about three months to live."

"Well, let me tell you something, Doc," said Nichols. "Whatever
happens, I have a 100 percent chance of going to heaven."
One year later radiation and chemo treatments had left Doug's body
wracked with pain. Though he kept his humor well-oiled, both Doug and
Margaret knew the end might be near. But their world was not the only
one collapsing. Nightly news reports from Rwanda indicated that civil
war had spiraled out of control and more than a million people had
been slaughtered, many by their own neighbors and trusted friends. The
carnage was beyond belief. Terrified Rwandans by the thousands had
fled across the border into Zaire and crowded into filthy, ill-
equipped refugee camps, where diseases such as cholera found a ready
home. People were dying everywhere-50,000 in three days alone in the
little town of Goma. As Margaret and Doug read the terrible accounts
and saw the images on TV, their hearts were broken. But what could one
couple do?

"I knew I was going to die," Doug told me, "but I wanted to do
something before leaving this earth. I just wanted to hold some of
those children in my arms and try to offer hope."

Soon Doug found himself traveling with a team of people in medical scrubs, the  doctors and nurses in scrub tops and scrub pants through the heart of Rwanda, with no idea of the adventure that lay

A Rwandan Christian leader whom Doug had worked with before had hired
300 refugees as stretcher bearers to bury the daily masses of dead and
transport the sick so doctors could do their best. One day the leader
approached Doug with an expression of deep concern. "Mr. Nichols," he
said, "we have a problem."

"What is it?" Doug asked.

"I was given only so much money to hire these people, and now they
want to go on strike."

"What? In the middle of all this death arid destruction these men
to go on strike?"

"They want more money."

"But we have no more money," Doug informed him "We've spent
everything. If they don't work, thousands will die."

His friend shrugged his shoulders. "They're not going to work. They
want more money."

"Well, can I talk to them?"

"It won't do any good. They're angry. Who knows what they'll do?"

Finally Doug's friend agreed. Walking over to an old burned-out
building, Doug climbed the steps wondering what on earth he could say.
Three hundred angry men surrounded the Rwandan who would act as
interpreter. "Mr. Nichols wants to say something," he called above the
clamor as Doug desperately searched for words that would get through
to them.

"I can't possibly understand the pain you've experienced," Doug
"and now, seeing your wives and children dying from cholera, I can
understand how that feels. Maybe you want more money for food and
water and medical supplies for your families. I've never been in that
position either. Nothing tragic has ever happened in my life that
compares to what you've suffered. The only thing that's ever happened
to me is that I've got cancer."

He was about to go on when the interpreter stopped. "Excuse me," he
said, "did you say cancer?"


"And you came over here? Did your doctor say you could come?"

"He told me that if I came to Africa I'd probably be dead in three

"Your doctor told you that and you still came? What did you come for?
And what if you die?"

"I'm here because God led us to come and do something for these people
in His name," Doug told him. "I'm no hero. If I die, just bury me out
that field where you bury everybody else."

To Doug's utter amazement the man began to weep. Then, with tears
flowing down his face, he turned back to the workers and began to
preach. "This man has cancer," he told the crowd, which suddenly grew
very quiet. In Rwanda, cancer is an automatic death sentence. "He came
over here willing to die for our people," the interpreter continued,
"and we're going on strike just to get a little bit more money? We
should be ashamed!"

Suddenly men on all sides began falling to their knees in tears. Doug
had no idea what was going on because no one had bothered to
translate. To his great embarrassment, one fellow crawled over and
threw his arms around Doug's legs. Dumbfounded, Doug watched as people
stood to their feet, walked over to their stretchers, and went quietly
back to work.

Later, as the interpreter recounted the whole story, Doug thought to
himself, What did I do? Nothing. It wasn't my ability to care for the
It wasn't my ability to organize. All I did was get cancer. But God
that very weakness to move the hearts of people.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A Doctor's Story

A relaxed attitude lengthens life; jealousy rots it away."

Some years ago when I was working in the summer as a CTA passenger bus driver in Chicago to help pay my way through college, an elderly lady, as she was about to alight from my bus, tapped me on the shoulder and said, "Young man, you're a millionaire." That was news to me, but then after a pause, she added, "You've got your health."

How right she was. Good health is worth much more than a million dollars and is something many of us can have more of if we really want to. Not everybody, however, really wants to be well. As Dr. Parker points out, some people fashion "imaginary illnesses or disorders in an unconscious attempt to get attention or to escape responsibility."

Another wise man with lab coats said, "Peace doesn't come in capsules." In other words, while we are extremely grateful for modern medical science with all its help and alleviation of human suffering, the greatest source of health and healing still doesn't come out of test tubes or the pill bottle.

According to Dr. S. I. McMillen, author of the book, None of These Diseases, one of the major causes of sickness in our society is emotional stress. Dr. McMillen stated, "Medical science recognizes that emotions such as fear, sorrow, envy, resentment and hatred are responsible for the majority of our sicknesses. Estimates vary from 60 percent to nearly 100 percent."

"Fatal heart attacks can be triggered by 'anger in all degrees, depression, and anxiety,' according to Dr. Roy R. Grinker, [formerly] one of the medical directors of Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago. This man in solid scrub tops states that anxiety places more stress on the heart than any other stimulus, including physical exercise and fatigue."

Stress in small amounts is often necessary and helpful, but continued stress is damaging. If, for example, you were being chased by a tiger, your God-given emotion of fear would trigger your adrenal glands releasing sudden energy into your blood stream to help you escape. Your hurried escape would also burn up any excess adrenalin. If, however, the "tiger of stress" keeps on chasing you and you can't get away, the chemical balance of your body is upset and trouble results. Too much adrenalin for too long can cause "high blood pressure, arthritis, kidney disease, and hardening of the arteries."

"Other glands are also affected. Simple nervousness in speaking before a public audience is sufficient to cause the salivary glands not to function properly and one's mouth can become very dry.

"Emotional stress can influence the amount of blood that flows to an organ. Embarrassment can cause the blood vessels of the face and neck to open up to produce blushing, and the emotions of anxiety or hate can so increase the amount of blood within the rigid skull that headaches and vomiting result."

I have read, too, that emotional stress can also cause ulcers, rheumatic fever, coronary thrombosis, frigidity and impotence, alcoholism, epilepsy, diabetes, obesity, constipation, diarrhea, hives, hay fever, asthma, back trouble, rheumatic arthritis, polio, many infections, glaucoma, skin diseases, hemorrhoids and many other sicknesses. It also affects the tension of muscles, which can cause severe headaches and muscular pain.

Monday, February 15, 2010

A Dog's Purpose? (From a 6-year-old).

Being a dentist and even a professional who always wears lab coats and medical scrubs is a great privilege. This is a story which shows why...

“Forgiveness unleashes joy. It brings peace. It washes the slate
clean. It sets all the highest values of love in motion." 
John  MacArthur

Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old
Irish wolfhound named Belker. The dog's owners, Ron , his wife Lisa ,
and their little boy Shane , were all very attached to Belker, and
they were hoping for a miracle.

I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family
we couldn't do anything for Belker, and offered to perform the
euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home.

As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be
good for six-year-old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt as
though Shane might learn something from the experience.

The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker’s
family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for
the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on.
Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away.

The little boy seemed to accept Belker's transition without any
difficulty or confusion. We sat together for a while after Belker's
Death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are
shorter than human lives.
Shane , who had been listening quietly, piped up, ''I know why.''

Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next
stunned me. I'd never heard a more comforting explanation. It has
changed the way I try to live.

He said,’ People are born so that they can learn how to live a good
life -- like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?''
The Six-year-old continued,’ Well, dogs already know how to do that,
so they don't have to stay as long.''

Live simply.

Love generously.

Care deeply.

Speak kindly.

Remember, if a dog was the teacher you would learn things like:

When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.

Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.

Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure

Take naps.

Stretch before rising.

Run, romp, and play daily.

Thrive on attention and let people touch you.

Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.

On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass.

On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.

When you're happy, dance around and wag your entire body.

Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.

Be loyal.

Never pretend to be something you're not.

If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.

When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle
them gently.


Monday, February 8, 2010

How to Explain God (written by an 8 year old)

How to Explain God was written by Danny Dutton, age8, from Chula Vista, California, for his third grade homework assignment"Explain God".

One of God's main job is making people. He makes them to replace the ones that die so there will be enough people to take care of things on earth. He doesn't make grown-ups, just babies. I think because they are smaller and easier to make. That way He doesn't have to take up His valuable time teaching them to talk and walk. He can just leave that to mothers and fathers.

"God's second most important job is listening to prayers. An awful lot of this goes on, since some people, like preachers and things, pray at times besides bedtime. God doesn't have time to listen to the radio or TV because of this. Because He hears everything, there must be a terrible lot of noise in His ears, unless He has thought of a way to turn it off. "God sees everything and hears everything and is everywhere which keeps Him pretty busy. So you shouldn't go wasting His time by going over your mom and dad's head asking for something they said you couldn't have." Atheists are people who don't believe in God. I don't think there are any in Chula Vista. At least there aren't any who come to our church."

Jesus is God's Son. He used to do all the hard work like walking on water and performing miracles and trying to teach the people who didn't want to learn about God. They finally got tired of Him preaching to them and they crucified Him.

But He was good and kind, like His Father and He told His Father that they didn't know what they were doing and to forgive them and God said O.K.

"His Dad (God) appreciated everything that He had done and all His hard work on earth so He told Him He didn't have to go out on the road anymore. He could stay in heaven. So He did.

And now He helps His Dad out by listening to prayers and seeing things which are important for God to take care of and which ones He can take care of Himself without having to bother God. Like a secretary, only more important.

"You can pray anytime you want and they are sure to help you because they got it worked out so one of them is on duty all the time.

"You should always go to Church on Sunday because it makes God happy, and if there's anybody you want to make happy, it's God.

Don't skip church to do something you think will be more fun like going to the beach. This is wrong. And besides the sun doesn't come out at the beach until noon anyway.

"If you don't believe in God, besides being an atheist, you will be very lonely, because your parents can't go everywhere with you, like to camp, but God can. It is good to know He's around you when you're scared in the dark or when you can't swim and you get thrown into real deep water by big kids."

But you shouldn't just always think of what God can do for you. I figure God put me here and He can take me back anytime He pleases.And that's why I believe in God.