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Inspired Moments

There once was a King who offered a prize to the artist who would paint the best picture of peace. Many artists tried. The King looked at all the pictures, but there were only two he really liked, and he had to choose between them.

One picture was of a calm lake. The lake was a perfect mirror for the peaceful towering mountains all around it. Overhead was a blue sky with fluffy white clouds. All who saw this picture thought that it was a perfect picture of peace.

The second picture had mountains, too. But these were rugged and bare. Above was an angry sky from which rain fell, and in which lightning played. Down the side of the mountain tumbled a foaming waterfall. This did not look peaceful at all. But when the King looked further, he saw behind the waterfall a tiny bush growing in a crack in the rock. In the plant a mother bird had built her nest. There, in the midst of the rush of angry water, sat the mother bird on her nest... a picture of perfect peace.

Which picture won the prize? The King chose the second picture. Why? "Because," explained the King, "peace does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. Peace means to be in the midst of all hardship and chaos and still be calm in your spirit. That is the real meaning of peace."

A Pastor walked up to the pulpit, and gave a very brief introduction of his childhood friend. With that, an elderly man stepped up to the pulpit to speak, "A father, his son, and a friend of his son were sailing off the Pacific Coast," he began, "when a fast approaching storm blocked any attempt to get back to shore. The waves were so high, that even though the father was an experienced sailor, he could not keep the boat upright, and the three were swept into the ocean."

The old man hesitated for a moment, making eye contact with two teenagers who were, looking somewhat interested in his story. He continued, "Grabbing a rescue line, the father had to make the most excruciating decision of his life...to which boy he would throw the other end of the line. He only had seconds to make the decision.

The father knew that his son was a Christian, and he also knew that his son's friend was not. The agony of his decision could not be matched by the torrent of waves. As the father yelled out, 'I love you, son!' he threw the line to his son's friend. By the time he pulled the friend back to the capsized boat, his son had disappeared beyond the raging swells into the black of night. His body was never recovered."

"The father," he continued, "knew his son would step into eternity with Jesus, and he could not bear the thought of his son's friend stepping into an eternity without Jesus. Therefore, he sacrificed his son. How great is the love of God that He should do the same for us." With that, the old man turned and sat back down in his chair as silence filled the room.

Within minutes after the service ended, the two teenagers were at the old man's side. "That was a nice story," politely started one of the boys, "but I don't think it was very realistic for a father to give up his son's life in hopes that the other boy would become a Christian."

"Well, you've got a point there," the old man replied, glancing down at his worn Bible. A big smile broadened his narrow face, and he once again looked up at the boys and said, "It sure isn't very realistic, is it? But I'm standing here today to tell you THAT story gives me a glimpse of what it must have been like for God to give up His Son for me."        "You see...I was the son's friend."

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”   John 15:13

A woman came out of her house and saw 3 old men with long gray beards sitting in her front yard.  She did not recognize any of them, so she said "I don't think I know you, but you must be hungry. Please come in and have something to eat."

"Is your family home?", they asked.

"No", she said. "They are all out." "Then we cannot come in", they replied.

In the evening when her husband came home, she told him what had happened.  "Well ...” he said, "go tell them I am home and invite them in now." The woman went out again to invite the men in. But one of them replied.

"We don't necessarily go into a house together".

"Why is that?" she wanted to know. One of the old men explained:

"His name is 'Wealth'...", he said, pointing to one of his companions... and pointing to the other one, he said "he is 'Success'... and I am 'Love'."  Then he added, "Now go in and discuss with your husband which one of us you want in your home."

The woman went in and told her husband what was said. He was overjoyed. "How nice!" he said.

"Since that is the case, let us invite Wealth let him come and fill our home with wealth."  But his wife disagreed..."My dear, why don't we invite Success…with success we can always expect wealth to come along later."

Their daughter, who had been listening from another room had another suggestion.  "Would it not be better to invite Love...so our home will be filled with love?"

"Good point,” the husband conceded. "Well then, go out and invite Love to be our guest."

The woman went out and asked the 3 old men, "Which one of you is Love? Please come in and be our guest."   Love got up and started walking toward the house. The other two also got up and followed him.  Surprised, the lady asked Wealth and Success: "I only invited Love...why are you coming in?"

The old men replied together:   "We are blind. Therefore, we depend upon Love to guide us. If you had invited Wealth or Success, one would still have to depend upon Love, and the other would have become lost trying to follow you.  So, in order to survive, wherever Love goes, Wealth and Success will follow."

Everyone know that the windshield in a car is much bigger than the rear view mirror.  This is an excellent parable of the way we should approach life.  Most of our attention should be focused on today's traffic--or the things that are happening right now--rather than on concerns from the past.

It is a good practice to glance in the rear view mirror now and then to see what's happening behind you.  But we should never make the backward view our main concern.  When we do, we become a danger to ourselves and others because we lose our awareness of the present moment and its significance.

Learn from the past, but live every day to its fullest as you claim the bountiful promise of God.

Fold two hands together
and express a dash of sorrow.
Marinate it overnight
and work on it tomorrow.

Chop one grudge in tiny pieces
add several cups of love,
dredge with a large sized smile
mix with the ingredients above.

Dissolve the hate within you,
by doing a good deed.
Cut in and help your friend
if he should be in need.

Stir in laughter, love and kindness
from the heart it has to come,
toss with genuine forgiveness
and give your neighbor some.

The amount of people served
will depend on you,
it can serve the whole wide world,
if you really want it to.

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About Bishop Hampton

James W. Hampton was born on August 5, 1940 in Crugar, Mississippi to the late Dave Hampton and the late Mother Elma Hampton.

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