Inspirational

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Posted 12/7/16 at 1:16 PM | Karen Kramer

Quiet Miracle Workers

The children’s book was read to me 50 years ago, but the story never gets old.

Long ago, back when Christmas brought wide-eyed wonder, Mom read me a story about Christmas miracles.

Throughout the colorful pages, unexpected goodness came to those who needed it most. The vibrant illustrations showed empty cupboards and lonely faces.

Holiday decorations were absent in the bleak homes.

How could anyone have Christmas like that, my young mind wondered.

But then came the quiet miracle workers—as the pages turned I could see how others prepared good food and made gifts to deliver to unsuspecting people’s homes.

A knock on the door and they quickly ran away.

On the next page, a weary woman opened the door and saw a basket brimming with ham, eggs, bread, cheese, apples, and candy. Next to it a wooden crate held boxes tied with ribbons—gifts for them all.

As the page turned again, another knock on a door and this time an elderly man answered. A group of smiling faces sang a carol. They offered cookies and cheer, and the forlorn man had one less evening to be alone. FULL POST

Posted 12/2/16 at 2:24 PM | Brittney Moses

Comfortable Christianity and Regaining Real Fire for Christ

You reminisce back on the days when you first came to Christ, and you were ready to do anything, anything for Him. You were ready to introduce everyone you encountered to your wonderful Savior King and every word from Him was liquid gold pouring into your soul. You were immersed in His Word. Hungry for Him. You could not get enough of Him. You poured out the incense of your life upon His feet. You spoke about Him all the time- every tweeting chance you got. And you didn’t care what the world thought about it because you were a new creation and there was no going back, ever.

Then time went by and you got used to your faith. Yes, used to it. Life and all its demands bombarded your faith. You became desensitized to the wonder of Christ and going through the motions became a part of you. You’d grasped a general idea of His word and could say all the right “Christian” things in your sleep. If you were to be honest, you had the knowledge of Christ, but you couldn’t feel him anymore. Not like you use to. FULL POST

Posted 12/1/16 at 11:23 AM | Karen Kramer

Listening Heart

When I asked God for better hearing, he gave me someone to listen to.

Until our new septic system is finished, I’ve been making weekly visits to the laundromat.

One afternoon, a former student at the school where I volunteer came in. I recognized him immediately.

His long, somewhat scraggly hair hadn’t changed, nor his grunge-hippie styled clothing.

He carried in baskets of blankets and clothes while his girlfriend quickly loaded several washers.

“Aren’t you from the school?” he asked me.

So, he had recognized me, even after all these years.

We chatted about insignificant stuff, and then quite suddenly he said that he was sorry our mail had been stolen and some of our checks had been forged.

Seeing that I wondered how he knew, he told me he’d been living with the perpetrator at the time.

He moved out after that happened, and has been couch surfing since. But as we talked, it became less about the crime and more about the reality of drugs ruining lives. FULL POST

Posted 11/28/16 at 5:39 PM | Robin Williams

8 Things Big and Small That Powers US Military

Without any doubt, the United States military is an important component of what makes the nation a true superpower. Whether it's an advanced missile defense system, a futuristic navy destroyer, or smaller, lesser-known military supplies such as individual weapons or even power supplies such as transformers, it takes a combination of all this and much more to keep the military operating smoothly and efficiently. If you've wondered how all these items come together to keep the United States ahead of China, Russia, and other nations looking to expand their military capabilities, read on to discover the important roles items big and small play in powering our military.

The Stealth Destroyer

The Stealth Destroyer
Defensetech.org

When it comes to sophisticated warships, no nation on Earth has anything that can begin to compare with the USS Zumwalt. The largest destroyer ever to sail the world's waterways, the Zumwalt uses numerous heavy duty power supplies to operate its sophisticated technology. Designed to be a stealth fighter on water, the Zumwalt uses unique angles to deflect enemy radar and possesses advanced sonar and guided missiles, making it a destroyer possessing the perfect combination of past, present, and future technology. Surprisingly, despite its large size and sophisticated technology, the Zumwalt requires a crew of only about 150, which is half of a typical destroyer. FULL POST

Posted 11/24/16 at 11:43 AM | Karen Kramer

Open Eyes

It’s gift giving season, so I asked God to help me see that life is about you and not about me.

While waiting impatiently for the library to open, I checked my lengthy to-do list. I’d already gotten groceries and gas.

Looking up, I noticed a woman step out of an old car in the parking lot.

She stretched, folded a sleeping bag that covered the front seat, and walked towards the library.

I had my busy agenda, and her agenda was homeless subsistence.

Yet she still smiled.

Whenever I long for what I don’t have, may I remember those who may long for all that I do have.

Dear Lord, give me eyes to see what matters most to You.

Posted 11/10/16 at 12:09 PM | Karen Kramer

Broken Lives Club

Gathered around the table, they scooted closer to make room for the newest member.

Downcast, Trudy slid into the chair with a sigh. The others nodded their compassion, having walked that painful road too.

Anyone observing the group might wonder what brought them together. Different stories, but the same destination of despair. Welcome to the Broken Lives Club—the weekly meeting of the discouraged.

Divorce, disease, despondency, disappointment, and despair from deceit—sat around the table. The Broken Lives Club isn’t exclusive.

Live long enough and there will be a reason to seek membership.

The meeting was called to order by the oldest member. Harold’s burden of brokenness had been carried the most miles. He’d lost his wife to another man decades ago. FULL POST

Posted 11/3/16 at 10:53 AM | Karen Kramer

Final View

A couple years ago my husband and I were interested in purchasing some property with an amazing view of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. It was quiet and pristine.

With over fifty grassy acres, our salesman suggested we take the parcel near the crest of the bluff—no one would ever block our view.

My husband and I smiled at one another.

The friendly salesman pointed out the walkway that led to the beach far below and the benches placed along the bluff so folks could sit and enjoy the panoramic view of Mount Baker and the blue waters of the Strait.

After signing all the paperwork, we became the proud owners of two water view cemetery plots. Shaking hands, he encouraged us to come back and visit as often as we wanted—we had yet to do so.

Until this week, when a friend was laid to rest. At my friend’s gravesite, I listened to the words spoken about his life. He served his nation in Viet Nam and continued serving his family and community the rest of his life. FULL POST

Posted 11/2/16 at 8:08 AM | selwyn perry

WHEN I HAVE FEARS

When I have fears that I may never move
Or go again to where I've been,
Upon my bed I brood
In silent solitude.

I have thoughts of things that used to be,
Of windswept woods, of fires and floods,
Of summer days and seaside bays,
Fields of flowers and natures ways.

Why can't I rise and walk?
Why can't I laugh and talk?
What must I do to make your words come true?
Are my words too small, to weak, too few?

Please listen to my cry,
My tears, my sighs,
Is it because I am old that I lie upon this bed,
And suffer pain, fear and dread?

Have you abandoned me Lord
Like Jesus on the cross?
Have you forsaken me
To die in pain and never reign
O'er life's disdain?

'MY CHILD, for such you are,
Have you forgotten that I put you
In your mothers arms and fed you
With your mothers milk.
Have you forgotten that I am everywhere?
In days. In months in years,
In Christmas, Easter, Whitsuntide,
And always by your side?
At school and play, in every day.

My Child
I am in the seasons of the year,
The bare bleak winter snows and wind,
The springtime flowers and thaws
All are natures laws.
No less than now are they. FULL POST

Posted 10/5/16 at 3:56 PM | João Mordomo

A Tribute to the Original Mr. Mobilization

Last week I wrote a tribute to Brazil's "Mr. Mobilization", Edison Queiroz, who recently went to be with the Lord. Yesterday, however, I had the chance to spend a little time with someone who, in a very real sense, could be considered the "original" Mr. Mobilization. George Verwer, the founder of Operation Mobilization (OM), was with us at Columbia International University, where I'm spending the year as visiting professor and missionary in residence. George in intent on "livin' la vida DOXA," i.e. living for God's glory in all areas of life and among all peoples of the world. He has mobilized and otherwise impacted hundreds of thousands of people around the globe for the cause of Christ. In my case, his greatest impact on me happened in Curitiba, Brazil, in 1998. I was the young leader of a young Brazilian mission agency called CCI-Brasil. George and I sat together at an event where he soon would take the stage to speak. I wanted to glean from his many years of experience, so I asked him what he would have done differently as the leader of a large, global, renowned mission agency. His three-word reply was, "grow more slowly". Wise words from a wise man! George's words were full of significance and I took them to heart. Very specifically, I have since been more concerned with the health of our organization than the size. Large organizations are not necessarily healthy, but healthy organizations grow and are fruitful. Today, CCI-Brasil is a healthy, growing, fruitful organization, and God used George's "three wise words" to help bring about this reality. FULL POST

Posted 9/28/16 at 11:06 AM | João Mordomo

A Tribute to "Mr. Mobilization"

The Brazilian Evangelical church is one of the largest missionary sending churches in the world, in no small part due to the indefatigable efforts of Pastor Edison Queiróz. Known affectionately as “Mr. Mobilization” and “Pastor Acts 1:8,” Edison was like the Energizer Bunny… on steroids! His vim and verve were as renowned as his smile was big. Yet those characteristics were dwarfed by his passion for God and His global mission. While Edison served variously throughout his life as pastor, preacher, teacher and writer, he was, at heart, a mobilizer for the cause of Christ among all peoples.

This past June, Pr. Edison was hospitalized in a battle against brain cancer and on September 22nd, at the age of 67, he succumbed to his illness. This loss was felt by Christians throughout Brazil and was reflected in social media and elsewhere. But the sense of loss is eclipsed by the realization that Edison is seeing and savoring his Lord and, we may surmise, seeing some of the fruits of his own mobilization labors as well. His wife Rute’s words provide perspective and comfort: “My dear, the love of my life, is gone to Jesus. I’m going to see him again for all eternity. Precious in the eyes of the Lord is the death of His children. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away, blessed be the Name of the Lord. The will of God was done… praised be the Lord.” FULL POST

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