ETERNAL INK +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ The articles within this publication remain the copyrights of the authors. Any permission to reproduce any article, in any format, must be granted by the author. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Editor-in-Chief of Eternal Ink - Mary-Ellen Grisham meginrose@... meg@... Administrative Editor - David Davis - fishercaster@... Devotions Editor - Annettee Budzban - ahrtwrites2u@... Features Editor - Carl Phillips - CarlPhil10@... Eternal Ink Web Site - www.eternal-ink.com ISSN#: 1528-9605 +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Table of Contents: 1) Mary-Ellen's Note 2) Inspirational Story 3) Humor 4) Bits n' Pieces 5) Devotion 6) Prayer Requests and Appeals 7) Feature 8) News and Notes 9) Meditation of the Heart 10) Memorable Words/Closing Words ISSN#: 1528-9605 +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ 1) Mary-Ellen's Note During one of the most troubled periods of my life, I carried a little card in my Bible and had another one in my desk at work. The cards said: God's Wisdom for Purity "Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life." Proverbs 4:23 The back of the cards had this from Norman Vincent Peale's Confidence: "The light of God surrounds me The love of God enfolds me The power of God protects me The presence of God watches over me Wherever I am, God is!" I think that any of us will have to undergo less "trial by fire," less burnishing if we carry the peace and truth of the Holy Spirit with us day by day. If our loves and devotions are guided by the Spirit, then God's waters of life will flow through our heart, soul, mind, and spirit continually. The peace and joy of the Lord will be our daily "companions," and the promises of God will find fruition in our lives. In this lovely season, as the creative powers of God flow through our beautiful world, the fulfillment of summer and the harvest of fall bring great joy to our lives. Let us resolve to enjoy and celebrate each day! Happy summer into fall! +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ 2) Inspirational Story Burnished Gold By Mary-Ellen Grisham "You'd better not stay too long," I whispered through the partly open window to the lone robin still visiting our backyard birdbath. It was late October, and most of the robins were gone. I like to think that the robin understood me but that he determinedly ignored my soft suggestion. I knew he loved the backyard with its shady trees and bushes, the birdbath, and the feeders. He also enjoyed the thick, shaggy spruce out front where he roosted at night. "Some birds get too old to migrate," said my husband, coming into the dining room as he followed my vision out of the double windows. "I don't think he's too old," I replied. "He just likes our yard and doesn't want to leave." I was remembering the information in my bird book that showed southern Illinois in a strip of country where some bird species are doing less migrating. "Perhaps he will stay here for the winter," I suggested thoughtfully. And indeed, I believe our plucky yard guest did stay. Our weather was not severe except in January and February, and I kept bread bits, popcorn kernels, cereals, and crumbs under the skirt of the spreading spruce. The spruce--a habitat for wild rabbits, birds, and the occasional squirrel--offered cozy shelter from the winter snows, and I'm sure the small creatures were grateful for the handouts. Come Spring, the plucky robin was grazing our front yard for worms. I recognized his uniquely placed white feather. His once smooth orange breast was faded in small patches as if the cold and frost had mottled his colors. Looking out the front door screen, I said, "God loves speckled and spotted creatures too." The robin looked up--then took off in a small rhapsody of flight, over the bushes lining our porch and then soared back through the porch itself out to the branches of the sprawling spruce. It was as if he were saying, "Whoopee!--God loves me, and I am so happy here." Throughout the summer, I have seen the "speckled" robin pacing the dappled lawn, harvesting worms, and delightedly splashing his wings in the birdbath. He seems to be socializing with the other birds and enjoying the breezes. The mottled breast does not matter to him. He is content. This is his place, his home. I have recently been reading a book in which the author stresses God's boundless love for man. Even with the dramatic example of the Crucifixion, God's ability to love each of us so completely has sometimes been hard for me to grasp. The concept of God's personal love for each of us seems almost beyond comprehension. Now, I think of the plucky robin...and of my love for all the little creatures of the earth. It is only a rough, somewhat suggestive analogy, but my appreciation of all the small creatures just because they are God's creation is a little like His love for all of us. We are his beloved creatures, His created beings. He love us unconditionally as we are. Yet he gently leads us to be all that we can be, each one unique and special in His sight. And like the robin happily at home in our yard, sometimes we get too comfortable on this lovely earth. We do not want to leave to go to our next place of being. Yet God still waits for us to come happily home to Him. The joy and loveliness of the place He has prepared for each of is beyond our imagining. The flaws and shortcomings, the speckles of sin, and the mottling from our determined and often wayward will fade in the light of His enduring love. At last, we are in the Presence of God, content in our heavenly home, and it is all the joy and belonging we will ever need. (c)2003 Mary-Ellen Grisham meginrose@... +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ 3) Humor MURPHY'S OTHER LAWS Everyone has a photographic memory..........some don't have film. He who laughs last..........thinks slowest. A day without sunshine is like, well,..........night. Change is inevitable, except from a..........vending machine. I just got lost in thought. It was..........unfamiliar territory. Seen it all, done it all...........can't remember most of it. I feel like I'm diagonally parked.......... in a parallel universe. You have the right to remain silent...........anything you say will be misquoted and used against you. I wonder how much deeper the ocean..........would be without sponges. Honk..........if you love peace and quiet. Despite the cost of living, have you noticed how ..........it remains so popular? .....Sermon Fodder and Joke A Day Ministries (Sermon_Fodder-subscribe@...) This humorous bit appeared in Christian Voices 7-28-03 ******************** Trust As a new school principal, Mr. Mitchell was checking over his school on the first day. Passing the stockroom, he was startled to see the door wide open and teachers bustling in and out, carrying off books and supplies in preparation for the arrival of students the next day. The school where he had been assistant principal the previous year had used a check-out system only slightly less elaborate than that at Fort Knox. Cautiously, he asked the school's long time custodian, "Do you think it's wise to keep the stock room unlocked and to let the teachers take things without requisitions?" The custodian looked at him gravely. "We trust them with the children, don't we?" Shared by Teresa S. Bateman tetepinch@... +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ 4) Bits N' Pieces Unfolding the Rose A young, new preacher was walking with an older, more seasoned preacher in the garden one day. Feeling a bit insecure about what God had for him to do, he was asking the older preacher for some advice. The older preacher walked up to a rose bush and handed the young preacher a rosebud and told him to open it without tearing any of the petals. The young preacher looked in disbelief at the older preacher and was trying to figure out what a rosebud could possibly have to do with his wanting to know the will of God for his life and ministry. But, because of his great respect for the older preacher, he proceeded to try and unfold the rosebud while keeping every petal intact . . . It wasn't long before he realized how impossible this was to do. Noticing the young preacher's inability to unfold the rosebud without tearing it, the older preacher began to recite the following poem: It is only a tiny rosebud A flower of God's design; But I cannot unfold the petals With these clumsy hands of mine. The secret of unfolding flowers Is not known to such as I. GOD opens this flower so sweetly, Then, in my hands, they die. If I cannot unfold a rosebud, The flower of God's design, Then how can I have the wisdom To unfold this life of mine? So, I'll trust in Him for leading Each moment of my day. I will look to Him for His guidance Each step of the Pilgrim's way. The pathway that lies before me Only my Heavenly Father knows. I'll trust him to unfold the moments, Just as He unfolds the rose. Shared by Teresa S. Bateman Tetepinch@... +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ 5) Devotion UNBECOMING CLOTHES By Inez B. Norwood In the 11th chapter of John, Jesus had gone to Bethany in answer to a request from Mary and Martha. His arrival is much later than they had desired - in fact 4 days later. Their brother Lazarus had been ill and was now dead. Upon His arrival, Jesus assured the sisters that "he is only asleep." After inquiring the whereabouts of the grave site, He proceeded to go there. At the cemetery, Jesus called Lazarus forth from the grave and commanded that the grave clothes be loosed from him. Hopefully you and I have been baptized (buried in water) and raised to walk a new life, as Romans 6 commands. We died to sin and were raised to walk a new life! Is it possible that we are still bound in some of our "grave clothes?" These unbecoming clothes greatly retard our growth to maturity and do little to attract others to the Christ! I believe we can draw an analogy here to the binding grave clothes of Lazarus. FEAR will bind our growth. We are promised the help of our Heavenly Father, and we can "hold out" by this help. He has promised we shall not be tempted "above that we are able," but will be given a way of escape! (I Cor. 10:13.) We should be patient with ourselves and spend much time in His word. Learning those ways of escape, we say "no" when Satan tries to pull us away! Let us see the beauty to God's spiritual Family in His plan. Our brothers and sisters in the Lord understand because, they too, struggle! Our elder Brother, Jesus the Christ, "walked this way." He knows and understands! We should never fear to entreat Him as a loving father! His arms are ever outstretched to help us. We must learn that our strength is not in ourselves but in Him! Oh "Blessed Assurance!" Heb. 4:15,16 "Perfect love casts out fear." (I John 4:18) We were given the Holy Spirit when we submitted to His commands. GUILT of sins should no longer be a part of our "dress." We are cleansed! ( I Peter 3:21; Titus 3:5,6..) God has said: ..."For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deed I will remember no more."(Heb. 8:12) Our sins have been removed "as far as the east is from the west!" FEAR and GUILT are only two "garments" unbecoming to us as Christians. There are many more, but this awareness is a start toward being well dressed as a Child of God. Let's finish off our Christian wardrobe with a peaceful look and a joyful smile. We may never know the full impact our happy face will have upon others - perhaps only in eternity! A story I found in my files might encourage us to finish off our wardrobe in this way! One day as a woman was crossing a street at London station, an old man stopped her. "Excuse me, ma'am," he said, "but I want to thank you." "Thank me?" she asked. "Yes'm, I used to be a ticket collector, and whenever you went by you always gave me a cheerful smile and a 'good morning!'" I knew that smile must come from inside somewhere. Then one morning, I saw a little Bible in your hand. I bought one, too, and learned about Jesus!" (c)2002 Inez B. Norwood vibn@... +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ 6) Prayer Requests and Appeals I have a letter here from an inmate who is contemplating suicide. He got in a fight when someone called him a bad name and now he is in the hole. Can you send him some material on depression and any other material that you think would help in convincing him that suicide is not the answer. I have just put an envelope full of material in the mail to him and I know it would be encouraging to have more from different sources. Do you have someone you can share his name and address with? The more mail he gets right now the better. His name and address is James Simmons 110352 ISP Indiana Department of Corr. Indiana State Prison PO BOX 41 Michigan City, IN 46361-0041 Thanks a bunch Teresa Bateman Tetepinch@... *************** Let's pray for James Simmons and continue to pray for the situation in Liberia and for the reconstruction of Iraq. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ 7) Feature THE HEAVENS DECLARE By Leslie A. Turvey From the tiniest Hummingbird to the massive Condor, our skies are alive with the sound of God's music. "The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament sheweth his handiwork (Psalm 19:1)." David may have thought twice about writing that statement if a red-breasted alarm clock went off outside his bedroom window at four every morning. If I can catch the robin that wakes me up, I'll rewire his brain so he stays in the nest until at least 7:30. Eight o'clock would be better. Then there's that noisy crow. I'm convinced the robin wakes him up to take over when redbreast's vocal chords give out. It's like the second world war song, "Oh How I Hate To Get Up In The Morning." Older Life Lines readers will remember the lyrics: "One day I'm going to murder the bugler. One day they're going to find him dead. And then I'll get the other pup, the guy who wakes the bugler up, and spend the rest of my life in bed." Seriously, now, David likely had a chorus of birds to wake him up in the morning, and delighted in every chirp and cheep. A missionary in Central America told me she woke up each day to a morning medley of birds running around on the tin roof of their cottage. Imagine, for a moment, what it would be like if no birds sang. Why, we'd be able to hear the roar of traffic going by and of aircraft flying over. We'd even be able to hear the television without cranking it up to ear-splitting volumes. But wait! We can do that now. The difference is it would be nothing but dead sound without the music of our feathered friends. Herring Gulls squawk as they soar over our home. Cardinals and saucy Blue Jays flash their brilliant colours as they fly by, and often land for our enjoyment in a nearby tree. Sparrows cheep, and Crimson Finches sing a song no man could hope to imitate. High in the sky the skree, skree, skree of eagles directs our eyes heavenward, to watch them soar effortlessly on a thermal, as the song from the musical "Oklahoma" says, "Making lazy circles in the sky." The honking of Canada Geese sends us to the nearest window to watch as a graceful V forms, then fades into the distance. Then there's the Redwings, the Killdeer, the Grackles and Starlings, all vying for attention in their own marvelous way. The shining flash of a Goldfinch, the intense orange of a Baltimore Oriole, and the black and red of the Scarlet Tanager all remind us of David's song, "The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament sheweth his handiwork." Imagine again, this time considering what the future holds. The apostle Paul wrote, "No one has seen, nor heard, nor even imagined what God has prepared for those who love him (1 Corinthians 2:9). "But the prophet Isaiah gives us a glimpse of it. He wrote, "The wolf will live with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the baby goat, and a little child shall lead the calf and the young lion and the fatling together. The cow and the bear shall feed, their young ones will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox (Isaiah 11:6-7 Author's Translation)." And we might add, the most ravenous hawk will be gentle as a tiny Junco. That's all ahead of us in the world tomorrow, yet even today we can sing with David, "The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament sheweth his handiwork." (c)2003 Leslie A. Turvey laturvey@... From Life Lines, August 9, 2003 +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ 8) News and Notes Don't forget to visit the new Eternal Ink website: www.eternal-ink.com The forums have been getting started with discussion and feedback, and the news sections are always informative. It only takes a few minutes to register yourself and have access to all the sections and privileges! *************** The Harvest Home Poetry Contest is inviting all poets to submit poetry on Christian topics. The deadline is November 1, 2003, and each poet should submit no more than three poems, no longer than 40 lines each. There will be book and publication awards for the top winners and publication for the Honorable Mention selections. Send poetry entries to Mary-Ellen Grisham: meginrose@... Please send your entries in the body of an email, not as attachments. Include your byline after the title, and your name, email, and snail mail address at the end of your poem. Publication of best entries will be in Eternal Ink and at the new Eternal Ink website. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ 9) Meditation of the Heart RIVER OF LIFE By Melva Cooper "And the angel showed me a pure river with the water of life, clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God......"Rev. 22:1 (NLT) Fall, in all its glorious opulence, is what we experienced as we drove through the mountains of Northern California. The orange and gold of the aspens and maples were breathtaking. We took scenic drives through forests of evergreens. There, our eyes feasted on the beauty of clear lakes high on the mountains, waterfalls, cliffs and unusual rock formations. Animals of the land crossed our paths without fear of harm. Snow from past winters glistened high upon the mountains. Only a Holy, Living, God that we love and serve could create such a mass profusion of beauty. And then we found ourselves walking on the shores of beautiful Lake Tahoe. Lake Tahoe calls two states its home because the state lines run through the middle of the lake. Magnificent Sierra Mountains surrounded the entire area. I sensed God's presence on the shoreline of that calm, emerald lake. The fall air was crisp and cool and the sun was shining brightly. It was easy to bask in the grandeur of it all! God spoke gently to my spirit as I gazed across the splendor of that lovely Lake Tahoe. Nothing, He whispered softly, will compare to the clear, crystal river of life, flowing from the throne of God. That day I soaked up the earthly magnificence all around me. In Heaven, we will know the fullness of life with God, and the everlasting blessings that come when we trust Jesus and allow Him to satisfy our spiritual thirst. (c)2003 Melva Cooper Jmelva@... +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ 10) Memorable Words/Closing Words "How lovely is thy dwelling place, O Lord of hosts! My soul longs, yea, faints for the courts of the Lord: My heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God. Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, at thy altars, O lord of hosts, my King and my God. Blessed are those who dwell in thy house, Ever singing thy praise! Selah" Psalms 84: 1-4 Revised Standard Version Selah, so be it, yes, may our hearts be the dwelling place of the "living God." May the waters of life flow through us in blessing and praise! If you have found inspiration from this edition of Eternal Ink, we hope that you will share a copy with a friend. To subscribe to Eternal Ink, send a blank email to eternal_ink-subscribe@... To unsubscribe, send a blank email to eternal_ink-unsubscribe@... Until our next issue, may God bless you richly, Mary-Ellen. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ WE ARE PROUD TO BE A MEMBER OF THE ARKWEBS TEAM OF MINISTRIES.