Which Shall It Be?
A rich man who had no children proposed to his poor relatives who had seven,
to take one of them; and promised, if the parents would consent,
that he would give them property enough to make themselves
and their other six children comfortable for life.
Which shall it be? Which shall it be?
I looked at John; John looked at me,
And when I found that I must speak,
My voice seemed strangely low and weak:
“Tell me again what Robert said”;
And then I, listening, bent my head.
This is his letter: “I will give
A house and land while you shall live,
If in return, from out your seven,
One child to me for aye is given.”
I looked at John’s old garments worn;
I thought of all that he had borne
Of poverty, and work, and care,
Which I, though willing, could not share;
I thought of seven mouths to feed,
Of seven little children’s need,
And then of this. “Come, John,” said I,
“We’ll choose among them as they lie
Asleep.” So walking hand in hand,
Dear John and I surveyed our band:
First to the cradle lightly stepped,
Where Lillian, the baby, slept.
Softly the father stopped to lay
His rough hand down in a loving way,
When dream or whisper made her stir,
And huskily he said, “Not her.”
We stooped beside the next bed
And one long ray of lamplight shed
Across the boyish faces there,
In sleep so beautiful and fair.
I saw on James’ rough, red cheek
A tear undried. Ere John could speak
“He’s but a baby, too,” said I,
And kissed him as we hurried by.
Pale, patient Robbie’s angel face
Still in his sleep bore suffering’s trace:
“No, not for a thousand crowns, not him,”
He whispered, while our eyes were dim.
Poor Dick, Bad Dick, our wayward son
— Turbulent, restless, idle one—
Could he be spared? Nay, He who gave
Bade us befriend him to the grave;
Only a mother’s heart could be
Patient enough for such as he:
“And so,” said John, “I would not dare
To take him from her bedside prayer.”
Then stole we softly up above,
And knelt by Mary, child of love,
“Perhaps for her ‘twould better be,”
I said to Joim. Quite silently
He lifted up a curl that lay
Across her cheek in a willful way,
And shook his head: “Nay, love, not thee.”
The while my heart beat audibly.
Only one more, our eldest lad;
Trusty and truthful, good and glad;
So like his father. “No, John, no,
I cannot, will not let him go.”
And so we wrote, in a courteous way,
We could not give one child away;
And afterward, toil lighter seemed,
-- Author Unknown
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None of us knows if we will even be here 12 months from now.
But that thought should not alarm us in any way.
To all our fears the Lord says quite simply: “Fear not.”
Will things get worse? Fear not.
Will I lose my health? Fear not.
Will I get cancer? Fear not.
Will I keep my job? Fear not.
Will my loved ones struggle? Fear not.
Will my investments collapse? Fear not.
Will I run out of money this year? Fear not.
Will tragedy strike in my family? Fear not.
Will my children disappoint me? Fear not.
Will others ridicule my faith? Fear not.
Will my plans come to nothing? Fear not.
Will my dreams turn to ashes? Fear not.
Will I face death this year? Fear not.
Any of those things might happen to us; indeed, some of them are bound to happen to us eventually.
But the word of the Lord remains.
Fear not. The Lord himself is with us today and he will be with us tomorrow.
We of all people ought to be optimistic.
We have a great future because we have a great God. So chin up, child of God.
Take your troubles, wrap them up, and give them all to the Lord.
We’ll have our share of hard times, but overriding it all is the promise of God who said,
“I will never leave you or forsake you.”
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I love the story about a cobbler, a cobbler who fixes shoes, and a king who would often wander through
his little kingdom searching for people he could relate to.
He concealed his identity.
He disguised who he really was.
One night as he was going through the village, passing all the little houses, he passed one house
where there was a man sitting at a table singing in a rather loud voice.
He was singing so loudly that it was almost embarrassing in its volume.
It was then that the cobbler turned to the window to see the king, whom he doesn’t recognize
because the king is disguised.
And the king said to him something like this: "Is a guest welcome here?"
And the cobbler said, "A guest is a gift of God! Of course, you are welcome. Come on in. Eat with me."
And the king and the cobbler sat down at the little table and they began to eat together.
As they were enjoying the meal, the king finally said to the cobbler, "What do you do for a trade?"
So far he hasn’t asked.
The cobbler confesses that he is a cobbler.
And the king said, "Where did you get the meal?"
He said, "Well, I fix shoes and people give me pennies.
I take my whole day’s wages into the market place and I buy bread.
I spend all that I have and buy my meal for the night. And this is it! Let us eat."
And the king said, "You spend all? What if tomorrow you cannot mend shoes? What will you do then?"
The cobbler said, "Ah, tomorrow is in the hands of God, my friend.
He will be faithful and we will praise him together."
The next night, the king returns back to the same village.
As he goes into the village again he goes right back to the same little cobbler.
And this night he is bound to test the cobbler out, so early in the morning he has passed an edict
making it illegal to repair shoes without a permit.
But when he gets back to the cobbler’s house that night, he finds him singing robustly
just as he usually does.
And as he sings, the kings interrupts him and says, "What about the edict?
How did you get the money to buy your meal?"
The cobbler said, "Well, when I heard our gracious king’s edict, that I could no longer repair shoes,
I simply carried water from the well. People gave me pennies at their home.
I spent them all and bought this meal. Come, let us eat!"
The king said, "You spent all? What if tomorrow you cannot spend and you cannot carry water,
what will you do then?"
The cobbler, turned water bearer, said, "Well, tomorrow is in the hands of God.
He will provide and I will praise him day by day."
The next night the king passed another edict making it illegal for one person to carry water for another.
When he came to the cobbler’s, turned water bearer’s house, he found him singing and eating as usual.
And then he said to the cobbler, "Where did you get the money for the meal tonight?
The cobbler said, "When I heard the king’s gracious edict making it illegal for one person to draw water
for another, I simply began to chop wood.
When I had a bundle I sold it from house to house. I spent the money.
Spent it all and here we are. A meal! Come let us eat."
The cobbler and the king sat down again and the king said,
"But what if tomorrow you cannot chop wood? What will you do then?"
The cobbler said, "Ah! Tomorrow is in the hands of God, my friend.
He will provide and we will praise him day by day."
The king could think of no more logical way to test the poor cobbler again, so the next day
he passed an edict making it mandatory that all woodcutters be inducted automatically
into the king’s army.
The cobbler showed up at the palace and began to train.
He trained all day long in military matters.
Finally when night time came, he was ready to go home.
They gave him no money and he had nothing to buy his evening meal with.
But they did allow him to keep his sword.
And so he took the sword home and on the way home he stopped at a pawn shop,
sold the blade and bought his evening meal.
He fashioned another blade out of wood, hooked onto the hilt and stuck it back in his scabbard.
That night when the king came and found him singing, the king was puzzled as to where
he had gotten the meal.
The cobbler, turned wood cutter, turned soldier, said, "Well, I pawned the blade."
The king said, "Ah! That was foolish. What if tomorrow there is a sword inspection?"
You know the reply by now. The cobbler, turned wood cutter, turned soldier, said,
"Tomorrow is in the hands of God, my friend. He will provide and I will praise him day by day."
The next day as he went for training in the army, they gave him a prisoner and told him
that he was to serve as the executioner for the day.
Now his mind is racing.
It seems he can hardly stand the pressure that is put upon him because they bring him a prisoner
who kneels before him.
The king tells him, "You are to be the executioner. You are to execute this man before you."
The cobbler protests. He said, "I have always been a gentle man.
I have never hurt another soul in my life."
The king said, "Ah! But you are the executioner today."
The poor cobbler, turned wood cutter, turned soldier, didn’t know what to do
and he raised his hand in the air and said,
"Oh, Lord God, if this man before me is guilty, may my arm be swift and my sword be made of steel.
But if he is innocent, let my hand be swift and my sword be made of wood."
He drew the sword from the scabbard and all the people were amazed to see that it was wood.
The king was amazed at how wise he had been at the occasion and came up to him and told him
at last who he really was.
Then he said to the cobbler, "Listen to me." he said. "You are to come from now on
and eat at my palace. What do you say to that?"
The cobbler, turned wood cutter, turned soldier, said, "I’d say tomorrow is in the hands of God, my friend.
He will provide and we will praise him day by day."
I am confident that people really want to know and find out about how to have a confident,
praising life where God lives on the inside of them and they live in terms of the depths of all God is.
And out of this depth comes a song.
-- Copied from a sermon by Charles Lowery
Who invented the telegraph?
God used Samuel F. B. Morse.
One day Samuel seemed to be at a dead end in his electronic experiments.
Whatever he tried, didn't work.
Do you know what he did?
He says in his own words: "I prayed for more light".
God gave this humble inventor the answer to his electrical problems.
God gave that answer to that man.
It is as if God wanted the world to have the telegraph at that specific time: 1844.
Morse later said: "That's why I never felt I deserved the honors that came to me because of the invention
associated with my name.
I had made a valuable application of the use of electrical power, but it was all through God's help.
It wasn't because I was superior to other scientists."
And then, Samuel Morse makes this statement: "When the Lord wanted to bestow this gift on mankind.
He had to use someone. I'm just grateful He chose to reveal it to me."
God wanted the world to have the gift in 1844.
Because in 19844, something was happening.
The end of the world was predicted by some.
No wonder the inventor's first message over the telegraph was: "What hath God wrought!"
God invented the telegraph. Samuel Morse thanked God.
He gave all the credit to God.
He thanked God for using his mind to bring a technical blessing to the world.
We ought to have that type of a spirit of thanks giving.
Giving the credit to God.
Being thankful to God.
Not taking the credit ourselves.
What do you think really matters in life?
Remember the story about the up-and-coming entrepreneur who was opening the door
of his sleek new Jaguar when a truck roared by, hit it, and ripped it off its hinges.
The police arrived at the scene quickly and found the man jumping up and down in the street.
He was shrieking to anyone who would listen about the horrible damage done to his precious automobile.
"You wheeler-dealers are all so materialistic!" began the investigating officer, shaking his head in bewilderment.
"You make me sick."
"What's your problem?" the driver snapped.
"You're so worried about your precious Jag," said the cop, "that you appear not to have noticed
that your left arm was ripped off!"
"Oh, no!" bellowed the guy as he looked down at the grisly stump where his arm had been a few minutes before.
"Where's my Rolex?"
When someone is told that he or she has cancer and only a few months to live,
that person can tell you what really matters.
You will think about the people who are most important to you.
You will think about what happens after you have taken your last breath.
Where will you spend eternity?
We must major on the things that really matter!
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