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WIT & WISDOM - January 28, 1999
Associate yourself with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for 'tis better to be alone than in bad company. - George Washington 
~~~~~~~ SPECIAL THOUGHTS:
By Louise Gouge, Moody Mag. Feb. 1993
Why was my burden so heavy? I slammed the bedroom door and leaned against it. Is there no rest from this life? I wondered. I stumbled to my bed and dropped onto it, pressing my pillow around my ears to shut out the noise of my existence. "Oh, God, I cried, let me sleep. Let me sleep forever and never wake up!" With a deep sob, I tried to will myself into oblivion, then welcomed the blackness that came over me . . . .
Light surrounded me as I regained consciousness. I focused on its source: the figure, a man standing before a cross.
"My child," the person asked, "why did you want to come to Me before I am ready to call you?"
"Lord, I'm sorry. It's just that . . . I can't go on. You see how hard it is for me. Look at this awful burden on my back. I simply can't carry it anymore."
"But haven't I told you to cast all of your burden upon Me, because I care for you? My yoke is easy, and My burden is light."
"I knew You would say that. But why does mine have to be so heavy?"
"My child, everyone in the world has a burden. Perhaps you would like to try a different one?"
"I can do that?!?"
He pointed to several burdens lying at His feet. "You may try any of these." All of them seemed to be of equal size, but each was labeled with a name.
"There's Joan's," I said. Joan was married to a wealthy businessman.
he lived in a sprawling estate and dressed her three daughters in the prettiest designer clothes. Sometimes she drove me to church in her Cadillac when my car was broken. Let me try that one. How difficult could her burden be? The Lord removed my burden and placed Joan's on my shoulder. I sank to my knees beneath its weight.
"Take it off!" I said. "What makes it so heavy?"
"Look inside," said the Lord.
I untied the straps and opened the top. Inside was a figure of her Mother-in-law, and when I lifted it out, it began to speak. "Joan, you'll never be good enough for my son, it began. He never should have married you. You're a terrible mother to my grandchildren . . . ."
I quickly placed the figure back in the pack and withdrew another. It was Donna, Joan's youngest daughter. Her head was bandaged from the surgery that had failed to solve her epilepsy.
A third figure was Joan's brother. Addicted to drugs, he had been convicted of killing a police officer. "I see why her burden is so heavy, Lord, but she's always smiling and helping others. I didn't realize . . . ."
"Would you like to try another?" He asked quietly. I tested several.
Paula's felt heavy. She was raising four small boys without a father.
Debra's did too: a childhood of sexual abuse and a marriage of emotional abuse.
Then I came to Ruth's burden, I didn't even try. I knew that inside I would find arthritis, old age, a demanding full-time job and a beloved husband in a nursing home.
"They're all too heavy, Lord," I said, "give me back my own."
As I lifted the familiar load once again it seemed much lighter than the others.
"Let's look inside," He said.
I turned away, holding it close. "That's not a good idea," I said.
"Why?" "There's a lot of junk in there."
"Let me see!"
The gentle thunder of His voice compelled me. I opened my burden.
He pulled out a brick. "Tell Me about this one."
"Lord, you know it's money. I know we don't suffer like people in some countries or even the homeless here in America, but we have no insurance, and when the kids get sick, we can't always take them to the doctor. They've never been to a dentist, and I'm tired of dressing them in hand-me-downs."
"My child, I will supply all of your needs..... and your children's. I've given them healthy bodies. I will teach them that expensive clothing doesn't make a person valuable in My sight."
Then He lifted out the figure of a small boy. "And this?" He asked. "Andrew . . . I hung my head," ashamed to call my son a burden. "But Lord, he's hyperactive. He's not quiet like the other two. He makes me so tired. He's always getting hurt, and someone is bound to think I abuse him. I yell at him all the time. Someday, I may really hurt him?" "My child," He said, "if you trust Me, I will renew your strength. If you allow Me to fill you with My Spirit, I will give you patience."
Then He took some pebbles from my burden. "Yes, Lord, I said with a sigh, those are small. But they're important. I hate my hair. It's thin and I can't make it look nice. I can't afford to go to the beauty shop. I'm overweight, and I can't stay on a diet. I hate all my clothes. I hate the way I look!"
"My child, people look at your outward appearance, but I look at your heart. By My Spirit, you can gain self-control to lose weight, but your beauty should not come from outward appearance. Instead, it should come from your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is a great worth in My sight."
My burden now seemed lighter than before. "I guess I can handle it now, I said."
"There is more," He said. "Hand me that last brick."
"Oh, you don't have to take that. I can handle it."
"My child, give it to Me." Again, His voice compelled me. He reached out his hand, and for the first time I saw the ugly world.
"But Lord, this brick is so awful, so nasty, so . . . . Lord! What happened to your hands? They're so scarred." No longer focused on my burden, I looked for the first time into His face. In His brow were ragged scars - as though someone had pressed thorns into His flesh.
"Lord," I whispered, "what happened to You?"
His loving eyes reached into my soul. "My child, you know. Hand me the brick. It belongs to Me. I bought it."
"With My blood."
"But why, Lord?"
"Because I have loved you with an everlasting Love. Give it to Me."
I placed the filthy brick into His wounded palm. It contained all the dirt and evil of my life: my pride, my selfishness, the depression that constantly tormented me.
He turned to the cross and hurled my brick into the pool of blood at its base. It hardly made a ripple. "Now my child, you need to go back. I will be with you always. When you are troubled, call to Me and I will help you and show you things you cannot imagine now."
"Yes Lord, I will call on You." I reached to pick up my burden.
"You may leave that here if you wish. You see all these burdens?
They are the ones that others have left at My feet. Joan's, Paula's, Debra's, Ruth's . . . When you leave your burden here, I carry it with you. Remember, My yoke is easy and My burden is light."
As I placed my burden with Him, the light began to fade. Yet I heard Him whisper, "I will never leave you . . . nor forsake you."
A peace flooded my soul.
From: E-Meditations Mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org David Burns
E-Meditations is a good daily devotional I have been receiving for a few months. This story was particulary good. If you care to subscribe, you can at the above address. - Dave Aufrance 
~~~~~~~ THIS & THAT:
OUT OF THE MOUTHS OF CHILDREN: Part 2 of 2
My cousin, visiting from Bristol, England, has quite a British accent. She attended church with us, and we were all invited to stay for lunch. Also at lunch was Timmy, 5-year-old grandson of the host.
Timmy stuck close to the English visitor, watching her closely and hanging on to her every word.
As we were leaving we heard him ask his grandmother, "Grandmother, is that lady speaking in tongues?" - Joan Poole
It was my privilege to sit beside a lively, friendly Samantha at a recent church potluck. When I asked her how old she was, she said, "Four. How old are you?"
When I told her that I was 75, she scrutinized my face several silent seconds, then asked, "Did you start from a baby?" - Martha McCormick
"Thank you, Jesus, for the candy soup." - Kathy Wickliff, then 3-years-old, after tasting hot chocolate for the first time
My grandson and I had returned from a morning in the woods, where we studied wildlife, trees, plants, and especially ants. Back at home we had his favorite lunch - peanut butter sandwiches, milk, and home-made applesauce.
As he ate he kept staring at me and finally asked, "Nana, are you getting old? Will you die soon?"
"Yes," I said, "but not too soon. You'll probably be out of college, and when Jesus comes again I'll have eternal life and be young forever!"
"Nana," he said, "if Jesus will make you younger, do you think He'll make me 5 again? ‘Cuz I'm having an awfully good time now."
By Helen Dorothy Charleroy
~~~~~~~ KEEP SMILING:
A woman reported the disappearance of her husband to the police. The officer in charge looked at the photograph she handed him, questioned her, and then asked if she wished to give her husband any message if they found him. "Yes," she replied readily. "Tell him Mother didn't come after all." 
You may know how the layman Edward Kimball gathered the nerve to witness and win the soul of a young shoe salesman named D.L. Moody to Christ. D.L. Moody went on to become one of the greatest evangelists in his world. But, do you know THE REST OF THE STORY?
D.L. Moody went to England and worked a profound change in the ministry of F.B. Meyer. F.B. Meyer, with his new evangelistic fervor, influenced J. Wilbur Chapman. Chapman helped in the ministry of converted baseball player Billy Sunday, who had a profound impact upon Mordacai Ham.
Mordacai Ham, knew he had a calling from God. God had continually impressed upon him that his ministry would have an impact on the world. As he approached the end of his career, he thought that promise had been unfulfilled. He considering retiring, but felt the call to go on one last revival circuit. While holding a revival in North Carolina, Mordacai Ham led BILLY GRAHAM to Christ.
And the man who started it all was a layman, Edward Kimball, who took seriously Christ's commission to be a witness in his world.
Source: Sermon Fodder, Sermon_Fodderemail@example.com via http://www.witandwisdom.org
 (Charles Powell via E-zine: DAILYQUOTE c1999 http://www.dailycast.com)
 (Greta and E-zine: MONDAY FODDER Mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org)
 (E-zine: DAILY SMILE http://www.webpan.com/lolstaff/jokeaday.htm)