September 21, 2020

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Four boys in a house on fire; that's what happened to my friend's nephews. Thankfully, the Fire Department got the call early and they were there in minutes. It was clear there was no way they could go into that blaze to bring the boys out. But all four of them were huddled around a second floor window, which meant they could be saved. So, the firefighters quickly prepared to catch the boys. They yelled to them to jump into the waiting net below. The oldest boy jumped; he was safe. A second boy, then a third brother jumped to their rescue below. Their ten-year-old brother was the last one left at the upstairs window. He hesitated. Again and again the firefighters were begging him to jump. Every time, he refused..every time. Sadly, it cost him his life.

September 17, 2020

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It might happen to a community once in a lifetime, or maybe even just once in a century. But sometimes there are those disasters that define and redefine a town for years to come. The Johnstown, PA, flood would be one of the most famous historic examples. You've probably never heard of the flood that swept into my wife's hometown years ago, but it was a major defining event for that town. She was a teenager when, with just a brief warning from upstream, the local creek burst out of its banks into this massive flash flood. While there was major damage done to the community, thankfully, only a few lives were lost. They actually were some older folks who lived on the south side of town. Rescuers actually came by their creek-side house before that wall of water hit. They offered them a place in the lifeboat. They refused to get in. They said, "Hey, we've lived here a long time, we've seen a lot. We've been fine this far. We'll be fine this time." They weren't. They died in that flood.

September 15, 2020

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When you go to a church potluck dinner, you never know what kind of luck you're going to have in your pot. Friends of ours were at one of those dinners with their granddaughter, and someone there had baked what they called a Jesus cake. That raises the obvious question, "What is a Jesus cake?" They were told that someone had actually baked a very small plastic baby toy into the cake, and they called it Baby Jesus. (Okay, do not try this at home.) I'm just telling you what happened. If anyone found the baby in their piece of cake, they would win a prize. Well, crazy, but our friends' granddaughter became obsessed with finding the baby - to the point of downing five pieces of cake - the ultimate "sugar high." She was desperately trying to find what she thought was baby Jesus, and she did. And when she found the baby, the little girl said, "Finding Baby Jesus changes everything."

September 11, 2020

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He's a noted surgeon who wants to make a difference in the world. So once a year, he dedicates a month to going to Central America to do volunteer medical work. Well, I heard on the news he was in an emergency medical clinic one year performing urgent surgery on a young boy in a really remote location. The boy started losing blood faster than expected, and he clearly needed blood. The problem was he had a rare blood type that only 2% of the population carries. And this village clinic certainly didn't have anything that rare. In that critical moment, the doctor suddenly put down his scalpel and went to another room - where he gave blood. He, too, had that rare blood. The boy got the blood he needed, the surgeon returned to finish the operation, and that boy came through just fine.

September 7, 2020

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Jim was spending his first night as a college student. As he began to fall asleep in his dorm room, he was suddenly awakened by a frightening sound. A train whistle blew, and the train was coming right through his room. Well, at least that's how it sounded to this particular college student. It turned out that the railroad tracks were right next to his dorm. That's probably why they put freshmen there, right? Well, Jim found it pretty challenging to slip into la-la land for the night when it sounded like a train was roaring through his room. I said, "But I'll bet you eventually got used to it, didn't you?" He said, "Well, after a while, I didn't even notice the train anymore!"

September 4, 2020

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I'll never forget the day that our daughter volunteered to clean the house. Oh, it was a mess! No, no, it wasn't our house. It was the house her boyfriend and some other guys were getting ready to move into. Now the word "mess" might be an understatement. Four college guys had lived there before and they were guys who did a lot of partying and very little cleaning. So there were layers of dirt, there was trash everywhere, and there were holes in the walls. Officials from Washington were actually considering having it declared an official disaster area. Well, I saw our daughter at the end of the long day she had put in trying to clean this pigpen for the man she loved and ultimately married. She was beat, she was all sweaty, but she was satisfied. I said, "What kept you going all those hours, Honey?" She said, "Dad, it was really depressing to look at. But I guess I kept seeing what it could be."

September 3, 2020

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A friend of mine was commenting on what was then some recent news stories, and there was something very shocking and very violent and seemingly unexplainable that had happened within a family. It was an ugly story really. He concluded with a comment that was based on an old country song he knew, "No one knows what goes on behind closed doors." Actually, that's not true.

August 27, 2020

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The party had been going just fine until a doctor who was there got very offended by something another guest said. He was in a rage! He stormed out and slammed the door behind him. Someone said, "At last he's gone." The host corrected him. "No, he's not gone. That's a closet."

August 25, 2020

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It was one very hot day, and my granddaughter and I were watching some horses. One-by-one they made their way to the little pond to take in some more water. Now, this big old grey horse decided drinking wasn't enough. He didn't just get a little of the pond in him, he got into the pond and lay down in the water. He splashed around a little, stayed there for a while and finally pulled his big old body out of the water. Relating what she saw to her world, my granddaughter said, "He's taking a bath!" If that was his intention, I had bad news for that horse. He got out of that murky water with his light gray coat covered with dirt! So much for getting clean!

August 21, 2020

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I'm kind of a strange tourist. When I was in Halifax, Nova Scotia, I asked to be taken to a graveyard that overlooks the ocean. There, I walked through rows of these grave markers that have no name but the same date - April 15, 1912. That's the night the Titanic sank, and those are some of its unidentified victims. Not too long ago, the Titanic showed up again on the evening news. Lillian Asplund, the last American survivor of the sinking of the Titanic, died at age 99. It's believed that there might have been just two survivors left at that point, both in England. Those names and the name of every passenger are listed on a big wall at the end of an exhibit I attended called the Titanic Artifacts Exhibit. I got to experience that exhibit as it toured America's great museums years ago. The list indicated whether the person was a first, second, or third class passenger, or a crewman. But no matter what their class, every one of those 2,200 people appeared on one of two lists.

            

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