Volume Two 

Story One . . . The Rescuer

Story Two . . . The Secret of Contentment

Story Three . . . He Took Your Place

Story Four . . . What is Important to You

Story Five . . . The Stranger


Volume One             Volume Three

Thanks so much to everyone who contributed to these pages.

... Story One ...

- The Rescuer -

A little girl whose parents had died, lived with her grandmother and
slept in an upstairs bedroom.  One night there was a fire in the house
and the grandmother perished while trying to rescue the child. The fire
spread quickly, and the first floor was engulfed in flames.

Neighbors called the fire department, then stood helplessly by, unable
to enter the house as flames blocked all the entrances. The little girl
appeared at an upstairs window, crying for help, just as word spread
among the crowd that firefighters would be delayed a few minutes
because they were all at another fire.

Suddenly, a man appeared with a ladder, put it up against the side of
the house and disappeared inside. When he reappeared, he had the
little girl in his arms. He delivered the child to the waiting arms below,
then disappeared into the night.

An investigation revealed the child had no living relatives. Weeks later
a meeting was held in the town hall to determine who would take the
child into their home and bring her up.

A teacher said she would raise the child. She pointed out she could ensure
a good education. A farmer offered an upbringing on his farm. He pointed
out that living on a farm was healthy and satisfying. Others spoke, giving
their reasons why it was to the child's advantage to live with them.

Finally, the town's richest resident arose and said, "I can give this child
all the advantages that you have mentioned here, plus money and every
thing money can buy."

Through all this, the child remained silent, eyes cast down.

"Does anyone else want to speak?" asked the meeting chairman.  A man
came forward from the back of the hall. His gait was slow and he seemed
in pain. When he got to the front of the room, he stood directly before the
little girl and held out his arms. The crowd gasped. His hands and arms
were terribly scarred.

The child cried out, "This is the man who rescued me!" With a leap, she
threw her arms around the man's neck, holding on for dear life, just as
she had that fateful night. She buried her face on his shoulder and
sobbed for a few moments. Then she looked up and smiled at him.

"This meeting is adjourned," said the chairman.

- author unknown -

... Story Two ...

- The Secret of Contentment -

A woman named Frances once knew a young person at church named
  Debbie always seemed effervescent and happy, although
Frances knew she
had faced struggles in her life. 

Her long-awaited marriage had quickly ended in divorce.  She had
struggled to get a grip on her single life.  She hadn't chosen it, but she
decided she would live it with utmost enjoyment and satisfaction. 

Debbie was active in Sunday school, in the choir, as a leader of the
junior high girls' group, and in the church renewal

Frances enjoyed knowing Debbie. Debbie's whole face seemed to smile
and she
always greeted Frances with a hug.  One day she asked Debbie,
"How is it that you are always so happy - you have so much energy, and
you never seem to get down?"  

With her eyes smiling, Debbie said, "I know the secret!"  "What secret is
that? What are you talking about?" Frances asked.  Debbie replied,
tell you all
about it, but you have to promise to share the 'secret' with
others."  Frances agreed, "Okay, now what is it?"  "The secret is this:
I have learned there is little I can do in my life that will make me truly
happy.  I must depend on God to make me happy and meet my needs.
When a need arises in my life, I have to trust God to supply according to
HIS riches.  I have learned most of the time I don't need half of what I
think I do.  HE has never let me down.  Since I learned that secret - I am happy."   

Frances' first thought was, that's too simple!  But upon reflecting over
her own life she recalled how she thought a bigger house would make
her happy - but it didn't!  She thought a better-paying job would make
her happy-but it hadn't. When did she realize her greatest happiness?
Sitting on the floor with her grandchildren, eating pizza and watching
a movie-a simple gift from God.   

"I have learned how to get along happily whether I have much or little.
I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything.  I have learned
the secret of contentment in every situation, whether it be a full stomach
or hunger, plenty or want; for there is nothing I can't do with the help of
my Savior, who gives me the strength and power to do it."
Philippians 4:11-13

- author unknown -

... Story Three ...

- He Took Your Place -

One day, a man went to visit a church.  He arrived early, parked his car,
and got out.  Another car pulled up near him, and the driver told him, "I
always park there.  You took my place!"  The visitor went inside for Sunday School, found an empty seat, and sat down.  A young lady from the church approached him and stated, "That's my seat!  You took my place!  " The
visitor was somewhat distressed by this rude welcome, but said nothing.  

After Sunday School, the visitor went into the church sanctuary and sat
down. Another member walked up to him and said, "That's where I always
sit.  You took my place!  " The visitor was even more troubled by this
treatment, but still said nothing.  Later, as the congregation was praying
for the Lord to dwell among them, the visitor stood, and his appearance
began to change.  Horrible scars became visible on his hands and on his
sandaled feet.  Someone from the congregation noticed him and called
out, "What happened to you?

"The visitor replied, "I took your place."

- author unknown -

... Story Four ...

- What is Important to You -

A Native American and his friend were in downtown New York City,
walking near Times Square in Manhattan.  It was during the noon lunch
hour and the streets were filled with people.  Cars were honking their
horns, taxicabs were squealing around corners, sirens were wailing,
and the sounds of the city were almost deafening.  Suddenly, the Native
American said, "I hear a cricket."  His friend said, "What?  You must be
crazy.  You couldn't possibly hear a cricket in all of this noise!"  "No, I'm
sure of it," the Native American said, "I heard a cricket."  "That's crazy,"
said the friend.

The Native American listened carefully for a moment, and then walked
across the street to a big cement planter where some shrubs were growing.
He looked into the bushes, beneath the branches, and sure enough, he
located a small cricket.  His friend was utterly amazed.  "That's incredible,"
said his friend.  "You must have superhuman ears!"  "No," said the Native American.  "My ears are no different from yours.  It all depends on what
you're listening for."  "But that can't be!" said the friend.  "I could never
hear a cricket in this noise."  "Yes, it's true," came the reply.  "It depends
on what is really important to you.  Here, let me show you."  He reached
into his pocket, pulled out a few coins, and discreetly dropped them on the sidewalk.  And then, with the noise of the crowded street still blaring in
their ears, they noticed every head within twenty feet turned and look to
see if the money that tinkled on the pavement was theirs.  "See what I
mean?" asked the Native American.  "It all depends on what's important
to you."  

What's important to you?  What do you listen for?  Some people say
that there is no God, and that He never speaks to us anymore.  But perhaps
they can't see or hear Him because they aren't listening for Him.  They are
living for themselves, not for God.  If you are in tune with God, you will be
able to notice Him at work, in your life and in the world.  And you'll be able
to hear Him when He speaks. 
"Be still and know that I am God." (Psalm 46:10)

- author unknown -

... Story Five ...

- The Stranger -

A few months before I was born, my dad met a stranger who was new to
our small Tennessee town.  From the beginning Dad was fascinated with
this enchanting newcomer, and soon invited him to live with our family.

The stranger was quickly accepted and was around to welcome me into
the world a few months later.  As I grew up I never questioned his place
in our family.  In my young mind, each member had a special niche.  My
brother, Bill, five years my senior, was my example.  Fran, my younger
sister, gave me an opportunity to play "big brother" and develop the art of teasing.  My parents were complementary instructors.  Mom taught me to
love the Word of God, and Dad taught me to obey it.  But the stranger was
our storyteller.  He could weave the most fascinating tales. 

Adventures, mysteries, and comedies were daily conversations.  He could
hold our whole family spellbound for hours each evening.  If I wanted to
know about politics, history, or science, he knew it all.  He knew about
the past, understood the present, and seemingly could predict the future.
The pictures he could draw were so life-like that I would often laugh or
cry as I watched. 

He was like a friend to the whole family.  He took Dad, Bill and me to our
first major league baseball game.  He was always encouraging us to see
the movies and he even made arrangements to introduce us to several
movie stars. 

My brother and I were deeply impressed by John Wayne in particular.
The stranger was an incessant talker Dad didn't seem to mind, but
sometimes Mom would quietly get up while the rest of us were enthralled
with one of his stories of faraway places, go to her room - read her Bible
and pray. 

I wonder now if she ever prayed that the stranger would leave.  You see,
my Dad ruled our household with certain moral convictions.  But this
stranger never felt obligated to honor them.  Profanity, for example, was
not allowed in our house, at least not from us, our friends, or the adults.   

Our longtime visitor, however, used occasional four letter words that
burned my ears and made Dad squirm.  To my knowledge the stranger
was never confronted.  My Dad was a teetotaler who didn't permit alcohol
in his home, not even for cooking.  But the stranger felt like we needed
exposure and enlightened us to other ways of life.  He offered us beer
and other alcoholic beverages, often.  He made cigarettes look tasty,
cigars manly, and pipes distinguished. 

He talked freely (probably much too freely) about sex.  His comments
were sometimes blatant, sometimes suggestive, and generally embarrassing.
I know now that my early concepts of the man/woman relationship were influenced by the stranger.  As I look back, I believe it was the grace of
God that the stranger did not influence us more.  

Time after time he opposed the values of my parents.  Yet, he was seldom rebuked and never asked to leave.  More than thirty years have passed
since the stranger moved in with the young family on Parkside Avenue.
He is not nearly so intriguing to my Dad as he was in those early years.
But if I were to walk into my parents' den today, you would still see him
sitting over in a corner, waiting for someone to listen to him talk and
watch him draw his pictures. 

His name? . . . . . 

We always just called him - TV!

- author unknown -


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Back to - Volume One

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