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Homeless Man Steve

This evening as I was leaving Best Buy, I noticed this man going through the garbage can outside of the store. As I walked to my car I watched him as he reached in the garbage can and pulled out fast food trash bags and inspected all that was in the thrown away bags. He did this for several minutes. He would find a few fries in one bag and a bite or two of a hamburger in another bag. You can see the hamburger wrapper by his knee where he was placing the food items he’d found.

He never bothered anyone or tried to stop and beg for money as people entered and left the store. After he went through the entire trash can he neatly cleaned up the area and wrapped up the food he found in the dirty hamburger wrapper. My heart literally hurt for him. I am not someone who just hands out money or even helps homeless people because so many are not truly homeless. I don’t guess I’ve ever seen someone actually go through a garbage can to try to find food to eat.

Steve

Steve

I knew I had to help him. I got out of my car and asked him if I could buy him something to eat. He told me he would appreciate anything I could get him. He was on a bike and I told him if he’d follow me I’d buy him a meal at the fast food place around the block. He followed me and I bought him the biggest meal they had on the menu. The only request he gave me for his order was if I could get him a big glass of sweet tea to go with his meal!

When I brought him his food, he was so thankful. He told me his name was Steve and he’d been homeless ever since his sister died last September. He was trying to get off the streets, but it was so hard. I told him God loved him and I would pray for him. He told me again how much he appreciated the meal.

When I got back in my car, I drove off with such a heaviness in my heart for this man. I drove down the road and felt compelled to go back to help this man. When I came back he had finished his meal and was riding away. I pulled up beside him and asked him if there was any way I could help him. He told me not really. He never asked me for money. I asked him if I could buy him a few meals and put it on a gift card for him. He told me that would be so kind. I drove to McDonalds and bought him some meals and gave him a gift card.

He broke down crying. He told me that he prayed for me today! I wasn’t sure what he meant (I was assuming he was praying for me for what I did for him) so I thanked him. He said, “No, you don’t understand. I prayed that God would send someone to buy me a hot meal today… and he sent you!” I didn’t know what to say… I was speechless! Praying for a hot meal wasn’t a prayer I had prayed today! Come to think of it, that’s not a prayer I’ve ever prayed! I always pray over my food, but I’ve never prayed for a meal… its expected! I’ve never doubted that I wouldn’t be able to eat… Tears began to fill my eyes! Oh my… how blessed am I… Maybe God used me to answer this man’s prayer… to let him know that He cares for Him and knows what goes going through! But, maybe God used this man to show me just how blessed I am and what I take for granted…

He said, “You see, I have cancer!” He pulled up his shirt and pointed to a huge mass that was poking out from his stomach. He said said he knew it wouldn’t be much longer. I asked him if knew Jesus. He told me that he did. I asked if I could pray for him and he said that I could. We prayed right there on the sidewalk of McDonalds. Tears just poured from his eyes. He told me he knew that he was going to die and that he was ready to die. He was tired of being in pain and he would be better off dead because this was no life – living this way. I stayed and encouraged him for a few minutes trying to fight back my tears. My prayer is that I showed him the love of Jesus today… that something I said gave him a hope.

You see, everybody has a story! I know Steve’s story now… all because I felt compelled to help him… he ended up touching me today!

When I left him, I knew I had done what God wanted me to do! God put him in my path today… I know he did! I’ve never felt such a feeling to help someone as I did today. I was reminded again of how blessed I am! I have a vehicle that gets me from place to place, I have a roof over my head, clean clothes, money to buy a hot meal, running water, electricity, my health, a job, family, and friends! Sometimes God sends situations our way to remind us of how blessed we are! If you’ve read this far, please remember Steve in your prayers!

Yes, I have been blessed, God’s so good to me! Precious are His thoughts of you and me! There’s no way I could count them, there’s not enough time, so I’ll just thank Him for being so kind. God has been good, so good! I have been blessed!

By John Brantley
Principal at A. C. Moore Elementary
https://www.facebook.com/john.brantley.9

{ 38 comments }

Planting Potatoes

When I was a boy growing up we had several gardens around our old house. The largest one of all was used just for growing potatoes.

I can still remember those potato planting days. The whole family helped. After my Dad had tilled the soil, my Mom, brothers, and I went to work. It was my job to drop the little seed potatoes in the rows while my Mom dropped handfuls of fertilizer beside them. My brothers then covered them all with the freshly turned earth.

For months afterward I would glance over at the garden while I played outside and wonder what was going on underneath the ground. When the harvest time came I was amazed at the huge size of the potatoes my Dad pulled out of the soil. Those little seedlings had grown into bushels and bushels of sweet sustenance. They would be turned into meal after meal of baked potatoes, mashed potatoes, fried potatoes, and my personal favorite: potatoes slowed cooked in spaghetti sauce. They would keep the entire family well fed throughout the whole year. It truly was a miracle to behold.

Thinking back on those special times makes me wonder how many other seeds I have planted in this life that have grown unseen in the hearts and minds of others. How many times has God used some little thing that I said or did to grow something beautiful? How many times has Heaven used these little seedlings to provide another’s soul with sweet sustenance?

Every single day of our lives we step out into the garden of this world. Every single day we plant seeds that can grow into something wonderful. We may never see the growth that comes from the kind words or loving acts we share but God does. I hope then that you always tend the garden around you with care. I hope that you plant only goodness, peace, and compassion in the lives of everyone you meet. I hope that everyday you help miracles to grow.

By Joe Mazzella

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The Real Pearl Necklace

Jenny was a bright-eyed, pretty five-year-old girl. One day when she and her mother were checking out at the grocery store, Jenny saw a plastic pearl necklace priced at $2.50.

How she wanted that necklace, and when she asked her mother if she would buy it for her, her mother said, “Well, it is a pretty necklace, but it costs an awful lot of money. I’ll tell you what. I’ll buy you the necklace, and when we get home we can make up a list of chore that you can do to pay for the necklace. And don’t forget that for your birthday Grandma just might give you a whole dollar bill, too. Okay?”

Jenny agreed, and her mother bought the pearl necklace for her. Jenny worked on her chores very hard every day, and sure enough, her grandma gave her a brand new dollar bill for her birthday. Soon Jenny had paid off the pearls.

How Jenny loved those pearls. She wore them everywhere-to kindergarten, bed and when she went out with her mother to run errands. The only time she didn’t wear them was in the shower; her mother had told her that they would turn her neck green.

Now Jenny had a very loving daddy. When Jenny went to bed, he would get up from his favorite chair every night and read Jenny her favorite story. One night when he finished the story, he said, “Jenny, do you love me?”

“Oh yes, Daddy, you know I love you,” the little girl said.

“Well, then, give me your pearls.”

“Oh! Daddy, not my pearls!” Jenny said. “But you can have Rosie, my favorite doll. Remember her? You gave her to me last year for my birthday. And you can have her tea party outfit, too. Okay?”

“Oh no, darling, that’s okay.” Her father brushed her cheek with a kiss. “Good night, little one.” A week later, her father once again asked Jenny after her story, “Do you love me?”

“Oh yes, Daddy, you know I love you.”

“Well, then, give me your pearls.”

Oh, Daddy, not my pearls! But you can have Ribbons, my toy horse. Do you remember her? She’s my favorite. Her hair is so soft, and you can play with it and braid it and everything. You can have Ribbons if you want her, Daddy,” the little girl said to her father.

“No, that’s okay,” her father said and brushed her cheek again with a kiss. “God bless you, little one. Sweet dreams.”

Several days later, when Jenny’s father came in to read her a story, Jenny was sitting on her bed and her lip was trembling. “Here, Daddy,” she said, and held out her hand.

She opened it and her beloved pearl necklace was inside. She let it slip into her father’s hand. With one hand her father held the plastic pearls and with the other he pulled out of his pocket a blue velvet box. Inside of the box were real, genuine, beautiful pearls.

He had them all along. He was waiting for Jenny to give up the cheap stuff so he could give her the real thing.

Author Unknown
Submitted by Scott

The same with our Heavenly Father, He is waiting for us to give up the cheap/fake things in our lives. Are you holding on to harmful relationships, habits, activities… which you have come so attached to that it seems impossible to let go? Sometimes it is so hard to see what is in the other hand but do believe one thing, God will never take away something without giving us something better.

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The Christian Drummer Boy

Two or three times in my life God in His mercy touched my heart, and twice before my conversion I was under deep conviction.

During the American war [Civil War], I was a surgeon in the United States Army, and after the battle of Gettysburg there were many hundred wounded soldiers in my hospital, amongst whom were twenty-eight who had been wounded so severely that they required my services at once.

Some whose legs had to be amputated, some their arms, and others both their arm and leg. One of the latter was a boy who had been but three months in the service, and being too young for a soldier had enlisted as a drummer. When my assistant surgeon and one of my stewards wished to administer chloroform, previous to the amputation, the young soldier turned his head aside and positively refused to receive it. When the steward told him that it was the doctor’s orders, he said: “Send the doctor to me.”

When I came to his bedside, I said: “Young man, why do you refuse chloroform? When I found you on the battlefield you were so far gone that I thought it hardly worth while to pick you up; but when you opened those large blue eyes I thought you had a mother somewhere who might, at that moment, be thinking of her boy. I did not want you to die on the field, so ordered you to be brought here; but you have now lost so much blood that you are too weak to endure an operation without chloroform, therefore you had better let me give you some.”

He laid his hand on mine, and looking me in the face, said: “Doctor, one Sunday afternoon, in the Sabbath-school, when I was nine and a half years old, I gave my heart to Christ. I learned to trust Him then; I have been trusting Him ever since, and I can trust Him now. He is my strength and my stimulant. He will support me while you amputate my arm and leg.”

I then asked him if he would allow me to give him a little brandy.

Again he looked me in the face saying: “Doctor, when I was about five years old my mother knelt by my side, with her arm around my neck, and said: ‘Charlie, I am now praying to Jesus that you may never know the taste of strong drink; your papa died a drunkard, and went down to a drunkard’s grave, and I promised God, if it were His will that you should grow up, that you should warn young men against the bitter cup.’ I am now seventeen years old, but I have never tasted anything stronger than tea and coffee, and as I am, in all probability, about to go into the presence of my God, would you send me there with brandy on my stomach?”

The look that boy gave me I shall never forget. At that time I hated Jesus, but I respected that boy’s loyalty to his Savior; and when I saw how he loved and trusted Him to the last, there was something that touched my heart, and I did for that boy what I had never done for any other soldier — I asked him if he wanted to see his chaplain.

“Oh! yes, sir,” was the answer.

When Chaplain R. came, he at once knew the boy from having often met him at the tent prayer meetings, and taking his hand said: “Well, Charlie, I am sorry to see you in this sad condition.”

“Oh, I am all right, sir,” he, answered. “The doctor offered me chloroform, but I declined it; then he wished to give me brandy, which I also declined; and now, if my Savior calls me, I can go to Him in my right mind.”

“You may not die, Charlie,” said the chaplain “but if the Lord should call you away, is there anything I can do for you after you are gone?”

“Chaplain, please put your hand under my pillow and take my little Bible; in it you will find my mother’s address; please send it to her and write a letter, and tell her that since the day I left home I have never let a day pass without reading a portion of God’s word, and daily praying that God would bless my dear mother; no matter whether on the march, on the battlefield, or in the hospital.”

“Is there anything else I can do for you, my lad?” asked the chaplain.

“Yes; please write a letter to the superintendent of the Sands-street Sunday-school, Brooklyn, N. Y., and tell him that the kind words, many prayers, and good advice he gave me I have never forgotten; they have followed me through all the dangers of battle; and now, in my dying hour, I ask my dear Savior to bless my dear old superintendent. That is all.”

Turning towards me he said: “Now, doctor, I am ready; and I promise you that I will not even groan while you take off my arm and leg, if you will not offer me chloroform.” I promised, but I had not the courage to take the knife in my hand to perform the operation without first going into the next room and taking a little stimulant myself to perform my duty.

While cutting through the flesh, Charlie Coulson never groaned; but when I took the saw to separate the bone, the lad took the corner of his pillow in his mouth, and all that I could hear him utter was: “O Jesus, blessed Jesus! stand by me now.” He kept his promise, and never groaned.

That night I could not sleep, for whichever way I turned I saw those soft blue eyes, and when I closed mine, the words, “Blessed Jesus, stand by me now,” kept ringing in my ears. Between twelve and one o’clock I left my bed and visited the hospital; a thing I had never done before unless specially called, but such was my desire to see that boy. Upon my arrival there I was informed by the night steward that sixteen of the hopeless cases had died, and been carried down to the dead-house.

“How is Charlie Coulson, is he among the dead?” I asked.

“No, sir,” answered the steward, “he is sleeping as sweetly as a babe.” When I came up to the bed where he lay, one of the nurses informed me that, about nine o’clock, two members of the YMCA came through the hospital to read and sing a hymn. They were accompanied by Chaplain R., who knelt by Charlie Coulson’s bed, and offered up a fervent and soul-stirring prayer; after which they sang, while still upon their knees, the sweetest of all hymns, “Jesus, lover of my soul,” in which Charlie joined.

I could not understand how that boy, who had undergone such excruciating pain, could sing.
Five days after I had amputated that dear boy’s arm and leg, he sent for me, and it was from him on that day I heard the first gospel sermon.

“Doctor,” he said, “my time has come; I do not expect to see another sunrise; but, thank God, I am ready to go; and before I die I desire to thank you with all my heart for your kindness to me. Doctor, you are a Jew, you do not believe in Jesus; will you please stand here and see me die trusting my Savior to the last moment of my life?”

I tried to stay, but I could not; for I had not the courage to stand by and see a Christian boy die rejoicing in the love of that Jesus whom I had been taught to hate, so I hurriedly left the room.

About twenty minutes later a steward, who found me sitting in my private office covering my face with my hand, said: “Doctor, Charlie Coulson wishes to see you.”

“I have just seen him,” I answered, “and I cannot see him again.”

“But, doctor, he says he must see you once more before he dies.”

I now made up my mind to see him, say an endearing word, and let him die, but I was determined that no word of his should influence me in the least so far as his Jesus was concerned.

When I entered the hospital I saw he was sinking fast, so I sat down by his bed.

Asking me to take his hand, he said: “Doctor, I love you because you are a Jew; the best friend I have found in this world was a Jew.”

I asked him who that was. He answered: “Jesus Christ, to whom I want to introduce you before I die; and will you promise me, doctor, that what I am about to say to you, you will never forget?”

I promised; and he said “Five days ago, while you amputated my arm and leg, I prayed to the Lord Jesus Christ to convert your soul.”

These words went deep into my heart. I could not understand how, when I was causing him the most intense pain, he could forget all about himself and think of nothing but his Savior and my unconverted soul. All I could say to him was: “Well, my dear boy, you will soon be all right.” With these words I left him, and twelve minutes later he fell asleep, “safe in the arms of Jesus.”

Hundreds of soldiers died in my hospital during the war; but I only followed one to the grave, and that one was Charlie Coulson, the drummer boy; and I rode three miles to see him buried. I had him dressed in a new uniform, and placed in an officer’s coffin, with a United States flag over it.

That boy’s dying words made a deep impression upon me. I was rich at that time so far as money is concerned, but I would have given every penny I possessed if I could have felt towards Christ as Charlie did; but that feeling cannot be bought with money. Alas! I soon forgot all about my Christian soldier’s little sermon, but I could not forget the boy himself. I now know that at that time I was under deep conviction of sin; but I fought against Christ with all the hatred of an orthodox Jew for nearly ten years, until, finally, the dear boy’s prayer was answered, and God converted my soul.

About eighteen months after my conversion, I attended a prayer meeting one evening in the city of Brooklyn. It was one of those meetings when Christians testify to the loving kindness of their Savior.

After several of them had spoken, an elderly lady arose and said, “Dear friends, this may be the last time that it is my privilege to testify for Christ. My family physician told me yesterday that my right lung is nearly gone, and my left lung is very much affected; so at the best I have but a short time to be with you; but what is left of me belongs to Jesus. Oh! it is a great joy to know that I shall meet my boy with Jesus in heaven. My son was not only a soldier for his country, but also a soldier for Christ. He was wounded at the battle of Gettysburg, and fell into the hands of a Jewish doctor, who amputated his arm and leg, but he died five days after the operation. The chaplain of the regiment wrote me a letter, and sent me my boy’s Bible. In that letter I was informed that my Charlie in his dying hour sent for that Jewish doctor, and said to him: “Doctor, before I die I wish to tell you that five days ago, while you amputated my arm and leg, I prayed to the Lord Jesus Christ to convert your soul.”

When I heard this lady’s testimony, I could sit still no longer. I left my seat, crossed the room, and taking her hand, said: “God bless you, my dear sister; your boy’s prayer has been heard and answered. I am the Jewish doctor for whom your Charlie prayed, and his Savior is now my Savior.”

By Dr. M. L. Rossvally
Storry submitted by: Ifeanyichukwu Akanegbu

{ 29 comments }

Christmas miracle – real story!

This is a real Christmas miracle story, happened in December 1997 in Wisconsin, USA.

A little girl named Sarah had leukemia and was not expected to live to see Christmas. Her brother and grandmother went to the mall to ask Mark Lenonard who was a professional Santa Claus to visit the hospital to give Sarah the gift of hope through encouragement and paryer.

A year later Sarah surprised Santa by showing up at the mall where he worked. Here goes the story.


A little boy and his grandmother came to see Santa at The Mayfair Mall in Wisconsin. The child climbed up on santa’s lap, holding a picture of a little girl.

“Who is this?” – asked Santa, smiling. “Your friend? Your sister?”

“Yes, Santa.” – he replied.

“My sister, Sarah, who is very sick.” – he said sadly.

Santa glanced over at the grandmother who was waiting nearby and saw her dabbing her eyes with a tissue.

“She wanted to come with me to see you, oh, so very much, Santa!” – the child exclaimed.
“She misses you.” – he added softly.

Santa tried to be cheerful and encouraged a smile to the boy’s face, asking him what he wanted Santa to bring him for Christmas.

When they finished their visit, the grandmother came over to help the child off his lap, and started to say something to Santa, but halted.

“What is it?” – Santa asked warmly.

“Well, I know it’s really too much to ask you, Santa, but ..” – the old woman began, shooing her grandson over to one of Santa’s elves to collect the little gift which Santa gave all his young visitors.

“The girl in the photograph… my granddaughter well, you see … she has leukemia and isn’t expected to make it even through the holidays.” – she said through tear-filled eyes.

“Is there anyway, Santa, any possible way that you could come see Sarah? That’s all she’s asked for, for Christmas, is to see Santa.”

Santa blinked and swallowed hard and told the woman to leave information with his elves as to where Sarah was, and he would see what he could do. Santa thought of little else the rest of that afternoon. He knew what he had to do.

“What if it were MY child lying in that hospital bed, dying?” – he thought with a sinking heart, “This is the least I can do.”

When Santa finished visiting with all the boys and girls that evening, he retrieved from his helper the name of the hospital where Sarah was staying. He asked Rick, the assistant location manager how to get to Children’s Hospital.

“Why?” – Rick asked, with a puzzled look on his face.

Santa relayed to him the conversation with Sarah’s grandmother earlier that day.

“Common….I’ll take you there.” – Rick said softly. Rick drove them to the hospital and came inside with Santa. They found out which room Sarah was in. A pale Rick said he would wait out in the hall.

Santa quietly peeked into the room through the half-closed door and saw little Sarah on the bed.

The room was full of what appeared to be her family; there was the grandmother and the girl’s brother he had met earlier that day. A woman whom he guessed was Sarah’s mother stood by the bed, gently pushing Sarah’s thin hair off her forehead.

And another woman who he discovered later was Sarah’s aunt, sat in a chair near the bed with a weary, sad look on her face. They were talking quietly, and Santa could sense the warmth and closeness of the family, and their love and concern for Sarah.

Taking a deep breath, and forcing a smile on his face, Santa entered the room, bellowing a hearty, “Ho, ho, ho!”

“Santa!” – shrieked little Sarah weakly, as she tried to escape her bed to run to him.

Santa rushed to her side and gave her a warm hug. A child the tender age of his own son — 9 years old — gazed up at him with wonder and excitement.

Her skin was pale and her short tresses bore telltale bald patches from the effects of chemotherapy. But all he saw when he looked at her was a pair of huge, blue eyes. His heart melted, and he had to force himself to choke back tears.

Though his eyes were riveted upon Sarah’s face, he could hear the gasps and quiet sobbing of the women in the room.

As he and Sarah began talking, the family crept quietly to the bedside one by one, squeezing Santa’s shoulder or his hand gratefully, whispering “Thank you” as they gazed sincerely at him with shining eyes.

Santa and Sarah talked and talked, and she told him excitedly all the toys she wanted for Christmas, assuring him she’d been a very good girl that year.

As their time together dwindled, Santa felt led in his spirit to pray for Sarah, and asked for permission from the girl’s mother. She nodded in agreement and the entire family circled around Sarah’s bed, holding hands.

Santa looked intensely at Sarah and asked her if she believed in angels, “Oh, yes, Santa… I do!” – she exclaimed.

“Well, I’m going to ask that angels watch over you.” – he said.

Laying one hand on the child’s head, Santa closed his eyes and prayed. He asked that God touch little Sarah, and heal her body from this disease.

He asked that angels minister to her, watch and keep her. And when he finished praying, still with eyes closed, he started singing, softly, “Silent Night, Holy Night…. all is calm, all is bright…”

The family joined in, still holding hands, smiling at Sarah, and crying tears of hope, tears of joy for this moment, as Sarah beamed at them all.

When the song ended, Santa sat on the side of the bed again and held Sarah’s frail, small hands in his own.

“Now, Sarah,” – he said authoritatively, “you have a job to do, and that is to concentrate on getting well. I want you to have fun playing with your friends this summer, and I expect to see you at my house at Mayfair Mall this time next year!”

He knew it was risky proclaiming that to this little girl who had terminal cancer, but he ‘had’ to. He had to give her the greatest gift he could — not dolls or games or toys — but the gift of HOPE.

“Yes, Santa!” – Sarah exclaimed, her eyes bright. He leaned down and kissed her on the forehead and left the room.

Out in the hall, the minute Santa’s eyes met Rick’s, a look passed between them and they wept unashamed.

Sarah’s mother and grandmother slipped out of the room quickly and rushed to Santa’s side to thank him.

“My only child is the same age as Sarah.” – he explained quietly. “This is the least I could do.”

They nodded with understanding and hugged him.

One year later, Santa Mark was again back on the set in Milwaukee for his six-week, seasonal job which he so loves to do. Several weeks went by and then one day a child came up to sit on his lap.

“Hi, Santa! Remember me?!”

“Of course, I do.” – Santa proclaimed (as he always does), smiling down at her. After all, the secret to being a ‘good’ Santa is to always make each child feel as if they are the ‘only’ child in the world at that moment.

“You came to see me in the hospital last year!”

Santa’s jaw dropped. Tears immediately sprang in his eyes, and he grabbed this little miracle and held her to his chest.

“Sarah!” – he exclaimed. He scarcely recognized her, for her hair was long and silky and her cheeks were rosy — much different from the little girl he had visited just a year before.

He looked over and saw Sarah’s mother and grandmother in the sidelines smiling and waving and wiping their eyes.

That was the best Christmas ever for Santa Claus.

He had witnessed –and been blessed to be instrumental in bringing about — this miracle of hope. This precious little child was healed. Cancer-free. Alive and well. He silently looked up to Heaven and humbly whispered, “Thank you, Father. ‘Tis a very, Merry Christmas!”

By Susan Morton Leonard, Santa’s wife
Santa’s name: Mark Leonard or Santa Mark

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