Rodney The Raccoon- Behind The Mask

20160531_101118

(image credit: Mari Jones from Journey of a Million Miles)

“Oh, hello there.  My name is Rodney. It’s nice to see you. I don’t get many visitors. Most people see the mask and think I am bad.  I must tell you, I am not! At least most of the time. I am honest if nothing else. My mom always told me honesty is the best policy.”

“Come on down and have a sit. I don’t have rabies or anything. My uncle Phil had rabies but he is long gone. Only one in the family to get rabies but everyone usually thinks we are all rabid.  It’s like your family. I bet you have one bad apple in that tree.  Does everyone think you are bad because of them?”

“Let me tell you something else. We eat a lot of different things from pesky insects and small rodents to fruits and nuts. Yes, that was me in your trash can the other day but I could not find any other food. I had to feed my family. Sometimes you have to do what you have to do.  You know how many of your kind I have seen trying to find food in trash cans. It’s sad if you ask me.  I mean me, I’m an animal and I don’t have anyone looking after me except maybe my near family. Your kind though, you throw away about half the food you eat. I see it in your trash cans and land fills. Shouldn’t you be helping others of your kind out instead of throwing it away?  How about buying less so there is less to throw away and using that extra money to give to a food bank or something? I once helped a deer out. Not typical for me but I just could not eat anymore berries so instead of tossing them to the ground, I gave them to the deer. Next time you see that homeless guy, look past what you see and feel what’s in his heart. You won’t miss that dollar or that sandwich you give him. Maybe even your heart will  grow three sizes that day if you did.”

“The mask?  What’s up with the mask you ask?  Take a look around you, everyone wears a mask.  Some you just see easier than others. My mask is for me to be able to see better at night. Look at that person over there? Do you think her mask is to protect her from her past?  She would love to take off her mask, get rid of her past mistakes but she is too scared to take it off. You don’t see a mask? Trust me, it’s there.  Look at that guy.  Do you think his mask protects him ? He looks like he is big and tough and can take on the world but inside he is hurting, he is begging to be loved, he is a big softy but no one will ever see that.  That little girl over there? Yes, another mask. She tries to put a smile on and be happy but I see her eyes. Her pain. She gets yelled at everyday. Her parents fight all the time. She doesn’t think she is worth anything.  That’s sad to see a mask on someone so young. I think you humans can do better. Take off the mask. Like my mom always said, honesty is the best policy. It will release so much stress and hurt.”

“What? You thought I was an animal to stay away from?  Why?  Because of my mask and the rings on my tail.  Really?  Take a look around you. Do you stay away from everyone that looks scary?  The guy with all the tattoos?  He is the nicest guy I ever met. The black man over there gave me his leftover food one day. I took that right home to my kids. They were so thankful. The white guy over there killed a snake one day and brought it over near my home. I eat anything.  Dead carcasses are sometimes my favorite. The Asian guy over there came right up to me one day, just like you did today, and just started talking. I sat there and listened. The Muslim lady over there wept with me one day when my youngest baby was hit by a car.  I don’t discriminate. I need all of you to survive.  Sometimes I help you, sometimes you help me.  That’s the way it should be. ”

“It doesn’t matter who you are. I will come up to you. That scares most people who only see my mask. Do you know I have a friend names Jesus who was the same way?  He talked to everyone, and there were people who were afraid of Him. He only wanted to teach people about His father and the love He has for all of us and how we should treat others.  Yet, people were afraid of Him and had Him crucified. He died for all of us. That includes you. Isn’t that awezing?”

“What? That’s not what you are taught. That’s a shame my friend. A real shame. I can call you friend, right? That’s what you are to me. I think you should take my words to heart. Go out and look at what’s inside a person. Get to know them.  Get past the masks and the colors.  You might be surprised what you find.”

“Have an awezing day my friend.  What’s that? You don’t know what awezing is? Oh, that’s a word I made up combining awesome and amazing. See, never know what you will find once you get to know someone.”

(image credit: Laura Ross)

Walking Blind by Javier Colon – 

Chosen Ones by Blanca – 

Get To Know Me by Mateo – 

Colors of the Wind by Tori Kelly – 

Heal The World by Michael Jackson – 

Where Is The Love by The Black Eyed Peas – 

Unite by 1GN – 

World Changers by Matthew  West – 

Love Feels Like by TobyMac – 

Rainbow Connection by Gwen Stefani (original by Kermit the Frog) – 

Love, Not Hate: The Reconciliation

Image result for eagle and hawk

History of the birds:

Love, Not Hate: Part 1

Love, Not Hate: Part Two

Love, Not Hate: Christmas Eve

Love, Not Hate: A New Chapter

Love, Not Hate: A New World

Love, Not Hate: The Division

Love, Not Hate: The Reconciliation

Love, Not Hate: Tragedy At Mandalay Bay

Love, Not Hate: Continue To Love

Love Not Hate: Love On Trial

Love Not Hate- Trick or Treat, Halloween Night

Love Not Hate- The Virus

continued from The Division:

The hawk said:

“Tell me eagle, because I know you are also a bird of prey,

How do you continue to love and live this way?”

“I’m tired of fighting and tired of trying to hide,

Tell me Eagle, how can I have what you have inside?”

The Eagle replied: “It’s a choice to love instead of hate,

Even when you birds of prey frustrate.”

“We are not any different than you,

We are not better because of what we do.”

“We birds are all one and the same.”

“It is easy to play the blame game,

But where does that put us in the end?”

“Living in the mistakes of the past makes us enemies, not friends.”

Image result for bible verses on treating others

“We have to work together instead of apart,

We can not let emotions rule our hearts.”

“It’s not easy to always do what is right,

But what is accomplished when we fight?”

“We destroy the land and hurt every bird here!”

“When we are not united all the birds start to fear,

Instead of helping all they start to help only themselves,

They enclose themselves in a box and have no dreams to excel.”

47 Bible verses about Helping Others In Need

“Instead of giving we take and take, full of greed,

But when we are united and let no bird be in need,

Then we lift each bird up and give them hope.”

“When bad times hit, it’s that hope that helps them cope.”

“We choose to believe that all birds should be treated equally,

The bluebird, cardinal, falcon, vulture, warbler, chickadee

The thrusher, sparrow, hummingbird, crow, owl, or duck

It doesn’t matter who you are, if you are down on your luck

We will be there to try to help.”

“We will put others ahead of ourselves.”

Image result for JOHN 4 9

“It’s not glamorous and sometimes it’s hard

Because some birds are always on their guard.”

“Quite frankly, a lot of times it is tough.

To always choose to love.”

“When the world seems to have gone their own way,

When marriages fail because one bird chooses not to stay,

When young birds grow up in a broken nest.”

“When you look around and see the world is a mess,

“Yes, sometimes we have to take a deep breath

We have to push on when we want to rest.”

“We know we can never give up,

Because, in the end, it’s all about love!”

Image result for JOHN 4 11

“It’s all about what we believe,

And we believe Jesus died for you and me.”

“He showed us how we should live,

That it is always better to give.”

“So, my friend, you ask what it is that’s inside,

It’s him, it’s His love and for Him, I will give my life!”

Luke 10:27 - Verse Meaning - Love God with All Your Heart, Soul ...

The hawk thought about it for a few minutes

Then he said: “All the bad we have done, how do you forget?”

The eagle said: “We don’t always forget but we choose to forgive,

Nothing is accomplished when the past we try to relive.”

“We must move forward and look towards tomorrow.”

“There will be pain and there will be sorrow,

But there will also be hope and there will also be love,

And that little bit of hope and love can be enough.”

Image result for romans 5 5

The hawk asked: “Then why do so many birds, including myself, choose to hate?”

“Why is it so hard for us to love? For us, isn’t it too late?”

The eagle answered: “It is never too late, but do not wait!”

“We must get all birds to love today!”

“We must unite and show them the way!”

“We can do this together if you believe,

Together, great things we can achieve!”

“We can turn this pain into a blessing!”

The hawk thought about it for just a second

Maybe, just maybe, the birds of love are correct

He had to give the birds of love some respect

20 Bible Verses About Patience | Find Hope In The Lord

Together they called an emergency meeting

“Our fellow birds,” they said together in greeting

The hawk started off first: “Birds of prey,

Today, my heart has changed its ways!”

“I have seen how hate has destroyed us,

And I have seen the power of love.”

“Today we will tear down our walls and take down the cage!”

“Any of you birds that are still filled with rage,

Come, talk to the eagle or me.”

“It is not really that hard to see,

That if you choose to love instead of hate,

Once again, we can make our land great!”

“Today all of us birds must unite,

We must find the love that’s inside!”

“We must show it to the world,

That even humans can be like us birds!”

Then the eagle said: “In memory of the words my father last said,

We must live with hope and kindness, not fly around like the living dead.”

“Build others up and always give  more than you take.”

“Most importantly, always love, love my birds, love instead of hate!”

Image result for jesus on the cross

The Answer by Jeremy Camp- 

When We Pray by Tauren Wells – 

I’m Gonna Love my Neighbor by Karen Peck-  

No Room For Hate by Mark Lowry – 

The Answer To The Question by Tree63 – 

The Answer by Audio Adrenaline –  

Hope Of All Nations by Karen Peck- 

Hope For A Broken World by Selah – 

 

What The World Needs Now Is Love Sweet Love by The Isley Brothers w/ Santana – 

 

It’s All About Him by Alan Jackson – 

Love Not Hate: The Division

I have been writing these for several years but it seems the birds, and humans, do not learn and we keep going in circles.  I originally posted this and the next one two years ago.  The post that goes with this one will be posted in about 45 minutes so you will have a quick answer.

Image result for dove and eagle together

History of the birds:

Love, Not Hate: Part 1

Love, Not Hate: Part Two

Love, Not Hate: Christmas Eve

Love, Not Hate: A New Chapter

Love, Not Hate: A New World

Love, Not Hate: The Division

Love, Not Hate: The Reconciliation

Love, Not Hate: Tragedy At Mandalay Bay

Love, Not Hate: Continue To Love

Love Not Hate: Love On Trial

Love Not Hate- Trick or Treat, Halloween Night

Love Not Hate- The Virus

The dove had ruled for many years

As he looked out in the crowd his eyes filled with tears

The young eagles time had come

He had grown strong and was filled with love

It was now time for the eagle to continue his dad’s legacy

To rule the land with love for all birds from all over the country

The dove started to say

“My fellow birds, today is a great day”

The birds of prey interrupted; “We’ve had enough,

All you ever talk about is blah blah blah and love love love.”

“Tonight us birds of prey are taking a stand!”

“We have decided to start our own land!”

“The birds of prey will rule anything west of the big oak tree!”

They expected a fight but the eagle said: “That’s fine with me.”

The hawk continued,  “We will build a cage around our land,

We don’t need you, on our own we will stand.”

Some of the birds of prey didn’t want to go

They believed in love and had friends that were close

But they all left, all these birds of prey

To start their own land and do it their way

The eagle sat down with the hawk

“If you insist on doing this we need to talk,

We need laws to govern all birds,

We need it written down so there’s no confusion with words.”

“We need to work together for the sake of all,

The land must still be united so we do not fall.”

But any law the birds of love tried to pass

If it didn’t suit them, the birds of prey just laughed

All they did was fight and nothing was ever getting accomplished

The birds of the land lost hope as their dreams were demolished

It wasn’t long before the birds of prey

Tried to make everything their way

The birds of love had to fight

For all the birds they tried to make it right

But in the end, the birds couldn’t agree on anything

The land was falling apart as they kept disagreeing

At first, the land of the birds of prey

Was successful and prosperous inside the cage

But birds of prey only take and never give

That’s just the way birds of prey live

Soon their land was desolate and barren

The birds of love stood outside staring

They agreed they had to help the birds of prey

They had to put into action the words they would say

Through the cage, they started to sneak food

They did everything they could to do good

But the vulture found out and tried to put it to an end

The birds of love found other ways to help the land mend

They did more than just feed

They gave hope to those in need

They reminded them of times not so long ago

Times when they were friends and not foes

Why do animals help each other? | this.

They would sneak anything to help inside the cage

Until the vulture, osprey, falcon, and hawk guarded the way

But the birds of love

Would not give up

Then the birds of prey ran out of luck

For it was then that a natural disaster struck

A terrible hurricane hit the birds of prey land

What little they had disappeared in the sand

The birds of love were there in force

Helping the birds of prey through the worst

The vulture, osprey, and falcon still turned their backs

They felt the birds of love were only looking to attack

Image result for luke 23 34

But the hawk’s heart started to soften

And something inside him started to blossom

He called a secret meeting with the eagle

He asked: “How do you love those of us so evil?”

“We have done so much to hurt you and the birds of your kind,

We have treated you like we are not the same but it’s like you are blind?”

“You are always there to lend a helping hand.”

“You are always trying to heal this land.”

“Tell me eagle, because I know you are also a bird of prey,

How do you continue to love and live this way?”

“I’m tired of fighting and tired of trying to hide,

Tell me Eagle, how can I have what you have inside?”

to be continued….

Image result for habakkuk

The World ( Is Going Up In Flames) by Charles Bradley – 

Dear Hate by Maren Morris – 

Dear Hate by Among Us – 

Ghost Nation by Gary Truman –  

It’s Not Working (The Truth) by Propaganda- 

Come In Our Dark Times by David Haas –  

Help Us Now by Melvin Williams –  

Love Will Never Give Up by Karen Peck –  

Our World by Buckcherry – 

A Longer View by Shaman’s Harvest – 

You And Me from  The Descendants 2 – 

The Storm by Jeremy Camp – 

What’s Going On by Marvin Gaye –  

Love Anymore by Le’Andria Johnson – 

For What It’s Worth by Seth Glier – 

A Tree That Touched The Sky

Image result for tree that touched the sky

I saw a tree that touched the sky

It hurt my neck to look up so high

I wondered if I could climb to the top

But after a few feet, I had to stop

Doubt crossed my mind, am I worthy?

I think I am a little too dirty

What if I went a few more feet?

I wondered just what I would see

But another doubt, am I good enough?

Am I really worthy of love?

But a voice from somewhere inside

Told me to continue to climb

A quarter of the way up a whisper so small

What are you doing? Don’t you know you could fall?

Somewhere inside something told me not to fear

Don’t look down because the top is almost near

Halfway up I grew weary and tired

Voices everywhere telling me he’s a liar

Do you really believe he forgives?

Look at how you have lived!

So many wrongs, so many mistakes

Half your life you’ve been a fake

I reach for another branch, I must continue

Leave the past in my rear view

Why do you continue to climb?

What is it you are looking to find?

A voice says it’s not that far down

Let’s get back to solid ground

Another voice says you are almost there

It’s getting harder to breathe with this thin air

Maybe I should turn around

Back to the earth so green and brown

But something pushes me to go higher

I swear I can hear an angel’s choir

Three fourths the way I have climbed

Pushing onward, I am no longer blind

The negative voices telling me I must stop

Are still there but I listen not

I know why I found this tree

But this knowledge isn’t only for me

Image result for tree that touched the sky God bible

I must tell you of all the truth I have acquired

On this journey where I had all my heart desired

But nothing ever seemed to satisfy

I was always searching but empty inside

I learned more the closer I got to the top

About grace and forgiveness and a true love

A few more branches, just a stone’s throw

When I heard a voice from a long time ago

Give it up, you are not good enough

Look at you, so unworthy of love

Do you really believe you can change?

Why don’t you turn around, reverse your way?

You are ugly and you have a terrible past

Even if you find love, it won’t last

The tree offered me another of its arms

I climbed higher, knowing there would be no harm

I knew in that instant my past did not define

The future was there for me to climb

Another branch or two

I was that much closer to the truth

But I felt the tree start to sway

I wondered if this is why so many walk away?

When the tree sways, people become afraid

So, way up here, I started to pray

For those in mansions, homeless on the streets

For those that always seem to win and those who are always beat

For those that are addicted to fight their pain

For those that have so much more to gain

I prayed for things unseen and those that are seen

I prayed for you and I prayed for me

Forgive me for what I’ve done

Into your arms I want to run

I no longer want to hide my face

I want to accept your love and grace

If you could help me climb a little more

I know I will never be who I was before

Then I felt a hand grab mine

He pulled me up to finish my climb

Image result for tree that touched the sky God bible

Dear God by Hunter Hayes-  

Breakthrough by Chris McClarney – 

Here I Am by Lincoln Brewster – 

Breaking Point by Sanctus Real – 

Days Gone By by Hillsong Young & Free – 

The First Bud Of Spring- A Love Story

 

001

It was a long, cold, dark winter. One that she didn’t think would ever end. There was snow, rain, and sleet. A couple of times there was enough ice to nearly break the branches on the trees. The little girl held on. She waited for the warmer weather, the better times, the warmth of the sun. She knew it would come, it was just a matter of time. As she waited patiently, she would say her prayers, she would thank God for protecting her and her mommy and daddy during these cold, dark, winter nights.

Finally, the day had come. The first bud of spring appeared out of the ground. The bud peeked out of her shoot and could feel the warmth surround her. She was filled with so much joy that, at first,  she didn’t notice she was the only bud sprouting. After basking in the warmth of the sunshine for a few minutes she looked around, startled that she was the only one. Where was everyone else? Was she going to be all alone? Did she come out too soon? Was colder weather coming back and she would die because of her eagerness to sprout? She was filled with fear and doubt but she stayed strong. She knew God had a plan for her. It was then that a little girl saw her and started yelling for her dad to come see the new flower. The little girl was so excited that the bud could not help but smile. Her excitement was contagious.

A little while later another bud awakened. He also took a moment to take in the warmth around him. He then looked to see if the others had awakened and that was when he saw her. She was within inches of him and he knew he would love her. It didn’t take long for her to notice him either, even though it took the help of a little girl yelling “Look, daddy, now there’s two!”

 

They welcomed the spring with all the other buds that started to awaken. With all the other flowers around them, they knew they were meant for each other. When the rains came, he would lean towards her to cover her petals. When the strong winds came they would lean into it together, holding stems. They were inseparable. When the bees came they opened their petals for them so they could spread their seeds to other lands where there were no flowers. They also knew that the bees relied on their pollen to take back to their hives for food. It was a beneficial relationship.  Everything was new and exciting.

Then summer came. It was a scorching summer, one like they had never seen. There was no water. Many flowers died but not our couple. They shared what they had with each other. Every little drop of moisture was shared between them. Luckily, they were also planted where they had shade for part of the day. They counted the hours down together until they were cooled by the shade. Every once in awhile the little girl would come out with a can of water and feed them, helping to keep them alive. They were often too tired to open their petals wide enough for the bees to come but they did their best. They knew the only way to survive this summer was with the help of others. They prayed their prayers for rain, for cooler temperatures but it was not to be. Sometimes in life, God doesn’t answer prayers and there are reasons only He knows why. They had reached a point in their relationship that they were still together, but they didn’t talk much. Too much too worry about, too much life got in the way. When was their next rain drop, how would they make it through another day without food, why couldn’t they be like they were in the spring? Did they waste this whole season of their life? They knew better because they still shared the little water they had, they still  protected each other but the excitement was gone.

Before they knew it Autumn was here. They had made it through the difficult summer and were enjoying another season of their life. The rains came again, as well as cooler weather. When he looked at her she was still the most beautiful, most loving, most caring flower in the garden. When she looked at him he was still the bravest, strongest, most handsome flower this side of Eden. They held each other’s petals more each day, knowing that their days were winding down. They reflected on the spring and the summer. Days when their love was new and days when they didn’t know if they would make it. They thought of their seeds spread far and wide, soon to be new flowers that would spread their love and beauty around the world. It wasn’t easy, they had moments of doubt but they fought for each other, they fought for their love. They survived.

Soon the cold winds blew again. They held on for as long as they could but with each passing day, their petals would fall off. They knew it wouldn’t be long now but they held on for each struggling moment. Relying on each other to get by. Praying for just one more second. She was the first to go, as she was the first to sprout. He wasn’t far behind her.

The little girl, all bundled up from the cold,  looked at her daddy and said, “Look, daddy, the first two here are they last two to leave. I wonder if they were happy here, I wonder if they were in love.”

“Now, now,” said the daddy, “we know flowers can’t fall in love but if they could, those two would definitely have been like me and your mom. Through all the seasons and all the weather, the rain, the sun, the cold, they were standing right beside each other. Holding petals all the while.”

The little girl giggled. Through the cold, dark, winter nights she was safe as she anxiously waited for the first bud of spring to blossom again.

I Will Be Here by Steven Curtis Chapman –  

Then by Brad Paisley – 

Stand By You by Rachel Platten – 

Love Like Crazy by Lee Brice – 

The End Is Not The Answer by Three Days Grace – 

Worth Fighting For by Nine Days – 

When I Said I Do by Clint Black – 

Forever Changed by Carrie Underwood – 

Remind Me by Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood – 

Would You Go With Me by Josh Turner – 

I’ll Stand By You by The Pretenders – 

Meant To Be by JJ Heller – 

What Faith Can Do by Kutless – 

The Widow

She had mixed emotions as she approached the tree. She wasn’t even sure why she was here after all this time. She continued up the hill to where the tree was and sat in the shade of its branches. With her back to the tree she looked up and asked, “Why am I here?”

Yes, this was the same tree where she met him. She was okay before she met him. She had great friends that made her laugh. She did well in school and was the second best scorer on the basketball team. Her parents loved her even though her dad wasn’t around much. She was an innocent girl. She came to the tree to get a break from the summer heat.

That’s when he walked up to her. It was under this same shade tree that she let her guard down and welcomed him into her life. She immediately took a liking to him and opened up to him. She told him about all her fears, her concerns, her feeling unwanted by her dad. She knew he loved her but he was never around. Too busy working, too busy hanging with anyone but her.

That’s all he needed to hear and he knew she would be his. He was smooth talking and was easy on the eyes. She fell for him hard. It wasn’t long before she was doing things she never thought she would do until she was married. She started drinking. She started fighting with parents. She started sneaking out of the house. She missed more curfews than she can remember.

 

“Oh God, why am I back here?!!” she yelled.

She thought about the mess he caused of her life. Well, she knew she caused it but it was all because of him. He promised so much but fell so short. She thought back and could only shake her head and laugh. “I gave up so much for him. I was a mess. So why am I back here? Did I just want to see where it all started one more time? Was I wanting to go back to that life? Was I missing the excitement that he gave me? ”

No, that wasn’t it. She was happy where her life had taken her. She was happy with her family. She had the most amazing daughters and she couldn’t even begin to tell you how amazing her husband is. She found herself remembering the day she said yes to Jesus and no to him. She remembers the darkness that left her. She remembers the freedom she felt. It really was astounding to think that someone died for her. That someone gave His life so she can live. After all she had done, He still welcomed her home. Back to the place she was before she met him. Even when she had betrayed Him and went her own ways, He was still there waiting for her. She thought to herself, now that is an amazing story.

She thought about her journey. The good, the bad, the ugly. So why was she back here? Why did she have to come here? What was she missing in her life that she would go back to him? No, that wasn’t it. She wasn’t here to go back to him. As crazy as it sounds she thought she was here for closure. She was here to say good-bye once and for all.

“You tried to break me. You tried to turn me into your toy and it worked for awhile. But I am better off without you. I am better now that you are gone. I have Jesus and I don’t need you. You have no place in my life. I am stronger because of you and for that I thank you. I won’t fall for your tricks again though. Even when I feel you pulling me I know the pleasure isn’t worth the pain. It’s not worth the hangover the next morning. The shame and guilt. I’m past that. I am new now and I will never go back to you. There is one in my life that is stronger than you. One that is better than you. One that doesn’t lie to me. One that will hold me, will love me no matter what I have done. Good-bye to you. I am and always will be better off with you gone. Dead and gone. Like you made me for that period of my life when I fell for you. But I am alive and I am here because of Jesus. You are dead to me.”

“I am a widow to my old self, to my past sins, to him. I am a widow to the death that was inside me.”

“Thank you God for never giving up on me. Thank you God for searching for me when I was lost. Thank you for carrying me when I was too weak to walk. Thank you for holding my hand when I just needed to have you with me. Thank you for listening to me when I need to talk. Thank you for forgiving me. Thank you for your grace and mercy. Thank you for loving me and thank you for who you are. I promise I will not go back to that life again. Thank you for the power of your love that I can walk away from him, he is truly dead to me and I have you to thank for that. You are all I need.”

With that she got up and walked back down the hill. She never looked back. She did look up and smiled.

Satisfy by Worship Mob – Long video but listen to 5:30 to the end if time is short 

Surrender by Blanca – 

Name by Nichole Nordeman – 

Broken Hallelujah by The Afters – 

Back Where I Began by Seventh Day Slumber – 

Give Me Jesus by Jeremy Camp – 

That Was Then, This Is Now by Josh Wilson – 

Grace Wins by Matthew West – 

Your Grace Finds Me by Matt Redman –  

Thank You by Jesus Army – 

The Reindeer Revolt – The Story

Image result for reindeer

You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen, you know Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen, but do you know Cinnamon, Gumdrop, Sparkles, and Peppermint? Of course you don’t, because most of you have not heard of the great reindeer revolt.

It was December 17, 1938. Exactly seven days before Christmas Eve. As you would expect, the North Pole was extremely busy getting everything ready for the big night. All the elves were making the last of the toys for all the good girls and boys. Santa was checking his list, then checking it twice just to be sure no one was missed. Mrs. Claus was busy making snacks for everyone. The reindeer were finishing up the last of their training exercises.

Maybe it was because the reindeer were tired or maybe they felt they weren’t being respected enough but for whatever the reason, some of the reindeer decided they had had enough. Cinnamon, Gumdrop, Sparkles, and Peppermint had enough and decided they were no longer going to work on Christmas Eve. “We work every Christmas Eve and we are tired of it. We want to stay home and enjoy the evening with our families. All of us should join together and tell Santa no more.”

Dasher, Dancer, Prancer,  and Vixen all said no. “We are not going to revolt against Santa. How can you do this? Think of all the children. We work one night a year. We have 364 days to relax and take vacations and do whatever we want. We enjoy our job and traveling all over the world and seeing all the decorations and the children eagerly awaiting our visit.”

This was not the first time that Dasher, Dancer, Prancer,  and Vixen had seen a bad attitude from Cinnamon, Gumdrop, Sparkles, and Peppermint. In fact, over the last six months they had seen many warning signs.  They tried talking to them, but never seemed to get anywhere. Cinnamon, Gumdrop, Sparkles, and Peppermint had even started calling Rudolph names and would not let him play in any reindeer games.

All the reindeer argued and fought for several days. We are right and this is what we are going to do. No, you are not right, we are right and we will stand our ground. Back and forth, back and forth it went.

Finally, Dasher, Dancer, Prancer,  and Vixen decided that this could not go on. They made a very difficult decision, one that did not come easily and one that made them very sad. These reindeer have been friends their entire lives but they no longer saw eye to eye. They told Cinnamon, Gumdrop, Sparkles, and Peppermint that they could no longer be friends. They didn’t want Santa to think they were revolting too, just because of who they were friends with.

Santa saw what was going on and felt very sad for the reindeer. But, he too, had to make a very difficult decision. If Cinnamon, Gumdrop, Sparkles, and Peppermint did not want to fly on Christmas Eve, then he was not going to force them. But he knew he needed eight reindeer to fly.

He held tryouts and four reindeer stood out amongst the rest. They were Comet, Cupid, Donner, and Blitzen. They joined forces with Dasher, Dancer, Prancer,  and Vixen and became the eight famous reindeer you know today. Minus Rudolph of course, he would join the team a little later.

That is why you have never heard of Cinnamon, Gumdrop, Sparkles, and Peppermint. That is why a year later that Johnny Marks wrote Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer with its famous opening lines of which you know.  You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen, you know Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen, and the rest is history.

That is also why you should be wise and choose your friends wisely. You will be known by the company you keep.

Image result for proverbs 13 20

Friends by Blake Shelton – [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z2tzzDtDw-k&w=560&h=315]

I’ve Got Friends That Do by Tim McGraw-  [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NW5kWTaTXYw&w=560&h=315]

Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer by –  [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0byH9h1ClBY&w=560&h=315]

The Story Of A Snowflake

I post this every year around this time. It is crazy how many views it gets throughout the year.  I guess people search for snowflakes or something. Hope you enjoy.

This is a story of a snowflake. A unique and one of a kind snowflake. All snowflakes are  made that way by their creator.

The snowflake in our story was filled with joy. He loved being a one of a kind snowflake. He has his own personality and demeanor. He truly enjoyed being a snowflake.

When it was his time to go and fall to the ground he was ready. He remembered everything he had been taught. He remembered how much he was loved. The most important of these was to spread the word of love. To teach others what a true, sincere, and  unique kind of love looks like.

As he was falling to the ground he looked around at all of the other snowflakes. He could see they all were different than him, but they all had the same smile that he did. They were all so happy to finally being on their way to fulfill their destiny.

Then they all hit the ground and stopped. They were all piling on top of each other. Many were not happy. They started to complain.  How easily they forgot the joy they had just a few minutes ago.

Some of the angry snowflakes were getting so angry that they were starting to melt. Their anger was also affecting other snowflakes around them because they started to get angry also. Even the ones that were not getting angry were being affected because they started to melt also. They were unable to get themselves out of the situation they were in. They needed help.

Meanwhile, other snowflakes saw what was going on and turned their hearts away from the snowflakes that needed help. Their hearts grew so cold that they started to turn to ice. As their icy hearts expanded, they affected other snowflakes around them. The snowflakes that were filled with joy a few minutes ago were now filled with icy hearts and turning other joy filled hearts to ice also. They needed help.

Our snowflake saw all that was going on and remembered what he was taught. He started talking about their creator and his love for them. He talked about the joy that should be in their hearts. The joy they had just a few minutes ago. He reminded them how they all felt just a few minutes ago and not to let their circumstance affect how they feel.

They should be joyful. Look at the children coming out to play. All with smiles on their faces. Look at how happy we have made them. All by just being who we were created to be.

Oh, how the snowflakes loved the children. It was a love with no end. They loved to hear the giggles and to see all the smiles. They even loved to hear the joys of screams as the children rode their sleds over them. It reminded our snowflake about how much the creator loved him. He remembered how much he loved talking and laughing with the creator. He remembered everything he was taught and he knew changes were coming.

Warmer weather will come and our snowflakes circumstances changed again. Our snowflake and his friends changed from unique snowflakes to drops of rain but their purpose was still the same. They will nourish the earth and provide the people with water to drink and water to grow their food. This is what we they were made to do.

They enjoyed many things in their lives, especially the children, but they each knew that they were brought here for a purpose. Sometimes they found themselves in unbearable situations but those that remembered their purpose never faulted. They stayed strong when others grumbled. They loved when others hated. Some had to change from snow to rain to fulfill their purpose but they did so with love. They knew that not all people would listen to them when they were snowflakes. Not all people cared for the snow. They had to adapt to the world around them and changed to rain so that others would hear the message of love, taught to them by their creator.

Like the snowflake, we are a community all made by our creator with one purpose and we will fulfill that purpose one way or the other. We each have our own unique blend of personalities, demeanor, and gifts. We also have to learn to adapt to our situations. What we talk about God to someone today might not work with the person we meet tomorrow. We have to speak love in a language our recipients want to hear. Do not judge, only love. We need to keep doing what we were put here by our creator to do and let Him, through us, open the eyes and hearts of those around us.

Limitless by Colton Dixon –

Hands and Feet by The Brilliance – 

According To His Word by Jared Anderson – 

That’s How You Change The World by Newsboys – 

With Every Act Of Love by Jason Gray – 

Ready Set Go by Royal Tailor – 

Save Me by Jason Lancaster – 

Living Word by Jeremy Camp – 

Love Alone Is Worth The Fight by Switchfoot – 

Living Word of God by Chris McClarney – 

Hands and Feet by Audio Adrenaline – 

The Christmas Tree

Image result for christmas tree farm

From the time she was a small sapling she knew what she was born for. She was born and raised on a Christmas tree farm. She heard stories from her family and friends about how one day she would be picked to go be inside someone’s house

Each year she grew a little bigger but each year she kept hearing people say the same thing. “She isn’t big enough.” “Her branches are still too weak.” “Her needles are too thin.”

She would wonder the same thing each year. “What’s wrong with me? Why doesn’t anyone want me? ”

Another year passed and she thought for sure this would be the year. She was almost as big as all the other trees but it was the same old story for our Christmas tree. “She isn’t quite there yet.” “She’s almost full enough but not as full as we want.” “Her branches still aren’t strong enough.”

Many more years passed and she still wasn’t being picked. She was really starting to wonder what was wrong with her. She was bigger than almost all the other trees. Her branches were fuller and stronger than the other trees. Other trees that were born after her were being picked but she still wasn’t. “Why doesn’t anyone want me?”  “When will my time come?”

Another year passed and she was a full ten feet taller than any other tree. She had beautiful branches but she still wasn’t being picked. Now she heard things likes she’s too big, she can’t fit in our house, we don’t have enough lights and decorations to complete her.

Our Christmas tree was so sad. No one wanted her when she was young and small and no one wanted her when she was old and tall. She was thinking she will never know what it’s like to be decorated and look so lovely.

Our Christmas tree continued to grow and by the next year she was seventy-five feet tall. She could see the entire farm. That was when she saw this big truck coming on  the farm. They came right up to her. One guy got out and looked at her and said “this tree is what we have been looking for. She will look beautiful at Rockefeller Center. We will decorate her and have so many lights on her. Millions of people will see her and admire how beautiful she is!”

Moral of the story is God will use you in His time. Be faithful and trust in Him and He will use you in ways you would never believe. We just have to be patient and wait for our calling.

Just Like Me by Vanessa Williams –

O Christmas Tree by Bobs and Lolo –

One Little Christmas Tree by Stevie Wonder –

The Little Christmas Tree by Nat King Cole –

While I’m Waiting by John Waller –

Use Me by All Things New –

I Will Wait by Aaron Shust  –

I Will Wait by Darlene Zschech –

The Turkey

The Aztecs of Mexico domesticated the Mexican subspecies of the wild turkey (called guajolotes). Spanish explorers took some of these back to Europe in the mid-16th Century where they became common farmyard animals. These domestic turkeys eventually completed the circuit and came back to North American turkey farms from Europe.:

This is a story about a turkey. However, this was not an ordinary turkey. This turkey did not want to be a turkey. He wanted to be an eagle.

He often thought to himself, “self, I do not like myself. Self, this is one boring life I live.”  Day after day he would trot around the yard with all his turkey friends gobbling gobbling and gobbling. He would eat all the food that was given to him and he would watch himself getting fatter and fatter.

He would look to the sky and see the eagles flying around. Soaring above the trees. “So beautiful,” he thought. “I want to be like that. I want to be majestic. I want to be  an icon. I want people to look at me with awe. I want to be a national symbol and for people to look at with me with thanksgiving in their hearts.”

Majestic bald eagle over the Des Moines RIver in Iowa:

As much as he flapped his wings he could not get off the ground. It wasn’t that he did not practice, because he did. Some days that was all he did. He would run around the yard flapping his wings, never to get more than a foot or so off the ground. “God, why would you give me wings but not let me fly very well? Why would you let me see the eagles soar but not let me join them?”

Many of his less ambitious friends would talk behind his back. “Who does he think he is?”  “Look at that fool trying to fly like an eagle!” “Doesn’t he realize he will never be anything other than what he is?”

Many days and months passed by and nothing ever changed for the turkey. Every day it was the same thing. Wake up, eat, walk around the yard, eat, try to fly.  Every day he would ask the same questions. “Why God why? I want to be more than this. I want people to look at me in awe and be thankful that I am here. I want people to love me.”

Soon the weather started to get colder. Many days people would come and grab some of his friends and he would never see them again. The turkey continued to eat and grew bigger and bigger. One day a family came and walked around the yard looking for the perfect turkey. They found one in the turkey of our story.

The father looked at his family and said, “This turkey is beautiful. He will be the perfect symbol for our thanksgiving dinner  .”  The little girl looked at the turkey and said “I love you turkey. You are so beautiful.”

The turkey gobbled and gobbled. He was so happy. “Finally,” he thought, ” I am being appreciated. I may not be flying like an eagle yet but at least people are seeing me as special.”

The turkey was taken to the family’s home where he was promptly killed and cooked for dinner. Before they ate the family prayed. “Thank you God for this wonderful meal. Especially this beautiful turkey. We will forever remember this turkey in our hearts on this national holiday.”

List of 25 Thanksgiving Turkey Recipes - Photo Gallery | SAVEUR. I don't have a Turkey board so I am placing these under the Chicken one:

You see, God gave the turkey everything he asked for. He was looked at with awe and beauty. He was a national symbol. The people gave thanks from their hearts  for the turkey. He was made exactly how God wanted him to be and exactly how he wanted to be seen. He just didn’t realize that who he was was exactly who he was made to be.

What do you ask God for? Have you ever asked for a pure heart? Have you ever asked God to show you the way to be more like Him? Or are all of your asks and wants more about you? Have you ever thanked God for who you are, for who He made you to be?