Mike in Manila - A prayer a day

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Tuesday, May 30, 2006

A chian mail prayer... pass it on if you like


17-year-old Brian Moore had only a short time to write something for a
class. The subject was what Heaven was like. "I wowed 'em," he later
told his father, Bruce. "It's a killer. It's the bomb. It's the best
thing I ever wrote." It also was the last.

Brian's parents had forgotten about the essay when a cousin found it while
cleaning out the teenager's locker at Teary Valley High School.

Brian had been dead only hours, but his parents desperately wanted every
piece of his life near them-notes from classmates and teachers,
his homework.

Only two months before, he had handwritten the essay about encountering
Jesus in a file room full of cards detailing every moment of the teen's
But it was only after Brian's death that Beth and Bruce Moore realized
that their son had described his view of heaven. "It makes such an impact
that people want to share it. You feel like you are there." Mr. Moore said.

Brian Moore died May 27, 1997, the day after Memorial Day. He was driving
home from a friend's house when his car went off Bulen-Pierce Road in
Pickaway County and struck a utility pole. He emerged from the wreck
unharmed but stepped on a downed power line and was electrocuted.

The Moores framed a copy of Brian's essay and hung it among the family
portraits in the living room. "I think God used him to make a point.

I think we were meant to find it and make something out of it, " Mrs.
Moore said of the essay. She and her husband want to share their son's
vision of life after death.

"I'm happy for Brian. I know he's in heaven. I know I'll see him.

Brian's Essay: The Room..

In that place between wakefulness and dreams, I found myself in the room.
There were no distinguishing features except for the one wall
covered with small index card files. They were like the ones in libraries
that list titles by author or subject in alphabetical order. But these
files, which stretched from floor to ceiling and seemingly endless in either
direction, had very different headings. As I drew near the wall of files,
the first to catch my attention was one that read "Girls I have liked." I
opened it and
began flipping through the cards. I quickly shut it, shocked to realize
that I recognized the names written on each one. And then without being
told, I knew exactly where I was.

This lifeless room with its small files was a crude catalog system for my
life. Here were written the actions of my every moment, big and small, in a
detail my memory couldn't match. A sense of wonder and curiosity, coupled
with horror, stirred within me as I began randomly opening files and
exploring their content. Some brought joy and sweet memories; others a
sense of shame and regret so intense that I would look over my shoulder to
see if anyone was watching.

A file named "Friends" was next to one marked "Friends I have betrayed."

The titles ranged from the mundane to the outright weird. "Books I Have
Read," "Lies I Have Told," "Comfort I have Given,"

"Jokes I Have Laughed at." Some were almost hilarious in their exactness:
"Things I've yelled at my brothers." Others I couldn't laugh at: "Things I
Have Done in My Anger", "Things I Have Muttered Under My Breath at My
Parents.." I never ceased to be surprised by the contents.

Often there were many more cards than I expected. Sometimes fewer than I
hoped. I was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of the life I had
lived. Could it be possible that I had the time in my years to fill each of
these thousands or even millions of cards? But each card confirmed this
truth. Each was written in my own handwriting.

Each signed with my signature.
When I pulled out the file marked "TV Shows I have watched", I realized the
files grew to contain their contents. The cards were packed tightly, and
yet after two or three yards, I hadn't found the end of the file.

I shut it, shamed, not so much by the quality of shows but more by the vast
time I knew that file represented.

When I came to a file marked "Lustful Thoughts," I felt a chill run
through my body. I pulled the file out only an inch, not willing to test
its size, and drew out a card. I shuddered at its detailed content.

I felt sick to think that such a moment had been recorded. An almost
animal rage broke on me. One thought dominated my mind: No one
must ever see these cards! No one must ever see this room!

I have to destroy them!" In insane frenzy I yanked the file out Its size
didn't matter now. I had to empty it and burn the cards. But as I took it
at one end and began pounding it on the floor, I could not dislodge a single

I became desperate and pulled out a card only to find it as strong as steel
when I tried to tear it.

Defeated and utterly helpless, I returned the file to its slot. Leaning my
forehead against the wall, I let out a long, self-pitying sigh.

And then I saw it.. The title bore "People I Have Shared the Gospel
With." The handle was brighter than those around it, newer, almost unused.
I pulled on its handle and a small box not more than three inches long fell
into my hands. I could count the cards it contained on one hand.

And then the tears came. I began to weep.. Sobs so deep that they hurt.
They started in my stomach and shook through me. I fell on my knees and
cried. I cried out of shame, from the overwhelming shame of it all. The
rows of file shelves swirled in my tear-filled eyes.

No one must ever, ever know of this room. I must lock it up and hide the
key. But then as I pushed away the tears, I saw Him.

No, please not Him. Not here. Oh, anyone but Jesus. I watched helplessly
as He began to open the files and read the cards. I couldn't bear to watch
His response. And in the moments I could
bring myself to look at His face, I saw sorrow deeper than my own.

He seemed to intuitively go to the worst boxes.

Why did He have to read every one?

Finally He turned and looked at me from across the room. He looked at me
with pity in His eyes. But this was a pity that didn't anger me. I dropped
my head, covered my face with my hands and began to cry again. He walked
over and put His arm around me.

He could have said so many things. But He didn't say a word. He just cried
with me.

Then He got up and walked back to the wall of files. Starting at one end
of the room, He took out a file and, one by one, began to sign His name over
mine on each card.

"No!" I shouted rushing to Him.

All I could find to say was "No, no," as I pulled the card from Him. His
name shouldn't be on these cards. But there it was, written in red so rich,
so dark, so alive. The name of Jesus covered mine.

It was written with His blood. He gently took the card back. He smiled a
sad smile and began to sign the cards. I don't think I'll ever understand
how He did it so quickly, but the next instant it seemed I heard Him close
the last file and walk
back to my side.

He placed His hand on my shoulder and said, "It is finished." I stood up,
and He led me out of the room. There was no lock on its door.

There were still cards to be written. "I can do all things through Christ
who strengthens me."-Phil. 4:13 "For God so loved the world that He gave His
only son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal
life." If you feel the same way forward it to as many people as you can so
the love of Jesus will touch their lives also.

My "People I shared the gospel with" file just got bigger, how about

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Daily Christian Wisdom

For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?

-Luke 9:25

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Colossians 3:1-17

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you once walked, when you lived in them.

Today's Gospel reading is Matthew 4:18-25

8 As he was walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew, casting a net into the sea; they were fishermen.
He said to them, "Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men."
9 At once they left their nets and followed him.
He walked along from there and saw two other brothers, James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John. They were in a boat, with their father Zebedee, mending their nets. He called them,
and immediately they left their boat and their father and followed him.
10 He went around all of Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, 11 proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and curing every disease and illness among the people.
12 His fame spread to all of Syria, and they brought to him all who were sick with various diseases and racked with pain, those who were possessed, lunatics, and paralytics, and he cured them.
And great crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, 13 Jerusalem, and Judea, and from beyond the Jordan followed him.

For Relief From Anxiety & Grief

For Relief From Anxiety & Grief

O He who is sufficient from all things

But nothing is sufficient from Him

Be sufficient for me in what worries me in the state I am.

- Imam Taqi Al Jawad(as)

Lord, if I worship You from the fear of Hell, then let me burn in Hell. If I worship You for the hope of Paradise, then deny me admittance to it. But if I worship You out of reverence for You alone, then do not deny me the joy of Your Eternal Beauty.

-Rabi'a, "Rabi'a the Mystic"

From "The Bounty of Allah," translated by Aneela Khalid Arshed.