ETERNAL INK +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ The articles within this publication remain the copyrights of the authors. Any permission to reproduce any article, in any format, must be granted by the author. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Editor-in-Chief of Eternal Ink - Mary-Ellen Grisham - meggy88@... Administrative Editor - David Davis - fishercaster@... Devotions Editor - Annettee Budzban - ahrtwrites2u@... Features Editor - Carl Phillips - CarlPhil10@... Special Materials Editor - Ivie Bozeman - ivie@... Poetry Editor - Elizabeth (Betty) Pearson - roybet630@... Eternal Ink Web Site - www.eternal-ink.com ISSN#: 1528-9605 +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Table of Contents 1) Mary-Ellen's Note 2) Profile Feature with poetic tributes 3) Special Feature 4) Concerns - Prayer Requests 5) This n' That - News bits 6) Seasonal Feature 7) Humor 8) Thoughtful Moment 9) Inspirational Story 10) Memorable Words/ Closing Words ISSN#: 1528-9605 +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ 1) Mary-Ellen's Note In this issue of Eternal Ink, we are varying our usual format to focus on some creative features and profiles. We hope you enjoy these true stories and thoughtful essays. A good example of Christian living shows the Bible in action and tends to make us remember the joy of keeping Christ's way in our daily lives. When my son was small, I had to be doubly careful about incorporating the Christian way in my lifestyle. David would always give me such a puzzled look when I would get angry or step out of my usual "mommy" role. I rapidly learned to keep those times to a minimum and work off any anger or frustration alone, using the Dobson method of sending David to his room to think about his behavior. Usually after those "time-outs," with mom in the kitchen and David sitting quietly in his room, we would get together again in a good mood, ready for hugs and the rest of our daily schedule. God's love and our love for each other truly does make a Way all its own. There is joy down the path when we walk with Jesus. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ 2) Profile Feature with poetic tributes Kyle's Puzzle By Roger Allen Cook I recently had the opportunity to watch a thirteen-year-old boy named Kyle work on a jigsaw puzzle. The pieces of the puzzle were a little larger than the ones that I enjoy doing, but that is completely understandable. Kyle is a severely mentally impaired teenager, who suffers from seizures, and as a result has poor motor skills. If you were to meet Kyle, his problems would be immediately obvious; yet there he was, successfully taking individual pieces, finding their place within the puzzle, matching the notches, and gradually making the fragmented picture whole again. Life, in general, has certainly not been easy for Kyle and his family as they lovingly work to put the pieces of his life together to help him be all that he can be in spite of many difficulties. God has a plan for Kyle, as He has a plan for each of us. God's plan is for us to become a picture of His grace that is developed over the days of life that He ordains. If we surrender all the pieces to Him, He will fit each one together for His special purpose and create a beautiful scene for all to appreciate. The picture of Kyle's life will not portray all the opportunities that some lives will, but that is not a problem. Kyle handles all his difficulties with patience while almost never complaining. He merely accepts whatever the day brings. He has become a neon display of God's providence and love for one who could be described as a weaker vessel. Weaker, perhaps, but less valuable-never! The God of Heaven is a Master at using the weak things of this world to bring glory to Himself. After all, He chose us to be His children. And as the Apostle Paul said, "...when I am weak, then I am strong." In thinking about Kyle and his puzzle, I remember that God answered Paul's plea for healing with the words, "My grace is sufficient for thee; for my strength is made perfect in weakness." That advice is for all of us, including Kyle. As I consider the puzzle that has been my life, and some of the mismatched pieces that I have vainly tried to fit together, I wonder how God perceives it all. When He sees Kyle and me standing together, I wonder which of us He considers being "the weaker vessel"? I dare say that there might be many who would not fare well in that type of comparison. Hang in there, Kyle! One day your God will make all things new as we shed our earthly vessels of weakness for eternal robes of perfection in Jesus Christ. Your parents look forward to that heavenly day when they can have a long conversation with you, and together you can say, "Isn't God's grace a wonderful thing?" Hey, what happened to that last piece of straight edge? It was here a minute ago. You don't suppose Kyle is hiding it so he can put the last touch on the puzzle do you? Nah, he wouldn't do that--would he? (c)Roger Allen Cook rkcook@... The Puzzle By Roger Allen Cook The picture was very beautiful Gracing the outside of the box- The clouds and heavens above, The water, the ships, the rocks. Inside things were very different. There were pieces of every shape That when properly put together Will present a lovely landscape. A machine had taken the image Then precisely cut each tiny bit, With straight edges and notches, Each one needing the perfect fit. Then the piecing process begins As one by one the parts are wed, Matching color, notch and edge, Just as quickly as the eye is led. Slowly the amalgam emerges. Individual images become one. Sections are partnered together, And the puzzle is finally done. Our lives just like a great puzzle Are pieced together day by day- Different parts at different times In colors from turquoise to gray. Looking at each individual piece The appearance does not inspire. Being appropriately fit together Is all that your God will require. He guides every step of the way In the life which belongs to Him. Parts that were once all scattered, With His help begin looking trim. Let the Master builder construct The pieces into a beautiful whole, Unified in God's graceful purpose And complete, under His control. (c) Roger Allen Cook The Potter's Plan By Kelly Thomas Not perfection, not polished, not a type to be put on display, Perhaps he's just the Potter's less than perfect lump of clay. Not fashioned like the others, nor made with the same mold, Can this vessel be useful? "Yes!" from the Potter we are told. "I have an eternal purpose that you will understand some day: Not to be used like the others, not to serve in the same way. "I made him carefully and with love just like all of the rest, With special design and promise, and sure to stand the test. "I did not shape him improperly, not hastily, nor out of spite, But to accomplish My great plan of which I have the right. "He'll touch the lives of people who others could not touch, I've created this vessel unique and I love him very much! "If you see a vessel that appears ungraceful, unlike the rest, Be assured of this My promise, what I make is always the best!" (c)Kelly Thomas Psalm 139:14 I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. Isaiah 64:8 But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand. Dedicated to Kyle Thomas by his mother, Kelly Thomas Dkellthomas2@... +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ 3) Special Feature Blanks By Ron Reese Recently, I spoke to a friend of mine about her grandchildren. She was quite stymied that they knew very little about God. I could relate to what she had said. For many years I had taught children in church. One of the most alarming things to me was that there are more and more youngsters who come to visit church and know extremely little about God. I am utterly amazed when I meet children who have never heard the stories of 'David and Goliath', or 'Daniel in the Lions Den'. As I left this dear lady, I considered the Godless society we seem to be a part of these days. Our politically correct philosophy has now entered the spiritual sphere, and rather than say something to offend others, we as a society have come to the point where we say nothing at all to the youth of today. All too often, they remind me more and more of a rock I used to find when I hunted for arrowheads. We called it a blank. A 'blank' is a chunk of rock made of the same flint-like material as arrowheads and spearheads. The ones I've found usually ranged from about fist size to being as big as a bowling ball. Years ago our Native Americans found large boulders of churt, (American flint). The boulders were too large to take with them so they would chink off large chunks with their stone hammers and carry them off with them, until they had a chance to turn them into something useful. These chunks of rock are known as 'blanks'. Many times the older hunter/warriors, or those too old and frail to hunt anymore did the spearhead and arrowhead making for the tribe. These experienced men could just look at a blank and visualize what they could make out of it. They of course started by making tomahawk heads and the larger spear points and eventually used the smaller fragments of churt to fashion arrowheads. Occasionally they would run into a vein of some inferior substance passing through the rock. This crack caused them to have to change their original plans, but nevertheless, they just kept knapping (chipping) away at the blank, fashioning it into something useful. As I look at one of the few blanks I've kept during my search for Native American artifacts, I am truly reminded of our children and our youth of today. Like the craftsman of yesteryear, we need to look deeper than what's on the surface. We need to see beneath the rough edges of the blank and visualize all the tools hiding deep beneath the surface. We, the children's parents, grandparents, friends, relatives, and teachers need to allow the Lord to help us as we mold the children of today into what God would have them be tomorrow. Even with an eye of faith, we cannot visualize what will become of these dear ones. Like the artisans of old, our job is to just keep chipping. As I mentioned earlier, when these tool makers of yesteryear came to an inferior substance, perhaps a crack in the rock that was filled with sandstone or metal, they had to make a decision. The craftsmen would carefully consider before casting away the blank what their course of action should be. These men knew that a crack in the material could fragment when the finished tool was being used later if they left the crack in the piece they were working with. And then too, it might even shatter while they were working the piece. So instead, they would work around the crack and leave it out of the end product. Rather than dispense with the stone, the skilled artisan would continue chipping at the blank just to see what could be done with the rock anyway. The larger chips would be saved for use later as small arrow heads. The toolmaker was patient. Perhaps he couldn't form the knife or the spear that he had in mind, but he might be able to craft a smaller spear, several arrowheads and a hide scraper instead as he worked around the imperfection. But he knew when he chinked off the blank from the boulder to which it had been attached that it had some worth. Otherwise, he wouldn't have carried it all the way back to camp. So he just kept working the piece. As we look at the youth of today, let us each see the real worth hiding deep within. Our children our priceless. Each one of them has great worth. But we will never know that worth, if we don't seek to mold them each into what God would have them to be. As we hold these dear ones in our Spiritual grasp, it's just like when the native craftsman of old held the blank in his hand. As he turned it from side to side, he could visualize what he would need to do to begin his work on the material. And so it is that when we look at the children and the youth of today that we also need to look at their needs; we need to look at their strengths and weaknesses. We need to help them capitalize on their talents and we need to help them get rid of the inferior substance of sin in their lives. And as we do our part, as we work on these gems, from time to time we may notice limitations and weaknesses. Rather than cast these precious ones aside, may we help them to know that they are still of great worth. Not everyone can become a doctor, a lawyer, a movie star, a professional athlete. But everyone can follow God's leading and become one of the jewels that make up His kingdom. As we train the hope of tomorrow by our kind example, may we realize that God and even we ourselves may run into a vein of some inferior substance (sin), running through the hearts of the youth, but may we also realize that with God's help, these children can receive forgiveness. And with His help they can still become useful in His Kingdom here and hereafter. Let us pray for these dear ones that they will allow the Master Craftsman, God, to keep chipping away at their hearts so that they can become powerful weapons for truth in the hands of the Almighty. (c)Ron Reese RonnieRayReese@... +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ 4) Concerns: Prayer Requests Many churches and local organizations have been taking up a collection for the tsunami victims, particularly those in southern Asia. Recently news broadcasts have likewise raised the issue of the personal well being of the survivors, particularly the children. Please keep the survivors in your prayers, with special consideration for the protection of children. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ 5) This n' That - News Bits Awards All of the book awards have been mailed to those who were winners in the Eternal Ink Holiday Prose/Poetry Contest. We sincerely congratulate those winners once again and also urge the winners to contact the Editor if you have not yet received your book award. Publication Recently the Editor of Eternal Ink, Mary-Ellen Grisham, published a volume of her poetry. The collection of nature poems is entitled Earth Tones and is a celebration of the seasons and of God's beautiful creation. If you would be interested in having a copy of this collection, please send a request and your home address to Mary-Ellen at the email in the masthead above. Eternal Ink Needs... Once again, we are asking those of you who enjoy Eternal Ink to invite your friends to subscribe to this twice monthly Christian ezine: eternal_ink-subscribe@... We are also at this time actively seeking submissions of Christian Profiles, short biographical sketches of persons who witness to the Christian lifestyle day by day. A writer can center such a 500-600 word sketch around one main happening or several short events that reveal the Christian example of the subject of the feature. Send profiles to Ivie Bozeman: ivie@... +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ 6) Seasonal Feature FLORAL BEAUTY IN JANUARY By Ivie Bozeman I was given a potted amaryllis bulb as a Christmas gift in early December. At that time there were two stalks with buds on each. One was swollen, ready to open, the other tightly closed with no action to be seen. As the days moved toward Christmas, the buds begin to swell and open. On Christmas Day, I had three large, red amaryllis blooms on my plant. It was the focal point of my kitchen and dining area and was enjoyed by all who visited at that time. Toward New Year's Day as the first blooms were beginning to age and die, the second stalk began to swell. Now in mid-January, I have four blooms on the second stem. The wonderful part about this is, I've been told, since this bulb was grown in potting soil in a container, it can be transferred to the yard in the spring and continue its growth cycle there. Being a flower lover, I have found this plant one of the most enjoyable gifts I've received. Unlike cut flowers from the florist, which are beautiful for a while but finally wilt and have to be cast aside, this one will continue to grow and produce beauty again next year. Unlike its counterparts that bloom in the yard, I've been able to watch each step in the blooming cycle of this plant. In many parts of the country, January brings ice, snow and bleak, dreary weather. Growing bulbs in pots inside the house can bring spring and summer joy to a winter heart. We are fortunate here in the southern part of the country to have a little bloom during all seasons of the year. Outside now, the narcissus, snowdrops and crocus are showing smiling faces in between the frosts and the irregular dipping of the temperature below the freezing point. Pansies, snapdragons, petunias and dianthus grace the flowerbeds in many landscapes and take their chances with the temperature, while establishing their root systems for a prolific bloom in early spring. Trees that will be in bloom in January are the Burford holly, flowering apricot, flowering quince and Taiwan cherry. Many southern areas are enjoying the beauty of the camellia at this time of year. Across the South, many areas will hold Camellia Shows in January. One or two nights of low temperatures can cancel these shows, but what a treat they are when the weather cooperates. A Camellia Show with hundreds of prize-winning blooms is an awesome sight to behold! We are fortunate to have the beauty of flowers to brighten up our lives and our landscapes at all times during the year. When God created flowers, He truly gave the world a great blessing. The language of flowers is said to have developed in the 1600's in Constantinople and in the poetry of Persia. Charles II introduced this Persian poetry to Europe, and Lady Mary Wortley Montagu brought the flower language from Turkey to England in 1716. It spread to France and became a handbook of about eight hundred floral messages known as the Book Le Language des Fleurs. Each flower had its own designated meaning so in an exchange, the giver would be secretly sharing a visual message by the type of flower he chose for his beloved. A full rose meant "beauty", red and white meant "unity", and a white rosebud warned, "One was too young for love". Yellow roses were for jealousy and yellow irises were for passion, while a crocus said, "Abuse not" and ivy signified marriage. Over the years the meanings may have changed, but the traditions still stayed on, and the romance, of course, has continued. Nothing is more special than giving or receiving a beautiful plant, and we all do get excited when anyone we are around receives them. Some love the cut flowers, but others prefer the whole plant. Either gift brings joy to the heart. It has been said many times and in many places that "the heart is closer to God in a garden than anywhere else on earth." If you cannot go to the garden, bring a plant inside and enjoy it during the cold days of January. (c)Ivie Bozeman ivie@... +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ 7) Humor An honest man was being tailgated by a stressed-out woman on a busy boulevard. Suddenly, the light turned yellow, just in front of him. He did the right thing, stopping at the crosswalk, even though he could have beaten the red light by accelerating through the intersection. The tailgating woman hit the roof, and the horn, screaming and gesturing in frustration as she missed her chance to get through the intersection with him. As she was still in mid-rant, she heard a tap on her window and looked up into the face of a very serious police officer. The officer ordered her to exit her car with her hands up. He took her to the police station where she was searched, fingerprinted, photographed, and placed in a cell. After a couple of hours, a policeman approached the cell and opened the door. She was escorted back to the booking desk where the arresting officer was waiting with her personal effects. He said, "I'm very sorry for this mistake. You see, I pulled up behind your car while you were blowing your horn, flipping the guy off in front of you, and cussing a blue streak at him. I noticed the 'Choose Life' license plate holder, the 'What Would Jesus Do' bumper sticker, the 'Follow Me to Sunday School' bumper sticker, and the chrome-plated Christian fish emblem on the trunk. Naturally, I assumed you had stolen the car." Shared by Ivie Bozeman and Hart Dowd Author unknown +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ 8) Thoughtful Moment This is interesting. I go to church once in (a very long) while. Up to now I do not even know any names of the other church goers. People at church want to maintain their close groups, as if you will take their places in heaven. When I go to a pub, even alone, I come up with so many names of people I have spoken with. They are so friendly, they talk, do not pry into your private life. I would like to put a challenge to all church going people. Next time you go to church, speak to someone you have not spoken to before. Speak to a complete stranger, make them feel at home. Yes, announcements are made from the pulpit that we welcome so and so, but this is impersonal. ...Phillimon Mutonhodza (PhillimonM@... ) From Christian Voices, January 7, 2005. Comment: We certainly wouldn't folks to feel more at home at Cheers than In Seventh Heaven, to use a little play on TV show material. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ 9) Inspirational Story Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star Wishing to encourage her young son's progress on the piano, a mother took her boy to a Paderewski concert. After they were seated, the mother spotted an old friend in the audience and walked down the aisle to greet her. Seizing the opportunity to explore the wonders of the concert hall, the little boy rose and eventually explored his way through a door marked "NO ADMITTANCE." When the house lights dimmed and the concert was about to begin, the mother returned to her seat and discovered that the child was missing. Suddenly, the curtains parted and spotlights focused on the impressive Steinway on stage. In horror, the mother saw her little boy sitting at the keyboard, innocently picking out "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star." At that moment, the great piano master made his entrance, quickly moved to the piano, and whispered in the boy's ear, "Don't quit. Keep playing." Then, leaning over, Paderewski reached down with his left hand and began filling in a bass part. Soon his right arm reached around to the other side of the child, and he added a running obbligato. Together, the old master and the young novice transformed what could have been a frightening situation into a wonderfully creative experience. The audience was so mesmerized that they couldn't recall what else the great master played. Only the classic, "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star." Perhaps that's the way it is with God. What we can accomplish on our own is hardly noteworthy. We try our best, but the results aren't always graceful flowing music. However, with the hand of the Master, our life's work can truly be beautiful. The next time you set out to accomplish great feats, listen carefully. You may hear the voice of the Master, whispering in your ear, "Don't quit. Keep playing." May you feel His arms around you and know that His hands are there, helping you turn your feeble attempts into true masterpieces Remember, God doesn't seem to call the equipped, rather, He equips the 'called.' Life is more accurately measured by the lives you touch than by the things you acquire. Shared by Ivie Bozeman and Hart Dowd Author unknown +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ 10) Memorable Words/ Closing Words Psalm 119 Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord. Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart. They also do no iniquity: they walk in his ways. Thou has commanded me to keep thy precepts diligently. O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes! Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments. I will praise thee with uprightness of heart, when I shall have learned thy righteous judgments. I will keep thy statutes: O forsake me not utterly. (verses 1-8) KJV If you have found inspiration and blessing, a little guidance along the way, in this issue of Eternal Ink, we hope that you will share a copy with a friend or neighbor. To subscribe to Eternal Ink, send a blank email to eternal_ink-subscribe@... To unsubscribe, send a blank email to eternal_ink-unsubscribe@... Until our next issue, may God bless you in your walk with the Lord! Mary-Ellen +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ WE ARE PROUD TO BE PARTNERS WITH TEENS4JESUS AND WITH LIVING2SERVE. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- -- To unsubscribe, send ANY message to: eternal_ink-unsubscribe@... A proud member of the ArkWebs<http://www.arkwebs>ministry team.