THE LIFE LINE
A young man is walking along the boardwalk when he hears a cry of desperation, “HELP, HELP.” He runs to the edge of the water and sees a person flailing away in the water, unable to swim. The young man looks about frantically to find something to help save the drowning man. He sees two ropes lying side by side. One is used, well worn and faded with age. The other is neatly coiled and new, still gleaming from where it was made. He grabs the neatly coiled rope, and tosses one end to the man in the water. After a little struggle, the man is able to grab hold as the man on the shore begins to pull him in. The man is within feet of the rocks when the rope snaps and once again the man begins to go under. The man on the shore looks on in astonishment as the man struggles desperately to keep his head above water. He can’t understand what’s happening. He wants to help. He threw the lifeline. The line was new and looked strong. He looks on in confusion as the man goes under for a fourth time. As he stands there trying to decide what to do, he suddenly sees another man run past him and throw out the old rope. Once again, the man in the water, ever so weak, miraculously finds a grip and clings tightly as he’s pulled to safety. The young man had every good intention of saving the fellow from drowning. He did everything the other man did except for one thing. He chose the wrong rope. He didn’t check the strength and integrity of the lifeline he was throwing. If he had examined it closely, he would have discovered that the rope was a factory reject and was thread worn in several places, while the other rope, even though it was well used, was strong and able to bring the man to safety as long as he clung on tight. Sometimes a person may have every good intention in his or her excitement to bring people to Christ. He wants to see lives saved, but in his desire to see people saved, he is throwing a truth to them that on the outside seems attractive. However, when put through the trials and tribulations of life, the person is unable to cling to the rope because it was manufactured in the factory of one’s mind, unable to withstand the trials and tribulations of life and eventually the drowning man loses his grip on the lifeline and finds himself sinking ever deeper and farther from the outstretched hand of the Lord. When the good rope was thrown the drowning man had to hold on tight. In the “Parable of the Sower,” the Word was given, but it only took root in those whose soil was free from rocks and thorns. God is the “Master Gardener.” If we don’t allow Him to weed out the thorns and rocks (doubt and worldly cares) in our heart and replace it with good fertile soil (A heart full of God’s love, joy and faith), then it doesn’t matter the integrity of the lifeline thrown. Our grip will eventually slip and we’ll find ourselves stuck in the mire and clay of this world. We must teach that the entire Bible is the inspired Word of God. We can ill afford to cut away the parts we find unattractive or hard to swallow. If we do this then we will be like the man on the shore, staring helplessly as we see the people we so desperately want to help drowning in their own sins, unaware that we, too, are drowning right along with them. We can never allow ourselves, no matter what, to compromise the Word of God. People’s very lives are at stake.
Robert Ray Warriner
I will turn your grief to Joy - John 16:20
He sat there devoid of hope. They were gone. All He could feel was emptiness. His wife and little girl were gone, victims of an act of violence, and with them, his will to live. They were his life and now his life was meaningless. As he sat there the house echoed back to him the emptiness that was in his own heart. All his life he had been taught that religion, including Christianity was unfulfilled promises. That it was a myth, devoid of any meaning. Therefore all he could do was live in a past that no longer existed, rehashing memories of days gone by because he was afraid of letting go, lest the memories, he so desperately clung to, be forgotten. But as time rolled on, he knew that there had to be more. He couldn’t accept it that his wife and daughter just ceased to exist. There had to be something beyond this life, but what it was, he did not know. As he roamed the tomb he once called home the young man chanced upon the old dusty Bible that once was treasured by his wife. His heart leapt in His throat. What was this feeling? NO!! Again the next day and the next, he was drawn to the Bible that his dear wife had cherished so dearly. Finally after many days, he finally gave in and with shaking hands carefully picked up the Bible. After finding a cloth and wiping it clean, he gingerly opened it and began to read. Once he started, it was like a man dying of thirst. He couldn’t put it down. He felt a compulsion to continue reading as if his life depended upon it. Finally (was it days or weeks? He did not know) he came upon the passage that changed his life forever. Psalm 116:15 – “Blessed in the sight of the Lord, is the death of the saints.” Then he read Romans 14 where it says, “For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's. Then came 1st Thessalonians 4:13,14. After that it was like a fountain had opened up and the verses came pouring out. Finally he read John 11:25,26 “Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 2 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” It was as if the Lord was asking him this question. His heart raced. He read the words and the question again, and again. The more he read the words the more excited he became. YES!! Yes he did believe it.” It was then that he finally fell to his knees, not with tears of anguish, but of joy. Through a veil of tears he cried out to God, praying for salvation, that the truth of the resurrection and eternal life might become real for his loved ones and for himself. Dear readers the Easter bunny is the myth. The person in the above story could have avoided the suffering he went through if only he had been taught about Jesus’ gift of salvation from his youth. Jesus is the resurrection and the life. Only in Him do we have that blessed hope of eternal life. Please don’t start your children’s teaching about Resurrection Day with a lie. Teach your children the truth about the resurrection. Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”
SHARE THE WAY THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE…. NOT THE MYTH
1st Corinthians15:1-3 Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures,
1st Thessalonians 4:13,14 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep.
A DAUGHTER’S FORGIVENESS
The young girl had been a victim of physical and mental abuse throughout her childhood. Nothing she did was good enough for her alcoholic single mother of 3. The last straw was when she was 15 and her mother, in a fit of alcoholic rage, let loose with a barrage of hateful insults, followed by the last slap the young girl would ever feel at the hands of her mother. She walked out the door, vowing never to see her mother again.
As the years went on, the girl kept her promise. Her life was a series of ups and downs; trials and blessings. When she was 24, she accepted Christ into her heart. When she turned 26 she got married to a loving husband and within a year gave birth to a beautiful daughter. Within a year she had another daughter. Everything was wonderful until all of a sudden she found herself becoming angry and impatient with her daughters. She would yell at them for no reason. Finally she got so angry that she almost struck her oldest daughter. That night she told her husband. “I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I’m becoming just like my mother.”
Her husband replied, “It’s time you forgave your mother.”
“But, you don’t understand. You don’t know what it was like growing up with her. The things she said. The things she did.”
“You’re right I don’t, but you need to forgive her, as much for yourself as for her. You say you don’t want to become like her, but look at yourself. I love you. But if you want to stop this curse, you have to find God’s love in you and rely on His strength to. I know you’re afraid, but God’s perfect love cast’s out fear.” The next morning she drove to her mother’s house, prayed to God for His love and strength, walked to the door and knocked. After a few moments the door opened. “Hi mom. I love you. Can I come in and talk?”
When the daughter walked out of her mother’s house she felt the burden of fear, hate doubt and guilt had left her. She only felt God’s perfect love flowing though her. Unburdened from the past and free to be the mother and wife God intended her to be, she rushed home to embrace her daughters and husband.
How this young lady’s mother responded is unknown. Hopefully she responded with love and received her daughter’s forgiveness with an open heart. But, to be honest that is not always the case. Often times the hand of forgiveness is not received. However, what you will find within yourself, is an open pliable, heart of flesh, rather than an impenetrable heart of stone. This young lady was able to go back to her family, transformed by God’s love and grace. She became the loving mother and wife God created her to be. Please, whether you’re a mom, daughter, son or dad, don’t let one more moment go by with unforgiveness in your heart.
Robert Ray Warriner
Once upon a time...
… In a land far, far away, there lived a beautiful princess in a beautiful palace high atop a beautiful hill. Upon the young maiden’s 18th birthday the King called all the people of the land together and announced there would be a great contest amongst all the eligible young bachelors in the land. There would be a race, whose course will be laid out by the King, himself. The King gathered all the bachelors together (there were 1,200 in all) and made his proclamation. “Tomorrow will be the day of the great race. The winner of the race will be the one who is worthy to claim the hand of my daughter, and thus become heir of my kingdom. Remember there is only a guarantee of failure in this impossible mission should you choose to accept it.
Are you all up to the challenge?” “Yes, Sire,” went up the cry from the multitude.
“Tonight, you shall all be my guests at the palace, sleep well. Tomorrow, at the rising of the sun, the race shall begin.” That night there was much excitement in the Kings palace as the men talked of being a part of the royal family and who would be greatest in the kingdom. They thought about the fame, fortune and power the winner would acquire.
The young man finished writing on the parchment that lay before him, rolled it up and secured it with a red ribbon. He then knelt down on his knees and prayed that God’s will be done.
He got on His horse and hurried off. Though wolves and beasts lay just off the beaten path, the young man had no fear as he rode through the dark, moonless night, until he reached the foot of the palace. He pulled an arrow from the quiver on his back, placed it in the bow and made a silent prayer that his aim would be true. He aimed the arrow as high as it would go, pulled the string until it was tight, and let it fly through the night air. He could not see the arrow in the darkness, but trusted
that God would allow it to reach its intended destination.
It was close to dawn when the young man arrived home. He was exhausted, but knew there was no time for sleep.
He had to get to the contest on time.
Meanwhile Back at the Palace…
The princess was in her chambers overlooking the edge of the cliff. She waited with anticipation as she looked toward the open window. She jumped up with glee as she saw the arrow fly through the window. She grabbed the arrow from the floor, pulled off the scroll and read the words written there as she did every other week for
They had met as she was travelling the countryside during the summer the year before. Her father, the king, knew of, and consented to, their relationship, but was bound by tradition to conduct a contest (this is a fairy tale after all) to determine who was worthy of being called his son. As she read the three little words on the parchment her heart leapt for joy within her. She threw herself on her bed and thanked God, asking His will to be done.
The Next Morning…
They were all gathered out in front of the palace ready to begin the race. The King stepped out on the balcony and addressed the crowd. “Today is the day that one and only one of you will become the rightful heir to my kingdom, but only if you are able to win the race and stay on the path I have set for you. There are 20 grueling miles through the Forest of Fear, across the River of Doubt, around Temptation Swamp, into the Caverns of Despair and finally crossing the Mountain of Pride. As you know there is safe passage through to the end as long as you do not deviate from the path. If you do, it is certain death. You each have your own steed to ride. “Are you ready for the challenge?” “Yes Sire,” went up the cry from the crowd for the second time in two days. “I must remind you all, no man can hope to finish the impossible task that lays before you. If you choose to forfeit, now is the time. No one spoke. “Very well, let us go forth to the edge of Fearsome Forest, where the race shall begin.
The Contest Begins
Once there, the men lined up ready for the horn to sound the beginning of the race. No one spoke a word. The horn sounded and they were off, leaving a cloud of dust in their wake.
That is, except for one young man, who knelt down and began to pray. “Lord,” he began. “I, your humble servant, ask Lord, that you guide me on your narrow path and keep me from the traps that lay ahead. Help me Lord, that I do not fall prey to fear, doubt, temptation, despair, pride or any other thing that might ensnare me. Lord I ask that it be your love
that guides me to your intended goal and that your will be done.”
The others were off, confident in themselves that they had the strength and courage in themselves to overcome any obstacle that lay before them. Oh, they were brave men indeed and only a handful of men became lost forever in the Forest of Fear. There were a few more that succumbed to the roiling waters and drowned in the river of doubt. Still others (quite a large number) got
trapped in Temptation Swamp as they became ensnared in its muck and mire.
Throughout all this time, the young man continued to kneel and pray and glorify God.
Still the race continued and still more eligible bachelors became lost in the inky blackness of the Caverns of Despair. For the few that made it that far, overconfidence got the better of them and they fell to their death crossing the Mountain of Pride.
The young man finally got up on his horse and as he rode along he began to sing out praises to the Lord. He rode through the Forest of Fear with the love of God in his heart. He crossed the River of Doubt confident in God’s protection. He traveled around Temptation Swamp, knowing God would make a way of escape. He rejoiced in God’s hope as he entered the Caverns of Despair and finally crossed the Mountain of Pride with humility, knowing it was God who guided his every step.
Finally he rode up to the palace. The King and his future bride were waiting for Him. The young man dismounted as both of them rushed to embrace him. “Welcome to the family, my son.” The King called out for all to hear. Then he bent close and whispered in his ear “And never forget that this trial you passed today, will continue every day of your life. But if you continue to seek God’s Kingdom and His righteousness you will never deviate from the path. Keep your eyes on the Prize my boy.
Keep your eyes on Jesus and He will direct your path.”
The greatest relationship this young man had was with Jesus Christ. He knew that all other relationships
must be built upon that most wonderful of all relationships.
Husbands and wives, and those intending to be such, it is only by God’s love in you that you can truly love your spouse with that everlasting love of God. Remember, only His perfect love casts out fear, doubt, despair, temptation,
pride or any other thing that might beset us, leaving only His eternal and abiding love.
Robert Ray Warriner
THE SAGA OF THE CLATSOP KID
The following is an untrue story from the non-historic annals of American history. However the allegory in this brief saga still holds true to this day.
The stranger, dress all in black, rode slowly up the street with his hat pulled low over his forehead. His face was covered with two weeks growth of whiskers. He sat atop a coffee colored Appaloosa covered in splatters of white snow that stood out in contradiction to the heavy rain that fell on both horse and rider.
The townsfolk had heard that the Clatsop Kid had just gotten out of prison. He had spent 5 long years behind bars for relieving the Skippanon River Stage of the fisherman’s payroll.
5 years earlier, Sherriff Clay Holt had put the Kid in prison. He gathered a posse together and headed out after the Clatsop Gang. They hunted the robbers for 3 days over rough terrain, finally catching them at their hideout on Saddle Mountain. It was a tough, grueling job for all involved, but for Sheriff Holt, it was the toughest job of his life.
It had been 13 years since the Kid’s mother fell ill. On her death bed she made Clay promise to look after her boy, Jed, as if he were his own. The boy lived alone with his alcoholic father from the time he was 11 years old.
Clay spent as much time as he could with the boy, sharing the Word of God with him and inviting Jed and his father to any family gatherings. Every Sunday he’d invite them to church and then to Ellie’s Diner for a piece of her famous apple pie. Jed’s pa would invariably refuse any invitation or act of kindness offered, but he didn’t much care what young Jed did, as long as it didn’t interfere with him.
Clay and Jed became great friends, but when it came to making a decision for the Lord, there was a wall built up that Clay was unable to break through.
When Jed was 17 his pa died from cirrhosis of the liver. Despite Clay’s best efforts, Jed started a downward spiral of anger a depression that eventually lead to a life of crime that persisted until that fateful day on Saddle Mountain.
When they hauled Jed off to prison, Jed was cursing and yelling threats of retribution AND THA Clay would someday pay. Mingled with these threats of revenge, Clay could also hear the words of Jed’s mother echoing in his ears. “Promise me Clay. Take care of my boy as if he were your own. Promise me. Promise me…”
Now here it was, 5 years later and “The Clatsop Kid” was back in town.
The townsfolk began to shake their heads and whisper. There were some that looked on with gleeful anticipation at the prospect of violence to shatter the peacefulness of their quiet little town. Some went into their homes, locked the doors and closed the shutters. Still others gathered themselves at the little church and devoted themselves to prayer.
Jed rode up the front of Ellie’s diner, dismounted his horse and tied him up to the hitching post. He put his hand to his side, patting the bulge that was there, making sure his weapon was in place. From the corner of his eye, he could see people in the diner, peering at him from behind lace curtains, through the fog covered windows.
He started to head up the street, when he heard the voice behind him. “Hello Kid.”
He spun around quickly on the heel of his boot, coming face to face with the man who had sent him to prison 5 years earlier. Neither of them spoke a word. They just stood there, immobile, staring at one another. The only sound heard, was the steady drum of rain as it pelted down on them.
Jed was the first to react as he reached into his coat, but clay was quicker as he reached out and pulled the other man to him in a fatherly embrace. In Jed’s hand was a small bible, whose pages were tattered from use.
“Thank you dad” Jed said, as he embraced the older man. Thank you for not giving up on me.”
“You’re welcome son” whispered Clay, as he choked back the tears behind his eyes. I prayed for you every day. It’s God who never gave up on both of us.
“I still have the Bible you sent me and I read it every day. That, and the letters you sent me are what got me through the past 5 years.”
“Welcome home” the older man said as they both stood back and cleared their throats.
“How about we go in here” he said, nodding towards Ellie’s Diner. “We’ll get you warmed up with a cuppa’ joe and Miss Ellie’s apple pie. Then we’ll head home and get you a shave and a hot bath.”
They walked into the diner, looked at the shocked faces staring at them, and both men broke out into uncontrollable laughter.
Sharing Christ with someone who doesn’t want to hear it can be heartbreaking, but we must never give up. In the James’ epistle, we read “God is Love” and in 1st Corinthians 13:4 we read that “Love is patient.” We, as God’s children can only share the message of hope with others. It is the Holy Spirit that draws people to Him. God used Clay to share the message with “The Kid”, but it was the Holy Spirit the bore witness and drew him close. It was also the Holy Spirit that helped Clay to never give up and continue praying for Jed every day.
It is God’s love working in and through each of us that helps us persevere, even in the face of trials and tribulations. It is His love that compels us to share His Gospel with others.
Please, NEVER give up sharing God’s love with others.
Robert Ray Warriner
THE CONTINUING SAGA OF THE MAN FORMERLY KNOWN AS “THE CLATSOP KID”
It had been a year since the Clatsop Kid returned home. Only these days he was being called by the name his parents gave him. Jed.
There were still a few in town that couldn’t overlook the past and, although they didn’t come right out and say it, their look of disgust and obvious shunning was enough to tell what they thought of their towns’ most infamous citizen.
Most notable was Cyrus McAdams, whose father had been one of the victims of the payroll robbery all those many years ago.
The rain beat against the small cabin, the wind rattling the shutters, trying to fight it’s way in to destroy the peace and tranquility of the small family as they huddled together in front of the fireplace. For Cyrus, family was everything. He looked over at his daughters as they knelt in front of the fireplace, the flickering light from the flames dancing on their faces as they played checkers. Annabelle, 9 had a look of youthful concentration on her face as she contemplated her next move. Lizzie 6½, was all smiles and giggles even though she had lost 2 out of three games. For her, it wasn’t the game that mattered, but the fact that she got to play with her sister, who was usually with her friends. She was happy that the raging storm outside brought her sister indoors and she could have her all to herself for a change.
Jasper, their 14 year old, Australian Shepherd, lay curled at Cyrus’ feet. A copy of “The Black Spider” lay on his lap as he puffed contentedly on his pipe.
He couldn’t concentrate on the Mystery novel. He didn’t really cotton to church but Cora had insisted he go and when his wife wanted something, well, it was usually easier to just go along rather than argue the point. Like a song stuck in his head, the pastor’s Bible reading was stuck, repeating itself over and over. “Greater love hath no man than this….”
“Who wants cocoa and freshly made corn cakes?” their mother called from the doorway of the kitchen. “I do, I do” was the cry of all 3 McAdams from the front room. Cora was carrying a steaming pot of cocoa in one hand while balancing a platter of steaming corn cakes in the other. At her feet Jasper was finally up and alert, dancing around, in the hopes of a few generous crumbs.
Just then the door blew open as a gust of wind hurled itself at the house. Cyrus was on his feet in a flash rushing to close the door and secure the bar. Jasper was quicker as He made a mad dash out the door after some imagined intruder. “Just Wonderful”, Cyrus muttered , as he slammed the door shut and set the bar in place. He returned to his chair, grabbed the book from the floor and laid it on the nightstand next to Him. “You can’t just let him run out there daddy. Do something” Lizzie pleaded with her father as she stare up at him with a frightened look on her face. It’s all right, he’ll come back when he’s ready. “He’ll be fine. Now don’tcha worry none Lizzie, girl. Go on back to yer’ game and get some cocoa while it’s still hot.
Cyrus knew Jasper would be fine but there was no way to tell Lizzie that. He’d been out in worse than this or so he kept trying to convince himself as he heard the wind howling behind the shutters. The words were still in his head, “Greater love hath no man than this….”
Later that night Lizzie in her room and Cyrus in his, both had the same thought. Save Jasper……..
Lizzie rose from her bed, threw a coat over her nightclothes, pulled on her galoshes and crept out of her room. She entered the hall closet and pulled open the hatch to the basement, climbed down the steps, felt along the wall until she came to the other hatch leading to the outside world. Closing the hatch and securing it behind her she turned and faced the darkness as the wind and rain beat fiercely against her. Then she disappeared into the night.
30 minutes later Cyrus could sleep no more as he too dressed for the storm. He then grabbed his gear and lantern before exiting the house. As he disappeared into the howling night the words, “Greater love hath no man than this….” Once again reverberated in his mind.
Lizzie was struggling through the wind, calling out, “Jasper. Jasper! Here Jasper” She had been out in the storm almost an hour and wasn’t sure of the way home, but she knew as soon as Jasper was found He’d know the way. Just then she heard a bark in the distance.
“JASPER” she cried and ran toward the sound. It was Jasper. She just knew it. As she raced ahead she suddenly found herself sliding. She fell forward, unable to stop her momentum. Too stunned to cry out she was hurtled downward until she splashed headlong into the Skipanon river.
Jed was half asleep when he was jolted out of bed by a scream cutting through the night air. He sat up unsure of what he heard. There it was again. A scream from the direction of the river behind the house told him he wasn’t hearing things. He threw on his gear and went running out of the house. He heard the cries for help again and made a dash for the river. He stumbled down the debris laden trail as the rain and wind beat against him. He stopped, looked into the inky night, listening intently for a cry of help. There it was, a muffled cry. He saw the girl just up the river as she hurtled over the waves toward him. Without thinking, Jed plunged headlong into the river, coming to the girl just in time to reach out and grasp the hood to her coat as they were both swept along by the rushing current. He held onto the girl with one arm and reached out desperately with the other for something to grab hold. All of a sudden He saw the tree limb looming before him, lodged in the boulders smack in the middle of the creek. He took a deep breath and with one arm secure around the young girl, Jed lunged with all his strength for the limb. He grabbed hold to a branch and felt it snap from the limb as he desperately tried for another. There it was. He reached out with desperation and grabbed tight around the nub at the very tip of the limb. He looked to the girl, who by this time was unconscious as she lay limp in His arms.
In one arm lay the unconscious girl. He pulled her out of the swirling water, propped her against the limb holding her in place with one hand as he clung to the log with the other as it remained precariously lodged in the middle of a raging river.
He didn’t know how much time had passed and his hands and fingers were beginning to feel as numb as the rest of him. He had been calling out for help to no avail. His voice getting weaker and weaker in the howling wind.
What was that? A flicker of light. He blinked, and shook his head trying to shake the storm from his eyes. Yes! He saw it again. With one final deep breath he filled his lungs and let out a desperate cry for help. The light came closer and after a few moments he saw the rope coming at him like an unruly sidewinder. His hand was getting weaker as he clung by just the fingers of his outstretched arm. With his other arm he was able to get the noose secured through and around the young girls coat. He also knew that with his added weight the chances of the girls survival was at risk. He saw the girl disappear into the night as she was pulled to safety and he thought “Thank you Lord for keeping her safe,” His hand and fingers were numb with cold and he found himself losing his grip. A wave came crashing against him and he felt himself being swept down the river. He couldn’t find his bearings as the water swirled around Him. Crash after crash, both from water and debris crashed into his, already weakened, body.
A large log hit him on the left, spinning him around as another crashed against him from the right. Jed heard, rather than felt his arm snap. He couldn’t hold out any longer. He was just too weak. With a final desperate cry for help, Jed cried out, “Lord save me.”
Jed felt his body weaken and begin to sink beneath the raging water.
Just then, something in the water loomed over him. It was Jasper. He felt the dog clamp his teeth around his coat at the shoulder and begin to pull the 6”3”, 240 pound man through the water, swimming with all his strength against the wind. The only thing Jed could do was witness this miracle as he went in and out of consciousness. This dog that weighed no more than 60 pounds was able to pull him through the storm and wind. Jed let his body go limp (“My Strength is made perfect in your weakness.”). Jasper finally made it to the Mud slick bank of the Skipanon River and tried with all his might to pull Jed to safety, but the bank was just too slippery. Jed suddenly felt himself being lifted into the air. He looked back and saw Jasper, exhausted, sink back down the muddy embankment and into the icy waves of the Skipadnon River. The thought that entered his mind just before closing his eyes in exhaustion was, “ Greater love has no man.”
2 days later. It is Christmas Eve and the McAdams family is gathered around the fire. The air outside is cold and crisp but calm. Little Lizzie is bundled in a new afghan blanket and still a little weak. She is also all smiles and giggles again.
There was a knock at the door, causing Cyrus to jump up and rush to the door. He opened the door and saw the man standing there before him. “Jed!! Come in. Come in.” Beamed Cyrus, as if they’d been friends all their lives. “How ‘bout some of Cora’s hot cider? Best in the County.” “Don’t mind if I do. Thanks kindly” said Jed as he took off his hat and coat, revealing the cast that covered his left arm. “How’s Lizzie doin’ ” “Fine, just fine. She’s an amazing girl. More worried about you than herself.
“How’s Jasper doing?”
“Ask him yourself” Cyrus laughed, as the dog came bounding around the corner on three legs. His right hind leg bandaged up tightly. C’mon in and have a seat by the fire, I need to talk to you about something. I can’t get it outta my head. What you did for my little girl. I just can’t get over it.” “It’s no different than anyone else would do given the same circumstances” Jed whispered, somewhat embarrassed by the continued praise. “No it isn’t. What you did, not only saved my little girl, but also changed my life forever. I mean, the way I’ve treated you. The hate I had in my heart for all those years. But that night you saved my little girl, I kept hearing this verse the pastor was preachin’ on in my head. “Greater love hath no man than this….” Jed looked up, astounded, a look of joy on His face. “Those were the exact words I was thinking as well when ol’ Jasper saved me from certain death.” He paused for a moment then continued. You want to know something even more astounding? Let me show you another passage from God’s Word. He turned to Romans 5 and began reading from verse 6. Later that night in front of the crackling fire, surrounded by family and his new brother, Cyrus McAdams accepted Jesus Christ into his heart as his Lord and Savior.
Matthew 5:41-48 And if one of the occupation troops forces you to carry his pack one mile, carry it two miles. When someone asks you for something, give it to him; when someone wants to borrow something, lend it to him.“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your friends, hate your enemies.’ But now I tell you: love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may become the children of your Father in heaven. For he makes his sun to shine on bad and good people alike, and gives rain to those who do good and to those who do evil. Why should God reward you if you love only the people who love you? Even the tax collectors do that! And if you speak only to your friends, have you done anything out of the ordinary? Even the pagans do that! You must be perfect—just as your Father in heaven is perfect.
Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.