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WIT & WISDOM - January 26, 1999
We have always found that people are most productive in small teams with tight budgets, time lines and the freedom to solve their own problems. - John Rollwagen 
~~~~~~~ SPECIAL THOUGHTS:
SPLINTERS FROM THE CROSS
by Mary Lawrence Comm
What do you do when there's intense, persistent emotional pain in your life, but you don't know who or what has caused it? In my case, I had many of the symptoms of child abuse, but no memories to support them. I didn't know what happened to me as a child to bring about the recurrent fears, anxiety and relentless emotional distress all I knew was that whatever it was, it wasn't going away. Searching through my past, I prayed that God would reveal all to me who, what, when, where and why as He saw fit. I believed my part toward that end was to remain open to receive whatever He might tell me. What happened was I opened the door to more emotional pain but without any answers only more questions. Following is an allegory describing what finally brought me to a point of healing and a place of peace in my life. After years of searching for the answers, this is what I found. There I sat once again, trying to sort out the truth. That nagging feeling had been chewing away at me, little by little, piece by piece, until nothing was left but raw, irritated nerves.
As always, I cried out to my Savior, my Lord, my God, tired, with desperation in my voice:
"Jesus, I can't take this lonely road again. I've walked it so many times before yet it leads me nowhere." I swallowed the words but the thoughts numbed my brain as they drudged on unharnessed, nowhere but to the end of my emotions-to the void; that immense gulf of painfully cold blackness.
"Mary," He called softly.
"How is it that you still don't trust Me?" His voice was warm and deep.
"Lift your eyes to Mine." And with that He gently placed His hand beneath my chin and brought my face opposite His. Looking into His eyes I saw something I'd never seen before. There, a single tear swelled and spilled over His dark lashes and down His smooth olive skin. First one, then another. His heart was breaking for me. I lifted my hand to wipe the tears from His cheek, pausing to caress the precious face of my Jesus.
Then He took my hand gently into His own. I winced as my fingers touched the scar. He cupped His other hand over mine and with a pat of reassurance, in that same soothing voice, said, "Follow Me. There is nothing to fear." With that He let go of my hand and turned and walked away.
There before Him I saw that road just as I'd always seen it before. But this time, Jesus walked ahead of me. I knew I had to follow. The road was long and winding. It was narrow and rocky. The incline was sharp and steady. My feet were heavy and each step became harder to take. I slowed to a crawl, but Jesus kept His pace and soon was far ahead of me, out of sight.
It seemed as though hours had passed as I neared the end of the road. But my heart was full of anticipation. I knew my Lord would be waiting for me, arms opened wide, just around the next corner. I wouldn't have to face the void alone this time. Filthy, exhausted and out of breath I finally reached the end. As I rounded the last corner I couldn't believe my eyes. Shocked and horrified a cry of agony filled my lungs as I fell to my knees.
There before me hung my precious Jesus, once again nailed upon the tree. His skin hung in ribbons. Blood flowed freely down that smooth olive face as the thorns dug deep into His skull. There at the foot of the cross I wept, and once again I looked into His face. "Why?" I asked Him pleadingly. "Why did You do this for me?" He pushed Himself up on the nail in His feet and gasped a reply I didn't expect. "The question, My child, is not why?, but what now? What will you do with Me now?" "I don't know what You mean," I sobbed. "What choices do I have?" Then there appeared next to me a large bucket, filled with a lifetime of atrocities. The stench was sickening, more hideous than anything I'd ever experienced before. It was all I could do not to wretch at the sight of it. I looked again to the mutilated figure on the cross and, shaking my head, I pleaded, "I just don't understand."
Again He put all His weight on His feet and spoke in painful gasps. "Throw it on Me." "No!" I screamed. "I can't! I don't understand, my Lord, please help me understand!" I continued frantically. "You've already taken my sins, why must You do it again?"
"These aren't your sins, My child, but the sins of the one you seek." "You mean, the one who hurt me," I said quietly. It was more of a statement than a question.
"But You've already taken his sins too; why must You do this again?" "My precious child," He spoke lovingly. "Each time you seek him out you drive the nails into Me all over again. Until you let go of the past, until you forgive him, I will hang here suspended in agony." With that I grabbed the bucket and flung it as hard as I could away from my Savior into the void beyond the cross. Then I threw myself at the foot of that tree. There I clung with all my might, sobbing uncontrollably. "I forgive him," I cried. "I forgive him." An angel came at that moment and released my sweet Jesus and the two of them soon disappeared from view. I released my painful grip of the cross and pulled myself to my feet. I looked at my own hands and forearms, and again I gazed in astonishment. There, deeply embedded in my hands and arms, were splinters from the cross. As I pulled each of the shards from my own soft white flesh, the wounds immediately began to heal. Then, in a moment, the blackness of the void was overtaken by the glorious light of the Son of God. I was free.
- from Heart Check Ministry devotional. To subscribe write Tracy Mailto:Traylay@aol.com 
~~~~~~~ THIS & THAT:
DEAR PASTOR Part 1 of 2
I know God loves everybody but He never met my sister. Yours sincerely, Arnold. Age 8, Nashville.
Please say in your sermon that Peter Peterson has been a good boy all week. I am Peter Peterson. Sincerely, Pete. Age 9, Phoenix
My father should be a minister. Every day he gives us a sermon about something. Robert Anderson, age 11
I'm sorry I can't leave more money in the plate, but my father didn't give me a raise in my allowance. Could you have a sermon about a raise in my allowance? Love, Patty. Age 10, New Haven
My mother is very religious. She goes to play bingo at church every week even if she has a cold. Yours truly, Annette. Age 9, Albany
I would like to go to heaven someday because I know my brother won't be there. Stephen. Age 8, Chicago
I think a lot more people would come to your church if you moved it to Disneyland. Loreen. Age 9. Tacoma
I liked your sermon where you said that good health is more important than money but I still want a raise in my allowance. Sincerely, Eleanor. Age 12, Sarasota
(Part 2 will be on February 5) 
~~~~~~~ KEEP SMILING:
A five-year-old was reading and came to a word she didn't know. She asked her dad, "What does 'garff' mean?" At least her pronunciation made it sound like "garff". He said, "I'm not sure I understand the word. Can you use it in a sentence?" Exasperated, she said very slowly. . . "Sure: What. . . does. . . garff. . . mean?" 
DNA studies of the remains of the last Russian tsar, Nicholas II illustrate troubling questions in forensics and the dating of evolutionary events. The Tsar inherited two different sequences of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) from their mother, a condition known as heteroplasmy that was previously considered rare but which new studies show may occur in at least 10% and probably 20% of all humans. This may mean that mtDNA mutates perhaps as much as 20-fold faster than expected, according to two controversial studies. Since evolutionists had assumed that mtDNA mutations occur at a steady rate, these studies cast doubt over the dating of such events as the peopling of Europe. The new results are already prompting changes in DNA forensics procedures. - Calibrating the Mitochondrial Clock, by Ann Gibbons, Science Magazine #279: Pg. 28-29
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