Illustrations and Poetry Archives

We Are All on a Journey Toward Heaven

When I accepted Christ as my Savior, He ordered my steps and set me on a journey. His desire for me was to keep me moving and to bring me closer toward His eternal heart. The most amazing part of my journey is that He goes with me each step of the way. I came across this poem, and it really spoke to my heart.  May you feel His presence today on your journey toward home (heaven).

The Father spoke, “Come, child, let us journey together.”
“Where shall we go, Father?”
“To a distant land, another Kingdom.”
“So will the journey be long?”
“Yes, we must travel every day.”
“When will we reach our journey?”
“At the end of your days.”
“And who will accompany us?”
“Joy and Sorrow.”
“Must sorrow travel with us?”
“Yes, she is necessary to keep you close to me.”
“But I only want Joy.”
“It is only with Sorrow that you will know true Joy.”
“What must I bring?”
“A willing heart to follow Me.”
What shall I do on the journey?”
“There is only one thing you must do—
“Stay close to Me. Let nothing distract you.
Always keep your eyes on Me.”
“And what shall I see?”
“You will see My glory.”
“And what will I know?”
“You will know My heart.”
The Father stretched out His hand. The child knowing the great love her Father had for her placed her hand in His, and she began her journey.

               Things To Remember on Our Journey

  • I must begin each day’s journey with a daily commitment to travel toward the heart of God.
    Deuteronomy 6:5
    And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
  • Although some days on my journey might be discouraging, I must draw near to Him.
    Psalms 73:28
    But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all thy works.
  • I must follow His paths of mercy and truth.
    Psalms 25:10 All the paths of the LORD are mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies.
  • I must lay down all my emotional burdens, release old hurts, and learn to travel light.
  • I must not get angry with my traveling companions of Joy and Sorrow.
    James 1:3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
  • I must constantly check with my Guide and follow my Guidebook.
    Psalms 40:8 I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.
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Poem: Reflections of a Mother

Reflections of a Mother

I gave you life, but cannot live it for you.
I can teach you things, but I cannot make you learn.
I can give you directions, but I cannot be there to lead you.
I can allow you freedom, but I cannot account for it.
I can take you to church, but I cannot make you believe.
I can teach you right from wrong, but I cannot always decide for you.
I can buy you beautiful clothes, but I cannot make you beautiful inside.
I can offer you advice, but I cannot accept it for you.
I can give you love, but I cannot force it upon you.
I can teach you to share, but I cannot make you unselfish.
I can teach you respect, but I cannot force you to show honor.
I can advise you about friends, but cannot choose them for you.
I can advise you about sex, but I cannot keep you pure.
I can tell you the facts of life, but I can’t build your reputation.
I can tell you about drink, but I can’t say “no” for you.
I can warn you about drugs, but I can’t prevent you from using them.
I can tell you about lofty goals, but I can’t achieve them for you.
I can teach you about kindness, but I can’t force you to be gracious.
I can warn you about sins, but I cannot make you moral.
I can love you as a child, but I cannot place you in God’s family.
I can pray for you, but I cannot make you walk with God.
I can teach you about Jesus, but I cannot make Jesus your Lord.
I can tell you how to live, but I cannot give you eternal life.
I can love you with unconditional love all of my life . . .  and I will!!!

Always, Mom (COPIED)

Poem: Cherished Friends

Cherished Friends

God knows that there are times
We need a word of cheer
Someone to praise a triumph
Or brush away a tear.
He knows we need to share
The joy of “little things”
In order to appreciate
The happiness life brings.
He knows our troubled hearts
Will sometimes throb with pain
At trials and misfortunes
Or some goals we did not attain.
He knows we need the comfort
Of an understanding heart
To give us strength and courage
To make a fresh, new start.
He knows we need companionship
Unselfish…lasting…true,
And so God answered the heart’s great need
With cherished friends…like you.

God’s Timing Is Not Always Our Timing

Have you ever felt as if God was not answering your prayers the way you told Him to answer them and at the exact time that you told Him to answer them?

God promises to give us the desires of our hearts but not always according to our time table. We must not rush God and leave the timing with Him.

God has a plan for each one of His children, and He wants what is best for them. He always answers prayers in three ways … No … Yes… and… Not at this time. Sometimes we must wait before God gives us the desires of our hearts. It is our human nature to want to rush things up for God and do things in our own strength.

The following story is a great illustration about how a little boy tried to help the caterpillar become a butterfly.

One day a little boy was playing outdoors and found a caterpillar. He carefully picked it up and took it home to show his mother. His mother agreed he could keep it if he promised to take good care of it.
The little boy got a large jar, placed plants in it for the caterpillar to eat, and put a stick in it for the caterpillar to attach itself. Every day the boy watched the caterpillar and brought it new plants to eat.
One day the caterpillar climbed on the stick and started acting strangely. The boy anxiously called his mother. She watched the caterpillar for a minute and then explained to her son that the caterpillar was making a cocoon, and it was going through a metamorphosis to become a butterfly.

The boy watched the changes of the caterpillar with amazement. Thinking it was taking too long and too much of a struggle for the butterfly to emerge, the boy took a pair of scissors and snipped the cocoon to make the hole bigger. The butterfly quickly came out of its cocoon, but it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings and had to spend the rest of its life crawling around like this, and it was never able to fly.

Sadly, the boy learned that it was necessary for the butterfly to struggle to get out of its cocoon. It was during this struggling process that the butterfly pushed fluid out of its body and into its wings. If the butterfly didn’t go through that struggle, it would never be able to fly. This boy’s intentions were good, but his helping hurt the butterfly.

Consider Joseph and how God worked in his life. Every step of the way in Joseph’s life..in the pit…in the prison, and in Potipher’s palace, God was working out His perfect will. God needed a man in place to accomplish His perfect will at His perfect time. Think about Esther! God put her in a position of influence at the exact time to save her people.

Many times we want things in our lives that might hurt us. Because God knows us and knows what is best for us at the exact time, we must be patient and wait for His perfect timing. We must give God a chance to work and to work by His exact timing.

Poem: The Unanswered Prayer

Years ago, I remember praying, “Lord, make me more like You.”   Although I didn’t realize it at the time, God began sending deep trials to our family and church. I remember thinking, “Why, Lord?”  It was not until  reading this poem  during my Quiet Time  that I began to understand the purpose of those trials. God was just answering my prayer, “Lord, make me more like You.”

The Unanswered Prayer
She asked to be made like her Savior;
He took her right at her word,
And sent her a heart crushing burden
That the depths of her soul was stirred.

She wanted a meek lowly spirit—
The work He gave answered that cry,
Till some who had once been companions,
With a pitying smile passed her by.

She asked to lean hard on the Savior,
He took the human props quite away,
Till no earthly friend could give comfort
And she could do nothing but pray.

She had prayed to be made like the Savior,
And the burdens He gave her to bear
Had been but the great  Sculpter’s teaching;
To help answer her earnest prayer.

—- Publisher Unknown

 

Thanksgiving Poem and Quotes

I have taken this poem and quotes from the book my brother Gary Smith wrote entitled Life Changing Thoughts. If you do not have this book, I would recommend ordering one. Gary spent several years collecting poems, quotes, and ideas about many different subjects that you could use in your ministry. I have used his book many times when I have needed information to prepare bulletins,seasonal banquet programs, etc.

In Everything Give Thanks

Thru sunshine, cloud or stormy days,
When hope abounds or care dismays;
When trials press down and toils increase,
Let not thy faith in God decrease;
“In everything give thanks.”
For we know all things work for good,
Nor could we change them if we would;
It will be well if only He commands,
For all of His promises forever stand;
“In everything give thanks.”

• Be grateful for door of opportunity and for friends who oil the hinges.
• If I spend my time filling my heart with regrets of yesterday, and worries of tomorrow, I will have no time for giving thanks today.
• Thanksgiving is not a time of the year, but an attitude of the heart.
• It is better to appreciate things you don’t have, than to have things and not appreciate them.
• When all of our earthly resources have failed we can still give thanks, for we know God will never fail us.
• One of the most embarrassing moments for an atheist is when he knows he has been blessed, but he has no one to thank for it.
• I murmured and complained that I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet.
• 0h Thou, who hast given us so very much, please grant us one thing more, a grateful heart.
• Be thankful for the Giver and not just the gift and for the Blessor and not just the blessings.
• When you are discouraged don’t just sit and frown; instead, get a piece of paper and write your blessings down.
• Don’t be sorry when your purse is half-empty; rather, be thankful that it is half-full.
• Boy to his sister: “I just don’t get it, dad thanks God for giving us our food, then he bawls mom out for the grocery bills!”

A man sent his four sons into a field to look at a lone pear tree. He sent the first one out in the winter; the second one during the spring; the third one in the summer; and the last one in the autumn to contemplate the pear tree.

They all sat at the table with their father and talked about what each son had seen during his season.

The first son remarked how sad, ugly, barren, and frozen the tree looked in winter. The second one stated the tree that he saw was full of fresh green buds and blossoms in the spring. That summer the third son was excited that the tree he stood beside was a tree full flowering beauty that smelled sweet with hope. The fourth son handed each of them a beautiful ripe pear and said, “It was a glorious tree full of harvest and heavy with fruit in the autumn.”

The father told his sons that all of them were right and that each of them had only seen one season of the tree. He then told his sons, “You cannot judge a person by only one season of his life, because you cannot measure the essence of one’s life until the end of all his seasons.

If you give up when it’s winter, you will miss the promise of the spring, the beauty of the summer, and the fulfillment of your autumn.

If you feel like you’re in the winter of your life and everything around you looks dead and barren, don’t be discouraged–wait for your autumn. As seasons of our lives come and change, we must learn to be patient and not forget, “It’s what you become in the end that will make the journey of all your seasons worth it all.”

Parable of the Teacup

                                 Parable of the Teacup

A young couple was in a unique gift shop looking for the perfect gift to celebrate their engagement anniversary. Their eyes caught a perfectly beautiful teacup. As they talked about its fantastic beauty, they reached for the cup. Just then the teacup spoke and said, “You don’t understand. I have not always been a teacup. There was a time when I was a lump of red clay. My master took me and molded me. He patted me over and over.”

“Let me alone!!” yelled the teacup. “Not yet,” said the master. He then placed me on a spinning wheel. I spun around and around and around. “Stop it! I’m getting dizzy! I cried.

Then the master nodded, “Not yet!” Finally the door opened. Wheeee! He put me on a shelf, and I began to cool. “There, that’s better,” I said. Suddenly he brushed me with paint all over. The fumes were so awful that I began to gag. “Stop it! Stop it!” I cried. He only nodded, “Not yet.” He then put me back in the oven. This oven was twice as hot as the first one. I just knew that I would suffocate. I begged and pleaded and screamed and cried. I could see through the opening that he was saying, “Not yet.” It was then that I gave up all hope. Suddenly the door opened, and he took me out of the oven and placed me on the shelf. About an hour later, he handed me a mirror and said, “Look at yourself.” I took the mirror and looked in it and said, “That’s not me. That couldn’t be me. Why, that’s beautiful.”

The master softly spoke these words to me, “I want you to always remember that I knew it would hurt you when I rolled and patted you, but if I had left you as you were, you would have dried up. I knew it made you dizzy to spin around the wheel, but if I had stopped, you would have crumbled. I knew when I put you in the oven; it would be hot and uncomfortable. But you see, if I had not put you there, you would have cracked. I knew the fumes were horrible when I painted you, but if I had not painted you, you would have never hardened, and you would not have any color to your life. If I had not put you back in the second oven, you would not have survived very long, because your hardness would not have held together. Now you are a finished product. You are exactly what I had in mind when I first began with you.”

Ladies, we must remember that God might send difficult times into our lives, but He doesn’t do it because He hates us; He loves us very much. It may be during those times that you feel like screaming out, “Let me alone.” But, oh, think of His finished products. Your (products) lives will not only be beautiful, but they will be glorifying to Him.

The Parable of the Young Mother

The young mother placed her foot upon the path of life. “Is the way long?” she asked. And her guide said, “Yes, and the way is hard. You’ll be old before you reach the end of it, but the end will be better than the beginning.”

The young mother was happy, and she just couldn’t believe that anything would ever be better than these years. Along the way, she played with her children, gathered flowers with them, and bathed them in the clear streams. The sun shone down upon them and life was good. The young mother said, “Nothing will ever be better than this.”

But the night came, and the storm. The children shook with fear and were cold. But the mother drew them to her, and placed her arms around and covered them with her coat. The children said, “Mother, we’re not afraid for you’re here and no harm can come to us.”

That night the mother looked up at the stars and said, “This is better than the brightness of the day; for I have taught my children courage.”

The next day came and there was a hill ahead. The children climbed and grew weary, and the mother became tired and weary, but she smiled and said, “A little further and we’re there.”

That night the mother said, “This day has been better than the last. My children have learned fortitude in the face of hardship. Yesterday I gave them courage. Today I have given them strength.”

The third day came and there were storm clouds that overshadowed the earth. Clouds of war, and hate, and evil. The children stumbled and groped along the way, but the mother said. “Look up. Lift your eyes to the Light.” The children looked and saw beyond the clouds to an Everlasting Glory that guided them and brought them beyond the darkness.

That night the mother said, “This has been the best day of all for I have shown my children God.”

The days passed, and the weeks, and the months, and the years. The mother was old and she was little and bent, but the children were tall and strong and they walked with courage. When the way was hard they helped their mother, and when the way was rough, they lifted her.

As last, they came to the top of the hill and in the distance they could see a shining road with Golden Gates flung wide. The mother said, “I have come to the end of my journey, and now I know that the end is better than the beginning. For now my children can walk alone and their children after them.”

But the children said, “Mother, you will always walk with us, even when you have passed through the gates.” And they stood and watched as she went on alone and the gates closed after her.

But the children said, “Mother is with us still…for a mother like ours is more than a memory—she is a Living Presence.”

—Author Unknown

Mother, What Kind of Temple Are You Building?

Two Temples

A Builder builded a temple,
He wrought it with grace and skill
Pillars and groins and arches.
All fashioned to work his will.

Men said as they saw its beauty,
“It shall never know decay;
Great is thy skill, O builder!
Thy fame shall endure for aye”

A Mother builded a temple,
With loving and infinite care,
Planning each arch with patience,
Laying each stone with prayer.

None praise her unceasing efforts,
None knew of her wondrous plan
For the temple the Mother builded
Was unseen by the eyes of man.

Gone is the Builder’s temple,
Crumbled into the dust
Low lies each stately pillar,
Food for consuming rust.

But the temple the Mother builded,
Will last while the ages roll,
For that beautiful unseen temple
Was a child’s immortal soul.

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