Flying Hooves and Dangerous Kisses

Table of Contents

1. Flying Hooves
2. Run for Your Life!
3. A Quail’s Heartbreak
4. Dumas, the Friendly Sea Otter
5. An Icy Plunge
6. The Roar of a Tiger
7. Buttons and Brandon
8. Buttons Gets Loose!
9. An Agonizing Choice
10. Okay, Monkey, I’ll Find You!
11. A Stray at the Foot of the Ladder
12. Bear Escapes a Forest Fire
13. Saved at Sea
14. A Kangaroo’s Fatal Attraction
15. Uninvited
16. A Pony in the House
17. Luna of Nootka Sound
18. Dangerous Kisses
19. Encounter With a Cougar
20. Koko and All Ball
21. China, the Cat
22. Tip Tips off the Searchers
23. Berry-Less Bear
24. Baby Orphan Orca
25. Trixey Finds a Home
26. Salamander Crossing
27. The Bear’s Newfound Den
28. Lonesome
29. A Courageous Forty Feet
30. Safe!
31. A Calico Cat in Trouble
32. Flazey
33. The Light Hurts

Flying Hooves

In the mountains around Lake Leland, Washington, a mother deer sensed danger. Her keen hearing had picked up a slight rustling of branches. Her twin fawns were immediately alerted by their mother's tenseness. She turned and saw a stalking cougar many yards off. In an instant, the three deer bounded off down the mountainside.
The cougar charged and, after a short chase, knew he had missed his prey. He let out a blood-curdling scream and then followed them, using his sense of smell to track the deer down the mountainside.
With all the wariness of a wild animal, the mother deer sensed the cougar would follow them.
Her instinct told her that she and her fawns had to flee a great distance to escape the danger. The three deer zigzagged down the timbered mountain-side, sprinting and then walking. However, her fawns were becoming tired and needed to rest.
At the foot of the mountain, a few ranches were built around Lake Leland. The mother deer was wary of humans and their homes. Her instincts told her that they could be dangerous, but she sensed a much greater danger was stalking them.
The three deer came to a fenced pasture where several riding horses were grazing in tall grass. A ranch house was a short distance away from the pasture.
The mother deer leaped over the barbed wire fence, while her fawns squeezed under the bottom strand of wire. The three then went to the center of the pasture and began to graze near the horses. The mother deer must have sensed that being near the horses would provide some protection against the cougar.
Have you found a place of safety by trusting in the Lord Jesus, the Savior of sinners? The world you live in is full of real dangers. Satan, an unseen spirit, continually tries to lead souls to destruction. He does all he can to keep souls in the dark about their need of salvation so that they end up for eternity in that awful place called hell. He will certainly do all he can to keep children from obeying the gospel call for them to repent and believe on the Lord Jesus.
Flying Hooves and Dangerous Kisses Also, God's wrath against sin awaits every person who has not settled the matter of his sins with God. In His holiness, God cannot let sin go unpunished. Unless a sinner repents of his sins and flees to the Lord Jesus for safety, it is certain that God's wrath will burst in awful judgment on him. Oh, that every boy or girl who hasn't found safety by the Savior's side would "flee from the wrath to come" (Matt. 3:7) and come to the Lord Jesus at once. God's wrath is a fearful thing and a real danger. Even though He loves sinners, He hates their sins. The same God who says He "so loved the world" (John 3:16) says, "The soul that [sins], it shall die" (Ezek. 18:4).
Each one of us can find safety in the Savior, because He died in the sinner's place. "God [commends] His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him" (Rom. 5:8-9).
When boys and girls come to the Lord Jesus for salvation, they will belong to Him forever. He will watch over them and bless them. He will be much more careful of them than any mother deer could ever be of her fawns.
Later that evening, the cougar, following the deer's scent, crept to the pasture. Soundlessly, he slipped beneath the bottom strand of wire in the fence. The tall grass and dusky light concealed him almost perfectly. He was creeping closer to the deer when one of the horses suddenly spotted him. With a snort and whinny of fear, the horse began to race around the pasture. Alerted by the horse, the mother deer and her fawns attempted to flee. Running as fast as she could, the mother ran into the barbed wire fence, which she hadn't seen in the darkness. The fence made a loud twanging noise as she hit it.
The whinnies of the horses and the twanging of the barbed wire aroused the owner of the ranch who was sitting in her front yard. She knew immediately there was trouble in her pasture and started running in that direction. On the way she picked up a big stick.
The owner entered the pasture through the gate and ran into the tall grass. She saw the three deer standing by the fence and the horses running. At first, she didn't know what had caused the commotion. Then she turned around and saw the cougar about fifteen feet behind her. It snarled angrily at her and let out one of its eerie screams. It sent shivers of fright down her spine and, for a moment, she didn't know whether to flee or fight.
Just then, the owner's favorite riding horse ran to where the cougar crouched. Whinnying loudly, she reared up on her hind legs with her front hooves pawing the air before they came crashing to the ground a few feet away from the cougar. Wanting nothing to do with those flying hooves, the cougar ran off into the night.
The owner credited her horse with saving her from the snarling cougar. What an amazing rescue!
Flying Hooves Everyone who has been saved by the Lord Jesus knows that they too have been rescued in a truly amazing way. They know that God, in amazing grace and love, sent His Son into this world for this very reason. The creator of the universe became a man and let Himself be nailed to a tree so that all people might come to Him and find forgiveness of sins and eternal life. Truly, nothing is so amazing in the entire world as the truth contained in the Bible verse, "Christ died for our sins" (1 Cor. 15:3). When He died, He bore the punishment for the sins of all those who would believe on Him.
If you have not yet been saved, won't you believe in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior? Placing your faith in Him is the only way you can be rescued from sin and danger. "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that [believes] on Me hath everlasting life" (John 6:47).
As I came home one afternoon, there in his usual spot in the picture window standing on a footstool was my Shetland sheepdog Mickey. Mickey was about a year old and as yet had lost none of his puppy playfulness. When he saw me, he got so excited that he spun around in the air a few times.
When I opened the back door, Mickey could hardly wait to get out and greet me.
Acting like a jackrabbit with springs in his legs, he jumped three feet into the air and three feet out the door into the backyard. Then I caught the happy, squirming fellow and gave him a big hug.
I knew he needed some exercise after being cooped up all morning by himself, so I decided to take him out for a walk. I also had to get some studying done, so I brought along a textbook.
We walked down the sidewalk to the end of our block, across a street, over a parkway, across train tracks, through some bushes, and into a large field next to a school. Mickey was walking by my side without his leash.
If I sat down on the grass, I knew Mickey would never let me study because he has never had any use for books. So I climbed up to the top of a set of monkey bars where I perched myself, as comfortably as possible, to read my book in peace.
As soon as Mickey saw I meant to sit still, he gleefully kicked his legs like a frisky colt and started running. Around the outskirts of the whole field he ran at full speed. Then he sat down in front of the monkey bars and looked up at me with his bright, eager eyes. He seemed to be expecting something. I thought he wanted me to praise him, so I said, "Mickey, you run beautifully; you run just beautifully." Then he caught sight of a train that was speeding down the tracks a block away. He looked back at me again. Then he started to run.
I thought he was running around the field again. I never expected what he did next. Instead of rounding the corner and coming back to me, he kept running straight for the train.
I jumped down off the monkey bars and shouted as loudly as I could, "Mickey, stop! Mickey, stop!" He must have heard me, but he chose to keep going.
I ran as fast as I could to the tracks. People in their cars waiting at the crossing saw what was happening and waved frantically, pointing down the tracks. I looked to where they were pointing, and there was Mickey... way down the tracks running alongside the train, dashing dangerously close to the train and snapping furiously at the wheels!
I couldn't believe it! My twenty-five-pound dog had challenged a Union Pacific coal train! My heart sank as I saw him snap at the wheels, and I couldn't bear to think what would happen if he got too close. Frantically I shouted, "Mickey, no! Mickey, come back!" But the noise of the train was too loud for Mickey to hear me.
I ran down the tracks, stumbling over the railroad ties. Running as fast as I could, I was still rapidly losing in the race to keep up with the train and Mickey. They got so far in front of me that finally I lost sight of Mickey. Then I lost sight of the train.
All I could do was to continue walking down the tracks, hoping Mickey would stop his mad chase and come back looking for me. Every few minutes I would stop and call, "Mickey!" in case he had wandered into the surrounding neighborhoods. Whenever I would see an object in the distance beside the tracks I would think, Could that be Mickey hit by the train and lying there? As I got closer I discovered that they were only pieces of trash.
As I walked down the tracks, the story of the prodigal son and his father came to my mind. I knew in my heart what the father must have felt like when the son whom he loved took his things and left his father's house to go into a far country. In my mind's eye I saw the father standing in his doorway watching his boy leaving home, walking down the lane which led away from his father's house. How the words must have welled up in the father's heart, "My son, I love you! Come back to me. Come back," but he was not able to call them out to his son, because he knew his son had made up his mind to leave him.
After walking half an hour down the tracks without seeing any sign of Mickey, I turned around and headed home. Mickey whom I loved was lost, and I didn't know if I would ever see him again.
God dearly loves you, too. He loves you infinitely more than I loved Mickey or even than the father loved his wandering son. When I called Mickey at first, he chose not to listen and kept chasing the train. God calls us, too, through what we read in the Bible and gospel papers, what we hear in Sunday school, and many other ways. God is calling sinners now to believe on His Son and receive everlasting life and the forgiveness of sins. It was His love for you that brought the Lord Jesus down to die for sins. But if you refuse to answer God's calling to you, all the love which God has shown to you in giving His Son to die, as far as you are concerned, will be lost love. Lost love-just think about it. You may die unsaved and go to a lost eternity, but you will never die unloved. Oh, come home to God the Father through the Lord Jesus Christ today!
Forlornly I walked home, across the railroad tracks and parkway, across the street and down the sidewalk where a little while earlier I had walked with Mickey. But now Mickey was gone and I walked alone.
When I got home, I couldn't help but glance into the picture window, but there was no Mickey waiting for me. I opened the back door, but there was no happy puppy prancing around to welcome me. I sat down in the kitchen and sighed deeply. How quiet the place was without him.
Then, who do you think sheepishly poked his head around the corner? Yes, Mickey! A lady in her car had found him and brought him home. I looked down at him and I got angry with him for disobeying me, and I felt like punishing him. But at the same time I was terribly glad he was safely home, and I wanted to hug the little dog. I couldn't make up my mind whether to punish him or hug him, so I did both.
My story had a happy ending, and the story of the prodigal son had a happy ending too. The son went into a far country and spent all his money on having a good time until his money was gone. All his new friends liked him as long as he had money, but when it was gone, they left him. He finally fell so low that he got a job feeding pigs, and he got so hungry he wanted to eat some of the same food the pigs were eating.
Then he thought about his father's house and how the servants there had plenty of food while he was starving. So he decided to return home and ask his father if he could become one of his servants.
When he returned home, do you think his father was angry with him? Oh, no. When his father saw him a long way off, he ran out to meet him and hugged him and kissed him. Then he ordered the best robe and shoes and a ring for his son. Then he had a feast prepared, and they all began to be merry.
This story is a picture to us of how God feels when a sinner returns to Him. You don't need to be afraid God will punish you for your sins if you accept Jesus Christ as your Savior. The Bible tells us that on the cross Jesus took the punishment for all the sins of every person who would believe on Him. God is just, and He would not punish twice for the same sin. So no matter how awful your sins are, there will be only joy if you accept the Lord Jesus as your Savior.
Mickey came home and the prodigal son came home. Won't you come home to God the Father through the Lord Jesus Christ? When Mickey came home, I was a little angry with him, but when a sinner repents and turns to God, joy, only joy, without any feelings of anger, is the feeling of God's heart toward him. "I say unto you, that... joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth" (Luke 15:7).

Run for Your Life!

Rrrrrrring! went the bell, and children of every size and age ran out the school door for recess. They climbed over the monkey bars, swung high on the big swings, and ran laughing and chasing one another through the playground.
The children were busy playing when, just beyond the schoolyard in a thick patch of blackberry bushes, a big brown bear stood up on his two hind feet to have a look around. He stood about as tall as a man, but his body was much bulkier and heavier. He had small eyes that were hard to see, because they were the same color as his fur. And he had big nostrils.
Suddenly he was spotted! Shouts of "BEAR!" and "RUN FOR YOUR LIFE!" rang out from many of the children across the playground. In the panic and confusion, the playground supervisor quickly herded the children back into the building as fast as they could go. Some children were so frightened, they couldn't stop crying for several minutes. But a few boys had to be stopped from going back outside to get another glimpse of the bear.
By the time the police arrived at the school, the bear had wandered off into a nearby wooded area. The teachers and principal of the school were very careful to keep all the children safe inside. Parents were telephoned and told to come pick up their children or be waiting for them at their bus stops. When the children left the school building, a sheriff's deputy stood nearby... in case the bear should return.
People in this Seattle suburb didn't expect to see bears in their community. Many years ago bears had roamed freely in the area, but those times were long past. In place of the huge forests, many new houses, stores and roads had been built.
That evening, the Department of Natural Resources placed a big bear trap in the woods just behind the school. The trap looked like a giant tube with a trap door at one end. They baited the bear trap with donuts-a favorite of bears. That big bear must have had quite the sweet tooth, because sometime that night he climbed into the trap and devoured the donuts, while the trap door slammed down behind him.
The next morning when school children were dropped off at the school, they were told to go inside immediately. Some of the children told the principal and teachers they were still afraid.
When the men who had set the trap heard that some of the children were still afraid, they thought of a way to help them. They asked the principal if the children could look at the bear in the trap and watch as he was driven off in a truck. This would prove to the children that the bear was gone!
The principal thought it was a good plan. All the children were lined up and got a good look at the bear in the trap. Some even waved to him as he was driven off. The bear was taken many miles away, up into the Cascade Mountains where he was released into the wild.
The children at the school were reassured when they could watch the captured bear being driven away. But here is something you and I have not been able to see with our eyes. Nearly two thousand years ago, the Lord Jesus died on the cross. While He hung there, He became the only sacrifice for sins that God will ever accept. So perfect was the work that the Lord Jesus finished there that anyone who trusts in Him will be saved for all eternity. Because the finished work of His Son means so much to God, anyone who trusts in Him will have their sins completely forgiven forever. "I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more" (Jer. 31:34). There is no other way to have forgiveness from God but through faith in His Son. Jesus is the Savior that sinners so desperately need.
After Jesus died, He was placed in a dark tomb, and a large stone was rolled over its entrance. However, God didn't leave Him in that tomb. Three days later Jesus arose from the dead. Many people saw Him after His resurrection. His disciples touched Him, talked with Him, and ate with Him. After forty days He was received up into heaven to sit at God's right hand where He is today.
You and I were not there to see the Lord Jesus die on the cross when He became the sin-bearer. We did not see Him after He had risen. But others did. We have their eyewitness accounts in the Bible, the Word of God.
Jesus, the Son of God, came to this earth and died for sinners. Because He rose from the dead, all who believe on Him can know that their sins are gone forever. "If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved" (Rom. 10:9).
It is a story of love that is greater than any other ever told. Only the truth of Christ's death and resurrection can bring peace to sinners who are troubled before God about their sins.
Although we may not have seen Jesus in person when He came to earth, every believer will see Him face to face in heaven. Seeing our Savior will bring great joy to our hearts. Heaven will be full of joys that will never end.
Every unbeliever will see the Son of God too. But there will be nothing joyful about it; instead, it will be with great terror and sorrow. Since they did not receive Him as their Savior, unbelieving sinners will face Him as their Judge who will sentence them to everlasting punishment. "These shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal" (Matt. 25:46).
Won't you come to Jesus and let Him be your Savior so that you will never have to face Him as your Judge?
The children at the school knew for sure that the bear was gone, and believers can know for sure that their sins are gone forever, because the Lord Jesus rose again. "These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God" (1 John 5:13).

A Quail’s Heartbreak

Mr. and Mrs. Jones love to watch birds in their yard. "I've seen a lot of unusual behaviors in birds, but this was really different," Mr. Jones said.
Their favorite kind of bird to watch is the California Quail. These quails are about as big as small chickens and have unusual plumes on their heads. They have strong legs and can often be seen running around on the ground. Also, they are monogamous, which means that once they find a mate, they stay together until one dies. Perhaps you have seen these birds and have enjoyed watching them. It is especially fun to watch a mother and father quail lead a brood of little ones around.
One day when Mr. Jones was bird watching, he saw a quail running back and forth over the same spot in the grass in his backyard. He became curious and went out to investigate. Only when he came near did the male quail run off into some nearby bushes. Sadly, Mr. Jones discovered a female quail's body dead in the grass. He decided the two birds must have been mates, and when the female died, the male didn't want to leave her. Mr. Jones thought he would help the male get over his grief by burying the dead quail out of sight. The death of the quail upset Mr. Jones, because he was very fond of all the birds.
Not long after, the quail that lost his mate did something most unusual. Mr. Jones kept a stone statue of a pelican on the front porch by the screen door. He and his wife sometimes used it to prop open the door. The pelican's long beak was tucked down against its chest, and the statue was just about the same size as a quail. The lonely quail found the pelican and spent all his time on the porch cooing and clucking to the statue. In his heartbreak over losing his mate, the quail chose the stone pelican to be his companion. When other male quails got too close, he would run off the porch and chase them away, just as he would if he had a live mate.
Poor lonely bird! You would think he should have recognized the difference between a statue and a living bird. When God created quails, He designed them in such a way that they need the company of other quails.
When God created people, He gave them a never-dying soul that can only be truly happy when they come to know and love Him. Of all the earthly ceratures God made, man is the only one with a heart that is capable of loving God. This makes all mankind very privileged and responsible to their Maker. But how sorrowful it is that instead of loving our Creator, you and I have chosen to leave Him out of our lives, and we've filled our hearts and lives with things that can never fully satisfy! There is a cost for giving the first place in our hearts to anything but God. The Bible speaks of men's foolish hearts being darkened when they love and focus on what this world offers more than they love God. In the darkness that men choose for themselves, they always stumble into the paths of sin and shame.
To bring sinners back to Himself, God sent His Son Jesus into the world: "God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16). The Lord Jesus came to this earth in love and died for sinners who have wandered far away from Him. He is God's love gift to the world. When a sinner realizes his lost condition and believes on the Lord Jesus, God gives him the gift of eternal life. This is love beyond what we can understand-love worthy of God whose grace and mercy is far greater than all our sins. The same love that brought the Lord Jesus into the world nearly two thousand years ago is reaching out to sinners today, inviting you and me to turn to the Savior. If you refuse His loving offer, you will die unsaved and spend eternity in hell, but you will never die unloved. Why not accept God's love that is greater than any other and receive the gift of His Son Jesus today?
After spending some days with the stone pelican, the quail left the lifeless statue and scampered off. Mr. Jones thinks he saw the same quail several days later, strutting about with a new mate, but he can't be quite sure. How long will it be before you realize that God is so worthy of your love and trust and you turn to the Savior?
"The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Rom. 6:23). "Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift" (2 Corinthians 9:15).

Dumas, the Friendly Sea Otter

Imagine yourself paddling a sleek kayak in the waters off the shore of the city of Seattle. You are enjoying the sun and the salt water breezes. You pause your paddling for just a moment, when up out of the water pops Dumas, a very friendly sea otter.
Dumas weighs as much as a medium-sized dog. She is four feet long with fur that is thick, brown and beautiful, and she Dumas, the Friendly Sea Offer has long whiskers like a cat. Best of all, she is an acrobatic swimmer and willing to put on a show. She does a few flips and belly rolls in the water to show you that she is friendly. When she sees that you are pleased by her antics, she climbs right onto the kayak and then onto your lap, sitting there like a pet dog.
Dumas the sea otter was making a habit of doing this to kayakers, and she was gaining quite a reputation. People from all over were taking special kayaking trips just to see her. Somewhere along the way, this wild sea otter had lost her fear of people. Most people thought treating Dumas like a pet was perfectly harmless, but wildlife experts knew otherwise. They expected it was only a matter of time until someone would hurt her or even try to kill her for her fur.
Ken Berg, manager of the Western Washington Fish and Wildlife Office, said, "If she stayed in that area, it was unlikely she would survive." To protect her, the all Dumas, the Friendly Sea Otter thorities decided that Dumas must be moved to a new location where very few people live.
It wasn't hard to catch Dumas. A wildlife biologist kayaked out to the place where she was last seen. As was her habit, she crawled right into his lap. He took her to the Seattle Aquarium where a veterinarian checked out her health. The next day a biologist drove her several hours away to a remote spot on the Pacific Coast. Biologists hope that she will make new friends with her own kind and not seek out the companionship of people.
It would have been sad if this beautiful animal had approached someone who would have harmed or killed her. She is much better off in a remote area where her safety is more certain.
Dumas isn't so different from the rest of us. She became very comfortable with people, and this was a danger for her. You and I have become very comfortable with something that is a danger to us too-we have become very comfortable with sin. Sin is not an innocent plaything, and it is not something to laugh about. Rom. 6:23 warns, "The wages of sin is death." Ezek. 18:20 also warns, "The soul that sinneth, it shall die." Sin is dangerous and it is deadly! It might give pleasure for a short time, but its damage and miseries will last forever in a place called hell.
It was fortunate for Dumas that wildlife experts became alarmed at her danger and moved her before anything bad happened. How wonderful for you and me that God saw the danger we were in because of our sins and made a way for us to be rescued from them. He sent His Son, the Lord Jesus, into the world where He died in the sinner's place. "Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures" (1 Cor. 15:3). Because of His death on the cross, the gift of eternal life is available for anyone who will accept it. "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on Me hath everlasting life" (John 6:47). If you believe on the Lord Jesus, He will take you out of all danger because of your sins and will bring you to a place where you will be safe. He is the only Savior of sinners. Won't you come to Him in faith and be saved? "Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out" (John 6:37).

An Icy Plunge

As his mother wrapped his plaid scarf around his neck, Sam dug his hands into his coat pockets to find his mittens.
Merle, his shaggy golden retriever, was all ready to go. He pranced around, slapping his big front paws against the floor as if to say, "Hurry up, Sam!"
The pair slipped out the door. The snow came up to Sam's boot tops. Merle ran and dove and twisted and turned in the deep snow like a happy puppy.
"Wait up, Merle!" Sam had to call out to his dog. "You go a lot faster than me with your four legs!"
They headed through their backyard and on through a clump of willow trees with their long, slender, hanging branches, and then on to the edge of a frozen lake.
Merle found a stick and brought it to his master's feet.
"You want to play fetch, Merle?" Sam said as he picked up the stick and hurled it onto the lake. It hit the ice and slid.
Merle's swift strides brought him to the spot where the stick landed almost before the stick hit. When he tried to stop to pick up the stick, his feet slid out from underneath him and his husky body slammed against the ice.
Sam heard a "CRACK," like the snap of a big whip, as a large patch of ice broke up underneath his dog. Merle was plunged into the icy water.
"Merle, Merle, don't drown, boy!" Sam shouted excitedly!
"Can somebody help us!" Sam yelled as loudly as he could. The nearest row of houses was so far away that Sam didn't think anyone heard him.
As Sam watched Merle struggle in the icy water, he couldn't hold back the sobs. He loved Merle, and his dog was in danger of freezing to death or drowning.
Before we go any further with the story, I want to tell you that God loves you! This is true because we read it in the Bible. "God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).
God does love you, no matter who you are. Notice this verse doesn't read, "God so loved the good people of the world," nor does it read, "The worthy people of the world." If it did, no one could be sure God loved them. It reads, "God so loved the world," so we can be certain He loves each one of us.
We also learn from this verse that souls are in danger of perishing. If you haven't put your faith in God's Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to save your soul, then it cannot be said that you "shall not perish," because if you die without the Savior, you will "perish." To perish is an awful thing. It means being separated from God for all eternity in that awful place called hell where there shall be much weeping and gnashing of teeth. God doesn't want anyone to perish, and to make a way of escape possible, He sent the Lord Jesus to die on the cross. Now, "whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." Won't you believe in Him and then tell someone what you have done? Of every believer the Lord Jesus said, "I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand" (John 10:28). This will be true of you, too, if you will trust in the Lord Jesus.
We left Sam standing on the shore watching Merle struggling in the icy water. Not knowing if any help was coming, Sam bravely decided to go to the edge of the broken ice to try to pull Merle out by himself.
"Merle, I'm coming to get you out!" Sam tried to reassure his dog.
Merle swam in small circles in the patch of water. The hole in the ice was round and about five feet wide. Sam could see Merle's big, coffee-colored eyes looking at him as if he were asking for help.
With every step Sam could hear the ice shifting and cracking beneath him. He walked slowly and stepped carefully, pausing after every step and holding his breath to see if the ice were breaking. Wishing someone would come outside who could help him, Sam kept checking the houses on the other side of the lake, but the only signs of life were spirals of smoke coming from the chimneys. He wished he and Merle were back safe in their warm house.
Sam was almost to the edge of the broken ice. Scared that the ice was going to break again, he lay down and crawled on his belly the last few feet. He stretched one arm out over the murky cold water. Merle swam over to it. Sam dug his fingers into his dog's long, yellow hair at the scruff of his neck. Merle's skin was loose and easy to grab. His fur was soaked and heavy. Sam got a good grip and pulled...Merle got his two front paws onto the ice as Sam tugged. Merle had just scrambled out of the water onto the ice... "CRACK!" The ice broke away beneath both of them, and boy and dog were plunged into the icy water!
Sam yelled in fright. He swallowed a mouthful of water and choked. Water was filling his boots and making his feet feel like lead weights. His heavy winter jacket soaked up the water and felt so heavy. All this weight wanted to pull him down under the icy water. He didn't want to drown, so he fought with all his strength to stay afloat. It was harder than anything he had ever had to do before. He was getting numb in the cold water and his arms and legs were getting tired. They didn't want to move; they wanted to stop and give up.
Sam felt a nudge at his back. It was Merle pushing him with his nose. Sam turned around in the water and reached his arm around his big dog's neck. The dog was strong enough to keep them both afloat for a while.
Ten minutes passed; they seemed like hours.
Suddenly a fire engine pulled up to the edge of the lake. A neighbor had called the fire department when he heard Sam's call for help.
The crew worked quickly. The firemen pulled a long ladder off the side of their bright red engine. They opened it up to its full length and laid it down on the ice. One of them walked carefully on the ladder rungs across the ice to the open water where the two were struggling. He pulled Sam out. His face had turned blue from the cold water. He couldn't move his fingers.
Through lips that would hardly move he kept saying, "Get my dog out, get my dog out," as the fireman carried him to the fire engine and rushed him to the hospital.
Later at the hospital Sam's father was able to reassure him that Merle was safe at home, drying out on a warm rug by the heater.
It had been a close call, but now both Sam and Merle were safe. Won't you accept the Lord Jesus as your Savior that you might be safe, too? "The Lord is... not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9).

The Roar of a Tiger

Christy read the sign out loud. It was written in big letters in the window of the pet store, "LIVE BENGAL TIGER HERE. SATURDAY AND SUNDAY. COME AND SEE."
"Dad," Christy asked as her father backed their green van into a parking place outside the store, "why do they have a tiger at a pet store? Nobody is going to buy it."
"They have it here for advertisement. It's to get people to come into the store. While the people are in the store looking at the tiger, they'll also look at the puppies, kittens, birds and fish and maybe decide to buy something. This is one way to get new customers," Mr. Whittier explained.
They got out of the van and walked into the pet store. A man at the counter asked, "May I help you?"
"Yes," Mr. Whittier answered, "we would like to see the tiger."
"Of course," the man said, pointing down a long aisle. "He's back there."
Christy stuck her hand in her father's and together they walked down the aisle. On the right side were shelves full of fish tanks. In them were brightly colored fish. On the left side were dog leashes, collars, feeding bowls and pet shampoos, all neatly arranged.
Near the back of the store was a room where puppies were sometimes allowed to run loose. Christy and her dad walked up to the counter which separated this room from the rest of the store. Looking into this room, they could see the tiger chained to a post.
Even lying down he looked huge! He was dark orange with black stripes. His tail was long and switched back and forth.
Mr. Whittier gave a low whistle as he admired the huge beast.
The tiger drew back his whiskers, opened his mouth and lazily yawned.
"Look at those teeth, Dad! They're huge! Some of them are bigger than my finger. Wow, with a throat that size I think he could swallow me without chewing!"
"And I think he could get me down in only two bites," her dad added.
The tiger's trainer heard the two talking and came out to greet them. It was a young lady. She surprised them because she was a small person.
"That is some kitty you have there," Mr. Whittier remarked to her.
"He sure is. His name is Bernard."
"How big is Bernard?" Christy asked.
"He's about 10 feet long and weighs 425 pounds."
"I sure wouldn't want to tangle with him," Mr. Whittier admitted.
The tiger paced back and forth, as far as his chain would let him. Then all at once he lifted one of his giant front paws and stepped into his water bucket. Water spilled out onto the floor.
"Bad!" shouted the trainer at the giant creature from India.
Christy and her dad jumped a little at the trainer's loud shout.
A funny look crossed the tiger's face as he took his foot out of the bucket.
"Sorry to startle you." The trainer explained, "I have to let Bernard know he is doing wrong right away or pretty soon he thinks he can do anything."
"Aren't you afraid of him?" Christy asked in amazement.
"No, he is big, but he is afraid of me. I have trained him since he was a cub, and he knows I am the boss. I don't ever let him forget that either."
"Look! He's doing it again!" Christy told the trainer as the tiger put his foot back into his water bucket.
This time the trainer grabbed a nearby buggy whip and lashed him several times. "Stop it!" she commanded as the whip cracked!
Both Christy and her dad fearfully stepped back from the counter. They expected at any second that the tiger would lash out with his powerful legs and sharp claws and shred the trainer to ribbons! Instead, the tiger obediently lifted his foot out of the bucket again.
"I don't know what has gotten into him today," the trainer stated. "He usually behaves better than this."
"Aren't you afraid he might make a meal out of you?" Mr. Whittier asked the trainer.
"No, we feed him every day, so he is never hungry."
"What do you feed him?" asked Christy.
"Oh, about fifteen pounds of raw meat a day," the trainer replied. "He would eat more if he got more exercise, but he doesn't always get the exercise he needs."
Before she finished the sentence, the tiger slapped the water bucket with his foot and sent water flying all over the room.
Now his trainer was furious! She ran into the room, up to the tiger and gave him one hard kick. The tiger let out an explosive roar! At this point, Christy and her dad had the same idea at the same time-they ran out of the store as fast as they could. They waited outside a few minutes until trainer and tiger settled down before they went back in.
The trainer was sitting at the back of the store in a chair looking comfortable and relaxed. "He won't do that again," she informed them.
Together Christy and her dad took one last look at the tiger and left for home.
Tigers are magnificent animals! They are stronger and have quicker reflexes than men. Yet, like all animals, they are not able to understand about God. This is why men, women and children mean so much to God. God could say only about man "that he [understands] and [knows] Me, that I am the Lord which exercise loving-kindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth" (Jeremiah 9:24). That is not true of any other creature.
Bernard the tiger was yelled at and punished by his trainer in order for him to obey. He was afraid of his trainer. God wants us to obey Him too, but He doesn't want us to be afraid of Him. He wants us to obey Him because He loves us. He sent His Son, the Lord Jesus, into this world so we might know how much He loves us. For three and a half years the Lord Jesus did wonderful miracles which no other man could do. He gave sight to the blind, healed people of all kinds of diseases, fed thousands of hungry people at one time, and even raised people from the dead.
Everything He did was done in perfect love and holiness. Yet it isn't only by these great works which the Lord Jesus did when He was alive that we learn how much God loves us. It was the death of His perfect, beloved Son that helps us begin to understand how much He loves us.
God allowed His Son to be crucified so that we might have a way of escaping the punishment for our sins. The Lord Jesus died and shed His blood so that all who believe on Him would never have to be punished. "I, if I be lifted up from the earth [on the cross], will draw all men unto Me," the Lord Jesus said in John 12:32.
Isn't God's love in sending His Son to die for your sins enough reason for you to accept Him as Lord and Savior of your life?
"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13).

Buttons and Brandon

Brandon was a brave boy, but there were two things that frightened him.
One of them was the neighbor's dogs, King and Spitz. They were always kept chained to their doghouses, but they growled and snarled whenever Brandon went near them. They weren't nice like his own dogs. Brandon was afraid of what might happen if they ever got loose and chased him through the fields and caught him. Just thinking about it would send shivers of fright down his spine.
The other thing that scared Brandon was Buttons, the pony that belonged to his sisters. If you didn't know Buttons, you would think he was the cutest and most gentle pony around. Little, shaggy old. Buttons had lots of people fooled... but not Brandon. Buttons might have looked cute, but Brandon didn't trust him. He wouldn't get close to Buttons unless his father was with him. Buttons wouldn't dare misbehave when his father was around, and Brandon knew this.
Sometimes when Brandon and his father were around Buttons, Brandon would see Buttons watching him, and he thought he knew what Buttons was thinking: You wait, little boy. One of these times you'll be all alone, and I'll catch you and teach you a lesson for being smaller than I am. Brandon's sisters were all bigger and older than he was, and they always got along fine with Buttons.
One day when his father was in the house and his brother and sisters had gone shopping with their mother, Brandon was Buttons and Brandon playing with his toy trucks in the backyard. Buttons had a fenced-in corral where he was kept. Brandon didn't think he had anything to worry about, so he was busy playing.
Suddenly, Brandon got the feeling that someone was looking at him. Turning around he saw Buttons just a few feet behind him.
Brandon was terrified! He quickly stood up and started walking backwards, never taking his eyes off Buttons who was walking steadily toward him. Brandon tried to call for help, but his mouth was dry and words wouldn't come out. He kept walking backwards, not daring to run for fear he would be trampled. Then he backed up smack against the fence. Buttons had him cornered!
Buttons walked right up to Brandon (who had never been so frightened in his life before), opened his mouth and bit Brandon right on the chest, ripping his shirt and scraping his skin. Then Buttons turned and walked away.
When Brandon's father heard what had happened, he gave Buttons a good clout on the nose and put him back in the corral, firmly closing the gate that had been left open.
Buttons reminds us of Satan. Satan is our enemy and is always waiting to corner us one way or another. He is just watching until we let our guard down. Brandon's father wasn't around when Buttons cornered him and bit him. But the Lord Jesus is always there to help us right away when we have a problem. If the Lord Jesus is your Savior, you only have to call Him and He will hear you, even if you are so scared you have lost your voice. In the Bible He tells us, "Call upon Me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee" (Psa. 50:15).
Wouldn't you like to have the Lord Jesus as your Savior? You can. It's easy. Just tell Him that you know you are a sinner, and trust Him to forgive your sins. "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9).

Buttons Gets Loose!

One summer day Brandon was playing in the backyard with his younger brother Eric. One game they liked to play was "pirates." Since Brandon was older, he was in command. He gave the order to Eric, "Sailor, climb the mast and untie the rope!"
Eric asked, "What mast?"
Brandon pointed to the heavy pole that Buttons Gets Loose! the clothesline was tied to and stated, "That mast, sailor."
"But it's too big for me to climb," explained Eric.
Brandon answered, "Okay, I'll climb it myself and get the rope down... if you'll let me tie you up like you're my prisoner."
Eric agreed.
Brandon got the clothesline down. Then, beginning at Eric's feet he started coiling the rope around him. It was a long rope, and he kept wrapping it around Eric until it almost reached his head. Brandon had just finished tying the last knot when he noticed something scary... Buttons was loose again!
Now Buttons was his sisters' pony, and Brandon was scared of him. If you didn't know Buttons, you would think he was a cute, gentle pony. But Brandon had already been bitten by Buttons once. And he wouldn't get close to Buttons unless his father was with him.
This time Buttons wasn't very close, and Brandon had enough time to run to the house and up the back steps to the porch where Buttons couldn't get him. But as Buttons Gets Loose! soon as he got to the top of the steps, he remembered Eric. He had left his little brother lying on the grass tied up with all that rope, and Eric couldn't move!
Brandon was terrified of Buttons, but the thought of what that pony would do to Eric was too much for him. It didn't matter if he died trying, he must save his brother!
Brandon ran back to the spot where Eric lay tied. At first he tried to untie him, but that was taking too long. Brandon picked up his brother with a strength that surprised himself and carried Eric to the porch. Buttons reached them just as Brandon hurried up the steps with Eric. They barely escaped.
Brandon had tied up Eric really well with all that rope and many knots. It took a lot of work to finally get him untied, but at least they were safe. Boys and girls, do you know that our sins wrap around and around our hearts so that we never can get free from them by ourselves? Jesus the Savior is the only one who can free us from our sins.
One time Jesus was in a house, and four men carried another man who was very sick to Jesus for help. There were so many people around the house that they couldn't get through the door. So these men climbed up on top of the house, broke up the roof and let down their sick friend, bed and all, in front of Jesus.
Do you know what the Lord Jesus said to him? He said, "Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.... Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk" (Mark 2:3-12). And the man was healed, but more important than that, his sins were forgiven.
We each need our sins forgiven too, just like that sick man in the Bible. If you want your sins forgiven, come to Jesus by faith, believing that He shed His blood on Calvary's cross to wash your sins away. He loves you and will set you free.
"In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace" (Eph. 1:7).

An Agonizing Choice

This story is about an agonizing choice that a mother of young children was forced to make. Whether she made the right choice or not, you will have to read this story to find out.
Ramakrishan, a young man, was mending his fishing net. He had made a good catch that morning, but his net had been damaged. It was now stretched between two palm trees, and he was carefully tying up the holes in the net. His wife Sangreta had a washtub and soap and was busy scrubbing her family's clothes. After the clothes were washed, she would lay them out on rocks to dry in the sun. Every once in a while she would disappear into their one-room but to attend to the cooking for a few moments.
Their small village on the Southeast coast of India had many huts, most no bigger than their own. Ramakrishan and Sangreta had three sons; the oldest was seven and the youngest had barely learned to walk. They were playing outside in the sand. Sometimes they would throw a stick for their dog to fetch and have a good game of tug-of-war when he returned with the stick.
As he repaired his net, Ramakrishan was watching the tide. It had gone out farther than he had ever seen it before, and it made him uneasy. He thought he heard something far out over the water in the distance. The distant sound bothered him, so he decided to climb the steep path to the top of the hill behind their but and take a look.
As he climbed, the strange noise from the sea grew louder. At the top of the hill looking out over the water, he could hardly believe what he was seeing! A giant wave, taller than the highest palm tree, was swiftly rolling towards his village! From the top of the hill he called down to his wife, "Sangreta, Sangreta, a tidal wave is coming! Grab the children and run for your lives!"
Sangreta dropped what she was doing and ran to the small children. But here she had a terrible choice to make. She had only two arms and there were three children! Because of the urgency in her husband's voice, she knew she didn't have a moment to waste. She gathered up the two youngest in her arms and told the oldest boy, "Dinakren, run and follow me up the hill!" Dinakren, who had just turned seven years old, would have to flee for his life on his own two feet.
Sangreta turned and ran to the path that led up the hillside. Other villagers alerted to the danger were running with them. Up she began to climb, panting for breath. In the press of frantic, running people, she lost sight of Dinakren.
As Dinakren lost sight of his mother, he turned and went back to their but with the dog at his heels. He was scared, and his home had always been a safe place.
When she got to the top of the hill, Sangreta looked for her oldest son, but he was nowhere to be seen! She ran through the crowd, asking neighbors, "Where is Dinakren? Have you seen Dinakren?" One neighbor said she had seen the boy going into their hut. Just then the giant wave of water hit the shore and crashed into the village!
The wave crushed the boats on the beach and flattened the huts of the village. Sangreta saw the concrete walls of her own but collapse under the terrible weight and force of the water. The destruction of the but meant only one thing to Sangreta-her son had died inside! She fell to the ground weeping, her heart crushed with grief for her boy whom she loved.
Sangreta, had been forced to make an agonizing choice-which children she would carry to safety. God, too, made an incredible decision so that sinners might be carried to safety. "The Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world" (1 John 4:14). In love to perishing sinners, God the Father sent the Lord Jesus into the world where He would suffer, bleed and die on the cross so that sinners might be saved.
The Lord Jesus knew that if He didn't become the sin-bearer and go through the agony of the cross, no one would ever make it to heaven! "The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Rom. 6:23). The Lord Jesus was willing to give His life so that all who would believe on Him would not have to pay the penalty for their sins.
Hear His agonizing cry from the cross: "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" (Matt. 27:46). He was forsaken so that sinners could be forgiven and find a place of safety. "Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God" (1 Peter 3:18). Can you turn away from such a Savior who went through so much for you?
The story of Sangreta's family had a happy ending. The family dog had followed Dinakren into the hut. Somehow the dog sensed the danger of staying in the hut. When the boy didn't leave, the dog started nipping him and pulling at his clothes. Dinakren couldn't resist the dog's effort to make him leave, and he ran out of the house. The dog snapped at his heels like he was shepherding the boy. Together they ran up a different way to the top of the hill. When the wave hit, Dinakren was high enough on the hill that only his feet and legs got wet.
Sangreta's sorrow was turned to joy when finally she saw her oldest son alive on the hill. She ran to him and hugged him close to her heart. Dinakren told her that the dog had nipped at his feet and legs till he ran out of the but and up the hill.
The dog led Dinakren to the safety of the hill. What will it be that God will use to lead you to the safety of the Savior's side? Will it be a troubled conscience because of your sins? Or perhaps a Bible verse you can't get out of your mind? God uses many things to lead people to repentance and faith. But one thing is for certain-there is no other person to whom you can turn who can deliver you from the judgment your sins deserve. Won't you come to the Lord Jesus Christ at once and receive the salvation He lovingly offers?

Okay, Monkey, I’ll Find You!

A jet cargo plane zoomed in for a landing at New York's busy Kennedy Airport. It was planning to stop only long enough for refueling before taking off again.
In the big cargo hold of the plane, among the countless boxes and crates were a dozen animal cages with five macaque monkeys in each cage, which makes sixty monkeys in all.
When the plane came to a standstill, one particular little monkey got very busy. He grabbed onto the bars of his cage with his slender fingers and started shaking the bars with all the might his fifteen-pound body could muster. He shook those bars to the right, and then he shook them to the left. He pulled them up, and then he pushed them down. He shook them till his hands got tired, and then he shook them with his feet. He struggled with those bars, making them rattle and clatter... and finally the gate opened. The monkey quickly squeezed through. After he got out, the gate sprung closed again.
When the other monkeys, all fifty-nine of them, saw their friend free, they started screeching and screaming, clapping their hands, and spinning around in circles. In their screeching they seemed to be calling to their escaped friend, "Escape out of this place! Run, and don't let anyone catch you ever again! You can do it!"
Encouraged by all the clamor, the monkey scurried out of the cargo hold and into the cabin of the plane. Rushing down the aisle and screaming as he went, he took the men working there by surprise. They were so shocked they ran off the plane. Then the pilot and copilot heard the commotion. They came to see what the problem was. They too were startled by the monkey and locked themselves in the cockpit. The tiny monkey must have felt like a mighty conqueror for a while with all the humans running away from him.
An animal expert working at the airport was called to the airplane. John was a big man with a beard and a rosy, smiling face. When he heard all the ruckus one tiny monkey had caused, he chuckled.
The first thing John did was to take the pilot and copilot off the plane. Then he turned his attention to catching the escaped prisoner. The only problem was the little escapee didn't want to be caught.
What John thought would be an easy catch turned into an energetic game of hide-and-seek. The monkey would stick his bald head out of one spot as if to say to John, "Here I am... you can't catch me!" Then before John could catch him, he would find another hiding place. This game went on for an hour and a half.
Then something caught the monkey's attention, and his curiosity got the better of him. He spotted all the colorful dials and interesting levers and buttons in the cockpit. He stopped to play with them.
John saw his chance and nabbed him as the monkey sat on the instrument panel right between the pilot's and copilot's seats, fingering the levers and buttons as though he knew how to fly the airplane.
Later that day, John posed for a picture with the monkey in his lap and told reporters, "He's one sharp little cookie... but, no, I don't think he was trying to fly the plane back home."
You know, that monkey might have been "a sharp little cookie," but there are limits to what monkeys can do. It would have been impossible for him to start the giant engines of the 747 and fly it home to the Philippine Islands. And there are some things which are impossible for people to do, whether children or grown-ups. It is impossible for anyone to save his own soul. And yes, your soul must be saved if you want to be in heaven with the Lord Jesus.
Since there can be no sin in heaven, it is impossible for you to go to heaven just as you are, for Romans 3:23 says, "All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." And it is impossible to go to heaven by earning your way there, thinking your good works might cancel out your sins. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, "By grace are ye saved through faith... not of works, lest any man should boast."
Still, there is a way to be saved, but it must be God's way. "With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible" (Mark 10:27). "The Father [God] sent the Son to be the Savior of the world" (1 John 4:14). God's way of salvation is to come as a helpless sinner to the Lord Jesus who is the only Savior of sinners and accept His loving offer of sins forgiven. It is impossible to be saved any other way-as impossible as that monkey piloting the 747 by himself.
"I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me" (John 14:6). Will you trust the Lord Jesus? He alone can save-the only possible way.

A Stray at the Foot of the Ladder

It was a cool, gray autumn morning when I first saw the stray dog. She wandered out of a muddy cornfield where the dry, yellow stalks still stood in their rows and onto the job site where I was working. I was standing on an extension ladder and brushing paint on the second-story windows of a new house when I saw her.
The stray was so skinny that she looked like a bag of bones. I could see the outline of her ribs through her brown, shaggy coat. She didn't walk like other dogs. Something was wrong with one of her hind legs. It was as stiff as a board, and she had to swing it out in a half circle as she walked. Her ears were covered with scabs from flies. My guess was that somebody had abandoned her in the cornfield since she didn't have a collar. There was no telling how many days she had gone without food.
The dog walked to where I was working and just sat down at the bottom of the ladder. She didn't move. She just sat there the whole time I was working. When I had to change the position of the ladder, she would follow me and then, once again, plant herself right at the bottom of the ladder. It continued like that all morning. At lunch I gave her half a sandwich, which she gobbled down without chewing. The afternoon was spent like the morning with the dog content to sit at the foot of the ladder.
I began wondering what to do with her. When my employer came to see how the work was progressing, I asked him to take responsibility for the dog. He said he would check with the police about lost dogs, which he did, and no one had reported her missing. The police said we could drop her off at the dog pound.
The dog followed me to the hose where I washed out the tools at the end of the day. By the look in her eyes I could tell she was just looking for a friend. I thought about dropping her off at the dog pound but figured she was in such sad shape that no one would ever claim her. It wasn't until I opened my car door that I made up my mind to bring her home.
My mom has a soft spot in her heart for dogs and welcomed the stray into our house. It was a good thing she liked dogs, because this stray had a lot of bad habits to break. A couple of weeks after I had brought her home, she snatched the Thanksgiving turkey off the kitchen counter where it was cooling and wolfed down as much of it as she could before she was caught. Instead of getting angry, my mom just figured that the dog had suffered so much from hunger that she ought to be forgiven.
My brother named her "Gimpy" because of her bad leg. Gimpy went on to share my mother's home for many years and was a much-loved pet-as you can see from the picture.
I was nineteen years old on the day when I found the dog. A year later, when I was twenty, I needed a friend-not only a friend, but also someone who could fill a big emptiness that was in my heart. Somebody once said that God has made man's heart so large that only God Himself can fill it. I was trying to fill my heart with everything else but God, and I was miserable as a result. Just like Gimpy's belly was empty, my heart was empty, and it pained me.
About this time, a friend told me of the Lord Jesus who died on the cross for sinners and, after He was buried, rose from the grave. This friend told me that the Lord Jesus loved me and that His blood could wash away every stain of sin, if I would trust Him. Somehow the message sunk into my heart, and I told the Lord Jesus I wanted Him to be my Savior. Just like Gimpy came and sat at the foot of the ladder and found a friend, I came to the foot of the cross by faith and found the only Friend who would never let me down.
That happened over twenty years ago. I had a lot of bad habits to break, but through it all, I knew Jesus loved me and would see me through the most difficult times. In Him my heart has found the One it was made for. Who did I belong to before I met him? Satan, the god of this world. But now I belong to Jesus, and He belongs to me. Sol. 6:3 says, "I am my beloved's, and my beloved is mine," and my heart echoes that happy thought.
"Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to Me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on Me shall never thirst" (John 6:35). This is so true. Why don't you come to Jesus and believe on Him, the only One who can fill the human heart?

Bear Escapes a Forest Fire

Nothing is more terrifying to wild animals living in the woods than a forest fire. A forest fire is never tame. In dry conditions, it can grow to a gigantic size in minutes. Swept along by strong winds, the fire can travel much faster than men or animals can run. And its flames have the power to destroy everything in its path.
A fire like this broke out in the Bitterroot Mountain Range in Montana. A large brown bear, usually afraid of nothing, had to run for his life! Soon his sides were heaving, his mouth was dry, and he was exhausted. Sparks from the fire were falling like rain around him, but his panic made him keep running. The bear seemed to know that if he stopped, he would die.
In his panic, the big bear ran through a logging camp. Usually bears avoid anything having to do with humans, but now with the fire roaring behind him, nothing else mattered as he raced ahead in front of it. The men from the logging camp were running in panic too. The bear bumped into one. Both the bear and the man stumbled... then quickly got back on their feet and kept running.
A short distance away on the other side of the camp was a shallow mountain stream. In most places it was only ankle deep, but here and there were spots a little deeper. The bear was going to run through the stream, but when he stumbled into one of the deeper places, he decided to stay. Some of the logging men were lying down in the water too. The foreman of the camp, not seeing the bear, jumped into the same spot as the bear. The fire reached the stream, and red, hot flames quickly jumped the stream and burned the tall, dry, evergreen trees on both sides.
When the foreman felt something move behind him, he thought it was another logger. Turning around, he discovered it was a bear! Together they waited in the water until the fire had burnt itself out all around them. Then without a backwards glance, the bear trotted away.
Doubtless many animals perished in the forest fire that day. But the bear found a place of refuge in a pool of water and shared it with a man. It was unusual for a bear in the wild to remain near a human for so long.
Have you found a refuge in the Lord Jesus Christ from the penalty of your sins? He wants every boy and girl to come to Him and trust in Him, that they might receive the forgiveness of sins and the gift of eternal life. Nobody deserves to receive these wonderful gifts, because we are all guilty sinners. But in love and mercy towards you and me, the Lord Jesus died on the cross for the sins of every person who will receive Him as Savior. "We ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. But after that the kindness and love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us" (Titus 3:3-5).
Sadly, disobedience, hate, foolishness and envy are found in the heart of every one of us. They are also things that God in His holiness must judge. In love and mercy, the Lord Jesus came and took the punishment for the sins of all those who would afterward believe on Him. He did this on the cross. Once a sinner is saved, whether he is young or old, the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in his heart. The work of the Holy Spirit is to make us more and more like our blessed Savior.
Won't you let the Lord Jesus be your refuge by accepting Him as your Savior right now? "Whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life" (John 3:15).

Saved at Sea

Our story took place during the first years of World War I. England's factories were heavily damaged, so the United States shipped equipment over to England. The ships carrying the equipment were always in danger, and much depended on the equipment safely reaching England's shores.
Jamie McClare's whole life revolved around the sea. When men were urgently needed for the Merchant Marine, he left his fishing boat in Maine and volunteered-not only himself-but his Newfoundland dog Blackie as well. The Newfoundland is a remarkable breed of dog known for its faithfulness, good nature and life-saving instincts.
The captain of Jamie's ship was glad to have Blackie on board. He had heard of the amazing things Newfound-lands can do, including rescuing drowning sailors. Newfoundland’s have been known to dive twenty feet underwater to save someone who is drowning. Since they have been bred as working dogs for fishing ships, it is almost as if they have developed a sixth sense for the sea. They are very large dogs, and their love for people is just as large. They cannot see a person in danger without coming to their rescue.
The ship's first Atlantic crossing was almost over, and Blackie had become friends with everyone on board-from the ship's captain down to the ship's cook who fed him. They all felt more comfortable with this giant of a dog strolling the decks in the tense atmosphere of war.
One dark, dreary morning when the ship was one hundred miles from England's shore, the roar of a plane engine was heard. The plane was hidden by the heavy gray clouds until it was right over them. Before the crew knew what was happening, they were under attack!
In the confusion all the sailors ran for cover... except Tom. A ricocheting bullet struck him in the arm and knocked him off the ship. He fell over the railing into the cold, dark waters of the Atlantic.
Blackie saw Tom go overboard. Without waiting for even a moment, Blackie leaped into the water and powerfully swam to Tom just as he was going under. Tom put his good arm around the dog's neck and held onto him until a lifeboat came about twenty minutes later. Both Tom and Blackie made it back to the ship safely. Tom knew he owed his life to the lifesaving instincts of Jamie's dog, and he would never forget it.
Every one of us who knows the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior realizes that He came to rescue us, too. Not thinking of the pain or the agony to Himself, He went to Calvary's cross. Why did He do this? Because he loved us and saw that we would die in our sins unless He came and took our punishment as our substitute.
When Tom was wounded and fell into the Atlantic Ocean, he knew he could not save himself. Do you realize that without the Lord Jesus there is no hope for you? Has the fact that you have sinned ever bothered you? Have you felt how helpless you are before God?
If you haven't, won't you think about what God's Word, the Bible, tells us in Romans 3:23, that "all have sinned," and that "all" includes you? Having sinned, you have "come short of the glory of God," that is, you will never make it to heaven as you are.
"Oh," you might say to defend yourself, "I have sinned, but I will save myself."
No, God will accept our "saving ourselves." We must be saved His way-by admitting that we are sinners and by accepting His Son as our Savior. Tom was wounded and saw that he could not save himself. If it hadn't been for Blackie, Tom would have been lost at sea.
God's good news is now going out to everyone. Each person who accepts the Lord Jesus Christ as his Savior will be free from the punishment of his sins in hell and will be in heaven with the Lord Jesus for eternity. Won't you accept Him as your Savior today?
"Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else" (Isa. 45:22).

A Kangaroo’s Fatal Attraction

One night in Rome, Italy, a runaway kangaroo caused quite a commotion. People parked their cars along the streets to watch the animal. It was an unusual sight in Rome, and they didn't know where it had come from.
The kangaroo seemed to be attracted by the headlights of the cars. He would hop along, pause in front of a car with his nose close to the headlights and cock his head to one side. He almost seemed to be trying to figure out the invention of the light bulb for a few seconds. Then he would hop along to inspect the next car's headlights.
The people in the cars found it quite amusing as they watched the comical figure of the kangaroo peering into the bright beams of the car lights. They didn't know that many, many kangaroos die every year in Australia as they leap into oncoming traffic, attracted by the headlights.
Their laughing came to a sudden end as a sports car came speeding around the corner. Just that quickly, the kangaroo hopped out in front of the car, attracted by the headlights. The sports car could not stop in time.
The poor kangaroo was rushed to the animal doctor at the Rome Zoo. Sad to say, the animal doctor could not save its life. One more kangaroo's attraction to headlights had proved fatal.
A Kangaroo's Fatal Attraction It was the kangaroo's attraction to car headlights that caused him to be hit by a car. We all know children and grown-ups who are so attracted to the pastimes of this life—sports, amusements, hobbies and other things—that they never take time to think about death and where they will spend eternity.
Have you ever thought seriously about death and eternity? The Bible teaches the truth, that those who are truly sorry about their sins and accept the Lord Jesus Christ as their own Savior will spend eternity with Him in heaven. But those who find no time for Him and refuse His offer of forgiveness will be sent into everlasting punishment.
Don't let the attractions of this world keep you from coming to the Lord Jesus, the Savior of sinners. He loves you very much and wants to save you from your sins. The Bible says, "Him that cometh to Me [Jesus] I will in no wise cast out" (John 6:37), and, "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him" (John 3:36).


A lady came home to her house after a long day working to find an unexpected guest in her kitchen. A young black bear, about two years old and maybe weighing several hundred pounds, had forced open her sliding door on the back porch while she was away. The hungry bear had followed his nose into the kitchen. There he found a large, ceramic storage jar full of oatmeal.
He knocked off the lid, and what he found inside was very much to his liking.
The lady came home not knowing she had an intruder in her house. When she went into the kitchen, she was startled and frightened! She saw the bear sitting on its haunches, with the jar in his front paws, busily eating the oatmeal. She quickly left the house and called for help on her cell phone. Meanwhile, the bear, contented as could be, continued his feast.
The oatmeal must have been very much to the bear's liking, because when police Sergeant Paul Skeleton arrived, the big, furry animal was still happily eating.
Sergeant Skeleton tried yelling to shoo the bear out of the house. The bear completely ignored him. Since the bear was simply eating oatmeal and not destroying any property, Sergeant Skeleton decided just to wait and see what would happen when the bear was done.
The bear finished the oatmeal, got up and walked out the same door he had opened to come in. From there he lumbered down into a forested ravine behind the house. The ravine was part of a "greenbelt," which was a long trail of trees. Hopefully, the bear traveled through this greenbelt all the way back into the mountains in British Columbia where he belonged.
The bear was an uninvited guest who enjoyed a special feast. He wasn't invited, but he came anyway. Do you know God invites every boy and girl and grown-up to a feast? The feast to which God invites you begins when you, by faith, accept the Lord Jesus as your very own Savior. Feasts are generally occasions of great happiness. This feast is no different. There is no greater joy than knowing that your sins are forgiven and you are on your way to heaven, because the Savior gave His life to save you. Belshazzar, the king of Babylon, made a great feast in Bible times which lasted only one night. However, the feast God invites you and me to will last forever. It will begin here on earth as we daily learn more of the "unsearchable riches of Christ" (Eph. 3:8), and it will continue through all eternity in heaven.
In the Old Testament, there is a verse which reads, "He brought me to the banqueting house, and His banner over me was love" ( Sol. 2:4). When a person accepts the Lord Jesus Christ as his Savior, it is as if God brings them to His banqueting table where they may feast for the rest of their lives. It is a feast which brings much happiness to our souls. Unless you and I accept God's invitation, we will have a soul hunger which does not go away.
The bear ate until his hunger was gone and then disappeared into the forest. But he will become hungry again. Those who place their faith in the Lord Jesus will find food and drink for their souls in a never-ending supply. The Lord Jesus said, "I am the bread of life: he that [comes] to Me shall never hunger; and he that [believes] on Me shall never thirst" (John 6:35).
In Luke 14 the Lord Jesus told a story about a great feast. In the story the very important invitation went out, "Come; for all things are now ready" (vs. 17). But those who were invited didn't think the invitation was very important, and they made many excuses not to come. Because they decided not to come, they would never taste of that wonderful supper. God in grace invites you to receive His great salvation offered through His Son Jesus. Don't make excuses why you can't come... say "yes" to Him and come to the Savior who loves you. It is the most important decision you will ever make.
The bear wasn't invited, but he came into the house and ate the oatmeal. You are invited to come to the Lord Jesus and to the Father's house of plenty. Will you come?

A Pony in the House

Star was a brown Shetland pony with a long white mane and tail. But right in the middle of his forehead was a spot of white that looked like a star, and this is how he got his name.
Star lived on a farm with lots of bigger horses until one day a family bought Star and took him to their house. They built a nice stable for Star that was just big enough for one pony. The children, Elly and Sue and their little brother Stu, soon loved Star. They fed him and brushed him. To them Star was the best pony in the whole world. Soon Star loved them too, because of all the loving care they gave him.
Elly and Sue worked patiently with Star and trained him to do different tricks. They could make Star kneel on his front knees like he was taking a bow. They trained him to rear up on his hind legs and remain standing on his two hind feet. They could even stand on his back, balancing while he slowly walked.
Sometimes they treated Star almost as if he were a real person. One afternoon Elly thought Star needed a nap, so she did her best to make him comfortable. She brought out her own blanket and pillow and made Star lay down on his side. Then she put the pillow under his head and tucked the blanket in all around him. Star seemed to enjoy it even though ponies usually sleep standing up.
Another afternoon Elly came up with a strange idea. She decided Star should come into the house for a bowl of milk at the kitchen table! Sue didn't think it was a good idea at all. "We'll only get into trouble, Elly!" Sue said.
Elly answered, "We were never told not to bring Star in the house. And besides, don't you think Star deserves the very best we have? Anyway, Mom and Dad will never know. They won't be home for at least another hour."
It didn't take much convincing from Elly for Sue to change her mind.
They led Star up the steps of the back stairway and through the back door. First they gave Star a tour of the house, thinking that it was quite natural for the pony to be interested in the place where they lived.
Then they brought him into the kitchen where they poured milk into their mother's favorite mixing bowl and set it on the table in front of Star. He was delighted and slurped it up with his long pony tongue.
Star wasn't very neat, so some of the milk splattered on the floor. Then when he was almost finished...he sneezed and knocked the bowl off the table! It landed on the floor and broke with a crash!
Now the girls were in trouble.
They decided it was time to take Star out of the house. They led him to the back porch, but he would not go back down the steps. The girls tugged on his lead rope, but he wouldn't budge! Going up the steps had been easy, but going back down was a different matter. They tried standing at the bottom of the steps and pleading with Star to come down, but he just stood still, blinking his eyes. Star must have been afraid of falling.
In thinking over their problem, Sue remembered that the steps to the front door were wider. She suggested to Elly that maybe Star would walk down those steps.
So they led him to the front of the house. But no matter how hard they coaxed him, he would not go down those steps either.
The girls were almost in tears. They knew their parents would be home any minute, and they knew full well that they would be in more trouble than just over the broken bowl if their parents found Star in the house! They even tried coaxing Star with carrots and sugar cubes, but nothing worked. Star just would not go down the steps.
Just then the two girls saw their parents' car pull into the driveway.
Let's stop here for a moment and think how the girls got themselves into trouble. It was easy to get Star up the steps and into the house, and didn't the girls have a good time! But when it was time to take him back outside, they couldn't get Star to go down the steps. It's also easy for boys and girls to get into trouble, sin trouble. And how impossible it is for them to get out of it... unless God's Son, the Lord Jesus, helps them.
In fact, every person on earth (except the Lord Jesus) has gotten into sin trouble. The Bible tells us, "There is none righteous [good], no, not one" (Rom. 3:10), and, "The soul that sinneth, it shall die" (Ezek. 18:20). When a person sins, it's just as if they got a stain on their heart and there is no way they can get rid of that ugly stain. But God has seen our need, and because He loves us so much, He sent His Son to die on the cross to bear the punishment for the sins of anyone who will believe that He died for them. That is why it is so important to believe in the Lord Jesus. When we believe in Jesus, His blood which He shed on the cross cleans us, once and for all, from every stain of sin and makes us ready for heaven.
It is very important to know this: One sin is enough to keep a boy or girl out of heaven, while a million sins will not keep a boy or girl out of heaven if they accept Jesus as their own Savior. If you have not yet accepted Him, now is the very best time to settle the matter. After you become a believer, why don't you tell someone, like a friend or your parents, how you have accepted Jesus as your Savior.
Now it's time to tell you what happened to Star and the girls. When their dad got to the house and heard the girls' tearful story, he tied a blindfold over Star's eyes. Then he carefully and slowly led him down the steps and then off to the stable where he belonged. Elly and Sue were so glad their dad was able to get Star safely back to his stable, but they both were punished and never again thought of bringing their pony into the house.

Luna of Nootka Sound

Perhaps it was a storm with great waves and high winds that caused the young orca whale to get separated from his mother and their pod. Nobody knows for sure, but when the young whale swam into Nootka Sound off Vancouver Island, he was all alone. Marine biologists identified him as Luna of the L-pod. Scientists always name the young orcas in the Pacific Northwest when they are born. Since no two orca whales look quite the same, they can easily identify them by their distinctive black and white markings.
In Nootka Sound, Luna found all the salmon he wanted for food. But his mother and the L-pod swam nearly a hundred miles away near the San Juan Islands.
Orcas, also called killer whales, are highly social animals. That means they need to be with others of their own kind to keep them content. They hunt together, play together and protect each other. The older whales instruct the younger ones in the skills they need to survive.
When Luna was no longer with other whales, he became lonely and began looking for attention from people. He would swim up to boats, and if they stopped he would give them a slight bump. Often he would swim alongside a boat, looking for a friendly scratch on the back or a belly rub.
When word got out that a killer whale was being friendly to boaters in Nootka Sound, people came from all over to see the whale that was gradually becoming tame. Luna was quite a sensation with lots of people. However, the marine biologists were not happy about the killer whale's interest in humans.
By the end of the first summer, he had become so fearless that he was pushing boats around and had actually broken the rudders on a few. And he had been hurt when he bumped into a sharp propeller and got a big cut over one eye.
The biologists realized that it wasn't in the young whale's best interest to be overly friendly with people. They could foresee that the more he was around people the less likely it was that he would return to his pod. It was decided that Luna should be captured, loaded onto a special truck, and driven to the far side of the island where he would be released in the water not far from where his own pod was swimming. Once back with his own pod, they hoped he would return to his natural instinct of avoiding people.
When God created orca whales, He gave them social natures and family pods to keep them content and happy. People are social creatures too, and God wants us to have loving parents and families as well. In addition, God has given mankind something very special that He didn't give to any other creature. He has given us hearts that can never be truly happy unless we come to know Him and His love for us. He has made our hearts so large that only He can fill them and give us lasting happiness and satisfaction. You and I might try to fill our hearts with all sorts of things, but there will always be an emptiness there unless we know God as our loving Father.
Our sins have separated us from God and left us with that emptiness in our hearts, but He has provided the remedy that will bring us back to Himself. God sent His own beloved Son to die on Calvary's cross in the sinner's place. In the hours of darkness while He hung on the cross, Christ Jesus suffered the agony of our sins so that we might be saved. "Christ also bath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God"
(1 Peter 3:18). If you will come to God through faith in His Son, He will make you one of His own family and never let you go.
Luna remained swimming alone in Nootka Sound until enough money was raised to take him back to his whale family. However, cost does not stand in the way of your returning to God. The great cost has already been paid in full for the saving of any soul who will return to God through His Son Christ Jesus. He wants you to know for yourself His love which passes understanding. "Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins" (1 John 4:10). Will you come back to God and become a part of His family? "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God" (1 John 3:1).

Dangerous Kisses

"Hey, everyone watch me kiss my rattlesnake on the lips," John announced to the group of friends at his house. He puckered his lips in a mock kiss. His friends gathered around to watch the show.
"Don't do it!" his friend Robert protested. "That's crazy! The snake will bite!" he warned.
"Don't worry. I've done it many times before, and my snake has never bitten me," John said with a cocky smile.
As his friends all watched, John reached into the glass aquarium where he kept his pet snake. He picked it up with one hand behind its head and the other under its body. The rattles were silent. The snake was a little over two feet long and had only two rattles at the end of its tail—a young snake.
John held the snake up for his friends to view for a moment and then moved it towards his face to kiss it. The small crowd gasped as the snake suddenly struck with an open mouth and sank its fangs into John's upper lip. At that instant, the snake's poisonous venom was sent through its long, hollow fangs and into John's lip before the snake was pulled away.
In astonishment, John dropped the snake to the floor and cried out, "I'm going to die! I'm going to die!"
Dangerous Kisses Robert, the same friend who tried to discourage John from kissing the snake, quickly killed the snake that was coiling on the floor as if to strike again. Then he turned to help his terror-stricken friend whose upper lip was already swelling. In a firm voice he told John not to panic and that they would get help. Someone quickly called 9-1-1 and were told that paramedics were on the way.
At the hospital they treated John with antivenin for the snakebite. After a severe illness he recovered from the poisoning. The doctor credited his recovery due to the rattlesnake's small size and being young.
It's dangerous to keep a poisonous creature for a pet. It's even more dangerous and foolish to kiss such a creature. Most of us don't have to be told, "Don't kiss a poisonous snake." However, there is something very dangerous that you and I easily get accustomed to, and that is sin. Sin carries a poisonous bite with it that is far more deadly than that of John's rattlesnake. "When lust hath conceived, it [brings] forth sin; and sin, when it is finished, [brings]
forth death" (James 1:15). Sin isn't harmless. It is the deadliest evil known to man: "The sting of death is sin" (1 Cor. 15:56). "The soul that [sins], it shall die" (Ezek. 18:20).
No one has escaped the bite of sin. "There is no difference: for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:22-23). Therefore, every one of us needs God's life-saving remedy for sin, which is available only through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus suffered and died on the cross and became the only sin offering God will ever accept. "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up: that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life" (John 3:14-15). Sin's deadly poison has been defeated by its remedy in God's beloved Son.
Won't you recognize that sin is deadly and believe that the Lord Jesus died on the cross for your sins? He will give you the gift of eternal life. God says there is no other way to be saved from sin's deadly sting.
Even in our modern times, no roads exist that connect Nome to the rest of Alaska. In 1925 traveling conditions were even more difficult. In summer you could travel there by ship, and if you were adventurous, you could fly there by plane. But not in winter.
In January of that year, Dr. Curtiss Welch, the only doctor living in Nome, diagnosed an outbreak of diphtheria. Diphtheria is a highly contagious disease that especially attacks children. It begins with flu-like symptoms and then worsens... until the person dies. The only cure then was an antitoxin serum. Sadly, Dr. Welch had none of the serum in Nome. He sent out an urgent telegraph pleading for help. Could the antitoxin serum be located and then delivered before many people died? Every hour that passed without the serum increased the death toll.
This dreadful disease reminds us of sin. Sin has infected each one of us, and if we don't use the right treatment for it, sin will eventually cause our eternal death. The Bible makes it clear how dangerous sin really is: "The wages of sin is death" (Rom. 6:23). Most of us don't realize the danger we are in because of sin. If we did, we wouldn't wait another second before we sent out an urgent plea to one who could help.
What is the name of the only one who can remove the problem of sin? Before His birth an angel announced, "Thou shalt call His name Jesus: for He shall save His people from their sins" (Matt. 1:21). Jesus is His name, and when He died on the cross, He shed His precious blood. His blood has the cleansing power to remove all your sins and mine. "The blood of Jesus Christ [God's] Son cleanseth us from all sin" (1 John 1:7). The danger is great and the time is short. "Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved" (Rom. 10:13). Will you call to Him before it is too late for you?
The antitoxin serum was located in Anchorage and was sent by train to the town of Nenana. This small village was still 650 miles away from Nome. Using urgent telegraph messages, twenty dogsled teams were set up to cover these miles. They were spaced out along the route, like runners in a relay race, to carry the precious serum to Nome.
The crate containing the vials of serum was carefully lashed onto the first sled, and the driver yelled "Mush!" The dogsled race to save lives had begun.
At first all went well, and the serum was passed from sled to sled as each driver finished his leg of the journey. The seventeenth team of dogs was driven by a man named Seppala and led by a dog called Togo. They were traveling over Norton Sound when the dogs broke through the ice and landed in open water. Seppala was just able to stop the sled before it plunged in. Then, lying on his stomach at the edge of the broken ice, he pulled his dogs out one by one. It was a close call, and the serum had almost been lost!
The serum was transferred to the eighteenth team at a village called Bluff. They lashed the serum to Gunnar Kaasen's dogsled, and with the command "Mush!" his team of dogs sprinted away. Shortly after this team started, a severe snowstorm blew in. Snow fell so fast that Gunnar could no longer tell if he was headed in the right direction. He had to trust his lead dog to guide them. The lead dog made his way through the blizzard until he lost his sense of direction and was unwilling to travel any farther. Worried that they would never reach Nome, Gunnar got off the sled and switched the second dog to the lead spot at the front of the team. This dog was confused too and did not know which way to turn. It seemed that they must lose precious time and wait for the storm to blow over.
The snow was blowing so thick that Gunnar could barely see the faint outlines of his dogs in their harnesses. His glance fell on one of the dogs that was hitched back in the team by the sled. Instead of standing still, this dog was jumping against the braces of the harness. His name was Balto, a black Siberian husky, and he seemed to be saying, I know the way; trust me, I will get you there! Gunnar switched Balto to the lead spot. The dog paused for a moment, just long enough for Gunnar to get behind his sled. The wind was howling so loud that Balto never heard the word "Mush!" but he knew it was time to go, so off into the thick of the storm he led them.
The wind blew at forty miles an hour and gusted at twice that speed. The temperature was minus forty and falling, and the snow continued to fall fast. Through this terrible storm Balto led them. At one point, a strong gust of wind hit them and lifted Gunnar, the sled and all the dogs off the ground before it slammed them back down again. For many hours Balto led them through the raging storm.
When they neared the last relay station at Port Safety, Gunnar saw no lights in the roadhouse. The man who was to drive the last leg of the race had thought it was impossible for Gunnar to travel in the storm and had gone to bed. Instead of losing precious time in rousing the sleeping driver and waiting while he got his team ready, Gunnar decided to keep going and make the last twenty-mile leg of the journey himself. The storm slackened, and traveling was easier. Even after working all day, Balto ran like the wind.
At 5:30 in the morning, Balto led the team to the front of the tiny hospital in Nome. The serum was delivered! They had traveled over twenty hours through some of the worst conditions known to man. Gunnar put his arm around his lead dog and then noticed that Balto's feet were bleeding. "He is one fine dog!" he said with feeling to the small crowd that was gathering around them.
Despite danger and incredible hardships, Balto got the sled carrying the antitoxin serum through to Nome, and lives were saved because of it.
Do you know Jesus who came here to earth and faced dangers and incredible hardships that your soul might be saved? He left His Father's home in heaven and came to this sin-stained earth to be born as an infant. At about thirty years of age He began His ministry. The words He spoke were so powerful that they struck men deep in their hearts. Because He spoke about sin, He earned the hatred of men who "loved darkness rather than light." At last they took Him and nailed Him to a cross. They meant it for evil, but God overruled it for good, because God knew that it was only through the death of His dear Son that sin could ever be put away. In His own body at the cross, He carried those sins which, like a terrible disease, were bringing us down to death and judgment. "He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed" (Isa. 53:5).
The Lord Jesus Christ died for you on the cross. After His death He was laid in a grave, but a grave couldn't hold Him, and He rose from the grave. And if you believe on this Savior who won the victory over sin and death, you will receive the forgiveness of your sins and the gift of eternal life. Won't you trust the Lord Jesus to save you?

Encounter With a Cougar

"Class dismissed... have a good afternoon," Wayne Culling announced. Thirty middle school students sprang out of their seats and rushed for the door. School was over for the day, and he breathed a sigh of relief.
As a substitute teacher, Wayne liked the students, but sometimes they wore him down. He felt a need to relax and decided to go for a hike out in the timberland.
He drove to his home near Crescent Beach on the Olympic Peninsula. Pulling on his hiking boots, he headed for the beach. As he breathed in the fresh sea air and felt the ocean breeze, Wayne felt refreshed. After walking the length of the beach, he turned inland and hiked up a trail that led into the foothills.
Tall evergreens with wild undergrowth cover the rugged foothills that lie between the ocean and the mountains. He walked a long distance on the trail without seeing another hiker. But as he walked, a strange feeling began to come over him that he couldn't shake off. Then he heard a noise behind him that made him quickly turn around. He saw a tawny brown blur through the leaves of the undergrowth many yards away. Suddenly, he understood the reason for his strange feeling-an animal was following him! The glimpse of color looked like deerskin, but he knew it wasn't a deer... deer don't follow people. He walked faster, careful not to show any signs of panic. Although he hadn't seen the animal clearly, he concluded that he was being followed by a cougar!
In the wild, you see a cougar for only one of two reasons: Either you have surprised it or it is stalking you! In all the years he had lived in this remote area, he had never seen a cougar before.
You and I have an enemy who is stalking us: "Your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, [walks] about, seeking whom he may devour" (1 Peter 5:8). Satan, our enemy, hates everything that is true and good and that comes from God. If you have not come to the Lord Jesus to have your sins washed away in the precious blood of Christ, this enemy is stalking you and will do everything in his power to keep you for himself.
Realizing that this dangerous animal could be stalking him, Wayne picked up a broken branch. He remembered that this makes a person look larger, and sometimes that is enough to scare a cougar away. Then he decided to whistle, to show the cougar that he had not panicked. Predators, such as cougars, sense that panic in its prey makes it easier to catch.
Turning around, he saw the cougar on the trail twenty-five yards behind him. "Go away!" yelled Wayne. Unfazed, the cat walked steadily towards him. Wayne quickly looked for a tree to climb. He couldn't remember if climbing a tree was recommended for escaping a cougar, but he didn't have a choice. Several sturdy fir trees were close by, but the lowest branches were far too high to grab. A few steps off the trail he saw a smaller hemlock tree, about thirty feet tall. It would have to do.
Wayne made a dash to the tree and climbed up the branches as fast as he could. He was halfway up when he looked down and saw the whiskered face and the golden green eyes of the cougar looking up at him. Seeing the slim, muscular body and the powerful legs of the cat, Wayne realized it could easily climb the tree if it wanted to pull him down. Wayne grabbed the branches above him and climbed higher until he reached the top of the tree. Hanging on tightly, he began to breathe a little easier. Then the unexpected happened! With his arms and legs wrapped around the slender tree, it wasn't strong enough to support his weight, and it began to bend over! It bent over so far that his entire body was upside down!
Wayne figured his end had come. If he let go of his hold on the tree, he would fall almost on top of the cougar. He was helpless and defenseless!
As he hung upside down, one by one all the things in his pockets began to fall out-first his wallet fell, then his coins fell, and then his keys fell. The keys made a clinking metallic sound as they hit a branch near the cougar's head. Something in that sound startled the animal, and it bounded off. Once Wayne felt it was safe, it didn't take him long to get out of the tree and get out of the area.
Satan doesn't give up as easily as the cougar did. He has different ways to keep people from getting saved. One is by feeding them lies. A favorite lie he will tell you is that you are not so bad that the Savior needed to die for you. The truth is that every member of the human race has sinned. The Bible says, "All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23), and every sinner still in their sins is on their way to a lost eternity-an eternity that will be spent away forever from the God who loved them and in the awful company of the devil and his angels. Not one person will ever enter into heaven with even one sin on them. Only the precious blood of the Lord Jesus shed on the cross can wash those sins away. Have you believed on the Lord Jesus to have your sins forgiven?
Another lie Satan uses is to tell you that if you do enough good deeds for others you can earn a place in heaven. The Bible tells us that we can never enter into heaven by good works: "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us" (Titus 3:5).
Are you trying to earn God's favor by good works? It can't be done. God is too rich to sell salvation, and we are just too poor to buy it. He does offer it to you as a gift: "The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Rom. 6:23). You can receive this salvation through believing on the Lord Jesus Christ. Once you believe on Him, your place in heaven is reserved and your soul's salvation will be out of the reach of Satan forever.

Koko and All Ball

Koko is a most unusual gorilla; she is probably the most unusual gorilla in the world... because Koko talks. "Talks!" you say. Well, not exactly like we talk, with words you can hear, but Koko talks with Ameslan, the hand language of the deaf. Over the years a woman by the name of Penny Patterson has been instructing Koko to talk with her hands, and Koko has learned a vocabulary of over five hundred words. As part of her lessons, Koko's teacher would read stories to her. Among Koko's favorite stories were "The Three Little Kittens" and "Puss in Boots."
Thinking about Koko's favorite stories, it is no wonder that one day Koko asked her teacher for a favor. She asked for a kitten of her very own! Gorillas, being vegetarians, even in the wild have been noted for their gentle behavior towards small animals. Koko's teacher, thinking something less than a real kitten would do, brought her pupil a stuffed toy kitten. Well, Koko made it very plain that she did not have a toy in mind at all-she wanted the real thing! So her teacher found a litter of kittens and brought them to Koko to let her choose her own kitten. Koko picked out a boy kitten that had no tail, to be her very own pet and named him All Ball.
All Ball became Koko's constant companion and best friend. Koko loved her furry little friend. Although All Ball was a feisty, rollicking, playful little kitten who loved to bite everything that moved, including gorillas, the two became very attached.
Flying Hooves and Dangerous Kisses Koko would hug and kiss and hold the little kitten as though it were her own baby. All Ball must have felt very safe and secure when Koko would pick him up in her large, powerful arms and hold him tucked up very close to herself. In such a position All all did not have a fear in the world.
One day All Ball wandered out of the gorilla cage into the street where he was struck and killed by a car. Poor Koko wept when she heard the news. How she had loved her little friend. Had she known what was happening, she would have used all her strength to prevent All Ball's death.
Koko would have prevented her kitten's death if she could have, but she was unable to. The Lord Jesus loves every one of us. He knew that we were headed toward certain death, "for the wages of sin is death" (Rom. 6:23), and "all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (Rom. 3:23). But unlike Koko, the Lord Jesus is able to save every one of us. He can do this because He went to Calvary's cross to pay the penalty for sin, which was death. It is there at Calvary that we learn the terribleness of our sins and also the wonderful grace of God. God is now able to offer to the guilty world the free forgiveness of sins, because His Son, the Lord Jesus, died to bear the punishment for those sins. God is now justly able to offer everlasting life to every man, woman and child who will believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. If you haven't believed on Him yet, won't you believe on Him and receive everlasting life today?
All Ball must have felt very safe in Koko's arms, but we can be safe forever in the arms of Jesus. What a very happy, joyous thing it is to know the Lord Jesus' love and tender care in this life right now.

China, the Cat

Mr. and Mrs. LeConner could smell the fresh sea breeze as they stepped out of their pickup truck. They had just arrived at a campsite at the edge of the Strait of Juan de Fuca in the state of Washington, and the place was beautiful. Looking through the trees, they could see blue water stretching out to the horizon. They looked forward to spending a few days of peace and quiet in this spot.
However, in the trailer behind the truck, their black cat named China had different ideas. She was not used to riding in the trailer, and the long ride had upset the cat.
She had only one thought when the door of the trailer opened... escape! She streaked through the doorway and hit the ground running... under the picnic table and off into the undergrowth.
The strange surroundings frightened her, and she ran to a very tall fir tree that was leaning out over the water. Digging her claws into its rough bark, she climbed as if her life were in danger.
Up and up she climbed. Mrs. LeConner called out, "China, stop, please stop!" But China didn't stop. She climbed until she was nearly seventy feet high! Then she found a resting place in the crook of a branch.
The LeConners begged their cat to come down. They made the smacking sounds they used to call her at mealtimes. They placed specially cooked food at the bottom of the tree, hoping she would smell it and come down. But China didn't budge from her resting place.
Cat's claws are designed in such a way that climbing up tree trunks is fairly easy, but climbing back down is difficult for all but an experienced cat.
The LeConners spent four days trying to coax their cat out of the tree. The closest fire department could not help. Seventy feet is nearly eight stories high, and their tallest ladders were only half that height.
On the fourth day of their not so-relaxing camping trip, the LeConners gave up trying to recover their pet and returned home without her.
Would poor China ever get rescued? The campground director felt sorry for the cat. He stopped to talk to her every day as he checked all the campsites. He even contacted the local newspaper, which ran a story about the cat.
On the tenth day China had spent in the tree, a young man who worked as a logger offered to rescue her. He put long, spiked cleats onto his boots and, using a leather strap wrapped around the trunk, he started up. Painstakingly this man climbed fifty, sixty, seventy feet up the tree. Just as he reached out his hand to grab the cat, she backed away frightened... and fell.
Because of China's bad choice to climb up that tree with no way to get back down, she was in a very dangerous spot. Then to make matters worse, when someone wanted to rescue her, she backed away from him and didn't want his help. This led to a fall that could tragically end her life.
You and I have made some pretty bad choices in our lives too. Our choices have been sinful ones. And we also have backed away from the one person who can rescue us from the danger we are in. The one who wants to rescue us also loves us-the Lord Jesus Christ. He sees exactly where we are in our sinful lives and wants to save us from our sins. But like China, we back off and don't want help.
On the long way down, China bounced off a few branches. The logger called out to the men below what he could see: "She bounced off a rock and slid into the water... I see her trying to swim!"
Quickly the campground director climbed down the rocky bank and waded out into the water. He picked up China as she was struggling to climb onto a rock. He saw that she had been badly hurt by the fall.
The campground director rushed China to a veterinarian where she required immediate surgery for a broken hip and broken leg. The surgery went well, but the owners didn't want to pay the very expensive bill and gave up all claim to the cat. People in the local community got together and collected money to pay for the surgery. After recovering from her injuries for several weeks, China was put up for adoption. You will be glad to know that China now has a new home where she is loved and well cared for.
If you don't know the Lord Jesus as your Savior, you are in great danger too. God's Word says, "The wages of sin is death" (Rom. 6:23). To rescue us from our sins, the Son of God came to this earth and went all the way to the cross. "Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures" (1 Corinthians 15:3). Because of the price He paid for sin, all who believe on Him will be forgiven and receive the gift of eternal life. "Whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life" (John 3:15).
How sad and fatal will be the fall of all those who refuse His call to be saved from their sins. When they leave this world, they will be sent away from His presence for all eternity. The saddest part is that it doesn't have to happen. "The Lord is... not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9).
Do you hear the voice of the Savior calling to you to come to Him and be saved? Will you let Him rescue you from your sins?
It seemed as though Opo's mother had been killed, and because she was so lonely, the young dolphin turned to people for companionship. At first she followed boats, loving to have her back scratched with an oar or a broom. Then she began to swim around with people who were swimming at Opononi beach. No one knows for sure who first got the courage to touch the wild dolphin, but after Opo learned that swimmers wouldn't hurt her, swimming among the folks at the beach became a daily habit.
She learned to enjoy the company of the swimmers, and they enjoyed the antics and games the dolphin would play. One of Opo's favorite tricks was to find a bottle on the bottom of the ocean, toss it as far and as high as she could with her mouth, and then swim "faster than lightening" to catch the falling bottle on her tail. Onlookers would cheer when Opo did such tricks, and she seemed to enjoy the applause.
It was Opo's special delight to swim among groups of young people. Opo especially enjoyed it when the children of Opononi held their school picnic at the beach. The children all waded out chest deep into the water and formed a circle, holding hands. It seemed as though Opo understood what the children wanted her to do. She swam into the center of the circle to perform tricks with a beach ball.
Opo seemed to sense those children who were gentle and avoided those who played too roughly. Opo's favorite swimming friend was thirteen-year-old Jill Baker, who often swam at that beach. "Whenever Opo saw me go into the water," Jill said, "she would leave the other swimmers and come to me." Opo would often dive between Jill's legs and take her for a ride.
Soon Opo became very well-known, and people traveled long distances to see and touch the friendly dolphin. The store owners near the beach noticed their business picked up. To honor the dolphin that attracted the visitors, they set up a sign at the entrance of the village. It read, "Welcome to Opononi. But please do not kill our happy dolphin."
Opo won the love of so many people that they got together to pass a law forbidding any one to hunt, capture or hurt any dolphin in the bay.
Only a few days after this law was passed, Opo was missing. Volunteers went out to search for her, but they did not find her. Sadly, a clam digger found Opo's body on some rocks. Apparently she was the victim of an underwater explosion.
The townspeople buried Opo on their beach, setting up a monument over her grave in memory of their happy and lovable friend.
Among all of God's creatures, dolphins are some of the most friendly and sociable. When God made them, He gave them a heart which needs others to make them happy. Opo, who had probably lost her mother, found companionship with the swimmers of Opononi beach.
When God made man, He gave man a heart so large that only God is great enough to fill it. Even our best friends, the kindest of brothers and sisters and the most loving parents, although wonderful in themselves, aren't enough to fill a child's or an adult's heart. Only our Maker, the loving Lord Jesus, is able to satisfy our hearts.
"Abide in Me, and I in you" (John 15:4) are the words of the Lord Jesus. How do we abide in Him and He in us? First, we need to know Him as our Savior. Once we admit that we are sinners and accept the salvation He offers us, then the Lord Jesus is our Savior. We then can enjoy loving Him, this Man who loved us so much that He died for us. A hymnwriter wrote, "Jesus! Thou art enough the mind and heart to fill." What a wonderful truth this is!
"Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and He in God.... God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him" (1 John 4:15-16).

Tip Tips off the Searchers

"I brought you a surprise, Sis," the young man said, holding something behind his back. He brought it around in front of him to show his sister.
"A dog! We already have a dog," Joan reminded him.
"I found it when I was driving out on the range looking for cattle," explained Buck. "It's hardly more than a pup. It's a stray, and I couldn't leave it out where the coyotes would have gotten it. It needs a home. Will you keep it?"
Before Joan had time to answer, he set the dog down, and with a wag of its tail it bounded through the open door and into the house to make friends with Aiyana, Joan's three year-old daughter. The little dog brushed his nose up against her and she giggled with delight.
"Looks like he's made a friend real quick," Buck said, watching them get acquainted.
Joan gave in. "I guess we can give the dog a home."
The young dog's short hair was reddish-orange except for tips of white on his tail, nose and feet. He held his head and ears erect. Joan decided to call him "Tip" because of his tips of white fur.
Tip fit into his new family easily over the next few weeks. He especially liked little Aiyana who was happy to share her food with him. They later found out that he was a "dingo" dog. This type of dog can't bark and originally comes from the outback of Australia.
No one knows why little Aiyana decided to wander away from her home one evening. They lived on the Colville Indian Reservation, which is in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in northeastern Washington and is full of rough terrain with wild animals. When it was discovered that the child was missing, her parents searched the areas surrounding their house. When they didn't find her, they called the tribal police who organized a massive search. The next morning over a hundred and fifty men and women began searching the rugged, rocky hills.
A searcher named Skumhiest Jack had searched all morning. He was almost two miles away from Aiyana's house when he sat wearily on a log to rest. He was thinking about returning to the house when he saw a dog's head with a white tip on its nose pop up through some bushes. He went to look more closely and found little Aiyana sound asleep under the bush.
Skumhiest Jack carried the little girl back to her home. He later said, "I never would have found the little girl had it not been for the dog. That dog is the real hero!"
The little girl's father said it was unbelievable that a stray dog they had just recently welcomed into their home would have stayed with their daughter so faithfully. Happily, Tip tipped off the rescuer, and the little girl was saved.
Now here is a tip for you. You too have wandered off and are lost and need to be saved. The Bible says that "all we like sheep have gone astray" (Isa. 53:6). "Lost" is the word God uses for any person who is still in his sins. If you have not come to the Lord Jesus Christ to be cleansed from your sins, you are lost and headed for the darkness of an eternity without God and without hope. The Bible calls it the lake of fire.
Happily for Aiyana, she was rescued from her lost condition. You too can be saved from your lost condition. "The Son of Man [the Lord Jesus] is come to seek and to save that which was lost" (Luke 19:10). To save sinners from their lost condition, He went all the way to the cross where He "suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God" (1 Peter 3:18). Now any boy or girl who believes that the Lord Jesus suffered for his or her very own sins will receive the gift of righteousness by being cleansed from every sin. The Lord Jesus is such a loving Savior that any who trust in Him can never be lost again. He tells those who come to Him to have their sins washed away, "Their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more" (Heb. 8:12).
Are you still lost in your sins?

Berry-Less Bear

One pesky bear in our area has made the
news lately. Here are some of the headlines:
How would you like to be out hiking or camping and meet a bear that had developed a taste for the same food you like to eat? "No way! That would be too dangerous!" you say, and you would be right. Bears have a keen sense of smell, and that bear might smell something good to eat in your pocket or backpack, and he might be very interested in finding it!
Park rangers in the Olympic National Park had become so worried about this bear that they had to take special precautions. After the bear had stolen food from several campsites, the rangers installed "bear wires." These are wires that dangle between trees so campers can hang their food up high where bears can't reach it. However, this pesky bear was too smart for its own good. It climbed the trees and learned to shake the cross wires until the food would come tumbling down.
Park rangers were in a fix. They didn't know what to do about this bear, so they closed down this popular park. But then would-be visitors complained. Many had looked forward to camping in the park and wanted it reopened.
The rangers came up with another idea. They shot the bear with a tranquilizer gun to put it to sleep. While the bear was sleeping, they fastened a yellow radio collar around its neck. This collar would send out radio signals that would tell the rangers exactly where the bear was located.
Again, the bear was too smart for its own good. A few days later they found the yellow collar hanging from a tree branch where the bear had rubbed it off.
Now the rangers had a bigger problem. If they allowed the bear to roam the park, it would continue to raid campsites, and sooner or later a camper was going to get hurt. Their only choice left was to kill the bear. From then on, they carried loaded shotguns.
The bear had gotten into serious trouble raiding campsites, and it was sentenced to die. Each one of us has gotten into serious sin trouble, and the sentence for our sins also is death. The Bible warns: "The wages of sin is death" (Rom. 6:23); "the soul that sinneth, it shall die" (Ezek. 18:4). The Bible explains in other verses that this death means being shut out forever from God's presence in a place called hell. This is an end that none of us wants! But until you and I get a sense of the danger we face for our sins, we won't see our need of the Savior.
There was finally good news about the park bear that saved its life. For some reason, it headed towards the mountains and hasn't been seen since.
We have good news for boys and girls, and grown-ups too. In the very same Bible verse that tells us "the wages of sin is death," it also says, "But the gift of God is eternal life." You see, God loves you and me so much that He made a way to save us from our sins. He sent His Son Jesus into this world. The Lord Jesus went to Calvary's cross where He died and shed His precious blood. His blood can wash away the sins of all who will accept Him as their Savior. "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth My word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life" (John 5:24).
Now that's good news! Will you believe it and have your sentence of eternal death removed?

Baby Orphan Orca

"There goes Boo!" an excited girl said, pointing over the railing of the Vashon Island ferryboat. Other people soon crowded the edge of the boat to catch a glimpse of the black and white baby orca swimming in the blue water not too far away. Frequent riders on the ferryboat had given the orca the nickname of "Boo," which stands for baby orphan orca. What a baby she was! She was a year old, twelve feet long and weighed close to one thousand pounds. Even though she was so big, she still was a baby and needed looking after by a mother and relatives.
It had been several weeks since she swam alone into the area. Her mother must have died, and she had somehow gotten separated from her pod of orcas. Now she was struggling to find food to stay alive. Biologists who had approached the baby orca had said the bad odor of her breath was a sign of ill health. She also had patches of flaky skin and looked malnourished.
Many people wanted to help the orphan. They didn't want this beautiful creature to waste away and die. They also didn't want her to have to live in captivity in an aquarium. It had never been tried before, but the biologists decided to try to return the orphan to her pod, over four hundred miles away. They hoped an adult whale from her orca family might adopt her.
Without help, the baby orphan orca would die. Maybe you never considered yourself an orphan, but any soul who has not been saved by believing in the Lord Jesus is very much an orphan. If you have not placed your faith in the Son of God, you are still in your sins and cannot in your heart know God as your Father. Anyone like this might be called a spiritual orphan. Boo was in trouble and in danger of perishing, and every soul outside of Christ is in danger of perishing in a real sinners' hell. If the Lord Jesus is not your Savior, will you look at your danger and turn to Him who is waiting to save you? "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved" (Acts 4:12).
The moment a person believes that the Lord Jesus died for their sin, the blood that was shed on the cross washes them clean, and the Holy Spirit comes into their hearts and makes them a child of God, and He becomes their Father. "Because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father" (Gal. 4:6). How wonderful it is when a soul comes to Christ and learns of the Father's love!
Boo also had another name. Biologists keep a close watch on the orcas in the Pacific Northwest. When a new baby is born, they give it a number as well as a name. Boo's number was A-73, and they had named her Springer. They could also identify which orca pod she belonged to, because each pod makes a different chirping sound when they swim. Springer belonged to A-pod, which spent a good part of the year off the west coast of Canada in Johnstone Strait.
After weeks of swimming alone, the time to rescue the baby whale finally arrived. Men in a rowboat coaxed Springer into a fish pen. Enclosed in the fish pen, biologists fed her a steady diet and gave her medicine to make her healthy. eing well cared for, she rapidly put on a hundred pounds.
Springer spent m o nth in the pen growing stronger. At last the whale experts decided she was healthy enough to make the journey to her birth pod. Men in wet suits jumped into the water and guided her into a type of sling. She was hoisted onto the deck of a waiting boat and placed in a tank of water. The fast-traveling boat carried the whale the many miles up the coast of Canada to the Johnstone Strait. The trip took over fourteen hours.
Upon reaching the strait, Springer was lowered into another spacious pen that was stocked with salmon especially for her. She was there only a few days when she heard the chirping sound of her birth pod of whales. She became so excited that she leaped out of the water and loudly chirped back. The pod of whales was curious and swam closer.
The biologists figured that if ever there was going to be a good time to release Springer, it was now. Would she be accepted? There was only one way to find out... they opened the gate and the baby orca quickly swam out.
For a few days her acceptance was in doubt. Springer seemed to follow the group of orcas from a distance. Sometimes when she would see a boat, she seemed to remember the kindness shown to her by humans and followed the boat instead.
Then everything changed for the better. A mature female orca without a calf of her own seemed to adopt Springer. They were seen swimming together, and once the female was seen scolding Springer when she approached too close to a boat.
Everybody was happy when they saw that Springer was accepted by her birth pod of whales and even had one especially caring for her. She will likely grow up to be a wild orca, swimming with her pod along the Pacific Coast. This is what God had designed for her.
God didn't make you to be a spiritual orphan either. He made you so that you might know and enjoy His love and be part of His family. In order for you to become one of His children, you must believe on the Lord Jesus and His sin-cleansing blood shed for you. You don't have to worry about finding acceptance with God. A believer's acceptance is all because of what the Lord Jesus has done.
Would you like to become part of God's family and have the promise of a home in heaven? The Lord Jesus has already paid the price on the cross that God requires for a sinner to become one of His children. "The blood of Jesus Christ [God's] Son cleanseth us from all sin" (1 John 1:7). "As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name" (John 1:12).

Trixey Finds a Home

The dog had no way of knowing, but her owner had been hurt in an accident and wouldn't be coming home. Nobody was there to look after her. She stayed around her house for a few days until hunger and loneliness made her wander away. For a day she walked down country highways, and she hadn't found anyone to befriend her when night arrived. A storm with pelting rain and gusty winds blew up. The dog looked for shelter and a place to sleep.
She passed several homes, and then she saw what she wanted-a car parked in a driveway. You see, this dog had an unusual skill-she could open doors! The dog went to the rear car door, which wasn't locked, stuck her lower jaw into the handle and pushed the latch open. Then she nudged the door open just wide enough to squeeze through and curled up on the backseat to sleep, out of the wind and rain.
Early the next morning, Ben Barger, the man of the house, stepped out to get his newspaper. He noticed that the windows in his car were steamed up. That's funny, he thought and went to take a closer look. Ben saw the rear door slightly ajar and looked in to see the dog sleeping peacefully on the seat. Had he left the door open? he wondered. How else had the dog gotten into the car? Even though she was a large dog, she did not look threatening, so he shooed her out of the car and told her to go on her way. He made sure the car door was tightly closed. Then he went into the house to read the newspaper.
A few minutes later Ben looked out his window to see if the dog had left, and he could hardly believe what he was seeing! The dog had returned to the car and was opening the rear door. In only seconds, she was again curled up in the same spot on the backseat.
Ben thought, Nobody is going to believe this if I tell them, so he set up his video camera in the window. He wanted to tape the dog opening the car door. He went back outside and again shooed the dog out of the back seat and closed the door. After he returned to the house and set the camera running, the dog opened the door again.
This time Ben went out and brought the dog into the house. He talked kindly to her, gave her food and water, and let her have the run of the house.
Wandering down that country highway with no place to go, the dog had been a homeless stray. The Bible says that you and I have wandered away from God: "Like sheep [we] have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way" (Isa. 53:6). It is only by coming in faith to the Lord Jesus Christ that any of us can be saved from our sinful wanderings. We will find Him to be a kind and loving Savior who has a home in heaven all prepared for sinners who are washed clean from their sins.
Ben soon discovered that car doors were not the only doors the dog could open. He watched as she confidently went to the refrigerator door, grabbed the handle between her teeth and pulled it open. She also opened the sliding shower door, kitchen cabinet doors, and the door to the outside, which she had to open by turning the knob. He found she could remove caps from plastic bottles too.
Ben sent the video clip of the dog opening the car door to the local TV news station where it was shown on the news. Someone recognized the dog, and Ben was able to contact the owner. The owner was no longer able to take care of the dog and asked if Ben would please give her a home. In the few days he had kept the dog in his home, Ben and his family had grown to like her and had named her Trixey. He assured the owner that, yes, they would be happy to keep this dog that could open doors.
Trixey had a new home. Now the Bargers would have to find a different kind of latch for the refrigerator door. They didn't want her helping herself to what was inside.
Trixey was the dog that could open doors, but there isn't a sinner alive who can open the door to salvation and heaven through any efforts of their own. Because you and I have sinned, heaven's door is locked against us. There is only one Person who could open heaven's door to sinners. God has made those arrangements for us.
Over two thousand years ago, He sent His beloved, sinless Son into the world. The Lord Jesus died on Calvary's cross where He shed His precious blood so that the door of salvation could be opened wide. At the cross, God's plan was fulfilled for sin to be forgiven and forever washed away. "The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin" (1 John 1:7). Now because of what the Lord Jesus accomplished on the cross, you and I are invited to enter heaven's door. "I am the door: by Me if any man enter in, he shall be saved" (John 10:9). You may enter heaven's door by believing that Jesus died on the cross for you and that He shed His blood to wash away your sins. Won't you accept the love and cleansing He is offering you and be ready for your new home in heaven?

Salamander Crossing

If you had been driving through the town of Amherst, Massachusetts, on a warm, drizzly evening one April, you might have seen a group of people, some old and some young, standing in the rain by the edge of the road.
What are these people doing, you might have wondered. Could they be having a picnic? No, because there are no tables and no food.
Are they looking for something that has been lost? No, because the way to look for something lost is to spread out and walk around, but these people are just standing there all bunched together.
Let's suppose that you decide to stop and find out what's happening. So you park your car and walk over. You see someone who looks friendly and ask, "Why is everybody standing out here getting wet?"
"You are new here, I can tell, otherwise you would already know."
"Yes, I was passing through and saw all these people standing around in the rain. What would I already know if I wasn't new here?"
"That we're standing out here to see if the salamanders crawl through the tunnels." "What tunnels?"
"Those tunnels over there," your new friend says, pointing a short distance away to some small tunnels going under the road. "We put them in this winter and we have been waiting until now to see if the salamanders would go through them after they awakened from their winter's hibernation."
"Why can't they just walk across the road?"
"That's what they have always done, but so many of them get run over by cars that a group of us got together and decided to do something about it. We had these tunnels dug under the road so that the salamanders would have a safe way to get to the other side of the highway.
"See, here comes another salamander out of the woods. He's headed right for the tunnels... oh no.. he's going right by them," says your friend.
"Looks like he doesn't know what's good for him," you reply.
"Nope, hardly any of them do. Out of fifty salamanders crossing so far this evening, only one of them has used a tunnel."
"The salamanders just don't know what's good for them, I guess."
We were just supposing you had stopped in Amherst and had had this conversation, but the facts of the story are true. In Amherst the people were so concerned about those little reptiles crossing the road and getting killed that they installed the world's first salamander safety tunnels under their highway. But they were disappointed that first night when only one out of fifty crawled through a tunnel.
God has also prepared a way of escape that many are ignoring. He has sent the good news of the gospel to many, many thousands of men, women and children (in fact, to everyone). Through the Bible and His servants, God has pleaded with each one of us to accept His already-prepared way to be saved from our sins. "Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; and... He was buried, and He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures" (1 Cor. 15:3-4). But so many have ignored His plan of salvation and continue to follow the way that leads to death.
God is still sending the good news of His love and grace to all people. Rom. 10:15 reads, "How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!" They have "beautiful feet" because they carry the loveliest message that man has ever heard. It's a message that reveals, like nothing else ever could, the immense love in God's heart. It is hard to understand why many are not interested in it when they hear it, and why they ignore God's loving and free way of salvation.
After learning about the forty-nine salamanders who ignored the safety tunnels, you might have thought to yourself that those salamanders were not smart enough to know what those tunnels were for. The same cannot be said of you and the way of salvation. God has given you enough intelligence to under-stand that you are a sinner and need a Savior. "I wasn't able to understand the gospel" will never do as an excuse for not believing God's good news. In fact, there are no excuses for not believing it.
Will you be among those who accept the Lord Jesus as their Savior and safely reach heaven? Or will you be among the many who ignore Him and are cast into outer darkness? "He that believeth on Him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God" (John 3:18).

The Bear’s Newfound Den

All summer and autumn the black bear had feasted on berries, roots, nuts and fish. Food had been plentiful, and the bear had put on layers of fat. Now he looked like a giant round ball of fur with his roly-poly belly.
The golden days of autumn faded away, and in their place December came with its winds, ice and snow. As food became difficult to find, a sluggishness came over the big black bear. What he searched for now was a dry, dark, protected place where he could curl up and sleep the winter away. He wandered throughout the forest and could not find what he was looking for. However, at the edge of the woods he found what seemed to be the opening of a small cave. As he peered through the opening, it must have looked like a suitable den. Crawling inside, he curled up into a ball and soon fell peacefully into a deep sleep.
Bears are not true hibernators. If they are disturbed, they can be awakened out of their deep sleep, whereas true hibernators, like marmots, cannot be awakened.
The bear had actually made a poor choice for a den for his winter's snooze. You see, he had found his way into the crawl space under the front porch of a house near the town of Effort, Pennsylvania!
The next morning two grade school boys ran out the front door of the house to play in the snow. They were in such a hurry to get outside that they slammed the door behind them. Tappity-tap-tap went their footsteps down the steps, right over the bear's newly found den. Thankfully, the bear didn't wake up. The two boys made snowballs and tossed them back and forth, yelling and laughing as they played in the snow. Good thing the bear was a sound sleeper!
While playing, one of the boys discovered the large paw prints the bear had left in the snow. The two of them followed the trail to the opening of the crawl space under their front porch. They stuck their heads in to take a look. When their eyes became accustomed to the darkness, they saw the sleeping bear. The alarmed boys ran into the house and breathlessly told their dad what they had discovered.
Dad took a flashlight and looked in the crawl space for himself. Sure enough, the boys were right! A big black bear had made his winter den under their porch. Quickly and quietly they made their way back into the house, closed the door and locked it.
Once they were safely inside, do you think Dad told his two boys, "It's only a three hundred-pound bear sleeping under the porch. You can go on running around outside and playing in the snow. Don't worry about his sharp claws and teeth or waking him up"?
No, of course not. He realized the great danger the bear presented to everyone. For the dad to ignore the danger would have been unthinkable.
Yet a good number of people, when they hear of God's warning against sin, are doing the unthinkable-they are continuing on with their lives as if there were nothing to fear. The Bible solemnly states, "The wages of sin is death" (Rom. 6:23). Unless a sinner comes to the Lord Jesus to be saved from the punishment he deserves, God will justly bring every sinner into judgment. "It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment" (Heb. 9:27). The judgment of all sinners who never turn to the Savior will be terrible. When they die, they will be sent away to a place of never-ending suffering and punishment called hell. The Bible warns that "these shall go away into everlasting punishment" (Matt. 25:46).
Sin has a terrible price tag attached to it. Those who ignore the results of their sins and go on carelessly with their lives as if all is well will end up paying the price for their sins forever.
When the father of the house discovered there was a bear under the porch, he did the sensible thing. He called the state wildlife authorities to come and remove the slumbering though dangerous creature.
The sensible thing to do when you are warned that you are a sinner is to come to the Lord Jesus who is mighty to save. "Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved" (Acts 2:21). His blood shed at the cross has the power to wash away your stains of sin once and forever. "The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin" (1 John 1:7).
In the entire universe there is no other way for a guilty sinner to have his sins removed than through the blood of Jesus Christ. Don't pass through another day as if all is well with you when you are still in your sins and are a stranger to the Savior who loves you. Instead, tell Him today that you know you are a sinner and accept the salvation He lovingly offers you.


When Tommy's pet poodle "Bongo" died, Tommy was very sad. They had been such good friends and had played together for a long time. Tommy's mother made him a promise to help him get over his painful loss. She said, "Tommy, I'll let you pick out any dog you want that's for sale and I'll get it for you."
Tommy didn't have to think long about what kind of puppy he wanted. He already knew. He had written his sixth-grade term paper on "sled dogs." He knew that he wanted to get a sled dog. Not only did he want a sled dog, but he wanted the largest kind of sled dog there was-an Alaskan malamute.
Alaskan malamutes are much like wolves. They don't bark; instead, they howl just like wolves do. Tommy was really interested in this breed of dog and convinced his mother that the switch from a poodle to a dog as big as a wolf was all right.
After looking around for a couple of weeks, they found an ad in the paper-"Alaskan malamute puppies for sale." Tommy could hardly wait as they drove to the place where the puppies were.
The kennel owner showed him the puppies. "You see this big one here," he said. "We call her 'Lonesome,' because when we leave her alone, she cries and howls." As soon as Tommy looked at Lonesome, he knew that was the dog he wanted. Her howling didn't bother him at all, but only made her more appealing. The other puppies just didn't compare with this one. So Tommy and his mother bought Lonesome.
Lonesome whimpered all the way home. When she got to her new home, she cried and whined. Tommy tried to get her to go up the steps into the house, but she cried and ran the other way. When he brought out food and water, she wouldn't come near it. When he tried to pet her, she would only whine and run away from him. Tommy was patient with his new puppy. He never once thought that maybe he had picked the wrong dog.
Tommy's mother boiled some chicken livers for Lonesome to eat, thinking that might be what she was used to eating and that would make her feel at home. No, that didn't work either. Lonesome just couldn't get used to her new home and new owners.
All that afternoon and for part of the next day, Tommy followed Lonesome around their large yard pleading with her, "Lonesome, I love you. I want to be your friend. Don't you like me?" But all she would do was cry and whimper and run away from him.
Late in the afternoon of the second day, an idea flashed across Tommy's mind. He knew before he even tried it that it would work. He would pretend to cry. That seemed to be what Lonesome understood most. When she heard Tommy's pretend crying, she came right over to him to try to comfort him. Tommy petted her for a good long time... until they were friends at last.
Tommy's idea worked. Pretending to cry did the trick; he had won Lonesome for his friend.
Tommy won Lonesome's heart after a long time of pleading. Perhaps the Lord Jesus has been pleading to be your friend for a long time too. The Lord Jesus is the great winner of hearts. He knows each one of us better than we know ourselves. He also knows that we are all sinners and need a Savior. To win our hearts, He was nailed to Calvary's cross and was punished by God for sin. You see, even though He had never sinned, He had to be punished to open the way so sinners like you and me could be saved. Because of our sins, we are all on our way to that awful place called hell-an eternity of darkness-and there is only one way of escape. That way is by accepting the Lord Jesus Christ as your own Savior, believing that on the cross He suffered for your sins. Every boy or girl or grown-up who trusts in Him as his or her Savior will spend an eternity of happiness with Jesus in heaven. Just as Lonesome came to Tommy after he did so much to win her love, won't you come to the Lord Jesus and trust Him to save you? Jesus said, "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him" (Rev. 3:20). He also said, "Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out" (John 6:37). Won't you respond to the Lord Jesus' love today?
"Behold, now is the accepted time" (2 Cor. 6:2).

A Courageous Forty Feet

The cougar probably wandered down from the mountain range looking for food because it was hungry. It must have been young and inexperienced to have come so near the town of Gold River, British Columbia. Had it been older, it might have known better and never put itself into danger by coming close to where people live. The large, powerful cat prowled through backyards, staying well hidden by trees and bushes.
The Forbes family was busy at midday. Little did anyone guess that a dangerous animal had invaded their backyard and was lurking nearby. Dad and Mom were working together in a shop behind the garage. Five-year-old Tucker and six-year old Bryce were busy playing with their trucks in the backyard.
Bryce decided to go into the house for a snack. He was no more than three steps away from the back door when he spotted the cougar. It was crouching in front of their garage as if ready to attack. Bryce saw the long claws on the cat raking through the gravel on the driveway. The cat looked huge and mean!
Bryce's first thought was to run those few steps to the back door and get into the house as fast as he could. Then he remembered his brother. He knew his brother did not know a cougar was in the yard. If he left his brother alone, the cougar might pounce on him. If he called out to him to run, Tucker might run the wrong way and run right into the cougar.
Tucker was only a year younger than Bryce but a whole lot smaller. A year makes a big difference in size when you are only five. Bryce knew Tucker would be helpless against the cougar. He loved his brother and couldn't leave him in danger. He must save his brother... even if it meant the cougar got him instead.
Bryce ran the forty feet to Tucker. They were the bravest forty feet he ever ran! He was so scared, expecting the cougar to attack him at every moment. He made it to his brother, and then, without telling Tucker why, he grabbed his hand and, yanked him to his feet. Together they ran into the shop behind the garage.
"Daddy!" Bryce blurted out panting. "A cougar is trying to get us!" At first, Dad didn't believe him. But one look at Bryce's face convinced him to go take a look anyway. He didn't think a cougar could jump the tall fence around their yard. He was surprised to see the long body of the big cat bounding away.
Dad called the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and a team of men and dogs was sent out. They trailed the cat until they found it. The RCMP didn't have any choice but to kill it, because the big cat was a real danger to the townspeople.
Bryce was willing to save his brother even if it meant he would be attacked instead. Nearly two thousand years ago, Christ Jesus willingly stepped into the path of pain and suffering so that sinners could be saved from the penalty for their sins. He left the glories of heaven to come to earth to become a Savior and went all the way to the cross to save sinners. Do you know why He took that journey of pain and suffering? It was because He loves you and me so very much. He knew we were headed for danger, death and judgment, so He came and died for sinners. "The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Rom. 6:23). The judgment that should have fallen on guilty sinners fell on Him instead. Now because of His death and shed blood, all those who believe on Him receive the gift of forgiveness and eternal life. The priceless gift of eternal life is offered to you-to everyone-and it's free! God invites each one of us to receive it by accepting His Son Jesus as Savior. How great is God's love and faithfulness that He sent His Son into this world to die for you and me!
Several weeks after Bryce rescued his brother, a government official from the province made a special trip to Gold River to present Bryce Forbes with an award for bravery. The official came to Bryce's school and presented him with the award in front of all his schoolmates who gave him a round of applause.
Bryce was worthy of that honor for what he had done. He was very brave in saving his brother. The Lord Jesus is worthy of all honor for what He has done too. Will you choose to honor Him by accepting His offer and trusting Him as your Savior? "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners" (1 Tim. 1:15).


The Raven Princess, a large, chartered fishing boat, was rolling with the waves. Twenty people were standing along the rails fishing. They would lower and lift their fishing rods to give a lifelike action to the lure on the end of their lines. From overhead the cries of sea gulls were heard. A half mile to the east the passengers on the boat could see the large waves breaking on the rocky shore of Vancouver Island.
Every few minutes somebody would call out, "Fish on!" Then after a short battle between fisherman and fish, one of the crew members would use a long-handled net to scoop the shining coho or king salmon on board, its scales glittering in the sunlight.
"Hey, what's that black thing moving in the water?" Jason asked his dad, pointing to it.
"It looks like the fin of an orca whale, Jason."
"An orca whale!" a neighboring fisherman exclaimed. "Hey, everybody, come over here and see the orca!"
In just a few moments, all the passengers on the Raven Princess had reeled in their lines and stood on one side of the boat, watching.
The orca was rapidly swimming toward the Raven Princess. Its black dorsal fin protruded about six feet out of the water. The orca arched out of the water as if it were trying to spot something, and its white spots could be seen.
"Look, it's chasing a seal!" someone pointed out. All eyes strained to see the much smaller seal darting through the water. The orca was chasing its dinner, and the seal was fleeing for its life. The chase was bringing them close to the boat.
"Dad," Justin asked, "how will that seal escape?"
"I have a hunch that the seal is swimming to our boat for protection. Maybe it knows that the orca will not want to get too close to it."
"I hope the seal makes it," Jason replied.
Jason's father was right. The seal, swimming just out of reach of the orca, came up to the side of the boat and circled it nervously. From its panting for breath, the passengers could tell it was tired from its race with the orca. The orca stopped its chase about thirty feet away from the boat, apparently not wanting to come any closer.
It seemed to be waiting for its prey. Occasionally it would blow spray through its blowhole.
The people on deck could see the seal's whiskers and dark eyes as it swam around the boat. One of the crew members pointed out that the seal was little more than a pup and hadn't grown to full size yet.
"Isn't there anything we can do to help the seal get away?" Jason asked the skipper of the boat.
"Well, we're out here to fish, not to save seals from orcas. They have to eat too."
Several people at once disagreed with the skipper and wanted to do what they could to save the seal.
"Okay, since most of you feel so strongly, we will do what we can," the skipper said. Then he picked up his microphone and announced, "I'd like everyone to move to the front of the boat. We are going to catch the seal in a net and swing it onto the deck of the boat. Then we'll drive it back to shore."
Most of the people applauded this message and were pleased.
In a few moments one of the crew members lowered a fishing net into the water.
Then, just as if the seal understood that this was its only escape from the orca and death, it swam right into the net. It took two crew members to lift the seal onto the deck. The seal was tired and didn't try to move much once it was on board.
The skipper turned the Raven Princess toward shore. The orca followed the boat all the way to the harbor before turning around and heading back to sea. They safely released the seal in the harbor. The people on board the Raven Princess had quite the story to tell their friends about the seal that was snatched from the jaws of death. If it had not been for the boat and the people on board, the seal would have ended up as dinner for the orca.
That is something like sinners and the Lord Jesus. The sinner's constant enemy is Satan, but the Lord Jesus provided a place of safety that a sinner can escape to.
He made the place of safety by dying on Calvary's cross, taking the punishment for sin and breaking the power of Satan. Now any boy or girl can run into His loving arms and be safe forever.
If the Lord Jesus had not come to earth and died on the cross, there would have been no place for sinners to flee. Any who choose not to flee to the Lord Jesus will have to pay the awful price for his or her own sins. And that terrible price will be paid in the place of never-ending separation from God called hell. Fleeing to the boat was the only hope of escape for the seal, and coming to the Lord Jesus and letting Him wash away your sins is your only escape.
The Lord Jesus said, "Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out" (John 6:37). Won't you come to the only Savior of sinners today?
"How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation?" (Heb. 2:3).

A Calico Cat in Trouble

A calico cat that just wanted a cozy place out of the wind to take a nap ran into all kinds of trouble. It found the spot by jumping into the back of a pickup truck and curling up in some loose straw. In the warm sunshine, the cat soon fell fast asleep and didn't even notice when someone got into the truck and drove away. The truck drove to the outskirts of town and onto the Odabushian Bridge, which crosses the mighty Columbia River. It is a giant of a bridge, built very high.
As the truck crossed the bridge, a semitrailer blew his horn. The noise of the horn blast startled the cat, and it jumped out of the pickup truck and hit the pavement with a thump. The cat rolled and slid to a stop and lay stunned in the middle of the bridge. The cars traveling behind the pickup truck screeched their brakes and veered to the side, barely missing the ball of fur on the pavement.
Cars and trucks whizzed by the cat. When it came to its senses, it tried to escape off the dangerous roadway of the bridge. It dodged one way and then the other in the traffic and nearly ran into the tires of moving vehicles. Car horns blared at the cat. Frantically the cat sprinted to the edge of the bridge and was about to leap off when it suddenly discovered the bridge had nothing beneath it except space and blue water far below. The frightened cat had stopped itself just in time! With no place to escape, it sat curled up on the edge of the great bridge!
An older couple crossing the bridge in their car had seen the bewildered cat at the edge. They called the animal control department on their cell phone to report the unfortunate animal.
For half an hour the calico cat sat scrunched up at the edge of the bridge before the animal control workers arrived. They parked their truck next to the railing of the bridge, pulled on their gloves, and made their way slowly towards the cat. These men knew it would be a difficult rescue, because the cat was badly frightened. One false move, and the startled animal might fall to its death below.
At last they were able to gather the cat into their arms. They carefully carried it back to the truck and gently placed it into an animal crate in the back of their pickup.
The story might have ended happily there, but the workers did not close the gate of the crate fast enough. The cat became alarmed and bolted out of the crate, took a running leap over the side of the truck... and over the bridge railing as well!
"EEE000W!" They heard the frightened cat's scream as it fell, hurtling through space to the Columbia River seventy feet below. The men on the bridge saw the cat hit the water with a splash. The cat disappeared beneath the water, and everyone watching thought it was the end of the cat. But to their surprise, the cat surfaced and started swimming madly!
The Columbia River is quite wide, and the cat had over six hundred feet to swim if it was going to make it to shore. The onlookers on the bridge watched as the brave little cat was spun around in one of the eddies on the river as the current carried the cat downstream. Its head, barely above the water, made it difficult for the cat to see which way to swim. When it began swimming the wrong way, everyone watching thought the cat would never make it.
Then, seemingly out of nowhere, a man in a kayak appeared and paddled out to the cat. Using his small boat to gently push the cat, he helped guide the cat to shore. Finally, when it seemed the exhausted cat could not swim any farther, one of the animal control men waded out into the river and picked up the cat. The cat was brought to a veterinarian where it was given good care and recovered from its frightening day. According to the news, no one has stepped forward to claim the cat.
The authorities were hopeful they still might find the owners before putting it up for adoption.
There were at least three different times that day when the calico cat might have died tragically. Even though it's not true, people sometimes say that "cats have nine lives," because it's not unusual for outdoor cats to get into trouble, but it seems most of them manage to escape alive. But it is certain people only have one life. In that one life, God wants them to come to the Lord Jesus Christ so He can save them from their sin problem. People may have all sorts of trouble in life, and sometimes these troubles may come one right after the other. However, the greatest of all the troubles we face is that we are sinners before God, who is holy and just. "All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). At the end of their lives, sinners will be sent away to a place of everlasting punishment called hell. That is why it is so important to come to the Lord Jesus. He loves you and is the only Savior this world of sin will ever know. When we believe on Him as the Son of God who died for our sins, we receive the forgiveness of every sin and the gift of eternal life. "Be it known unto you... that through this Man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: and by Him all that believe are justified from all things" (Acts 13:38-39).
Won't you come to the Lord Jesus by faith so that you can escape the greatest of all dangers facing mankind and receive the forgiveness of your sins? He says, "I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more" (Jer. 31:34).


Mr. Haley owned a pet store. While on a trip to Florida, he bought a large fish to take back to his store. He put the fish, called a grouper, in the large tank in the store's front window. There were also other interesting and unusual fish in the tank, but this new fish was the largest. It was about a foot long and weighed three pounds.
The grouper soon grew fat on the five pounds of chopped fish that Mr. Haley fed it every other day. The fish didn't move around much; it just stayed at the bottom of the tank. Mr. Haley decided that it was lazy. This made him think of a funny name for the fish—Flazey—short for fat and lazy.
Flazey soon became a favorite. Customers would stand at the tank watching it. Many of them talked about how fast the fish was growing.
Some weeks later Mr. Haley noticed that a few of the unusual and expensive tropical fish in the same tank were gone. He wondered who could be taking them out of the tank without his knowing it. He kept close watch on the customers in his store, but more of his expensive fish disappeared.
Then one day the mystery was solved. As he stood watching Flazey, suddenly one of his tropical fish worth several hundred dollars disappeared down its throat! His favorite and popular pet was the thief! Flazey had been eating Mr. Haley's expensive tropical fish for lunch.
Mr. Haley needed to find a way to stop Flazey from destroying more of his expensive fish. Since so many people, including himself, had grown fond of the grouper, he did not want to destroy it.
Mr. Haley's hard question of what to do with Flazey is a little picture of God's hard question of what to do with sinners and their sins. God loves sinners, but He hates their sins. It would have been fair and just if God had decided to destroy us along with our sins. That is what we deserve. But God's love for sinners was so great that He made a plan so that He could save us after punishing Another for our sins. His plan was very expensive. "Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation [the one punished] for our sins" (1 John 4:10).
So that sinners, who deserve nothing but punishment from God, could be saved, "the Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world" (1 John 4:14). God sent His Son, the Lord Jesus, down into this world. The end of the path for the Lord Jesus down here was the cross of Calvary. During those three hours of darkness as He hung there, "Christ was... offered to bear the sins of many" (Heb. 9:28).
Word got around of Mr. Haley's difficult decision of what to do about Flazey. Mr. Haley's customers solved his problem. They collected money and bought him a plane ticket to Florida. Mr. Haley and Flazey flew back to Florida where Mr. Haley could put her safely back into the ocean where she came from.
Because Christ died to put away sins, God is able to reach out to sinners and offer them the forgiveness of sins and eternal life as a free gift. Won't you be one who, as a sinner, comes to Christ for salvation?

The Light Hurts

"You should just kill it, lady."
The lady ignored the teenager who offered his advice.
"Those things carry rabies," the teenager added.
The lady continued bending over the tiny gray-black creature.
"It must have fallen from under the bridge, poor thing. It doesn't look hurt, only stunned," the lady said to the people who were gathering around. "Does anyone have a paper sack?"
Another woman took a blouse she had just purchased out of its bag and handed the bag to the lady. The lady scooped the bat up in her gloved hand and gently placed it in the bag.
"Thanks," she said. "I think it is only stunned by the sunlight. I'll keep it in the bag until it gets dark out tonight and then I'll let it go in the park."
"Hope you get it home okay," the woman said. The two rescuers exchanged smiles and went on their ways, as did the people who had been watching.
Later that night the bat was released. It flew off into the darkness. What the lady said was right-the bat was not injured, but only stunned by the bright light of sunshine.
The Light Hurts The light of God's Word, the Bible, stuns us when we are not familiar with it. It clearly shows us that we are sinners. Romans 3:23 tells us that "all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." And as sinners, we can do nothing right towards God, no matter what we do or how hard we try. The light of Isa. 64:6 shows us why: "We are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses [good deeds] are as filthy rags." As a result, our sins are leading us to the darkness of hell. The light shows us a very frightening picture of ourselves-the truth that each of us is a sinner and headed the wrong direction!
But the light of God's Word also shows us that there is a remedy for sin. "The Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world" (1 John 4:14). The remedy for sin is to believe in Christ as your Lord and Savior. The suffering for sin He bore on Calvary's cross is more than enough to put away every one of your sins.
Don't run away from the light. It may hurt at first when you see yourself ruined by sin, but God loves you, and He has provided the remedy for sin. He offers salvation in Jesus Christ. "The Lord is not... willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9).
Are you willing to step out of the darkness of your sins and step into the light of God's wonderful love and forgiveness? "I am the light of the world: he that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life" (John 8:12).
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