A man’s daughter had asked the local minister to come and pray with her father. When the minister arrived, he found the man lying in bed with his head propped up on two pillows. An empty chair sat beside his bed.
The minister assumed that the old fellow had been informed of his visit. “I guess you were expecting me,” he said. “No, who are you?” said the father. “I’m the new minister at your church,” he replied. “When I saw the empty chair, I figured you knew I was going to show up.” “Oh yeah, the chair,” said the bedridden man. “Would you mind closing the door?”
Puzzled, the minister shut the door. “I have never told anyone this, not even my daughter,” said the man. “But all of my life I have never known how to pray. At church I used to hear the pastor talk about prayer, but it went right over my head. I abandoned any attempt at prayer,” the old man continued, “until one day, about four years ago, my best friend said to me, ‘Joe, prayer is just a simple matter of having a conversation with Jesus.
Here is what I suggest. Sit down in a chair; place an empty chair in front of you, and in faith see Jesus on the chair. It’s not spooky because He promised, “I’ll be with you always.” Then, just speak to Him in the same way you’re doing with me right now.’
So, I tried it, and I’ve liked it so much that I do it a couple of hours every day. I’m careful though. If my daughter saw me talking to an empty chair, she’d either have a nervous breakdown or send me off to the funny farm.”
The minister was deeply moved by the story and encouraged the old man to continue on the journey. Then he prayed with him, anointed him with oil, and returned to the church. Two nights later the daughter called to tell the minister that her daddy had died that afternoon.
“Did he die in peace?” he asked. “Yes, when I left the house about two o’ clock, he called me over to his bedside, told me he loved me and kissed me on the cheek. When I got back from the store an hour later, I found him dead. But there was something strange about his death. Apparently, just before Daddy died, he leaned over and rested his head on the chair beside the bed. What do you make of that?”
The minister wiped a tear from his eye and said, “I wish we could all go like that.”
After living what I felt was a “decent” life, my time on earth came to the end. The first thing I remember is sitting on a bench in the waiting room of what I thought to be a court house. The doors opened, and I was instructed to come in and have a seat by the defense table. As I looked around, I saw the “prosecutor.” He was a villainous looking gent who snarled as he stared at me. He definitely was the most evil person I have ever seen. I sat down and looked to my left and there sat My Attorney, a kind and gentle looking man whose appearance seemed so familiar to me; I felt I knew Him.
The corner door flew open and there appeared the Judge in full flowing robes. He commanded an awesome presence as He moved across the room. I couldn’t take my eyes off of Him. As He took His seat behind the bench, He said, “Let us begin.”
The prosecutor rose and said, “My name is Satan, and I am here to show you why this man belongs in hell.”
He proceeded to tell of lies that I told, things that I stole, and times when I cheated others. Satan told of other horrible perversions that were once in my life, and the more he spoke, the further down in my seat I sank. I was so embarrassed that I couldn’t look at anyone, even my own Attorney, as the Devil told of sins that even I had completely forgotten about. As upset as I was at Satan for telling all these things about me, I was equally upset at My Attorney who sat there silently not offering any form of defense at all. I know I had been guilty of those things, but I had done some good in my life – couldn’t that at least equal out part of the harm I’d done?
Satan finished with a fury and said, “This man belongs in hell, he is guilty of all that I have charged, and there is not a person who can prove otherwise.”
When it was His turn, My Attorney first asked if He might approach the bench. The Judge allowed this over the strong objection of Satan and beckoned Him to come forward. As He got up and started walking, I was able to see Him in His full splendor and majesty. I realized why He seemed so familiar; this was Jesus representing me, my Lord and my Savior.
He stopped at the bench and softly said to the Judge, “Hi, Dad,” and then He turned to address the court. “Satan was correct in saying that this man had sinned. I won’t deny any of these allegations. And, yes, the wage of sin is death, and this man deserves to be punished.”
Jesus took a deep breath and turned to His Father with outstretched arms and proclaimed, “However, I died on the cross so that this person might have eternal life, and he has accepted Me as his Savior, so he is Mine.”
My Lord continued with, “His name is written in the book of life and no one can snatch him from Me. Satan still does not understand yet. This man is not to be given justice but rather mercy.”
As Jesus sat down, He quietly paused, looked at His Father and said, “There is nothing else that needs to be done. I’ve done it all.”
The Judge lifted His mighty hand and slammed the gavel down. The following words bellowed from His lips… “This man is free. The penalty for him has already been paid in full. Case dismissed.”
As my Lord led me away, I could hear Satan ranting and raving, “I won’t give up, I will win the next one.”
I asked Jesus as He gave me my instructions where to go next, “Have you ever lost a case?”
Christ lovingly smiled and said, “Everyone that has come to Me and asked Me to represent them has received the same verdict as you, “PAID IN FULL.”
A young lady named Sally relates an experience she had in a seminary class given by her teacher, Dr. Smith. She says that Dr. Smith was known for his elaborate object lessons.
One particular day, Sally walked into the seminary and knew they were in for a fun day.
On the wall was a big target, and on a nearby table were many darts. Dr. Smith told the students to draw a picture of someone that they disliked or someone who had made them angry, and he would allow them to throw darts at the person’s picture.
Sally’s friend drew a picture of a girl who had stolen her boyfriend. Another friend drew a picture of his little brother. Sally drew a picture of a former friend, putting a great deal of detail into her drawing, even drawing pimples on the face. Sally was pleased with the overall effect she had achieved.
The class lined up and began throwing darts. Some of the students threw their darts with such force that their targets were ripping apart. Sally looked forward to her turn, and was filled with disappointment when Dr. Smith, because of time limits, asked the students to return to their seats. As Sally sat thinking about how angry she was because she didn’t have a chance to throw any darts at her target. Dr. Smith began removing the target from the wall.
Underneath the target was a picture of Jesus. A hush fell over the room as each student viewed the mangled picture of Jesus; holes and jagged marks covered His face, and His eyes were pierced.
Dr. Smith said only these words, “In as much as ye have done it unto the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto Me.” Matthew 25:40
No other words were necessary; the tears filled eyes of the students focused only on the picture of Christ.
Sally jumped up as soon as she saw the surgeon come out of the operating room. She said, “How is my little boy? Is he going to be all right? When can I see him?”
The surgeon said, “I’m sorry. We did all we could, but your boy didn’t make it.”
Sally said, “Why do little children get cancer? Doesn’t God care any more? Where were you, God, when my son needed you?”
The surgeon asked, “Would you like some time alone with your son? One of the nurses will be out in a few minutes before he’s transported to the university.”
Sally asked the nurse to stay with her while she said good-bye to her son. She ran her fingers lovingly through his thick red curly hair.
“Would you like a lock of his hair?” the nurse asked.
Sally nodded yes. The nurse cut a lock of the boy’s hair, put it in a plastic bag, and handed it to Sally. The mother said, “It was Jimmy’s idea to donate his body to the university for study. He said it might help somebody else. I said no at first, but Jimmy said, ‘Mom, I won’t be using it after I die. Maybe it will help some other little boy spend one more day with his Mom.’
She went on, “My Jimmy had a heart of gold. Always thinking of someone else. Always wanting to help others if he could.”
Sally walked out of Children’s Mercy Hospital for the last time, after spending most of the last six months there. She put the bag with Jimmy’s belongings on the seat beside her in the car. The drive home was difficult. It was even harder to enter the empty house. She carried Jimmy’s belongings and the plastic bag with the lock of his hair to her son’s room. She started placing the model cars and other personal things back in his room exactly where he had always kept them. She laid down across his bed and, hugging his pillow, cried herself to sleep.
It was around midnight when Sally awoke. Laying beside her on the bed was a folded letter. The letter said:
I know you’re going to miss me, but don’t think that I will ever forget you or stop loving you just ’cause I’m not around to say I LOVE YOU. I will always love you, Mom, even more with each day. Someday, we will see each other again. Until then, if you want to adopt a little boy so you won’t be so lonely, that’s okay with me. He can have my room and old stuff to play with. But, if you decide to get a girl instead, she probably wouldn’t like the same things us boys do. You’ll have to buy her dolls and stuff girls like, you know.
Don’t be sad thinking about me. This really is a neat place. Grandma and Grandpa met me as soon as I got here and showed me around some, but it will take a long time to see everything. The angels are so cool. I love to watch them fly. And, you know what? Jesus doesn’t look like any of his pictures. Yet, when I saw Him, I knew it was Him. Jesus himself took me to see GOD!
And guess what, Mom? I got to sit on God’s knee and talk to Him like I was somebody important. That’s when I told Him that I wanted to write you a letter to tell you goodbye and everything. I was sure that wasn’t allowed, but you know what Mom? God handed me some paper and His own personal pen to write you this letter. I think Gabriel is the name of the angel who is going to drop this letter off to you. God said for me to give you the answer to one of the questions you asked Him ‘Where was He when I needed him?’ God said He was in the same place with me as when His son Jesus was on the cross. He was right there, as He always is with all His children.
Oh, by the way, Mom, no one else can see what I’ve written except you. To everyone else, this is just a blank piece of paper. Isn’t that cool? I have to give God His pen back now. He needs it to write some more names in the Book of Life. Tonight, I get to sit at the table with Jesus for supper. I’m sure the food will be great.
Oh, I almost forgot to tell you. I don’t hurt anymore. The cancer is all gone. I’m glad because I couldn’t stand that pain anymore.
Signed with Love,
God, Jesus & Me”