Stories for the Heart - Over 100 Stories to Encourage Your Family, Original Collection

Overview

A picture is worth a thousand words, and a good story spans the generations. Now the same story treasury that has touched readers' souls since 1996 -- and launched a series with more than 4 million copies in print -- has gotten even better! Adorned with an updated cover to match later Stories collections and journals, and elegantly typeset within, the new book still offers over 100 encouraging story selections from some of America's best-loved communicators. Carry them in your heart, learn from their wisdom, and ...
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Overview

A picture is worth a thousand words, and a good story spans the generations. Now the same story treasury that has touched readers' souls since 1996 -- and launched a series with more than 4 million copies in print -- has gotten even better! Adorned with an updated cover to match later Stories collections and journals, and elegantly typeset within, the new book still offers over 100 encouraging story selections from some of America's best-loved communicators. Carry them in your heart, learn from their wisdom, and share them with someone you love. It's the storybook that sparked a movement!

A picture is worth a thousand words -- and a good story spans generations. This book holds a collection of many timeless stories -- stories of compassion and encouragement. Carry them in your heart, learn from their wisdom, share them with someone you love. Whether you read them while curling up by the fire or basking in the sun, this soul-stirring treasury is sure to move you to much needed laughter and tears.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781576731277
  • Publisher: The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 9/11/1996
  • Series: Stories for the Heart Series
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 436,810
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.65 (d)

Meet the Author

Alice Gray is an inspirational conference speaker and the creator and compiler of the bestselling Stories for the Heart book series, with over 5 million in print. She and her husband, Al, live in Arizona.
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Read an Excerpt




Chapter One


Compassion


The Day Philip
Joined the Group

Paul Harvey


with acknowledgement to Rev. Harry Pritchett Jr., rector of All Saints Episcopal Church in Atlanta, who called my attention to a boy named Philip.


He was 9—in a Sunday school class of 8-year-olds.

    Eight-year-olds can be cruel.

    The third-graders did not welcome Philip to their group. Not just because he was older. He was "different."

    He suffered from Down's syndrome and its obvious manifestations: facial characteristics, slow responses, symptoms of retardation.

    One Sunday after Easter the Sunday school teacher gathered some of those plastic eggs that pull apart in the middle—the kind in which some ladies' pantyhose are packaged.

    The Sunday school teacher gave one of these plastic eggs to each child.

    On that beautiful spring day each child was to go outdoors and discover for himself some symbol of "new life" and place that symbolic seed or leaf or whatever inside his egg.

    They would then open their eggs one by one, and each youngster would explain how his find was a symbol of "new life."

    So ...

    The youngsters gathered 'round on the appointed day and put their eggs on a table, and the teacher began to open them.

    One child had found a flower.

    All the children "oohed" and "aahed" at the lovely symbolof new life.

    In another was a butterfly. "Beautiful," the girls said. And it's not easy for an 8-year-old to say "beautiful."

    Another egg was opened to reveal a rock. Some of the children laughed.

    "That's crazy!" one said. "How's a rock supposed to be like a `new life'?"

    Immediately a little boy spoke up and said, "That's mine. I knew everybody would get flowers and leaves and butterflies and all that stuff, so I got a rock to be different."

    Everyone laughed.

    The teacher opened the last one, and there was nothing inside.

    "That's not fair," someone said. "That's stupid," said another.

    Teacher felt a tug on his shirt. It was Philip. Looking up he said, "It's mine. I did do it. It's empty. I have new life because the tomb is empty."

    The class fell silent.

    From that day on Philip became part of the group. They welcomed him. Whatever had made him different was never mentioned again.

    Philip's family had known he would not live a long life; just too many things wrong with the tiny body. That summer, overcome with infection, Philip died.

    On the day of his funeral nine 8-year-old boys and girls confronted the reality of death and marched up to the altar—not with flowers.

    Nine children with their Sunday school teacher placed on the casket of their friend their gift of love—an empty egg.


* * *


A Song in the Dark

Max Lucado


On any other day, I probably wouldn't have stopped. Like the majority of people on the busy avenue, I would hardly have noticed him standing there. But the very thing on my mind was the very reason he was them, so I stopped.

    I'd just spent a portion of the morning preparing a lesson out of the ninth chapter of John, the chapter that contains the story about the man blind from birth. I'd finished lunch and was returning to my office when I saw him. He was singing. An aluminum cane was in his left hand; his right hand was extended and open, awaiting donations. He was blind.

    After walking past him about five steps, I stopped and mumbled something to myself about the epitome of hypocrisy and went back in his direction. I put some change in his hand. "Thank you," he said and then offered me a common Brazilian translation, "and may you have health." Ironic wish.

    Once again I started on my way. Once again the morning's study of John 9 stopped me. "Jesus saw a man, blind from birth." I paused and pondered. If Jesus were here he would see this man. I wasn't sure what that meant. But I was sure I hadn't done it. So I turned around again.

    As if the giving of a donation entitled me to do so, I stopped beside a nearby car and observed. I challenged myself to see him. I would stay here until I saw more than a sightless indigent on a busy thoroughfare in downtown Rio de Janeiro.

    I watched him sing. Some beggars grovel in a corner cultivating pity. Others unashamedly lay their children on blankets in the middle of the sidewalk thinking that only the hardest of hearts would ignore a dirty, naked infant asking for bread.

    But this man did none of that. He stood. He stood tall. And he sang. Loudly. Even proudly. All of us had more reason to sing than he, but he was the one singing. Mainly, he sang folk songs. Once I thought he was singing a hymn, though I wasn't sure.

    His husky voice was out of place amid the buzz of commerce. Like a sparrow who found his way into a noisy factory, or a lost fawn on an interstate, his singing conjured up an awkward marriage between progress and simplicity.

    The passersby had various reactions. Some were curious and gazed unabashedly. Others were uncomfortable. They were quick to duck their heads or walk in a wider circle. "No reminders of harshness today, please." Most, however, hardly noticed him. Their thoughts were occupied, their agendas were full and he was ... well, he was a blind beggar.

    I was thankful he couldn't see the way they looked at him.

    After a few minutes, I went up to him again. "Have you had any lunch?" I asked. He stopped singing. He turned his head toward the sound of my voice and directed his face somewhere past my ear. His eye sockets were empty. He said he was hungry. I went to a nearby restaurant and bought him a sandwich and something cold to drink.

    When I came back he was still singing and his hands were still empty. He was grateful for the food. We sat down on a nearby bench. Between bites he told me about himself. Twenty-eight years old. Single. Living with his parents and seven brothers. "Were you born blind?"

    "No, when I was young I had an accident." He didn't volunteer any details and I didn't have the gall to request them.

    Though we were almost the same age, we were light-years apart. My three decades had been a summer vacation of family excursions, Sunday school, debate teams, football, and a search for the Mighty One. Growing up blind in the Third World surely offered none of these. My daily concern now involved people, thoughts, concepts, and communication. His day was stitched with concerns of survival: coins, handouts, and food. I'd go home to a nice apartment, a hot meal, and a good wife. I hated to think of the home he would encounter. I'd seen enough overcrowded huts on the hills of Rio to make a reasonable guess. And his reception ... would there be anyone there to make him feel special when he got home?

    I came whisker-close to asking him, "Does it make you mad that I'm not you?" "Do you ever lie awake at night wondering why the hand you were dealt was so different from the one given a million or so others born thirty years ago?"

    I wore a shirt and tie and some new shoes. His shoes had holes and his coat was oversized and bulky. His pants gaped open from a rip in the knee.

    And still he sang. Though a sightless, penniless hobo, he still found a song and sang it courageously. (I wondered which room in his heart that song came from.)

    At worst, I figured, he sang from desperation. His song was all he had. Even when no one gave any coins, he still had his song. Yet he seemed too peaceful to be singing out of self-preservation.

    Or perhaps he sang from ignorance. Maybe he didn't know what he had never had.

    No, I decided the motivation that fit his demeanor was the one you'd least expect. He was singing from contentment. Somehow this eyeless pauper had discovered a candle called satisfaction and it glowed in his dark world. Someone had told him, or maybe he'd told himself, that tomorrow's joy is fathered by today's acceptance. Acceptance of what, at least for the moment, you cannot alter.

    I looked up at the Niagara of faces that flowed past us. Grim. Professional. Some determined. Some disguised. But none were singing, not even silently. What if each face were a billboard that announced the true state of the owner's heart? How many would say "Desperate! Business on the rocks!" or "Broken: In Need of Repair," or "Faithless, Frantic, and Fearful"? Quite a few.

    The irony was painfully amusing. This blind man could be the most peaceful fellow on the street. No diploma, no awards, and no future—at least in the aggressive sense of the word. But I wondered how many in that urban stampede would trade their boardrooms and blue suits in a second for a chance to drink at this young man's well.

    "Faith is the bird that sings while it is yet dark."

    Before I helped my friend back to his position, I tried to verbalize my empathy. "Life is hard, isn't it?" A slight smile. He again turned his face toward the direction of my voice and started to respond, then paused and said, "I'd better get back to work."

    For almost a block, I could hear him singing. And in my mind's eye I could still see him. But the man I now saw was a different one than the one to whom I'd given a few coins. Though the man I now saw was still sightless, he was remarkably insightful. And though I was the one with eyes, it was he who gave me a new vision.


* * *


There's Always Something Left to Love

Tony Campolo


Some years ago, I saw Lorraine Hansberry's play, Raisin in the Sun, and heard a passage that still haunts me. In the play, an African-American family inherits $10,000 from their father's life insurance policy. The mother of the household sees in this legacy the chance to escape the ghetto life of Harlem and move into a little house with flower boxes out in the countryside. The brilliant daughter of this family sees in the money the chance to live out her dream and go to medical school.

    But the older brother has a plea that is difficult to ignore. He begs for the money so that he and his "friend" can go into business together. He tells the family that with the money he can make something of himself and make things good for the rest of them. He promises that if he can just have the money, he can give back to the family all the blessings that their hard lives have denied them.

    Against her better judgment, the mother gives in to the pleas of her son. She has to admit that life's chances have never been good for him and that he deserves the chance that this money might give him.

    As you might suspect, the so called "friend" skips town with the money. The desolate son has to return home and break the news to the family that their hopes for the future have been stolen and their dreams for a better life are gone. His sister lashes into him with a barrage of ugly epitaphs. She calls him every despicable thing she can imagine. Her contempt for her brother has no limits.

    When she takes a breath in the midst of her tirade, the mother interrupts her and says, "I thought I taught you to love him."

    Beneatha, the daughter, answers, "Love him? There's nothing left to love."

    And the mother responds: "There's always something left to love. And if you ain't learned that, you ain't learned nothing. Have you cried for that boy today? I don't mean for yourself and the family because we lost all that money. I mean for him: for what he's been through and what it done to him. Child, when do you think is the time to love somebody the most: when they done good and made things easy for everybody? Well then, you ain't through learning, because that ain't the time at all. It's when he's at his lowest and can't believe in himself 'cause the world done whipped him so. When you starts measuring somebody, measure him right, child, measure him right. Make sure you done taken into account what hills and valleys he done come through before he got to wherever he is."

    That is grace! It is love that is given when it is not deserved. It is forgiveness given when it is not earned. It is a gift that flows like a refreshing stream to quench the fires of angry condemning words.

    How much more loving and forgiving is the Father's love for us? And how much more is the grace of God for us?


* * *


Belonging

Paul Brand and Philip Yancey


John Karmegan came to me in Vellore, India, as a leprosy patient in an advanced state of the disease. We could do little for him surgically since both his feet and hands had already been damaged irreparably. We could, however, offer him a place to stay and employment in the New Life Center.

    Because of one-sided facial paralysis, John could not smile normally. When he tried, the uneven distortion of his features would draw attention to his paralysis. People often responded with a gasp or a gesture of fear, so he learned not to smile. Margaret, my wife, had stitched his eyelids partly closed to protect his sight. John grew more and more paranoid about what others thought of him.

    He caused terrible problems socially, perhaps in reaction to his marred appearance. He expressed his anger at the world by acting the part of a troublemaker, and I remember many tense scenes in which we had to confront John with some evidence of stealing or dishonesty. He treated fellow patients cruelly, and resisted all authority, going so far as to organize hunger strikes against us. By almost anyone's reckoning, he was beyond rehabilitation.

    Perhaps John's very irredeemability attracted my mother to him, for she often latched onto the least desirable specimens of humanity. She took to John, spent time with him, and eventually led him into the Christian faith. He was baptized in a cement tank on the grounds of the leprosarium.

    Conversion, however, did not temper John's high dudgeon against the world. He gained some friends among fellow patients, but a lifetime of rejection and mistreatment had permanently embittered him against all nonpatients. One day, almost defiantly, he asked me what would happen if he visited the local Tamil church in Vellore.

    I went to the leaders of the church, described John, and assured them that despite obvious deformities, he had entered a safe phase of the arrested disease and would not endanger the congregation. They agreed he could visit. "Can he take communion?" I asked, knowing that the church used a common cup. They looked at each other, thought for a moment, and agreed that he could also take communion.

    Shortly thereafter I took John to the church, which met in a plain, whitewashed brick building with a corrugated iron roof. It was a tense moment for him. Those of us on the outside can hardly imagine the trauma and paranoia inside a leprosy patient who attempts for the first time to enter that kind of setting. I stood with him at the back of the church. His paralyzed face showed no reaction, but a trembling gave away his inner turmoil. I prayed silently that no church member would show the slightest hint of rejection.

    As we entered during the singing of the first hymn, an Indian man toward the back half-turned and saw us. We must have made an odd couple: a white person standing next to a leprosy patient with patches of his skin in garish disarray. I held my breath.

    And then it happened. The man put down his hymnal, smiled broadly, and patted the chair next to him, inviting John to join him. John could not have been more startled. Haltingly, he made shuffling half-steeps to the row and took his seat. I breathed a prayer of thanks.

    That one incident proved to be the turning point of John's life. Years later I visited Vellore and made a side trip to a factory that had been set up to employ disabled people. The manager wanted to show me a machine that produced tiny screws for typewriter parts. As we walked through the noisy plant, he shouted at me that he would introduce me to his prize employee, a man who had just won the parent corporation's all-India prize for the highest quality work with fewest rejects. As we arrived at his work station, the employee turned to greet us, and I saw the unmistakable crooked face of John Karmegan. He wiped the grease off his stumpy hand and grinned with the ugliest, the loveliest, most radiant smile I had ever seen. He held out for my inspection a palmful of the small precision screws that had won him the prize.

    A simple gesture of acceptance may not seem like much, but for John Karmegan it proved decisive. After a lifetime of being judged on his own physical image, he had finally been welcomed on the basis of another Image. I had seen a replay of Christ's own reconciliation. His Spirit had prompted the Body on earth to adopt a new member, and at last John knew he belonged.


* * *

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Table of Contents

COMPASSION 13
TOGETHER by Emery Nester
THE DAY PHILIP JOINED THE GROUP by Paul Harvey
A SONG IN THE DARK by Max Lucado
THERE'S ALWAYS SOMETHING LEFT TO LOVE by Tony Campolo
BELONGING by Paul Brand and Philip Yancey
REALLY WINNING by Michael Broome, retold by Alice Gray
COURAGE by author unknown
HUMPTY DUMPTY REVISITED by Vic Pentz
LESSONS FROM A YOUNG NURSE by Rebecca Manley Pippert
ONE by Everett Hale
IT MATTERS by Jeff Ostrander
UNDERSTANDING MERCY by Alice Gray
TOO WONDERFUL
ENCOURAGEMENT 35
CHOSEN by Marie Curling
THE FIRST ROBIN by William E Barton
DON'T QUIT by Charles R Swindoll
THE GUEST OF THE MAESTRO by Max Lucado
JIMMY DURANTE by Tim Hansel
THE DAY BART SIMPSON PRAYED by Lee Strobel
AT THE COUNTER by Paula Kirk
ALL THE GOOD THINGS by Sister Helen P Mrosla
THE HAND
THE KISS by Richard Selzer
CHANGED LIVES by Tim Kimmel
HUGS
THE PASSERBY by Hester Tetreault
JUST A KID WITH CEREBRAL PALSY by Tony Campolo
REPEAT PERFORMANCE by Nancy Spiegelberg
VIRTUES 63
ACT MEDIUM by Leslie B Flynn
VALENTINES by Dale Galloway
CHOOSING by Victor E Frankl
IT'S A START by Gary Smalley and John Trent
WHAT'S IT LIKE IN YOUR TOWN? retold by Kris Gray
IT REALLY DIDN'T MATTER by Charles Colson
MONUMENTS by Charles L Allen
CHICKENS by Anne Paden
THE MILLIONAIREAND THE SCRUBLADY by William E Barton
THE SIGNAL by Alice Gray
RESEMBLANCE
A GIFT FROM THE HEART by Norman Vincent Peale
THANKFUL IN EVERYTHING? by Matthew Henry
THE GOOD SAMARITAN by Tim Hansel
CONTENTMENT IS by Ruth Senter
PRAYER OF ST FRANCIS OF ASSISI
MOTIVATION 93
VISION an old Chinese proverb
KEEPER OF THE SPRING by Charles R Swindoll
A MAN CAN'T JUST SIT AROUND by Chip McGregor
COME ON, GET WITH IT! by Howard Hendricks
THE NEAREST BATTLE by Richard C Halverson
MENTORING by Chip McGregor
SUCCESS by Alice Gray
THE RED UMBRELLA retold by Tania Gray
ALL IT TAKES IS A LITTLE MOTIVATION by Zig Ziglar
AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY IN FIVE SHORT PARAGRAPHS by Portia Nelson
BEAUTIFUL DAY, ISN'T IT? by Barbara Johnson
DON'T GIVE UP by Alice Gray
HEAD HUNTER by Josh McDowell
IF I HAD MY LIFE TO LIVE OVER by Brother Jeremiah
OUR EYES ON THE GOAL by Carole Mayhall
LETTER TO A COACH by an Athlete's Dad
THE GREATNESS OF AMERICA by Alexander de Tocqueville
BULLETS OR SEEDS by Richard C Halverson
LOVE 115
OUTWITTED by Edwin Markham
THE PEOPLE WITH THE ROSES by Max Lucado
REFLECTIONS by Charles R Swindoll
THE SMALL GIFT by Morris Chalfant, retold by Marilyn K McAuley
FOR MY SISTER by David C Needham
DELAYED DELIVERY by Cathy Miller
IN THE TRENCHES by Stu Weber
GARMENT OF LOVE by Mother Teresa
A CRUMPLED PHOTOGRAPH by Philip Yancey
LETTING GO
LOVE'S POWER by Alan Loy McGinnis
THE GIFT OF THE MAGI by O Henry
BELIEVING IN EACH OTHER by Steve Stephens
ACT OF LOVE by Alice Gray
COME HOME by Max Lucado
FAMILY 149
BLESSED by Theodore Roosevelt
SOMEDAY by Charles R Swindoll
"LONGER, DADDY LONGER" by John Trent
WISDOM
BALLOONS by James Dobson
WHAT'S A GRANDMOTHER? by a Third Grader
WALLS by Richard A McCray
SOFT TOUCH by James Dobson
WHEN YOU THOUGHT I WASN'T LOOKING by Mary Rita Schilke Korzan
GROWING UP by Marilyn K McAuley
EVEN IF IT'S DARK by Ron Mehl
GOT A MINUTE? by David Jeremiah
A FATHER'S PRAYER OF ENLIGHTENMENT by John Ellis
SUMMER VACATION by Bruce Larson
TO MY GROWN-UP SON
CHRISTMAS DAY IN THE MORNING by Pearl S Buck
27 THINGS NOT TO SAY TO YOUR SPOUSE by Steve Stephens
37 THINGS TO SAY TO YOUR SPOUSE by Steve Stephens
OF MORE VALUE by Jerry B Jenkins
TESTAMENT by Patrick Henry
A SON OF SUCH TEARS by Ruth Bell Graham, retold by Casandra Lindell
A FAMILY FOR FREDDIE by Abbie Blair
BUILD ME A SON by General Douglas A MacArthur
GREAT LADY by Tim Hansel
LIFE 193
BEAUTIFUL THINGS by Helen Keller
KENNEDY'S QUESTION by Billy Graham
TRUSTING by Alice Marquardt
IF WE HAD HURRIED by Billy Rose
SPRING FILLY by Nancy Spiegelberg
LAUGHTER by Tim Hansel
THE HAMMER, THE FILE, AND THE FURNACE by Charles R Swindoll
THREE MEN AND A BRIDGE by Sandy Snavely
INCREDIBLE! by David Jeremiah
STRUGGLES by Alice Gray
HE LISTENED by Joseph Bayly
I BELIEVE from a concentration camp
DO YOU WISH TO GET WELL? by Kay Arthur
HERITAGE by Sally J Knower
OLD-AGE—IT'S LATER THAN YOU THINK
THE ORCHESTRA by Judy Urschel Straalsund
DO YOU KNOW WHO HIS DADDY IS? by Zig Ziglar
LEADERSHIP
LET GO by Billy Graham
THE RUNAWAYS by Cliff Schimmels
BROKEN DREAMS by Lauretta P Burns
CHANGE by Martin Luther King Jr
SIGNIFICANCE by Joni Eareckson Tada
DARK ENOUGH by Ralph Waldo Emerson
SOMEBODY LOVED HIM by Rebecca Manley Pippert
TO ENDURE by William Barclay
HOMECOMING by Michael Broome, retold by Alice Gray
PICTURE OF PEACE by Catherine Marshall
I ASKED
LIFE IS LIKE THAT by Josh McDowell
TAPS
FAITH 239
WHERE DO YOU RUN? by Kay Arthur
DEAR BRISTOL by James Dobson
THE JUGGLER by Billy Graham, retold by Alice Gray
THE TALE OF THREE TREES retold by Angela Elwell Hunt
THE PARABLE OF EXTRAVAGANT LOVE by Lloyd John Ogilvie
ONE SOLITARY LIFE
CECIL B De MILLE by Billy Graham
OBJECT LESSON by John MacArthur
RIGHT ON TIME by Ron Mehl
JUMP retold by Tania Gray
APPOINTMENT WITH DEATH by Alice Gray
THE STORY OF THE PRAYING HANDS
LEARNING 'BOUT PRAYER by Howard Hendricks
THE SECRET OF THE GIFTS by Paul Flucke
PARACLETE by David Seamands
SELLING CATTLE by Howard Hendricks
WHAT IF I GET TIRED OF BEING IN HEAVEN? by Larry Libby
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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 20, 2003

    Touching

    Wow this book is sooo touching to the heart. i was sad, then happy, and so for real, i love it. and i dont even like to read, but after i read this, i am willing to read what i like know, beautiful stories all wonderful. you should get it

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