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From the Editor -
Randy Chambers
Take it to Heart
Featured Article
Take to heartGranddad's Hands
By Randy Chambers

His hands were age-spot-ridden and weathered by time, and they seemed enormous in comparison to the one-week-old puppy he scooped up from the litter. "Here ya are, Toby." Granddad stretched out his arms toward Toby, carefully unfolding his hands from around the pup. "Now be real gentle there young man. Don’t wanna break it."

Toby’s eyes widened as he very slowly reached toward the puppy. He looked up at Granddad to see him warmly smiling back.

"What’ll you name it?" Granddad asked.

Toby smiled and thought for a moment. "Can we call him Walt?"  

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Cliff Diving and Discipleship
By Brenda Kern

My heart skipped a beat, literally. I felt my heart falter, then right itself again, for the only time in my recollection.

It was January 1984, and I was privileged to witness the cliff diving spectacle in Acapulco, Mexico in person. You might have seen this event on television, as I had in my childhood. It's been aired many times on various sports programs. This sounds cliché, but I can vouch for this truth in this case: you don't really GET the full thrill of it unless you're seeing it with your own eyes.

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Take to heartThe Touch of Love
By Pamela Bridgeman

The LORD is my shepherd. (Psalm 23:1 KJV)

I am not a shepherd and though I grew up on a farm, I’ve never seen a shepherd at work. The closest thing that comes to mind is how my granddaddy cared for his mule, Molly. She was as stubborn as – well, a mule, but Paw Paw had a way of getting her attention. Like the shepherd who sometimes has to use the rod of correction, he often had to slap the reins against her flesh to get her to obey him. Just as readily as he disciplined ole Molly, he applied salve whenever she had a wound. Sometimes he changed her shoes because he noticed a limp; sometimes he changed them just because it was time in his estimation. Molly never went without food – you could tell that from her rather robust frame. In fact, she had just as regular a meal schedule as we grandchildren did.

Jesus, the good shepherd is like my granddaddy, the good farmer. When we as believers stray, He lays the rod upon our flesh – only our flesh. He never wounds our spirit by beating us; He simply applies the pressure of discipline that makes us turn away from our sin or complacency.

Sometimes He has to reach down with His staff and rescue us because He notices "a limp." Sometimes He pulls us upward with the staff just because it is time for us to go to higher ground in His estimation.

Most importantly, because Jesus, our LORD is our shepherd, we continually experience the goodness of God; therefore we lack nothing. He furnishes our all-encompassing needs and wants by bringing us close enough to Him to anoint us, to touch us. There in His presence we find fullness of joy, which is health to our mind, body and spirit.

I don’t know how sheep feel when their shepherd touches them or pulls them close. I do know the touch of the Good Shepherd – the touch of love – brings me joy beyond description.

Have you experienced the touch of love?
Pamela Bridgeman finds joy in helping others to know the love of Christ and experience the power of forgiveness. She is a member of the Drama Team at Life Center Ministries in Dunwoody, Georgia. You can visit Pamela on the Internet at http://www.ahealingjourneyseminars.com or write to her care of the Letters page of this magazine.