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{HeartTouchers.com}   *An Angel's Story* 

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If you enjoy this email service, I encourage
you to spread the word to family and friends that we
may bring inspiration the lives of many!  If you
are not on the list and this has been passed along
to you, join us by visiting:

http://www.HeartTouchers.com

Be sure to check out our inspirational list just for teenagers!

http://www.Heart4Teens.com


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Michael's updated book Heart Touchers "Life-Changing Stories of Faith, Love, and Laughter," is finally here! ($13.95)

Visit the link below to preview the book!  Personalized autographed copies are available at no extra charge and we pay the shipping for you!  An E-book version is also available for just $3.25!

http://www.hearttouchers.com/books

Be sure to let us know who you would like it autographed for and then allow about two weeks for us to sign it and send it on its way to you.Credit card, PayPal, Checks, and Money orders accepted! The book is also available through Amazon.com, Borders.com, BarnesandNoble.com, and Booklocker.com

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An Angel's Story

by Max Lucado



"GABRIEL"

  Just the sound of my King's voice stirred my heart. I left my post at the entryway and stepped into the throne room. To my left was the desk on which sat the Book of Life. Ahead of me was the throne of Almighty God. I entered the circle of unceasing Light, folded my wings before me to cover my face, and knelt before Him. "Yes, my Lord?"
  "You have served the kingdom well. You are a noble messenger. Never have you flinched in duty. Never have you flagged in zeal."
  I bowed my head, basking in the words. "Whatever You ask, I'll do a thousand times over, my King," I promised.
  "Of that I have no doubt, dear messenger." His voice assumed a solemnity I'd never heard Him use. "But your greatest work lies ahead of you. Your next assignment is to carry a gift to Earth. Behold."
  I lifted my eyes to see a necklace a clear vial on a golden chain dangling from His extended hand.
  My Father spoke earnestly, "Though empty, this vial will soon contain My greatest gift. Place it around your neck."
  I was about to take it when a raspy voice interrupted me. "And what treasure will You send to Earth this time?"
  My back stiffened at the irreverent tone, and my stomach turned at the sudden stench. Such foul odor could come from only one being.


I DREW MY SWORD AND TURNED TO DO BATTLE WITH LUCIFER.

  The Father's hand on my shoulder stopped me.
  "Worry not, Gabriel. He will do no harm."

  I stepped back and stared at God's enemy. He was completely covered. A black cassock hung over his skeletal frame, hiding his body and arms and hooding his face. The feet, protruding beneath the robe, were thrice toed and clawed. The skin on his hands was that of a snake. Talons extended from his fingers. He pulled his cape farther over his face as a shield against the Light, but the brightness still pained him. Seeking relief, he turned toward me. I caught a glimpse of a skullish face within the cowl.
  "What are you staring at, Gabriel? " he sneered.  "Are you that glad to see me?"
  I had no words for this fallen angel. Both what I saw and what I remembered left me speechless. I remembered him before the Rebellion: poised proudly at the vanguard of our force, wings wide, holding forth a radiant sword, he had inspired us to do the same. Who could refuse him? The sight of his velvet hair and coal black eyes had far outstripped the beauty of any celestial being.
  Any being, of course, except our Creator. No one compared Lucifer to God ... except Lucifer. How he came to think he was worthy of the same worship as God, only God knows. All I knew was that I had not seen Satan since the Rebellion. And what I now saw repulsed me.
  I searched for just a hint of his former splendor but saw none.
  "Your news must be urgent," spat Satan to God, still unable to bear the Light.
  My Father's response was a pronouncement. "The time has come for the second gift." The frame beneath the cape bounced stiffly as Lucifer chuckled. "The second gift, eh? I hope it works better than the first."
  "You're disappointed with the first?" asked the Father.
  "Oh, quite the contrary; I've delighted in it." Lifting a bony finger, he spelled a word in the air: C-H-O-I-C-E.

  "You gave Adam his choice," Satan scoffed. "And what a choice he made! He chose me. Ever since the fruit was plucked from the tree in the Garden, I've held Your children captive. They fell. Fast. Hard. They are mine. You have failed. Heh heh heh.
  "You speak so confidently," replied the Father, astounding me with His patience.
  Lucifer stepped forward, his cloak dragging behind him. "Of course! I thwart everything You do! You soften hearts, I harden them. You teach truth, I shadow it. You offer joy, I steal it."
  He pivoted and paraded around the room, boasting of his deeds. "The betrayal of Joseph by his brothers - I did that. Moses banished to the desert after killing the Egyptian I did that. David watching Bathsheba bathe that was me. You must admit, my work has been crafty."
  "Crafty? Perhaps. But effective? No. I know what you will do even before you do it. I used the betrayal of Joseph to deliver My people from famine. Your banishment of Moses became his wilderness training. And yes, David did commit adultery with Bathsheba but he repented of his sin! And thousands have been inspired by his example and found what he found unending grace. Your deceptions have only served as platforms for My mercy. You are still My servant, Satan. When will you learn? Your feeble attempts to disturb My work only enable My work.

  EVERY ACT YOU HAVE INTENDED FOR EVIL,  I HAVE USED FOR GOOD."

   Satan began to growl a throaty, guttural, angry growl. Softly at first, then louder, until the room was tilled with a roar that must have quaked the foundations of hell.
  But the King was not bothered. "Feeling ill?"
  Lucifer lurked around the room, breathing loudly, searching for words to say and a shadow from which to say them. He finally found the words but never the shadow. "Show me, 0 King of Light, show me one person on the Earth who always does right and obeys Your will."
  "Dare you ask? You know there need be only one perfect one, only one sinless one to die for all the others."
  I know Your plans and You have failed! No Messiah will come from Your people. There is none who is sinless. Not one." He turned his back to the desk and began naming the children. "Not Moses. Not Abraham. Not Lot. Not Rebekah. Not Elijah. . . ."
  The Father stood up from His throne, releasing a wave of holy Light so intense that Lucifer staggered backward and fell. "THOSE ARE MY CHILDREN YOU MOCK."

  God's voice boomed. "You think you know much, fallen angel, but you know so little. Your mind dwells in the valley of self. Your eyes see no further than your own needs."
  The King walked over and reached for the book. He turned it toward Lucifer and commanded, "Come, Deceiver, read the name of the One who will call your bluff. Read the name of the One who will storm your gates.
  Satan rose slowly off his haunches. Like a wary wolf, he walked a wide circle toward the desk until he stood before the volume and read the word: IMMANUEL

  "Immanual?" he muttered to himself, then spoke in atone of disbelief. "God with us" For the first time the hooded head turned squarely toward the face of the Father. "No. Not even You would do that. Not even You would go so far."
"You've never believed Me, Satan."

"But Immanuel? The plan is bizarre! You don't know what it is like on Earth! You don't know how dark I've made it. It's putrid. It's evil. It's ...

"IT IS MINE," PROCLAIMED THE KING.

"AND I WILL RECLAIM WHAT IS MINE.

I WILL BECOME FLESH. I WILL FEEL WHAT MY CREATURES FEEL. I WILL SEE WHAT THEY SEE."

  "But what of their sin?"
  "I will bring mercy."
  "What of their death?"
  "I will give life."
  Satan stood speechless.
  God spoke, "I love My children. Love does not take away the beloved's freedom. But love takes away fear. And Immanuel will leave behind a tribe of fearless children. They will not fear you or your hell."
  Satan stepped back at the thought. His retort was childish. "Th th they will too!"

  "I will take away all sin. I will take away death. Without sin and without death, you have no power."
  Around and around in a circle Satan paced, clenching and unclenching his wiry fingers. When he finally stopped, he asked a question that even I was thinking. "Why? Why would You do this?"
  The Father's voice was deep and soft. "Because I love them."


  The two stood facing each other. Neither spoke. The extremes of the universe were before me. God robed in Light, each thread glowing. Satan canopied in evil, the very fabric of his robe seeming to crawl. Peace contrasting panic. Wisdom confronting foolishness. One able to rescue, the other anxious to condemn.
  I have reflected much on what happened next. Though I have relived the moment countless times, I'm as stunned as I was at the first. Never in my wildest thoughts did I think my King would do what He did. Had He demanded Satan's departure, who would have questioned? Had He taken Satan's life, who would have grieved? Had He called me to attack, I would have been willing. But God did none of these.
  From the circle of Light came His extended hand. From His throne came an honest invitation. "Will you surrender? Will you return to Me?"
  I do not know the thoughts of Satan. But I believe that for a fleeting second the evil heart softened. The head cocked slightly, as if amazed that such an offer would be made. But then it yanked itself erect.
  "Where will we battle?" he challenged.
  The Father sighed at the dark angel's resistance. "On a hill called Calvary."
  "If You make it that far." Satan smirked, spinning and marching out the entryway. I watched as his spiny wings extended, and he soared into the heavenlies.
  The Father stood motionless for a moment, then turned back to the book. Opening to the final chapter, He slowly read words I had never heard. No sentences. Just words. Saying each, then pausing:

JESUS,

NAIL,

CROSS,

BLOOD,

TOMB,

LIFE.


   He motioned toward me, and I responded, kneeling again before Him. Handing me the necklace, He explained, "This vial will contain the essence of Myself; a Seed to be placed in the womb of a young girl. Her name is Mary. She lives among My chosen people. The fruit of the Seed is the Son of God. Take it to her."
  "But how will I know her?" I asked.
  "Don't worry. You will." I could not comprehend God's plan, but my understanding was not essential. My obedience was. I lowered my head, and He draped the chain around my neck. Amazingly, the vial was no longer empty. It glowed with Light.
  "Jesus. Tell her to call My Son Jesus."


Source: "An Angel's Story," by Max Lucado, Copyright (c) 2002 (Used by Permission)

With more than 39 million books in print, Max Lucado has touched millions with his signature storytelling writing style. Awards and accolades follow Max with each book he writes. Max is the first author to win the Gold Medallion Christian Book of the Year three times -- 1999 for Just Like Jesus, 1997 for In the Grip of Grace and 1995 for When God Whispers Your Name.

Max Lucado is a fixture on the national bestseller lists - a  Max Lucado title has appeared on the CBA hardcover bestseller list every month for the past eight years. He has appeared on the Publishers Weekly, USA Today and New York Times bestseller lists.  His newest book, Come Thirsty, was released in October 2004, and Next Door Savior recently won a Gold Medallion award in the Inspirational category.

Max serves as the pulpit minister of the Oak Hills Church of Christ in San Antonio, Texas. But he says his greatest accomplishment is finding a one-in-a-million wife in Denalyn and having three unbelievable daughters: Jenna, Andrea, and Sara.


You can visit his web site at: http://www.maxlucado.com



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Thought For The Day:

"A blind man who sees is better than a seeing man who is blind."


Verse for the Day:

"But blessed are your eyes for they see: and your ears, for they hear."
Matthew 13:16

Kid's Thought For The Day:

A man was bending over to tie his three-year-old's shoes. That's
when his wife noticed their son staring at her husband's head. He gently
touched the slightly thinning spot of hair and said in a concerned
voice, "Daddy, you have a hole in your head. Does it hurt?"
After a pause, the husband murmured "Not physically."


Parent's Thought For The Day:

COLUMBUS' MOTHER : "I don't care what you've discovered, you still could
have written!"


Coach's Thought For The Day:

"Concentration is the ability to think about absolutely nothing when it is absolutely
necessary." --Ray Knight


Writer's Thought For The Day:

"Goals are dreams with deadlines." --Diana Scharf Hunt


Deep Thought For The Day:

A Buddhist says to a hotdog vendor: "Make me One with everything."



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Video Imagery --Michael's Video Production Business

Dear Michael,

I just wanted to take a minute to thank you for the beautiful video you made for me! It was so special to see both of my parents in tears as they watched their children grow up in pictures before their eyes! I loved the way you made Estania's part set aside from the rest--that was the part that really got them! The music was beautiful. My mom kept blubbering, "What song is that?" I don't know how you did such a beautiful job with the video in such a short time. I really appreciate your doing it so quickly. You have a wonderful gift, and I thank God that you are using it to create such sentimental memories. I hope that I can find my niche like that in an area that I love. Your video gave us one of our most lasting Christmas memories! I hope yours was filled with moments to be treasured forever!
Love,
Trisha
Silverhill, AL

Let me make you a video from your photos!
Check out my video production business
by visiting: http://www.hearttouchers.com/video_imagery

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