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THE LORDS PRAYER
 Matthew 6:9-13 - Luke 11:2-4

The prayer below too often illistrates our failure in earnest prayer... it is rather cleverly done

This is in two parts-- the prayer (in small type)
and GOD (in Capital Bold type) in response.


Our Father Who Art In Heaven.

YES?
Don't interrupt me. I'm praying.
BUT -- YOU CALLED ME!
Called you? No, I didn't call you. I'm praying.
Our Father who art in heaven.

THERE -- YOU DID IT AGAIN
Did what?
CALLED ME. YOU SAID, "OUR FATHER WHO ART IN HEAVEN"
WELL, HERE I AM. WHAT'S ON YOUR MIND?
But I didn't mean anything by it. I was, you know, just saying
my prayers for the day. I always say the Lord's Prayer. It makes me feel good, kind of like fulfilling a duty.

WELL, ALL RIGHT. GO ON.
Okay, Hallowed be Thy name...
HOLD IT RIGHT THERE. WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY THAT?
By what?
BY "HALLOWED BE THY NAME"?
It means, it means ... good grief, I don't know what it means. How in the world should I know? It's just a part of the prayer.
By the way, what does it mean?

IT MEANS HONORED, HOLY, WONDERFUL.
Hey, that makes sense. I never thought about what 'hallowed'
meant before. Thanks. Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done,
on earth as it is in Heaven.

DO YOU REALLY MEAN THAT?
Sure, why not?
WHAT ARE YOU DOING ABOUT IT?
Doing? Why, nothing, I guess. I just think it would be kind of neat if you got control of everything down here like you have
up there. We're kinda in a mess down here you know.
YES, I KNOW; BUT, HAVE I GOT CONTROL OF YOU?
Well, I go to church.
THAT ISN'T WHAT I ASKED YOU. WHAT ABOUT YOUR BAD TEMPER? YOU'VE REALLY GOT A PROBLEM THERE, YOU KNOW. AND THEN THERE'S THE WAY YOU SPEND YOUR
MONEY --ALL ON YOURSELF. AND WHAT ABOUT THE KIND OF BOOKS YOU READ?
Now hold on just a minute! Stop picking on me! I'm just as good as some of the rest of those people at church!
EXCUSE ME. I THOUGHT YOU WERE PRAYING FOR MY WILL
TO BE DONE. IF THAT IS TO HAPPEN, IT WILL HAVE TO START WITH THE ONES WHO ARE PRAYING FOR IT.
LIKE YOU -- FOR EXAMPLE.
Oh, all right. I guess I do have some hang-ups. Now that you
mention it, I could probably name some others.

SO COULD I.
I haven't thought about it very much until now, but I really would like to cut out some of those things. I would like to, you know, be really free.
GOOD. NOW WE'RE GETTING SOMEWHERE.
WE'LL WORK TOGETHER -- YOU AND ME. I'M PROUD OF YOU.
Look, Lord, if you don't mind, I need to finish up here. This is taking a lot longer than it usually does.
Give us this day, our daily bread.

YOU NEED TO CUT OUT THE BREAD. YOU'RE OVERWEIGHT
AS IT IS.
Hey, wait a minute! What is this? Here I was doing my religious
duty, and all of a sudden you break in and remind me of all my hang-ups.

PRAYING IS A DANGEROUS THING. YOU JUST MIGHT GET
WHAT YOU ASK FOR. REMEMBER, YOU CALLED ME -- AND HERE I AM. IT'S TOO LATE TO STOP NOW. KEEP PRAYING.
...pause...
WELL, GO ON.
I'm scared to.
SCARED? OF WHAT?
I know what you'll say.
TRY ME.
Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.
WHAT ABOUT LINDA?
See? I knew it! I knew you would bring her up! Why, Lord, she's told lies about me, spread false stories. She never paid back the money she owes me. I've sworn to never forget and let her interfere with my happiness!
BUT -- YOUR PRAYER -- WHAT ABOUT YOUR PRAYER?
I didn't -- mean it.
WELL, AT LEAST YOU'RE HONEST. BUT, IT'S QUITE A
LOAD CARRYING AROUND ALL THAT BITTERNESS AND RESENTMENT ISN'T IT?
Yes, but I'll feel better as soon as I get a reconning with her.
Boy, have I got some plans for her, I'll show the world what an awful liar she is. She'll wish she had
never said those nasty things about me.
NO, YOU WON'T FEEL ANY BETTER. YOU'LL FEEL WORSE.
REVENGE ISN'T SWEET. YOU KNOW HOW UNHAPPY YOU
ARE -- WELL, I CAN CHANGE THAT.
You can? How?
FORGIVE LINDA, THEN, I'LL FORGIVE YOU; AND THE
HATE AND SIN WILL BE LINDA'S PROBLEM -- NOT YOURS. YOU WILL HAVE SETTLED THE PROBLEM AS FAR AS YOU
ARE CONCERNED.
Oh, you know, you're right. You always are. And more than I want revenge, I want to be right with You..., (sigh).
All right...all right...I forgive her.

THERE NOW! WONDERFUL! HOW DO YOU FEEL?
Hmmmm. Well, not bad. Not bad at all! In fact, I feel pretty great! You know, I don't think I'll go to bed uptight tonight.
I haven't been getting much rest, you know.
YEAH, I KNOW. BUT, YOU'RE NOT THROUGH WITH YOUR PRAYER ARE YOU? GO ON.
Oh, all right. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
GOOD! GOOD! I'LL DO THAT. JUST DON'T PUT YOURSELF
IN A PLACE WHERE YOU CAN BE TEMPTED.
What do you mean by that?
YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN.
Yeah. I know.
OKAY. GO AHEAD. FINISH YOUR PRAYER.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.
DO YOU KNOW WHAT WOULD BRING ME GLORY.......
WHAT WOULD REALLY MAKE ME HAPPY?
No, but I'd like to know. I want to please you now. I've really made a mess of things. I want to truly follow you. I can see now how great that would be. So, tell me ...
how do I make you happy?
YOU JUST DID

The Lords Prayer

 *******************************************************************************

Satan called a worldwide convention of demons. In his opening address he said,  "We can't keep Christians from going to church. We can't keep them from reading their Bibles and knowing the truth. We can't even keep them from forming an intimate relationship with their savior. Once they gain that connection with Jesus, our power over them is broken. So let them go to their churches; let them have their covered dish dinners, BUT steal their time, so they don't have time to develop a relationship with Jesus Christ.." 

"This is what I want you to do," said the devil: "Distract them from gaining hold of their Savior and maintaining that vital connection throughout their day!" "How shall we do this?" his demons shouted. "Keep them busy in the nonessentials of life and invent innumerable schemes to occupy their minds," he answered. Tempt them to spend, spend, spend, and borrow, borrow, borrow. Persuade the wives to go to work for long hours and the husbands to work 6-7 days each week, 10-12 hours a day, so they can afford their empty lifestyles. Keep them from spending time with their children. As their families fragment, soon, their homes will offer no escape from the pressures of work! 

Over-stimulate their minds so that they cannot hear that still, small voice. Entice them to play the radio or cassette player whenever they drive. To keep the TV, VCR, CDs, DVD's and their PCs going constantly in their home and see to it that every store and restaurant in the world plays non-biblical music constantly. This will jam their minds and break that union with Christ. Fill the coffee tables with magazines and newspapers. Pound their minds with the news 24 hours a day. Invade their driving moments with billboards. 

Flood their mailboxes with junk mail, mail order catalogs, sweepstakes, guaranteed credit cards, and every kind of newsletter and promotional offering free products, services and false hopes.. Keep skinny, beautiful models on the magazines and TV so their husbands will believe that outward beauty is what's important, and they'll become dissatisfied with their wives. Keep those skinny, beautiful models on the magazines to grab the attention of their young sons at a very early age. Keep the wives too tired to love their husbands at night. Give them headaches too! If they don't give their husbands the love they need, they will begin to look elsewhere. That will fragment their families quickly! 

Give them Santa Claus to distract them from teaching their children the real meaning of Christmas. Give them an Easter bunny so they won't talk about his resurrection and power over sin and death. Even in their recreation, let them be excessive. Have them return from their recreation exhausted. Keep them too busy to go out in nature and reflect on God's creation. Send them to amusement parks, sporting events, plays, concerts, and movies instead. 

Keep them busy, busy, busy! And when they meet for spiritual fellowship, involve them in gossip and small talk so that they leave with troubled consciences. Crowd their lives with so many good causes they have no time to seek power from Jesus. Soon they will be working in their own strength, sacrificing their health and family for the good of the cause." 

"It will work!" "It will work!" the demons screamed. It was quite a plan! The demons went eagerly to their assignments causing Christians everywhere to get busier and more rushed, going here and there, having little time for their God or their families, having no time to tell others about the power of Jesus to change lives. 

I guess the question is, has the devil been successful in his schemes? You be the judge!!!!!
- from Deanna

THE FILING ROOM
    In that place between wakefulness and dreams, I found myself in the room. There were no distinguishing features except for the one wall covered with small index files. They were like the ones in libraries that list titles by author or subject in alphabetical order. But these files that stretched from floor to ceiling and seemingly endless in either direction, had very different headings. As I drew near the wall of files, the first to catch my attention was one that read "Girls I have liked." I opened it and began to flip through the cards. I quickly shut it, shocked to realize that I recognized the names written on each one. Then without being told, I knew exactly where I was.

     This lifeless room with its small files was a crude catalogue system for my life. Here were written the actions of my every moment, big and small, in a detail my memory couldn't match. A sense of wonder and curiosity, coupled with horror, stirred within me as I began randomly opening files and exploring their content. Some brought joy and sweet memories; others a sense of shame and regret so intense that I would look over my shoulder to see if anyone was watching.

    A file named "Friends" was next to the one marked "Friends I Have Betrayed." The titles ranged from the mundane to the outright weird. "Books I Have Read," "Lies I Have Told," "Comfort I Have Given," "Jokes I Have Laughed At." Some were almost hilarious in their exactness: "Things I Have Done In My Anger," "Things I Have Yelled at My Brothers," "Things I Have Muttered Under My Breath at My Parents." I never ceased to be surprised by the contents.

     Often there were many more cards than I expected. Sometimes fewer than I hoped. I was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of the life I had lived. Could it be possible that I had the time in my life to actually have thought or done what was on each of these thousands or even millions of cards? But each card confirmed the truth. Each was written in my own handwriting. Each signed with my signature.

     When I pulled out the file marked "TV Shows I Have Watched," I realized the files grew to contain their contents. The cards were packed tightly, and yet after two or three yards, I hadn't found the end of the file. I shut it, shamed, not so much by the quality of shows but more by the vast amount of time I knew that file represented. When I came to a file marked "Lustful Thoughts," I felt a chill run through my body. I pulled the file out only an inch, not willing to test its size, and drew out a card. I shuddered at its detailed content. I felt sick to think that such a moment had been recorded. An animal rage broke on me. One thought dominated my mind: "No one must ever see these cards! No one must ever see this room! I have to destroy them!" In insane frenzy I yanked the file out. Its size didn't matter now. I had to empty it and burn those cards. But as I took it at one end and began pounding it on the floor, I couldn't dislodge a single card. I became desperate and pulled out a card, only to find it as strong as steel when I tried to tear it. Defeated and utterly helpless, I returned the file to its slot. Leaning my forehead against the wall, I let out a long, self pitying sigh. And then I saw it..The title bore "People I have Shared the Gospel With." The handle was brighter than those around it, newer, almost unused. I pulled on the handle and a small box not more than three inches fell into my hands. I could count the cards it contained on one hand. Then the tears came. I began to weep. Sobs so deep that they hurt. They started in my stomach and shook through me. I fell on my knees and cried. I cried out of shame, from the overwhelming shame of it all. The rows of file shelves swirled in my tear-filled eyes. No one must ever, ever know of this room. I must lock it up and hide the key.

     But then as I pushed away the tears, I saw Him. No, please not Him. Not here. Oh, anyone but Jesus. I watched helplessly as He began to open the files and read the cards. I couldn't bear to look at His face. I saw a sorrow deeper than my own. He seemed to go intuitively to the worst boxes. Why did He have to read every one? Finally, He turned and looked at me from across the room. He looked at me with pity in His eyes. But this was a pity that didn't anger me. I dropped my head, covered my face with my hands and began to cry again. He walked over and put His arm around me. He could have said so many things. But He didn't say a word. He just cried with me.

     Then He got up and walked back to the wall of files. Starting at one end of the room, He took out a file and, one by one, began to sign His name over mine on each card. "No!" I shouted, rushing to Him. All I could say was "No, no," as I pulled the card from Him.  His name shouldn't be on those cards. But there it was, written in red so rich, so dark, so alive. The name of Jesus covered mine. It was written with His blood. He gently took the card back. He smiled a sad smile and began to sign the cards. I don't think I'll ever understand how He did it so quickly, but the next instant it seemed I heard Him close the last file and walk back to my side. He placed His hand on my shoulder and said, "It is finished." I stood up and He led me out of the room. There was no lock on its door. There were still cards to be written.......
AUTHOR UNKNOWN


"Tomorrow morning," the surgeon began, "I'll open up your heart..."
"You'll find Jesus there," the boy interrupted.
The surgeon looked up, annoyed "I'll cut your heart open," he continued, to see how much damage has been done..."
"But when you open up my heart, you'll find Jesus in there," said the boy.
The surgeon looked to the parents, who sat quietly. "When I see how much damage has been done, I'll sew your heart and chest back up, and I'll plan what to do next."
"But you'll find Jesus in my heart. The Bible says He lives there. The hymns all say He lives there. You'll find Him in my heart."
The surgeon had had enough. "I'll tell you what I'll find in your heart. I'll find damaged muscle, low bloodsupply, and weakened vessels. And I'll find out if I can make you well."
"You'll find Jesus there too. He lives there."
The surgeon left.

The surgeon sat in his office, recording his notes from the surgery,  "...damaged aorta, damaged pulmonary vein, widespread muscle degeneration. No hope for transplant, no hope for cure. Therapy: painkillers and bed rest. Prognosis:, "
here he paused, "death within one year."  He stopped the recorder, but there was more to be said. "Why?" he asked aloud."Why did You do this? You've put him here; You've put him in this pain; and You've cursed him to an early death. Why?"
The Lord answered and said, "The boy, My lamb, was not meant for your flock for long, for he is a part of My flock, and will forever be. Here, in My flock, he will feel no pain, and will be comforted as you cannot imagine. His parents will one day join him here, and they will know peace, and My flock will continue to grow."
The surgeon's tears were hot, but his anger was hotter. "You created that boy, and You created that heart. He'll be dead in months. Why?" The Lord answered, "The boy, My lamb, shall return to My flock, for He has done his duty: I did not put My lamb with your flock to lose him, but to retrieve another lost lamb."
The surgeon wept. 

The surgeon sat beside the boy's bed; the boy's parents sat across from him. The boy awoke and whispered, "Did you cut open my heart?" "Yes," said the surgeon. "What did you find?" asked the boy."
"I found Jesus there," said the surgeon.
Author Unknown

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