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One Cold Morning

Johnny wiped his hand across the frosted window and peeked outside. He could barely see the barn through the blowing snow. The winter storm that had closed school yesterday was still raging on this morning.

“I’m going to have to make this quick!” he said to himself as he slipped on his jacket.

As Johnny made his way to the barn, the snow beat against his face and the wind cut right through his clothes, sending a deep chill straight to his bones. He turned his back toward the wind and tried to walk faster.


Photo credit: Jim Sorbie via Flickr cc

“Brrrrrrrr!” Johnny said, as he closed the barn door behind him and stomped the snow off his boots. It was still cold inside the barn, but at least there wasn’t any wind.

“Here you go!” he called out as he threw an armful of hay into the goat pen.

He walked over to Betty, the old mare, and put his hand on her forehead. He watched in wonder as her every breath formed large steam clouds that just hung in the air. “Good thing you’ve got a heavy coat,” Johnny said, ‘or you’d freeze to death out here!”

Johnny got to work, taking care of the animals. Every morning, this was his chore. Typically, he didn’t mind, but today all he wanted to do was be back inside the house, sitting in front of the warm fireplace.

Johnny stopped what he was doing and pulled off his hood. He had heard something unusual. “Maybe it was just the wind howling,” he thought. He waited for a minute and then continued on with his chores.

Again he heard the sound. It was high pitched, and somewhat muffled. He walked toward the back of the barn, where the tractor was kept. He could hear it better now. It seemed to be coming from the pile of old lumber. Johnny grabbed a flashlight off of the tool bench and went over to take a look. He looked around but didn’t see anything.

“It’s probably just one of those crazy old barn cats,” he moaned as he turned and walked back toward the front.

Johnny started back at his chores. The noise continued. He tried humming a tune to drown out the sound. It didn’t work. No matter what he did he couldn’t escape it. By this time Johnny was starting to feel the cold in his hands and feet and he worked quickly so he could finish up and get back inside.

“Finished!” Johnny proclaimed as he hung the shovel on the wall hook. “Now to get warm!”

As he reached for the door, the sound from the back of the barn echoed louder than ever. Johnny sighed. “What is wrong with you? Why can’t you just stop?”

Johnny paused. He knew what he needed to do.

He grabbed the flashlight again and went to the back. He got down on his knees and shined the light under the pile of lumber. This was definitely where the sound was coming from but he couldn’t see a thing. Johnny started pulling off boards, careful not to shift the pile. When he was about halfway down, he noticed an open area toward the wall. He leaned forward and shined his light into the darkness.

“Well, I’ll be…”

He set the flashlight down and shoved the remaining boards out of the way.

“How did you get back here?” he said as he picked up a small grey kitten. The kitten couldn’t have been more than a month old. It was thin and dirty and very, very cold. Johnny held it gently against his chest. After a minute, it’s cries started to fade. He could feel it vibrating. He wasn’t sure if it was purring or just shivering. It climbed up to his shoulder and nuzzled softly against his neck.

Johnny took off his wool cap and placed the kitten gently inside. “Little one, you’re coming with me!”

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Luke 11:5-10 New Living Translation (NLT)

Then, teaching them more about prayer, he used this story: “Suppose you went to a friend’s house at midnight, wanting to borrow three loaves of bread. You say to him, ‘A friend of mine has just arrived for a visit, and I have nothing for him to eat.’ And suppose he calls out from his bedroom, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is locked for the night, and my family and I are all in bed. I can’t help you.’ But I tell you this—though he won’t do it for friendship’s sake, if you keep knocking long enough, he will get up and give you whatever you need because of your shameless persistence.

“And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened."

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