As the school-aged boys pulled open the country store screen door decorated with a rusty Coca Cola Sign, the wooden relic creaked. Clutching hard-earned allowance in their fists, the boys skipped inside ahead of their mother to the store–one of only ten buildings in the tiny community. They had already decided on what they would buy. Something they didn’t get at home–candy. Black streaks, dents, scrapes and bullet holes punctured the walls. Such were the remains of the interior décor untouched from decades before.

Inside, two desert pioneers rocked back on the legs of oak chairs. They squinted through white, stubby whiskers at the blonde twins walking in. “What yer doin’ here, Son?” one asked as the first boy reached for a Tootsie Roll Pop and put a quarter on the counter.

“I’m getting some candy,” the youngster smiled broadly.

“Yer shouldn’t do that,” replied the second desert rat. “I licked a lollipop and lookee here!” The old timer reached in his mouth and pulled out a bridge supporting two teeth.

The boys, Josh and Jimmy, stared–first at the senior, then at each other. They scanned the face of the store owner. No one was smiling.

The other grizzly man realized he had their full attention for a moment. “That there’s nothing,’” he added. “Once I ate a whole candy bar and look what happened to me!” With the skill of a gunfighter twirling his pistols, the man pulled out a full top place of teeth, spun it around and held it out for the boys to inspect on his dry, wrinkled hand.

The twins were shocked for a moment. But they were determined to stick to their quest for candy. Nothing would sway them from their path, not even geriatric sharpshooters of tall tales.

Just as the twins stuck to their plan, we are to stay on the path that God charts for us. God can see the entire path of your life and mine. We see only a part. Stepping forward is an act of faith. Remember God’s words, “I am the Lord your God, the one who wants to teach you for your own good and direct you in the way you should go.” [Isaiah 48:17 Good News Bible].

Can’t do it? Yes, you can by taking one step forward at a time. For God also promises, “He gives me new strength. He guides me in the right paths, as he promised.” [Psalm 23:3] Unconditional guarantee: with God you can stand up to anything – including any aged sharpshooters of tall tales!

[Jo Russell is a Christian speaker, author of articles, anthology contributions, and award-winning Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women. available from, her speaking engagements and website, Enjoy chuckles and speeches, tips and excerpts in website options and weekly blog.]

About Jo Russell

Jo’s humor, inspirational stories, articles and devotionals have spanned more than 40 years, with several national writing contest awards for humor. She's a contributing author in Chicken Soup for the Soul—Shaping the New You and Heavenly Humor for the Dieter’s Soul.

Contact Jo

Find Jo on Twitter and Facebook. To schedule Jo as a speaker or to discuss your writing project and receive a free quote, call her at 928-536-2479. Or contact her using the website Contact Form.

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