Sunday, January 31, 2010

Ordering ones priorities

Life is made up of choices – some appear to be trivial while others are far beyond the mundane. How we act on the choices which confront us – regardless of their surface importance – determines the course our life will take. The choices are guided by priorities.

How do you set your priorities?

It was a simple event, but it changed the way I determined my priorities. As an associate pastor, with multiple responsibilities well beyond the local church, my calendar was a nightmare … I just didn’t know how bad it was.

One priority was to be home every evening for dinner with the family, but then quickly thereafter my schedule had me heading in one direction or another. As we sat down at the dinner table one night our young son asked, “What meeting do you have tonight?” I responded that there were no meetings for me to attend and I would be spending the evening at home. With a shout of joy and great excitement Tim left the table, ran outside and informed the neighbors that his daddy was going to be spending the evening at home.

While this single event didn’t change my various commitments overnight it did have a profound impact on all my future commitments. I can share that my priorities began to change that evening.

How do you set your priorities?

What are the top five priorities that occupy the majority of your time and energy?

Quote for today: “We cannot decide whether or not we will live or die; we can only decide what we will die for.” Bob Pierce

Saturday, January 30, 2010

The lighter side of life

As I like to share, “Laugher is the best medicine” and so, I believe that heaven is filled with the laughter of God. But, after reading the following, I’m wondering if God is laughing or just shaking his head wondering just what he had done in creating some individuals. Truth is just stranger than fiction. Enjoy!

My daughter and I went through the McDonald’s take-out window and I gave the clerk a $5 bill. Our total was $4.25, so I also handed her a quarter. She said, “You gave me too much money.” I said, “Yes I know, but this way you can just give me a dollar bill back.” She sighed and went to get the manager, who asked me to repeat my request. I did so, and he handed me back the quarter, and said, “We’re sorry but we could not do that kind of thing.” The clerk then proceeded to give me back $1 and 75 cents in change. Do not confuse the clerks at McD’s.

I live in a semi rural area. We recently had a new neighbor call the local township administrative office to request the removal of the “Deer Crossing” sign on our road. The reason: “Too many deer are being hit by cars out here! I don’t think this is a good place for them to be crossing anymore.” (from Kingman, KS)

My daughter went to a local Taco Bell and ordered a taco. She asked the person behind the counter for “minimal lettuce.” He said he was sorry, but they only had Iceberg lettuce. (from Kansas City)

I was at the airport, checking in at the gate when an airport employee asked, “Has anyone put anything in your baggage without your knowledge?” To which I replied, “If it was without my knowledge, how would I know?” He smiled knowingly and nodded, “That’s why we ask.”
(happened in Birmingham, AL)

The stoplight on the corner buzzes when it’s safe to cross the street. I was crossing with an intellectually challenged coworker of mine. She asked if I knew what the buzzer was for. I explained that it signals blind people when the light is red. Appalled, she responded, “What on earth are blind people doing driving?” (she’s a probation officer in Wichita, KS)

At a good-bye luncheon for an old and dear coworker who was leaving the company due to “downsizing,” our manager commented cheerfully, “This is fun. We should do this more often.” Not another word was spoken. We all just looked at each other with the deer-in-the-headlights stare. (this was a lunch at Texas Instruments)

I work with an individual who plugged her power strip back into itself and for the sake of her life, couldn't understand why her system would not turn on. (a deputy with the Dallas County Sheriff's office, no less)

Quote for today: “We can learn so much by observing the way our pets rejoice in life’s simplest moments. For a dog, every morning is Christmas morning. Every walk is the best walk, every meal is the best meal. Take time every day to celebrate the many gifts that are hidden in the ordinary events of your life.” Cesar Millan

Friday, January 29, 2010

Family Activities

What is your favorite day during the week?

Friday – with all the TGIF jokes aside – was my favorite day of the week. In the hectic pace of serving a church everything had to be completed long before Friday came around. Therefore, following the “tradition” of many pastors that I highly revered, Friday became my day off. Wedding rehearsals and hospital emergencies had a tendency to alter the “normal” weekend schedule, but over time I learned to protect Friday as sacred.

Why would I treat it as sacred? It was family night. Family was always priority #1. If I was doing counseling or preparing my sermon/Bible Study/Sunday School lessons, along with calls from my district superintendent and/or bishop, a call from any member of my family would be reason enough for the church secretary to interrupt me with the call.

Family night meant that the four of us would go to dinner (normally Pizza Hut) and then to a movie, Putt-Putt, bowling, arcade or simply back home for a game or two. It was an important time in our lives much as “Tuesday-night-at-Mom-and-Dads” is now.

On a “normal” Friday night the decisions concerning what we were going to do fell to me. It was the rest of the family’s choice to have it that way. But, I must confess, there was one particular very difficult and exhausting week that simply drained me of my energy. I was not in a good mood. As we all changed clothes I declared, more than once, that I was too tired to make the decision … it was going to be up to others this Friday evening to direct the activities. We sat in the car in the driveway for about a half-hour – I was silent and no one else in the car was willing to say where and what they wanted to do. Sooooo, I got out, went back into the house, changed clothes and turned on the TV. Nobody was very happy on that particular Friday evening. The rest of the family never made that mistake again… including me!

It is important to the very fabric of the human condition that families have weekly routines that causes them to be together to celebrate the special relationship they have with each other. We have been able to sustain this even though our girls are now adults and a spouse, boyfriend and grandchild has been added to the mix.

I would like to hear about your family traditions and how you stay connected. Next Friday’s blog will be based on what you share.

Quote for today: This is taken from a survey of 500 families done by Focus on the Family listing the top traits of successful families … “*Communicating and listening *Affirming and supporting family members *Respecting one another *Developing a sense of trust *Sharing time and responsibility *Knowing right from wrong *Having rituals and traditions *Sharing a religious core *Respecting privacy”.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Dealing with painful memories

What would you give to be able to start again? To be freed from your past mistakes? To have a fresh start at life … without having to go all the way back to the beginning and face the same challenges all over again faced?

This is one of those emotional and mental struggles for which I search for a solid answer that lasts more than just a day or two. I don’t know about anyone else’s personal struggle, but I do know – painfully – of my own. It includes being haunted with thoughts of events that occurred more than 50plus years ago. Just when I am confident that I’ve moved on, bingo the memory reemerges and the cycle begins all over again.

Am I the only one fighting these demons? It is one thing to say, “You have to just move on” and another thing to actually do it.

Louisa Tarkington addresses this very reality, giving breath to my very thoughts, when she wrote:
I wish there were some wonderful place called the Land of Beginning Again,
Where all of our past mistakes and heartaches,
And all of our poor selfish grief,
Could be dropped like a shabby old coat at the door
And never be put on again.

Carlo Carretto states, “Christ has freed us from that past with its infinite complexities.” (page 57, “The God Who Comes”) Therefore, we need (I need) to be reminded as to just how often in the Gospels Jesus shares, “You heard it said … but I say!” and truly believe that God has the final word in all matters related to life, death and painful memories.

Quote for today: “Don’t let success go to your head – and if you fail, don’t let failure go there either.” Jane Seabrook and Ashleigh Brilliant

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Growing older

This particular note, shared by a friend, carries much of my feelings about growing old. As I have read this over and over it is my wish that all who read this blog might discover the truth found herein so that you can be free to be yourself and not wait until your hair becomes gray because God loves you just the way your are! The authorship remains a mystery, but the sentiments are not:

I would never trade my amazing friends, my wonderful life, my loving family for less gray hair or a flatter belly. As I've aged, I've become kinder to myself, and less critical of myself. I've become my own friend. I don't chide myself for eating that extra cookie, or for not making my bed, or for buying that silly cement gecko that I didn't need, but looks so avante garde on my patio. I am entitled to a treat, to be messy, to be extravagant.

I have seen too many dear friends leave this world too soon, before they understood the great freedom that comes with aging.

Whose business is it if I choose to read or play on the computer until 4 AM and sleep until noon? I will dance with myself to those wonderful tunes of the 60 &70's, and if I, at the same time, wish to weep over a lost love ... I will.

I will walk the beach in a swim suit that is stretched over a bulging body, and will dive into the waves with abandon if I choose to, despite the pitying glances from the jet set. They, too, will get old.

I know I am sometimes forgetful. But there again, some of life is just as well forgotten. And I eventually remember the important things.

Sure, over the years my heart has been broken. How can your heart not break when you lose a loved one, or when a child suffers, or even when somebody's beloved pet gets hit by a car? But broken hearts are what give us strength and understanding and compassion. A heart never broken is pristine and sterile and will never know the joy of being imperfect.

I am so blessed to have lived long enough to have my hair turning gray, and to have my youthful laughs be forever etched into deep grooves on my face. So many have never laughed, and so many have died before their hair could turn silver.

As you get older, it is easier to be positive. You care less about what other people think. I don't question myself anymore. I've even earned the right to be wrong.

So, to answer your question, I like being old. It has set me free. I like the person I have become. I am not going to live forever, but while I am still here, I will not waste time lamenting what could have been, or worrying about what will be. And I shall eat dessert every single day (if I feel like it).

Quote for today: “May you always have a rainbow of smiles on your face and in your heart forever and ever!” Author unknown, but it sounds like an Irish blessing

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Reflections on "The Book of Eli," etc.

Why is the world, especially Christians, so fascinated with the Last Days? A case-in-point is the popularity of the movie, “The Book of Eli,” as well as other recent movies that cover some of the same territory – “2012,” “The Road,” “Legion”. Included in this discussion would have to be the extremely popular book series, “Left Behind.”

Added to the mix has to be the various sects and denominations which dedicate a large portion of their time and resources to the prophecies surrounding the Second Coming, the Apocalypse and the Messiah’s thousand-year reign. I find this interesting especially since scripture clearly states that only the Heavenly Father knows the date and time… but the fascination continues. Sadly these individuals are adding the earthquake in Haiti as just another proverbial finger pointing us ever closer to the conclusion of life as we know it.

Still further, is the “History” channel’s regular program delving into the writings and predictions of Nostradamus. A recent one titled, “The Lost Book of Nostradamus,” which was supposedly just discovered in the archives of the Vatican, concentrated on the horrific and catastrophic events in the last days of planet earth or at least the military/religious conflict that will bring the world to its knees. Since Nostradamus’ date was 2012 for all of this to happen simply adds some fascinating “fuel-to-the-fire” over the fact that the Mayan calendar ends also in 2012... And the fascination continues.

For many years there was a book sitting on my library shelf which debated the whole subject matter as to when the rapture was to occur and the Messiah returns for his 1,000 year reign – Pre-millennialism (before), A-millennialism (during) or Post-millennialism (after). The book was a gift and probably very fascinating, but I never got around to reading it.

This subject matter is interesting and captivating. It is truly fascinating as attempts are made to unravel and understand this mystery. Yet, maybe my biblical understanding is lacking, but what I do understand is that when that day finally arrives it is going to be horrific for all people - believers or non-believers – so why pray for it to come quickly?

The bottom-line for this old preacher could be summed up in my response to people who kept asking as to when I was going to preach a sermon series on the book of Revelation. That response was: “When everyone starts believing that he came the first time!” Like the angels said in Acts 1:11a, “Men of Galilee why do you stand here looking into the sky?” The work is here on Earth! Now that is fascinating!

None of us know when the great harvest will come, but why spend time trying to unravel a mystery that is known only to God. The need is great for workers in the field of life now! “The Book of Eli,” “2012,” “Left Behind” are all fascinating, but their issue just isn’t a Kingdom Issue!

Quote for today: “Grace woke you up this morning, grace started you on your way and grace enabled you to survive until this very moment.” Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Free Will

It is such a simple statement, but the implications of it are truly profound. E. Stanley Jones writes, “Our freedom is a problem to God.” (Abundant Living, page 18). The Eternal Creator did choose, when bringing to life human beings, to give us the freedom of telling the Almighty “No”... it is called Free Will. For some reason I’ve always seen free will as our problem not God’s.

In retrospect, Dr. Jones is correct. Just think about it from the perspective of being a parent. How many times have we, as parents, desired to step-in when we were witnessing our child making decisions that we just knew was going to produce painful results for them? When they are young it is much easier to take such action – after all we ARE the parent and “Because I say so” really does work – than when they are teenagers or even worse, young adults!

The desire is for our precious child to grow up to be a responsible adult making solid decisions. If we are wise we realize that freedom, total and complete, must be granted to our maturing prodigy if they are to achieve the statehood of an independent adult. Yet, as we sit-back, allowing the process to develop, there are times that we still want to insert ourselves into their lives, but their freedom is a problem to us. Does it hurt? Yes! Is it a problem? By all means! Free will is freedom at its best and at its worse.

On the same page Rev. Jones shares, “A little boy of five, after seeing a puppet show, expressed his reaction thus to the doctor: ‘I’m glad I’m not one of those pretending persons. They have to do what they are told.’” Neither do we have to do what we are told, but we really should listen to what our Eternal Parent desires for us and be wise enough to follow it!

Quote for today: “Blessed are the homesick, for they shall come home.” A German proverb shared by E. Stanley Jones

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Five other terrorist cell groups

The daily news is filled with reports concerning the various terrorist organizations seeking to destroy us. Allow me to add to those reports about five other terrorist cell groups that have not been reported on (author is unknown):

Latest news reports are that five terrorist cell groups have been
operating in many of our churches. They have been identified as:
Bin Sleepin, Bin Arguin, Bin Fightin, Bin Complainin, and Bin Missin.

Their leader, Lucifer Bin Workin, trained these groups to destroy the Body of Christ. The plan is to come into the church disguised as Christians and to work within the church to discourage, disrupt, and destroy..

However, there have been reports of a sixth group. A tiny cell known by
the name Bin Prayin is actually the only effective counter terrorism force in the church. Unlike other terrorist cells, the Bin Prayin team does not blend in with whoever and whatever comes along.

Bin Prayin does whatever is needed to uplift and encourage the Body of
Christ. We have noticed that the Bin Prayin cell group has different
characteristics than the others. They have Bin Watchin, Bin Waitin, Bin
Fastin, and Bin Longin for their Master, Jesus Christ to return.


(However, you can spot them if you bin lookin and bin goin.)

Quote for today: “Sometimes life is only as interesting as the company you keep.” HOLY MOLE by Rick Hotton

Saturday, January 23, 2010

There's no place like home

There’s no place like home! It really doesn’t matter if it is a huge house with multiple rooms or a simple one-room cottage… it is still your home. The furnishings could be the best money can buy or Goodwill rejects… they are still the things that make your house your home. There’s no place like home.

We love to travel. We are fortunate that we have been able to travel seeing a lot of this world of ours. The one thing that I’ve discovered though is that no matter how great your accommodations might be there isn’t anything like slipping between the sheets of your own bed. The spirit inside simply sighs with relief because it has found a great place of comfort… a place called home.

As Dorothy from “The Wizard of Oz” states near the end of that wonderful movie, “There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home.” And she is right on … there really isn’t. The Land of Oz was a wonderful and magical place full of color and great people, but it wasn’t Dorothy’s home… a simple farmhouse in Kansas (where everything is in black and white) which was shared with her family and a couple of lovable, caring farmhands. There’s no place like home.

Regardless of language or cultural background home is always at the center of life. It is essential to the ebb and flow of existence. It isn’t the four walls that make up the house that are important, but the people with whom life is shared. The “stuff” is just that stuff! While one hates to lose the things, which causes us to remember of times past it is always the people… the important, loving, caring people who make a house a home.

I believe that I am the happiest when I get to share my home with others, but my spirit literally sings when family comes to visit. It probably is true for you as well. And, if you listen very carefully you will probably hear the walls break forth with laughter as friends or family gather together in your home.

Quote for today: “Mid pleasures and palaces though we may roam, Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home.” John Howard Payne

Friday, January 22, 2010

A wish for ordinary miracles

Do you believe in miracles? They happen all the time. We are usually too busy to recognize them, but they come nevertheless. Sometimes they take our breath away. While other times they are simply taken for granted. Don’t be too busy to enjoy everything in life.

I received a wish recently that I would like to pass on to you. It was a wish for ordinary miracles.

A fresh pot of coffee you didn't have to make yourself.

An unexpected phone call from an old friend.

Green stoplights on your way to work or shop.

I wish you a day of little things to rejoice in...
The fastest line at the grocery store.
A good sing along song on the radio.
Your keys right where you look.

I wish you a day of happiness and perfection-little bite-size pieces
of perfection that give you the funny feeling that the Lord is smiling
on you, holding you so gently because you are someone special and rare.

I wish you a day of Peace, Happiness and Joy.

May today be filled with nothing but happy thoughts, warm hugs and the joy that you are a precious child of God. May the shower of blessings of the entire universe fall on you and the ones you love this day.

Quote for today: "He who laughs, lasts." Mary Pettibone Poole

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A story about friendship

Here’s a story with meaning. The author is unknown. I share it because we live in a world where our circle of friends is getting smaller. This story reminds us that there is the possibility of friendships just waiting to be made… we just need to respond positively to life’s situations as they appear before us each day - you never know when your next friend will show up.

One day, when I was a freshman in high school, I saw a kid from my class was walking home from school. His name was Kyle. It looked like he was carrying all of his books. I thought to myself, 'Why would anyone bring home all his books on a Friday? He must really be a nerd.'

I had quite a weekend planned (parties and a football game with my friends tomorrow afternoon), so I shrugged my shoulders and went on.
As I was walking, I saw a bunch of kids running toward him. They ran at him, knocking all his books out of his arms and tripping him so he landed in the dirt. His glasses went flying, and I saw them land in the grass about ten feet from him. He looked up and I saw this terrible sadness in his eyes my heart went out to him. So, I jogged over to him as he crawled around looking for his glasses, and I saw a tear in his eye. As I handed him his glasses, I said, 'Those guys are jerks.' They really should get lives. 'He looked at me and said, 'Hey thanks!' There was a big smile on his face. It was one of those smiles that showed real gratitude.

I helped him pick up his books, and asked him where he lived. As it turned out, he lived near me, so I asked him why I had never seen him before. He said he had gone to private school before now. I would have never hung out with a private school kid before. We talked all the way home, and I carried some of his books. He turned out to be a pretty cool kid. I asked him if he wanted to play a little football with my friends. He said yes.

We hung out all weekend and the more I got to know Kyle, the more I liked him, and my friends thought the same of him.

Monday morning came, and there was Kyle with the huge stack of books again. I stopped him and said, 'Boy, you are gonna really build some serious muscles with this pile of books everyday! 'He just laughed and handed me half the books.

Over the next four years, Kyle and I became best friends. When we were seniors we began to think about college. Kyle decided on Georgetown and I was going to Duke. I knew that we would always be friends, that the miles would never be a problem. He was going to be a doctor and I was going for business on a football scholarship.

Kyle was valedictorian of our class. I teased him all the time about being a nerd. He had to prepare a speech for graduation. I was so glad it wasn't me having to get up there and speak on graduation day.

I saw Kyle. He looked great. He was one of those guys that really found himself during high school. He filled out and actually looked good in glasses. He had more dates than I had and all the girls loved him.
Boy, sometimes I was jealous! Today was one of those days.

I could see that he was nervous about his speech. So, I smacked him on the back and said, 'Hey, big guy, you'll be great!' He looked at me with one of those looks (the really grateful one) and smiled. 'Thanks,' he said.

As he started his speech, he cleared his throat, and began 'Graduation is a time to thank those who helped you make it through those tough years. Your parents, your teachers, your siblings, maybe a coach... but mostly your friends... I am here to tell all of you that being a friend to someone is the best gift you can give them. I am going to tell you a story.' I just looked at my friend with disbelief as he told the first day we met. He had planned to kill himself over the weekend. He talked of how he had cleaned out his locker so his Mom wouldn't have to do it later and was carrying his stuff home. He looked hard at me and gave me a little smile. 'Thankfully, I was saved. My friend saved me from doing the unspeakable.'

I heard the gasp go through the crowd as this handsome, popular boy told us all about his weakest moment. I saw his Mom and dad looking at me and smiling that same grateful smile. Not until that moment did I realize its depth.

Never underestimate the power of your actions. With one small gesture you can change a person's life. For better or for worse... God puts us all in each others lives to impact one another in some way. Look for God in others.

Quote for today: "Friends are angels who lift us to our feet when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly." Author of the story

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Cell Phone use while driving

As a general rule I do not watch the Oprah Show, but I did on Monday, January 18th. The subject matter was driving while using the cell phone to either text or talk. The show mainly focused on individuals who text-and-drive, but it also included some information for those of us who talk-and-drive along with the corresponding tragic results when either activity is involved.

Confession, I’m guilty of this offense. I especially like to talk-n-drive while going over to DeLand to check on our property. It is a long lonely drive when I am by myself. Good talk radio shows are hard to find so talking to someone helps pass the time, but no longer. This show was a sobering and a real eye opener.

Text-n-drive is like driving drunk! We all know about the deadly results of drinking and driving. None of us would ever do that! Who would have thought that text-n-drive produced the same results. Wow!

I didn’t catch the comparison concerning talk-n-drive, but it cannot be far behind.

“But wait,” you say, “I’m great at multi-tasking!”

The show anticipated that response. Three individuals (two females and one male) were taken through a driving course to simulate another car stopping suddenly in front of the car they were driving, as well as an obstacle course. All 3 participants did well when they were concentrating on the road, but when they were busy texting they all failed miserably. This was especially sobering for the male participant since he usually has his wife and their four children in the car with him. His line has always been, “I’m really great at multi-tasking,” but this proved him wrong.

“Well,” you state, “texting requires the person to take their eyes off the road. Naturally that would be unsafe. I only talk on the phone while keeping my eyes on the road ahead of me all the time!” Yeah, right!

As to talk-n-drive they had an expert who testified that the brain simply cannot handle all of the data at the same time. A graphic was used to illustrate. They showed a picture of what a driver normally sees when he/she is just driving, but when talking on the cell phone the field of vision narrows drastically. Your mind simply cannot handle all of the images. Plus, when talking on the phone not only does your field of vision narrows there are a number of objects that your mind just won’t register even if they are directly in front of you – like a child on a bike.

The braking results for either of these activities will add about 30 feet to your stopping distance in an emergency. 30 feet! That could mean the difference between life and death for a child!

Oprah’s call was sobering. It is time for the United States to join the rest of the world in banning the use of cell phones while driving. Some of our states have passed such a law while others haven’t. I wonder how many deaths it will take before something is done.

If you would like to read a transcript of the show you can go to:

Quote for today: “Life is about the people around you… not in your BlackBerry or iPhone.” Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


He was a big Scottish Presbyterian evangelist who visited the pulpit of Miami’s Allapattah Methodist Church on a couple of occasions. Of all the things that he shared – the blank pages in the back of my red-letter King James version of the Bible are filled to over flowing with the memorable ideas and thoughts that peppered his sermons – the one thing that I remember most was the acrostic he shared to define faith.

F – forsaking
A – all
I – I
T – trust
H – Him

The issue is trust. Do I have enough faith in God to trust the Almighty with my life … or the life of my beloved? Wasn’t that the issue confronting Abraham when he was asked to take his beloved first born to holy mountain and sacrifice him to the Almighty? I’m thankful that I have never been confronted with such a challenge. I probably would have failed, but Abraham didn’t (for those who do not know this story God provided a ram, at the very last minute, for Abraham to sacrifice). We have tried to understand the full spectrum of this Old Testament story ever since.

Maybe if we have the faith of a child our view of trusting God with everything would be different.

Coming home from the last vacation we were to share with our son Tim we were stopped on US 441 in Georgia by a road working crew as they trucked away portions of the mountain. The delay was long, it was hot and we gradually grew impatient. Tim turned to me stating with great confidence and the deep faith of a child, “Daddy way don’t you help them out and tell that mountain to be moved!”

During devotions that week I had used the Gospel story which states: “… if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move …” (Matt. 17:20) Tim believed it, why didn’t I? A child, my child, led me … taught me a lesson about faith and trust! The issue with faith, a mountain moving faith, is trust. Therein lies the question doesn’t it. Do I trust God enough that I am willing to forsake all?

Quote for today: “An act of pure faith is the death of what we love most so it may be offered to the loved one because only love is stronger than death.” Carlo Carretto

Monday, January 18, 2010

Beware of those sowing seeds of discontent

Harvey S. was an interesting member of a church I once served. I could go into a meeting pretty sure which side various members of the board, council or committee would be on when a particular issue was discussed. Harvey always surprised me. He would listen and depending on the discussion would change his vote, but not in a way that one would anticipate. The vote invariably would be 99 to 1 with Harvey always casting that singular dissenting vote. “Why,” I asked? “Well, preacher,” he shared, “I don’t think anything should pass unanimously.”

I thought about old Harvey, long since having entered into his eternal reward, recently as I tried to remember which senator stated, back in the 1950’s, that whenever a particular bill passed strictly along party lines it said more about the parties involved than it did about the bill itself. I continue to be deeply disturbed as members of the Senate and the House of Representatives dig ever deeper trenches. Are they really leading our nation or simply looking out for their party’s interest? Maybe the spirit of old Harvey is haunting their chambers.

And then there is the Internet … my, my, my what a powerful tool both for good and for evil. Who was it that said, “Beware of those who sow seeds of discontent?” Over the years, regardless of who occupied the White House, there have been people creating false e-mails attacking the President and/or our other elected officials ... sowing seeds of discontent! When I asked why they forwarded these messages of hate, prejudice and judgment they usually responded with, “I am just trying to wake you up to see reality before it is too late for America.”

Further, there is the biblical issue of “bearing false witness.” How do you define gossip? I’ve always been taught by my parents, teachers and mentors that gossip is anything negative said about another individual regardless if it was true or false.

I believe that it is time for all people Jews, Christians, Muslims, Buddhist, Atheists, Hindus, etc. to unite and stop this foolishness of hate, prejudice and judgment. Each of us needs to stop “sowing seeds of discontent.” All it is doing is dividing us even further. It is time to remember that we either stand strong together or we fall as individuals or as small little angry groups.

Quote for today: “Keep your fears to yourself; share your courage with others.” Robert Louis Stevenson

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Presence of God - Part 2 "Reflections on Haiti"

“One of the greatest tragedies of our modern civilization is that you and I can live a trivial life and get away with it” (Tim Hansel). Well, that so called “trivial life” came crashing down on us as a 7.0 earthquake struck one of the poorest nations in the world on Tuesday.

We were quickly reminded, as pictures flooded our living rooms, just how fortunate we were.

We were instantly reminded just how caring the world is as we saw, in the background of the news reports, planes from all over the world flying in with tons of emergency supplies and disaster crews to help search for those trapped.

We were sadly reminded how stupid some radio and TV “talking heads” can be as they tried to turn this tragedy into a political issue/debate concerning our present administration.

And, we discovered just how shallow and theologically inept a popular TV evangelist can be when he tried to blame Haiti’s tragedy on some kind of “pack with the Devil” made back in 1790.

The same question has been raised, as it always is during times like these, in the face of tragedy … where is God? If Jesus’ life, teachings, death and resurrection tells us anything it is that God’s Tabernacle … God’s place of meeting … is with the people within the midst of their lives be it good, bad or indifferent.

So where is God? He is under the concrete with the trapped; he is with the grieving in the midst of their lose; he is in the rescuers as they try to find the missing; he is in the tons of emergency equipment and supplies; he is in those who are responding with their dollars; he is in the prayers that are constantly being offered on behalf of Haiti and its people; he is with the homeless, the hungry, the sick, the dying, the orphaned and childless; he is with the desperate, the worried, the devastated, the needy and the hurting. His Tabernacle is with his people regardless of income, station or religious practices.

The strongest prayer that we can offer in the aftermath of this earthquake is: Dear Lord, may victory grow out of this tragedy!

Quote for today: “Every day may not be good, but there’s something good in every day.” From the blog “Positive Present”

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Presence of God - Part 1 "Reflections on Haiti"

Dr. Hayes taught “Introduction to the Old Testament.” I had been told that his tests were difficult at best. One fellow student suggested that I read EVERYTHING, including the footnotes. Dr. Hayes tested tough. So I studied for the final like I had not studied for any other class before. I felt prepared. The final, as was true for all other classes at this senior college, was to be essay in nature. I was ready … famous last words!

The good doctor came into class as we pulled out our blue essay booklets. He took chalk in hand and wrote only one question on the blackboard – “Describe in as much detail as possible Tabernacle.” Was that it? One question? What I remember about the Old Testament’s description of the Tabernacle could fit on maybe one page of the blue essay book and I was suppose to write for upwards to 2 to 3 hours? I was in trouble.

Oh, I did write for around 2 hours, after all I was going to be a preacher and according to a friend’s assessment of those in that particular profession, “you need the ability to talk a long time, sound important, but probably not really say anything,” I was well suited. I’m not really sure what I wrote, but it got me a D+. Thank the good Lord for all my other grades because I was able to pull a B- out of the class! He probably graded on some sort of a curve because I don’t think the other students did so well either based on the stunned looks on their faces after taking the final exam.

Tabernacle? He had to be kidding! So many cubits this way and so many cubits that way; the different rooms of the large tent; the type of wood used for the poles; the type of material used for the tent itself; who was to pack it up and carry it; and when it should be packed up and moved. But that is not what he was looking for as testified by my grade. I didn’t understand after all there was so much other material in the Old Testament that seemed so much more important than describing the Tabernacle!

It wasn’t until the birth of my firstborn that I understood.

Timothy Wayne was coming home from the hospital. Along with him and mommy I was also bringing home Mother-in-law to help with the care of our young baby and his mother. Tim was either sleeping, eating or in the arms of my wife or my mother-in-law. I was but a mere observer.

Then Mrs. Sever went home and I waited.

I didn’t sleep too soundly that first evening. I was just waiting until I could hear the slight stirring of my young son in his crib. At 2 AM the sound came – an invitation to “come pick me up.” I slipped oh so carefully out of our bed, very quietly closed our bedroom door and picked up my son, my first-born. He was flesh-of-my-flesh, bone-of-my-bone and there in the darkened living room of our small apartment in Decatur, GA with the beams of a full moon streaming in through the blinds he and I had meeting! Heart to heart … spirit to spirit … we were one!

Then it dawned on me what Dr. Hayes was after. Tabernacle, Tent of Meeting – God had come close to the people and they were one with the Creator and Deliverer. Heart to heart … spirit to spirit … they were one! Tabernacle – it was the full story of the Old Testament (and also the New Testament) wrapped up in one concept. Oh, the amazing story of God’s coming to be with his people.

(To be continued while reflecting on the Haiti tragedy)

Quote for today: “Live love. Act truth. Honour life. And it will be God within you whom you live, act, and honour. God will not come to you because you have become ‘good’. He was already there. He has always been coming and always is coming. But now you can see Him because you have purified your eyes, softened your heart, and stooped down.” Carlo Carretto

Friday, January 15, 2010

"Invictus" and some memories

While pastor of First United Methodist Church, Gainesville, Florida there came into our fellowship Dr. and Mrs. Brytenbach (Jaco and Wilma) and their children. They had come from South Africa where Jaco was a professor at the university in Potchefstrom. He was on a year sabbatical and enrolled at the University of Florida for guided study and research. Why did they pick First Church to attend? We had a kindergarten and early childhood program. They wanted their youngest son to interact with American children his own age. It was an interesting experience for everyone since he did not speak any English when he first started.

Looking at America through their eyes was extremely interesting. Just one illustration to make my point: The way we celebrated Christmas was totally foreign to their experience. In Africa December was a time for holiday (vacations) to the sea shore since it was during their summer. The decorating of homes and Christmas trees was not a general practice in their home country.

As their time grew shorter to be with us in Gainesville I invited them to address our Wednesday evening Bible study about life in South Africa. During the Q & A they were asked about the changes after Apartheid. Wilma shared that they lost about half of their yearly income, “but that was a small price for the freedom of a whole people.” This dynamic and loving family opened our eyes and our understanding to a part of the world which was so far away from our comfortable existence in America.

This afternoon their words were brought back to me as I viewed the movie INVICTUS staring Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela and Matt Damon as Francois Pienaar, the captain of South Africa’s Rugby team. I would strongly recommend and encourage everyone to see this movie. The story is based on true events in President Mandela’s attempt to bring unity to the new, but racially divided country of South Africa. The country wanted a leader, he gave them a champion.

Quote for today is the poem that sustained Nelson Mandela during his long years in prison:
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

William Ernest Henley

Thursday, January 14, 2010

A story about two horses

I love stories. Stories are often pivotal in preaching, teaching and writing. Here is such a story. It is reported to be true by an unknown author. It touched my spirit and moved my soul.

Just up the road from my home is a field, with two horses in it.

From a distance, each horse looks like any other horse. But if you stop your car, or are walking by, you will notice something quite amazing. Looking into the eyes of one horse you will disclose that he is blind. His owner has chosen not to have him put down, but has made a good home for him.

This alone is amazing. If you stand nearby and listen, you will hear the sound of a bell. Looking around for the source of the sound, you will see that it comes from the smaller horse in the field. Attached to the horse's halter is a small bell. It lets the blind friend know where the other horse is, so he can follow.

As you stand and watch these two friends, you'll see that the horse with the bell is always checking on the blind horse. The blind horse will listen for the bell and then slowly walk to where the other horse is, trusting that he will not be led astray. When the horse with the bell returns to the shelter of the barn each evening, it stops occasionally and looks back, making sure that the blind friend isn't too far behind to hear the bell.

Like the owners of these two horses, God does not throw us away just because we are not perfect or because we have problems or challenges. He watches over us and even brings others into our lives to help us when we are in need. Sometimes we are the blind horse being guided by the little ringing bell of those who God places in our lives. Other times we are the guide horse, helping others to find their way.

Good friends are like that. You may not always see them, but you know they are always there. Please listen for my bell and I'll listen for yours.

And remember... Be kinder than necessary - Everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.

Quote for today: “Live simply, Love generously, Care deeply, Speak kindly – Leave the rest to God” Author unknown

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Wonder Of It All

The world of today is a world of gadgets. Each of them was probably developed to make our lives better, easier, simpler and/or more organized. From cell phones… can anyone remember a dial telephone?; to computers… can anyone remember a typewriter?; to 700plus channels on the TV… can anyone remember when there was only 3?; to microwavable frozen dinners… can anyone remember cooking from scratch?; to the internet… can anyone remember going to the library to use their encyclopedias? And the list goes on.

While they have made our life better, easier, simpler and more organized they have also robbed it of wonder and awe. Case in point, when was the last time you sat in the early evening hours on your front porch or in your backyard with a cold glass of ice tea listening to the radio playing soft music through the open windows of your home and looked up at the illuminated star filled sky and was awed by the wonder of it all?

An old farmer was visiting a friend in the large, crowded, bustling, noisy city of New York. All of sudden the old farmer stopped and said, “Did you hear that?” “Here what?” asked his friend. “The cricket,” the farmer stated. “The cricket?” exclaimed his friend. “How in heavens name can you hear a cricket with all the shouting, honking and talking going on?” The old farmer didn’t reply, but simply kept listening until he had located the small cricket nestled in a crack between the sidewalk and a building.

Our ears hear what we have trained them to hear. Our eyes see what we have taught them to see. Our spirits perceive what we have shaped them to perceive. And, the wonder and awe of God’s creation often is missed in the act of living out our better, easier, simpler and organized lives.

Quote for today: “For is not wonder the first, unconscious meeting with mystery? Does not wonder give birth to the first prayer? Does not the power to contemplate involve first the power to be awed?” Carlo Carretto

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Getting it right

Remember the old adage that goes something like this: “There are three ways to do anything - the right way, the wrong way and my way.” And, if by chance you are unfortunate enough to work for someone who follows this adage you could find yourself standing out on the highway, as in “It’s my way or the highway.”

A slight variation of this adage could be classified as Sermon 101 in our house, which went like this: “If it is worth doing it is worth doing well.” I said it often enough that both of the girls usually finished it before I could … normally following the speech pattern of, “Yeah, dad, we know… if it is worth doing it is worth doing well.” This was usually followed by the rolling of the eyes, a heavy sigh and reluctantly, trying it again.

The “three ways” is very different than “well.” “Well” as in the best of one’s ability. “Well” as in giving it your all. “Well” as in going the second mile; not settling for just getting by; or moving beyond what you think you can do.

Life is moving very fast... too fast… faster than we can possibly handle or process. Our emotional, mental and spiritual system screams “tilt.” We seek to escape for no other reason than just to relieve the pressure, the stress, the anxiety. This permits us to get on to the next item on our life’s agenda that is demanding attention.

The result is that we end up doing not what is correct or what would measure up to the best of our ability, but what is absolutely necessary simply to get by and move on. The ultimate result is that we shortchange ourselves even failing those who God has placed in our lives.

Could it be possible that what is really needed for us to do something well is to simplify our life? Should we redirect our energy away from trying to get it all done and move towards doing one or two things better? Maybe it is time that on our over-filled calendars we make room for ourselves. After all, “if it’s worth doing it is worth doing well.”

Quote for today: “You keep on going until you get it as close to being right as the time and patience of others will allow.” Harrison Ford

Monday, January 11, 2010

Working conditions have changed!

It’s Monday. Do you like Mondays, especially as you head off to work? As a week’s worth of work faces you and the feelings that just maybe you are overworked and under-appreciated … and definitely under-compensated for all your efforts, think about this notice which was posted in a London office in 1852 as taken from a 1994 edition of “Bits and Pieces.” Read it, try not to laugh to loudly, and be thankful that things have changed.

1. This firm has reduced the hours of work, and the clerical staff will now only have to be present between the hours of 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. weekdays.
2. Clothing must be of a sober nature. The clerical staff will not disport themselves in raiment of bright colors, nor will they wear hose unless in good repair.
3. Overshoes and topcoats may not be worn in the office, but neck scarves and head wear may be worn in inclement weather.
4. A stove is provided for the benefit of the clerical staff. Coal and wood must be kept in the locker. It is recommended that each member of the clerical staff bring four pounds of coal each day during the cold weather.
5. No member of the clerical staff may leave the room without permission from the supervisor.
6. No talking is allowed during business hours.
7. The craving for tobacco, wine, or spirits is a human weakness, and as such is forbidden to all members of the clerical staff.
8. Now that the hours of business have been drastically reduced, the partaking of food is allowed between 11:30 and noon, but work will not on any account cease.
9. Members of the clerical staff will provide their own pens. A new sharpener is available on application to the supervisor.
10. The supervisor will nominate a senior clerk to be responsible for the cleanliness of the main office and the private office. All boys and juniors will report to him 40 minutes before prayers and will remain after closing hours for similar work. Brushes, brooms, scrubber, and soap are provided by the owners.
11. The owners recognize the generosity of the new labor laws, but will expect a great rise in output of work to compensate for these near Utopian conditions.

Quote for today: "The hardest thing about milking cows is that they never stay milked." An old dairy farmer

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Way do we need God?

Timothy Wayne was maybe 4 years old. He was playing with his blocks on the floor of our family room, trying to build a tall tower. Success eluded him. Each time he got to a certain level the tower would come tumbling down. After observing him go through this painful process several times I, as the ever-helpful daddy, came to his rescue. Getting down on the floor I declared with confidence, “Here Tim let me help you!” Tim’s strong response was, “I do it myself.”

Therein lays the human predicament … the “I-Do-It-Myself” mindset. We learn it as a mere toddler then grow-up and have a relapse. Boy, have I relapsed! With a slight case of misplaced confidence and ill-advised insertion of self-assertiveness each of us seek to be independent … to go it alone ... after all, who really needs God; after all isn’t this MY life?

Want to hear what Jesus said? “… for apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5 NAB) or, a translation/paraphrase that I prefer: “When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can’t produce a thing. Anyone who separates from me is deadwood, gathered up and thrown on the bonfire.” (John 15:5-6 The Message)... OUCH!

So there it is – the two choices of life; a confrontation faced with every decision – major or minor … to do it ourselves OR unite with God through Jesus Christ empowered by the Holy Spirit … doing it His way. The Creating, Eternal, Everlasting Daddy gets down on our level saying, “Here, let me help you!” Hmmm, and our response – my response - is …?

Quote for today: “This joy that I have – the world didn’t give it; the world can’t take it away.” Shirley Caesar

Saturday, January 9, 2010

About a blanket

I call it “The Linus Syndrome” – the personal need for a security blanket (which was a phrase coined by Charles Schultz) while being very comfortable with who you are. Linus Van Pelt, the most intellectual and theological expressive of the Peanuts gang, has a fixation on his beloved blue blanket. He is seldom seen without. The other characters, especially his sister Lucy and his ever threatening grandmother, will go to great lengths to rid Linus of his blanket. Their criticism and futile attempts doesn’t upset Linus. He is at peace with himself and his world because he knows who is in charge.

We all need a security blanket of sorts. A safe place to go to when life happens and things go bump-in-the-night!

We are often told, especially as we get older, that we need to learn to cope … whatever “cope” means. Isn’t picking up your blue security blanket coping? Aren’t there times when just covering your head, as Linus often does with his blanket when times get tough, is a wiser coping choice than fighting the demons who surround you? As the saying goes, “It is hard to drain the swamp when you are surrounded by alligators!”

As I climbed between my flannel sheets and a couple of layers of blankets last night I fully embraced The Linus Syndrome within me. I couldn’t do anything about the freezing temperature, but I could warm myself with the “security” of my “blue blanket.” As I drifted off to sleep I was a peace for all was right in the world because I knew who was in charge.

Quote for today: “The older I get, the surer I am that I’m not running the show.” Leonard Cohen

Friday, January 8, 2010

Wisdom from an old farmer

Prior to starting to write this daily blog I sent out regular e-mails of inspiration and/or humor to many of my friends. This particular story does remind me of the wisdom I would hear when I was smart enough to stop talking and listen to the older people God placed in my path. The author is unknown, but the insight is priceless.

Old Farmer's Advice:
Your fences need to be horse-high, pig-tight and bull-strong.
Keep skunks and bankers at a distance.
Life is simpler when you plow around the stump.
A bumble bee is considerably faster than a Farmall tractor.
Words that soak into your ears are whispered...not yelled.
Meanness don't jes' happen overnight..
Forgive your enemies; it messes up their heads..
Do not corner something that you know is meaner than you.
It don't take a very big person to carry a grudge.
You cannot unsay a cruel word.
Every path has a few puddles.
When you wallow with pigs, expect to get dirty.
The best sermons are lived, not preached.
Most of the stuff people worry about ain't never gonna happen anyway.
Don 't judge folks by their relatives.
Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.
Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and think back, you'll enjoy it a second time.
Don 't interfere with somethin' that ain't bothering you none.
Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a Rain dance.
If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop diggin'.
Sometimes you get, and sometimes you get got.
The biggest troublemaker you'll probably ever have to deal with, watches you from the mirror every mornin'.
Always drink upstream from the herd.
Good judgment comes from experience, and a lotta that comes from bad judgment.
Lettin' the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier than puttin' it back in.
If you get to thinkin' you're a person of some influence, try orderin' somebody else's dog around.
Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God.
Don't pick a fight with an old man. If he is too old to fight, he'll just kill you.
And, lastly, some days all you can do is wait for a friend to come along to pull you out of the bind you got yourself in.

Quote for today: "Wisdom is knowledge with gray hair." shared by Rick Dugas

Thursday, January 7, 2010


It was said by Alfred Lord Tennyson, “More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of.” It is a great quote, but I’m not really sure what he meant by it. Prayer is an interesting idea. Through some simple words or thoughts we place ourselves into the presence of the Almighty with the expectations that some sort of definitive action will be taken … healing, traveling mercies, protection, victory, etc.

The theological sticking point is, why does it seem that some prayers are answered while others go unanswered? It is one question for which there isn’t any good answer. To respond with the trite phrase, “Well, sometimes God’s answer is NO,” simply sidesteps the issue … at least in my thinking.

And then there is the religious practice of making the sign of the cross or “crossing yourself” in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. If you watch any sports event you can see it happen at various times during the game. It is an action that asks for God’s protection and/or success in the endeavor about to be undertaken.

I am reminded of a funny event during a World Series baseball game. Yogi Berra was catching; it was a tight and well-fought game. A batter came to the plate and crossed himself. Yogi asked for a time out, stood up taking his catcher’s mitt and acted like he was erasing the sign of the cross saying, “Let’s just let God watch the game!”

Prayer is a spiritual discipline and a statement of trust. We pray, we trust and then we go forth to take action believing that God has heard us, is in agreement with us and will watch our backside as “we boldly go where no one has gone before” (to borrow a phrase from one of my favorite movies). Maybe I'm reading into to Mr. Tennyson's words, but for me the "wrought by prayer” idea is not that God did it, but empowered us or gave us the courage, through the Holy Spirit, to get it done. That would kind of make Prayer an action verb wouldn’t it?

Quote for today: “My kids have given me a glimpse of how God must feel. God looks at us, like, ‘Oh, good grief…you’re driving me crazy, but I still love you.’” Jeff Foxworthy

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

An Epiphany Day celebration

Today is Epiphany – a celebration of the visit of the magi to the Christ child!

In the city of Tarpon Springs, Florida, a city with strong ties to the Greek culture, an Epiphany celebration is held. The celebration probably has its roots in the sponge industry that at one time the primary source of income for the residents of Tarpon Springs. The boat captains, divers and their families all sought the blessings of the church for a good harvest of sponges in the coming months.

On Epiphany morning the community gathers at the large Greek Orthodox Church followed by a huge procession from the church to the bayou. Thousands who have come for the Epiphany celebration have already gathered on the grass, sidewalk and pavement surrounding the bayou in great anticipation.

The archbishop of the church carries a large cross and is rowed out into the middle of the bayou. His boat is surrounded by smaller boats filled with young men of a certain age with great hopes and anticipation. The cross is tossed into the dark waters of the bayou and the young men all dive in wanting to be the one who retrieves the cross.

Several of the male teenagers will surface for more air as they frantically look for the cross. Then the water’s surface erupts with an outstretched hand holding the cross and the crowd cheers with enthusiasm. The priests, the boys and family members return to the church for a special blessing. It is believed that God will bless the young man, who retrieves the cross, and his family all year.

The one year that we attended it was our privilege to be sitting next to the members of the family of the young man who retrieved the cross. In the midst of all the cheering, clapping and tons of tears we learned that the young men could only participate for three years. This was the young man’s last year. Not only that, but he was the youngest child with several older brothers who also all took their turns diving for the cross. None of them were successful and this was the family’s last year. Oh, what joy filled that little patch of grass along the bayou in Tarpon Springs that Epiphany day.

Happy Epiphany and may you too discover the joy of the Christ child!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Embracing your "Cracks"

Every January people make a list of their flaws with a resolve to do something about them. The resolution usually is to either eliminate them, fix them or at least to make them less noticeable to others. Well, there is another way to look at the “cracks” in our personality. Here is a story that just might give you another perspective:

An elderly Chinese woman had two large pots, each hung on the ends of a pole which she carried across her neck. One of the pots had a crack in it while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water. At the end of the long walks from the stream to the house, the cracked pot arrived only half full. For a full two years this went on daily, with the woman bringing home only one and a half pots of water..

Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it could only do half of what it had been made to do.

After two years of what it perceived to be bitter failure, it spoke to the woman one day by the stream. 'I am ashamed of myself, because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your house.'

The old woman smiled, "Did you notice that there are flowers on your side of the path, but not on the other pot's side? That's because I have always known about your flaw, so I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back, you water them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate the table. Without you being just the way you are, there would not be this beauty to grace the house."

Each of us has our own unique flaw. But it's the cracks and flaws we each have that make our lives together so very interesting and rewarding. You've just got to take each person for what they are and look for the good in them.

So, to all of the cracked pots of the world, have a great day and remember to smell the flowers on your side of the path!

Quote for today: "It's a Monday kind of Tuesday." The Born Loser

Monday, January 4, 2010

About the choices we make

At first glance it seems to state the obvious: “Every choice a person makes takes them somewhere.” This has been rattling around in my gray matter since it was first read a couple of days ago ... “Every choice?” It seems obvious, but we often miss the full impact of its reality.

So many of our “choices” seem so mundane, so inconsequential just how can they really effect ones destination? Contemplating the various “choices” each of us make during the course of our daily existence I then remembered an illustration taken from the field of quantum physics.

Quantum physics asked the question: Does the movement of a butterfly’s wings in Japan affect the air around us in Florida? Through a rather complicated formula the scientists have proven that the effect is immediate. Truly we live in a complicated and marvelous world.

The conclusion is that no matter what our “choices” might be there is an immediate effect on the quality of our life and the life of everyone and everything in the world. Like it or not we are linked together. The “choices” we make not only “takes” us somewhere, but they directly affect the world in which we live … even on the other side of the planet! That’s the full impact!

The Bible asks, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” And the answer is, “You betcha!”

Quote for today: “Motivation is everything. You can do the work of two people, but you can’t be two people. Instead, you have to inspire the next (person) down the line and get (them) to inspire (his/her) people.” Lee Iacocca

Sunday, January 3, 2010

A story about prayer

Here is a story for Sunday. The moral of the story is up to you!

A voyaging ship was wrecked during a storm at sea and only two of the men on it were able to swim to a small, desert like island. The two survivors, not knowing what else to do, agreed that they had no other recourse but to pray to God. However, to find out whose prayer was more powerful, they agreed to divide the territory between them and stay on opposite sides of the island.

The first thing they prayed for was food. The next morning, the first man saw a fruit-bearing tree on his side of the land, and he was able to eat its fruit. The other man's parcel of land remained barren.

After a week, the first man was lonely and he decided to pray for a wife. The next day, there was a woman who swam to his side of the land. On the other side of the island, there was nothing.

Soon the first man prayed for a house, clothes, and more food. The next day, like magic, all of these were given to him. However, the second man still had nothing.

Finally, the first man prayed for a ship, so that he and his wife could leave the island. In the morning, he found a ship docked at his side of the island. The first man boarded the ship with his wife and decided to leave the second man on the island. He considered the other man unworthy to receive God's blessings, since none of his prayers had been answered.

As the ship was about to leave, the first man heard a voice from heaven booming, "Why are you leaving your companion on the island?" "My blessings are mine alone, since I was the one who prayed for them," the first man answered. "His prayers were all unanswered and so he does not deserve anything."

"You are mistaken!" the voice rebuked him. "He had only one prayer, which I answered. If not for that, you would not have received any of my blessings."

"Tell me," the first man asked the voice, "what did he pray for that I should owe him anything?"

"He prayed that all your prayers be answered."

Quote for today: “Heroism is just doing more than you want to do or think you can. Sometimes it’s just doing the crappy things, the unhappy things other people won’t do.” Nora Roberts

Saturday, January 2, 2010

What's so special about a New Year?

On January 1st one comic strip character said to his buddy, “What’s so special about the New Year? It looks just like yesterday!” Maybe he was correct, but there is an outside chance that he was mistaken … the choice is left up to each of us about just how “special” the new year really will be.

A gentle rain greeted us yesterday morning causing an old gospel hymn to be remembered: “’There shall be showers of blessing:’ This is the promise of love; There shall be season refreshing, Sent from the Savior above. Showers of blessing, Showers of blessing we need: Mercy-drops round us are falling, But for the showers we plead.”

As the glitz and glamour of the Christmas decorations are being packed away a thought did occur. Will all the old baggage of 2009 be drugged into 2010 or will the “shower” of a new day, a new year be a blessing by washing away the dirt and dust of thoughts, feelings and actions previously held? Or, will we simply pack it all up to be re-opened later?

A metaphor can be found in the 1986 movie, “The Mission,” staring Jeremy Irons and Robert DeNiro. Mendoza (DeNiro) was a trader in slaves, but is converted to Christianity by the Jesuits. Now a believer he joins the mission to the natives who he once captured and sold into slavery, but they have to climb a mountain to reach the work of the missionaries. Mendoza is struggling to climb the mountain, but as a part of his pentience, for his preivous sins, he has to drag a rather large bundle which contains all of his “important” stuff from his previous life. It increasingly becomes heavier and more bothersome and nearly pulls him off the mountain to a certain death, but a priest cuts it loose saving his life and freeing him from his past. Mendoza is finally truly free.

“What’s so special about the New Year?” It remains to be seen! It really is our decision isn't it!

Quote for today: "It's never too late to become what you were meant to be." from Holy Mole by Rick Hotton

Friday, January 1, 2010

Let Go and Let God

Here are some wise words as we enter a new year. I believe that the author is Beverley A. Linton-Davis. As I pass on her words I add my wish for a you and yours a tremendous and much happier New Year!

If you are holding on to something that doesn't belong to you and was never intended for your life, then you need to......
If you are holding on to past hurts and pains ......
If someone can't treat you right, love you back, and see your worth.....
If someone has angered you .
If you are holding on to some thoughts of evil and revenge......
If you are involved in a wrong relationship or addiction......
If you are holding on to a job that no longer meets your needs or talents ............
If you have a bad attitude.......
If you keep judging others to make yourself feel better......
If you're stuck in the past and God is trying to take you to a new level in Him........
If you are struggling with the healing of a broken relationship.......
If you keep trying to help someone who won't even try to help themselves......
If you're feeling depressed and stressed .........
If there is a particular situation that you are so used to handling yourself and God is saying "take your hands off of it," then you need to ......
Let the past be the past. Forget the former things. GOD is doing a new thing for 2010!!!

Quote for today: "You are here to enrich the world and you impoverish yourself if you forget that errand." Woodrow Wilson