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Perfect Pitch

Back in the day when I used to play guitar (I mean 'way' back in the day), one of the continual struggles I had was keeping it in tune. I always had to begin by setting the first string with my pitch pipe and then go from there. I have known others who play piano and often comment how moving a piano will cause it to sometimes go out of tune. It is like the wood gets tweaked ever so slightly and with that 'tweak' the strings that were once spot on with pitch are now out of tune. If you have ever worked within the framework of a team having to complete some type of project together, you may have noticed just how 'out of tune' you can get with each other when one goes off doing their own thing, or someone doesn't explain the steps well enough and you just have to guess how to proceed. In a matter of time, the project that was pretty straight-forward has a few more nuances that you are challenged with just because of the subtle shifts in process design or work t
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At the starting block again?

God gives a hand to those down on their luck, gives a fresh start to those ready to quit. (Psalm 145:14) There are times we all feel like quitting, when all we want is a fresh start, but have absolutely no way of figuring out what a 'fresh start' would really look like. Many have heard the words of Vince Lombardi, "Winners don't quit and quitters don't win." Another quote goes something along the line, "Quitters are good losers." So, we keep plugging along, hoping not to be labeled as a quitter, yet desiring nothing less than a fresh start. I think God may look at us, realize our desire to quit, that insane desire for a fresh start where others say no fresh start is possible, and then somehow begins to meet this despondency with his provision of that 'fresh start' we all desire. Robert Ingersoll once said, "Happiness is not a reward - its a consequence. Suffering is not a punishment - its a result." There are indeed times wh

Make that a double-stack, please!

Is there anybody here this morning that just needs grace? Wait - I just felt that gust of wind as all our hands went up in the air simultaneously! For some of us, we think grace (mercy) is probably the thing we need most, but have no idea how much those around us also need that same grace. We all have moments when mercy is the furthest thing from our minds when it comes to what the 'other person' deserves (but remember that grace is really undeserved favor). If we were totally honest today, there are times when we neither want to extend mercy to another, nor are we actively seeking it from another! We just want to get "even" and hope no one notices our silliness (or shall I say 'foolishness'). I am so glad we don't serve a God who looks for opportunities to "get even" with us! Consider this for a moment. Just how much grace do we really need? A whole lot and then some more (oh yeah....and some more)! God is all mercy and grace—not quick to

Hillside vs. Hilltop

On a recent rock hunting trip with my son we observed a huge house atop a very rocky hill, sitting all alone and covering just about every square inch of that hilltop. We marveled at how it must have been very costly to build, so far from town, amidst all the rocks of the desert land and without immediate access to all the regular 'utilities' that are enjoyed by us city dwellers. We imagined it cost them a pretty penny to run the water and electricity, but to stabilize the hilltop enough to ensure a house of that side didn't shift and come down in the monsoon storms of Arizona summers was another feat all by itself. There must have been a great deal of detail that went into planning for the house's build and a fairly lengthy prep process to get the land readied to receive all would become this sprawling house. Not all things built in life are going to be easy. Some 'building projects' in our lives will be to focus us high above what others can see or appreciate.

Christmas is not a competitive sport

Christmas is fast approaching and many will make the season all about the gifts they have to amass for the family and friends on their lists. Others will focus on the elaborate decorations and colorful lights. Some will find 'alternative' ways to have those 'ugly sweater' parties - perhaps even an 'ugly face mask' party this year in light of the pandemic. Right there in the midst of all the shopping, list checking, celebrations, and decorations, there can emerge this desire to 'keep up' with someone else. The desire to not be 'outdone' by the neighbors in the display of decorations and lights can drive some to place life and limb at risk as they climb ladders, shimmy up trees, and cross dangerously steep rooftops. The endless hours hunting for 'just the right gift' can wear the best shoppers out - even when they are shopping online this year! Whenever we try to 'keep up' or 'one up' somebody, our motives turn from celebrat

A back fence moment

Who doesn't love a juicy piece of gossip? The water cooler used to be the place of 'gossip-gatherers' in the work place, the back fence the ones housewives would gather at after hanging the laundry out to dry, and school playground for those a little younger. Has much changed? We may not have 'water coolers', back fences, and spend very little time on the playground anymore, but we have other ways to share those 'juicy tidbits', don't we? I think God may have placed so many warnings in scripture about speaking against another person, gossip, and the like, simply because of the tiny spark of gossip that it takes to ignite a huge fire that can damage a reputation! Truth be told, we all need to deal with the words we speak about others. “ You must not testify falsely against your neighbor ." (Exodus 20:16) "No lies about your neighbor." Seems like a simple 'rule' to live by, but just try living it out when you are caught up in the fr

Do You Bear Resistance Marks

I was charged with the task of cutting some soap the other day - something you might think would be insanely easy. It is this rich mixture of glycerin, oils, and the like, so shouldn't it be like cutting butter? First of all, let me assure you I am not a weak person - I have a great deal of strength in these hands and arms still. I can still wrestle the pickle jar open with best of you! The soap, on the other hand, just about did me in! No matter how much 'strength' I had in these hands, arms, and even my upper body, I just couldn't cut the loaf pan sized chunk of soap into 1/2 inch pieces. Something was awry with the soap as it set up and it made it insanely hard to cut. Do you know what we did with that soap? We let go of the idea of it being 'bars' of soap, chunked it up, put it back in the heat, and poured it into smaller silicone molds that will allow it to just 'pop out' perfectly sized! Hermann Hesse once said, " Some of us think holding on m