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Showing posts from 2015

Resolution Number One...

It is that time of year again when people break out their journals, begin to capture their list of New Year's resolutions, fully intent on carry out each and every one of them. Oh, don't get me wrong, I have done it, but trust me on this one - it has been a futile effort, so I just don't do it anymore! Probably one of the best I have come across in recent years is this one:  "Resolution One: I will live for God.  Resolution Two:  If no one else does, I still will." (Johnathan Edwards found on www.brainyquotes.com)  You might think it a current quote of this English clergyman, but he died in 1758! I might suggest it is a great couple of resolutions to begin our year! 
People do their best making plans for their lives, but the Eternal guides each step. (Proverbs 16:9 VOICE)
We have all kinds of plans, but we often lack the clarity of mind or heart to actually fulfill those plans.  Why?  We "plan big", not knowing the details required to accomplish our pla…

Don't go it alone...

Do you ever stop to think about the battle the "other guy" may be facing?  Or are you so consumed with what you are going through you cannot see beyond the "immediacy" of your own need?  When the world spins out of control, is your first response to hold on and ride it out?  Or is it to let go and see where the "spin" takes you?  Most of the time, we have little to no idea what the other guy is going through, nor do we know how dearly they are holding on for their very life in the midst of catastrophic "storm" spinning out of control in their lives.  It is probably because we don't have that many people in our "inner circle" we can be truly "real" with - leaving us kind of feeling alone in the battle, overcome by the stress, and just maybe lost to the storm!

So own up to your sins to one another and pray for one another. In the end, you may be healed. Your prayers are powerful when they are rooted in a righteous life. (Ja…

Walk, fall, walk again...just move the rock!

Toby Mac is a Christian artist, but he also has some pretty profound posts which appear periodically on my Facebook feed. This weekend one came across I'd like to share: "Being defeated is often a temporary condition. Giving up is what makes it permanent." I once heard it said a stepping stone is a great thing until it becomes the thing we stumble over. Someone once told me it is pretty doggone hard to actually fall down until you are willing to get up. In other words, you cannot just sit there and actually get anywhere - sometimes it takes a few stumbles, downright falls, and a hand to help you up to get you to the next destination in life!

Two are better than one because a good return comes when two work together.  If one of them falls, the other can help him up. But who will help the pitiful person who falls down alone?  In the same way, if two lie down together, they can keep each other warm. But how will the one who sleeps alone stay warm against the night?  An…

Don't place me on hold again!

Okay, going to meddle a little bit today - just warning you! How many of us are "quiet waiters"?  There are a few of us who will answer that one positively, but many of us will admit to being anything less than quiet.  In fact, we have been known to complain because the wait is too long; or give up to do something totally different just because we weren't about to wait for however long was "too long".  Admit it - - - you might just be one of those "not so quiet waiters" in life!  Now, what does that have to do with how we deal with life?  It is what we do with those "wait times" which often make the biggest difference in our lives - we just may not realize it at the time!
My soul quietly waits for the True God alone; my salvation comes from Him.  He alone is my rock and my deliverance, my citadel high on the hill; I will not be shaken. (Psalm 62:1-2 VOICE)
You realize that nothing is beyond God's ability to do, right? That means every time…

Small with consistency is worth more than you know

Mother Teresa once said, "Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love." I think we may just wait around, hoping that someday we will be able to make a "big impact" in this world, like some super-star we might idolize or regard with esteem. What a shame to waste all the little things we can offer to this world - which when wrapped all together probably matter as much (if not more) than the big thing that super-star is known for accomplishing! Sure, we might need a "qualifying period" in which we actually develop whatever it is God has in mind for us to do, but we don't have to spin our wheels while we are reaching that point! We can be of service today - in even the smallest of ways - just by being obedient to the urges God places in your heart.
Live in true devotion to one another, loving each other as sisters and brothers. Be first to honor others by putting them first. Do not slack in your faithfulness and hard …

Not just a cracked pot

As I photograph things, I don't look for the "perfect", but am willing to accept the "imperfect", for there is something of great beauty in the tree set askew by the wind, the broken branch protruding from the gentle waters, or the windblown dunes of the ever-changing landscape.  Some of us think of "being perfect" as what we are attempting to attain - as though it is a destination at which we arrive at some point in time because of some effort we take in life.  The truth is - we will live in imperfect bodies, in an imperfect world, with other imperfect people all our lives!  The pursuit of perfection is kind of over-rated!  What we fail to see is how God sees each of us - as made perfect through the blood of his Son! God looked at the "imperfect" in each of us and saw something of beauty he just didn't want to discount, or turn away from.  Just as I capture those photos of the broken, ever-changing, and kind of askew in nature, God reac…

Love on!

Love comes naturally - hate is learned.  We have probably seen this posted a few times in our Facebook feed, or on the local church sign in our neighborhoods.  It comes from the words of Nelson Mandela.  Here it is in context:  "No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite."  Some take issue with the idea of "learning" to love, because they think hatred is what comes naturally to a man or woman.  I think just the opposite is true - as we are all born in the image of our God and hatred is not the "natural" thing within his heart (unless it is hatred of sin)!
For God expressed His love for the world in this way: He gave His only Son so that whoever believes in Him will not face everlasting destruction, but will have everlasting life. Here’s the po…

My favorite day!

Sometimes we can find the most profound things in the simplest of things, can't we? Ever read Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne?  In the book, there is an illustration of Pooh's best friend Piglet walking alongside him.  Pooh asks Piglet what day it is - to which Piglet responds it is "today".  The next part is my most favorite part, for Pooh, in a matter-of-fact voice announces, "My favorite day!"  Sometimes Pooh just hits it on the head, doesn't he?  In essence, he is saying any day spent with his best buddy is a great day in his book! I'd have to agree!
This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it!  (Psalm 118:24 KJV)
We can all benefit from just taking a little down-time to just simply "hang with Jesus" a little longer, or sing his praises a little louder.  What is that I hear?  I think I might just hear Jesus saying, "My favorite day!"   We might spend an inordinate amount of time with ourselves, others, an…

Psalm 23: A Christmas Psalm?

As we take a rest from our busy holiday season mad rush to get all the presents purchased, brightly colored boxes placed under the trees, and ugly sweaters ready for all the parties, it is good to just focus again on the true meaning of the season. It isn't often considered a "holiday season" Psalm, but I think the Twenty-Third Psalm really tells us a story of God's grace and goodness - something we need to recognize in this time of holiday "prep".  The Eternal is my shepherd - you probably know it as "The Lord is my shepherd".  Probably one of the most clearly taught parts of Christmas is this eternal desire of God to have those who will enter into relationship with him down through the ages.  His whole work of creation was centered on preparing a place for us to dwell and a people with which he might have deep, personal, and ongoing relationship with down through the ages.  The first part of the Christmas message is that of relationship - God so…

Warning: I've been known to affect your "balance"!

Have you ever noticed how being in some crowds and doing what is right makes everyone in the crowd a little "off balance"?  It isn't that they cannot appreciate doing what is right, they just don't have the same enjoyment of doing what "isn't" right when someone is around who is consistent in doing what is right!  Equally so, doing what is wrong keeps everyone off balance, but lends an element of insecurity to the mix.  Why?  This thing we might term as "self-doubt" begins to enter into the mix when we see everyone doing one thing and we are doing something so totally different.  We begin to question the "validity" or "importance" of what we are doing - even when we know it to be the right thing to do! It is all because a little self-doubt enters into the mix - planted there by the actions of those around us who are pretty excited about doing something totally different than what we know to be right.  It is often the moment…

Connect wire A to wire B

As with each "campaign season", the airways begin to fill up with men and women spouting all manner of campaign promises, hoping those hearing their words will somehow "trust them" to bring about whatever it is they are promising should they win the election.  It is hard to nail jello to a wall, though.  Some of the stuff I hear asked and the way they answer the questions is kind of like nailing jello to a wall. They indicate they have a brilliant idea about how to fix this problem or that, but in very general terms - there isn't a whole lot of substance to what they share.  I have found the best way to pick a candidate for office isn't so much in how educated they are, or even how sophisticated their answers might be, but to listen between the words to see if I can actually hear their heart.  It is often revealed in what they say, as much as in what they don't say!  The same is true in our own lives - sometimes what we say is not as important as what w…

It is raining!

"Sometimes when you're in a dark place, you think you have been buried, but actually you've been planted."  (Positive Hits PER on Facebook)  I saw this on the Facebook feed this past week and just wanted to take a moment to give that one a little thought.  My BFF said something similar the other day when she said, "Sometimes we pray for the rain to come, then we complain bitterly when it starts to storm."  She definitely nailed that one on the head, didn't she?  There are times we want so badly for things to change because it seems like the worst possible place we could be in, but then all of a sudden something comes a long to show us we weren't in all that bad of a place to begin with!  The darkest places in our lives are not to be dreaded or overlooked for their significance - for they may just be the place transition and growth occurs!
Those planted in the house of the Eternal will thrive in the courts of our God.  (Psalm 92:13 VOICE)
The rains com…

Well done!

There are just times when you stand back, examine the fruits of your hard labor, and declare, "Man, that is good"!  Okay, now honestly, am I the only one that has ever looked at a finished project and thought how wonderful it turned out, just admiring all the beauty in the project?  I think this is natural - to see the fruits of your labor begin to produce something kind of excites some sort of pride within you that just tickles you.  It isn't as though we want everyone under the sun to notice what we did - we just find some sense of inner delight in seeing the end result.  When does this become an issue for us?  It becomes an issue when we "thrive" on the compliments for our labors - when we "need" the attention we get from having done the job.  It is as though we aren't just saying, "Man, THAT is good," but we are saying, "Man, I AM GOOD."  Our satisfaction moves from having done the job to having been "noticed" for…

Not another bite!

I imagine there are a whole lot of things in this life I just take for granted - let's be honest here - not all of the things which others see as "privilege" in my life are continuously appreciated by me!  We all have a tendency to take some things for granted - maybe more than we know it.  We don't appreciate our good health until we are fully consumed by that winter cold.  We don't realize the benefit of having a car at our disposal until it breaks down and the repairs will tax our budget to the max to get it fixed.  We sometimes don't even appreciate each other until one of us too busy, or even gone for a while from the "mix" of the relationship. Why is it we "take for granted" things and people in life?  I think it has something to do with us becoming very comfortable with life and forgetting our comfort could one day be challenged a little!  To take for granted simply means we "assume" something will always be as it has been…

Sing a new song...

A little inspirational quote I saw somewhere this week - sorry, I cannot remember the source, so I will just quote it as I remember it: "No matter what yesterday was like, a bird always starts the new day with a new song."  I guess I had never really stopped to consider that one, but it is so true! The birds don't stop singing one day just because yesterday was full of storms.  They don't stop singing just because they don't "feel like it".  Birds sing!  It is part of being a bird and I think it also because they are praising the one who continuously provides for their needs and well-being!  Maybe we'd do well to take a lesson from the birds - being a little less caught up in the effects of the storms and our feelings, and just praising him because it is part of who we are and because he never leaves us to make it on our own!
Sing to Him a new song; play each the best way you can, and don’t be afraid to be bold with your joyful feelings.  For the wo…