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Showing posts from April, 2016

Put away that scale

Redeeming justice, true peace, and joy - three things we could all probably say we don't see enough of these days!  Newscasts of late have just soured me to even watching the news (something I do more for the weather report than anything else).  Too many shootings, accidents deemed to be hit and run, homes burned out, and children left unattended by parents distracted by their own needs - just about everything as far away from "justice", "peace", or "joy" we could imagine and a little bit more.  We live in a fallen world - a fact that probably hasn't escaped your notice, my friends.  As long as sin reigns, bad stuff will continue to happen.  The good news is that God is above it all - he is able to create within us this everlasting state of peace only he brings because he has been given the place of reigning in our hearts.
When God reigns, the order of the day is redeeming justice, true peace, and joy made possible by the Holy Spirit. You see, thos…

Don't make your own mistakes

"A smart man makes a mistake, learns from it, and never makes that mistake again. But a wise man finds a smart man and learns from him how to avoid the mistake altogether." (Roy H. Williams)  Are you smart, or wise?  According to Mr. Williams, we are wise if we learn from the mistakes of others!  I don't think he is far off in his statement.  Some of us are content making our own mistakes, essentially learning "the hard way".  I don't know about you, but it stands to reason if I can learn from YOUR mistake, I am much better off!
Words spoken wisely result in much good,and working with your hands pays a large reward.  Fools follow their own directions and think they are right,but wise people listen intently to advice.  (Proverbs 12:14-15 VOICE)
Not all of us are "content" to learn from what others have experienced, lived through, and perhaps "survived".  We just have to go and do it ourselves, believing the outcome will somehow be different…

Bless me more!

Toby Mac says, "Life may not be fair, but God is always faithful."  It is not unusual for us to seek "fairness" in life.  As a child, how many of you were challenged to "share" your toys or snack with another child?  The lesson parents everywhere have been teaching us is that of "fairness" - it is not okay for one of us to enjoy the toy or snack alone - both should partake.  Then came the dilemma of just how long you let little Johnnie or Susie play with that toy or how much of the snack you actually shared!  Too short of a time to enjoy the toy or too small of a piece of that snack brought on the onslaught of tantrum from the other person proclaiming you weren't being "fair" in your "sharing"!  Parents would try another tactic - such as making us divide the snack in two and give the other person the "first pick" of the divided snack.  They were trying to get us to share sacrificially or "without measure&qu…

Avoidance 101

"Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured." (Mark Twain)  
Whoever is patient and slow to anger shows great understanding, but whoever has a quick temper magnifies his foolishness.  (Proverbs 14:29 VOICE)

I haven't met too many people in my lifetime who actually can admit truthfully to not struggling with anger once in a while, if nor more frequently.  Most of us actually get ourselves worked up about things, people, and events which are totally out of our control.  What's up with that?  Things or people out of our control become the very thing which "breaks" our control!  Ever made someone go from "zero to sixty" in like six seconds of less and later regretted whatever it was you said or did which triggered that reactive anger response?  You just kind of stand there, almost broadsided by the response and then you wonder why they got so "wigged out"!  
Sometimes I can…

A candle or a mirror

"There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it."  (Edith Wharton)  A candle isn't really a light until the wick is set on fire - the fire isn't in the control of the candle, but the candle yields to the influence of the fire.  Similarly, a mirror is just a shiny piece of glass painted with a reflective coat of silver nitrate - until there is something to reflect back at the one viewing the image they see.  That image isn't "within" the shiny glass, but is a reflection of the one who stands within a distance so as to behold the image.  A mirror reflecting light can become a powerhouse of energy which ignites fire in whatever is in the path of that reflected light.
And you, beloved, are the light of the world. A city built on a hilltop cannot be hidden. Similarly it would be silly to light a lamp and then hide it under a bowl. When someone lights a lamp, she puts it on a table or a desk or a chair, and the light ill…

Walking on water?

In moments of distress, how do you respond?  I imagine a few will say they "hold their cool, take a deep breath, and redouble their efforts".  Others will respond they "freak out a little, working up a little bit of a tizzy, and then cry when it gets even worse".  The rest of us are somewhere in between those two responses.  We don't hold our "cool" because that departed from us about ten steps back. We find it just good fortune we are even taking any more breath and we certainly have no more effort to throw into the mix, so why bother!  The past couple of times we freaked out didn't give us much hope for change and just sapped us of the energy we had left, so we down-play that one.  The tizzy might have seemed like a good idea at the time because we were letting off steam, but it only complicated things.  Crying makes our heads ache and our make-up run, so that just isn't going to serve us well.  There has to be some middle-ground somewhere i…

Weebles wobble but they don't fall down

Ever stumbled in this lifetime and found yourself quickly moving toward the ground in a downward progression quicker than you could blink an eye?  I have done so a couple of times - sometimes able to "right" myself quickly, and others actually hitting the ground with such force I could feel where that stumble was going to "leave a mark".  Each time I stumbled I looked for a reason of some sort, but almost always it came down to my distraction with something I was saying, doing, or which caught my attention diverting it from my path at hand. I don't honestly believe those "physical" stumbles have cost me as much as some of my "emotional" or "spiritual" stumbles in life - nor did they leave as "nasty" of a scar!  It is one thing to stumble and scrape a knee or elbow.  It is quite another to trust one's emotions or heart to another and have it left battered and bruised by all the emotional upheaval a bad relationship can…

What love?

I believe it was Erich Fromm who once said, "Immature love says: I love you because I need you. Mature love says: I need you because I love you." I think that is exactly what God had in mind when he sent his Son to make a way for us to be reconciled with him! He wanted reconciliation with us because he loved us so much it hurt to not have us near to him!  They say being loved by another gives you a measure of strength you don't possess any other way.  Jesus said to his disciples, "So I give you a new command: Love each other deeply and fully. Remember the ways that I have loved you, and demonstrate your love for others in those same ways. Everyone will know you as My followers if you demonstrate your love to others." (John 13:34-35 VOICE)  Jesus' love was always "demonstrated" - something he calls for us to do with those he places in our lives, as well.
Don’t owe anyone anything, with the exception of love to one another—that is a debt which neve…

A little leaven for our day

While I am not an avid baker, I do enjoy undertaking winter baking projects from time to time.  In the summer's of Arizona, we do as little to heat up the house as possible, so all morning baking projects are just not in the mix during those hot months!  I have never made a loaf of bread though, although I have watched others make it, observed cooking shows in which the technique is taught, etc.  I just haven't had the urge to undertake the project.  Maybe it is because I know I would like the warm, rich taste of that loaf freshly baked with just a little too much butter!  One thing I learned while watching those bread makers out there - a little "leaven" or "yeast" in the mix sure does a lot of work to make a pretty "benign" lump of dough rise to fluffy goodness!  It is a good illustration to us of how one right action can set off a chain reaction of "right actions"!
If the first and best of the dough you offer is sacred, the entire loaf…

Success matters - careful planning matters more!

Success:  The accomplishment of one's goals; the favorable or prosperous end to your attempts or endeavors; the attainment of something good or welcomed.   Most of us strive for success in our endeavors, but then find we have bitten off a little more than we could chew, making a true "success" a little out of reach for us.  If we examine the actual meaning of success, it might just give us a little hint as to why we don't hit a home run each and every time we try aim for success.  It is because they are our goals, our attempts to attain.  One thing I have learned in my 5+ decades on this earth - my plans are okay, but they aren't really good until they are blessed and overseen by God each step of the way.
People go about making their plans, but the Eternal has the final word.  Even when you think you have good intentions, He knows your real motives.  Whatever you do, do it as service to Him, and He will guarantee your success. (Proverbs 16:1-3 VOICE)
Plans are sim…

Doing a little rebuild?

In the past week, we have had many windy day.  I like the winds, as long as they are gentle and don't disrupt too much stuff.  It is springtime, so those winds help to spread the pollen and clear away clinging debris high up into the trees which needs to be shed for the new growth of the season.  I have a hard littered with pine cones from the two trees in the front, remaining firmly attached until put under the pressure of the winds which finally caused them to fall to the soft green grass below.  I know these winds are one way God designed for the seeds to be spread.  Yet, when I look at the tiny birds who have spent the past weeks busying themselves with the work of nest building and then depositing their tiny eggs high up in those tree branches, it is sad to see their nests (or their eggs) join those pine cones!  For several years now, I have been enjoying the Mourning Doves who frequent these trees each springtime.  I listen early in the morning and up till sunset as they ech…

Risk it!

If you have ever tried to be on both sides of the fence at one time, you know it is not very comfortable straddling the fence!  You really cannot be on one side today, another tomorrow, then back again the next day without it taking some type of toll on either your emotions or your spirit.  Yet, this is exactly what some of us try to do in our relationship with Christ - we want to be as close to the old way of living as possible, but we want all the benefits of serving Christ.  We think it won't matter to walk so close to the edge of compromise, but it doesn't take much for us to stumble and fall right into temptation when we do. If any of you want to walk My path, you’re going to have to deny yourself. You’ll have to take up your cross every day and follow Me. If you try to avoid danger and risk, then you’ll lose everything. If you let go of your life and risk all for My sake, then your life will be rescued, healed, made whole and full.  (Luke 9:23-24 VOICE) For most of us, t…

Don't name before you truly see

"The precision of naming takes away from the uniqueness of seeing."  (Pierre Bonnard)  I realize this quote comes from an artist who painted mostly from memory, photos, and sketches, but these words speak volumes about how we view things in life.  If we are so caught up in putting a "name" to everything and everyone we see, we often miss the unique beauty in the object or person.  The other problem with "naming" people is that we soon learn to think of them by that "title" we place over their lives and forget all the other characteristics they possess in their lives which actually are way more important than the one we seem to zero in on! If the title is "precious" or "beautiful", someone may not resist the "impression" that title conjures up in a person's mind.  If the title is "loser" or "nerd", that one may be a little harder to stomach!
Now since we have chosen to walk with the Spirit, let…

Let's turn this boat around!

Thomas Fuller said, "Abused patience turns to fury."  Are you mad at God because something you have been hoping for has not come to pass yet?  I run across individuals who seem so angry at God because they had "big dreams" of being this or that, having achieve some goal, but in the span between the imagining of that dream and the present day their dream just never came to fruition.  We all can have times when we dream of the big catch and actually catch little fish!  Imagine the day the disciples fishing on the Sea of Galilee all day without any fish in their nets for that day's work.  When they returned to the shore with all their disappointments and frustrations for a day's labor without a great return on their investment, they were met with Jesus telling them to go back out and throw their nets in again.  Would you have obeyed? There are days when we just go for it, and there are probably others when "enough is enough".  To be "asked"…