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Showing posts from May, 2017

More than a game

Your eternal word, O Lord,stands firm in heaven. Your faithfulness extends to every generation, as enduring as the earth you created. Your regulations remain true to this day, for everything serves your plans. (Psalm 119:89-91 NLT)

If you have ever played that little game of birds and objects to be toppled known as Angry Birds, then you know just how frustrating it can be at times. There are various levels within the game that have challenged me more than a little - the exact "formula" for calculating just the right point an object must be struck in order to get it to topple is sometimes just a little more elusive than I would like to admit. Yet this game makes me think - so I enjoy it. The more I am challenged by a difficult level, the more I focus on finding the solution! In life, there are "difficult levels" to complete - hard solutions that seem to evade us for sometimes longer than we might want to admit.

At each level of this game, the player is given a set amo…

Delivering on the play

We should help others do what is right and build them up in the Lord. (Romans 15:2NLT) I have to ask - when was the last time you actually can say you helped someone else do what was right, not just what was convenient or easiest? Sometimes it is the hardest thing to do to actually help someone do what is right - because it requires so much more than you might really know at the outset. There are times when doing the right thing is easy - but most of the time it requires a little more thought, effort, and even elbow-grease! Some will think this means we just encourage one another to do what is right - like a cheerleader on the sidelines rooting for their team. If we are truthful, the game isn't won because of the one cheering on the sideline, although it may bolster the waning enthusiasm of those on the field. The game isn't even won because of the excellence of the coach on the sidelines, although his expertise may help to navigate a great strategy to further the progress of …

Counterfeit or not

Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers[a] of this world, rather than from Christ.For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body. So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority. (Colossians 2:8-10 NLT)

Have you ever been duped? In some situations it is easier to be deceived or cheated, isn't it? The less you really know about something, the easier it is for someone to convince you what they are saying is correct. The more you know, the harder it is for someone to tell you something that isn't true. Yet, there are times when our "know" doesn't match what we "show" or "do". We still get "duped" somehow! Just how does this happen when we have the knowledge? Shouldn't that be nearly impossible? Not really, for knowledge is only "head deep" sometimes and neve…

Row on

Commitment is an act, not a word.  (Jean-Paul Sartre)  It was Sartre who also said that the only one who has time to rock the boat is the one who is not rowing it! The facts are quite plain - get in, grab an oar, and start rowing! Actions are needed - not just words - when it comes to this walk with Jesus! The Christian group Selah has a song entitled "Hold On". In it you will find the words:  "You gotta hold to His hand, God's unchanging hand. You gotta hold to His hand, God's unchanging hand. You gotta build your hopes on things eternal. My God will never let you down." As much as we think we are doing all the "rowing" in this life, the reality is that God is the one who has our hand in his, moving not just the "boat" of our life, but the waters upon which it rests!
He is the Lord our God. His justice is seen throughout the land. He always stands by his covenant—the commitment he made to a thousand generations. (Psalm 105:7-8 NLT)
Sartre…

Working hard or hardly working?

9 What do people really get for all their hard work?10 I have seen the burden God has placed on us all.11 Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.12 So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can.13 And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God. (Ecclesiastes 3:9-13 NLT)
There are always going to be days when we just look at whatever we are doing and wonder if it is all worth it. This is just a human reaction to stuff when it gets a little harried and difficult to go through. We want to know whatever it is we are "enduring" is going to somehow be worth it. I have taken on projects that physically tax my body - only to wonder half-way through why in blazes I ever started the task! This can be especially true in the hard work we undertake th…

Mom, Friend, and Companion

When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness. She carefully watches everything in her household and suffers nothing from laziness.  (Proverbs 31:26-27 NLT)

Today another family sees the end of an era of the watchful guidance and oversight by a wonderful mother, tremendous friend, and loving lady. My sister-in-law has lost her long and arduous battle with breast cancer. I don't often write tributes to individuals, but feel compelled to do so this morning. She was a great gal and leaves a huge hole in her family with her passing. She was always one to put her kids before her own self - one who loved well and was loved so very much in return. She didn't seek the lime-light, nor did she stand out for what the world would see as some "great accomplishment", but her children will stand for years to come recounting her love, generosity, guidance, and support - perhaps the greatest accomplishment one could ever strive for anyway!

She was the &qu…

I have a high "IQ"

Intelligent people are always ready to learn. Their ears are open for knowledge. (Proverbs 18:15 NLT)
Intelligence is measured in a number of different ways, but most commonly we hear of someone's IQ (intelligence quotient) as the measure of just how "smart" that individual is or is not. I am not a proponent of measuring "smartness" by this quotient, for I have met many a highly "intelligent" individual who lacks common sense or much in the way of spiritual insight. The higher IQ doesn't guarantee that individual has filled their "spiritual tank" as much as they might have filled their "intelligence tank". With an empty spiritual tank, all the intelligence in the world leaves you lacking some of the best and most beneficial of knowledge there is - the mind of Christ!

I believe it was Erma Bombeck that eluded to the concept of judgment slowly, but surely turning to compassion and understanding - simply by becoming a parent. The mi…

Let's be sensible here

Sensible people keep their eyes glued on wisdom,but a fool’s eyes wander to the ends of the earth. (Proverbs 17:24 NLT)
Although I like the style of some shoes, I wear "sensible" shoes because I have undergone multiple knee surgeries and value the health of my knees more than the style I display on my feet! Despite the fact I may admire some of today's fanciest cars, I drive a very "sensible" vehicle that gets great gas mileage and has room for more than two of us so we can go places together. I enjoy rich foods, but choose "sensible" foods over the rich ones because they don't end up on my hips quite as quickly! "Sensible" choices are under-appreciated sometimes, but stop for just a moment to consider what "sensible" means and you might just learn to appreciate those choices a little more.
Sensible carries the meaning of someone having sound judgment - there is a basis to the choice they make that isn't just haphazardly chose…

Written in the heart

Love is friendship that has caught fire. It is quiet understanding, mutual confidence, sharing and forgiving. It is loyalty through good and bad times. It settles for less than perfection and makes allowances for human weaknesses. (Ann Landers)
An honest answer is like a kiss of friendship.
(Proverbs 24:26 NLT)
As my kids were growing up, we faced all manner of "tragedy" where friends were concerned. One week the "best friend" would not have paid enough attention to the other - the next these "best friends" could be the best of buds. The pendulum swing of friendship almost drove me crazy during their teenage years! The message they heard from me was quite consistent and has not varied down through the years - if they are the type of friend you really want, you will work this out. 
Sometimes we get into a place where true friendships are tested - times when a sideways glance or a word spoken in haste can set in play a wide variety of emotions and unrest. At ot…

Premature birth

Just as you cannot understand the path of the wind or the mystery of a tiny baby growing in its mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the activity of God, who does all things. (Ecclesiastes 11:5NLT) Viability is determined for the fetus at a point in time when the baby can "exist" in an environment outside of the womb. Premature birth may actually "harm" the tiny infant because it cannot fully support life outside of the womb - intensive intervention must be performed repeatedly to sustain the life of a 24 week fetus. It may be possible for the tiny infant to survive, but the effort which must be put forth to see that life sustained outside of the womb when born too early is astronomical. There are times in our own walk with Christ when we try to birth something way too early, resulting in a whole lot of extra work, or "re-visiting" of the subject matter time and time again in order to sustain that thing which was birthed way too early! When we "me…

The window is open

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. (Psalm 139:13-14 NLT)
If you have ever watched people, you know we humans come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and dare I say, complexities! The wide range of dissimilarities is evident, while the even wider range of similarities is glaringly obvious, as well! We all have skin - although it may be dark, light, paper-thin, or leather-like from too much time in the sun. We all have eyes - some with two rather well-working ones, others with neither working well. We all have a heart beating within and lungs expanding to take in air and let it out when it is no longer useful to our bodies. As I watch people around me, I observe one thing with almost all of them - their eyes. Why? As it has been said, the eye reveals much more about a person than almost any other feature of their make-up, for it is the win…

Beauty is more than skin deep

Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.  (Proverbs 31:30 NLT)
I was taking a look of some recent photos of movie actresses as they are now in their seventies or older. They look nothing like what they used to! In fact, those who have chosen to "stay young" by getting all that botox, collagen, and who knows what pumped or implanted into various areas of their bodies look a little bit "morphed" from what they were! Maybe they see this as an improvement over the wrinkles and natural sagging process of older skin, but eegads - it can be scary! Those voluminous lips stand out like nobody's business! The perfectly toned skin is obviously stretched to capacity - it barely moves when they blink, talk, or smile!

Audrey Hepburn once commented about "true beauty". She said, "The beauty of a woman must be seen in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides." …

Praise Him, all creatures here below...

Praise the Lord from the earth,you creatures of the ocean depths, fire and hail, snow and clouds,wind and weather that obey him, mountains and all hills,fruit trees and all cedars, wild animals and all livestock, small scurrying animals and birds, kings of the earth and all people, rulers and judges of the earth, young men and young women, old men and children. (Psalm 148:7-12 NLT)
I had the privilege of enjoying a solid week with my BFF away from the busy schedules of work life with both of being able to just "settle into" the beauty of nature and the peacefulness of the cool pines. It was enjoyable to take walks among the tall pines and take in the wonder of huge boulders balancing precariously one upon the other. The gentle lapping waters of the lakes and the sound of tiny scampering feet as the squirrels made their way from one "stash" to the other just has a way of relaxing the soul and re-centering the mind. We took one Sunday morning to enjoy a rather leisurel…

Mountain climbers don't skirt the mountain

If you have ever climbed a mountain, you know there are times when you get so out of breath you just don't think you are going to make it any further. The stress of going up that additional altitude just puts a strain on you that your body takes a while to adjust to, even for the most "conditioned" climber. The fact that we have climbed a mountain before doesn't always prepare us for the next great peak we must scale. Every climb can and will be slightly different, even when we traverse the same mountain again!

God arms me with strength,and he makes my way perfect.
33 He makes me as surefooted as a deer,enabling me to stand on mountain heights. (Psalm 18:32-33 NLT)

We are always going to be faced with things in this lifetime that seem to be as immovable mountains - the only way to move past them is either to walk the long, long way around them, or climb the hard climb to get over them. There is something magnificent that happens in the climb, though, that we don't a…

Why the guard rails?

Guard rails exist beside the side of the road for a reason, don't they? They are not decorative. They aren't put kn totally flat,non-winding roads. They are there for our safety...to keep us from gong over the edge into a ravine or a ditch. They come in places of the road where it would be easy to miss just how close to the edge we were without them. We don't always know the "proximity" we are maintaining to the edge in our lives until we begin to bump up against some of the "guards" God places there to keep us safe!

Lord , you alone are my inheritance, my cup of blessing. You guard all that is mine. The land you have given me is a pleasant land. What a wonderful inheritance! I will bless the Lord who guides me; even at night my heart instructs me. I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me. (Psalms 16:5‭-‬8 NLT)

As a kid, I would crawl into the upper bunk in our camper while mom and dad were in the cab of the tru…

Is your tank full?

Remember upon the conduct of each depends the fate of all. (Alexander the Great)

People may be right in their own eyes, but the Lord examines their heart.  The Lord is more pleased when we do what is right and just than when we offer him sacrifices. (Proverbs 21:2-3 NLT)
I wonder if we'd live our lives any differently if we really stopped to consider someone else's fate may be the result of either our actions or inactivity? If we had to do over the things we ended up seeing as "bad results" in our lives, would we? Or would we head aimlessly down that same path again at some point? Most of us would say that we'd definitely not make the same mistakes again - we'd do things quite differently if we were given a "second chance". The most unfortunate fact is that most of the time we don't get "do-overs" in this lifetime! This might actually mean we need to pretty much get it right the first time around!
There are times when grace allows for us …