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Showing posts from September, 2020

And now this...

With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.  (Eleanor Roosevelt)
What does this 'new day' bring for you? It isn't a loaded question, I am simply asking us to consider what new strength or new thoughts may come today. I discovered quite some time ago that my thoughts do a lot to influence my physical, emotional, and even my spiritual strength. What I choose to dwell upon when I go to sleep at night can 'color' my rest with either delightful ease and refreshment, or unease and feelings of greater weariness when I rise. Our thoughts actually encompass us and often determine the strength with which we will face each hurdle that comes. Someone once told me it is hard to escape your thoughts and I think they were right. Our thoughts permeate everything we do - even our rest.
This is the reason we do not give up. Our human body is wearing out. But our spirits are getting stronger every day. (2 Corinthians 4:16)

Our human bodies are indeed wearing out. I played hooky…

Such as I have

Not he who has much is rich, but he who gives much.  (Erich Fromm)
I have asked individuals what they have to 'give' in life - what it is they could share with others - only to find they don't believe they have anything 'worth' giving. That is indeed a sad state of affairs, isn't it? To believe one has nothing worth 'giving' - nothing they can invest in the life of another, nothing that would help the situation, nothing at all that they would deem of 'worth' to anyone else. It isn't 'what' we give as much as it is 'how' we give. God always reminds us that it is the attitude of heart behind the 'giving' that matters - not so much the thing that we give. We could give our time, but if we do so grudgingly is it really a gift? We could give our finances, but if we do it with a stingy heart because we don't think someone really needs it, is it given in love? 'How' is much more important than 'what', but t…

Life gets messy

When you put a cup in front of you, do you fill it until it overflows, or do you stop somewhere short of the top of the rim? If you are paying attention, you likely fill it just below the rim, or a little down from there because you have to pick it up, transport it somewhere with you, and you don't want it spilling all over the place as you do. When God fills us, he doesn't care about the 'spill over'! In fact, he hopes some of what he fills us with will actually spill over and begin to affect those around us. If you are telling God to 'avoid the rim' in your life because it will get a little 'messy', you are probably missing out on some of the awesomeness God intends not only for you, but all those he puts in your lives!
I pray that Christ may live in your hearts by faith. I pray that you will be filled with love. I pray that you will be able to understand how wide and how long and how high and how deep His love is. I pray that you will know the love of…

A little 'thought talk'

Kindness in words creates confidence.  Kindness in thinking creates profoundness.  Kindness in giving creates love.  (Lao Tzu)
I will be a little bit transparent here because I think being honest helps us all grow. There are times when the words I want to speak are not the right or best ones to speak. The words that are about to come out of my mouth are just not all that uplifting and they likely will do nothing 'good' if spoken. Been there? There are times the actions I want to take are less than kind. In fact, they border on being rude, ridiculous, or obnoxious. Been at that point? There are moments when I just don't want to give anything else because I feel like I have given enough or have nothing more to give. I bet if you haven't experienced either one of the form ones, you may have experienced that one. We all get to a place at times when 'kindness' is just the foremost thought, action, or attitude that we display. No matter how 'good' we are - we hav…

Do life as you do life

What are the people in your life doing today? I didn't ask what you are doing - I asked for you to tell me what they are doing. Do you know? Did you bother to ask? If you did ask them, what was the motivation behind your asking? There are times we ask what someone will be doing or what they are doing right now because we really want them to be doing something else - something we want done. There are also times we ask because we don't want to interrupt them if they are knee deep into whatever it is and our interruption would only waylay them, robbing them of their time and energies that would be best invested in exactly what they are doing. I think we might not do as good of a job 'understanding' what another is doing, though. We 'hear' them tell us they will be doing this or that, but do we take time to understand the 'why' behind their 'doing'? It may seem insignificant, but when I realize someone I care about is doing laundry for the fourth ti…

The lesson in the stump

As I sat by the gently lapping cool waters of a lake, fishing pole in hand, just admiring the stillness and lazy activity of the ducks that swam by, I began to ponder a stump on the shoreline. What made this stump so unusual was the way the roots were positioned. The tree had obviously been wherever it had been growing for quite some time as the breadth of this tree's base was about two feet wide. It had been felled at some time, stump now firmly placed at the edge of this rocky shoreline. Underneath the great expanse of the tree base was an amazing display of the tree's 'will' to grow in the first place. There were a series of roots, each about four to six inches in diameter, tightly curled around huge pieces of boulder sized rocks! I think the stump was placed where it was because it would serve as a tether for boaters to 'tie in' on the shoreline and enjoy a little fishing at that spot, but the tree's 'will' to grow must have been tremendous for …

God is a BIG PICTURE kind of leader

As I have grown older, time seems to pass faster - except when you are waiting for the day to come when you can load up the car and just head for your fishing hole! The "ebbing" of a new day seems to be upon me before I even realize that the old one has passed me by! There is one truth that endures through the passage of time - - God's Word is dependable, even when I am not! For some, this goes without saying because they have adopted the Word of God as a standard by which they live their lives. They have tested it and found it to be "a sure thing". There is another truth that I think we might miss on occasion, but it is equally as important - - everything serves God's plans, especially you and I!

What you say goes, God, and stays, as permanent as the heavens. Your truth never goes out of fashion; it's as up-to-date as the earth when the sun comes up. Your Word and truth are dependable as ever; that's what you ordered—you set the earth going. (Psal…

Oh, I knew it!

I know a great many people who have developed this skill of answering a question with another question, as though that 'answers' anything. In some circles, such as counseling, this is a common occurrence - the questions asked are designed to get the person to come to a conclusion about the answer themselves so that they begin to problem solve through the situation. There are times when the most appropriate answer is indeed another question. If your child asks you why they have to eat their vegetables, do you think answering, "Because I told you to", is the best answer? It is highly likely the child will allow those veggies to just grow cold on the plate. If the parent was heard saying, "Johnnie, what do you think is the reason you should eat your vegetables?", what do you suppose they might receive as a reply? Perhaps the parent would hear the response, "Because if I don't, I will never get to watch TV this evening." If the parent hears t…

More than physical strength

It is easy to sit up and take notice. What is difficult is getting up and taking action.  (Honore de Balzac)
Strength comes in many forms, doesn't it? Some develop strength because they spend hour after hour 'working out' - honing the strength within their muscles. I am not much of a 'work out' kind of gal, as is probably quite evident by the extra inches I carry here and there. I do have some strength still left in these muscles of mine, as I am still able to wield open that jar of pickles with a tight grip and a little 'elbow-grease'! I know a good many who have a strength that comes from down deep inside of them, allowing them to face some pretty fearful things day after day, like the nurses who have taken care of hundreds and hundreds of COVID-19 patients, enduring the long hours and grueling work of being 'suited up' in all that protective gear. They may go home at nights absolutely exhausted, faces swollen and broken down from the hours and hour…

Nameless, unremembered acts of kindness

The best portion of a good man's life is his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love.(William Wordsworth)
Take a moment today to just think of one kind act you can do for someone in your life. Who knows, it may even be someone you don't know, like the person with a flat tire stranded on the side of the road. Don't just do that kind deed because you may get something back in return - that doesn't make it a kind deed - it makes it a selfish one. The moment you do that kind deed, take notice of how it makes you feel. There is something like a feeling that the love of God in your life just multiplied. You know what - it isn't that his love multiplied in your life - it is that your sense of his presence did. You put yourself aside for a moment and allowed him to shine. 
Last of all, you must share the same thoughts and the same feelings. Love each other with a kind heart and with a mind that has no pride. (I Peter 3:8)
There is a definite difference bet…

You are so full of it

Joy is prayer; joy is strength: joy is love; joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls.  (Mother Teresa)
If you have ever been told that you are 'full of it', I doubt anyone meant it as a compliment! In fact, it was probably meant to be a means of point out some ridiculous idea you had, or that you are just full of yourself over some matter. It was said as a 'slam' on your character or behavior, not a compliment. When God looks at us and sees us as full of his joy, his words of encouragement are just that - encouragement to fill us up just a little more with the 'good stuff' he has prepared for our lives. What God desires most for us is that we be 'full' - not with ourselves - but with him. In turn, the joy of the Lord begins to overflow from our lives, touching the lives of others, so that what we are 'full of' becomes a means of blessing.
Be full of joy always because you belong to the Lord. Again I say, be full of joy! (Philippians 4:4)
H…

Nope, not going down that path

Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.  (Martin Luther King, Jr)
Simply put, an enemy is any person who engages in antagonistic activity against another. In case you didn't know what an antagonist is, it is something that counteracts the effect of something else. So an enemy is one who is opposed to, struggles against, or competes with another. There are a whole lot of antagonists in our lives and seem to be more as time goes on. Tons of stuff which vies for our time and attention, often acting as an antagonist against something else which really would be well-served by us lending both our attention and time to it. The antagonist "competes" for something - time, attention, finances, emotional investment, or even our energy. The key to managing the antagonist is to recognize the effect of the antagonist. In other words, when the antagonist is "engaged", the result of the antagonist is to take our attention AWAY - to get us focus…

Snow on the roof

Is there a difference between the God you serve today and the one you served in your youth? Some might be quick to admit they 'feel' as though there is a difference, but he is the same God! It is our relationship with him that has changed - our perspective has changed. We see him differently because of all that we have been through with him over the years, but he remains consistently the same. I think we interpret his love differently, appreciate his presence deeper, and relish his comfort more. Our 'age' has placed us in a different 'frame of mind' as it comes to seeing, appreciating, and enjoying the work of God in our lives.
Even when you are old I will be the same. And even when your hair turns white, I will help you. I will take care of what I have made. I will carry you, and will save you. (Isaiah 46:4)
Even when you are old... I guess it goes without saying that with each new day dawning on the horizon, we are getting just a little bit older. We aren't…

Stop looking at the obstacle

Obstacles are things a person sees when he takes his eyes off his goal.  (E. Joseph Cossman)
The goal - what is it you have laid out before you as today's goal? Maybe you are a bigger thinker and have even set out goals for the month and year, or even a five or ten year plan. I am not that big in my thinking and really don't set very long-range goals other than saving well so I will some day be able to retire. In my retirement, I want to do a fair amount of fishing in the streams and lakes around the state. I guess that is a longer range goal. Most of us set some goals, even very small ones, because we have come to realize without goals there is no aim. The problem is that some of our goals are kind of 'out there' - they aren't always easily recognized. They will require consistency, hard work, and even a little bit more than a smidgen of faith. My BFF and I have a goal of starting a small business from our homes that allows us to stay busy into retirement, but also …

Going berserk?

It was Thomas Edison who reminded us, "Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." The truth of the matter is that most of us would rather avoid the 'overall days' and just enjoy the 'lounge wear' days! We want the 'good stuff', but we don't want to put in the effort to actually 'get the goods'. Opportunity is when the timing is favorable - the conditions are met. How many times do we allow favorable timing and conditions to just pass us by? I think if we stop to consider that one, we may just say we have allowed opportunity to pass us by way too frequently without paying even the slightest attention to it as it was. Why? We were not 'positioned' to 'pounce'. The cat who sits still, considering the lizard skittering across the wall isn't duped into slumber by the breeze gently bending the tall grass. He is paying attention - positioning himself to pounce. Opportunity will…