Showing posts from February, 2015

Not gonna focus on that one....

Ever been accused of being stupid?  I usually tried to have my children avoid the use of this term because of the negative connotation it carries and the way it makes a person feel when they are described as stupid.  In the most literal sense of the word, it indicates someone lacks the intelligence to do something. In terms of this new math they are teaching my grandchildren in school, I would have to say I am a little "stupid" when it comes to understanding it!  I thought I learned "new math" when I came through school and I have done pretty well keeping my checkbook in order, bills paid on time, and have even managed to know what a 25% savings on an item on sale will cost me!  So how come we need "newer math" than the old "new math"?  I don't see the sense in it, and it is a constant "Google search" item for me whenever my daughter calls and asks me to explain it over the phone to my grandson!  I have to read the instructions, th

Ever want to throttle someone?

We all have desires - some good, some bad.  Most of the things we desire are probably in the "good" category - like a loving relationship, job which satisfies, and for our kids to grow up to be solid citizens.  Some of the things we might just desire give us more headache and heartache than all the other desires combined, right?  Our desires are sometimes not as "righteous" as they should be.  There are times when I am with someone who is just going off at the handle and I just want to tell them to shut their mouths, grow a pair, and move on!  Am I the only one?  I doubt it!  In fact, if we were painfully honest with each other here, there are times when we struggle to just barely keep those feelings below the surface!  The longer the moaning and groaning goes on by the other guy, the harder and harder it gets to just keep quiet.  Yet, no matter how much I "want" to tell them these things, I know if I do I will either alienate them or create more issues t

Where I am weak...

Weakness is viewed in a different ways by different people.  Some will criticize the weakness of another, seeing it as a way of "copping-out" in life - not really doing what one needs to do, but succumbing to the pressure to quit.  Others might see weakness as a sign of not caring - as though the weakness kept the individual from extending themselves.  Many will see weakness as a kind of feebleness or the type of trait exhibited when one is just plain not strong enough for the task at hand.  I know there have been many a jar of pickles which challenged my "strength" in my days, but even though I might have been too "weak" to open them on my own, enough force from a solid rap on the edges of the lid and I accomplished the task!  So, weakness doesn't always have to mean we don't have the "strength" to do something - it might mean we get creative about how we accomplish it!  This might be where we get into trouble in our lives, because when

Stress or Calm - It is all in the "now" we choose

I often see things on my social media feed which catch my attention. Some make me laugh, like the cats cavorting with each other, or the dog chasing his tail incessantly. Others make me cry, like the stories of hurting women sold into sex trafficking, or those of families losing everything to an overnight fire which ravaged their home. Every now and again, someone posts something which gives me seconds to pause and then to explore the scripture - simply because the words speak deeply to my spirit. One such post happened this morning. It read: Stress makes you believe that everything has to happen right now, faith reassures you that everything will happen in God's timing! (posted from  Read that again, will you - you might just discover something of truth in that so rich it leaves you pondering, as well.  Stress is that force exerted in your life which either pulls you or pushes you with such strength it is almost impossible to resist.  It works against ration

To make harmony, one must hear the melody

To know God results in us knowing and experiencing love.  To be identified as one who actually knows God, not just knows about God, we look for the evidence of God's love in the individual's life.  What we sometimes get a little mixed up is how this love comes about in our lives.  To us, we think we "fall into love" or "cultivate" this love.  In actuality, God's love is a gift, pure and simple. One which is undeserved, unsolicited, and undeniably all his doing.  We learn to love because of the example set for us in his actions toward us - such as his action of providing Christ as a sacrifice for our sins.  As with most other learning in life, we learn to love because of what we see "modeled" toward us in terms of God loving us.  For us to actually become "like" what we see modeled around us, we have to be in the presence of the one doing the "modeling" of the behavior for a while.  We don't just model behavior we see on

More than a subtitle

In most Bibles today, there are little sub-section titles which give you some idea what the chapter or section you are reading will be about.  These section or chapter titles help to focus us and get us "set" for the passage we are about to take in.  There are time when I just ignore them entirely because I find they might "sway" my opinion of what I will find in that section, though.  For example, if I think the section deals with the feeding of the five thousand, I just see this as a miracle of the fish and loaves being multiplied and a bunch of hungry people being fed.  I miss some of the detail within - like the fact that the only one in the group of five thousand who had any food being a little boy! The five thousand were just the men - you mean all the women in the group left home without packing even "snacks" for the day?  Or how about the fact that the disciples have all these empty baskets to put the food in - what does this say about empty "

I don't need new glasses!

Mind, will, and emotions - a man's heart - all three engage in a kind of "war" at times - confusing us beyond measure so often.  We work with our minds to figure out solutions to problems, creating complex schemes about how this catastrophe or that crisis might be averted.  Our will challenges us with desires that captivate our attention and focus our drive.  Then we get all muddled up in the plethora of emotions we can muster depending on the situation, our general sense of "threat" or "enjoyment", or the amount of sleep we had the night before!  No wonder we get all messed up!  With these three powerful things working against each other at times, it is easy to see how we can get our wires crossed and find ourselves being charged up and going in the totally wrong direction. With all your heart you must trust the Lord and not your own judgment. Always let him lead you, and he will clear the road for you to follow. (Proverbs 3:5-6 CEV) After

On the same level time and time again?

Okay, so we made it past Valentine's Day - that "Hallmark" day when "lovers" everywhere exchange flowers, candy, cards, dinner dates, and jewelry.  If you were alone on Valentine's Day, you were among a vast many who just didn't get into the hype of the day, either feeling very relieved you weren't or very depressed you were alone yet again.  I am not very moved by this "holiday" anyway, so it really doesn't bother me - I don't get into all the hype. What I will focus on at this time of the year is how well I am personally doing revealing God's love to those I live with and serve on a daily basis.  After all, there is no "holiday" to focus on these character traits - it is just expected every single day of our lives!  For most of us, this thing called "love" is like one of those "match games" you see online these days where you have to align the right sequence of candies or jewels.  There are littl

His mercies are all I need

Do you ever engage in "self-talk"?  You know what I mean - those moments when you just have to look yourself in the mirror and give yourself a stern talking to in order to bring correction to your attitude, behavior, or direction you are taking in life.  I think we all must do this from time to time, but we may be shy about admitting we actually talk to ourselves!  Especially if we could be labeled as a little "touched in the head" for that type of activity! Nonetheless, the things we tell ourselves in those moments of self-talk can be very "corrective" to our behavior.  I think God often lets us talk things out so we can become aware of the answer he wants to bring forth from us.  In a matter of minutes, we find ourselves coming to conclusions which bring clarity, give us hope, and move us in a new direction.  Why?  God helped us remember we might be "finished" with something which frustrates us or gives us too much worry, but he isn't!  He

Empty space demands to be filled

I don't know about you, but we are ready to begin our planting season here in Arizona.  If we don't get the seeds in soon, the weather will turn so hot so quick that any new growth will just be scorched under the hot sun.  So, this weekend I began cleaning up the garden, trimming away any frosted leaves and turning the soil.  All the raised beds are ready to receive the early summer crops and some fresh plantings of budding flowers.  I still have one or two beds out front to finish, but in general, I am ready for the "growing season".  True to form, I made my little venture to the local nursery and found some flowering plants I wanted, a few packets of seeds to get me started and a little extra soil for another project I am working on.  The place was packed!  Others had the same idea obviously - it was the beginning of planting season.  One thing I noted though was how the sales clerk announced they had nearly sold out of weed killer.  What?  It is just the beginning

Beware of the "in between"

As Israel is delivered from slavery in Egypt, realizing a dramatic release from their captivity through the display of the plagues and the parting of the Red Sea, they stand in the place between deliverance and the realization of the full promise of their goal - the Promised Land (Canaan).  They have witnessed great plagues from which they were left unaffected.  Their journey out of Egypt left them with great wealth - slaves set free, given crops, herds, and jewelry galore by their masters of so many years.  The impossible has happened - the Sea parted and they passed on dry ground - while it swallowed up the pursuing armies of Pharaoh.  Then they find themselves in the place "between" here and there.  Isn't this the place we often "forget our heads" and just find ourselves pursuing our "hearts" at times?  You know what I mean - the place where we just forget all God has already been faithful to perform in our lives and focus on the delay as meaning

Just two commands - that's all we really need

When I was going to Bible College in the early 80's no one really wanted to enter into a "debate" with me about my beliefs.  I was a stalwart when it came to some of my "views" on what Christ allowed, didn't allow, loved, hated, etc. I actually did pretty good in apologetics - that class where we have to be able to "argue" our point based on scripture.  What I probably did a little poorly in was the "non-classroom" work of actually being loving in my responses to others as I shared this truth.  I guess the hardest lesson for me to learn came long after I actually finished school - when I actually saw life through the eyes of the one I serve.  You see, I "judged" when all I did was preach my point - I didn't begin to actually live out Christ's teaching until I put down my preaching!  As I have grown up in Christ, one of the things I have appreciated about his truth is that it doesn't change - it remains the same.  MY

Love the Lord and hate evil

Love the Lord and hate evil.  Seems like a pretty easy command - straightforward and easy to grasp.  Yet, in all our struggling to do as this says, we find ourselves challenged with prejudices galore, fears of things which don't exactly "fit" our definition of "normal", and just plain silly misconceptions. There was a day not so long ago when healthcare workers wouldn't even touch the things which a patient with AIDS had touched, let alone be in their presence without a full garb of protective gown, mask, gloves, and the like.  I remember it well, as I was in nursing school in the 80's when the AIDS epidemic hit our nation.  I recall taking care of my first patient with AIDS - complying with the rules and regulations of the hospital and donning all that "protective garb" to keep not only me safe in my contact with this patient, but to keep others safe who might be contaminated if I brought something out of the room!  Man, did I ever feel like

What is in your storehouse?

One wise person can defeat a city full of soldiers - one kind person can realize the blessing of being kind.  Some of us will immediately see all the possibilities in this passage - while others will gravitate toward just one set of "do" or "don't" points.  Why is that?  I think it is because scripture hits us where we are at the moment.  If we are struggling with how we use our resources such as our time and energy, we probably feel like we are constantly out of reserves - we don't have enough when it comes to "crunch time". We focus on the part about not wasting our resources like a fool.  Some of us will focus on the advice to be careful with our words because a failure to do so can open up many an issue we would probably rather not have to deal with in the first place - the reminder to "watch what we say" places a muzzle over our lips.  Many will focus on the part about one wise person - up against a city of trained soldiers - captur

We don't exclude anyone....

Here in the states, we just finished up the football season with the two "greatest" games of the year for these teams - the Pro Bowl and the Super Bowl. Even the names of these two games suggest they are something to be considered an honor - only for the "pros" and those with "super" skill.  People paid thousands and thousands of dollars for tickets to the game, even more for room and board while they were here for upwards of a week or more, and still more for the fun and games they participated in while awaiting the games. According to an article I read on Forbes, a ticket was running over $11,000 just six hours prior to the Super Bowl!  One ticket!  That is enough for a down payment on a home!  That same ticket ran around $2,500 if it had been purchased earlier in January, but at that point prior to the game it had skyrocketed to this astronomical "value".  They even had a partitioned off section outside of the stadium in Glendale where people