Do Me a Favor

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Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Groundhogs!

Merry Christmas!

Who’s ready for Spring?
Winter hasn’t even gotten a good start, and we’re already wishing for warmer weather.

We talk about it all winter long, all through the cold, the rain, and the occasional ice storm or snow.  Winter in the South can be quite miserable.
We’re looking for some encouragement during the long dreary days of winter, and one such boost comes on February 2, Groundhog Day.

The folklore says that if it is cloudy when a groundhog steps out of its burrow on this particular day, Spring will come early; if it is sunny, the groundhog will supposedly see its shadow and retreat back into its burrow, while winter weather continues for six more weeks.
The largest Groundhog Day celebration is held in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, where Phil, the “official” Groundhog of the day, makes his annual appearance. 

No matter that he is more wrong than he is right.  We need a little hope that Spring will come once again, that trees will grow new branches and new leaves, that flowers will pop out of the ground like magic, and birds will sing their lovely songs.
Spring means a reawakening of nature, a transformation of roots thought dead, a restoration of our weary souls, worn down by the drab days of winter. 

So why am I talking about Spring on Christmas Day?
Because, like Spring, Christmas represents a new beginning for Christians, the greatest new beginning since the creation of the world.  Without Christ, there would be no Christians.  And not just that, there would also be no hope, little love for anything but ourselves, no sympathy, no empathy, a drab and dreary world far beyond our imaginings. 

I know we just had Thanksgiving and thought about things we were thankful for, but I think it’s appropriate to intentionally be thankful again today, thinking of the small baby that was Christ Jesus and all that He became and is for us in our lives.
Christ fits perfectly within us, whether we’re celebrating Christmas, Groundhog Day or the 4th of July. 

And today, of all days, we really should invite Him in and see Spring through His eyes.
Merry Christmas from David and I!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Taste and See!

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!
Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
Psalm 34:8
 
 "Oh, taste…" Well, I don't need anyone to tell me twice.  I'm right in there, tasting away. 

We have to eat, right?  If you have gained a few (or a lot) of pounds by eating too much, then you've got a whole nuther set of problems.
I had gastric-bypass surgery in 2004 and lost 90 pounds.  I can't eat the same things I used to eat.  I can't tolerate much sugar, so I'm constantly checking the labels to see how many sugar grams there are.  It's absolutely astounding how much sugar can be in one granola bar!  I don't know, maybe I was addicted to sugar before my surgery.  I couldn't eat very much of anything for months afterward, certainly not sugary stuff, so that forced abstinence may have broken the sugar addiction.  I'm just speculating here.

One thing that's kind of funny about it is that I don't crave sugar.  I don't miss it at all.  If something sugary looks good to me, I'm just hungry and a little food that I can tolerate will take care of that.  
When I eat, I have to pick and choose what I can eat.  If I don't choose wisely, I can end up very physically sick.  It's so bad, I'd have to feel better to die!  Sometimes pain is the best motivator we've got.

So I look over my options of what will work.  I try to eat slowly and chew every bite very well.  I have to remember that if things don't go down right, they will rebel at some point in my body. 
Because I have only so much space to fill, I reach for the stuff I like best first.  I'll see how things are going and then add something else if I feel I can handle it.  All this took years of practice and hit-or-miss methods of getting what my body needs to function.

So, yeah, I know something about tasting.  But how do you "taste" the Lord?  Our need for Him is even more basic than our need for food.  And yet we look all around Him for things to satisfy us in any way we can.
When we want to know what something tastes like, we take a small bite or spoonful to get a sample of the whole.  We can usually tell by the sample how good or bad the whole will be.

What if we "sampled" God's goodness by giving Him a chance to show us how good He is?  What if we took a sample of His goodness and meditated on it and thought about it.  I'm not particularly thinking of scripture here.  I'm talking about asking the Lord to give you a sample of His goodness and then watch what He does.  And then from His holy "sample," we will know how good the Whole really is.
 


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

John the Baptist

I have always admired John the Baptist for the way he handled Jesus’ arrival.  I know, I know – John had the Holy Spirit to guide him and all of that.  But still, given human nature, it could have been a real problem.

Think about people you work with now or have worked with in the past.  How many times has someone in your classification, someone doing the same things you do, get a promotion to supervisor and become a completely different person? 
And I don’t mean that in a nice way.  I mean they become bossy and arrogant, ordering people around just because they can.  Of course, resentment runs high so the workplace becomes tense, people become stressed, and the work doesn’t get done as smoothly and as timely as it should.

All because somebody gets, what we call in the South, the big head.
It’s just another form of greed.

Look at all those celebrities that have money out the wazoo and yet they constantly want their names known, their accomplishments known.  When their popularity goes down, they show up on game shows and reality TV. 
Because they still want that spotlight and the power that goes with it.  People fawn all over celebrities, which is something I guess I don’t understand.  From what I can tell, some of these people are popular just being themselves on a TV show. 

I think they should be paying us to watch them, not them getting paid extravagant amounts to be watched.
John the Baptist had disciples, he had followers, he baptized countless people.  The Bible says all the country of Judea and everyone who lived in Jerusalem came to him to be baptized. 

He was the center of attention and probably could have asked for just about anything from his followers and he would have gotten it.  They admired him, they looked up to him, they believed in him and his message.
Pretty heady stuff.

But when Jesus came, John stepped back.
He still had disciples because the Bible tells us that John sent some of them to ask Jesus if He was the One they had been waiting for.  He probably still had some folks that followed him around and listened to him.  But it couldn’t have been on the same scale as before Jesus came.

And yet he still preached, he still pointed people to Christ, just as he had done his whole ministry.
So I have admired John the Baptist for the way he stepped away from center stage.

Recently, I realized that this was not the first time someone in John’s family had done that very thing.
I had read many times the story of Mary, the mother of Jesus, going to visit her cousin Elizabeth.  Elizabeth was old and barren when God decided she should be the mother of John the Baptist.  When Elizabeth heard Mary’s voice, baby John jumped in his mother’s womb.

Here was Elizabeth, old, barren for years and now pregnant, talking to her young cousin whom she had not seen for at least 5 or 6 months.  Don’t you think the first words out of her mouth would have been about her own baby?
Elizabeth uttered 5 sentences to Mary.  The 4th was about her baby leaping for joy.

Like mother, like son.  Elizabeth recognized that Mary’s news was much greater than her own and she stepped back.
John recognized the Lamb of God and he stepped back.

It’s important to recognize that sometimes we just need to get out of the way so the Holy Spirit can do His work.
The next time you’re feeling frustrated, stop and look around.  Your answer could be just a step away.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Housework and Hair

I absolutely loathe housework.

I don’t know why I hate it so much.  It’s like a huge feeling of dread comes over me and I physically can’t make myself do it. 
One of the things I prided myself on when I was younger was a very strong sense of self-discipline.  I could do anything, no matter how loathsome, and see it through to its end.  Now I just give up and I don’t care at the time that I’ve not done what I was supposed to do. 

Later I tell myself how lazy I am and what’s the matter with me and all that kind of thing.  But at the time, I rationalize to the point that I don’t do whatever I’m supposed to be doing.
Another thing I prided myself on was my hair.  It was thick and was a beautiful color of grey mixed with dark brown.  I guess I needed to be knocked down a peg or two because my hair is so thin now and I can’t do anything with it.  I fret over it a great deal.

Maybe God wanted to show me that I should depend on Him and not on my own efforts.  Maybe housework and hair are important in the world’s eyes, but God’s eyes are different.
I’ve been trying to let it go and do better at the same time.  It’s kind of a thin line.  I need to have self-discipline to some degree or nothing will get done because basically I’m an extraordinarily lazy person.  But where does my own self-discipline end and letting God work through me start?

And the same with my hair.  Where does my effort at styling and feeling good about it stop and God’s intervention begin?
It’s a thin line and one I overstepped for many years, now that I look back at it.

When I think, “I must take the trash out,” “I must unload the dishwasher,” and then I think of all the reasons not to, I need to realize what I’m doing and how I’m thinking, ask God for His holy perseverance, and then do what  He empowers me to do.
Housework and hair don’t seem very important when there are so many very serious problems in the world.  But God is a personal type, and He sent Jesus to save us individually.  The indwelling Holy Spirit is also sent to each one of us.  So housework and hair are important to God because if I’m fretting over these things, I’m not looking to God for my strength and I’m not partaking of His peace.

I’ve got to do better…

Our foolish pride comes from this world, and so do our selfish desires and our desire to have everything we see. None of this comes from the Father.
                                                          1 John 2:16 (CEV)

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Hurry!

I am reading the book of Mark, and one thing I have noticed right away is his sense of urgency.

“At once” and “immediately” appear repeatedly throughout the book, but especially in the first chapter.  In other chapters, Mark tells of Jesus warning His disciples to be ready for His return.   
The people of Jesus’ time thought the end of the world was just around the corner.  They believed that one day they would literally look up and see their Christ in the clouds, coming to get them.  There was much to be done and not a whole lot of time to do it.

We don’t have that urgency, do we?  Obviously, the second coming did not occur 2,000 years ago.  And just as obviously, it hasn’t occurred anytime since.
We know how to hurry, though.  Hurry to work, hurry to shop, hurry to church, hurry, hurry, hurry!  And sometimes, at the end of the day, it seems like nothing has really been done.  We’re kind of on automatic.  Especially this time of year with all the details of getting Thanksgiving and Christmas locked into our calendars.

The Second Coming feels far, far away.
So why even have a sense of urgency?  Why hurry to do God’s will? 

Because Jesus said so. 
 “Be on your guard, constantly alert,” Jesus warns us.  “Watch and pray,” He says to us now.

Because if we believe that the Word of God is a living thing, that the Word of God is Christ Himself, then it naturally follows that we believe that our Savior is speaking to us now.
Will we stop our hurrying around long enough to even realize the need to watch and pray?

I hope so.  It seems to me that almost any problem appears to be less of a problem when we turn our eyes to Jesus and keep them there.  For there we will find comfort, wisdom, and fulfillment. 
Wouldn’t it be great to look up and see Him coming for us?  The way the world is going, I’m thinking He’s at least packing his bags and getting ready. 

We need to be ready, too.  We need to feel that urgency that keeps us going, the motivation that comes from the forewarning we have received.  We need to spread the Gospel as much as we can and keep at it until the Second Coming or until we return to our Creator.
A word to the wise is sufficient…

But of that day or that hour not a [single] person knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on your guard [constantly alert], and watch and pray; for you do not know when the time will come.                    Mark 13:32-33 (AMP)


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Oh How He Loves You and Me

Many years ago, I was on the team of a fabulously spiritual weekend retreat at a church camp out in the boonies.  There were approximately 30 women participants, and 5 of us on the team were assigned to shepherd the participants around. 

One participant did not want to be there.  She had a pretty hefty scowl and used it all the time. 
Whatever was going on, she didn’t want to be a part of it.  No matter how much we smiled at her and encouraged her, she refused to take part in anything.  No singing, no clapping, definitely no happy face.  She would literally twist around in her chair so that her back was to the front of the room. 

Early on, we decided that we were going to love her to death.  We made a vow that nothing she asked for would be beyond our reach.
The room was too hot?  We opened a window.

The room was too cold?  We closed a window.
She had to go to the bathroom in the middle of a presentation not ten minutes after a bathroom break?  No problem.

Before going to bed that first night, she complained that her back was hurting because of the folding chair she had to sit in.  She wanted to go home.
We asked her to stay just one night and the next day before making the final decision to leave.  She reluctantly agreed.  We knew there were many blessings to be had if she would just hang on a little longer.

After the participants were all snug in their beds, we borrowed a team member’s pickup truck, went to another part of the camp and liberated a recliner from one of the rooms.  We wrestled that thing into the pickup and then wrestled it out of the pickup and into place at the table where the unhappy lady was sitting.
She begrudgingly thanked us the next morning and reclined the rest of the day.  But the thing that got to her the most was when she went to her room during a break that day.  One of the team members had put a heating pad on her bed and turned it on.  When she laid down and realized what had been done, she burst into tears and finally felt the Holy Spirit give her a hug through an ordinary heating pad.  She knew she wasn’t lovable and yet she had been loved by the body of Christ.

I have never seen a woman’s face change so dramatically.  I almost didn’t recognize her.  Without the scowl, she looked completely different.  No, not just different; she looked radiant.    

If anyone belongs to Christ, there is a new creation.
The old things have gone; everything is made new!   
2 Corinthians 5:17
 
 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

All I Need

God’s love really is all I need.  Everything else springs from that.

~ God’s love teaches me to be a better wife.
             The heart of her husband trusts in her,

    and he will have no lack of gain.

She does him good, and not harm,

    all the days of her life.

 Proverbs 31:11-12
~ God’s love teaches me to be a better mother.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength.  Always remember these commands I give you today.  Teach them to your children, and talk about them when you sit at home and walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.                                          Deuteronomy 6:5-7
~ God’s love teaches me to be a better neighbor.

Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.                                 Romans 13:10
~ God’s love teaches me to be a better driver.

You have commanded your precepts

    to be kept diligently.

Oh that my ways may be steadfast

    in keeping your statutes! 

Psalm 119:4-5
~ God’s love teaches me to be a better grandmother.

I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well.             2 Timothy 1:5
 
~ God’s love teaches me to be a better customer or client.

Do to others what you would want them to do to you.
                                        Luke 6:31

~ God’s loves teaches me to be a better patient.
            Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions.                    Romans 6:12

~ God’s love teaches me to be a better friend.
            The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense.
                                Proverbs 27:9

~ God’s love teaches me to be a better church member.
I recommend to you our sister Phoebe, who is a helper in the church in Cenchrea.  I ask you to accept her in the Lord in the way God’s people should. Help her with anything she needs, because she has helped me and many other people also.
                                Roman’s 16:1-2

Yep, I think that’s right – God’s love is really all I need.  Everything else springs from that…
 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Peacemaker

A lot of times, articles start with the definition of the subject.  So here’s the best definition of “peacemaker” that I have found:

“Show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight.”  This is part of a bigger definition.  It wasn’t in a lexicon or dictionary.  I discovered it in the Bible.

“You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.”   Matthew 5:9 (MSG)

I knew this verse long before I attended a 20-hour seminar on mediation.  But it took me awhile to realize the significance of it.

Of course, it’s always better if people can get along.  No fighting or “nah-nahing” back and forth.  Unfortunately, conflict has been with us since Adam and Eve were thrown out of Eden. 

Since peace is such a prized commodity, you’d think the world would be filled with peacemakers.  Sadly, it is not.

There are more people than ever in conflict every day, sometimes every moment of every day.  What’s the deal?  Where is all this anger and righteous indignation coming from?

I can tell you where it’s not coming from.  Our Heavenly Father is always good, cannot be anything but good.  So it’s not coming from him.

That’s something to think about right there.  Even though we often see the line blur between right and wrong, God doesn’t see it that way.  To Him, it’s either good or bad.

Peacemakers are good.  Peace destroyers are bad.

You have probably seen enough shows along the lines of Judge Judy to know how this works.  Let’s say that Gracie files suit against Misty over money that Gracie says Misty owes her. 

They both agree to mediation to see if they can settle their case instead of going before the judge.

Gracie says that Misty agreed to help pay the rent if Gracie let her stay there for a few months.

Misty says that Gracie knew that she would not have the money to help pay the rent since she was still unemployed after months of looking for a job.

There’s all manner of anger going on here.  Each is righteously indignant at where they find themselves. 

Somebody is lying.  Maybe both are lying.  The truth is in there somewhere, too.  It gets right confusing.

Both women are afraid.  They fear being labeled weak or unreasonable.  There is fear of the unknown.  Fear that the outcome will be contrary to their position.

One way to peace is for one side to cave completely and abandon their position.

Another way is for each side to give a little until an agreement can be reached that everyone can live with.

The “give a little” part is the hard part.  No one wants to appear weak or throw away a chance to get even with the other party.

In my mind, the one who agrees to change her position first is the bravest person in the room.

It’s an act of faith, really.  Faith that she will not appear weak.  Faith that, even though the other side may not agree, she is trying to find a resolution.

Jesus called people to be at peace with one another. Because He proclaimed this reference to those who make peace, we know it is important to us as Christians.

And it’s important to see that Jesus’ definition of peacemaking requires forgiveness. 

Oh, how we yearn for revenge!  Our culture tells us that there is always someone somewhere who is to blame for our misfortunes.  We have been wronged and revenge will solve the whole thing.

But how can we forgive if we’re constantly seeking retribution?

I love this quote of Gandhi:  "An eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind."

Consider what would happen in our court scenario if forgiveness was part of the picture.  Gracie could have forgiven Misty and never brought the suit in the first place.  Misty could have forgiven Gracie for dragging her to court.

That’s not to say that Gracie should continue to let Misty stay.  Forgiveness never involves becoming a door mat. 

No, what forgiveness involves is a heart that is able to forgive and go on, not constantly reviewing the wrong done to it.

Forgiveness involves Christ our Savior each and every time.

 
 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Say What?

I think we gravely underestimate God using us to impact others.

Just think about it:  You have a serious thing on your mind, a problem to solve or maybe a problem that doesn’t have a solution at all and you’re trying to come up with one anyway. 
Let’s say that, in this frame of mind, you go to Wal-Mart, the great gathering place of the masses.  While you are shopping sort of on auto-pilot, your mind is also thinking about “the problem,” which has now grown to the point that it has quotation marks around it. 

As you are looking at the birthday cards trying to find something cheerful to send while you yourself are in turmoil, you overhear two women walking by.  As one of them is talking to the other, she says something that absolutely zeros in on what’s on your mind.  And it’s a comfort to you or it’s a revelation to you or it’s something that is absolutely profound and speaks to you in such a personal way that you are awestruck.
That woman, who wasn’t speaking to you at all, was sent for you to hear what she said.  Don’t try to convince me that all this was sheer coincidence.  What God does is called coincidence a lot.  Now I am hearing more and more people calling it a God-thing.  I like that.  It gets God into the conversation.

How else would that woman in Wal-Mart been able to say to somebody else what was perfect for you?  And the woman may not have even wanted to go to Wal-Mart that day, but she went anyway, not really knowing why she went on that particular day, at that particular time.  Think of all the things that had to line up for her to speak what God wanted you to hear at just the right moment. 
And until you heard it, you were not aware that you were even listening to anything that was going on around you.

God loves you so much.  But the sad part is that when this happens, God is not given the credit.  If we are aware at all that it was something outside of ourselves that triggered the voice of God, we are just floored that such a thing could happen. 
We are floored but we do not give God the credit.  We say, “That was incredible!  Just think, that woman was right there when I needed to hear that.”  Close, but no cigar.  We’ve got to put God into it.  He’s already there.  We have to deliberately watch for him.
A few years ago, my husband bought an SUV, a white Nissan X-terra.  I really don’t know much about cars and their models and all of that.  I might know that you drive a red car, but I probably can’t even remember that much. 
I had never seen an X-terra before David bought his. What a big thing it is!  I have to climb up on the running board to get into it.  We had never had such a big, or maybe the word is tall, vehicle.  I thought it quite unique.

Until I started seeing white Nissan X-terra’s all over town.  There’s a bazillion of them! 
It wasn’t that I had never seen one before, it was I had never noticed them before. 

Thankfully, my husband had stripes put on the sides to match the stripes on our camper, otherwise I would have probably had a wreck trying to see the driver of every white X-Terra around.
When we start paying attention, we will see more and more ways that God is right in front of us every second of the day.  We just have to become more aware.

Pray more, study more, want it more!  And then want it more, and study more, and pray more.
It’s priceless, you know.

And the bonus is that while you are looking for God around you, He will become more and more evident in the lives of those around you.  And you will become more aware of God using you.
And there is nothing better than that.

If a stranger can say just the right thing at just the right time for you, isn’t it just as likely that you have done the same for a stranger? 
There are no strangers in God’s eyes, only His children who need a little (or sometimes a lot) of help along the way.
 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Plop, plop, Fizz, fizz...

Every once in a while, I hear someone say, with great pride, “I don’t take any medicine at all!”

That’s a wonderful thing and I’m happy for you.  Unfortunately, however, it somehow implies that it’s a major character flaw if someone else does.
I’m just a little tired of some people that are in health care positions or work in the pharmacy field treating me as though I’m exhibiting drug-seeking behavior.

Of course I’m exhibiting drug-seeking behavior!  I’ve got to have all this stuff to function.
But if I want to cut back, what do I give up?

Sleep?  No.
Lower blood pressure?  No.

Less anxiety?  No.
Less pain from neuropathy?  No.

Less depression?  No.
I don’t want to sound defensive here, but I’d like to point out that I did not prescribe these things for me.  Several doctors over the years have added this and that until I have a whole page of medications that I take.

If you know me in person, did you know that I take all of these things?  Did you guess that I have high blood pressure or that I need help getting to sleep?  Had it occurred to you that I was depressed or anxious?  Have you realized that I am in pain most of the time from neuropathy and other things?
I’m betting you didn’t unless I had already told you.

See, it’s possible – very possible – to function well when taking medication.  Once you get all the doses just right, everything rolls right along.
I doubt I would be alive today without taking blood pressure medication for 30 years. 

If I had survived that, though, sleeplessness for the past 25 years would have surely taken its toll. 
I know for sure and for certain that I would not have climbed out of the dark pit of anxiety and depression without help. 

And without medication for my neuropathy, I might be in a wheelchair.
Okay.  I didn’t tell you all of this to get sympathy.  It’s hard for me to relate this so publically.  But I feel it needs to be said by someone.

As a Christian, how do I explain having all these maladies?  Can’t God just make them go away?  Why hasn’t He answered my prayers for healing?
Here’s my answer:  I don’t know.  And I’m not going to try to figure it out.  God is God and He can do whatever He wants to do.

One thing He’s done, though, is equip certain people to do all the things necessary to develop a drug that I can benefit from. 
No, I don’t see taking medications as a character flaw.  I see it as God putting it in my path to help me get on down the road.

You know, like the Yellow Brick Road, Abbey Road, the Hollywood Walk of Fame?  Just sayin’, mind you…
 

 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

An Audience of One

Several months ago, as I was trolling the internet, I saw this:

 In worship,  God is the audience.

Wow!  I’d never thought of it quite like that before.  I knew, of course, that I go to church to “worship,” but it was just to show God that I loved Him.  I recognized that each portion of the service was designed to show God that He is loved by His people.

It was a works kind of thing – good, Christian people go to church, right?

But this – well, it put worship in a whole new light for me. 

Now when I sing a hymn or the Doxology, I’m singing directly to Him…

Now when I pray, I’m praying directly to Him…

Now when I recite the Apostles Creed with my fellow worshippers, I’m telling God exactly what I believe about Him…

Now when I read the Holy Scriptures, I am reading them back directly to my Creator…

Now when I hear the choir fill the sanctuary with wonderful melodies of joy, I know those melodies are being lifted up directly to Him…

Now when I hear the sermon, I know that not only are those words for those who are worshipping, but also as a gift directly to God.

I can’t explain why or how I got the idea that worship was more for me than it was for God.  I felt that if I didn’t get something out of it, well, it certainly wasn’t my fault.

But to envision God as the audience, with all of us up at the pulpit and Our Father the only one in the congregation – that struck a chord within me.  I realized how selfish and self-centered I had become.  I was putting my needs way before God’s desires.

And what are God’s desires?

He wants us to know Him…

He wants us to obey His commands…

He wants us to live according to His plans…

He wants us to love Him…

And to worship Him…

I’d better get crackin’.  There’s probably something else I’m not quite understanding.  Ya think?

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Are You Listening to Me?

What is the matter with you?  I trusted you to take care of things, to look out for my best interests.  I gave you my one precious vote (or maybe I didn’t, but this is a democracy and you won and I respect that).

I don’t want to appear judgmental, but I think it’s pretty clear that you are all acting like a bunch of idiots.  All that power being shoved around, and you can’t come to an agreement to keep the government going?
Oh, please.  I’ve seen better social skills at a day care center for 2-year-olds.

What gets me is that I have done nothing wrong.  The citizens of the United States have done nothing wrong. 
You, on the other hand, are acting like a highly dysfunctional family at its absolute worst.  If I want to see that kind of behavior, I’ll watch cable TV.

It’s time to knock it off.  To put your big girl panties on and deal with it.
I am ashamed of the lot of you.  Especially those who have been in power the longest.  It seems to me that you would have the most experience in compromising and seeing that things get taken care of.

Just do the job you were elected to do.  I don’t think that’s too much to ask.
My favorite Bible verse comes to mind.  Maybe it will be of help to you.

Beg as loud as you can for good common sense.  Proverbs 2:3 (CEV)

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Calling All Boomers!

We have all heard that the hope of our nation is our children and our youth.  I’m here to tell you that that is only partially right.

I believe that we, the baby boomers, are also the hope of our nation.  We have lived through some of the most challenging and entertaining times in our country’s history: 
From the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor to fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

From the polio vaccine to cures for many types of cancer and better treatment for others.
From Elvis shown only from the waist up on the Ed Sullivan Show to the beautifully produced documentaries by Ken Burns on PBS.

From “The Cat in the Hat” to “The Purpose Driven Life.”
We have skills and at least partial answers that we can use to help our children and grandchildren understand how to go on from here, how to make a difference.

I believe we do that by example, our actions agreeing with our words.
And if we are part of the hope of our nation, we’d better get busy imparting some of our knowledge and life experiences to those who need to hear it.

I encourage you to intentionally tell your grandchildren about your life.  Tell them where you’ve been, even if you’ve never been outside of Marshall County.  There are plenty of stories about you and Marshall County that need to be told, and they need to be told by you.
Tell your grandchildren who you’ve been in the past, what you did for a living, what education or training you’ve had.

Teach them how to play a card game, like Hearts or Go Fish.  Watch Bonanza together and relate how you had a crush on Little Joe.
One good way of starting a conversation with a grandchild is to look at photographs from your childhood.  My 5-year-old granddaughter loves to look at the naked baby picture of her Gran!

It’s so important for your grandchildren to know you as a real person, one who has funny stories and serious stories, stories about their parents and stories about the history they are learning in school. 
I remember talking to a babysitter in high school who kept the kids one summer, and I mentioned something about President Kennedy’s assassination.  I said, “Well, you remember that.”  And she said, “No, but I read about it in history.”

Wow!  At that point, it had not occurred to me that anything that had happened in my lifetime, around 35 years of it, could be in a history book already.  But Kennedy was assassinated in 1963 and I was talking to her in the late 80’s.  25 years to her was the definition of history.
You are living history.  Spread it around and let us all benefit from it.
 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

In Debt

But we, brethren beloved by the Lord, ought and are obligated [as those who are in debt] to give thanks always to God for you...      2 Thessalonians 2:13

Actually, I was looking for another verse when I ran across this one.  What initially caught my eye was "in debt." I had recently been in a conversation about trusting God, and we were thinking of concrete, tangible ways to do that.  Among the several responses, the one I remember most was trusting God to have enough money to pay the bills. 
My brain immediately rewound to 25 years ago when this problem seemed to constantly plague my family.  Through God's grace, we eventually got through that tough time. 

Trust God? 
Very difficult when you're having to figure out just when the paycheck will hit the bank so you can buy as few groceries as possible that will last as long as possible. 
Very difficult when your child wants to do something extra at church or school and you have to say no.
Being in debt is no fun.  So how do we get out of debt?  We pay whatever it is that we owe.   When we pay a debt in full, we feel relief with a little freedom thrown in. 

In the verse above, Paul said we are obligated to give thanks.  The Amplified Bible added “as those who are in debt.”  Are we indebted or obligated to give thanks?  Yes, because God did the very thing that would free us all and give us eternal relief from the debt of this world. 
Love Him, trust Him, obey Him, and all with great thanksgiving.

He loves us so very, very much.
 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Quiet!

I used to have a quiet time first thing in the morning.  This was way back in the day when my kids were growing up.  I had a full-time job so I had to cram all of my home time around my job.

To accommodate the quiet time, I got up an hour early to pray.  I had a small notebook with pages upon pages of people and situations to pray for.  Once you got on my list, you didn't get off.  Even dying didn't take you off, because then I prayed for your family.
And being a dutiful pray-er, I would ask God what he wanted from me.  Most times I would go on and on about how I wanted to be used by Him, suggesting different things that I was interested in. 

But sometimes – sometimes – I would shut up and just listen.  Be still.  Try not to think of anything.  Well, of course, I would have these random thoughts go through my head. 
"I wonder if Alice ever found her other shoe." 

"Surely Mark has finally picked up his room." 
"I need to tell David about that funny noise the car is making."

Or people's names would float through my mind or their circumstances.
"I hope Mable is feeling better." 

"I wonder if Randy got that job he applied for." 
"The preacher looked a little pale last Sunday.  I hope he's okay."  

And I would try my best to ignore them all.  They were intruding upon my quiet time, and we couldn't have that, now, could we?
One day it occurred to me that maybe, just maybe, those thoughts were the answers I had been looking for.  I had asked God to use me, and then I ignored his directions to me! 

Perhaps I thought of Mable because she could use a call from me or a note to cheer her up.  I could call Randy and ask about his job situation.  I could stop by the church office and look in on the preacher. 
I came to call those thoughts "holy thoughts."  They are not mine.  I'm not that bright. 

But God is.  And He loves us so.