Do Me a Favor

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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Ah, The Great Outdoors!

It was a perfect day out on the patio.  The weather was just right, sun shining, sweet little breezes, the goldfish in the pond were happy, the birds were singing joyously. 

So I decided to use the iBird app on my phone to see if the birds would react to the birdcalls.  I had done this before when we were camping, and it was great fun.  I doubt it really mattered to the birds, but we enjoyed it.

I finally found the app, waited for it to load, went to the goldfinch page, hit the “song” button and…  nothing happened.  Nothing happened! 

I get so frustrated with computer things that don’t work right.  I messed with that thing, trying this and that, but I could not get it to work.  None of the birdsongs I tried would work.  What’s the big idea, selling me an app that works a few times and then quits? 

I’ll try it again.  Maybe it will work if I turn it off and then turn it on again.  That takes about 5 minutes because the app is so large, but in the meantime I can try to think of a way to get it to work.

I was sitting in my beloved outdoor recliner, my ubiquitous tea at my side, phone in hand.  I was talking to myself, getting more and more agitated as the phone moved slowly along in the only way it knows how. 

I had my head down, thinking of ways to outsmart it when it dawned on me that I was missing the whole point.  And I was literally missing the gorgeous afternoon on the patio.  In my weak attempt to force my phone to do something it was clearly unwilling to do, I had completely blocked out my surroundings, including the very reason I was there at all.

I had come out on my patio to watch the birds and butterflies, keep an eye out for a hummingbird, listen to the birds as they called back and forth and… well, you get the idea.

It made me wonder how many things I was missing by keeping my head down instead of up, facing the good Lord and enjoying His love and peace.

Just like that perfect afternoon setting in my backyard, God’s love is all around us, given to us in little gifts as we go about our day.  He gave me that wonderful afternoon to enjoy.  I certainly didn’t deserve it. In fact, I was trying to kill it!  Thank God (and I mean that literally) I realized what I was doing before it was too late and the time slipped away into darkness.

It really should be the first thing that comes to mind when something touches my spirit – “This is a gift from God!”  A friend’s thoughtfulness, a sweet smile from a stranger, a warm cat curled up in your lap, the satisfaction that comes with something well done – His gifts are endless.

Let’s watch for them, be ready to identify them, and praise God for them.  He loves it when we do that…
Photo by Cindy West McGregor

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


I was a TV kid.  I grew up watching what we now consider the classics:  Leave It to Beaver, Dennis the Menace, Father Knows Best.  Wow!  Any problem solved in 30 minutes.

And then there were the shows that I would anticipate the most:  Bonanza, Dr. Kildare, Ben Casey, Laramie.  I had a crush on at least one guy every night of the week.  Little Joe made my heart flutter with his dark, curly hair and quick temper.  Dr. Kildare was so earnest in his attempts to be the best doctor he could be.  Ben Casey was the more experienced doctor who cut through all the red tape to do the surgery that would save his patient’s life.  Jess on Laramie was just so darned cute, I really wasn’t paying much attention to the plot.
There were others, but these have endured in my memory of good times growing up.  I eventually transferred my infatuations to real guys in the real world.  It was exciting to feel transformed by a good case of puppy love.  As adults, we know that these little crushes don’t really go anywhere.  It’s just part of growing up and experiencing a little of what will someday be all out love for another, most of the time someone we want to spend the rest of our lives with.

Jesus wants us to have a crush on him.  He wants us to be excited every time we think of Him.  He wants us to reach out to Him, to be closer to Him, to do whatever it takes to be with Him.

What happens when a crush wears off?  It either turns into an enduring love or it just fizzles away to nothing.  Well, it’s obvious what Christ looks for on this one.  He not only desires love, He is love.  When we reach for our Savior because we love Him, we are fulfilling any need we can possibly have.  When that first excitement of asking Him into our lives wears off, He longs for our steadfast adoration. 

Love can be exciting, long-lasting, durable, fun, satisfying, and tender.  Christ offers us all this and much, much more. 

Do you have a crush on the King?  Do you feel the love for your Savior?  Christ is calling for you.  Can you hear him?

Our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father loved us and through grace gave us eternal comfort and a good hope. 
                                                                       2 Thessalonians 2:16

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Broken Wings

Today’s guest blogger is my BFF Margaret Moore.  She is a retired English major, wife, mother & Grammy.  She loves God and looks forward to seeing Him in the afterlife, hoping to clear up a few nagging questions.  I hope you'll feel free to leave a comment for Margaret.  Thanks...

How does God speak to you?  He’s always speaking, you know, to His children. Sometimes it’s through what we see, such as intricate details or sweeping scenes in nature, sometimes in what we hear from other people, sometimes a whisper but other times a shout.  I’ve known a few lucky ones that heard Him audibly order them to “Pull over NOW!” or “Squat down”, and obeying Him has saved their lives. 

I’ve heard Him a precious few times through promptings or insights, even compulsions. Hearing from God seems often to come to me when I am desperately seeking direction. And I’ve found Him to use the fewest possible words (with one exception) to get the point across…things like, “Trust me”, “Go to that house”, “This is important”. He’s even caused laughter to bubble up in me in a time of deep despair. Boy, that was unexpected.  But God often does the unexpected.  Like the time he put a poem in my mind…

No, I assure you I’m not a poetry writer, never have done it (o.k., a few limericks way back), and never felt inspired to write verse.  But this time was different and I wasn’t the REAL author: I was having a meltdown, an anxiety attack I believe, but I just “happened” to be registered for a Silent Retreat the next day at a nearby monastery. The quiet days slowly brought peace into my whole being as I contemplated, prayed, and often just walked. 

One day I was walking by a neglected garden full of dead things. But there were many butterflies flitting around, most with pieces of their wings missing. Suddenly God filled my mind with a complete poem, not just an idea, and I almost ran to a nearby bench to write it down in my journal before I forgot any of it. Never have I experienced anything like it. It’s called “Broken Wings”.

I flee to here, a broken thing

In need of silence, guidance, calm,

rest from my turbulent emotions

seeking God’s unfailing balm.

The garden draws me.

In I stumble

blindly seeking some release.

God opens up my swollen eyes

to show me clouds of butterflies.

Resurrection, new life I now can see

in them…could this be, too, for me?

I closer look at God’s lovely things.
                     Why, some of THEM have broken wings!
Photo by Cindy West McGregor


Wednesday, May 8, 2013


I love to read.  I read a little of most genres, but at the moment I’m kind of hooked on historical romance.  Historical as in the 1800’s.  Maybe out west somewhere.  Or in England, Ireland or Scotland.

And then there’s the reading I do to study about the next thing I’m teaching.  Did you know that you can find a ba-zillion commentaries of the Bible on the internet?  And did you know I am obsessive-compulsive enough to think I have to read them all to get the whole picture? 

I end up with way too much material, and then I start to panic. 
How am I going to whittle this down into something manageable?
I don’t think I can do it. 
I’ll make a fool of myself muddling around and not making any kind of sensible point.

Until I pray. 
Until I go to the Father and ask for His blessing. 
Until I give up all my hard-won knowledge and let Him carve out the words He wants me to use.

In Psalm 73, we find this:

16 But when I tried to understand these things,
        it just seemed like hard work
17 until I entered God’s sanctuary
        and understood what would happen to the wicked.

The psalmist was going through a crisis of faith.  He was questioning why he followed God when it seemed like the wicked in the world were all better off than he was.  He tried to understand, but it was just hard work with no answers.

 Until he entered God’s sanctuary, where God gave him the understanding he needed.

 Until…  If I can only remember Until…

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

2V or Not 2V?

 The reason I left you behind in Crete was to organize whatever needs to be done and to appoint elders in each city, as I told you. 

Elders should be without fault. They should be faithful to their spouse, and have faithful children who can’t be accused of self-indulgence or rebelliousness. 

This is because supervisors should be without fault as God’s managers: they shouldn’t be stubborn, irritable, addicted to alcohol, a bully, or greedy. 

Instead, they should show hospitality, love what is good, and be reasonable, ethical, godly, and self-controlled. 

They must pay attention to the reliable message as it has been taught to them so that they can encourage people with healthy instruction and refute those who speak against it.                                                    Titus 1:5-9 (CEB)

In the above passage, Paul was telling Titus to trust the Good News of Christ and not be swayed by false teachers.  He wanted Titus to be a good leader and teacher for those early Christians in Crete. 

He laid out what attributes an elder must have.  It was only the best for Paul and his message of grace.  They must be men of unquestionable integrity who weren’t divisive by their behavior.  These men were to be loving, kind, and reasonable.

And, of course, they were to know the “reliable message,” the Good News Paul had preached to them.  They were to help people understand this totally new way of life.

Hard to find all of that in one person.  We can look back and feel sort of sorry for Titus.  The candidates for elder might have been a bit sparse.

Or am I getting that confused with today’s Christians?

Hmmm… I know I wouldn’t be in the running.  I’ve been almost all of the negative things, but only a few of the positive things. 

Of course, it’s impossible to be all the things we have been instructed to be.  Life is a journey that takes, well, a lifetime to navigate, to slowly learn everything God wants us to know and to be the person God wants us to be.  Sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it’s not.  But if Christians are going to show the world what we’re made of, what God is making of us, we've got to pray for courage and wisdom and then step out and do it. 

For example, if something on TV offends me or I'm uncomfortable with it, I change the channel.  In fact, I don't watch much TV at all (okay, lately I've been watching QVC, but does that really count?).  I have felt left out of conversations because people are talking about something that happened on one of the shows I don't watch.  And I feel pulled into the conversation because I want to be in the know.  I'm afraid I'll appear ignorant or stupid because I'm not watching what they are watching.                                                 

But what if I said, “I’m uncomfortable with that program because so much of the language has to be bleeped.  I just don’t feel right watching it.”  Now I sound like an old fuddy-duddy, looking down my elderly nose at what the younger ones are watching. 

Maybe that's what it takes to be different, to be an example.  I can quietly just not watch those TV shows, or I can quietly and non-judgmentally give my opinion.  It will probably kill the conversation, and people may find someone else to talk with because of it.  But I hope they will get the point that I’m trying to make:  God’s influence is real and it must be used to steer the world toward Christ, even if it’s just one person at a time.

In Philippians 4, Paul told us to think on whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy.

I think if we fix our minds to that, we'll stick out for God in this evil world of ours.  And you can't beat that with a stick…