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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Forgive Me When I Whine

Author Unknown

Today upon a bus, I saw
A lovely maid with golden hair;
I envied her -- she seemed so gay,
And how, I wished I were so fair;
When suddenly she rose to leave,
I saw her hobble down the aisle;
She had one foot and wore a crutch,
But as she passed, a smile.
Oh, God, forgive me when I whine,
I have two feet -- the world is mine.

And when I stopped to buy some sweets,
The lad who served me had such charm;
He seemed to radiate good cheer,
His manner was so kind and warm;
I said, "It's nice to deal with you,
Such courtesy I seldom find";
He turned and said, "Oh, thank you sir."
And then I saw that he was blind.
Oh, God, forgive me when I whine,
I have two eyes -- the world is mine.

Then, when walking down the street,
I saw a child with eyes of blue;
He stood and watched the others play,
It seemed he knew not what to do;
I stopped a moment, then I said,
"Why don't you join the others, dear?"
He looked ahead without a word,
And then I knew he could not hear.
Oh, God, forgive me when I whine,
I have two ears -- the world is mine.

With feet to take me where I'd go;
With eyes to see the sunsets glow,
With ears to hear what I would know.
I am blessed indeed. The world is mine;
Oh, God, forgive me when I whine.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Extra Baggage

Last Saturday we took our dogs over to Chestnut Ridge, a heritage preserve about 20 minutes from our house. The 2.5 mile trail is a moderate, but beautiful hike down to the peace and serenity of a gently flowing stream. It's one of our favorite places to go.

When we arrived at the gate to the heritage preserve, we stopped the truck and got out. The dogs immediately started running to and fro, exploring and looking for a place to go to the bathroom. We allow them this freedom because they know not to get out of our sight, and they're very well-behaved.

While Jason and I were getting our gear together, Mitch found an interesting item that he wanted to explore more closely. By the time Jason and I noticed what he had gotten into, it was too late. He had found the skeleton of a rather large animal and decided to roll in it. (Why do dogs do that?) As soon as Jason realized what Mitch was doing, he called him to come back to the truck. Mitch stood up and ran over to us but was immediately spooked by something that had hold of his collar. Fear filled his eyes as he ran faster towards us, a large white blur hanging from his collar and bouncing from side to side as he ran. Once we got him stopped, we discovered the item to be the backbone of the skeleton he had rolled in. GROSS!!!! When Mitch had rolled on the ground, part of the backbone had gotten tangled in his collar. Jason had to work it loose and dispose of it. (I certainly wasn't going to touch it!!!)

Mitch didn't know what to think. To him, he was just doing a little exploring, but he got much more than what he had planned on. Not only had he been "grabbed" by a dead animal but at that point he smelled like one too. He wasn't pleased. After I had calmed him down, I patted him on the head and said, "That's what happens when you get into stuff that you're not supposed to mess with." WHACK! God thumped me right between the eyes.

Many times in life, we have a knack for getting ourselves into difficult situations. Why? Just like Mitch, we do things we know we're not supposed to do. We go where we shouldn't go, watch what we shouldn't watch, listen to things better left unheard, and say things better left unsaid. We get into things that we have no business messing with and then wonder why things are going wrong in our lives. Just as Mitch got more than he had planned on, so do we when we do the wrong things. Remember the old song, "Sin Will Take You Farther Than You Want to Go"? It's true. We would be much better off if we would stick to the right path and not wander off to go "exploring." After all, who wants to carry around all that extra baggage (especially if it's part of a skeleton)?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Stop and Smell the Roses, But Not the Skunk

On our way to church Sunday morning, we ran over a skunk. We came up over the hill, and there he was lying in the road. We didn't have time to swerve and miss him. Needless to say, it was a VERY long ride to church. We rolled the windows down, hoping that the fresh outside air would help to get rid of some of the smell. We noticed that as long as we were moving, the smell wasn't too bad. If we stopped, however, the fragrance was overwhelming. It stunk so bad that I could taste it. In fact, it was so bad that I was afraid my clothes were going to start smelling skunk-like as well. So we did our best to keep moving. . .that is, until we got to church. (I won't even go into the smell that awaited us when we got out of church that afternoon. Let's just say it wasn't pleasant.)

You know, sometimes life stinks. Things happen that we feel shouldn't. Daily circumstances don't always meet our qualifications for a good day. All in all, it stinks just like the skunk we hit (may he rest in pieces, er, peace). But if we sit around thinking about how bad things are, the smell (or circumstance) won't get any better. In fact, it will get worse. The best way to deal with the smell is to keep moving. Keep going. Keep running the race. Keep serving the Lord. Don't focus on the smell, focus on doing all you can to please the Lord. As we do, the smell starts to wear off to the point that we hardly notice it anymore. Praise the Lord!

(BTW, if you're riding down 183 towards Pickens any time in the near future, watch out for Pepe La Pew! He's hard to miss.)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Bible Answers

Bible Answers

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If you know the Bible - even a little - you'll find this hilarious!
It comes from elementary school. Kids were asked questions about the Old & New Testaments. The following statements about the Bible were written by the children. they have not been retouched or corrected(i.e.incorrect spelling has been left in.)

1. In the first book of the bible, Guinessis, God got tired of
creating the world, so he took the Sabbath off.

2. Adam and Eve were created from an apple tree. Noah's
wife was called Joan of Ark. Noah built an ark, which the animals come on in pears.

3. Lot 's wife was a pillar of salt by day, but a ball of fire by

4. The Jews were a proud people and throughout history they had trouble with the unsympathetic Genitals.

5. Samson was a strongman who let himself be led astray by a Jezebel like Delilah.

6. Samson slayed the Philistines with the axe of the Apostles.

7. Moses led the Hebrews to the Red Sea , where they made unleavened bread which is bread without any ingredients,

8. The Egyptians were all drowned in the dessert. Afterwards, Moses went up on Mount Cyanide to get the ten amendments.

9. The first commandment was when Eve told Adam to eat the apple.

10. the seventh commandment is thou shalt not admit adultery.

11. Moses died before he ever reaches Canada . Then Joshua led the Hebrews in the battle of Geritol.

12. The greatest miracle in the Bible is when Joshua told his son to stand still and he obeyed him.

13. David was a Hebrew king skilled at playing the liar. He fought with the Finklesteins, a race of people who lived in Biblical times.

14. Solomon, one of David's sons, had 300 wives and 700 porcupines.

15. When Mary heard that she was the mother of Jesus, she sang the Magna Carta.

16. When the three wise guys from the east side arrived, the found Jesus in the manager.

17. Jesus was born because Mary had an immaculate contraption.

18. St. John the blacksmith dumped water on his head.

19. Jesus enunciated the Golden Rule, which says to do one to others before they do one to you. He also explained, a man doth not live by sweat alone.

20. It was a miracle when Jesus rose from the dead and managed to get the tombstone off the entrance.

21. The people who followed the lord were called the 12 decibels.

22. The epistles were the wives of the apostles.

23. One of the opossums was St. Matthew who was also a taximan.

24. St. Paul cavorted to Christianity. He preached holy acrimony, which is another name for marriage.

25. Christians have only one spouse. This is called monotony.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Who Do We Think We Are?

With Thanksgiving approaching, I've been thinking a lot about Calvary. When I go through my list of things I'm thankful for, salvation is at the top. Without Jesus, I would have nothing! So, during this time each year, I spend a lot of time focusing on and reading about the crucifixion. I admit, each time I read it, the story becomes more touching.

Recently, my reading of the crucifixion story took my mind in a different direction. Look at the following exchange between Pilate and Jesus.

When the chief priests therefore and officers saw him, they cried out saying, Crucify him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Take ye him, and crucify him: for I find no fault in him. The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God. When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he was the more afraid; And went again into the judgment hall, and saith unto Jesus, Whence art thou? But Jesus gave him no answer. Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee? Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin. - John 19:6-11

Did you notice Pilate's anger when Jesus wouldn't give him an answer? Did you see the boldness in which he basically declared, "How dare you not answer me? Don't you know who I am? Don't you know how powerful I am?" In a way, it's comical. Here's this little Roman ruler talking to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. It's ridiculous!

However, I must admit that I'm guilty of doing the same thing. I seek the Lord, I ask Him my questions, and then I demand an answer. When I don't get one, I get huffy and have the attitude of "how dare you not answer me." I don't think my mouth has ever uttered those words, but my heart has spoken them just the same. Who am I to demand an answer from God? What power do I have to command the Creator?

I'm quick to judge characters in the Bible, but the more I study, the more I discover that I have the same flaws as they do. Oh, how I pray the Lord will use this enlightening to help me to become a better Christian and a better servant for Him.

It's fine to ask questions of the Lord. In fact, He wants us to. Let's just be careful that we don't demand an answer or get angry when we don't receive the answer we want. Let's remember what we have and be thankful for that. After all, we already have FAR more than we deserve!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Learning to Be Watchful

Last Saturday, we took our youth group to the home of some shut-ins to do yard work. This elderly couple has severe health problems, and we thought it would be a good thing for the youth to learn the joy of doing for others. So, we gathered rakes and attempted to rake up their yard and clean out their gutters. Notice I said "attempted."

They have several large trees in their yard, and the more we raked, the more the wind blew. At times, it was downright frustrating. We hadn't been there long when one of the other youth leaders found a baby copperhead hiding in the leaves. I DON'T LIKE SNAKES!!!!! After the guys studied the squirming creature for a few minutes, they cut off its head. Yuck! I went around and warned all the other groups to be careful.

I had been carelessly scooping up leaves by the handfuls up until that point, but after seeing that snake, I was much more cautious about what I was picking up. It was a good thing because the pile I was working on was full of giant spiders. I DON'T LIKE SPIDERS EITHER!!!! Then, to top it all off, I was on the last little bit of the pile when a lovely little scorpion came crawling out. At that point, our youth group had the opportunity to see me dance. I don't know how many times I stomped on that thing, but my feet were sore when I was done. I REALLY DON'T LIKE SCORPIONS!!!!!!!!! I was stung by one once, and I never want to experience that again. So, needless to say, we had a VERY interesting day, and I even learned a couple of things.

1. Sometimes it seems like your work is in vain, but just keep trying. There were still leaves on the ground when we left. They were falling from the trees every second. Despite that, the yard looked much better when we left. Was it clear of leaves? No. Was it much better? Yes. So, was the work in vain? No, it just seemed like it at the time.

2. It's wise to be on guard. If we hadn't found the snake to begin with, I wouldn't have been nearly as careful, and I could have been bitten by a spider or stung by a scorpion. But because I was on guard, I likely prevented some bad things from happening. Life is the same way. If we will be on guard, we might prevent some nasty falls. Watch out for that dirty thought. Be on the lookout for that unkind word. Does that mean we won't mess up? No, but we have a better chance if we will learn to be watchful. Who knows? We may even get to do a little dance!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

God's Pastoral Candidates

I came across this the other day, and I admit, it made me stop and think. God can use anybody, anywhere, anytime. More than that, God knows the best person for each job whether we agree with Him or not. I know this is a bit long, but please read through it. It's a real eye-opener!

The following is a confidential report on several candidates being considered for a pastorate.

Adam: Good man but problems with his wife. Also one reference told of how his wife and he enjoy walking nude in the woods.

Noah: Former pastorate of 120 years with not even one convert. Prone to unrealistic building projects.

Abraham: Though the references reported wife-swapping, the facts seem to show he never slept with another man's wife, but did offer to share his own wife with another man.

Joseph: A big thinker, but a braggart, believes in dream-interpreting, and has a prison record.

Moses: A modest and meek man, but poor communicator, even stuttering at times. Sometimes blows his stack and acts rashly. Some say he left an earlier church over a murder charge.

David: The most promising leader of all until we discovered the affair he had with his neighbor's wife.

Solomon: Great preacher but our parsonage would never hold all those wives.

Elijah: Prone to depression. Collapses under pressure.

Elisha: Reported to have lived with a single widow while at his former church.

Hosea: A tender and loving pastor but our people could never handle his wife's occupation.

Deborah: Strong leader and seems to be anointed, but she is female.

Jeremiah: Emotionally unstable, alarmist, negative, always lamenting things, reported to have taken a long trip to bury his underwear on the bank of a foreign river.

Isaiah: On the fringe? Claims to have seen angels in church. Has trouble with his language.

Jonah: Refused God's call into ministry until he was forced to obey by getting swallowed up by a great fish. He told us the fish later spit him out on the shore near here. We hung up.

Amos: Too backward and unpolished. With some seminary training he might have promise, but has a hang-up against wealthy people--might fit in better in a poor congregation.

Melchizedek: Great credentials at current work place, but where does this guy come from? No information on his resume about former work records. Every line about parents was left blank and he refused to supply a birth date. (This aside from Les: Ancient Jewish tradition has it that Melchizedek is really Shem. If you check out the lifespan of Shem in the Bible, it seems to be true!)

John: Says he is a Baptist, but definitely doesn't dress like one. Has slept in the outdoors for months on end, has a weird diet, and provokes denominational leaders.

Peter: Too blue collar. Has a bad temper-even has been known to curse. Had a big run-in with Paul in Antioch. Aggressive, but a loose cannon.

Paul: Powerful CEO type leader and fascinating preacher. However, short on tact, unforgiving with younger ministers, harsh and has been known to preach all night.

James & John: Package deal preacher & associate seemed good at first, but found out they have an ego problem regarding other fellow workers and seating positions. Threatened an entire town after an insult. Also known to try to discourage workers who didn't follow along with them.

Timothy: Too young!

Methuselah: Too old . . . WAY too old!

Jesus: Has had popular times, but once his church grew to 5000 he managed to offend them all, and then this church dwindled down to twelve people. Seldom stays in one place very long. And, of course, he's single.

Judas: His references are solid. A steady plodder. Conservative. Good connections. Knows how to handle money. We're inviting him to preach this Sunday. Possibilities here.

Author Unknown

Monday, November 9, 2009

Time Is Running Out!

In the evenings, Jason and I enjoy watching the old Star Trek Voyager reruns online. No, I don't understand all the scientific stuff, but I do enjoy the series. The only episodes I don't enjoy are the ones that deal with time travel or temporal rifts and other such nonsense. I just don't get it!

I have never understood time travel. Give me a pen and paper, and I'm still confused in the end. On this particular episode, Voyager was investigating the destruction of a planet only to find out that the destruction of the planet was due to their own rescue attempt. How is that possible? They hadn't been there yet! The whole thing just makes my brain hurt!!!!

Equally confusing to me is the concept of "forever." How long is forever? Well, it's forever! It's without end. But how long is that? It boggles the mind. All I know is that it's a really, really, really, really, really, really, really, (you get the point) long time. The real question is, where will you spend that time? There are only two choices: Heaven or Hell. Eternal pleasure or eternal torment? It seems like such an easy choice, doesn't it?

Nevertheless, there are many who are headed to a horrible forever. Let's tell them before it's too late! Make a point to tell someone about Jesus today. After all, time is running out!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Under Attack

A friend and I were talking recently about how much it seems like God's people are under attack. Honestly, I can't count the number of people I know right now that are going through terrible ordeals -- sickness, surgery, death, divorce, job loss, etc. It's so sad to see so many of God's children hurting.

I told my friend that I'm starting to understand why so many people turn their backs on God. They say they feel forsaken, that God doesn't care about them. Until recently, that seemed like total nonsense to me, but I admit, I'm truly starting to understand. In these dark times, it's difficult to hear the Lord's voice and to sense His presence. At times, I do feel forsaken. That's when I go to my Bible and read God's precious promises. They remind me that God does love me and He does care for me. He is working things out according to His plan, and while I don't understand it, I simply need to trust Him.

That being said, today's post is simply a reminder to be on guard. Satan is attacking. Are you prepared?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Powerful Phrases

Jason made the mistake of sharing his Sunday School lesson with me yesterday. Why is that a mistake? When you live with a writer, you must understand that anything you say or do is likely to end up in a story, article, book, or blog entry. To some, that may be a curse. To others, it may be a blessing. All I can say is that it is what it is! If you don't want me to write about it, you better not tell me (unless of course it's something you've told me in confidence). That being said, I would like to share with you what he shared with me.

"I AM" #1:

Judas then, having received a band of men and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, cometh thither with lanterns and torches and weapons. Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth, and said unto them, Whom seek ye? They answered him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus saith unto them, I am he. And Judas also, which betrayed him, stood with them. As soon then as he had said unto them, I am he, they went backward, and fell to the ground. - John 18:3-5

"I AM" #2:

And Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple: that disciple was known unto the high priest, and went in with Jesus into the palace of the high priest. But Peter stood at the door without. Then went out that other disciple, which was known unto the high priest, and spake unto her that kept the door, and brought in Peter. Then saith the damsel that kept the door unto Peter, Art not thou also one of this man's disciples? He saith, I am not. - John 18:15-17

The same two words spoken in the same chapter of the book of John, but each evokes a different reaction. Jesus' words were words of power and confirmation. Peter's were words of fear and denial. Jesus' words bespoke His strength and authority. Peter's bespoke his weakness. Two small words. Two uses. Two great impacts. You see, it's not the words themselves that are of importance, it is the message behind them. What messages are we sending out today? Are they messages of strength and power or of fear and denial? Are they spoken in the strength of the Lord or in our own weakness? It does make a difference. Of that, I am certain.

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver. - Proverbs 25:11