Going to Work
In 1973 I went to work for the first time at Sherrer’s Drive-in East. This was pre-McDonald’s days and Sherrer’s was the only restaurant in town that had two convenient busy locations. I found even though the job was tough, going to work brought a lot of peace. When I got my first hard-earned check for $14.63 I went to a local variety store and bought a painting of a peaceful place - a bridge surrounded by trees and sunshine. Looking at the painting brought a lot of peace throughout the years. It seemed to take me to a place of peace in my mind. There is an old county song that speaks of a young lady going to work to escape her problems and find peace. “Yeah when the whistle blows I'll be there, all this hurt in life don’t seem fair, but right now I’m going to work.” Work has been proven to be therapeutic and peaceful for many. Peace is something working and non-working people both want to find. There is a place where all can find peace in the midst of chaos and hurt when we think life isn’t fair. The peace I speak of is nothing that we have to work to receive. No amount of money can purchase it. It is not simply a peaceful place that we find to escape to in our minds. The Bible tells us to seek peace and pursue it. Jeremiah 29:11 tells us that God thinks peaceful thoughts toward us. Jesus took that peaceful thought even further telling us that He leaves us His peace, He gives it. Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. John 14:27 As we enter into this Easter season and reflect on the work Jesus completed on the cross may we each find not only the salvation that He died to make available to all mankind but also the peace that He offers freely to all who seek it.
It Could Be Worse
The last week of February we were convinced that Spring had arrived here in North Mississippi. Temperatures soared to record highs, windows were raised, grills fired up, and everyone seemed to be outside. Here we are a month later. The last week of March was gray, damp, cold and wintry. Spring where did you go? With April’s arrival, there is renewed hope of temperatures rising which of course some will complain about and wish it were cold again. Speaking of cold, in Barrow, Alaska today the forecast high is -2 degrees, the low -10. With that bit of information I ask, do we ever have the right to complain about our temperatures here? Things could definitely be worse. There are so many things we have to be thankful for that we sometimes take for granted and many things we even complain about. When you see green blades of grass sprouting that you know you will soon have to mow - be thankful. When the green pollen covers your car - be thankful it isn’t ice. When the birds build a nest above your garage door and you can’t shut it, be thankful the door isn’t frozen shut. I could go on and on with this, but by now I think you get the point, THINGS COULD BE WORSE! Matthew 5:11 tells us to rejoice and be glad. I know people in Alaska would love lows in the forties. They would rejoice and be glad. Remember your very worst day ever would probably be a great day to someone somewhere. This reminds me of an old adage, “I felt bad when I had no shoes until I met someone who had no feet.” As Spring slowly blooms around us, remember to be thankful in all things. As you slip your shoes off to walk on the cool green grass barefoot for the first time this year be thankful. Rejoice as rebirth and restoration surround us.
Recoup - Regroup
My grandson recently asked for my help with homework. The help I found he wanted was really math homework becoming finished quickly by me while he watched. I refused to do it for him and attempted to explain how to solve the problems. His class was beginning to learn to regroup. However, it seems regrouping isn’t called regrouping anymore. Now to regroup is to recoup losses and gains from number’s neighbors. How confusing is that? Very. In the end, we got the homework done with a lot of recouping and regrouping. As I thought of solving elementary math problems; of there being more than one way to solve a problem; of there being different names for the process for solving the problem, I thought of all the problems in our lives. How often do we have to ask for help? How often do we really just want someone to find an answer while we watch? How often do we find the way we once solved problems has changed, even taken on a whole new name? How confusing is that? Very. In this life, you will face trials and persecution (aka as problems.) However, help is available always. You can borrow a little help from your neighbor, but remember God is the great problem solver. Of course, He will not always do all the work for you. You have to be willing to work and learn. Sometimes you have to regroup, sometimes you have to recoup. Sometimes you have to change the entire name of what you once did to solve a problem, but remember this; God’s plans for us are good plans. God’s way and time is always perfect. In the end, all problems will be solved. His will will be done
I was recently presented with a question about the difference in being resentful and holding a grudge. I knew neither one was good, but couldn’t really identify the difference. I thought of resentful as being just a feeling you have for someone which causes you to have a lot of regret of circumstances in your life that you feel that person has caused. Even so, you don’t go to them and tell them what you feel. I felt a grudge was a feeling of holding something against a person and exhibiting anger openly to the person because of what they had done to you. I found out I was wrong. The definitions of the two words are as follows: Resentful is to feel or show displeasure or indignation at from a sense of injury or insult. A grudge is a feeling of ill will. Even though I had the two words confused, I was right in knowing neither one is good to have in your life. In Matthew 5 Jesus has this to say about grudges. 23 "This is how I want you to conduct yourself in these matters. If you enter your place of worship and, about to make an offering, you suddenly remember a grudge a friend has against you, 24 abandon your offering, leave immediately, go to this friend and make things right. Then and only then, come back and work things out with God. Got grudges, feel resentment? Get rid of them. Then you will be free to worship God in Spirit and Truth. He is so much more than a feeling. He is mighty to save, heal, and deliver. “For I am the LORD that healeth thee.” He heals of all things, even grudges and resentment.
I have a German Shepherd dog aka as Tootie. Tootie is a good dog for the most part. She fetches when told to fetch, she lies down when told to lie down, and most importantly she gets when she is told to “git.” Sometimes I believe even though her coat is black and tan that deep down she is blonde. There are some things in her world that she simply doesn’t get and I don’t suppose she ever will. How is it that you make a dog understand, (a blonde one at that), that shadows aren’t catchable, or fetchable, or “gitable?” Yes, it’s true she doesn’t chase cars, simply their shadows. If we walk across the yard, she chases our shadow. If a bee is buzzing around, she chases not the bee, but its shadow on the ground. Anything that moves, if the light is right to produce a shadow, Tootie chases it. The dog indeed is wasting her life away chasing “ungitable” shadows, but she seems to enjoy it. We, humans, are so much smarter than dogs. At least that is what most of us have been told, and what most of us seem to think, yet some of us do waste a lot of time on things that seem about as silly as what Tootie does. What about you, are you a shadow chaser? Things that have passed us by simply leaving a shadow behind usually aren’t worth the chase. We should fix our eyes on real “gitabe” things. As we move forward into our futures may we learn to get up and chase the real things that can really take us where we need to go. May we walk in the light as God is in the light and always obey Him and follow where He leads us.
A mother shopping at the store specifically only for mayonnaise and marshmallows was manipulated by little Miranda who was mesmerized by a huge display of multicolored maroon and mauve flip flops. Succumbing to Miranda’s pleas, and temptation itself, she purchased three pairs for Miranda and two for herself. Flip flops furnish a fabulous feeling of freedom like no other for feet. However, podiatrists warn flip flops may cause many slips and falls and permanent damage because of little support. In our everyday walk, we search for the fabulous feeling of freedom quite often. As we set out seeking only one specific thing, we often are manipulated and mesmerized by temptations calling to us. Satan the great manipulator sets huge multicolored displays everywhere we go. The temptations main purpose is to distract us from our original goal. We sometimes flip flop. When we succumb to temptation, satan offers no support as we slip and fall. The moral to this mesmerizing masterpiece: Remember why you are here in the first place. Don’t flip flop. Don’t be mesmerized and fall to satan’s manipulation. Permanent damage is possible.
Beneath a desk, a color, a crayon, paper torn, broken in half, lies lost. On the torn paper of the crayon are the words sea gr… Fill in the blanks what do you have? Sea gray? Of course not, even if the paper is torn with letters missing the color of the crayon is obviously green. Its’ true colors shine through even though it is worn and broken. How many letters did the crayon with missing letters write? How many seas of green did the sea-green crayon color? How many more are waiting to be colored? Someone, a human of some color, now will most likely pick it up and toss it in the trash. The crayon never again will have the opportunity to fulfill the purpose all colors are created for; to color. Humans of all colors sometimes become lost and broken. Other whole humans often look upon the broken and feel the only use for them is to be tossed aside, never again have the capacity to serve any purpose whatsoever. When we become broken is the time our true colors should shine through. Others should be able to see who we really are even though part of us seems to be missing. If you are broken, shine through the broken times. If you find someone broken, give them a chance.
Running on Empty
With gas prices rising, there are probably more gas hands closer to the E than the F than ever before. An empty gas tank is a dilemma we don’t like to face. Anything found empty instead of full usually produces some sort of inconvenience. Empty milk jugs and empty ice trays in the refrigerator produce headaches that cause us to reach for the Tylenol bottle that is also usually found empty. Alas, the burdens of this life we must deal with.
Is being found empty always a negative thing?
Very early one morning long ago some women went to the tomb of Jesus and found it empty. They were overcome with fear and confusion until an angel reminded them Jesus had told them on the third day He would rise again. Part of God’s plan was an empty tomb. If the tomb had been found full instead of empty where would we be now? Facing burdens and small inconveniences of empty containers are nothing compared to the enormous burdens our Lord Jesus Christ bore for us before He rose to leave the tomb empty that once contained His body. Thank God for the empty tomb.
Deep and Wide
Deep and wide, deep and wide, there's a fountain flowing deep and wide. Have you ever heard those words? On Easter Sunday, as I heard a group of children sing the song, I thought of how deep and wide God's love and forgiveness is for us. There are hand motions that go along with the song. Each child tried to make the deepest, widest, fountain possible. No matter how wide they spread their arms, or high they stretched, they could not adequately demonstrate the vastness of God's great flowing fountain of living water.
As the children's worship service came to a close, they were asked to sing Amazing Grace loudly if they knew the words. They knew the words and sang loudly. It was amazing. As they sang, God's presence flowed in the room. We felt how deep and wide God's love is for all of us. Listen closely and you can hear the sound of God’s fountain of living water flowing sweetly to cleanse us from all sin. IT flows to find the lost and open blind eyes. The fountain forever flows deeper than the ocean, wider than the sky.
A young boy waited on the school bus with his dog by his side. The yellow bus drove up. The dog walked the boy to the bus door. The boy patted the dog on the head to say good-bye. The dog went happily back across the street, head held high, practically leaping, and completely content to wait for his master's return. The dog though appearing to be abandoned and alone certainly didn't seem lonely.
Alone is defined as separated from others. Lonely is defined as a sad feeling of bleakness, or desolation. Lonely doesn't automatically happen when we are by ourselves. Feelings of bleakness and desolation don't have occurred when we seem to be abandoned by those around us. Maybe we could learn from the contented dog who appeared to be alone, but not lonely. We too can happily hold our heads high and be content. We can each take comfort in knowing we are never alone. God is always with us. He will never abandon us even during those times when feelings of loneliness try to surround us.
Getting Through It
The best way out is always through. ~Robert Frost
A young boy entered a maze, a house of mirrors. Every turn led to another mirror. While desperately searching for a way through, he repeatedly ran into his own reflection. The boy looked back for someone to help. There was no one. As he stared at himself in the mirror, he realized, he was on his own. It was up to him to find the way through. He had a pack of M & M’s in his pocket. He began to drop them one by one. Each time he saw a candy on the floor, he knew he had already tried that path and it was not the way. He continued to move on until he did find the way out. Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are. When you are asked if you can do a job, tell 'em, 'Certainly, I can!' Then get busy and find out how to do it.” Sometimes life seems like a bit of a maze. We search for others to help but realize ultimately, it is up to us to make it through. We must realize we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength, and knowledge and peace as well. Let’s get busy and figure this thing out. We can do it when we use what we have where we are. And remember, one sure thing we have with us always, even when we think we are completely on our own, is God. He will make a path for us and guide us through.
Nehemiah 4:6 We kept at it, repairing and rebuilding the wall. The whole wall was soon joined together… because the people had a heart for the work. The wall of Jerusalem was being rebuilt. The enemy heard of the progress and made every effort to destroy the work, but Nehemiah and his people continued working. They were told, "Don't be afraid of them. Put your minds on the Master, great and awesome, and then fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes." From then on half, the men worked while the other half stood guard with lances, shields, bows, and armor. Because of this massive choreographed effort, the operation was completed. The wall was finished on the twenty-fifth day of Elul. It had taken fifty-two days. Choreography isn’t all about dance, sometimes instead of dancing around trying to solve problems individually. We must work together, and choreograph efforts to complete massive undertakings. Don’t be afraid. The enemy can’t stop us when we put our minds on the Master. We must keep at it. We must have a heart for the work. Together we must defend our families, our homes, and our future.
Don't spend your time lookin' around-For something you want that can't be found when you find out you can live without it- And go along not thinkin' about it-I'll tell you something true-The bare necessities of life will come to you. Those are the last lines to the song Bare Necessities, a song from a Disney movie about a boy and a bear who lived the simple life. There is some truth in the song. It is not good to waste a lot of time looking for unreachable things we can live without. However, there are some bare necessities, such as food and water. We can’t live without which don’t necessarily come when we figure out we can’t live without them. In John Chapter 3 Nicodemus, who had many things he could have lived without, went in search of the truth. He found it hard to live without it. He was a wise ruler who thought a lot about it. He found Jesus who taught him what is necessary to be born again. He was told that which is born of the flesh is flesh and that born of the Spirit is Spirit. He was told whosoever believes in Jesus shall not perish but have eternal life. If Nicodemus had been satisfied with the life he had, been complacent, and not been thinkin’ and gone lookin’ for truth, his story might have been different. Today it is important to make sure we understand the basics of being born again. I’ll tell you something true, it is a necessity if we want eternal life. Jesus said, “Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
When the word compatible is typed into a popular search engine, 194,000,000 matches appear. The definition for the word: capable of existing together in harmony. One would assume this thing that is to exist in harmony would be people. However, most entries for compatible concern the harmonic existence of various types of computer components. Are we as a society no longer striving to find a harmonic relationship with a person, but rather making sure all our computer components are blissfully happy together? After an in-depth search, a site appears that searches for the answer to the question, “Is man’s existence in the universe compatible with the theory of divine design?” What? After extensive research, someone found the probability of the universe existing with the features compatible with our existence is prohibitively low and therefore necessitate a divine designer. In other words, (smaller words compatible with most human brains like mine) scientist figured out if it weren’t for God none of us would be too compatible with other people, computer components, and not even with the world itself. Scientist and all of us should be careful about how we use our words big or small. We could mess up a harmonious situation.
By our speech, we can ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos, throw mud on a reputation, send the whole world up in smoke and go up in smoke with it, smoke right from the pit of hell.
James 3:6 THE MESSAGE
Say It Ain’t So
On a TV weathercast, a meteorologist gave the forecast-gusty winds, hail, and maybe, just maybe an isolated tornado. Anyone who heard those words spoken most likely believed he was hopeful an isolated tornado might form. Of course, I am sure that isn’t really true, he seemed to be a nice enough guy. He just misused his words a bit, seemed to place the emphasis toward hoping for, instead of toward hoping against, toward the slim possibility of the negative, instead of toward the greater possibility of the positive.
How often do we as Christians find ourselves doing the same thing? If there is just a slim possibility of something negative, do we make that slim possibility seem to be something we are almost hoping for? We are called to be light to a dark world. We are called to be a positive charge in a negative world. The world is watching. When we are faced with a slight negative possibility we should strive to demonstrate hopefulness for the negative to disappear and the positive to appear. Just as negative things can be spoken into existence, they can also be spoken out of existence. Say it ain’t so. Use your words truly and well.