Thursday, October 30, 2014

Talking heads

Tis the season of political ads. They have been especially prolific on television and some are getting very old and tiresome. Very tiresome. I know some people are muting the political commercials. It does no good to change the channel because nearly every station is carrying the same ones. It's like they follow you around and the talking heads just keep spitting out the nasty messages.

I'm all for the political process and I vote in nearly every election because I cherish our rights to take a stand and count in the decisions being made. I even went so far as to run for a county position back in my younger and less wise days.  There were no television ads to buy, thankfully. My budget wouldn't have supported it and my target audience wasn't watching any one station. I used one-on-one contact by going door to door, attending all the community parades that year of centennials, spoke at many club meetings, and tried a couple of newspaper ads. I lost but gave it a pretty good try.

"I can do all this through him who gives me strength" (Philippians 4:13 NIV).

My campaign was far different than those running the ads on TV this fall.  I'm not sure I've ever seen such vicious attacks and use of half-truths, exaggerated photos, figures from thin air, and fabricated stories that give such a misleading messages by both sides of the races. It's really sad to see the lengths the candidates have gone to to try to win the election.

I'm hoping the winners are Christians and they can remember the words from Matthew 5:11-12 NIV: "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you."

What bothers me most is thinking of what good the money they spent on ads could have done if used in another way.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Football Season

I love football. I love a great play - a great pass or a wow of a touchdown. I don't get everything that happens so I ask my son and husband a lot of questions. But I especially love watching my grandson play football.

Calvin (grandson age 14.5) played his last freshman football game on Friday night.  It wasn't a good game to end the season on. They lost significantly. But Calvin played a great game so it was still a fun game for me to watch. It didn't matter to me that they lost. It mattered to Calvin. He was crushed.

A freshman football game isn't like an NFL game where you have television commentators, video replays and commercial time outs. There are volunteers running the line markers with slightly paid coaches, and referees dressed in black and white but with questionable certification, or so it seemed this night in particular.

I don't know if the other team's players were just way better, bigger and faster. I don't know if our coaches just weren't calling the smart plays we needed to win. I don't even know if the referees' calls were slanted to the home team or not. I know our quarterback threw several passes that were way off mark and their team seemed to know our every play. Bummer. And we never knew what they were going to do, it seemed.

So our players were sad and disheartened. They did their best and still lost and next year they play on junior varsity, never getting to erase the loss by a win. These boys will ache for a while then gradually move on to the next sport season and strive for wins there.

Paul reminds us that all things are considered loss compared to what is really important - knowing Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:8-9 NIV: "What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ --the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith."

Thursday, October 23, 2014


"Jesus is the same yesterday and today and forever" (Hebrews 13:8 NIV).

Today is the only day we have to live. It's the only day we can use now. What you didn't do yesterday can't be changed now. What you want to do tomorrow may not happen. Today is all we have. So, how will you use your today?

I can pray today. I can encourage today. Today can be a beginning or an end. I can communicate today. I can accomplish today. I can meditate today. I can give, today.

"But encourage one another daily, a long as it is called Today" (Hebrews 3:13 NIV).

I can listen today. I can console today. I can be the person God needs me to be today. I can be the face of Jesus to someone today. I can reach out or I can hide away. There is no other like today. We can't relive it or erase it. We can only use today, today.

"Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one" (Matthew 6:9-13 NIV).

Thank you Lord God for Today.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Fall Harvest

When I was a child my daddy farmed his land with equipment that would be considered primitive by today's standards. Nevertheless I remember the excitement of harvest season. Sometimes I would get the chance to go along to the field and sit atop a small wagonload of corn or soybeans as it waited to be unloaded in turn. The grain filled my shoes and pockets as I felt its slick surfaces slide through my fingers.

Farmers wait expectantly with patience for the crops to mature. It is a wonderful time of year when farmers finally reap the harvest they sowed months before and cared for all summer long. Fields are filled with crunchy brown crops that are ready for harvest.

"I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest" (John 4:35b NIV).

I love watching the huge machines slowly glide over the crops like a vacuum eating them cleanly off the soil as the heavy cloud of dust hovers over and around the combine. Their silhouettes look like dinosaurs creeping along the horizon or in the dark like UFOs that have suddenly landed with their blinking lights.

The crisp air is heavy with dust as the tractors and wagons carefully follow the huge beasts across the fields, ready with perfect timing to transfer a load and transport it to a waiting semi tractor or nearby bin. It's a far cry from the harvests I experienced as a child. But the blessing of a bountiful harvest is still the same joyous occasion.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Birth Days

I wonder how many people take time to think about their mothers on their birthdays. Today is my husband John's birthday and I'm taking time to think about his mother. There would be no birthday without a birth day and a mother laboring hours for a baby. Thank you, Donna. I'm thankful for your hard work 61 years ago.

"To the woman God said, 'I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you'" (Genesis 3:16 NIV).

John's mother was a lovely and very private person and unfortunately I don't remember any stories she shared about that day. She was a dedicated and loving mother and she had great pride in her children and grandchildren. John was the second born and had a loving big sister who helped lead him through childhood.

Birth days are unforgettable to mothers. The experience is so powerful and the process so painful that the memory seldom fades away, except for the pain part. It's surprising how quickly we forget the pain and move on to delight in the precious life God has given us. Life began on the birth day and it's no wonder we celebrate such a blessed event each year, at least as children and until adulthood. Mothers remember the special days but as adults there comes a point when birthdays don't seem so special any more. Instead they are reminders of growing older. Then around 80 the birthdays become days to celebrate once more!

"How great is the love the Father has lavished on us that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!" (1 John 3:1 NIV).

Monday, October 13, 2014

Living in a Cloud

It's a foggy morning and I can only see a portion of what I usually view from my windows. It's like living inside a cloud. I'm so thankful that every day is not like this. Fog encompasses you with its gloom and prevents the sun from coming through. Fog is dangerous to drive in. It makes me very nervous when I can't see at intersections. I roll down my windows and turn off the radio and try to listen hard for approaching traffic. When it is quiet, I venture out to make my turn. Mostly it takes faith to move forward cautiously when you can't see what is around you.

When I'm safely inside I think about how God is like the dense fog. When you seek Him, He is close to you, surrounding you with His presence, sheltering you from the evil that lurks in dark alleys. His voice is quiet but strong; He speaks right in your ear with warm words you understand. His voice is calming and tender, yet bold and straightforward. His arms hug you tightly until you are relaxed and feel greatly loved. That's what it's like to be with God. The world is closed out and you alone are His.

"Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him" (Hebrews 11:6 NIV).

I want to please God with my eager pursuit. I seek Him with faith. I believe in Him. I want to live in the cloud of God where I'm protected from the world and its evil. I want to rest in His loving arms and absorb all that He can teach me.  And mostly, I want to experience His rewards.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Car Wash

It's nice to have a clean car so I went through the car wash the other day. My car was layered with brown mud all around from a few too many trips down a muddy gravel road in recent weeks. It looked terrible and it probably wasn't very safe as the mud covered the taillights. Now it is shiny and clean and I can see out of the windows without looking around the bug spots. I know it won't stay clean for very long but I'll enjoy it while it lasts.

The inside of our car stays fairly neat and clutter free but it gets a layer of dust and the floor mats gather mud and rocks or sand. I do a pretty good job of keeping the inside cleaned up so we can pick up our guests without embarrassment. I've found it is easier to take off each layer one at a time, rather than a heavy accumulation, whether it is litter or mud.

Although the following scripture sounds like it's talking about washing dishes, the meaning goes much deeper. Maybe you can apply it to washing cars, too, but Jesus is really talking about the heart.

"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean" (Matthew 23:25-26 NIV).

Jesus was angry when he said these words to the Pharisees. His time on earth was getting short and he wanted the teachers of the law to see the wrong they were living. His message speaks to us, too. We can become complacent and lazy and forget the ways we are supposed to live. We drive around in dirty cars and honk at someone when instead we should clean up our act and live the life of a true Christian.

Maybe the sight of a car wash can serve as a reminder to clean up our insides first.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Shine Your Light

"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand and it gives light to everyone in the house, In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven" (Matthew 5:14-16 NIV).

These verses must have inspired the Sunday school song, "This Little Light of Mine." Many of us remember the words to that song and have shared it with our children and grandchildren. "This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine." But do we really let our lights shine?

We received a new flashlight last evening. It is a pocket flashlight with an amazingly bright light. Only about three inches long, the flashlight shines a strong beam clear across the room. It's a great way to bring light into the darkness of night, removing the fear of the unknown and making your steps sure and safe.

As believers, Jesus told us we are the light of the world. It is our task to shine our light brightly so it reaches everyone in the room. Let them be touched by the warm glow that shows your love for others, not so we can be admired, but so God can receive the glory. Let your light direct the attention of others to our Father in heaven. "Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine."

Thursday, October 2, 2014


I'm easily excited. Monday as I walked to the mailbox I passed under our pin oak tree. I saw something on the ground and looked closer. Baby acorns! Tiny little caps and corns were scattered around the trunk. The body of the acorns are green and the little caps are brown.  As far as I know this is the first year our tree has produced acorns and our resident squirrel is just as excited as I am.

We planted this tree about 10 years ago and have watched it grow and mature a little each year. It's a beautiful picture perfect tree; tall and perfectly proportioned for a pin oak tree. Its leaves are changing colors from green to a deep red and it holds them all winter long. It has endured several strong storms unscathed and has quietly provided a shady area where our sheep like to seek coolness to rest.

I watched the squirrel maneuver the young branches yesterday, gathering acorns as quickly as he could. I would guess there aren't any acorns left on the ground, except for the little caps. He only travels a few yards to his home in the old maple across the lane. Making trip after trip, he's preparing for the winter ahead.

Guess that's a sign that we should be preparing for winter also. Harvest is underway by the farmers and the squirrels. May we pause to view the many wonders of the harvest season and give thanks to God for them all.

"I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that men will revere him" (Ecclesiastes 3:14 NIV).