Friday, May 25, 2018

We Lived, But Now We Lie...

Several years ago, a friend stopped by a day or so before Memorial Day. During his visit, we talked about many things, including the poems our teachers required us to learn when we were in elementary school (more than 50 years ago). 

"Did you have to learn 'In Flanders Field'?"I asked him.

Rather than give me a "yes" or "no" answer, he began to quote the poem: "In Flanders Field the poppies grow between the crosses row on row."

I tried to join him in reciting the poem. However, I dropped out of the recitation after I'd said the words above. He did, too, although he probably could have recited the entire poem word for word, since he has an incredible memory.

The following day, I searched the Internet for a copy of that poem. I found it, as well as information about who wrote what has become the world's most famous memorial poem. I learned that it was written by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae on March 3, 1915, the day after his friend (and former student) Alexis Helmer had been killed in the second battle of Ypres, Belgium. He composed it at the battlefront.

All the words evoked strong emotion, but the ones that stood out to me were these:
...short days ago 
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow
Loved and were loved, and now we lie in Flanders Field.

Yes, all too soon (from the human perspective), their lives had ended, as will yours and mine. Hopefully, they were prepared to meet their God. Hopefully, they honored Him and served Him and their fellow man during the days they lived. May that be true of us, as well.

One of the many sections of the Georgia National Cemetery in Canton, GA

To hear someone read the entire poem aloud, please click here:

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

One Future Day!

After talking about what a struggle it is to live a life that pleases and honors God rather than “self,” Amy Carmichael says, “There will come a day when He will say, ‘It is finished’... the I [the part of us that demands its own way] will be slain, never to come to life again; the soul will bloom as perfect as a flower” (p.122 in I Come Quietly to Meet You).

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Pray Earnestly!

Today is the National Day of Prayer, which has been observed annually since 1952. Even those of us who could not attend one of the many public observances throughout our country can still join with our fellow citizens in asking God to do a mighty work in America. 

Prayer is definitely a privilege, as well as a powerful way to positively impact the future of America. For example, the Bible says, "The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much [i.e., produces wonderful results] (James 5:16, NLT).

The writer of Psalm 33 points out, "Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people He has chosen as His own inheritance" (v. 12, NKJV).

The Bible also assures us time and again that God does hear and answer prayers whether they're offered by individuals or by groups of people. One of my favorite assurances is found in 2 Chronicles 7:14, NKJV, where God says, "If my people, who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land."

Let's pray earnestly and fervently--today and every day--for America to become the kind of nation God will choose to bless. Let's implore God to help us--individually and as a nation--to honor Him as our God and to seek to do whatever pleases Him.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

A Song of Praise


I made this collage while learning how to use new (FREE!) software I downloaded. As I worked, I thought about the words in Folliott S. Pierpoint's song For the Beauty of the Earth, which was published in 1864. 

For the beauty of the earth, 
For the glory of the skies,
For the love which from our birth, 
Over and around us lies:
Christ our God to thee we raise
This our hymn of grateful praise.
Amen.

Since those ancient words express the thoughts of MY heart whenever I see beauty all around me, I often personalize them in this way and use them as a prayer:

For the beauty of the earth, 
For the glory of the skies,
For the love which from my birth, 
Over and around me lies:
Christ my God to thee I raise
This my hymn of grateful praise. 
Amen.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Elevator People and Ball Carriers

Dr. John Maxwell says we need to find elevator people and ball carriers and then keep them near us as we strive to reach our goals.

Elevator people help us go higher than we could ever go by ourselves. I’ve been blessed with several of them through the years, as I hope you have. For example, a dear friend (Nancy) contacted a publisher in her town and said, “I think you need to run Johnnie Gaskill’s column in your magazine.”

He replied, “Ask her to email me some samples.”

I did. He liked them. Consequently, I’ve written monthly columns for him since 2008. Had it not been for my sweet elevator friend who believed in my work and promoted it, my writing would not be available to 40,000+ readers each month!

Ball carriers help us avoid “dropping the ball” in the first place; but when we do, they help us pick it up and resume running toward the finish line with it. Another dear friend (Linda) has been one of my ball carriers for over 50 years. She has helped me do many things I thought I could not do. She’s also been my go-to person for “all things grammar.”

I thank God for Nancy and Linda and for every elevator person and ball carrier God has brought into my life. I’m trusting Him to keep me well-supplied with them. I’m also looking to see who needs me to be an elevator person or a ball carrier for them.




Sunday, April 22, 2018

Little Changes

Need to make some changes? I certainly do—lots of them. SIGH. Thus, I often feel overwhelmed to the point of giving up--or never starting at all.

Thankfully, I found encouragement today while reading a couple of emails from Nick Stephenson in which he says that even a 1% change each day will yield a 100% improvement in only 72 days (thanks to compound growth).

I’m no math genius, but I do know that one percent of anything isn’t much! For example, if I’m currently averaging 1000 steps a day, taking only 10 additional steps today, and just a few more than that the next day, and so forth, will eventually enable me to reach my step goal.
Another example: Years ago, a friend said, "Every night I remove all the coins from my pockets and place the money in a jar. By Christmastime, I've saved over $700."

Marla Cilley (aka FlyLady) also recommends taking “baby steps.” She says, "If your house is a mess and/or your life is in chaos, shine your sink every night before going to bed. Even that one small action step will motivate you to make other little changes." As we work toward reaching our goals, let's keep this FlyLady quote in mind: "We seek progress, not perfection."


All the folks mentioned above have learned that little changes, done consistently, do make a difference. We don’t need to “do the math” for every change. All we have to do is take a few more action steps toward various goals each day. We can do that! So...let’s get going!
And though you started with little,
you will end up with much.
~Job 8:7, NLT