Sunday, May 29, 2016

Remember the Fallen

A reminder of the great sacrifices men and women (and their families) made to defend our way of life.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Diligent Discipline

My frustration level soared this morning when I stepped on the scales and learned that I was one-fourth of a pound--a mere four ounces--over the weight loss goal I’d been trying for months to reach. AAAARGH!

Prior to stepping on the scales, I’d said to my husband, who knew how disappointed I’d been every morning for the past week when the scales showed I was less than one pound over the goal, “Surely, I’ll make goal this morning. If I don’t, I’m going to quit!!!”

But before he had a chance to respond, I said, “No, I won’t! I’d be foolish to give up when I’m sooo close to the goal.”

I renewed my commitment to try one more day and one more get to the goal. And whenever I finally get there, I’ll say, “Wah-hoo!” and then set a new goal, one that’s five pounds lower than the current one. (Am I a glutton for punishment?)

Knowing I have a life-long tendency to abandon projects, even when finishing them is very doable, makes me even more determined to forge ahead with the disciplines required to reach my weight loss goal. I will remain diligent in regard to staying within calorie limits and getting adequate rest and exercise. As I continue to do what’s required to reach this goal, the stick-with-it mindset I’m forming will enable me to complete other projects, too.
A Bible verse I read this morning assures me there’s reward associated with stick-to-it-ive-ness. “The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance…” (Proverbs 21:5, ESV). Since diligent discipline does pay off, I’ll wait—in hope—for success.
Note: The following morning I was actually one-fourth of a pound below my goal. I felt elated over that, of course, but the real gladness came from knowing I could discipline myself--and had--and, in the process, had been kind to my body by giving it the the food, rest, and exercise it needs to stay healthy.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The Gift of "Daily Bread"

Elisabeth Elliot begins her book,  God’s Guidance: A Slow and Certain Light, with a phrase-by-phrase discussion of the words included in what is called The Lord’s Prayer or The Model Prayer, which is found in Matthew 6:9-13 and Luke 11:2-4.

Our Father, who art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done on earth
as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
And forgive us our trespasses
As we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil,
For thine is the kingdom,
And the power, and the glory forever.

In the section dealing with Give us this day our daily bread, Elisabeth points out that God not only created us to need what He gives, but He also wants us to recognize our need for His provisions by asking for them.  She says “bread” includes not only food to sustain our bodies but also, in a broader sense, all the things we need Him to supply, guidance being one of them.

Throughout the chapter dealing with the Lord’s Prayer, which He gave to His disciples as a model for them (and us!) to use, Elisabeth uses word pictures to clarify the principles in the prayer and help us to remember them. For example, in the Give us this day our daily bread section, she says she likes to picture, at the beginning of each new day,  the Lord presenting her with a platter containing all the things He knows is best for her for that day.

Since He always answers our  prayer for “daily bread,” we should gladly and gratefully receive whatever He provides. (See p. 25.) 

Tuesday, May 3, 2016


Three residents of the local nursing home had circled up in the lobby and were laughing as Reba talked about some of her experiences during childhood. I paused to listen to the lively account she was giving about a wreck she’d had when she’d taken a wild ride on a bicycle down a steep hill in her neighborhood. Then she told about the fun she and her siblings and friends had had decorating a tree house with all sorts of items, including a “borrowed” set of her mama’s best sheets.

Despite being wheelchair-bound, her voice was animated and happy; her eyes sparkled with long-remembered memories of good times. And we who were privileged to hear her wonderful stories laughed along with her, vicariously enjoying her experiences while recalling similar ones we’d had.

As I drove home, I wondered if the person who said, “God gives us memories that we might have roses in December” was referring to memories that flourish like summer roses in the gardens of our minds even as the winter season of our lives afflicts and weakens our bodies. 

Oh, Dear Reader, how blessed we are to be able to recall pleasant memories that provide a welcomed respite from wheelchairs and worries. 

In fact, the Bible reminds us to treasure memories of people and experiences and to thank God for them. It urges us to remember God and His love for us and His tender care of us through the years. (See Philippians 1:3, Deuteronomy 4:9, Luke 1:66, Jeremiah 2:2, etc.)

Remember the good times. Thank God for them. Tell others about them--and Him! 

Monday, May 2, 2016

Thank the Lord!

As another woman and I waited for the elevator, I smiled at her and said, “I hope your morning is off to a great start!”

Her pleasant expression became even more so. Her entire countenance radiated joy and gladness as she said, “The Good Lawd woke me up this morning!”

“And,” I replied, “aren’t we thankful He did?”

“Honey,” she said, “as soon as I open my eyes, I begin to thank Him for letting me live through the night and for letting me see another day!”

“We don’t always recognize how blessed we are, do we?”

“I know that’s right,” she said, nodding vigorously.

That’s all the time we had to talk, since we only rode the elevator down one floor. But in that brief time, we praised our Lord for His goodness to us, and I was reminded that praise doesn’t have to be complicated or lengthy. Even a few seconds of sincere praise and thanksgiving honors our Lord and encourages others along life’s journey.

Bless the LORD, O my soul,
And all that is within me, bless His holy name.
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
And forget none of His benefits.

~David, Psalm 103:1-2, New American Standard Bible

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Loving and Telling the Old, Old Story

The Sunday our congregation sang the hymn I Love to Tell the Story, I thought, Well, I surely do!

For example, when I’m writing (columns, articles, blog posts, greeting card messages) or when I'm conversing with friends, I often mention the same Bible verses again and again. I used to fret a bit about such repetition until I realized that although I am reiterating the old, old story of Jesus and His love, I’m telling about new circumstances in which I’ve experienced the reality of His love and am now, hopefully, enlightening and/or encouraging others by telling them about it.

As Katherine Hankey, writer of that beloved hymn, said,
I love to tell the story;
‘Tis pleasant to repeat
What seems each time I tell it,
More wonderfully sweet:

And, Dear Reader, it’s crucial that you and I tell others about Jesus and His love, since, as the hymn says,
For some have never heard
The message of salvation
From God’s own holy Word.

One of many Bible verses displayed in
Guido Gardens in Metter, Georgia
Thus, I am not ashamed of repeating scriptural truths. I pray that God will continue to allow me to sincerely tell the old, old story again and again--in fresh ways—so that others may also know it, believe it, love it, and tell it.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, 
for it is the power of God for salvation 
to everyone who believes…

~The Apostle Paul 
(Romans 1:16, English Standard Version)