Recently, I watched a video that placed about five or six children, individually, in a room to learn their responses. Each child was asked what one gift they desired for Christmas. That one gift was placed before each one of them. Each child was then asked what one gift was wanted for the family. The answers were given to the facilitator. The family gift was placed beside each child. The catch was that each child had to pick ONE gift. They all picked the family gift. They each were asked why and they shared that family mattered most. The outcome was that the children were given BOTH gifts. They were so happy. Their parents were in another room and when their children joined them expressions of love and hugs flowed. That video nearly moved me to tears. It was so precious to observe how those kids chose and shared why. It’s a wonderful thing that not all family members are biological. We have friends and blended folks who are family.Continue reading »

September 13th, 2015, Dateline NBC ran a story about four teenagers all suffering from the effects of bullying. Two girls, two boys, each had issues with low self-esteem and a lack of confidence. They all became quite reserved and self-conscious about their physical appearance. Their parents could not talk them out of this gloomy world. A solution needed to be found. The solution became the main topic of the program. An organization in New York City offers young people the opportunity to have cosmetic surgery to repair facial aberrations. Parents send in an application for their child to be chosen to have a surgery they could not otherwise afford. Doctors and consultants look over each application, which includes a personal letter and photographs of the applicant. If chosen for the program, the applicant is flown out to NYC to have the surgery at no cost to them. The main focus of the program was not solving the problem of bullying, but how those who are bullied handle the problem. DoesContinue reading »

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Elemental Gifts from God — Part One

Air circulates
and feeds us vital sustenance —
Wind whistles,
and breezes are generated
by the air distribution from God —
I sit here now observing
the air movements on tree leaves —
Birds land in the safety of the branches —
Oh, what a view

Water properties
provide countless benefits —
Our thirsts are quenched
Our food is cooked —
Rivers, streams, oceans and seas vibrate
with the abundant gift of water

Ah! The tranquility that’s resident
in water views, touches and sensations —
It puts out fires
It pours, rains, drips and floods —
Water ebbs and flows
Tides in, tides out

We play in water and
breathe the splendor of air —
We refresh in water and
frolic in the wind-filled air movements —
Gentle air breezes caress our beings
Ah, the pleasures of such company

Water drops from the sky
in drizzles, and torrents —
Yes, raindrops speak to
and contribute much that sustains us.

Air and water live together
They jointly thrive and move —
Dual gifts that give us vital flavor
and additions to our varied journeys

Appreciation swells and goes forth
bountifully to God — the Creator and Generator
of the elements — air and water.
Yes, those cherished gifts to us, indeed.

Thank you!

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Gratitude

Daylight gifted us
with yet another wake up call —
Once again, God expressed,
“Let there be light.”

Our eyes opened
to capture the newness
of this morning —
We inhale and exhale
intact with the pulse
of our precious beings —
Thoughts of gratitude
are ideally in place

Appreciative postures
add to our journeys —
Truly, God inhabits
the praises and thanks
that pour forth
from the multitudes
of loving and grateful people

We wax nostalgic
humbly remembering
the gratitude gems
in our treasure “chests” —
We joyously add
to the jewels contained inside —
Our travels in gratitude
have multiplied who we are within —
better “instruments” in tune
with our Creator who loves and respects
postures of love and thankfulness

Gratitude adds personality flavor
It’s a good fit on any model –
Yes, suitably, it works in a crowd
but does solid solo appearances, as well

Thankfulness is heart healthy
head wise
soul stirring
and in sync with
the plans and purposes of God Almighty.

Plentiful salutes to gratitude
and the rewards that accompany it.

Someone once mentioned to the evangelist D.L. Moody that he was considering starting a “No Worry” club. “Are you using the Bible as the foundation for your club?” Moody asked. “The Bible?” the man seemed incredulous, “of course not; I don’t need God.” “How, then, will you overcome your fears?” Moody asked. “It’s simple. I just refuse to worry.” “And that works?” “Well, eh…Most of the time. I am still learning.” Moody smiled as he placed his hand on the man’s shoulder and said, “Friend, Jesus already started a ‘No Worry’ club 2000 years ago. You don’t need to start your own. You can just join His club. Jesus said, “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”   When people don’t have faith there is precious little for them to hold onto when things go wrong. They cannot comprehend why such trials befall them.Continue reading »

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Rest

“Wagons” are circling
in whirlwinds of uncertainty –
We choose to rest

Family member hospitalized
mystery surrounds us –
We choose to rest

Military duties call away
our offspring
unclear what to expect –
We choose to rest

Job prospects don’t
deliver as promised
Back to ground zero –
We choose to rest

Pastor resigns
most didn’t see it coming –
We choose to rest

We act from God’s guidance
doing what’s deemed fit and best
while we rest in the everlasting arms
of our Creator who gives rest
to whosoever will — let us come
to rest.

Jesus says in Matthew 11:28 – KJV, Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

Yes, rest — indeed.

I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Psalm 119:11 When David sinned with Bathsheba and was finally exposed by Nathan the Prophet, he said, “against you and only you have I sinned” speaking of and to God. But what about Uriah? And Bathsheba? Didn’t David sin against them also? Breaking God’s law/commandments is sinning against Him. Is it true then when we break a rule that we are sinning against God and God alone? If a friend who draws me into an argument, and in anger says things that are hurtful, hasn’t he sinned against me and therefore, owes me an apology? If he does not admit to or recognize his behavior as sin, isn’t he in my debt? Not necessarily. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Romans 12:19 Consider this carefully. I know the Bible also talks about sinning against others and makingContinue reading »

A jack of all trades but a master of none? What’s that? Science fiction writer Jack Heinlein gave us his definition. He said, “A man should know a bit about everything, but he doesn’t need to be big and important to be happy. He just needs to know the basics. It’s the small matters that count. For example, any man should be able to change a diaper, and should know how to plan an invasion. He needs to know how to slaughter a pig, how to steer a boat and what is needed to build a house. He should be able to keep the books, make a movie, write a book and set a broken bone. He needs to comfort the weak and the dying, listen to commands without offense and leads his men into battle. A man needs to be able to work alone and should also be able to work in a group. Specialization is not necessary. That is the work of insects.” *** How do we measureContinue reading »

But Samuel replied, “What is more pleasing to the LORD: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams.1 Samuel 15:22 (NLT) Samuel told King Saul that God said to attack the Amalekites and completely annihilate them including the women, children, and animals. The battle was waged and the Israelites attacked the Amalekites, just as God had commanded. Unfortunately, they also kept the King of the Amalekites and the best of the animals. As a result, God sent Samuel to deliver the message to Saul that since he had not obeyed, God was removing him from the throne. When Samuel calls Saul on the carpet about not destroying everything, Saul claims he saved the best animals to sacrifice to God. So first he partially obeyed, which is basically saying “I will follow Your instructions, but only the part I want to.” It is the same as the temptation of Eve. God saidContinue reading »

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Friendship Delights – Part Two

Days ago in Rest in Hope, I posted Part One of “Friendship Delights” that shared about the bond of David and Jonathan, the son of King Saul. Another favorite bible friendship story is that of Naomi and Ruth. Naomi’s two daughters-in-law, Ruth and Orpah became widows, as did Naomi. After her husband passed, returning to her homeland, Judah, was Naomi’s mission. Orpah and Ruth told Naomi that they’d go with her to her people. Naomi discouraged them both, but Ruth persisted. She said to Naomi these words from the book of Ruth 1:16 – KJV, “. . . Entreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God:” How touching is that love, loyalty and devotion?

Naomi convinced Orpah to return to her kinfolk, but Ruth refused to be deterred. Off she went with her mother-in-law to a destiny of which she likely had no foreknowledge. Upon reaching and settling in Judah, Ruth listened to her mother-in-law’s wise and timely advice. Subsequently, Ruth gained Boaz as a husband and he gained a jewel of a wife. Ruth conceived and birthed Obed, the father of Jesse, the father of David. Little known is that, according to the genealogy in Matthew 1:5, Rahab, the harlot, — Joshua 2 — was the great-grandmother of David.

Ruth 4:18 – KJV:

Now these are the generations of Pharez: Pharez begat Hezron, and Hezron begat Ram, and Ram begat Amminadab, and Amminadab begat Nahshon, and Nahshon begat Salmon, and Salmon begat Boaz, and Boaz begat Obed, and Obed begat Jesse, and Jesse begat David.

Matthew 1:5 – KJV:

. . . And Naasson begat Salmon; and Salmon begat Booz of Rachab; and Booz begat Obed of Ruth; and Obed begat Jesse; and Jesse begat David the king.

Note: The spellings of the subject names differ in the Old and New Testaments.

I end this with a salute to my nearest and dearest best friend, Arnetta, who has passed on, but memories of her remain solidly in my heart. Ours was a proven and treasured friendship — indeed. The photo that accompanies this piece is of Arnetta and I from “back in the day.”

Abortion has been a topic that has stirred passionate responses from antiquity. While this is a medical process, the procedure often combines the ending of life with severe brutality- for both the unborn and the mother. While technology has made the procedure quicker in the modern era, the methods are frighteningly similar to those used in more ancient periods. One of the most renowned Church Fathers was Tertullian, living around 200 AD. Abortion and infanticide were practices the ancient world knew well and he spoke strongly against them. He said: “Among surgeons’ tools there is a certain instrument that is designed with a nicely-adjusted flexible frame for first of all opening the uterus and then keeping it open. It also has a circular blade, by which the limbs within the womb are dissected with careful, but unflinching care. Then a copper spike is driven into the unborn to take its life. From this infanticide method, some gave it the name, ‘Killer of the Infant’.” Tertullian, in another article, writes: “Are youContinue reading »