Archive for March, 2015

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How many times a day do each of us lie? A growing body of research shows that people lie constantly, that deception is pervasive in everyday life. One study found that people tell two to three lies every 10 minutes, and even conservative estimates indicate that we lie at least once a day.

Some of these are ‘white lies.’ You may tell someone their outfit is great when you think it’s horrible. You may tell your boss his/her development plan is super, when you hate it. You may say you won’t be at home when you’re supposed to help with a civic event you’re not in to. There are many, many white lies.

But there are huge lies, too, that hurt other people. We don’t like someone so we make up a degrading story about them. Or we cheat in school, or on the job, or in our marriage. And then, there are the politicians. Who doesn’t remember: I did not have sex with that woman!”

When we tell just one lie though, don’t we often have to tell another one just to cover up the first?
And of course, that can go on and on, and often does.

I’m posting the popular children’s song about the Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly. I taught my children and some of my grandchildren, that the song is about Lying. Tell a lie once,and you’ll have to tell another to cover up the first one. Another to cover the second lie, and another to cover the third, and on and on.

In the song, in order to get rid of the fly, the old lady swallows a spider, then to get rid of the spider, she swallows a bird, and so on. The refrain in this popular children’s song is: I don’t know why she swallowed the fly ( or spider, or bird, etc). Perhaps she’ll die.

That’s a little heavy. But smart adults know that lying can kill the soul–of both the person telling the lie, and the person the lie is told about. In the end the old lady swallowed a horse, and well….

So, I guess the moral is: Watch out for the first fly (or lie). Swat it before it gets out of hand!

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Gratitude is a big word, and far-reaching. Stretch it out–from one end of your life to the other–and consider when you’ve been grateful and when you haven’t.

When things go well for us, it’s easy to feel grateful. But think about those times in our lives when gratitude was absolutely not felt because we were hurt in some way; disappointed, or betrayed. It sounds crazy to be grateful for that, doesn’t it?

Think about how disappointment or betrayal has affected us. Think about how we hated it, how depressed we were, how we may have wanted to strike back. During those times, anything remotely resembling gratitude was dead and buried.

But then, how did those disappointments and betrayals change us? Did we only whine, “poor me?” Or did we become stronger?

Difficult times will produce action on our part. Those actions can be negative or positive. It’s our choice. In other words, we can continue to live and love, or we can kill of that part of ourselves with a pity party.

It may sound crazy, even a little sadistic, to say to yourself: Be grateful for this difficult time. But if we look ahead, past the pain we are experiencing, we can often see something new happening.

A woman in labor experiences trauma and pain, but she sees a new life coming, too. And she is grateful for that. Isn’t it possible to look at the painful traumas of our life in the same way? None of us enjoy pain; and why should we? Some may go through it with resignation, a stiff upper lip, but is that the best way? Or is the best way to be grateful to God for all the events of our lives?

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.–James 1:2-5

What is America to YOU???

Posted: March 27, 2015 in World On The Edge

May God Bless America.file000273024348

We are in desperate need of His blessing today!

Some of you are way too young to remember Frank Sinatra. I know from my parents that his songs helped get them, and many others, through World War II.

Below are the lyrics to one particular song Sinatra loved to sing–a simple song about simple American things that may soon be lost to us, unless we speak out. The song is “The House I live in.”

What is America to me?
A name, a map, or a flag I see
A certain word, democracy
What is America to me?

I sometimes wonder if we’ve forgotten what a great country our founding fathers came up with, how hard they fought for it. Why were individual freedoms so important to them?— Because they were being taken away by the greed of a controlling English crown.

The house I live in
A plot of earth, a street
The grocer and the butcher
Or the people that I meet

We still have the right to live where we want, not where a government tells us to live. But we are taxed on property as if the government owned it with us.

The children in the playground
The faces that I see
All races and religions
That’s America to me

Our children on school playgrounds are told now, what they can play and what they cannot play. And in school, our children are taught about a government imposed morality–that only parents have the right to teach at home. To say that our Religious liberty is at stake is more than an understatement.

The place I work in
The worker by my side
The little town the city
Where my people lived and died

Small business owners, like the grocer and butcher and many others, are being told what to do. They don’t run a small business except by government imposed standards.

The howdy and the handshake
The air a feeling free
And the right to speak my mind out
That’s America to me

Can we really speak our mind–even through our representatives? What happens to those who do?

The things i see about me
The big things and the small
That little corner newsstand
Or the house a mile tall

What do we see about us now? The strong values of America have weakened to the strength of a wet mop.

The wedding and the churchyard
The laughter and the tears
And the dream that’s been a growing
For more than two hundred years

The dream of America was Freedom. It’s being chipped away, one law at a time. Can you even decide your own healthcare?

The town I live in
The street, the house, the room
The pavement of the city
Or the garden all in bloom

States rights are practically nil today. The government bureaucracy has a finger in every state pie.

The church the school the clubhouse
The millions lights i see
But especially the people
– yes especially the people
That’s America to me

But here is the saving grace–THE PEOPLE–you and I. Our hands, our mouths, our votes. I pray we will not be fooled again. I pray that America is restored to the great and noble country she once was. I pray for a new day of Freedom—a day that truly is OF THE PEOPLE, and UNDER GOD, not the government.

file000683110228As human beings, we are drawn to beauty. Sometimes we yearn for it.

But what is beauty, really? What makes something beautiful?

Often, what is beautiful, and what is not beautiful, is defined for us through advertising: Beautiful people. Beautiful homes. Beautiful cars, etc.

Yet isn’t there something within us that realizes a deeper idea of what beauty is? And don’t we want that deeper idea as much, or more, than the beauty of superficial things?

Works of art–paintings, sculpture, literature and music–can be exceedingly beautiful. But before the art comes the artist’s desire to create a thing of beauty. And along with that is the artist’s desire to share it.

In every block of marble I see a statue as plain as though it stood before me, shaped and perfect in attitude and action. I have only to hew away the rough walls that imprison the lovely apparition to reveal it to the other eyes as mine see it.–Michelangelo

The greatest beauty in our human nature is our ability to love, and we share it by loving other people.

Except, maybe we’re living a difficult life with difficult people. It’s hard to find beauty then. So how do we do it? Can we create beauty for ourselves in our own lives, despite the circumstances?

We have that capability, and it comes directly from God. It comes as grace, and is present even in the ugliest aspects of life. A fire destroys the wood it is made of, yet the heat of the fire warms a room.

If we let go of our bitterness and look objectively at events in our lives–those tragic, or unfair, or hideously ugly events—we have the ability to see something changed within us because of the suffering we have endured, even if it has come close to destroying us. We may be stronger because of it. We may even reach out to help others going through similar situations because of what has happened to us. This is love. This is beauty that is not superficial. This is why a God who loves us permits suffering–and why He allowed His own son to suffer and die on a cross.

At times, life is a story of the Crucifixion—the ugly.
But life is also a story of the Resurrection–the beautiful.

When is The Right Time???

Posted: March 25, 2015 in World On The Edge
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There are times when I put things off–actually many times when I put things off–things I know I should do. But I talk my self out of doing it for some reason or another. One of the biggest things I put off is cleaning out drawers and closets. If I can squeeze one more item into a drawer, I see it as still ‘workable.’ Sometimes, I do that with my life, too.

But is ‘workable’ what I want? When is it time to turn ‘workable’ into ‘working like a charm?’ And who can do this, except me? And when is the time to do it, except now?

Behold, now is a very acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. 2 Cor 6:2b
Maybe you’ve put things off, too. And maybe those things have to do with your relationship with God.

Most of us want a loving relationship with God, yet we put a lot of “stuff” ahead of our personal attempt to have one.

But we can change that.

We can clean out the closets and drawers of our lives. Get rid of all that makes them ‘unworkable’ by tossing out our old and over-used excuses for keeping what is not genuinely beneficial to us. Even then, we may not have a perfect house (or self) but we will have a house that is ready.

When do we do this?

Well, since tomorrow is always ‘iffy’ for each one of us, Today must be the acceptable time.

Is today the right time for you?

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One definition of the word, situation is the way in which something is placed in relation to its surroundings. But often, when people talk about being in a situation, they usually mean that something important has gone bad in some way.

We all have those sorts of experiences. Some are social situations in which we don’t have enough confidence in ourselves. Maybe we are shy about conversing with others, afraid someone might be too critical of us.

Maybe our situation is that we’ve had a financial fall-out, and don’t know how to fix it.

Or it could be that we’re lonely, or sick, or even dying.

Maybe there’s a person we love, who doesn’t seem to love us. Or maybe we have an addiction, such as drugs or alcohol.

For many, there’s the situation of betrayal by a friend, or spouse.

In our life we will confront so many situations! Some are self-imposed, because all of us have choices, and often we choose wrongly. Some are thrust upon us through no fault of our own.

So how do we handle a harmful situation? Can we do it on our own?

Well, the answer to that is that we don’t have to do it on our own. Not if we have God as our partner in life. Not if we turn to him in all those situations listed above, even if they are situations we caused ourselves. God will help us through, if only we ask him.

Will our problem always be solved the way we want it to be solved? The answer is No.

But if God is involved, if we give our situation to Him, we can have peace, trusting that good will come from it, in a way we may not anticipate.

file000930862865How many promises do we make in a single day?

How many have we broken?

Sometimes the breaking is unavoidable. We make a promise to a spouse, a child, or a friend; then we have to work, we are ill, or something goes wrong with the car, and we just can’t follow through.

Sometimes we just don’t do what we mean to do, although we have the best of intentions.

Then there are other times when we promise serious things; yet we take our promise very lightly, or maybe we just get carried away by emotion or strong desire.

A promise is never one-sided. It always involves another. And when we give it, we give away a piece of ourselves. We make ourselves vulnerable in the giving of a promise because we are fallible human beings and that means we can fail.

And in our failure, we wound another.

Often, we feel terrible when we’ve broken a promise–especially one so important as a marriage vow. When that twinge of conscience moves in, it’s hard to ignore. We feel diminished. We haven’t done what we meant to do.

Some of us chastise ourselves. Some of us ask for forgiveness.

And if we’re the person wounded by the breaking of a promise, we might refuse to forgive betrayal.

Can we remember that we are made in God’s image? If we do remember that, then shouldn’t we act as if we are?

God keeps His promises. I will not violate my covenant
or alter the word that went forth from my lips. –Psalm 89:34

And God also forgives. Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.—Matthew 18:21-22