A Jar and Two Beers

>> Wednesday, August 31, 2011

When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough ... remember the mayonnaise jar and the two beers.

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.
The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous 'yes....'

The professor then produced two beers from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.

'Now,' said the professor as the laughter subsided, 'I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things---your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favorite passions---and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car. The sand is everything else---the small stuff. If you put the sand into the jar first,' he continued, 'there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls’.

The same goes for life.

If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you. Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness.

Spend time with your children.
Spend time with your parents.
Visit with grandparents.
Take your spouse out to dinner.
Play another 18.

There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal. Take care of the golf balls first---the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the beer represented. The professor smiled and said, 'I'm glad you asked. The beer just shows you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of beers with a friend.

(Author Unknown)



>> Tuesday, August 30, 2011

It came in the mail … an envelope with the word URGENT! in red letters on the outside. Did I win the lottery? No … I hadn’t played. So just what was so very urgent? Should I rip the envelope open … in anticipation of some wonderful news that would change my life?  

No such news. I was being told my magazine subscription was about to expire … a magazine I had already decided to not renew.  

In today’s world we throw words around like … super … awesome … urgent … but they just don’t live up to the hype they proclaim. Super means very large or powerful. When is the last time you had a very large or powerful experience? How many events in your life can you truly say were awesome … which means extremely impressive or extraordinary?  

And then we get to the word urgent … that started this whole blog. I would think something that needed immediate action … which is the definition of the word urgent … would not be sent by snail mail. A few days later, when that envelope was placed in my mailbox, was it still urgent?  

There is a time and place to use words like these. When my daughter skated through a plate glass window and lay bleeding on the concrete … the word urgent applied. And those working over her body understood the urgency.  

Pastor Chuck Swindoll says the only time we should use the word awesome is to describe God. If you’ve met Him, you understand. I think the word super fits God too. But in my day to day life, as I work around the house … or go to work … I truly don’t fix awesome meals or do a super job.  

When God gets involved … well that’s a whole different story. I’ve experienced some very large and powerful changes in my life … that are extremely impressive and extraordinary. When I hit bottom, I turned to God and He took immediate action.  

He understands the meaning of the word urgent.  

“You, God, are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you,
my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land
where there is no water.” Psalms 63:1 (NIV)


I Love My Attorney

>> Monday, August 29, 2011

After living what I felt was a 'decent' life, my time on earth came to the end. The first thing I remember is sitting on a bench in the waiting room of what I thought to be a court house. The doors opened and I was instructed to come in and have a seat by the defense table.

As I looked around I saw the 'prosecutor.' He was a villainous looking gent who snarled as he stared at me.. He definitely was the most evil person I have ever seen. I sat down and looked to my left and there sat My Attorney, a kind and gentle looking man whose appearance seemed so familiar to me, I felt I knew Him.

The corner door flew open and there appeared the Judge in full flowing robes. He commanded an awesome presence as He moved across the room I couldn't take my eyes off of Him. As He took His seat behind the bench, He said, 'Let us begin.'

The prosecutor rose and said, 'My name is Satan and I am here to show you why this man belongs in hell.' He proceeded to tell of lies that I told, things that I stole, and in the past when I cheated others. Satan told of other horrible perversions that were once in my life and the more he spoke, the further down in my seat I sank. I was so embarrassed that I couldn't look at anyone, even my own Attorney, as the devil told of sins that even I had completely forgotten about.

As upset as I was at Satan for telling all these things about me, I was equally upset at My Attorney who sat there silently not offering any form of defense at all. I know I had been guilty of those things, but I had done some good in my life - couldn't that at least equal out part of the harm I'd done?

Satan finished with a fury and said, 'This man belongs in hell, he is guilty of all that I have charged and there is not a person who can prove otherwise.'

When it was His turn, My Attorney first asked if He might approach the bench. The Judge allowed this over the strong objection of Satan, and beckoned Him to come forward. As He got up and started walking, I was able to see Him in His full splendor and majesty. I realized why He seemed so familiar; this was Jesus representing me, my Lord and my Savior.

He stopped at the bench and softly said to the Judge, 'Hi Dad,' and then He turned to address the court. 'Satan was correct in saying that this man had sinned, I won't deny any of these allegations. And, yes, the wage of sin is death, and this man deserves to be punished.' Jesus took a deep breath and turned to His Father with outstretched arms and proclaimed, 'However, I died on the cross so that this person might have eternal life. When he heard my word, he repented of his sins, he confessed that I am the Son of the Living God, and believes that I rose from the dead, so he is Mine.'

My Lord continued with, 'His name is written in the Book of Life, he tried the best he could to live according to my will and no one can snatch him from Me. 'Satan still does not understand yet. This man is not to be given justice, but rather mercy.'

As Jesus sat down, He quietly paused, looked at His Father and said, 'There is nothing else that needs to be done. I've done it all.'

The Judge lifted His mighty hand and slammed the gavel down. The following words bellowed from His lips.....'This man is free. The penalty for him has already been paid in full. Case dismissed.'

As my Lord led me away, I could hear Satan ranting and raving, 'I won't give up, I will win the next one.'

I asked Jesus as He gave me my instructions where to go next, 'Have you ever lost a case?' Christ lovingly smiled and said, 'Everyone that has come to Me and asked Me to represent them has received the same verdict as you, ~Paid In Full.'

(Author Unknown)  

Just as the Son of Man came not to be waited on but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many [the price paid to set them free].” Matthew 20:28 (AMP)


I Didn't Tell Her

>> Saturday, August 27, 2011

Her real name was Eva. But somehow that just didn’t fit … so she was called Ernie. She came into my life when my husband and I became friends with her son and his wife. As our friendship grew, we were included as family on many occasions. How special that was to me, having been raised with a mother who didn’t seem to know how to smile. Ernie smiled.  

Halloween was always a costume party. One year she and her children came dressed in wedding clothes (I don’t remember whose wedding they had worn them to). We’ve watched the Super Bowl together … accepted as part of the group. And always eating … wonderful food … prepared by family.  

She and her husband were the true patriarch and matriarch of that family line. I loved being around them. They laughed and loved and cared about each other. With her children, grandchildren and eventually great-grandchildren enjoying life all around her, she would sit … observing. But she was never idle. Her hands were always busy with a knitting project.  

Just over a month ago, once again, I sat beside her in the shade by the swimming pool at her son’s home. I had been told her cancer had returned (but I hadn’t been aware she had it before) and that this time the treatments would be easier. She wouldn’t get so sick and her hair wouldn’t fall out. But cancer was not mentioned that day. We talked of life and love and happy things as her fingers flew … working on the ever-present project.  

She gave no indication her life was in serious trouble.  

That’s why the text this morning saying she passed away last night was such a shock. My thoughts bounced around in my head. What will Bob do (her husband)? What can we do? And in between all those other thoughts, one came repeatedly. I never told her … that she was my role model for being a mom … a grandma … a great-grandma … and for facing the challenge of cancer without any grumbling or seeking pity.  

I didn’t tell her.  

And so I’m left to work through that. But if there is someone you want to say something to … do it.  

“Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” James 4:14 (NIV)


Humorous Church Signs

>> Friday, August 26, 2011



>> Thursday, August 25, 2011

I stood on the front porch of my home ready to greet my guest who was just climbing out of her car. While I waited, I turned to look at the two landscaping grasses I had planted a few weeks before … checking to see how they were doing. Looking good, I thought.  

With a wave of my hand, I welcomed my friend. As we walked in the house, my mind returned to that grass plant closest to the house. There were two colors of green in there. Was that right?  

Plant forgotten, we spent some time visiting. But again, as I was saying goodbye at the door, my eyes broke contact with hers and returned to the plant. That’s when I spied it. In the center of that decorative grass was a weed … a big one. It was as tall as the plant, but camouflaged by its stems and fronds.  

I had to pull hard to remove it.  

As an overeater, I have a lot of practice with camouflage; a bowl of ice cream eaten with a friend because it would be rude to say no. Eating everything on my plate at the restaurant … even though I am full … because I would be wasting money if I didn’t. And then there are those starving children in China my mother told me about. I needed to eat for them too.  

For others, it’s not food. A drink with a friend leads to another one. But you don’t have a problem with drinking … you are just being friendly.  

There are many ways to camouflage an undesirable habit. Sometimes it takes another person to point them out.  Other times we just have this little feeling in the back of our minds that something is just not quite right. But when we finally spy the problem, we need to take action.  

We have to pull hard to remove it.  

Sin is like that too. It comes camouflaged in many designs. That’s why we read our Bible and have other Christ-follower friends. We then can see the camouflage for what it is and deal with the issue.  

But if we turn to Christ, we don’t have to pull hard to remove it. He does that for us.

“It happens so regularly that it's predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God's commands, but it's pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge. I've tried everything and nothing helps. I'm at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn't that the real question?

The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does.” Romans 7:21-25 (MSG)


Sad Day

>> Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape.  

He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as: Knowing when to come in out of the rain; Why the early bird gets the worm; Life isn’t always fair; and Maybe it was my fault.  

Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don’t spend more then you earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge). His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place.  

Reports of a six-year old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student.  

Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children. It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or an aspirin to a student; but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.  

Common Sense lost the will to live as the churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims.  

Common Sense took a beating when you couldn’t defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault.  

Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.  

Common Sense was preceded in death by his parents, Truth and Trust, by his wife, Discretion, by his daughter, Responsibility, and by his son, Reason. He is survived by his four stepbrothers; I Know My Rights, I Want It Now, Someone Else Is To Blame, and I’m A Victim.  

Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone. If you still remember him, pass this on. If not, join the majority and do nothing.  

(Author Unknown)


Which One is Real?

>> Tuesday, August 23, 2011

“Just rest your chin right here. Now lean forward so your forehead touches here. Look at the chart in front of you and tell me which row you can read.”  

“Which chart? I see two.”  

That’s how my visit to the eye doctor went last week. I’ve been having trouble with my vision for a few weeks … and it seemed to come on suddenly. So I asked for an “emergency” appointment. I already knew I was seeing double … not side by side … but one above the other.  

“Ok, tell me when they come together.” And I waited and waited for that to happen. “Are we getting close?” I had to tell him one was overlapping the other, but half of the chart was still hanging out there.  

Finally there was only one. Then we could begin to work on the new prescription for my lens.  

In our world today, there are many religions. Instead of seeing double, we can see a myriad of options to worship … and the object of that adoration has many names. In essence, the leader holds a chart before his followers and asks them to focus their vision on his version of what is right.

Sometimes we ask which chart.  

For years I tried to adjust my vision to a chart held up by my leader … a chart that only vaguely resembled the Bible. But since it was the only chart I had ever seen, I read all the lines with gusto. I had 20/20 vision.  

In my 30’s, I began to have conversations with other people about my chart. That’s when I discovered the plethora of charts in the world. Was mine the real one? I visited several churches (doctors) as I tried to make sure my eyesight was ok. I waited and waited for my vision to come into focus.  

Then came the day my quest ended as my eyesight merged into one belief … which I could see clearly. I could read all the lines … and had 20/20 vision.  

His name is Jesus … and He is the perfect prescription for vision problems.

“…..and asked, "Do you see anything?"

He looked up. "I see men. They look like walking trees." So Jesus laid hands on his eyes again. The man looked hard and realized that he had recovered perfect sight, saw everything in bright, twenty-twenty focus…” Mark 8:23-25 (MSG)


How Did We Ever Survive?

>> Monday, August 22, 2011

First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they carried us.

They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can, and didn't get tested for diabetes.

Then after that trauma, our baby cribs were covered with bright colored lead-based paints.

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets, not to mention, the risks we took hitchhiking.

As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags (not to mention any air conditioning!) Riding in the back of a pick up on a warm day was always a special treat.

We drank water from the garden hose and NOT from a bottle.

We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and NO ONE actually died from this.

We ate cupcakes, white bread and real butter and drank soda pop with sugar in it, but we weren't overweight because we were always outside playing.

We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on.

No one was able to reach us all day. And we were O.K.

We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.

We did not have Play Stations, Nintendo's, X-boxes, no video games at all, no 99 channels on cable, no video tape movies, no surround sound, no cell phones, no personal computers, no Internet or Internet chat rooms. WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them!

We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no lawsuits from these accidents.

We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever.

We were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays, made up games with sticks and tennis balls and although we were told it would happen, we did not put out very many eyes.

We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just yelled for them!

Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment. Not one parent sued to get their son on the team. Imagine that!!

The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!

This generation has produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever! The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas.

We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned HOW TO DEAL WITH IT ALL! And YOU are one of them! You survived your youth. Imagine that. 

(Author Unknown)


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