Just Call Me Mule

>> Monday, April 30, 2012

Since I no longer ride behind my husband on the motorcycle, I have become very useful to the motorcycle club. I love to drive … and enjoy spending time outdoors … even camping in a tent. Attending a motorcycle rally in a beautiful part of the country allows me to do all of that … and more.  

They call me their mule.  

If I am attending a rally, then my car is used to haul stuff … tents … sleeping bags … chairs … and other varied and assorted items. I meet with the group early in the morning … we have breakfast … and then my car is loaded with their things. I wave goodbye as they head out … and climb in my car for some fun time for me.  

They like the twisties … and I like straight and fast … works out just fine.  

Two weeks ago, my mule status changed to a more personal one. Attending motorcycle training, my husband fell … landed on a large rock … and bruised his hip. It’s hard to carry things when walking with a cane. So guess who carries them.  

I’m a versatile mule.  

My Bible tells me I’m to be another kind of mule … carrying another’s burdens to help lighten their load. The Message Bible puts it this way: “Stoop down and reach out to those who are oppressed. Share their burdens….” We all have cares and worries, but sometimes they become overwhelming.  

That’s when the Christian mule steps in.  

“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2 (TNIV)


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Tornado Country

>> Saturday, April 28, 2012

In the distance, the clouds lit up with lightening … but no thunder rolled. My husband and I sat on our patio enjoying one of the first warm enough evenings to sit outside. As we talked, the flashes of light grew brighter and closer.  

And then we heard the first peal of thunder.  

“If I still lived in Kansas, now is when I would start being afraid … and looking for shelter. I’m sure glad I don’t live in tornado country any more.”  

Perfectly at peace about the storm building outside, I went to bed. The next morning at the gym I heard snatches of conversation about the storm. At work, co-workers talked of the wind … pouring rain … blinding lightening flashes … and cracking thunder. The morning paper had pictures of trees on houses … and a trampoline that had been moved from one back yard to the roof of the house next door.   

I slept through it all.   

As a Christ-follower, I can relate to this scenario. Before I understood who God is … I lived in perpetual “tornado” country … never knowing when one was going to hit. My life was full of wind, pouring rain, blinding lightening and cracking thunder … all designed to make me fearful of God and the destruction He could cause in my life.  

But I’ve moved from “tornado” country … into the peace of God’s love … where I rest securely.


“So God’s rest is there for people to enter…..” Hebrews 4:6a (NLT)


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Children are Quick

>> Friday, April 27, 2012

Teacher: Glen, why do you always get so dirty?

Glen: Well, I’m a lot closer to the ground than you are.


Teacher: Why are you late?
Student: Class started before I got here.


Teacher: John, why are you doing your math multiplication on the floor?
John: You told me to do it without using tables.


Teacher: George Washington not only chopped down his father’s cherry tree, but also admitted it. Now, Louie, do you know why his father didn’t punish him?
Louie: Because George still had the axe in his hand.


Teacher: Dick, how do you spell ‘crocodile’?
Dick: K R O K O D I A L
Teacher: No, that’s wrong.
Dick: Maybe it is wrong, but you asked me how I spell it.


Teacher: Donald, what is the chemical formula for water?
Donald: H I J K L M N O
Teacher: What are you talking about?
Donald: Yesterday you said it is H to O.


Teacher: Winnie, name one important thing we have today that we didn’t have ten years ago.
Winnie: Me!  

(Author Unknown)


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Moment of Truth

>> Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The nippy nights are a faded memory … little green buds are poking up from the ground and on the tree branches.  

Spring is here.  

Which leads to that awful moment of truth … will they still fit?  

Each change of season brings with it the changing of the clothes … from ones that will keep you warm for ones that will help you stay cool … or the other way around. Last weekend was my time for sorting … placing some in a Goodwill pile … and others in a container to await their turn next winter.  

And each change of season I dream of trying them on … and low and behold … they are just too big. Yet for several seasons that hasn’t happened. Standing on the scales ahead of time told me they would fit just like last year.  

But one can always hope … and change eating habits.  

As I sorted through my clothes, my mind wandered back to my life the last time I took these clothes out. Had there been any change in my attitudes … my relationship with loved ones … in my walk with Christ … in the last year? Or am I just the same size?  

And there is always that awful moment of truth when I step on the scales of guidelines for Christ-followers … the Bible … and check out my progress. Just as some years the clothes are a little (or a lot) too tight … sometimes I fall far short in representing Christ. 

But I can do more than hope for a difference next time. I can change my habits … work on my attitudes … and ask for God’s help.  

One day it will be my last moment of truth.


“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’” Matthew 25:21 (NIV)

  

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The Folded Napkin

>> Monday, April 23, 2012

My research tells me this is fiction, but it’s such a nice story I’m posting it anyway. The last sentence is not fiction … but fact.


Why did Jesus fold the linen burial cloth after His resurrection? I never noticed this. The Gospel of John (20:7) tells us that the napkin, which was placed over the face of Jesus, was not just thrown aside like the grave clothes. The Bible takes an entire verse to tell us that the napkin was neatly folded, and was placed separate from the grave clothes.  

Early Sunday morning, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. She ran and found Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved. She said, 'They have taken the Lord's body out of the tomb, and I don't know where they have put him!'  

Peter and the other disciple ran to the tomb to see.. The other disciple outran Peter and got there first. He stooped and looked in and saw the linen cloth lying there, but he didn't go in. Then Simon Peter arrived and went inside. He also noticed the linen wrappings lying there, while the cloth that had covered Jesus' head was folded up and lying to the side.  

Was that important? Absolutely! Is it really significant? Yes!  

In order to understand the significance of the folded napkin, you have to understand a little bit about Hebrew tradition of that day. The folded napkin had to do with the Master and Servant, and every Jewish boy knew this tradition. When the servant set the dinner table for the master, he made sure that it was exactly the way the master wanted it. The table was furnished perfectly, and then the servant would wait, just out of sight, until the master had finished eating, and the servant would not dare touch that table, until the master was finished.  

Now if the master were done eating, he would rise from the table, wipe his fingers, his mouth, and clean his beard, and would wad up that napkin and toss it onto the table. The servant would then know to clear the table. For in those days, the wadded napkin meant, 'I'm done'.  

But if the master got up from the table, and folded his napkin, and laid it beside his plate, the servant would not dare touch the table, because..........  

The folded napkin meant, 'I'm coming back!'  

He is Coming Back!  

(Author Unknown)


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Scorpions

>> Saturday, April 21, 2012

A post on Facebook caught my attention. A friend was having problems with scorpions … on their living room floor … and then on their necks. Instantly I was transported back to my time spent living in Stinnett, Texas.  

We, too, had scorpions.  

At the age of three, my daughter was taught to turn her house shoes upside down and shake them before she put them on in the morning. Scorpions loved to sleep there (or whatever they did in there). Checking for scorpions became a way of life … one I did not enjoy.  

As a Christ-follower, I’ve had to learn about shaking off the scorpions … pride … judgmental attitude … busyness … and the list goes on. These attitudes sneak up on you unawares … while you are sleeping. It’s not enjoyable to have to check for those scorpions, but very necessary. And if I miss a day … it just might be that very time one has shown up. Not only do I need to be aware of attacks on me personally, but if I love others I also want to warn them.  

Certain species of scorpions have the capability of killing a human being. Certain attitudes can cause grave damage to my spirit … and could be fatal if allowed to continue.  

It can be difficult and time consuming to control scorpions … but it can be done. First you have to thoroughly clean your home. There are insecticidal dusts or sprays that finish the job. I love it that one of the insecticide products is called Demon WP.  

When checking for spiritual scorpions … first I must clean house. It’s amazing what I can find in the corners. But I pull out my Demon WP … better known as the Holy Spirit … and do a little spraying.  

Works every time.  

Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will injure you.” Luke 10:19 (NASB)


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WD-40

>> Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The driver's side door hinge on my car needed to be oiled. But when I was getting in my car, that wasn't a good time to stop and oil it. When I returned home ... tired from work ... or with groceries ... that wasn't a good time either.  

So I put up with the noise and that it was hard to open. Plus there is the fact WD-40 really stinks.  

It was time for an oil change. I scheduled the appointment ... took the car by Meyer's Auto Tech ... waited the allotted time for the work to be completed ... paid my bill ... and walked to my car. With my hand on the door handle, I gave a giant pull on the door. If I had been standing any closer to the car, my legs would have received damage. The door swung open smoothly and completely. The odor of WD-40 reached my nostrils.  

They had oiled my door.  

Once in the car, I easily pulled the door shut. I would have to get used to that. But I quickly forgot. When I got home, I opened the door ... and almost fell out of the car. The heavy door swung smoothly to its widest point and just pulled me right out.  

It’s been a few days now. I’m adjusting. Sometimes I smile as my door opens silently and swings open wide. Why did I put up with such annoyances for so long?  

But in real life, I’ve done the same thing.  

It’s so much easier to put up with the irritations … people who drag you down with their negativity … ones who prefer to play the victim … others who think God put them in charge … than to confront. It’s just never the right time. Besides it really stinks to get in someone’s face and speak the truth.  

But as I’ve discovered who I am and who God wants me to be, I’ve learned about tough love. Sometimes others have no idea how they come across. Some make it very clear they like being that way. But at least I’ve done my part … sprayed some care and love on them.  

Thank goodness for God’s love … and WD-40.  

I'm not writing all this as a neighborhood scold just to make you feel rotten. I'm writing as a father to you, my children. I love you and want you to grow up well, not spoiled.” 1 Corinthians 4:14 (MSG)

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Jigsaw Puzzles

>> Saturday, April 14, 2012

Jigsaws puzzles are such fun … and I’m good at them. They come in all shapes, sizes and cuts … as in some of them are not interlocking. Those pieces just slide together … and they are the most difficult. When my daughters and I get together to spend a week … we work puzzles … and make memories.  

Imagine my delight when I discovered I could work puzzles on my iPad.  

There are rules for putting together a puzzle. First you put all the edge together. That builds the framework for your picture. And of course, you must have in front of you the picture of what the completed project is to look like. This helps you group colors and patterns … enabling you to work on small sections that you can then join together to make a bigger section.  

Before you know it, your puzzle is complete.   

Life is just like that. But not everyone understands about the framework for their existence. No one told me … therefore it was impossible for me to make sense of all my pieces. The picture of the completed project I had in front of me was all one color … and none of the pieces were interlocking. I would think I had a piece that worked and it would slide to a different spot.  

I spent half my life trying to put that puzzle together.  

Then I discovered the correct framework … in a book called the Bible. As I read its words, the completed picture came forth. One color was about loving … another about forgiving. Patterns emerged for parenting … marriage … and even growing old.  

I’ve completed several sections … and am working on joining them together … to enable me to become more like Jesus.


“So come on, let's leave the preschool fingerpainting exercises on Christ and get on with the grand work of art. Grow up in Christ. The basic foundational truths are in place: turning your back on "salvation by self-help" and turning in trust toward God; baptismal instructions; laying on of hands; resurrection of the dead; eternal judgment. God helping us, we'll stay true to all that. But there's so much more. Let's get on with it!” Hebrews 6:1-3 (MSG)


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Substitutes

>> Tuesday, April 10, 2012

It was time to do laundry. As I gathered the dirty clothes, I noticed my pajama top had been removed from the stack ready for washing … and was now across the room. Weird. The minute my hand touched the fabric I knew something wasn’t right. It was wet. Upon examination I discovered a large hole.  

Charlie.  

Charlie is such a good dog … but he loves to chew. He had lived with us for a year and never chewed on any clothing before. I completed my laundry duties and dropped the whole issue. It was too late to discipline him now. Apparently he just had a random urge at that moment.  

As the days passed, I began to notice little pieces of hard black rubber on the floor. I searched through the house to see what might be coming apart … and even extended the searching to the yard. I came up empty.  

This morning, after eating my breakfast, there … under my chair … was a little piece of hard black rubber. Where were these pieces coming from? I’m not sure what drew my attention to my house shoes. They had a hard rubber bottom. And sure enough, the whole toe area on one of them was missing. I keep my house shoes on a lower shelf in our walk-in closet …not exactly just lying around.  

Charlie.  

What was wrong with him? He had gone out of his way to find my house shoes. As I pondered what had changed in his life I realized we had deprived this chewing dog of his toy bones … one that we kept in each room … to satisfy his chewing need. They had been destroyed by his strong teeth … and I had found no replacements at the store. Our out-of-town daughter had purchased some new ones for him and I was meeting her in a few days. He could do without that long, couldn’t he?  

Apparently not.  

Humans are like that. As a foodoholic, I understand the need to search for a substitute for that three-layer chocolate cake. People are constantly searching for alternatives for their addictions. Others seek a replacement for their spouse … one that will make them happy.  

Just as Charlie used my pajamas and house shoes for his need to chew, we (as human beings) have a need … an empty spot … that we are born with. Some people search their whole lives … using one substitute after another … trying to fill that empty spot.  

Christ is the only answer. Substitutes just won’t do.  

“That is why whoever accepts and trusts the Son gets in on everything, life complete and forever! And that is also why the person who avoids and distrusts the Son is in the dark and doesn't see life. All he experiences of God is darkness, and an angry darkness at that." John 3:36 (MSG)

  

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An Appointment in Samarra

>> Saturday, April 7, 2012

As I walked on the treadmill this morning, my pacing feet had trouble keeping up with my ricocheting thoughts. It’s Good Friday … strange name for the day they crucified Jesus … but He knew He was going to die … so do I … but He knew when … I don’t … wonder which is better.  

In the obituaries, almost daily, the newspaper tells me people I know … and some I love … are dying. As I near the age of 70, it’s happening more and more often. We all have the same appointment.  

Sometimes we try to outsmart death.  


On Chuck Swindoll’s podcast this morning, he told a story that triggered my thoughts of death, which I’ll relay as best I remember.  

In ancient days, a man asked his owner’s permission to travel to Baghdad on some errands. While there, the man saw Death standing in the marketplace. Death looked right at him and made some threatening gestures. Terrified, the man returned to his owner and begged permission to travel to Samarra for a time. He explained he had seen Death … been threatened … and wanted to avoid her.  

Permission was granted.  

Later that day, the owner also went to Baghdad … and saw Death in the marketplace. He confronted her about her threatening gestures … and how terrified his slave had been.  

“Oh, those were not threatening gestures. They were expressions of surprise. You see, I have an appointment with him tonight in Samarra.”  

Jesus knew when His appointment was … where it would happen … and how He would die. Yet He did not travel to Samarra to avoid it, but willingly placed His life in the hands of His enemies.  

He did that for me … and you.  


“They nailed him up at nine o'clock in the morning.” Mark 15:25 (MSG)  

“From noon to three, the whole earth was dark. Around mid-afternoon Jesus groaned out of the depths, crying loudly, "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?" which means, "My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?" Matthew 27:46 (MSG)

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Judas Asparagus

>> Friday, April 6, 2012

In the beginning, which occurred near the start, there was nothing but God, darkness, and some gas. The Bible says, 'The Lord thy God is one,' but I think He must be a lot older than that. Anyway, God said, 'Give me a light!' and someone did.  

Then God made the world.  

He split the Adam and made Eve. Adam and Eve were naked, but they weren't embarrassed because mirrors hadn't been invented yet. Adam and Eve disobeyed God by eating one bad apple, so they were driven from the Garden of Eden.....Not sure what they were driven in though, because they didn't have cars.  

Adam and Eve had a son, Cain, who hated his brother as long as he was Abel. Pretty soon all of the early people died off, except for Methuselah, who lived to be like a million or something. One of the next important people was Noah, who was a good guy, but one of his kids was kind of a Ham. Noah built a large boat and put his family and some animals on it. He asked some other people to join him, but they said they would have to take a rain check.  

After Noah came Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Jacob was more famous than his brother, Esau, because Esau sold Jacob his birthmark in exchange for some pot roast. Jacob had a son named Joseph who wore a really loud sports coat. Another important Bible guy is Moses, whose real name was Charlton Heston. Moses led the Israel Lights out of Egypt and away from the evil Pharaoh after God sent ten plagues on Pharaoh's people. These plagues included frogs, mice, lice, bowels, and no cable. God fed the Israel Lights every day with manicotti. Then he gave them His Top Ten Commandments. These include: don't lie, cheat, smoke, dance, or covet your neighbor's stuff.  

Oh, yeah, I just thought of one more: Humor thy father and thy mother.  

One of Moses' best helpers was Joshua who was the first Bible guy to use spies. Joshua fought the battle of Geritol and the fence fell over on the town. After Joshua came David... He got to be king by killing a giant with a slingshot. He had a son named Solomon who had about 300 wives and 500 porcupines. My teacher says he was wise, but that doesn't sound very wise to me.  

After Solomon there were a bunch of major league prophets. One of these was Jonah, who was swallowed by a big whale and then barfed up on the shore. There were also some minor league prophets, but I guess we don't have to worry about them.  

After the Old Testament came the New Testament.  

Jesus is the star of The New Testament. He was born in Bethlehem in a barn. (I wish I had been born in a barn too, because my mom is always saying to me, 'Close the door! Were you born in a barn?' It would be nice to say, 'As a matter of fact, I was.') During His life, Jesus had many arguments with sinners like the Pharisees and the Republicans.  

Jesus also had twelve opossums. The worst one was Judas Asparagus. Judas was so evil that they named a terrible vegetable after him. Jesus was a great man. He healed many leopards and even preached to some Germans on the Mount. But the Republicans and all those guys put Jesus on trial before Pontius the Pilot. Pilot didn't stick up for Jesus. He just washed his hands instead.  

Anyways, Jesus died for our sins, and then came back to life again. He went up to Heaven but will be back at the end of the Aluminum. His return is foretold in the book of Revolution.  

(Author Unknown)


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Mom's Empty Chair

>> Wednesday, April 4, 2012

A woman's daughter had asked the local minister to come and pray with her mother. When the minister arrived, he found the woman lying in bed with her head propped up on two pillows. An empty chair sat beside her bed. The minister assumed that the woman had been informed of his visit.  

“I guess you were expecting me”, he said.  

'No, who are you?' said the mother.  

The minister told her his name and then remarked, 'I saw the empty chair and I figured you knew I was going to show up.'  

'Oh yeah, the chair,' said the bedridden woman. 'Would you mind closing the door?'  

Puzzled, the minister shut the door.  

'I have never told anyone this, not even my daughter,' said the woman. 'But all of my life I have never known how to pray. At church I used to hear the pastor talk about prayer, but it went right over my head. I abandoned any attempt at prayer,' the old woman continued, 'until one day four years ago, my best friend said to me, 'Prayer is just a simple matter of having a conversation with Jesus. Here is what I suggest.  

'Sit down in a chair; place an empty chair in front of you, and in faith see Jesus on the chair. It's not spooky because he promised, 'I will be with you always'. 'Then just speak to him in the same way you're doing with me right now...'  

'So, I tried it and I've liked it so much that I do it a couple of hours every day. I'm careful though. If my daughter saw me talking to an empty chair, she'd either have a nervous breakdown or send me off to the funny farm.'  

The minister was deeply moved by the story and encouraged the old woman to continue on the journey. Then he prayed with her, anointed her with oil, and returned to the church.  

Two nights later the daughter called to tell the minister that her mama had died that afternoon.  

‘Did she die in peace?' he asked.  

‘Yes, when I left the house about two o'clock, she called me over to her bedside, told me she loved me and kissed me on the cheek. When I got back from the store an hour later, I found her. But there was something strange about her death. Apparently, just before Mom died, she leaned over and rested her head on the chair beside the bed. What do you make of that?'  

The minister wiped a tear from his eye and said, 'I wish we could all go like that.'  

(Author Unknown)


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