The Shifting Sands of Change

Yesterday was a big day in America. A new president was inaugurated. People from everywhere turned out to welcome him. Yet for all that it is worth, there is great fear amongst many people. Fear that everything will go wrong and nothing good will come of it. Because of this fear, people were acting out. But what I saw was that the people are more afraid of the fear than what is actually happening. Did you know that during the American Revolution, only 1/3 of all the people were for independence from England? 1/3 of the people really didn’t care and the other 1/3 wanted to stay with England. Yet when the English troops treated everyone the same, as combatants, the majority of the people began to fight for freedom. We, as a people, are together in all that happens to this country. There is no separating this group or that group. What happens to one, happens to all. It has been our strength in every conflict that has beset us. The change in this country will affect us all. In 1941, President Roosevelt’s state of the union speak was about the four freedoms. It was the freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want and the freedom from fear. He said that everyone all over the world should enjoy these freedoms. But we can only enjoy these freedoms when our government is of the people, by the people and for the people. That happens when the majority of people stand up and are counted on to fight for freedom.

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In the Eye of the Beholder

There is a saying, that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. It is that perception is individual. Our thoughts and memories make up our perception. We prize beauty wherever we find it. I know that I have found beauty in some real odd places, from garbage dumps to grand gardens. I am always looking for beauty because I never know where I might find it. I love to watch birds. They are some of the most elegant creatures on this earth. The sparrow is one of the smallest bird and it is quite beautiful. Their feathers have so many shades of brown. It is one of the bravest birds I have ever seen. The sparrow will attack a hawk to protect its nest. God knows how many feathers each sparrow has. Also, He provides food for each and every bird. And if God provides for the birds, would He not provide for us each day? God has unlimited provisions for us. And all He wants is to make sure that we have what we need. I was speaking to a very nice person and mentioned that I was a Christian. You would have thought take I hit her with a hammer. Why she was afraid I don’t know. But God wants to provide for everyone. God created us to live in His world. Even when Adam and Eve sinned and were cast out of the Garden of Eden, God provided for their needs. God sees beauty in us all. He created us and God doesn’t create junk. Maybe we need to see through the eyes of God to see the beauty that He created.

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Anticipation

You have heard that old saying that absence makes the heart grow fonder. It is all about anticipation, waiting for things to happen. We are now in the X Generation, where everything happens now. But is that such a good thing? Do we have to have it on demand? Or can we wait to receive it? I appreciate the speed of the internet. But I don’t need anything faster than I can think. And I don’t need anything that will think for me. Anticipation builds excitement. I can remember waiting for Christmas to come and the presents under the tree. It gave me an appreciation of what I had received. I started working when I was 13 years old. I was in high school, had homework, played sports and a job. I worked 6 days a week. I always had money in my pocket. I worked at the same job all through high school. In college, I took 12 hours a semester and worked 40 hours a week. I appreciated what I had. And one other that anticipation does, it builds character. It especially builds patience in us. A trait that we all need. Why am I talking about anticipation? Well, I have been without a house to live in since I lost mine in the floods of August in Louisiana. We are about to purchase a house and the finance company is dragging their heels. I would like to turn a blow torch their way, but that wouldn’t build patience in me. My wife and I are within days or possibly hours of purchasing a home. But I know I will appreciate our new home.

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Frustration

It is one of our emotions, that we need but don’t want. Emotions are part of our lives. We are born with them and use them all of lives. They can be overpowering if we aren’t careful. But there is a real purpose to them. Left uncontrolled, the emotion in our lives can led to every kind of violence and even death in our lives. But when they are controlled they make us stronger as a human being. And that is the real purpose for them. We are made in the image and likeness of God. That means that God, Himself, has emotions. Do you not think that God gets upset with us when we do not do His will? God holds in His hand the power to create and destroy anything in this universe. If He would forget about us at any time, we would disappear forever. Do you know why the bible warns us not to fall into the hands of God’s anger? The flood recorded in the bible was about God’s anger. But the salvation of Noah and his family is about God’s love and mercy. But my frustration level has been growing in the past few months because of things that have happened to me, especially the flood. I have been holding them in check with the help of God’s love and mercy. And hopefully the fruition of my efforts will appear with the purchase of a new home. There are some days I want to scream and howler because I am so frustrated. But I know that releasing my emotions at the wrong time doesn’t help anyone. So, I will rely on the love and mercy of God to control not only my emotions and my life but the finally outcome of my life on earth.

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Taking Courage

We as a people have honored many for their courage. We look at courage as a wonderful attribute that we must have. We all want to be courageous. When we were, children playing, we were policemen, firemen, soldiers, generals, princes and people who we thought were worthy. We look at the founding father and see the courage it took to establish a nation. Courage doesn’t only happen on a grand scale. There is a young woman at the church I am attending, who only has one hand. She is on the worship team, singing in front of everyone. That is courage. There was an old woman who was rescued by the Lord from the worst part of her city. She chooses to go back into that part of the city that even the police won’t go. She said that someone needed to share the truth of God with those people. This is courage. I know parents that worked all their lives providing for the family and not realizing their dreams. So, that their family would have a chance to live a better life. This is courage. Then there are people who gave their lives, physically and spiritually, to change the world. Taking courage isn’t about not doing something. It is about doing what it takes, against all odds, to change your life and the world’s. I want close with this quote. “that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”  This is courage.

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Seeing Clearly

I didn’t wear glasses until I about 40 years old. I tried for a long time not to get glasses. Both my parents wore them and I knew I would eventually. I would always take care of my eyes. Especially not to strain them in low light or in bright light. I always had sunglasses. But it really doesn’t matter how well you take care of your eyes. If your family has that weakness in their eyes, it is a real possibility that you will need glasses. So, when my arms were just too short to read any more, I got glasses. I still take care of my eyes, because loss of my sight would be devastating. I brought a computer program to be able to speak to the computer. The only problem with the program, is that I have to teach the computer to speak. Computers are wonderful tool, but they are as dumb as their owners. But back to my story. Seeing clearly is something that you have to work on all your life. When you are young, it is taking care of your eyes. Then as you grow up, it is understanding who you are and what your purpose is in this world. I know some very smart people who are as blind as bats. They can’t see farther than their noses. And I know people who are totally blind and see into eternity. The difference has always been God. My eyes were opened when I came to the Lord and He forgave me. You want to see with clarity, then let God open your eyes to the truth. Then you will be able to see clearly.

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Looking for the New

For a long time, I was always looking away for the new thing to appear. I was never really satisfied with what I had. It was madding, because I was never happy with what I had. Even though, I would have something really good. It is a character flaw in mankind. We all share this flaw and must overcome the effects of it. If we want to be happy with ourselves and the people around us, we need to work on this. It creates in us a self-loathing and very destruction life cycle. When I was in college, I tried to fill that void with alcohol. Other people use any and every thing to fill up their lives. I began to search for the answer to this problem. I don’t know if I was not smart about it or just stubborn. But it took me the better part of 10 years to find the answer. And from my side of it, I stumbled into the answer. Although, I was lead carefully to the answer. And even when I was staring into the face of the answer, I couldn’t see it. These 2 men took their time and began to carefully explain it to me. Even though, they weren’t talking directly to me, they were. It took 3 months of listening to them to explain the solution to me. I finally came to the understanding, that I was a sinner and separated from God. When I turned to God and asked Him to forgive me, I finally felt worthwhile. Then began my walk with God and the understanding of what He did for me. That God sacrificed all so I would become one of His sons. I don’t look for the new anymore, because I became the new creation.

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Pressure Cooker

Not everybody has used a pressure cooker. Nor does everybody know what it is. My mom used hers all the time. Her mother, my grandmother, taught her to use one. It is funny that high schools don’t have home economics any more, especially cooking classes. I never took a home economics class, but I could cook better than my wife when we married. I still think I can cook better, but that’s another story. But using a pressure cooker used to be a tricky thing. Because if you didn’t use it right, it could blow up in your face. Today’s models have all kinds of safety equipment on them. The cookers are now electronic and fairly easy to use. I can jams and jellies and want to get a good commercial unit to use. Anyway, getting back to the pressure cooker, I find that a lot of people are placed in pressure cooker. This happens to find out what is inside of them. You will never know what kind of or how much pressure you can take until you are in the situation. Also, you will find out what kind of person you are when the pressure comes. I have seen people who were even tempered blow up at pressured situations. Most people aren’t willing to get into a pressured situation, so God places us in them. God isn’t being mean to us, but wanting us to find out what is in our heart. It doesn’t mean that I’m going to run into the lion’s den. But if I am called upon, I am willing. For God says that our trials of our faith are more precious than gold.

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Another Day in the life of

It is easy to forget just how human we are. When you think, you have it made, everything turns south and goes aria. Then you want to scream and howl. But it not always what you want or expect. And things can build in your life, even when you aren’t looking. It can sneak up on you and pow right in the kisser. When that happens, it is up to you on what you will do. Will it press your buttons and exploded in your face? Or is there another way out of the mess? To err is human; to forgive, divine. My son brought his little dog to the vet. Without telling him, they pulled 8 of her teeth. When he went back to pick her up, he got the stupid surprise. I know that he wanted to yell and scream at these people. He was angry and rightly so. But he talked to vet, who surprisingly enough didn’t know they did this. The vet sent him home with medicine for our little dog. Today, I got another major surprise that sent me over the edge. I was angry beyond belief and refused to talk to God. But I have lived long enough to know to expect such circumstances. But sometimes it is just hard. I am glad that God is patient with me and He loves me despite my stupidity. If I turn my back on God, where will I go? What will I do with my life? There is no other place I would rather be than in the presence of God. And so it is just another day in my life.

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A Picture is worth a 1000 words

What do people see when they look at you? As they say a picture is worth a 1000 words. I was in the grocery store the other night. When I came to the check-out lane, there was an older lady giving the cashier trouble. The cashier was trying very hard to be nice to the women. But nothing pleased her. When the lady was through checking out, she grabbed some extra bags off the rack. She didn’t ask for them. The cashier was visibly upset with the woman. What the cashier saw was an irritating, old woman with no manners. What I saw was a woman who didn’t trust anyone. She was full of pain and wanted everyone to feel it. I don’t know if she caused or not. But who she was screamed out to everyone. What do people see when they look at you? When I started walking with God, He had me to minister to the socialably unacceptable people. It was the derelicts, drug addicts, drunkards. All the people ordinary people wouldn’t associate with. They didn’t smell good. They weren’t pretty. They wore tattered clothes. But what God wanted to show me was who they are. I had to look beyond the smell and dirt, to see a person. A person who had a heart that was in pain and didn’t or couldn’t get free from it. Then He showed how to reach those people. We like the nice, neat and tidy people who don’t cause too much trouble. So, what about the rest of the world. What do you see when you look at people? Can you see their hearts? Or do you just ignore them and become self-involved? What do people see when they look at you?

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