Scorched Earth

I have been hearing the phrase “scorched earth” since 1991 when the Iraqi forces set fire to the oil wells in Kuwaiti.  Black smoke filled the skies leaving an apocalyptic feel to the observer.

According to Wikipedia.org, this phrase is defined as:

“A scorched-earth policy is a military strategy that aims to destroy anything that might be useful to the enemy while it is advancing through or withdrawing from a location. Any assets that could be used by the enemy may be targeted, for example food sources, water supplies, transportation, communications, industrial resources, and even the locale’s people themselves.” Continue reading

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A Greater Cause

Before the Apostle Paul converted to Christianity, he was a zealous and a devoted Jew.  The scripture says he was extremely devoted to following the Jewish customs.  A Jew among Jews.

After his salvation, Paul was a zealous, devoted, and bold preacher of the gospel.  He would reason in synagogues and many were converted to Christianity.  But there were many who did not accept his message.  He eventually expanded his message to the Gentiles.  As a result of his faithful proclamation, Continue reading

Surprised or Awed?

 

I don’t know which word describes how I feel.  Maybe it’s both.  When you pray for something and God answers that prayer with what you asked for, do you ever feel surprised?  Or are you in awe that He did it?

A week ago, we began another cycle of GriefShare  (www.griefshare.org) sessions at my church.  Interested people may pre-register online on our church website.  As of the eve of the first session, no one had pre-registered for the class.  That’s not too surprising because our society does not like to sign-up for things anymore.   I understand that, but it does make it difficult in knowing how to prepare materials, drinks, etc. for the class.

In the first session, I knew my facilitator would be absent due to a work conflict.  So, I went to the church wondering if I would be the only one there.  I was surprised when two young ladies walked in to join the class.  As I talked with them, it was apparent they were both hurting deeply and I was glad that my church has this ministry to help the hurting.

Last night was our second session.  I knew my facilitator would be joining me and a lady from the church said she would be there.  When they arrived, I was pleased to have them.  And then the two young ladies came and right behind them were two more people that was a complete surprise to me.  The last two drove about 25 miles one way to be there.

I was asked what was the minimum amount of folks required to have a class.  My answer was one, but even if no one signed up, we would be there each week to pray and to study and to be available if someone should walk in.

Is it a matter of faith or lack of faith?  Is it a matter of being available to be used by God?  Or is it an excitement to seeing Him in action?

“Jesus said to him, “If you can believe all things are possible to him who believes.”  Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”  Mark 9:23-24 NKJV

 

A New Taste

Yesterday, I had a most wonderful present! I was privileged to get to be with small children on Christmas day.

To you that may be normal or insignificant, but to me it was special.  It was a first for me.  It was something that always seemed to be missing in my life.

Oh the joy it gave me to watch and interact with these precious little ones as they showed me their Christmas gifts.  A shark boat, a magic set, special color art pencils, and an adorable Minnie Mouse dress.  They would say, “Hey, Steve, look at my…. Or Watch this!”   The shy Minnie Mouse would look at me from the top of the stairs with her little face between the banisters, with her blond hair and blue eyes only to say, “BOO!”  Baby brother was ready for a nap and preferred to be in his Grammie’s arms.

Why was this so special to me?  Because it gave me a taste of what it must be like to be a Grandfather.  Something that I never thought would happen and may never happen again.  But yesterday, I got the taste, the sweet taste of the joy of being with children on Christmas.  What a blessing!!

Without A Thought

I was studying my Sunday school lesson, this evening.  The subject was about being diligent in our stewardship of what God has allowed us to have.  The subject covered more than just money.

The title of the second point was “Carelessness Leads To Disaster!” (by Greg Keenen).  The scripture reference was from Proverbs 10:4-5 (by King Soloman). Continue reading

In Need of Grace

I have been concerned about a spirit of intolerance in our country.  I’m aware of the political differences and the impatience of even listening to a thought that may be different than your own.  I’m aware there is a movement to restrict our free speech by attaching labels (racist, misogynist, xenophobic, etc.)  to someone in order to try to silence a discussion. Continue reading

Leaning Into The Wave

 

I’m at an awkward place in my life.

There are two dates coming up shortly, that represents painful memories for me.  The first date is this coming Sunday.  My church is having its annual Thanksgiving dinner after the evening service.  Two years ago, Terrie wasn’t feeling well and didn’t make it for the service or to the dinner.  I went alone and felt alone.  Seeing family and friends sitting together, laughing, and having a good time was difficult for me.  Continue reading

But For A Good Lid

Saturday was a beautiful start to November.   A bright sunny day with the temperatures in the mid-70’s and a light breeze from the North.

I had the usual Saturday duties to perform: laundry, haircut, drug store, lunch, studying and then grocery shopping.

 

I thought I wanted a Burger King Whopper with cheese and a chocolate shake for lunch.  That could have carried me past supper time and even to breakfast.  Continue reading

The Hug

Sunday morning, I was sitting in the church auditorium waiting for the service to begin.  As people started coming in, a father and his two small sons joined me on my row.  The boys started walking toward me and when they were near, I bent over and gave each of them a hug.    They then turned and walked back to their father.  They looked over their shoulders at me as they were walking and smiled at me.

I can’t tell you what that 30 second exchange did for me, other than it refreshed me and made my heart very happy.   What a precious moment.

As a result, the following day, I wrote these words:

How to avoid bitterness, a cold heart, and dismay: Give/Get a hug from a small child. Cherish their little arms and hands holding on to you. Allow their sweet smile and gleaming eyes renew the hope within you. It washes all the bad from you.  

There may be some days you feel like your nothing more than a pinata and the Lord will bring to you a innocent, sweet child to remind you that not everyone wants to hit you with a stick.   Take courage, my friend!

Crying Out

“In my distress I called upon the LORD; to my God I cried for help. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears.”  Psalm 18:6 ESV

I had gone through a few hard days physically.   I had a weekend of aching (glowing) arthritic knees and sinus pressure that was effecting my vision.

So, the following Monday, I went to my doctor to get help.  He told me to take Musinex and Flonase for the sinus pressure and gave me a shot to help my knees.  It was suggested that I take my annual flu shot, so I got a flu shot.

The next morning, I had a CT scan to make sure I was Continue reading