Bumper Guards

Our family loves to go bowling. We don’t often go but when we do there is some serious Ketchum competitiveness displayed. Truth be told, however, only a few of us are truly gifted in the sport. Whether because of the amount of practice some have accrued or the age and physical capability possessed, the spectrum of ability is far more diverse than that of the rivalry. So, many a bowling night has been rescued by that most wonderful of inventions – the bumper guard. At one of our more recent visits to the local lanes, one of our kids became frustrated with always having their ball glide along the rail and end up hitting only one or two side pins. Their competitive nature was too great and, being the smart, creative child they are, they decided that they would use the guards strategically. They wouldn’t try to avoid them, as is the proper intent. That had only landed them minimal points anyway. Instead, they would aim the ball at a point in the rail as to reach the pins in the sweet sp…

It's Okay To Ask

Was Jesus saddened by His asking for the cup to pass? Did He feel weak for wanting to avoid the pain that was to come? Did He beat up on Himself for not bucking up and just doing what was asked of Him?

I was struck by these questions in reading Timothy today. "Be strong in the grace of Christ Jesus." I hear often the command, "Show yourself a little grace!" probably because I am often harder on myself than I should be. Forgiveness and love beyond measure should be extended to all. That includes me. Jesus didn't need that grace but He prayed long and hard in the garden. He talked with God about what He was going to face. He asked if He could not have to go through the pain. Did He then think poorly of Himself because of that? I know I would have if I were asking.

What about others? Do I think less of them for asking to avert life's troubles? To give love and forgiveness to others is difficult, for sure, but not so much when I remember that we are imperfect a…

He Never Pleaded His Case

I was reading Isaiah 53 and was struck by a thought... Jesus never pleaded His case. He never defended His actions. He had every right to. He hadn't done anything to warrant what man said to Him or did to Him.  I am curious why I feel the need to do that for myself. If I feel I'm wronged or misunderstood, don't I run to defend myself? Don't I find others who can tell me if I'm right in a situation? Don't I lean over to my nearest friend to explain myself? Aren't I completely wrecked when someone thinks ill of me? In writing this I notice something that stand out. Me. I. Myself. My defensiveness all about protecting my image. Jesus knew that His pride and dignity shouldn't matter to Him in the sight of man. It mattered before God. 
"He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,so he did not open his mouth." Isaiah 53:7
I've heard those words …

Come, Ye Disconsolate by Thomas Moore

Come, ye disconsolate, where'er you languish,
Come, at God's altar fervently kneel;
Here bring your wounded hearts, here tell your anguish--
Earth has no sorrow that Heaven cannot heal.
Joy of the desolate, Light of the straying,
Hope, when all others die, fadeless and pure,
Here speaks the Comforter, in GOD'S name saying--
"Earth has no sorrow that Heaven cannot cure."
Go, ask the infidel, what boon he brings us
What charm for aching hearts he can reveal,
Sweet as that heavenly promise Hope sings us--
"Earth has no sorrow that GOD cannot heal."

Passing The Test

"If you don't pass the test, God'll give it to you again, ya know."

Words of the very wise Clinton, our neighbor. They were said in passing to Scott one day in a conversation while walking the easement. Nothing big to Clinton, I'm sure, but they have stuck with me for all this time.

While having some quiet time today I read a like passage. "... A man is a slave to whatever has mastered him." 2 Peter 2:19

It almost popped from the page but I couldn't have told you quite why until I thought about it more.

What masters me? What controls my actions? Fear? Money? Approval? Food? Vanity? Service? Work? Obligations? What do I obsess over most? What dominates my thoughts? Hope? Love? Listening to Christ? Sharing Christ's story? Faith?

Obsession is the human addiction... no one is immune. But with God's help and a focus on letting Him be Master of me, my obsession can be on Him.

Not too bad in my book. Now if only my decision to live as such could be…

Inspired By Beauty

Today's quiet time reading was the ever UN-popular "Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands..." but God took me to a new place with this today (I love it when He does that). So humor me. The verse says, "... in the same way..." not just, "wives... be submissive to your husbands." I had to read the previous passage again in order to get the context! Duh.

The passage before this talks of submitting to authority, with respect, even if doing good brings punishment. If I must suffer, it should be for doing good in the sight of God.  When I endure it, I thereby become the greatest possible example of Christ because my action is always pointing to God. "Actions speak louder than words."

I am to do the same with my husband. He is the one who carries the authority of our home. He is due great respect. I can best show that in how I live - with purity, reverence, and a spirit that is secure in its hope in God. In that way I can build him …

True Love

It seems pretty simple. You meet someone and he clicks with you. He brings you flowers, writes you notes, puts you first, tells you that you're beautiful, makes sure you are taken care of and protected. You in turn show him he's amazing, tell him he can do anything, encourage him to try, and make his life richer (whether he knows it or not). Life grows to be better with each other than without. So you decide to keep each other around forever....

"Mawage is wot bwings us togever tooday. Mawage, that bwessed awangment, that dweam wifin a dweam.... And wuv, tru wuv, will fowow you foweva.... So tweasure your wuv."

Then real life hits and your characters are tested. The time when love came easily for you both has been overshadowed. This is when True Love shows itself... or doesn't.

What's True Love? Start with the Creator... God is Love. The living example of True Love. So if God is in you - the One you rely on in hard times, the Guide for your actions and soul -…