Categories
Christian Living sacrifice

A Different Kind of Hero

When his younger brother went off to war in 1942, my grandfather, a bookkeeper, became a reluctant cotton farmer. Their dad was unable to manage 160 acres by himself. So Raymond, my grandfather, came back home to help.

Trading ledger books for leather gloves doesn’t sound like that big of a deal. But PaPaw, as we called him, had a weakened heart–caused by a childhood bout with rheumatic fever. He was well into his sixties by the time I remember him. But, even as a boy, it was clear to me that Papaw had never been a “he man.”

Yet, like so many of his generation, he made big sacrifices for the good of others. And that makes this little 135 pound guy my hero. Sound like anyone else you know?

Photo by Patricia McCarty on Pexels.com

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.

Philippians 2:5

Recently, Jeff King caused me to ponder what makes a real hero with his post, Quote for 10/11/21. “When we talk about heroes we think of someone elevated, a marble statue on a pedestal.” Jeff goes on to say that actual heroism is often less statuesque. Many who inspire us by their selfless acts are “misshapen,” (Jeff’s word) by their circumstances.

And like a good Christian blogger, he backs up his thoughts with scripture, highlighting the process every hero endures. “Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” –Romans 5:3-4 (NIV)

For some reason, I’ve always thought of this biblical purification process–from suffering to hope–as a one time deal. But Jeff’s post made me realize it’s actually a repeating cycle.

Caution: for best results, load this type of washing machine evenly. Overloading can lead to life imbalances. It also makes quite a racket!😊

Here’s my favorite hero spin cycle scripture. Please share one of yours!

“Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.“ —Galatians 3:4-5 (MSG)

🙏❤️ prayers and love.

Categories
Christian Living devotional

Stopping The Train

There we were, my colleague and I, with five classes of kindergartners in the gym. For those of you who like to do the math, that’s an approximate student/teacher ratio of 67.5 to 1.

Frankly, teaching young children is like herding cats. You have about 30 seconds to engage their curiosity, before they find something more interesting than you. And for the average six-year-old, this can be LOTS of things. Why listen to a big person when you can lick Play-Doh with a friend?

Back to the five classes. Things were going pretty well. We did some Kidzbop dances from YouTube and then sat down to watch an educational episode of “Ask the Story Bots” on Netflix.

But then it happened: a child jumped up and said, “I need to go potty!” Suddenly, three others stood to their feet and began dancing around, wiggling like bobble heads in perfect unison. Teachers call this exasperating phenom “starting the potty train.”

And the best way to stop this type of train is to make one concession and then hold the line. The first child is the only one who REALLY needs to use the bathroom. The others are most likely pretending.

Sometimes it can be equally exasperating to stop the train called life. One thing REALLY happens and then three imposters jump up, dancing around in perfect unison. It can be hard to tell the real problem from the wannabes.

Perhaps this is why Jesus encourages us to take our difficulties (and days) one at a time.

Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Matthew 6:34 (NIV)

🙏❤️ prayers and love.

Categories
Christian Living devotional

Hearing God in the Stillness

The chapel where my wife and I attend worship was built in 1935. Constructed in the Neo-gothic style, it resembles a smaller version of a Western European cathedral. And like any old building, it has a unique personality. As a musician, I used to enjoy the quirky sounds our little chapel made. The creaky floor boards in the choir loft were my favorite.

But the powers that be decided to install a fancy geo-thermal heating and air-conditioning system in the building. One with a fan motor that runs 24/7. And the incessant drone of moving air–through the vents in the sanctuary–totally ruined the audio ambiance!

But this past Sunday a miracle occurred! Someone switched the HVAC fan to run on a cycle. You can hear the church building again-creaky floor boards and all!

I sat there in the choir loft before the worship service, soaking in the silence. Then it came to me in a moment of sudden insight: “It’s so quiet you can hear God!”

How many times in life does the “white noise” of the world drowned out His still, small voice? All the screens in my home practically scream, “Pay attention to me!” Then there’s the miniature slot machine in my pocket.📲 Some still call it a phone. Yet it’s far more addictive than the kind that once sat on a little table.☎️

Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.

Psalm 46:10

Stillness does not come naturally to me. I’ve always been a bit of a squirrel.🐿. I savor quiet contemplation with God, but find I must carve this time out if it’s going to happen.

For the past forty or so years–since I was a teenager–I’ve consistently spent time with God at the beginning of every morning. The first hour of the day, it’s just Him and me. I read scripture and devotional thoughts, spend time in prayer, and jot down my impressions.

Incidentally, I found the Lord’s prescription for hearing Him better: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.”— Isaiah 30:15 (NIV) The Israelites of that time didn’t listen; but you and I know better.

What is your practice for spending quality time with God? I’d love to hear about it! Please share in the comments, if you’d like.

🙏❤️ prayers and love.

Photo by Irina Iriser on Pexels.com. This isn’t my church, but it looks similar.