Categories
Perseverance Perspective

Sparkle!

“Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!” Dr. Seuss

One of my colleagues has this sign hanging just outside her classroom door:

Frankly, every time I walk past and read it I have conflicting thoughts. Thought #1: “Right on!” Thought #2: “That’s easier said than done.”

If you’re like me, your sparkle has been dulled before. And needless to say, it’s a “Once bitten, twice shy” experience. In fact “sparkle snuffers” seem to have an unfair advantage in this fallen world. The lopsided power of negativity, as seen on social media, is a prime example.

Question: how do you do that—not let anyone dull your sparkle?

That’s right, I’m asking you, because I’m not sure I know. I do have a pretty good idea, though, so please read on.

“Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6

Everything that glitters may not be gold, but REAL sparkle only comes from God. And whatever God gives you, can’t NOBODY take away!

That’s my idea: ✨God-Sparkle ✨. It doesn’t come from the world, so the world can’t dull it—at least not for long.

But the first order of the day is to make sure our glitter (yours and mine) comes from God.

“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10

This is one of my favorite scriptures in the whole Bible. God has an AGENDA for each of His children, AND it’s a GOOD one! All we have to do is make sure we’re holding the right bottle of glitter.

We are His workmanship, so keep sprinkling your God-Sparkle (good works)!

If you need a pick-me-up from a Christian blogger who has sparkle to spare, please check out Caralyn at Beauty Beyond Bones. She’s an eating disorder survivor who’s as effervescent as a glass of Alka-Seltzer!

Again, how do YOU not let anyone dull YOUR sparkle?

Categories
courage Hope

What Happened to Hope?

“hope” by @polsifter is licensed under CC BY 2.0

I rolled up early one morning last week to one of my favorite running routes on the U.S. Army post where I work. It’s a fairly straight, flat road lined with mature shade trees next to a huge field. Just on the other side of the trees there’s a little creek. This particular morning, a light fog blanketed everything. It was the picture of serenity.

However, despite the setting, I started my run brooding over a stressful situation at work that seemed to have no feasible solution. But then I heard something.

Over the hum of the nearby interstate, an unseen group of basic trainees was calling out cadence. I pictured them running in formation as they chanted together at the top of their lungs:

🎶“Everywhere we go-oh, people wanna know-o, who we are, where we come from, so we tell them who we are…”🎶

These aren’t basic trainees, but I imagine it looked something like this.

As the sound of the soon to be soldiers faded into the distance, my sinking thoughts were buoyed by a fresh revelation:

If they can do that, I can do this!

The majority of basic trainees are miles from home—many for the first time— and dealing with a new “normal”, one where drill instructors make ALL the decisions. Homesick and uncertain what’s coming next, these brave young people must stick together to survive the next 10 weeks. Their Esprit de corps, the devotion they have toward each other and the group as a whole, is literally their life-line.

Perhaps the title of this piece should be, “What happened to hope?” Okay, I already changed it; my first one was pretty lame.😀

Anyway, this is what I heard in the soldiers’ chanting: hope for the future. But for the world at large this idea is no longer in vogue.

It’s painfully clear these days that (to many) hope is like a wind up toy with an ever-weakening spring. A quick check at thesaurus.com confirms it. Synonyms for hope include, anticipation and expectation, but also fool’s paradise and pipe dream.

However, for the Christian, hope is as certain as the character of God.

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.

Hebrews 10:24-25

I love the metaphor, “spur one another on.” It’s like every believer is calling out in formation with all their might, “MORE LOVE AND GOOD DEEDS!!”

These days there are plenty of reasons for a child of God to lose hope, but none of them are good ones.

Now is not the time for swerving, by God! And I mean that literally, not sacrilegiously. 😁🙏

Here are a few more of my favorite “hold on to hope” scriptures. Please share some of yours, if you’d like.


“The one who calls you is faithful and He will do it.” 1 Thessalonians 5:24

“Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God.” Psalm 43:5

“But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31

Hold on to HOPE!

Categories
change Christian Blog

Surfing Uncertainty

“Reality: what a concept!”

Robin Williams

About ten years ago, a severe ice storm crippled our area. Widespread power outages left many without electricity for days. Those without backup generators, that was most of us, were forced to adjust to reality–finding alternative sources for modern conveniences.

Not surprisingly, the people who coped best during this time were those who grew up in the 1930’s, 40’s and 50’s. Many of them spent their childhood creating things at home that the rest of us think only come from a store.

For example, during the power outage, my neighbors (a couple in their 80’s) simply put their perishable food items in a box on their back porch. The temperature didn’t rise above 30 degrees for a week, so they were good. Why didn’t I think of that? Another older couple had no heat, so they warmed up a cast iron skillet on their gas stove top to create a radiator!

When in a crisis, it’s a good idea to consult someone who has survived a few. Actor Alan Alda, 84–of T.V. show M*A*S*H fame–was recently asked in an interview how optimistic he was for his children and grandchildren’s future. Here’s what he told AARP magazine:

“With the world changing so rapidly, there’s no point in being optimistic or pessimistic about anything. You’ve just got to surf uncertainty, because it’s all we get.”

Alan Alda

Wow, that’s a wise way to look at life! But how do you surf uncertainty? Does this idea come with lessons?

We need only look to scripture for the answer.


Think of all the famous Bible heroes who successfully dealt with difficult circumstances. Many of these are mentioned in Hebrews chapter 11, the Hall of Faith. These ladies and gentlemen surfed uncertainty, just as Alan Alda advises, and we know HOW they did it.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Hebrews 12:1-2 (emphasis mine)

We see this scripture in live action when the apostle Peter went surfing with Jesus–well, kinda sorta (Matthew 14:22-31). Remember the story? Peter walked on the water to meet Christ, but started to sink when he realized he was riding a huge wave; he took his eyes off Jesus and almost whiped-out. But, just for a moment, our fisherman friend was surfing–with God!

The world only offers two options: sink or swim. But when we fix our eyes on Jesus, we can walk on the top with Him.

Surf’s Up!

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

https://davidsdailydose.org/2020/08/29/god-surfing/

Categories
Christian Blog vulnerability

Virtual Teacher Bootcamp

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

With school about to start this fall–both in person and virtually–I recently attended our district’s Virtual Teacher Bootcamp.

Frankly, like many who arrive at anything called a ‘boot-camp,’ I wasn’t entirely prepared for the experience.

Day One: First thing out of gate, the drill instructor (technology teacher) handed each of us an iPad. “This is the interface your students will use for virtual lessons,” she said with a scowl. Ok, maybe she was smiling. “Starting RIGHT NOW, you are going to get COMFORTABLE with it.” I immediately envisioned using this particular Apple product as a rather awkward pillow.

Ten Minutes Later: “Now that you understand how to use your weapon (iPad),” said our jovial guide, “we will explore the software used for virtual lessons.”

Now that I understand!? I barely know how to wake the !@#$ thing up and find the appropriate app and we’re moving on!

By the way, !@#$ stands for silly.

A glance around the room turns up nothing but digital native millennials using their tablets with one hand and their phones with the other, chatting all the while about building their bitmoji classrooms. Suddenly, I feel like a tech dinosaur. Just take me back to the chalkboard and ditto machine days of my youth, I thought. This is too MUCH!

Uh oh, the drill instructor is headed in my direction. How do they sense weakness? I just knew I was about to be culled from the herd.

“You don’t have to stick your face in it, you know?”
“Excuse me?” I said. “I mean, excuse me, drill instructor, sir!”
“The fire hose, don’t try to drink from it,” she said with a wink.

My increasingly patient and benevolent teacher then asked a crucial question: “What’s just one thing you wish you understood better?” I admitted, somewhat sheepishly, that I was uncomfortable with using the G-Suite for Education (a cloud-based bank of Google productivity tools). “Well, you’re in luck,” she said. “Google has a Teacher Center with free online interactive training.”

That night, and every evening that week, I spent 30 minutes in my PJs watching how to videos with some sparkly-eyed teachers from Silicon Valley. By Friday, I felt like a pro.

Spiritual Application:

Money gained in the wrong way disappears. But money gathered little by little grows.

Proverbs 13:11

Substitute the word knowledge for money, and this scripture describes my experience. Lack of technological expertise limited my ability to succeed with the virtual teacher software. I compensated by trying (rather pridefully) to drink from the firehose. A better approach, as my teacher suggested, was to make up my deficiencies one by one–to step out of the stream.

The end of the matter is better than the beginning. So it’s better to be patient than proud.

Ecclesiastes 7:8

Few of us like to admit we’re unable to do something–especially in a room full of techy teachers young enough to be your children! How embarrassing.

But when pride eventually gave way to patience, and I admitted my need for remedial help, I was I able to move forward. By the end of boot camp I was almost able to keep up with the young folks!

Lessons Learned:

You don’t have to stick your face in it. Start with what you know and then grow little by little.

It’s where you end up that counts, not where you begin. It’s better to be patient than proud.

You can do it. It just may take longer than you think.

We hope for what we don’t have yet. So we are patient as we wait for it.

Romans 8:25

Categories
Christian Blog devotional

Wet Paint

“27 February – 242/365” by Researching Media is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

As a recent project, my wife and I decided to touch up some high traffic areas in our home with fresh paint. Each of us walked around one morning, with brush and paint can in hand, covering over blemishes high and low.

We finished the job as planned and were quite proud of our work. But there was a little problem: we didn’t mark where we painted. It’s hard to tell wet paint from dry of the same color, you know?

Well, I must have brushed against some fresh paint walking into the laundry room, because, next thing I know, my wife tells me I have a racing stripe across my backside! Later, our little terrier comes up to me sporting a white-tipped tail she didn’t have before. It actually looked quite fashionable on her.

I now know why signs that say Wet Paint, Biohazard, and Radioactive were invented.

Hey, someone needs to come up with a type of paint that goes on light pink and slowly turns white as it dries. I would buy some of that.

Anyway, after these two mishaps, we managed to avoid any further contact with wet paint, but the quote lover in me was intrigued. Searching for just the right words to describe our dilemma, I remembered these:

“The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry”

Robert Burns

This actually comes from the poem, To a Mouse. Burns wrote it after plowing up a mouse’s nest in a field in November 1785. The rodent ran away unharmed, but the poet felt bad–knowing he destroyed its home just before the brutal Scottish winter.

But who knows what really happened to our little grey friend after the accident. Maybe it ran straight to Robert Burn’s house and moved in!


Being a child of God doesn’t make one immune to ‘mouse-haps.’ In fact, I’ve survived quite a few. I bet you have also.

Maybe that’s why my wife and I gave the poor mouse in Burn’s poem a happy ending. Like the Psalmist said, “As for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more (Psalm 71:14).

Have you ever experienced a Romans 8:28 situation–something that seemed ALL bad right when it happened, but later turned out for the good?

Maybe our present circumstances are like wet paint–we need to let them dry before we brush up against them. This takes faith in God’s sovereignty, but sure beats getting paint on your backside!

Here are two of my favorite, let-the-paint-dry scriptures. Please share yours in the comments, if you like.

“The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your love, O Lord, endures forever–do not abandon the work of your hands. –(Psalm 138:8)

“But I trust in you, Lord; I say, “you are my God.” My times are in Your hands.” — (Psalm 31:14-15a)


God’s Child
Things don’t always turn out the way we think they should.
Sometimes, we look to heaven and say, “God, it’s just no good.”
Until somewhere from the silence…comes a voice of love
Saying, “You’re My child, and that’s enough.”

When you’re God’s child it’s enough.
He is all you need when the going gets tough.
It doesn’t make much difference if the sailing’s smooth or rough.
You’re God’s child, and that’s enough.

“He has made everything beautiful in its time.” — (Ecclesiastes 3:11)

Categories
Perspective Self Care

Let Me See Your Tongue

As water reflects a face, so a man’s heart reflects the man.

Proverbs 27:19

My mother grew up on a 160 acre cotton farm in the sandy hills of southwest Oklahoma. The nearest town, of any size, was 15 miles away. Such isolation made self-reliance a given.

Because the farm was a ‘far piece’ from anywhere, as my grandfather liked to say, grandmother often served as a country doctor. Cuts were wrapped in a clean rag soaked in turpentine, and the cure for almost any internal ailment was a substantial dose of castor oil.

Grandmother also had a curious way of determining a diagnosis prior to treatment. If you told her you weren’t feeling well (I did this only once) she would say, “Let me see your tongue.” This was the only time I was allowed to stick my tongue out at my maternal forebearer.

You see, Grandmother believed the color of one’s tongue revealed their general state of health. I tried to tell her about the green Jolly Rancher I’d been sucking on, but she STILL brought out the castor oil.


Jesus knows a thing or two about tongues as well.

But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man unclean. (Matthew 15:18 NIV) For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks. (Luke 6:45 NIV)

The REAL me is reflected in my words.

Here’s how I picture it:

The tongue is like a thermometer, while the heart is like a thermostat–the former is effected by the latter.

This connection between words, actions and heart is as real as death and taxes.

I love how the psychedelic NYC street performer, Matthew Silver, talks about human beings. He’s quite the philosopher.

You’re already doing, you’re always doing what’s in your heart; you can’t get away from your heart.

Matthew Silver


Above all else guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.

Proverbs 4:23

https://davidsdailydose.org/2020/05/30/thermometer-or-thermostat/

Categories
Hope

The Terrifying Toad

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

Philippians 4:13

It’s baby toad season here at my GPS location. Dozens of them have taken over the yard: hopping around when I water the flowers, jumping into the house through opened doors.

The other day, my wife and I stopped by a local nursery to purchase some plants. Right next to the cash register, there was this larger than life concrete toad. Yes, we took him home. “Felix” now lives in the rock garden next to our barbeque area.

Check out the lower left corner. That’s a REAL one!

The only problem is, everytime I come out the back door with something for the grill, he startles me just a bit. Actually, it’s kinda creepy–the way he looks at me with those cold green eyes…

Self-doubt.

It can take over your life-yard in a hurry: hopping around when you want to accomplish something, jumping through an opened door.

It’s hard to be confident when you’re discouraged; things you knew for certain five minutes ago disappear behind a smoke screen of timidity. What’s one to do with such feelings? Here are three of my favorite action plans. Yes, I’m an actual satisfied customer who used them all today!

Lower the Stakes

For some reason, when I get down, I act like a high stakes Vegas gambler–going all-in on one roll of the dice. #bad idea The truth is, unless you drink poison, a single mistake won’t usually kill you.

We don’t live or die on one success or failure.

Jack Lemon

Break the Circuit

The worst part about self-doubt is the SELF part. Gazing at one’s own navel for a protracted period of time imparts a rather myopic perspective. “It’s not ALL about YOU, cupcake, so stop obsessing.” (That last statement was me talking to myself, but feel free to associate).

I’m just afraid I might have to stop talking about myself for five minutes.

Kinky Friedman

Resign as Manager of the Universe

There’s only one God, and you and I are not Him. Therefore, seeking help from a higher power actually makes sense. After my mom died from a lengthy battle with pancreatic cancer, I ended up with her favorite Bible. I found the following scripture, in her own handwriting, inside:

Self-doubt is often just a silly lawn ornament.

https://davidsdailydose.org/2019/07/03/the-terrifying-toad/

Categories
Hope

Wakey wake, Cupcake

Photo by Luis Quintero on Pexels.com

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way and me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

Psalm 139:23-24

I used to get annoyed when my laptop kept telling me it needed a software update, or virus scan, or some other preventive maintenance. Ask me later, I clicked on the screen, “Can’t you see I’m busy!?”

But then, one inevitable day, I got a computer virus that wiped out my entire hard drive. Important documents and hundreds of pictures, which I’d failed to back up, vanished in an instant.

Photo by Rafael Guajardo on Pexels.com

Needless to say, I now keep my computer healthy with regular updates and scans.

The unexamined life is not worth living.

Socrates

Our wise friend from ancient Greece challenges us to scan our lives for purpose and meaning, or risk losing everything. But King David of ancient Israel has a better idea: ask God to do it.

Search me, O God, and know my heart.

King David

After all, heart surgery is best left to the professional. That’s what God told the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah:

“The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.”

Jeremiah 17:9-10

Are you like me, to busy to scan until it’s almost too late? Well, let’s both not be that way anymore. Agreed?

A closing Haiku:

Do not say, “I can’t”

When you really mean, “I won’t”

Wakey wake, cupcake.

Regular David (me)
Photo by Plush Design Studio on Pexels.com

https://davidsdailydose.org/2019/06/05/wakey-wake-cupcake/

Categories
Hope

The Proof is in the Putting

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“Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.”

Prov 4:23

Visitors to Union Square in Manhattan, NYC are likely to encounter the street performer, Matthew Silver. Described by one YouTube contributor as, “A guy who runs around NYC in his underwear saying and doing radical things,” Matthew paints himself as a, “cosmic trickster opening up the love portal to show us we are all one.”

While his antics are often punctuated with bizarre behavior and crude humor, meant to call attention to his message, Mr. Silver also speaks with amazing philosophical eloquence. Here is a popular example:

“You’re already doing…you’re always doing what’s in your heart; you can’t get away from your heart.”

Matthew Silver

Another fairly famous guy, who said some pretty amazing things agrees:

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Jesus Christ (Matthew 6:21)

Thoughts like these beg the question: What are we putting first in our lives?

The proof is in the putting.

Categories
Christian Blog Perspective

What Time is It?

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What Time is It?

“My times are in Your hands;”

Psalm 31:15a

The most accurate clock on earth is the US Atomic Clock in Fort Collins, Colorado, and I have a little clock at home that is connected to it. Using a low frequency wireless transmission, the US Atomic Clock beams it’s super-accurate time signal straight to my clock’s internal receiver. Viola! Daily updates ensure accuracy to the fraction of a second.

However, something happened recently to shake my faith in the ‘mother of all clocks:’ my little ‘chip off of the old block’ started inexplicably losing time. It was barely noticeable at first, but it was happening surely enough. My supposed super clock no longer agreed with the time on my cell phone, or, more importantly, the microwave.

“Uh oh,” I said to no one in particular, “I guess the subscription to the mother clock ran out.” I took the atomic clock junior off the wall and headed straight for the trash can. Yes, all the clocks in my home must say exactly the same thing. Anyway, just as I was about to drop the clock into oblivion, I saw it–the cover to a tiny compartment containing two AA batteries. You guessed it, I promptly replaced the batteries with fresh ones, and the clock once again keeps perfect time. The problem was on my end, not the source.

Hmm… there’s a life application in here somewhere. King David, of ancient Israel, wrote about it in a prayer to God.

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”

Psalm 51:10

We know from other texts, that David wrote these words shortly after scandal rocked his kingdom. He had slept with another man’s wife and she was now pregnant. The betrayed husband was one of David’s most loyal military leaders, but the king had him killed to cover up his own sin.

David lost his connection with God. His spiritual batteries ran down and tragedy ensued. He stopped checking in and chose to check out–until he was confronted by the prophet Nathan. He desperately needed to reorient himself to God.

As any good carpenter will tell you, even a few degrees off level is a no go. The fact is, it doesn’t take long to become out of plumb with God. Listen to Amos, the Old Testament prophet:

This is what he showed me: The Lord was standing by a wall that had been built true to plumb, with a plumb line in his hand. And the Lord asked me, “What do you see, Amos?” “A plumb line,” I replied. Then the Lord said, “Look, I am setting a plumb line among my people Israel; I will spare them no longer.

Amos 7:7-8

The world has a battery draining effect on our spiritual senses; losing our fellowship connection with God adversely affects the mind, will, and heart. However, we may not even be aware of this–until God asks, “What time is it?”

So what is the solution? The daily check-in and the weekly recharge! Spend time alone with God at least once a day and observe the sabbath each week to replenish spiritual batteries.

Staying in sync with God means maintaining a good connection, just like my little clock does with the US Atomic Clock. Now that I replaced the batteries, that is.

“In repentance and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and trust is your strength.”

Isaiah 30:15