Sunday, July 31, 2011

A Promise To A Sinner


We all, to some degree, acknowledge we’re sinners. As tough as it is to admit we’ve blown it, there’s still too much mounting evidence to deny that reality. And, due to poor choices, yes, choices to sin, in one way or another, we can find ourselves at a mess of a life. Are you in one right now? Do you feel it’s just too hopeless?

Jesus came for those who needed Him; Jesus came for us- when we least deserve it! Don’t allow your own self-condemnation to cloud the Truth of Jesus in your life.

“And Jesus…said to them, Those who are well have no need of a medical man, but those who are ill: I have come not to get the upright but sinners.”

Mark 2:17

On the Cross, Jesus was position between two thieves. One of them asked to be remembered in eternity. This thief did nothing to warrant the reward, mind you. Nevertheless, Jesus turned to him and responded,

“…Truly I say to you, Today you will be with me in Paradise.”

Luke 23:43

See this image of Jesus facing the thief?

Jesus is looking to you now in the same manner, with the same love and acceptance.

“To the praise of the glory of his grace, in which he hath made us accepted in the beloved:”

Ephesians 1:6

You cannot earn it; you cannot deserve it. You cannot be a “good enough” person. Jesus, “God with us,” is precisely why we have the acceptance and peace with God we have. It’s about Jesus, not our righteousness.

Jesus is looking at you today, making the same promise to you. Will you accept or reject it?

Saturday, July 30, 2011

MTV Turns 30



I’m waxing video nostalgic this weekend; MTV turns 30 on August 1st. I’m watching the celebration, marathon, retrospective of this pop culture and music milestone. Oddly enough, perhaps, fitting enough, the broadcast is showing up on VH1 Classic, while regular MTV is showing a “Jersey Shore” Marathon.
Yeah. Ah, remember when MTV played music videos, not reality shows?

Anyway, looking at the old footage, it all seems so primitive now. There once was a time before Image dominance. There was a time before “Thriller” captured our attention.


There was a time before Madonna titillated us.


There was a time before the video star. Once upon a time, there was a radio star.

Anyone remember Wolfman Jack?


Now, however, we are a visual society. We need to see the image in order to hear the music.

So, were the Buggles right? Did video kill the radio star?


Hmmmm. We’ll see. But yes, in spite of my little blog entry here, I am indulging in this celebration, seeing some of the 1981 stuff for the first time (nope, didn’t get MTV until I was nineteen, unfortunately, but desperately wanted it). So, I’m absorbing- and reabsorbing all of it.

I’m still waiting to see the Buggles’ video.

Happy Birthday, MTV! Please play music videos again!

Friday, July 29, 2011

The Chicken Hawk and Foghorn Leghorn- Animated David and Goliath?



One of my favorite cartoons was Foghorn Leghorn and the Chicken Hawk. Anyone else remember these two characters?

Recently, it’s struck me how, the Chicken Hawk, in a way, is quite like David, of David and Goliath fame. In so many of the cartoon episodes, we see how this plucky little Chicken Hawk takes on the giant challenge of a much larger Foghorn Leghorn. There’s no logical reason why this little guy should believe that he can take on Foghorn Leghorn. Nevertheless, he remains determined. He declares, with complete confidence, “I’m a Chicken Hawk and you’re my chicken!”

Could we substitute this statement with “I’m God’s Child and I have the Victory?”

God’s the key to it; it’s not our size, our strength or our circumstances. Look at David’s response to an impossibly mammoth Goliath:

“…Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied. This day will the LORD deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee…that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. And all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the LORD's, and he will give you into our hands.”

1 Samuel 17:45-47

Not too shabby. So, we can take our cue from this scripture passage; heck we can take our cue from the cartoon Chicken Hawk. See yourself as a conqueror, in spite of the “realities” around you. God had called you Victorious over your Goliath, over your Foghorn Leghorn. Be a Chicken Hawk, proclaiming your win, not your defeat!




Thursday, July 28, 2011

...And Then I LOL'D...

It seems like the worst possible thing that ever happened to you. This means everything. It requires complete seriousness.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve found myself here- several times. They say hindsight is 20/20. It’s true. There’s also humor in that hindsight as well. We all go through pain and trauma, but is it possible that what you’re experiencing now will be something at a later date you’ll respond with laughter, not taking yourself oh, so seriously?


“A merry heart doeth good like a medicine...”

Proverbs 17:22

Even in bleak situations, there is hope. You will get through this. Are you laughing? Are you looking at your situation with any humor? It’s there. God is a God of joy. He can give you the gift of silly laughter. Will you receive it?

It will all be okay. This is not too hard for God (Jeremiah 32:27). Leave it with Him.

Take it from this little guy, you will laugh again. Can you start now?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

I’m Thankful For…



“Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”

Philippians 4:6



There’s a lot of bad news out there lately; things seem bleak. And perhaps, this is a bleak time for you personally as well. Maybe life, plans and recovery, for instance, aren’t going as well as you’ve planned. There may not seem to be much of a reason to be thankful.

All the more reason, you need to be thankful.

Each of us forgets to say “thank you” for the myriad of blessings we have in our lives. But it’s important to keep things in perspective. God daily loads us with benefits (Psalm 68:19).

Have we thanked God today? Have we said, “thank you?” Perhaps, those two little words are the only thing standing the way of our next blessing. Perhaps saying “thank you” to God will improve our lives. What could it hurt?

Why not say, “thank you?”

“In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

1 Thessalonians 5:18


Friday, July 22, 2011

Again with the critic theme...

Critics are a part of life. How we respond is up to us. Just because someone says something, doesn't make it true. Perspective is required regarding the notorious critic.

7 Must-Read Life Lessons from Abraham Lincoln




Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States. He served from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. Lincoln successfully led the United States through its darkest hour … the American Civil War. In the end, Lincoln was able to preserve the Union and end slavery.

Prior to his election in 1860, as the first U.S. Republican president, Lincoln was a country lawyer, an Illinois state legislator, a member of the United States House of Representatives, and an unsuccessful candidate for the U.S. Senate twice.

Concerning slavery, Lincoln was forthright and open in his opposition to the expansion of slavery. This attitude earned him the Republican nomination in 1860; later that year he was elected president.

During his time in office he introduced measures that resulted in the abolition of slavery, including the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 and the passing of the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Just six days after a large-scale surrender of the Confederate forces (under General Robert E. Lee), Lincoln became the first American president to be assassinated.

Lincoln is considered by scholars to be one of the greatest U.S. presidents to ever take office.

7 Must-Read Life Lessons from Abraham Lincoln:

1.     Prepare for Success

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first four hours sharpening the axe.”


Before you can succeed, you must prepare. When Lincoln was an unknown attorney in the backwoods of Illinois he was preparing for success, when Lincoln became an Illinois State Senator, he was preparing for success, and even when he lost the election for the U.S. senate twice, he was preparing for success. What are you doing in preparation for success? Lincoln said, “I will prepare and some day my chance will come.”



2.     Hustle

“Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.”



You can’t stroll to a goal, you must hustle; you must move quickly in order to gain the momentum necessary to break free from the gravitational pull of the commonplace. The best things in life come to those who hustle. Are you hustling?



3.     Remember That Greatness is Possible

“That some achieve great success, is proof to all that others can achieve it as well.”



If someone else can succeed in the business that you’re in, that is proof that you can succeed as well. If someone else can become rich in the state that you’re in, that is proof that you become rich as well. You have all that the greatest of men have had: a mind, and a will. Don’t make excuses, if someone else can do it, so can you… And who knows? You may be able to do it faster and better; never underestimate you abilities.



4.     Become Worthy of a Good Reputation

“Reputation is like fine china, once broken it's very hard to repair.”



Work to be, the way you want to be perceived. Don’t try to look good, be good. A good name is more valuable than fine gold and “choice” rubies.

Practice becoming honorable.

You can be just as honest, have just as much integrity, walk in just as much humility, and possess just as much discipline as the greatest men who have ever lived.



5.      Make the Years Count

“And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years.”



Lincoln didn’t live to a very old age, but the “life in his years” made a profound impact on the world. Are you making your years count? Are you changing the world? You’re capable of it; if you’re able to read and understand these words, then you have the ability to make a profound impact, and that’s not just meaningless rhetoric, it’s a very real reality, but will you grasp it, will you believe it and make it “your” reality.



6.     See the Brighter Side of Things

“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.”



If you look for something to complain about, you will certainly find it! There’s “always” an opportunity to be “offended!” Don’t take these opportunities; they “never” lead to anything positive. Learn to see the roses in life; life is filled with roses, if you’ll take the time to see them.



7.      Constantly Improve

“The way for a young man to rise is to improve himself in every way he can…”



If you improve every day, imagine the improvements you could make over the course of 20 years. You could become successful “in-just-about” any field in 20 years. You can make a significant impact on the world in 20 years! Remember, slow and steady wins the race; Rome was not built in a day. Work to get a little better every day, and it time, you will accomplish your dreams.

Thank you for reading and be sure to pass this article along!

Those Ostrich Critics Out There…

See any of these guys in your life?

Are you feeling like some testy ostriches are picking on you lately?

There will always be harsh critics out there, just wanting to scrutinize you and tear down your life.

Don’t waste time with people who take pleasure in picking out flaws, while never mentioning all of your wonderful qualities. And you do have some amazing qualities. God’s not condemning you when He sees you. Why allow anyone else to condemn you?

You can spend all of your life, aiming to people please everyone, 100% of the time. Or you can go in the direction of God’s unique destiny for you. You are far too valuable and have far too much to do to bless this world to be giving these yapping birds, these critics, any more of your time.

There will always be critics; it applies to us all. We can, often, be our own worst ones. Are you a noisy ostrich yourself now? Be yourself, be honest, but not harsh; focus on who God created you to be, flaws and all.

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

Romans 3:23

We all fall short. When we do fall, however, let’s let God take care of it instead of allowing a critic to point it out. This is all a critic does. God has different things to tell us, different from “it’s not good enough.”

 How about these things?

“But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

—2 Corinthians 3:18

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go: I will guide you with My eye.”

—Psalm 32:8

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

—Jeremiah 29:11

Can you hear and receive them? Aren’t they better than the opinion of a critic? God’s Word is always right and true. You can’t say the same, however, regarding the critic.

Have some perspective. If someone criticizes you, question the criticism. Is it coming from a place of love or fault finding? Is the ostrich tearing you down in order to build himself/herself up? You’re God’s child, created to live your incredible life, not be prisoner of another ostrich’s opinion. There will always be critics. See them for who they are, but, more importantly, see yourself, for who YOU are!

I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made…”

—Psalm 139:14


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Thank you, Carrie Fisher!

Carrie Fisher just applied some much needed silliness to my seriousness. Finished the book today- loved it!



















Still can't get my hair to do that cinammon roll thing though.

Will try again with her next book, I guess.

Peck…Peck…Peck…



You ever see those novelty acts of chicken pecking at toy pianos? That’s me at my laptop.

Tedious.

If only books would just “poof” happen! They don’t. I’ve been feeling like that pecking chicken lately. Pecking away at new thoughts…


Pecking away at rewrites…


Pecking away at… at… at…(no words come)
Writers’ block.

“A-pecking I will go, a pecking I will go. Hi ho, cherrio, a -pecking I will go!”

Sometimes I vary it a little. I go from pecking to ranting…


Anyway, I’m glad that God knows the end of the story…

“Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:”

Isaiah 46:10

...because it’s maddening to think that as we peck at our day to day lives, progress seems to be slow or non-existent. It isn’t, however.

Bit by bit, peck by peck. We feel as ridiculous as a chicken playing the piano, but there is a point.

It’s not pecking in vain. Get there! Take your beak, peck at that next little thing. You’re closer today than you were yesterday!

Back to my regularly scheduled pecking.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Time to blow off some frustration steam!

Okay, Everyone, in keeping with the frustration theme, let's join togther and have "blowing off steam" moment.
Just the girls...

Just the guys...


All together now, everybody, repeat after me...

AAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This has been a test of the emergency frustration system. Feel better? Don't worry, I won't tell on you. Go ahead: scream, rant, rave. It's on me!


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

It's a venting jamboree!


Frustration

Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrggggggggggggggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anyone out there wanna join me in a venting jamboree?

It has been one of those days. I’m plucking at my laptop keyboard, like a trained chicken, clucking out the words on two book projects that are moving oh, so, so slowly. Bawk, bawk!


These are the days when I need to remember this Scripture passage:

“He will not let your foot slip--he who watches over you will not slumber; Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD watches over you--the LORD is your shade at your right hand; The LORD guards you from every evil. He guards your life. The LORD guards you as you come and go, now and forever.”

Psalm 121:3-8

Nope, none of us are hopeless, contrary to feelings, rantings and ravings, like mine, here today. However, honestly, today I feel more like this:





And this:


And this:


And this:


Thank God He never sleeps and stops working in our lives! While God’s working, however, please feel free to join me for a vent.

“As with all things, this, too, shall pass.”

And, if that doesn’t work, this should:

ARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Feel better now, thanks.








Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Fail Fishbowl Cat: Feel That It's You?

I lovethings like  LOL Cats. Ever spend time, de-stressing, in need of a laugh, scrolling through these funny and adorable cat antics? LOL Cats  and funny sites like it have saved me many a hair pulling session, frustrated by writers’ block. Writers’ block: just seemingly, one example of perceived failure. There are a lot of other failure examples out there, just waiting to try to discourage us.

Ah yes, failure. Feel it today? Feel that your life and choices are all failure examples?

When I ran across this LOL Cat image of the poor feline, caught in the fishbowl, I laughed first and then recalled Proverbs 24:16.

“A righteous person may fall seven times, but he gets up again…”

Proverbs 24:16

Ain’t it the Truth? Don’t see it that way? It doesn’t change how God sees you.

 God doesn’t see you as a hopeless forever failure. Even if you find yourself in a fishbowl mess, today, of your own making, God still sees Victory in and through you.

“In all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.”

Romans 8:37

I see no mention of God disqualifying us for perceived, experienced or fishbowl kinds of failures. It’s not hopeless for you; it’s not over for you. You will get up again, even from this!

You won’t stay in the failure fishbowl forever!!!


Friday, July 8, 2011

Lincoln's "Failures?"




Below is one version of the so-called "Lincoln failures" list, shown in bold type. It's often used to inspire people to overcome life's difficulties with Lincoln as a model. Then look at the right column with other facts from Lincoln's pre-presidential life. History professor Lucas Morel compiled this comparison from the Chronology in Selected Speeches and Writings/Lincoln by Don E. Fehrenbacher, ed., 1992.

YEAR
FAILURES or SETBACKS
SUCCESSES
1832
Lost job
Defeated for state legislature
Elected company captain of Illinois militia in Black Hawk War
1833
Failed in business
Appointed postmaster of New Salem, Illinois
Appointed deputy surveyor of Sangamon County
1834
Elected to Illinois state legislature
1835
Sweetheart died
1836
Had nervous breakdown
Re-elected to Illinois state legislature (running first in his district)
Received license to practice law in Illinois state courts
1837
Led Whig delegation in moving Illinois state capital from Vandalia to Springfield
Became law partner of John T. Stuart
1838
Defeated for Speaker
Nominated for Illinois House Speaker by Whig caucus
Re-elected to Illinois House (running first in his district)
Served as Whig floor leader
1839
Chosen presidential elector by first Whig convention
Admitted to practice law in U.S. Circuit Court
1840
Argues first case before Illinois Supreme Court
Re-elected to Illinois state legislature
1841
Established new law practice with Stephen T. Logan
1842
Admitted to practice law in U.S. District Court
1843
Defeated for nomination for Congress
1844
Established own law practice with William H. Herndon as junior partner
1846
Elected to Congress
1848
Lost renomination
(Chose not to run for Congress, abiding by rule of rotation among Whigs.)
1849
Rejected for land officer
Admitted to practice law in U.S. Supreme Court
Declined appointment as secretary and then as governor of Oregon Territory
1854
Defeated for U.S. Senate
Elected to Illinois state legislature (but declined seat to run for U.S. Senate)
1856
Defeated for nomination for Vice President
1858
Again defeated for U.S. Senate
1860
Elected President


Monday, July 4, 2011

Spirit of Liberty: Happy 4th of July!!!

God Bless America!!!

Let Liberty reside in and through each one of us!!!

"Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty."
2 Corinthians 3:17