Saturday, June 29, 2013

Happy Saturday!

Hope you have a safe and wonderful weekend.
Take care of each other.
Offer one prayer of thanks today.
Make a difference in your world.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Thursday reminder...

“Most things, even the greatest moments on earth, have their beginnings in something small.” 
~Lauren Oliver

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

True...

"The trouble with most of us is that we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism."
~Norman Vincent Peale

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Reflection on Then and Now


"How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face..."
~"When You are Old" by W.B. Yeats

Many of you know that I journal and have for many years. This past weekend I went to a wedding of two college friends and saw several classmates from my time at Freed-Hardeman University. After arriving home from the reception, I went to my shelves and pulled out one of the journals from 2004. I read through the account of my fall semester and each event that took place. Pasted in the pages of the journal were ticket stubs, greeting cards, and quotations from poetry including this quotation from Yeats. I won't say those days were perfect, but my first two and a half years of college were a time of great personal growth for me. I grew socially as well as spiritually on the quiet campus. I remember the girl that reminded me of this poem, and I recall how I felt then for a brief moment that I might actually become all that I wanted to be. I had such an ideal that I aspired to and I had a confidence that everything would eventually turn out. Looking back, I think about what I wanted then and what I want now. I read through pages and pages of hopes that were deferred and plans that never came to be. I am so glad that I wrote then about the things that were truly on my heart and I pray that the pages I write today will be a source of comfort years from now. 
On the opposite page of the journal from the Yeats quote, I had written out the lyrics of the old hymn, "Prince of Peace, Control My Will." The opening verse reads,

"Prince of Peace, control my will,
Bid this struggling heart be still,
Bid my fears and doubtings cease -
Hush my spirit into peace."

Although I was confident all would come right, my emotions at the time were conflicted about where I was headed in my life. My mind was muddled with questions of romance, spiritual discipline, and God's call upon my life. I was very happy then, but I was still quite confused about which way to turn. For all the happiness and all the possibilities that lay before me then, I don't want to go back to those times. I want to continue to go forward from today daring to embrace the unknown. I am still not sure where I am headed, but I am more focused than ever on embracing the journey. Ten years ago, I had no idea of the turbulent road that lay ahead. I had no idea that my twenties would prove to be a battle for survival. I had no idea that I would ever be called upon to bear so much. Now, for the first time in many years, I am able to believe today that tomorrow will be better. We all have our burdens to bear and our loads to carry. The enemy attempts to tell us that we are alone in our suffering and that God has been unkind to ask so much of us. 
When I looked around the other night at the wedding, I saw friends that have born up under great loss and great trial. I was reminded of friends who have lost parents in the years since last I saw them. I saw friends who know the heartache of divorce and the bitterness of unanswered prayer. I  saw friends living with the fears of parenthood, the hardships of raising their children, and I saw others that have suffered setbacks in their professions and in their personal lives. I also was reminded of the many joys and happinesses that these same people have experienced. To the casual observer, there is no recognizable reason that some people find a greater share of joy than others. We who are people of faith trust that there is a larger plan than what we can see and that quality of life is determined by faithfulness over time rather than any momentary grief or joy.
One of Satan's greatest lies is the myth that life should be fair and that if things aren't going as I planned then God must be ungracious. In Scripture, we see that the righteous suffer hardships just as the wicked do. If the last ten years have given me anything of value, it is the ability to better identify with the sufferings of others. When I see loved ones hurting, I can now empathize to a degree that I could not before. The crucible of personal suffering prepares a person for service in a way that nothing else can. I continue to hope that there has been a purpose for my pain and that God will continue to reveal that purpose in His good time.
I believe my friends who were married the other night would tell you that one of the reasons their relationship is filled with so much joy is because of all the detours they took to come together. When a heart is broken, it can grow back stronger than before. All the heartbreak of former years led them to become two people who are now deeply in love. When our broken hearts are at last mended, we have so much to offer out of our difficult experiences. I pray that God will use our individual brokenness for His ultimate glory and that we will each find our joy in service to Him and service to each other.

Thanks for reading and have a great week!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Sunday...

“To be effective the preacher's message must be alive; it must alarm, arouse, challenge; it must be God's present voice to a particular people.” 
~A.W. Tozer

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Weekend Word

“Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.”
~Marthe Troly-Curtin

Friday, June 21, 2013

Musical Theatre Friday

2014 will continue the trend of revivals filling the West End and Broadway. Les Miserables returns to Broadway with new staging after an extended national tour and Miss Saigon will begin a 25th anniversary run in London's West End. The shows, which share the same composers and production teams, already hold numerous box office records on both sides of the Atlantic.

Here is "I Still Believe" the song sung by the two women vying for Chris's heart in Miss Saigon. Kim begins singing in the night pining for Chris to return. Meanwhile, in the United States, Ellen comforts Chris as he wakes from a nightmare screaming Kim's name.


Thursday, June 20, 2013

Something to consider...

"If you are not failing every now and again, it's a sign that you are not doing anything very innovative."
~Woody Allen

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Truly...

“There is nothing better than a friend, unless it is a friend with chocolate.”
~Linda Grayson

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

In life...

“The best way to cheer yourself is to try to cheer someone else up.”
~Mark Twain

Monday, June 17, 2013

Remember this week...

“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.” 
~Mother Teresa

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Happy Father's Day

A Definition of a Dad
1.)  Man who always gives great advice on any topic.
2.)  One who is always encouraging and motivating.
3.)  Hero of little boys and protector of little girls.
4.)  Coach of all sports and teacher of all subjects.
5.)  One who can solve any problem with duct tape.
6.)  Also known as the one who has the wallet.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

What Courage Is

"I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It's when you know you're licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what."
~Spoken by Atticus Finch in Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird

Friday, June 14, 2013

Musical Theatre Friday

"I think human beings are really interesting. To me, that's the whole point of theatre. The whole point of theatre is for us to be able to look at a story, or listen to a song, or see something on stage and us feel less alone as human beings, to feel connected to other people. And the best theatre does that, the best theatre has universal themes in it and makes you feel connected to humanity."
~Emily Skinner

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Remember....

"The greatest honor we can give Almighty God is to live gladly because of the knowledge of his love."
~Julian of Norwich

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Remember...

"And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up."
~ Paul in Galatians 6:9

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Makes you think...

“In our lifetime, wouldn’t it be sad if we spent more time washing dishes or swatting flies or mowing the yard or watching television than praying for world missions?”
 — Dave Davidson

Monday, June 10, 2013

This week...

“Prepare for the worst, expect the best, and take what comes.” 

– Robert Speer

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Perhaps today is the day...

"A revival does two things. First, it returns the church from her backsliding and second, it causes the conversion of men and women; and it always includes the conviction of sin on the part of the church."
~ Billy Sunday

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Reflections on cat-sitting...

“A cat has absolute emotional honesty: human beings, for one reason or another, may hide their feelings, but a cat does not.”
~Ernest Hemingway

Friday, June 7, 2013

Musical Theatre Friday



2013 Tony Awards are Sunday night on CBS. As per annual tradition, I will be spending the evening with the Lebanon church of Christ at our gospel meeting, but I hope to catch the highlights later. The show has suffered from low ratings in recent years, so tune in and enjoy a look at this year's top Broadway shows.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Friendship...

“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art.... It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.”
~C.S. Lewis

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The one time I agree with Christopher Hitchens...

“Owners of dogs will have noticed that, if you provide them with food and water and shelter and affection, they will think you are god. Whereas owners of cats are compelled to realize that, if you provide them with food and water and shelter and affection, they draw the conclusion that they are gods.”
~Christopher Hitchens

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Humor for a Tuesday

“Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea.”
~Robert Heinlein

Monday, June 3, 2013

Too true...

“I generally avoid temptation unless I can't resist it.”
~Mae West

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Sunday reflection...


If you spend much time at all in public places, you will notice all sorts of differences in people.  Differences of race and gender are usually some of the first characteristics we notice.  We notice whether or not people are tall or short, heavy or thin, well-groomed or unkempt.  We notice hair color, eye color, and skin tone.  Although we all have different standards for how we judge attractiveness, we get a feeling, positive or negative, when we look at someone else.  We see all these characteristics on the surface and, in the busyness of life, sometimes the surface is all we see.  Have you ever met someone and didn’t find them particularly appealing on the surface but when you got to know him/her better you found the other person very attractive?  Conversely, have you ever been drawn to someone based on his/her looks or voice only to be turned off when you got to know his/her personality?  Surface appearances are great for short-term attraction, but they don’t have the strength to carry a relationship or friendship.
One of the things I appreciate most about God is that He does not look at our outward appearance.  In God’s eyes, He does not notice if we are handsome or plain…His gaze goes deeper.  God sees us for who we truly are beneath the surface.  You can fool the world by changing your outward appearance, but God looks on the heart.  How does your heart look this morning?  Are you a beautiful creation full of love, peace, and self-control or are you inwardly shallow, petty, and cruel?  God wants to remake us from the inside out.  A true makeover of a person is not changing his/her hair color, muscle definition, or weight: a true makeover is allowing God to give us a new heart.  As we live life from day to day, let’s look at other people more with the eyes of God than with the standards of the world.  When we do that, we find beauty in some of the most unexpected places.