Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Getting Our Attention

        The smartphone can do it.  The timer on the microwave can do it. The dog outside can, too.   (The list could go on if you reached for a pen to add to it.)
So, what gets your attention? 
        Sights:  flashing lights, barricades, an official-looking envelope in the mailbox.
        Smells from the stove, the bubbling geyser at Yellowstone, popcorn at the theater.
        Pain: from your elbow, stubbing your toe, owwie from a mosquito.

Time to look and consider. How do you do that? 
        A word pops into your head or a name comes to your mind.
        A list of TO DO on your computer.
        A display of cupcakes at the grocery store.

 Time to take action.  Time to . . . . 

Monday, September 01, 2014

Reasons to Believe

The high school reunion invitation arrived and Eric was anticipating a good time.  See the old buddies, have a few drinks, then the barbecue out back, yes, I’ll go.  “Of course, we’ll go, honey,” was Lizzi’s exclamation.  
The turnout was excellent and the “remember when” was a humorous challenge.  Eric and Lizzi mingled with the crowd.  With a big grin Eric slapped Bruce on the back.  “Hey, guy.  What’s been keeping you busy this last year?”
The response was totally unexpected.  “Yeah, I’ve made an astounding discovery and made a huge decision.”
What?  This wimp of a guy had put on muscle since he last saw him, but what does he mean?

Friday, August 29, 2014

How I Got Rid of That Problem

The Problem acted so big!
It flaunted its importance,
strutting onto the scene unexpectedly.

But I remembered what to do:
I called it a Challenge
and faced it immediately.

Of course, I needed Wisdom,
and I found it when I asked
the LORD, honestly and prayerfully.

Then I applied Effort
and it took some careful Thought,
but I summoned adequate Energy.

With some Time, that turned that Problem
into an Achievement,
which I could then call Victory.  

What a relief to conquer
the Problem that looked so strong!
Now I could celebrate happily.  

By Elaine Hardt ©2014 

Friday, August 22, 2014

Oh! Technology!

More inventions, there’s no end to them you’ll agree,
Improvements are being made to most everything;
As diseases mutate, they become harder to heal,
Now, we wonder what the next “miracle” will bring. 

A new overpass on the downtown freeway,
An elevator used to have someone to run it,
Drones now can spy, hover and take photos,
A skyscraper is built taller than any before it.

Snazzy new looks on the latest gas-saving new car,
There’s a huge boost in power in that pickup truck . . . 

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Take a Grownup Look at Prayer

Is praying just a kiddy-thing?
A child’s bedtime routine?
Or, is prayer for actual grownups
Who say to God what they mean?

Is praying out loud for showing off?
How can it be from the heart?
What do we find in the Bible,
That we’ll make a brand-new start? 

People prayed with serious words
Back in those olden days;
They confessed sins and weakness,
Then they gave the LORD their praise. 

Sometimes today we hear mumbled words
Or frivolous phrases in prayer;
We must consider for ourselves
Do we believe that God is There?

A Creator, awesome in power!
And He cares so much for us!
We so bravely acknowledge Him
that we choose to obey and trust.

By Elaine Hardt ©2014 

Friday, August 01, 2014

Will You Let THAT Ruin Your Day?

        Today will not go perfectly the way you’ve planned.  Your lists of To Do, and Go & Get will get  squeezed in between the demands of family and job. That’s mostly normal. 
        While you’re trying to be the perfect specimen of man or woman your attempt at combining energy, talent, and logic does sometimes meet up with unscheduled delays and various aggravations.
        It might be a parking lot scrape, or a neglected piece of paper requested by the bank, or a speeding motorcycle bent on getting ahead of the long line of traffic on Grand Avenue.  
        Or maybe it will be verbal, choosing the wrong word in your explanation to the boss, or unexpectedly stumbling over words on the phone ordering that bargain deal.
        Or maybe the trouble will be hidden from everyone except you.  Some angry thought bubbled up, or some jealous attitude jumped into your mind as you sat there at the board meeting.
        Big or little, really serious or just a petty irritation the choice is yours: how will you label that unexpected crook stealing your peace of mind?
        It could help to just ask yourself, “Will I let THAT ruin my day?”  Take that longer look and size up the ramifications that could affect how the rest of the day will go.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Ten Good Reasons for Complaining

So, how is life treating you these days?  Are you consistently happy and positive in your outlook and cheerful in your conversation? 
Oh?  So you do whine and complain, but very infrequently, and only when totally justified? 
Take a look at two guys who had ten good reasons for complaining.  Their shocking experience is recounted in Acts 16:11-40. Paul and his friend Silas recently arrived in a foreign city:   
  1. They had done nothing wrong, nothing illegal, yet they were falsely accused, 
  2. Yelled at by an angry crowd, probably insulted and cursed by them,
  3. Seized by the authorities,
  4. Stripped of their clothes by the arresting authorities,
  5. Beaten with “many stripes,”
  6. Thrown into prison, most likely a dungeon,
  7. Prison was dirty, dark, and smelly, 
  8. Lawbreakers, likely undesirable-types were chained in the dungeon,
  9. Locked in the “inner prison,”
  10. Feet were fastened down in stocks so they could not move around.
Any of this happened to you recently?  Anything even remotely similar to this happen to you at any time in your life?  Do you have ten good reasons for complaining?  
Well, you’d imagine as they sat there in the fetid darkness they would rehash the terrible things that happened to them.  Or, perhaps they’d sit in angry silence, each blaming the other for over-reacting?
No, that’s not the case.  They prayed out loud, sang praises to God and the prisoners heard them.  No silent sulking, instead a lot of noisy praying and praising.  Maybe even two-part harmony as they sang their favorite songs to God, perhaps praises from the book of Psalms, well known to all Jews.  
 When you are going through some undeserved or undesirable conditions is there another believer with whom you can pray and sing?  Or, are you alone?
Someone you aren’t even aware of may be watching and listening to you.  What can you do?
Putting on a brave front and gritting your teeth is not the answer. So, what is?