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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?  

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Need a Reason to Smile?

It’s a new day so give a smile, and start off right.
There’s unexpected challenges coming before night. 
Maybe you made a list of what to accomplish today,
But, of course, small aggravations may be coming your way.

Smile as you fix breakfast, and as you drive down the street;
Someone may appreciate your kind look, so repeat.
Your smile is an exercise of your faith doing good,
Step out with confidence, as your mom said you should. 

You’ve already talked to your Heavenly Father, I’m sure.
For the ills of the world, He offers you the cure.
Trust and Obey: maybe you remember that old song,
Focus on what’s important, and don’t wait too long. 

Friday, July 11, 2014

Why Do We Remember Things?

Time flies by, obviously that’s the way it goes,
So, what are memories good for?
Memories help us . . . 
Sort out
Review
Learn from what we’ve heard, seen, done
Persevere with what’s good
Enjoy something again
Celebrate
Memories test us . . . 
See if we are ready to exchange that frown for a smile
Provide opportunity to pray for someone we’re remembering
Remind us if there is someone we need to forgive
Check to see how well our brain is doing
Find out if we recall advice we were given
Give us a little time to think of a Bible verse that applies
Memories bless us . . . 
When we use them to assess our new challenges 
When we remember to be thankful for God’s goodness
When we honestly give credit to Him
When we make the effort to learn more Bible verses
When we use God’s Word to encourage others
When we write our memories down

Now, you’ve seen this list of ideas,
So, what can you add to it? 

                                                                         By Elaine Hardt ©2014 

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

More Than Fireworks!

        Remember this important holiday,  Fourth of July.  Yes, it’s more thanfireworks!  It’s more than decorations and sales at the stores.
       Here’s four sites to view.  You’ll find more . . . 
       And pray for our nation; these are serious times and there’s concern about the future.  
       The Capitol Fourth celebration. http://www.pbs.org/a-capitol-fourth/home/   
       The story behind the Star Spangled Banner History. http://storiesofusa.com/category/4th-of-july/
       Famous Patriotic Quotes about America.  http://storiesofusa.com/famous-patriotic-quotes-about-america/

Monday, June 23, 2014

God's Gift of Life

God’s GOODNESS can be seen 
Wherever a person looks, 
whenever a person looks;
Human vision may be the beginning of appreciating
God’s beautiful gift of life.

God’s POWER can be seen
in the complexities of creation,
power beyond our imagination.
Human understanding will never grasp the totality of 
God’s tremendous gift of life. 

God’s GRACE and MERCY cannot as easily be seen,
because we are often not attuned
To life’s invisibilities. 
Smothered in daily necessities we may miss seeing
God’s loving gift of life.  

God’s LOVE is written in His Word,

Thursday, June 19, 2014

A Time to Remember Your Father

       Every day is Father's Day, so any day will do,
       Let's reclaim those past memories, too.

        Well, the poem started out without much help from me.  But the "official" Father's Day is past, and Dad's not here.  But looking through some old photos was a good excursion into the past.  My first thoughts were about him, but later my thoughts were about you -- friends, relatives, readers of this blog.  For each of us growing up was a challenge.  Then having our own children was another challenge.  Now, watching the grandkids growing up.  Years do fly by!  
       The one closing thought is for prayer.  No matter who or where you are, pray for better communication with your family.  Pray for wisdom, ability, strength. 
        Our Heavenly Father loves each of us.  A personal relationship with Him means we've owned up to our sins and weaknesses, we've asked to be forgiven. Now life has wonderful opportunities, empowered by His Holy Spirit.  So celebrate every day in some meaningful way, starting with prayer.  

by Elaine Hardt ©2014

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Today is Flag Day

We fly the flag on Flag Day
To show belonging, respect, and caring.
We speak of the founders of our nation,
Their insight, belief, and daring.

We, too, are called to be patriotic,
But there’s another message, too;
We pray for all who live in this country,
We pray for leaders to be dedicated, strong, true. 

There’s national problems to pray about,
Determination meets opportunity, what will we do?
We must honor, respect and obey the LORD,
He alone can bring us through.

by Elaine Hardt ©2014