Mama’s Rocking Chair


I have a good friend who lost their grandmother yesterday. I woke up early praying for her and others who I know are grieving the loss of loved ones today. On such occasions, I generally try to express some of my thoughts in writing. For my friend, and others who are hurting today, I pray that you will experience God’s comfort and His peace.

 

Mama’s Rocking Chair

Every day I have reminders
That she had to say goodbye,
Every keepsake, every picture
Makes me want to cry.
But the best reminder I have,
Sits in the corner over there
And every day I take some time to sit,
In mama’s rocking chair.

And when I’m feeling lonely,
That chair’s my favorite place,
It’s where mama would hold me,
And wipe the tears from my face.
She couldn’t answer every question
But she knew just what to say
She taught me life’s best lessons
Before she went away.

Now she’s in the presence of our Savior,
‘Cause she believed the words He said,
She’s giving thanks with Jesus,
They’ve already broken bread.
And I know someday we’ll hold each other
When we meet again up there,
But until that day comes, I’ll rest
In mama’s rocking chair.

Every day I have reminders
That she had to say goodbye,
Every keepsake, every picture
Makes me want to cry.
But the best reminder I have
Sits in the corner over there
And every day I take some time to sit,
In mama’s rocking chair.

Posted in Being Thankful, Christianity, Dealing with grief, Draw close to God, final memories, God's comfort, Grief | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This is the Day


On the news tonight, I heard one newscaster touting a new segment on their program called “Working for the weekend.” The segment provides information about local activities available in our area during the weekend. One of the other anchors said something about “Yeah, everybody is working for the weekend.”

The exchange reminded me of a conversation I had with someone years ago. It was a very frantic and busy Tuesday morning at the office. I was tired and frustrated and I commented that I couldn’t wait for the work week to end, “I wish it was Friday already.” A friend suggested I take a different perspective. They told me when they are frustrated and feel that way, they meditate on Psalm 118:24, “This is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it.”

My friend offered me some good advice. Instead of wishing our lives away and just slogging through a tough work week, we should ask for the Lord to help us have the right perspective. Yes, some days are harder than others but every day is a gift. Every day the Lord’s mercies are brand new. Every day our Lord promises to be with us, even on the most frantic and toughest of days. And for that, we can always rejoice.

Posted in Being Thankful, Choose to be happy, Christianity, Encouragement, faith, Faith during hard times | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Lord is Good


In our chapel class this week we have been looking at some passages from Psalm 86 and talking about the goodness and mercy of the Lord. As our group has spoken about which verses in this psalm resonate with them, our attention was frequently focused on the promises in verses 5 and 7. David writes:

Psalm 86:5 For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, and abundant in loving-kindness to all who call upon You… 7 In the day of my trouble I shall call upon You, for You will answer me.

I love the truth of these scriptures. The Lord is indeed good. The Lord is always ready to forgive. The Lord will provide an abundance of loving-kindness to all who call upon Him. Do you feel downcast and discouraged? Are you experiencing troubles and trials today? Call upon the Lord, for He is good. Trust in Him for He offers forgiveness and abundant loving-kindness to all who call upon Him. He will answer you and strengthen you.

Posted in Christianity, Draw close to God, Faith during hard times, God will help you, God's comfort, Psalm 86:5, Psalm 86:7 | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Time for Everything

Today, we get to celebrate the birthday of our 3-year-old grandson Theo. Theo is a wonderful grandson, I love to hear him laugh, see him smile, and zoom around the house with his favorite toys. Usually, he is doing all three at the same time. I love that boy! In just three short years, he has already taught me some good things. Of all the things I have learned from Theo, my favorite lesson has to do with lunch and naps. Theo introduced me to the concept of first lunch and second lunch, and the fact that nothing should interfere with a nap. This reminds me of the importance of doing what’s healthy for us and taking things at our own pace. It also reminds me of what the Bible says in Ecclesiastes chapter 3:

Ecclesiastes 3:1 There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven … 11 God has made everything beautiful in its time.

There is a right time, an appropriate time, for all of the things we need to do. Your time frame might not look like mine or Theo’s…and that’s okay. God has indeed made everything beautiful in its time. This afternoon I get to spend some beautiful time with family and friends as we celebrate Theo’s third birthday. But first, I’m going to take a nap.

Posted in Being Blessed, Being Thankful, Christianity, faith, God loves you | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Stay Connected


I had some computer issues this morning. Actually, I had some monitor issues. It all started a few weeks ago with my screen going blank for a second or two. It would pop back on so I figured it was just some “cyberspace glitch” or some program trying to download in the background or some other technical hiccup. No worries. But this morning when I started to put the finishing touches on my sermon for the week, the monitor screen went blank, it went totally black and it never popped back on. And then the monitor went into “sleep” mode. One of the last things that happened right before it did was provide a message which advised me to “check your connection.”

“Checking the connection” proved to be a lot harder than it sounds. Under my desk there are all kinds of wires – wires for the modem, the router, the computer, the keyboard, the monitor, the desk light, and the desk fan (yes, a desk fan…a man can work up a sweat trying to finish a sermon). Anyway, it seems like most of these wires are about the same size and they are all the same color, so I couldn’t tell what was what. As I looked under the desk, all I saw was clutter. So, I powered everything down and slowly began checking each cord. I ended up getting rid of some cords that I no longer need. As near as I can tell, some of that clutter was weighing down the delicate cord which connects my monitor to the computer. The clutter finally weighed it down enough that the connection was totally lost.

I got everything going again but I learned a valuable lesson. Sometimes, we allow the clutter and the “busy-ness” of life to weigh down and compromise our connection to the Lord and our connections to others. It can start slowly at first, but it builds and builds until the connection is compromised to the point that we can no longer see the things we need to see or do the things we need to do. It is a good practice to de-clutter from time to time, to prioritize, organize, and get rid of things that only serve to weigh down and compromise the most important things in life – our connection to the Lord and our connection to others. May you have a blessed week and may you stay connected to the most important things of life.

Posted in Christianity, Church, Draw close to God, faith, Loving Others, Mark 12:30-31 | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Moving Forward

I took a walk across an iron bridge at our chaplains’ conference this week which sits high above the Texas hill country. As you walk across the bridge, you can look out and behold some beautiful scenery of God’s creation. Of course you can also stop and look down and grow uneasy, uncomfortable, and even scared as you see through the bridge and focus on the ground so far below. I have heard stories of some who have become so uncomfortable and scared that they turned around, refusing to cross the bridge. This results in them missing out on a great hike, some beautiful scenery, and enjoying a time of sitting in the shade by the river.

As I contemplated these things, I was reminded of the time when Simon Peter stepped out of the boat to walk on the water toward Christ. As long as Simon Peter kept his eyes on Christ, he was fine. But when he looked down and noticed where he was and what he was doing, he became uncomfortable, he stopped moving forward and he began to sink. Naturally, the Lord reached out and took Peter’s hand and rescued him.

My walk across the bridge reminded me of these scriptures and the importance of having the right perspective and the right focus in life. We are blessed in an abundant way when by faith, we refuse to let our discomfort dictate our steps but choose to continue moving forward, keeping our eyes on God’s goodness, His Grace, and the beauty of the relationship we have with His Son.

Posted in chaplaincy, chaplaincy training program, Christianity, Don't give up, Draw close to God, faith, God has a plan for you, God will help you, Matthew 14:22-23 | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Baseball Cards and Bicycle Spokes

Here is a poem/song I have been working on this morning. It’s not quite finished yet. But it’s a start.

Baseball Cards and Bicycle Spokes

We put baseball cards in our bicycle spokes
Played kick the can and told “knock knock” jokes.
We played outside ‘til the street lights came on.
And when momma yelled, it was time to come home.

Those were simple times… but they sure were good.
And I’d bring ‘em back again…if I could

The floor was lava so you hopped around
To keep your feet from touching the ground.
We chased fireflies on hot summer nights
When we went to bed we had pillow fights…

Those were simple times… but they sure were good.
And I’d bring ‘em back again…if I could

We ate burned hot dogs and drank root beer floats
Had to change TV channels without remotes…
We’d cross our hearts and make a pinky swear
Every summer all the boys would buzz their hair…

Those were simple times… but they sure were good.
And I’d bring ‘em back again…if I could

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Take the First Step and Then Press On


In our chapel class this week we have been talking about goals and challenges and how God can equip us and empower us to reach the goals and plans He has for us. There are lots of good quotes which encourage us to work toward our goals and execute on our plans. I like this reminder from Martin Luther King, Jr. which says, “You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” Sometimes the goals we set, the plans we make, and the hills we need to climb seem so big and challenging we may find ourselves hesitant to even get started. Faced with such goals and challenges, it is important to just take that first step. And then take the next one and the next. You’ll be amazed at where perseverance will take you. I think this the perspective Paul had in regard to sanctification and conforming to the image of Christ. Paul writes to the church:

Philippians 4:13 Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Conforming to the image of Christ, living in a way that honors God and points others to Him through our words and deeds is our goal as Christians. And it can be a big hill to climb. It can be challenging, but don’t let the challenge keep you from moving forward. For although it is challenging, it is rewarding. Take the first step. Invite Christ into your life as Lord and Savior. And after taking the first step, take the next. And then take the next. Press on. God will always help us to do whatever He asks us to do.

Posted in Christianity, Do Your Best, Don't stop, faith, Philippians 4:13 | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Living with Purpose

What Should I Do?

A man woke up one morning and as he lay in bed,
A certain question kept running through his head,
“If everyone has a purpose as some say we do,
Then what is mine? I haven’t a clue.”

He got up, got dressed and headed out for the day,
But the question still haunted him each step of the way.
It was on his mind as he helped a neighbor cross the street,
And as he said “hello” and “God bless you” to everyone he would meet.

All day while he wrestled with that question that was stuck in his mind,
He continued to demonstrate grace and speak words that were kind.
Still, a sinister thought began to grow in his head,
“If I don’t have a purpose, I should have just stayed in bed!”

As he retired for the night, he considered the day had been lost,
Until suddenly he remembered the people whose paths he had crossed.
He had been so worried about his purpose that all the while,
He failed to appreciate each laugh and each smile.

Finally, it struck him, and he began to understand,
That one’s purpose doesn’t always have to be so big and so grand.
Great things can be accomplished every single day,
Just by being kind to others as we go on our way.

You’ll meet some people who feel like they’re on their last mile,
And they can be strengthened by your kind words and your smile.
So don’t worry so much about your purpose or what you should do,
Just go out and love others as Christ has loved you.

Posted in Do Your Best, encouraging others, Ephesians 4:32, faith, Filled with Grace, God's comfort | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Stay on Track

I love the wisdom and truth of Psalm 37, especially verses 3 and 4. The psalm begins with a reminder not to fret over wrongdoers. Do not let someone who is determined to act wrong rob you of your peace. Don’t let someone who is doing bad keep you from doing good. Keep your focus on the Lord. Trust in Him, do good, and cultivate your faith. Cultivation takes time and attention. But as we see in verse 4 and throughout the remainder of this psalm, tending to our walk with Christ is always a rewarding experience.

Posted in Abundant life, Christianity, Church, Don't give up, faith, God will help you, Psalm 37:3-4 | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment