Posts Tagged ‘vacation’

1.  Give something away- no strings attached.
2.  Do a kindness- and forget it.
3.  Spend a few minutes with the aged- their experience is priceless guidance.
4.  Look intently into the face of a baby- and marvel.
5.  Laugh often- it’s life’s lubricant.
6.  Give thanks- a thousand times a day is not enough.
7.  Pray- or you will lose the way.
8.  Plan as though you’ll live forever- because you will.
10.  Live as though you’ll die tomorrow- because you will, on some tomorrow.

“We had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again …”—Luke 15:32

This parable is often wrongly named. In the second part of the story the prodigal son shrinks into the background, and we meet his older brother. The father actually has more trouble with this son than with the younger one. In the end we are not sure if the older brother will even join the feast. But how would we behave in a similar situation?

Both the prodigal and the older brother are self-centered. The younger son’s main concern is to rid himself of the restrictions of home and family life and be freed to do as he pleases in the attractive outside world. The older son grumbles about the sacrifices he has made and the luxuries he has missed while working and being responsible. He cannot acknowledge his father’s joy; it makes no sense to him. In the end, the older brother doesn’t want anything to do with fellowship with his father just as the younger son did earlier.

We can understand the older brother’s position; he was just following the normal cultural patterns, and he wanted to see evidence of a changed life before he would celebrate his brother’s return.

Longtime Christians often place similar demands on others to shape up and get it together when really it is time to celebrate. The Father has welcomed home the forgiven sinner, and we must be ready to join the party.

Jesus with his disciples on the Sea of Galilee...

Jesus with his disciples on the Sea of Galilee, Ernst Georg Bartsch, 1967 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

They saw Jesusapproaching the boat, walking on the water. John 6:19


Good teachers come up with amazing ways to get students’ attention. Kindergarten teachers quiet their voices to get children to settle down. Coaches have a knack for using the right words and tactics to motivate their players to win.


When Jesus walked on the Sea of Galilee, that got his disciples to pay attention to who he was and what he was about! At the time, though, they might not have realized he was the best teacher they could ever have.


They had probably figured it would be an uneventful evening. The disciples were on their way to the other side of the lake while Jesus stayed back on shore to spend some time alone (John 6:15). The wind and waves, however, started getting rough, and the disciples were probably growing concerned for their safety. Then somewhere in the middle of the lake, Jesus came right out to them, walking on the water!


Now they were scared! How do you think you would have reacted to that?


Why did Jesus do that? He wanted his disciples—and us—to pay attention to him as their chief focus even when the storms of life seem to take over. His voice breaks through the rumble of water and wind and says, “It is I; don’t be afraid.”


Jesus wants your undivided attention today. Are you keeping your eyes on him?


I have been working hard over the last couple of months to get our pool in tip top condition. A few months ago, the filtration pretty much stopped, and the pool became stagnant, and in the hot desert sun, soon turned green and thick as syrup with algae. In short, it became an eye sore and a gathering place for mosquitoes. Something had to be done.

With not much enthusiasm, I rented a sump pump and spent the entire weekend draining, scrubbing, cleaning filters, and refilling the pool. If you’ve never done this, I cannot tell you how hard of work this is, especially in the hot sun. After the water had filled the freshly scrubbed pool, I proudly turned on the pump with a big smile and a sense of pride. NOT, as I looked at the pool skimmer, I was so disappointed. For some reason the pump just wasn’t doing it’s job and I didn’t have the money for a repairman. I had to get it working, or I would be back in the same boat again.

My brilliant wife came up with an idea after looking the problem up online. It may be the pump impeller clogged. So I took the pump up, and sure as anything the impeller blades were full of debris. I cleaned them out and put the pump back on, and lo and behold, the skimmer started filtering the pool better than I had ever seen. As I look at my pool, and how clean and inviting it is for me to jump into, I wonder if Jesus wants to jump into my heart.

OK, that was a weird question, but here’s why I wonder that. It’s been 2 months since I cleaned that pool and it is clearer than any pool I’ve ever seen. But, as I looked at it with pride, I noticed it was so clear that I could see things at the bottom that I would never notice if I hadn’t cleaned it so well. Now the things I’m referring to were small, like a few small leaves, some dirt, and a couple of twigs blown in by the strong desert winds we get. However, even though they were small, they bothered me, and I didn’t want to get in until I had vacuumed the pool and it was COMPLETELY clean again. this is the perfect example of how God must look at our hearts.

Our hearts like the pool, can be drained of sin, scrubbed with the brush of righteousness, filled back up with the Holy Spirit, the Bible (Our filtration) can be up and running again, but unless we maintain the bottom of the pool as well as the water, is it clean enough for the Lord? If we want a life filled with God, then we will make sure our hearts are clean and pure, a place where He would want to dwell. Now our hearts, like my pool will start to get dirty again with time, but we need to stay on top of our sin, constantly keeping an eye out for it gathering at the bottom of our hearts, often out of sight, like the bottom of  a pool. We want our hearts to be like that pool now, clean from top to bottom. Making the Lord WANT to jump in and make Him proud.

OK, so I know this is a different analogy, but our lives can and should be a reflection of our relationship with the Lord. Is yours?


What I’m going to share with you today is a version of a popular email forward. The author is unknown. But because the advice is so simple and foundational, it’s probably worth reviewing again.

What strikes you will be dependent upon what’s going on in your life.  I hope what sticks with you will be the thing you need to work on.

Simple Steps to a Good Life


Every day, find time to be alone.

    • Pray.
    • Go to bed on time.
    • Get up on time so you can start the day unrushed.
    • Say NO to projects that won’t fit into your time schedule or that will compromise your mental health.
    • Delegate tasks to capable others.
    • Simplify and unclutter your life.
    • Less is more.
    • Allow extra time to do things and to get to places.
    • Pace yourself. Spread out big changes and difficult projects over time; don’t lump the hard things all together.
    • Take one day at a time.
    • Separate worries from concerns.If a situation is a concern, find out what God would have you do, and let go of the anxiety. If you can’t do anything about a situation, forget it.
    • Live within your budget; don’t use credit cards for ordinary purchases.
    • Have backups; an extra car key in your wallet,an extra house key buried in the garden, extra stamps, etc.
    • K.M.S. (Keep Mouth Shut).This single piece of advice can prevent an enormous amount of trouble.
    • Do something for the Kid in You every day.
      Carry a spiritually enlightening book with you to read while waiting in line.
    • Eat right.
    • Get your mail, papers and files organized.


    Listen to a CD or MP3 (or the !) while driving that can help improveyour quality of life…

  • Write down thoughts and inspirations.
  • Having problems? Talk to God on the spot.Try to nip small problems in the bud. Don’t wait until it’s time to go to bed to try and pray.
  • Make friends with Godly people.
    Keep a folder of favorite scriptures on hand.
  • Remember that the shortest bridge between despair and hopeis often a good ‘Thank you GOD.’
  • Laugh.

A man dies and goes to heaven. Of course, St. Peter meets him at the pearly gates. St. Peter says, “Here’s how it works. You need 100 points to make it into heaven. You tell me all the good things you’ve done, and I give you a certain number of points for each item, depending on how good it was. When you reach 100 points, you get in.”

“Okay,” the man says, “I was married to the same woman for 50 years and never cheated on her, even in my heart.”

“That’s wonderful,” says St. Peter, “that’s worth three points!”

“Three points?” he says. “Well, I attended church all my life and supported its ministry with my tithe and service.”

“Terrific!” says St. Peter, “that’s certainly worth a point.”

“One point? Golly. How about this: I started a soup kitchen in my city and worked in a shelter for homeless veterans.”

“Fantasic, that’s good for two more points,” he says.

“TWO POINTS!!” the man cries, “At this rate the only way I get into heaven is by the grace of God!”

“Come on in!”



Auction-4 (Photo credit: Tulane Public Relations)

How many of us have looked for what we thought were true riches only to find out later that our Father was prepared to give us His entire estate if we had only sought after His Son alone?


1 John 4:7-8 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.

An upstate NY man was rich in almost every way. His estate was worth millions. He owned houses, land, antiques and cattle. But though on the outside he had it all, he was very unhappy on the inside. His wife was growing old, and the couple was childless. He had always wanted a little boy to carry on the family legacy.


Miraculously, his wife became pregnant in her later years, and she gave birth to a little boy. The boy was severely handicapped, but the man loved him with his whole heart. When the boy was five, his mom died. The dad drew closer to his special son. At age 13, the boys’s birth defects cost him his life and the father died soon after from a broken heart.


The estate was auctioned before hundreds of bidders. The first item offered was a painting of the the boy. No one bid. They waited like vultures for the riches. Finally, the poor housemaid, who helped raise the boy, offered $5 for the picture and easily took the bid. To every-one’s shock, the auctioneer ripped a hand written will from the back of the picture. This is what it said: “To the person who thinks enough of my son to buy this painting, to this person I give my entire estate.”


The auction was over. The greedy crowd walked away in shock and dismay.



Northern part of the Great Rift Valley as seen...

Northern part of the Great Rift Valley as seen from space (NASA) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are two seas in Palestine. One is fresh, and fish are in it. Splashes of green adorn its banks. Trees spread their branches over it and stretch out their thirsty roots to sip of its healing waters. Along its shores the children play, as children played when He was there. He loved it. He could look across its silver surface when He spoke His parables. And on a rolling plain not far away He fed five thousand people.

The River Jordan makes this sea with sparkling water from the hills. So it laughs in the sunshine. And men build their houses near to it, and birds their nests; and every kind of life is happier because it is there.

The River Jordan flows on south into another sea. Here is no splash of fish, no fluttering leaf, no song of birds, no children’s laughter. Travelers choose another route, unless on urgent business. The air hangs heavy above its water, and neither man nor beast nor fowl will drink.

What makes this mighty difference in these neighbor seas? Not the river Jordan. It empties the same good water into both. Not the soil in which they lie not the country about.

This is the difference. The Sea of Galilee receives but does not keep the Jordan. For every drop that flows into it another drop flows out. The giving and receiving go on in equal measure.

The other sea is shrewder, hoarding its income jealously. It will not be tempted into any generous impulse. Every drop it gets, it keeps.

The Sea of Galilee gives and lives. This other sea gives nothing. It is named The Dead. There are two kinds of people in the world. There are two seas in Palestine.



parachute (Photo credit: o0bsessed)

Charles Plum, a U.S. Naval Academy graduate, was a jet fighter pilot in Vietnam. After 75 combat missions, his plane was destroyed by a surface-to-air missile. Plumb ejected and parachuted into enemy hands. He was captured and spent six years in a Communist prison. He survived that ordeal and now lectures about lessons learned from that experience.

One day, when Plumb and his wife were sitting in a restaurant, a man at another table came up and said, “You’re Plumb! You flew jet fighters in Vietnam from the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk. You were shot down!”

“How in the world did you know that?” asked Plumb.

“I packed your parachute,” the man replied. Plumb gasped in surprise and gratitude. The man pumped his hand and said, “I guess it worked!”

Plumb assured him, “It sure did — if your chute hadn’t worked, I wouldn’t be here today.”

Plumb couldn’t sleep that night, thinking about that man. Plumb says, “I kept wondering what he might have looked like in a Navy uniform — a Dixie cup hat, a bib in the back, and bell bottom trousers. I wondered how many times I might have passed him on the Kitty Hawk. I wondered how many times I might have seen him and not even said ‘Good morning, how are you,’ or anything because, you see, I was a fighter pilot and he was just a sailor.”

Plumb thought of the many hours the sailor had spent on a long wooden table in the bowels of the ship carefully weaving the shrouds and folding the silks of each chute, holding in his hands each time the fate of someone he didn’t know.

Now, Plumb asks his audience, “Who’s packing your parachute? Everyone has someone who provides what they need to make it through the day.” Plumb also points out that he needed many kinds of parachutes when his plane was shot down over enemy territory — he needed his physical parachute, his mental parachute, his emotional parachute, and his spiritual parachute. He called on all these supports before reaching safety. His experience reminds us all to prepare ourselves to weather whatever storms lie ahead.

SUGGESTION: Recognize and be gracious to people who pack your daily parachutes, and strengthen yourself to prevail through tough times.

1 John 4:7-8  Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.

I took photo with Canon camera in Caldwell Par...

I took photo with Canon camera in Caldwell Parish of Grayson Baptist Church. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One night an unemployed man was worrying about how he was going to pay his bills, that were already over due. He had searched and searched for a job, but he couldn’t find one. The man was down to his last 50 cents. The two quarters in his pocket, was all that he had to his name. He looked around at his wife and children and was feeling so ashamed that he had failed them. He decided to use the 50 cents to buy another Newspaper. Maybe today someone had placed a help wanted ad in the paper.

He got in his old run down car and drove down state highway #1947 towards Grayson, Ky. Two miles from Grayson the car ran out of gas. He got out and started walking, the rain was pouring down hard. When he got to Barretts Creek church, 1.8 miles from Grayson, the man was soaked from head to toe.

Barretts Creek church is building a new church beside of the old one that they are using now. The new church doesn’t have any doors or windows in it yet, so the man went inside the rough structure that was soon to be Barretts creeks new church. His plan was simply to get in out of the rain.

While he was standing in God’s church, waiting for the rain to slack down some. He could feel God’s presence’s there. Tears started to roll from his eyes. He knelt down on his knees to pray, he said: Lord, it’s been a long time sense I’ve been in your house, too long I know.

Lord, I’m sure you know the mess that I’m in. It’s my fault for trying to do it all on my own and forgetting about you. I’ve been so foolish Lord, please forgive me. I need to get back in church and sense I know for sure that you are here in this one. I think this is the one, this is where me and my family should be. I ask that your will to be done, and in Jesus’s Precious name I ask, A-men.

The man got up and started on his way again, on the long, wet walk to Grayson. The two quarters, jingled in his other wise empty pocket as he walked. He was now filled with joy and hope, for he no longer felt like he was walking alone. He knew Jesus had always been there by his side and ready to help. But he hadn’t asked Jesus for help lately. He realized that he couldn’t possibly be fruitful, when he was so far removed of from the vine.

When he had walked a little ways farther, a pickup truck stopped and the drive offered him a ride. The driver asked if that was his car that was sitting beside of the road? The man said: Yes, I ran out of gas. The driver said: Your lucky I came a long, I’m on my way to Grayson to get a newspaper. The man said: So am I.

The driver said: I wanted to see if they put my ad in there today, the newspaper forgot to yesterday. They pulled into the parking lot of the Super Quick in Grayson. The driver said: I just want to see if my add is in the paper and then you can have it, I don’t need it after that. He said: There is a empty gas can in the back of the truck, you get some gas and I’ll get us a newspaper.

The man put 50 cents worth of gas in the gas can, then set it carefully in the back of the truck and paid for it inside. The driver had already looked at the newspaper by the time the man had returned. The driver handed the man the newspaper and said: They didn’t put my ad in here again today either, and I need some one to start first thing in the morning. Do you know anyone that needs a job?

The man said: Yes, I do! Thats why I wanted a newspaper. The driver said: I need help, the job is yours if you want it, I pay 9 dollars an hour to start out. The man said: I’ll take it, I put the last 50 cents I had in that gas can back there. The drive said: That is not enough to get you to work in the morning, I’ll follow you back to Super Quick and fill your car up. I can take it out of your first weeks pay check. The man said: Will you do me one more favor?

The driver said: What is it? The man said: Stop at the church so I can thank God for your help and for the job. The man went inside the church again, he knelt down to pray. He said: Dear Father in Heaven, I wanted to stop back in your church and give thanks for how you have jumped in there and straightened me out, and to thank you for the job. Now I can go home and face my family again. Thank you, in Jesus Precious name, A-men. As he started back out the opening of the church, he stopped and said: Oh by the way Lord, like Jesus once said: ” I’ll be back again”.