Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Swing the Bat

“Whatever your hands find to do, do with all your strength. ”  Ecclesiastes 7:10

When our children played t-ball and coach’s pitch baseball, we told them, “It’s ok if you don’t hit the ball.  But you’ve got to swing the bat.”  No one wants to watch a child who steps up to the plate but refuses to swing.  You gotta’ swing if you’re gonna score!

Photo used from Pixabay
At times in life, however, I find myself wanting to not swing.  It’s easier to just stand and watch the balls flying.  It’s safer to not swing.  After all, what if I swing and miss?  What if I look like a fool?  What if someone laughs at me?  What if my wife sees I am not Mr. Cool?  Yes, not swinging seems much more reasonable.

Sometimes I feel inadequate to parent my growing, and sometimes hard-headed, teenagers.  My dad wasn’t a stellar leader, so what do I know about leading my family?  It’s easier to just passively move through family life than engage their problems, needs, and questions.  

At times I don’t feel like I know how to navigate the emotional needs of my wife.  After being married for almost two decades, it seems like the needs get more complex, not easier.

Solomon, reflecting on life, exhorts us to work hard and engage with strength whatever task we find.  I need to engage, lead, and communicate.  I need to not avoid every conflict.  The opportunities to influence my family won’t be here in ten years.  Today is the day.  I may not hit every ball, but I’ve got to step up and swing.

Try to be the one to make a difference.  Try to put your fear and doubt aside.
Try to make the most of every moment.  And if you fall, get up and try again.  – Dolly Parton

Monday, July 17, 2017

Spoken Moments

The night before my grand¬father’s funeral, I spent the evening with my grandmother, who I called Mom-ee. Before going to bed, she wanted to tell me about his final moments. Pa-Pa had been very sick for several weeks in a nursing home. Months of taking dialysis had taken its toll on his eighty-two-year-old body.

Mom-ee told me, “Just the other night, I got down on my knees and prayed, ‘Lord, please don’t let him die alone in the nursing home. Please let me be with him when he dies.’”

Photo used from Pixabay.com

Beautiful Summer - Don't Hurry Away!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Quote of the Day

"The divine reality is always hope. The hindrance to our hope is our doubt. Now, faith will not cure every problem that we want cured. But doubt will cure none of them. So it is better to believe and hope in God than to doubt and languish in despair. The divine plan is concrete. When we believe, we release His power to help us in ways He wants. The divine plan is always for the good of those who love HIm and are called according to His purpose. It is the ultimate reality." 

- Patrick Morley, Walking with Christ in the Details of Life

Thursday, July 6, 2017

God Bless the USA!

I love the United States of America.  Every summer, our family enjoys celebrating the 4th of July with decorations, fireworks, food, and PBS’ A Capital Fourth.  I enjoy patriotic music almost as much as Christmas music, adding two new CD’s to my patriotic collection this year: American Jubilee by the Cincinnati Pops and For God and Country by Dolly Parton. 

Last summer my family toured our beloved capital, Washington, D.C.  We proudly toured the monuments, museums, and hallowed landmarks.  We witnessed one reality chiseled on stone -  the majority of our Founding Fathers had deep respect for the God of the Bible.  Though revisionists work meticulously to rewrite our history, the American experiment was one rooted in a Christian worldview.

John Quincy Adams said that the Declaration of Independence “laid the cornerstone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity.”  In his speech delivered on July 4th, 1837, President Adams claimed that “the birthday of the nation is indissolubly linked with the birthday of the Savior.”

John Adams, our second President, said, “The highest glory of the American Revolution was this: it connected in one indissoluble bond the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity.” 

These Fathers did not want a state-sponsored religion because they did not want the state to interfere with the religion of the people.  Instead, they expected and wanted the religion of the people to influence the state.  These Founders would not recognize the obsession in America today to “separate church and state.” 

How different are the two Adams Presidents’ words from the outcry we hear today to keep Christianity, the Bible, and the Ten Commandments from the public square.   In the National Archives building in D.C., upon entering you gaze upon the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.  Look at the floor and  notice the Ten Commandments depicted.  These Mount Sinai laws appear numerous places in the Supreme Court building, engraved on the huge oak doors entering the chambers.  Moses is the chief lawgiver engraved on top of the building above the steps out front. 

Benjamin Rush, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, believed that the only way to preserve the new nation was to train the next generation in Christian teaching:

We profess to be republicans [not governed by a king], and yet we neglect the only means of establishing and perpetuating our republican forms of government, that is, the universal education of our youth in the principles of Christianity by the means of the Bible. For this Divine Book, above all others, favors that equality among mankind, that respect for just laws, and those sober and frugal virtues, which constitute the soul of republicanism.

George Washington, addressing the Synod of the Dutch Reformed Church in 1789 shared that national morality could not prevail without religious principle.  To try and remove the religious influence is to “shake the foundation of the fabric” of our country.

Chief Justice John Jay, first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and Vice-President of the American Bible Society, understood this reality.  He wrote, Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation, to select and prefer Christians for their rulers. 

Many years later, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, shares in his book A Nation Like No Other, “The Founders’ distinctively Christian faith is well documented, as is their conviction that government must be infused with Christian principles.”

Today, we see America tearing apart at the seams.  We have ignored her recipe for success.  We unashamedly need God in America again.

John Adams had it right: “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people.  It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

Picture used from Pixabay.com

Saturday, July 1, 2017

This Simple Writing Strategy Helped John Grisham Sell Over 300 Million Books

Great writing advice from one of the best!

"In the late 1980s, with a busy day job as a lawyer and a couple of young kids at home, John Grisham started to write his first novel.

Every day, for the next three years, Grisham woke up at 5 am to write a page of what would eventually become the bestselling novel, A Time to Kill, which was published after being rejected by 40 different publishers.
His second novel, The Firm, was the breakout success that enabled Grisham to quit his day job and pursue his passion for writing full-time."