Things Aren’t Always What They Seem

Things Aren’t Always What They Seem

Have you ever looked at a situation and after awhile see the same problem with a new understanding?     Two traveling angels stopped to spend the night in the home of a wealthy family. The family was rude and refused to let the angels stay in the mansion’s guest room. Instead the angels were given a small space in the cold basement. As they made their bed on the hard floor, the older angel saw a hole in the wall and repaired it. When the younger angel asked why, the older angel replied,“Things aren’t always what they seem.” The next night the pair came to rest at the house of a very poor, but very hospitable farmer and his wife. After sharing what little food they had the couple let the angel sleep in their bed where they could have a good night’s rest. When the sun came up the next morning the angels found the farmer and his wife in tears. Their only cow, whose milk had been their sole income, lay dead in the field. The younger angel was infuriated and asked the older angel how could you have let this happen?” The first man had everything, yet you helped him“, she accused.“The second family had little but was willing to share everything, and you let the cow die.” “Things aren’t always what they seem,” the older angel replied. “When we stayed in the basement of the mansion, I noticed there was gold stored in that hole in the wall. Since the owner was so obsessed with greed and unwilling to share his good fortune,I sealed...

The White Envelope, The Real Meaning of Christmas- A true story

I wanted to share this true story I heard last week  It all began because my husband Mike hated Christmas—oh, not the true meaning of Christmas, but the commercial aspects of it -overspending, the frantic running around at the last minute to get a tie for Uncle Harry, and the dusting powder for Grandma—the gifts given in desperation because you couldn’t think of anything else. Knowing he felt this way, I decided one year to bypass the usual shirts, sweaters, ties and so forth. I reached for something special just for Mike. The inspiration came in an unusual way. Our son Kevin, who was12 that year, was wrestling at the junior level at the school he attended; and shortly before Christmas, there was a non-league match against a team sponsored by an inner-city church. These youngsters, dressed in sneakers so ragged that shoestrings seemed to be the only thing holding them together, presented sharp contrast to our boys to our boys in their spiffy blue and gold uniforms a sparkling new wrestling shoes. As the match began, I was alarmed to see the other team was wrestling without headgear, a kind of light helmet designed to protect a wrestler’s ears. It was a luxury the ragtag team obviously could not afford. Well, we ended up walloping them. took every weight class. And as each of their boys got up from the mat he swaggered around in his tatters with false bravado, a kind of street pride that couldn’t acknowledge defeat. Mike, seated beside me, shook his head sadly, “I wish just one of them could have won,” he said....

Fore-Giveness

I love to golf but I must admit I’m not very good. I never know where my ball is going when I hit my drive off the tee. When it goes into the other fairway I yell “Fore.” “Fore” is another word for “ahead” (think of a ship’s fore and aft). Yelling “fore” is simply a shorter way to yell “watch out ahead” (or “watch out before”). It allows golfers to be forewarned, in other words. As I am thinking about forgiveness, I think yelling is “fore” is another way of saying , I’m sorry  if the ball hits you, I’m a bad golfer, watch out. Forgiveness is key to enjoying the life God has given us. I used to be so frustrated playing golf because I set an unrealistic expectation for my golf game. I now forgive myself for the bad shots I hit and I enjoy the game so much more. When I came to grips that I was not going to play a perfect game I was able to enjoy myself much more. Maybe there is a parallel to life in the analogy.  Many times we set pretty high expectations on ourselves and others. What if we gave ourselves and others a dose of forgiveness? Do you hold onto incidents that have happened in your life? Here is a great story of a boy who had to learn this lesson. There was a little boy visiting his grandparents on their farm. He was given a slingshot to play with out in the woods. He practiced in the woods; but he could never hit the target. Getting...

I Take the Bible Seriously not Literally

I believe that the Bible was inspired by God.  The Apostle Paul puts it best in his second letter to Timothy: All Scripture was written by people as God “breathed” [pneuma or air or wind] on them. In other words, the Holy Spirit was speaking to their minds and spirits as they put “pen to paper” [actually, not originally paper, but little scrolls of parchment or vellum]. This is a paraphrased version of part of 2Tim 3:16. I believe that the Bible is the story of numerous relationships between God and God’ image in God’s creation– humans.  As we work out our understanding and our relationship with each other and God, we are confronted with the fact that the Bible is extremely complex and we sometimes are not able to understand the written words. We discover that no one can take the Bible literally.The Bible was written in ancient languages and understood by the readers in those ancient times. For example, in Psalm 22:16, the speaker says that his hands and feet are like a lion’s.  Well, the Jewish scholars knew that what was “meant” was that his hands and feet were swollen and rough and malformed—as if the hands and feet had been stabbed or pierced or impaled. We have a hard enough time reading the style of English that was in common use when the King James Bible was written—let alone understanding ancient Hebrew or Greek. We rely on the experts to read the ancient texts and write that in our modern language.  We also rely on the experts to choose the “best” version to translate from...

I Believe in Original Blessing not Original Sin

I believe in the Original Blessing: “God created human beings in His image; male and female, He created them, and it was good.” [Genesis 1: 28] I want to affirm that each of us is a child of God and that, in our nature, we are created good.Certainly, we “miss the mark” [the original thought/meaning of the word “sin”]. We revert to our own wants/desires– away from God.  Part of our spiritual journey is to develop a greater relationship and a stronger relationship with God—to learn to seek God’s guidance before we launch out in our will.  Certainly, we will do things wrong. But, our original nature is that of the image of God.  And, it is good.  This is an important distinction because there are many churches that teach the theology & concept of “original sin” [because of Adam & Eve, our “sin” is necessary—we have no other alternative—we have no options but to “sin”]. The theological doctrine known as original sin [as the TV comedian, Flip Wilson, said “the Devil made me do it”] began with Jewish theologians during the exile in Babylon.  The Apostle Paul spoke of it [see Romans 5:12-21], although Paul was emphasizing “Grace” bestowed upon by Jesus, the Christ. The concept was adopted into Catholicism through efforts of priests such as Augustine [in the 400 to 500 CE era of Christian church development]. Now, if we dwell deep enough on this concept, we will begin to think in terms of “predestination”, as well. Throw up the hands and ask “how can we be held responsible/accountable?” Original sin was used/is used to help people...
6 Principles For Life I Learned in Running a Marathon

6 Principles For Life I Learned in Running a Marathon

I wanted to do achieve something that I would never believe I could accomplish. I am not a runner but when my friend completed his first marathon he challenged me to run the next one with him. What I got out of the experience changed my life forever. It was the most spiritual and mind developing experience I ever had up to that time. Here are the 6 Life Principles I learned from training and running the Flying Pig Marathon in Cincinnati Ohio. Principle One:  Taking the 1st Step: When my friends Andy Johnson ran in the “Flying Pig” Marathon the year before I thought to myself, “I could never run 26 miles.” The next year, he invited me to run in the marathon with him and I explained that I had never run over two miles at one time, let alone run 26.2 miles in a marathon.  Andy said, “Jerry, can you run for four minutes?” I responded, “Well, I can jog for four minutes.”  He said, “Then you can run a marathon.”  “What do you mean?” I asked.  He said, “Well, if you can you run for four minutes and you walk a 1 minute you can run a marathon.  Do you think you can run three miles?”  I said, “Well, I can run two miles.” So we jogged one day for two miles, running for four minutes and then walking for a minute.  A few days later, we ran three miles with the same style of running four minutes and walking one minute. Before I knew it I believed that there might be a possibility that I...