Thursday, March 28, 2013

Always right

"Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision!" (Joel 3:14 NKJV).

Many relationships falter on stubbornness. Graves have been dug with the words, "I'm right." I had a relative who was always right – absolutely, retroactively right, even when she wasn't there and you were! She also died at a young age, poor soul. Bless her, she spent her short, insecure life proving every nitpicking point. It would have been the end of her warped world to have been proven wrong. Perhaps definitions are in order here:
1. decisiveness;
2. positiveness; and
3. stubbornness.

Decisiveness is the ability to come to a decision, make an effective choice and mentally resolve a conflict. The indecisive person lives in constant fear of consequences and is unable to handle his problems efficiently. The decisive person takes responsibility for his or her actions. Mr. or Ms. Indecisive points to others as the source of his/her unhappiness, too.

Positiveness is an extension of decisiveness: the person takes a firm stand on a decision and rules out mistakes and doubts. This person is often accused of being stubborn when in effect he has simply made up his mind on a conviction he feels is legitimate after he has thoroughly researched and thought out the problem. This person's convictions are firm, confident and, to him, logical. Of course if the person is strong-willed and narrow-minded and ungenerous, then he will be accused of being stubborn, justly so at times, too.

But the stubborn person - ! These folks are right come high water, the Bible, the Encyclopedia, and 50 million lawyers to prove them wrong. This person resists, whether his or her reasons are valid or not. The adamant person can't stand to lose face; ergo, s/he is always right, which is ludicrous, for who can be always absolutely right? The last I checked, Jesus was/is the only perfect Person.

On the other hand, the healthily positive person is willing to listen to reason and change his/her mind. This person is willing to change thoughts and feelings if, upon reanalysis of the situation, basic convictions are not compromised. The really confident person will concede a point to common sense, whereas the obstinate person concedes nothing. This person does not possess an opinion – it possesses him/her! Unfortunately the "always-right" person dies by degrees from loneliness. After all, who wants to be proven wrong all the time?

Firm steps

"When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; when you run, you will not stumble" (Proverbs 4:12); "He makes [our] steps firm..." (Psalm 37:23).

Notice that Proverbs 4:12 says steps, not giant leaps. The child begins with steps and each duty begins with steps. A person is the details -- the steps -- of his or her life. A step is a process in the right or the wrong direction. The walk indicates that life normally is ordinary; the run tells us that our life will have its stunning moments -- its emergencies when even greater faith and decision are called for. And in either the walk or the run, we will not stumble, because our Father has promised this.

For those of us who want to leap through life or who feel that God requires this of us, when Jesus was on earth He didn't talk about big plans or things. His concern was the children, the sparrows, the lilies, and the hairs on our heads. It is so comforting to know that He is interested in everything that touches our lives, especially what we consider to be inconsequential. Our Father knows and understands the consequences of despising the day of small things (Zechariah 4:10). God's Word is filled with His regard for the small things of life as well as for the large emotions.

Great success in God's view can be small success in the world's perception, also. Our age of "bigger is better" camouflages the fact that Jesus Himself never belonged to the current fashions and the clubs. He was never an officer but always a Gentleman! He simply and quietly went about doing His modest and good works, not shouting in the streets to be noticed.

"And a little child will lead [us]" (Isaiah 11:6). A small, innocent, simple, and unafraid child often leads the worldly mighty to our Father with firm and unhampered steps.


"'Then neither do I condemn you,' Jesus declared." (John 8:11).

Jesus could have so easily declared the death sentence! But He who is so tender and loving gave this woman another chance. How much comfort and hope there is for us in this great passage. "If God is for us, who is against us? ...Who will bring a charge against God's elect?" (Romans 8:31,33). Mary became one of God's elect because Jesus showed mercy rather than condemnation. Should we not follow His example and show forbearance to others? We are sinners, too, so why should we point out the tiny speck when we carry a beam of sin ourselves? "Love covers all transgressions" (Proverbs 10:112b) so let us rather love one another than condemn, whether the facts are true or not.

Notice Christ's way of dealing with Peter when he cursed and lied the night that he should have supported his Friend. "The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter" (Luke 22:61). He didn't scold him; Jesus, by a tender look, brought to Peter's mind what a terrible deed he had done to His Lord. Even at the time of His own terrible suffering of mind and body, Jesus shows that He has not forgotten the pain Peter is enduring, too. And after the resurrection He utters not a single word of condemnation to His friend Peter.

"To him who overcomes ... I will give him a white stone, and a new name written on the stone ..." (Revelation 2:17b). The ancient custom was to give a white stone to the acquitted and a black stone to the condemned. The white stone is the stone of salvation, and the new name is not a fresh name of itself, but a fresh revelation of God and His nature. Surely both Mary and Peter were given fresh revelations of God's nature through His forgiveness of their sins. These are beautiful accounts of the exquisite love and understanding of a lovely Savior!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Cutting off limbs

“…[B]ecause the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in..." (Proverbs 3:12).

Marcus Dods said, "The world is unintelligible except on the hypothesis that it is for our schooling, and that he that sows in tears is the likeliest to have sheaves worth gathering." We water these sheaves with our tears. We can hope and pray that when sorrows and disillusions come into our life, we may have such trust in God that we will become better instead of bitter. If we put our roots into the Water of Life, they will flourish and grow strong. It will help if we can remember that disappointment is His appointment. John 15:2 is a comforting verse: "He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he trims clean so that it will be even more fruitful."

It may seem unfair that those who are already bearing fruit will be pruned, but only God knows what needs to be removed at what season of our lives so that we may bear more fruit for Him. Even the most saintly have sinned and come short of God's glory. He can see the beautiful and yet unnecessary blossoms developing that will hinder the growth of the fruit of the Spirit. The Vine-dresser uses the pruning-knife of trial and affliction that the branch may bear even more excellent fruit. "The pruning knife is not applied to the puny plant; and languid minds are the least touched by affliction...God [also] is never in haste. His processes are slow" (Anonymous).

"Your rod AND your staff, they comfort me" (Psalm 23:4b). The rod was used to correct the sheep and bring them back when they wandered. We are guided with the rod and sustained with the staff. What a consoling thought! "No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it" (1 Corinthians 10:13).

When we had orange groves, periodically our orange trees needed to be pruned back so they would bear better fruit; it's also known that fruit here in Florida does not sweeten and ripen until we have a mild cold snap. I’ve always thought this such a perfect illustration for our lives, that God allows pruning—some cutting away—of unnecessary limbs of life that may be tripping us up on our way to the Holy City. May we bless Him for His Gift of the Saw—He saw and then He sawed!

When do we REALLY live? - Joseph Fort Newton

"I am the way, the truth, and the life" (John 14:6).

When do we really live? When does life drop its veil and show what it is, what it was meant to be?

* When we have a faith fit to live by, a self fit to live with, a work fit to live for, and someone to love and be loved by.

* When we know how to earn a little and spend a little less, how to pull our own weight and lend a hand to lift the load of others.

* When we know how to fill time and not merely kill it, when we want less, love more, and add something to the sum of human good.

* When we are wise enough to live one day at a time, letting yesterday go and not living tomorrow until it arrives.

* When we can look out over the far horizon with a deep sense of our own littleness, and yet have faith, hope, and courage.

* When we know that every man is noble, as vile, as divine, and as lonely as we are, and learn to forgive and love our fellows.

* When we know that every day is a little life, every night a little death and that we pass this way but once in our journey.

* When we can sympathize with our fellows in their sorrows even in their sins knowing that each fights a hard fight against heavy odds.

* When we know how to make friends and keep them, despite their faults and ours, and above all how to keep friends with ourselves.

* When we know how to live and let live, how to live and help live, and how to be a little kinder than necessary every day.

* When we have learned a few great books full of beauty serenity, and vision, and treasure them as our guides and companions.

* When we know the one Great Book, how to live with it, letting its strength and tenderness and peace enter into our hearts.

* When we know how to worship, to yield our little fretful selves into the keeping of One who knows the worth and meaning of life.

* When we know how to throw off things, and not let them stick like burs and sting like bees, and how to forget our regrets.

* When we know how to relax, let down, unwind; how to ease the tension of life; how to be alone and not be lonely or afraid.

* When we know how to get out of our little selves into the lives of others, putting ourselves in their place, sharing life in fellowship, changing mirrors into windows.

* When we know that we are tied together in one bundle of life, that the hurt of one is the injury of all, that the common good is the good of every one.

* When the public iniquity is a private bereavement, and we cannot rest until we do our part, cast our vote, to cleanse it away.

* When we know how to make a living, but also how to make a life, giving ourselves to something greater than ourselves, asking no reward.

* When we know how to turn to a man the heart of a man, to a woman the heart of a woman, to a child the heart of a child.

* When we have learned how to walk out on those pesky imps, Fear, Worry, and Boredom, erect, free, unafraid of life or death.

* When we can meet the knocks of life and not be shocked, to suffer defeat and not be defeated, because we refuse to be knocked out.

* When we know how to give ourselves, to forgive others, and to live with thanksgiving, not taking life for granted, but for gratitude.

* When we love the silent beauty of flowers, the songs of birds, the wonder of morning, the mercy of evening and its benediction.

* When music sets us dreaming, when an act of pure goodness melts our hearts, and we feel the thrill of a forgotten joy in the laugh of a little child.

* When we know the fine art of being happy and high minded amid the meaner drudgeries of life, turning our job into a joy.

* When star crowned trees, and the sunlight falling on flowing waters, subdue us like the thought of one much loved and long dead.

* When we can look into a wayside puddle and see something beyond mud, and into the face of a forlorn mortal and see something beyond sin.

* When we can find good in every faith that helps any man to find divine meaning in life, whatever the name or rite of that faith may be.

* When we have learned to praise people for what they can do, and not criticize them for what they cannot do, since no one can do everything.

* When we are ruled by our admirations, not by our disgusts, seeking the best in people, giving every soul the benefit of the doubt.

* When we know how to love, how to pray, how to laugh, how to live with God, how to serve him, glad to live but not afraid to die.

Joseph Fort Newton

Get behind me, Satan!

Jesus doesn't want us out of this world; He wants the devil out of us. He doesn't ask His Father that we be kept people: kept from the ills that touch everyone's life. After all, "He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous" (Matthew 5:45). So if we enjoy the positives in life, we will also have to endure the negatives. Even Job, In the midst of every negative possible in his life, said to his aggrieved and complaining wife, "Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?" (Job 2:10).

Just because we are Christians doesn't mean we are to be spared sorrows and suffering. Jesus prays that we will be protected from sin, the greatest evil of all. Edward Taylor wrote, "My sin is red: I'm under God's arrest." Satan is colored red, and he is the person and personification of sin. But God has promised, "He who overcomes will be dressed in white" (Revelation 3:5). "Always be clothed with white" (Ecclesiastes 9:8). White garments in the East were considered symbols of joy and purity. We are under God's rest when clothed in white!

But how are we kept from the epidemic of evil? We are clothed in white by going to the stronghold, God's Word. Here is our sanctuary. The world has many disguises and disgusts, and it is only with the help of the Holy Spirit that we can discern and disengage from what hurts God and ourselves. "Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men" (Matthew 16:23).

We have the mind and nature of the world, yes. But Jesus prays for us to remain in the world and yet not be a part of its offenses. A firm "Get behind me, Satan," will help us to remain a decent force for good.


"I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to agree with each other in the Lord" (Philippians 4:2).

Here we have two women Paul respected and admired. Apparently these two ladies were good and active leaders and workers, but a dispute arose between them. Strife of any kind is regrettable but, when it is in the church, it is doubly so. Cooperation is essential to the health of any enterprise, religious or secular. Paul was most concerned for the peace of the church that these two ladies settle their differences in a Christ-like manner so the church could get on with larger issues.

True compromise is the willingness to meet each other on our journeys. No church, home or business can thrive if each is traveling to the right or left and not even trying to find common ground. "Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so?" (Amos 3:3). Mediation is civil meditation. It is the peacemaker and the reconciler. "It is to a man's honor to avoid strife ..." (Proverbs 20:3); "Blessed are the peacemakers ..." (Matthew 5:9); "There is ... joy for those who promote peace" (Proverbs 12:20).

"It is a grim thought that all we know about Euodia and Syntyche is that they were two women who had quarreled! It makes us think. Suppose our life was to be summed up in one sentence, what would that sentence be? Clement goes down to history as the peacemaker; Euodia and Syntyche go down as the breakers of the peace. Suppose we were to go down to history with one thing known about us, what would that one thing be?" (William Barclay).

Dr. Johnstone gives us the mode of Paul's interference that we might all heed:

(1) He makes not the slightest reference to the cause of dissension. In most cases reconciliation is more likely to be effected by letting the matter sleep and die.
(2) From his apostleship and relations with the Philippians he might have been much bolder in Christ to enjoin them that which was convenient; yet for love's sake he rather beseeches them.
(3) He beseeches them separately, and treats them with exactly the same consideration.
(4) He calls in a common friend to help them to a reconciliation (verse 3), a thoroughly discreet friend of both could do not a little to smooth the way...This is a form of delicate work, and is often shunned; yet none more likely to produce blessed results.


The rights of women!

I realize this is hopelessly old-fashioned, but I'm old enough to know that this is what God intended for us ladies to be and do:

by Reverend M. Lowry
The rights of women! What are they? The right to labor, love and pray;
The right to weep with those who weep, the right to wake when others sleep.
The right to dry the falling tear, the right to quell the rising fear,
The right to smooth the brow of care, and whisper comfort in despair.

The right to watch the parting breath, to sooth and cheer the bed of death;
The right when earthly hopes all fail, to point to that within the vail.
The right the wandered to reclaim, and win the lost from paths of shame;
The right to comfort and to bless the widows and the fatherless.

The right the intellect to train and guide the soul to noble aim,
Teach it to rise above earth's toys, and wing its flight for heavenly joys.
The right to live for those we love, the right to die that love to prove;
The right to brighten earthly homes with pleasant smiles and gentle tones.

Are these thy rights?
Then use them well, thy silent influence none can tell;
If these are thine, why ask for more? Thou hast enough to answer for.
Are these thy rights? Then, murmur not that woman's mission is thy lot!

I dedicate this to our beloved Ria!

The real meaning of peace

There once was a king who offered a prize to the artist who would paint the best picture of peace. Many artists tried. The king looked at all the pictures. But there were only two he really liked, and he had to choose between them. One picture was of a calm lake. The lake was a perfect mirror for peaceful towering mountains all around it. Overhead was a blue sky with fluffy white clouds. All who saw this picture thought that it was a perfect picture of peace.

The other picture had mountains, too. But these were rugged and bare. Above was an angry sky, from which rain fell and in which lightning played. Down the side of the mountain tumbled a foaming waterfall. This did not look peaceful at all.

But when the king looked closely, he saw behind the waterfall a tiny bush growing in a crack in the rock. In the bush a mother bird had built her nest. There, in the midst of the rush of angry water, sat the mother bird on her nest - in perfect peace.

Which picture do you think won the prize? The king chose the second picture. Do you know why?

"Because," explained the king, "peace does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. Peace means to be in the midst of all those things and still be calm in your heart. That is the real meaning of peace."

Author Unknown

God's grace is sufficient

"But He said to me, `My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness'" (2 Corinthians 12:9a).

God hath not promised
Skies always blue,
Flower-strewn pathways
All our lives through;

God hath not promised
Sun without rain,
Joy without sorrow,
Peace without pain.

But God hath promised
Strength for the day,
Rest for the labor,
Light for the way,

Grace for all trials,
Help from above,
Unfailing sympathy,
Undying love.

Annie Johnson Flint

By His grace are we saved from that which would destroy the holy quality of our life. He drapes His mantle of love over our depressed spirit and He lifts our breaking heart to His healing heart. Emerson said, "The hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is brave five minutes longer." Perseverance is an essential word in the Christian's vocabulary.

Jesus told His disciples, "... He who stands firm to the end will be saved" (Matthew 10:22). "Concerning this I entreated the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, `My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness'" (2 Corinthians 12:8,9 NAS). God's grace is sufficient to keep us going through what we must endure, and it is sufficient to the end.

Thank You Anyway, Father!

"You shall not fear the terror of night..." (Psalm 91:5a NIV).

His scream on that black December night severed my heart into bleeding halves that wept red agony. The blood-curdling scream and the gunshot dissolved into death, a finality that seemed impossible, unbelievable.

Chuck was our oldest son. Psalm 55:4 says, "My heart is in anguish within me..." Chuck told me about his anguish three weeks before and then he did something about it. He was full of promise, in his third year of college, only 19, and handsome and brilliant.

Fortunately I already knew a loving God, a Father who watched His precious Son die (O! how that seeped into my crushed heart right after I heard my son die!). It was only at that moment that I finally and fully understood our Father's total love for us all. The Father had made the greatest sacrifice that we might love and live and look forward.

I knew that God is sufficient; that if we only believe, then He can bring us through even the darkest night of our soul. Surely this would be the darkest night of my soul! When I was very young, a blessed teacher told me many times that "Disappointment is His appointment." God's appointment for me was that night.

"Sacrifice thank offerings to God ... and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me" (Psalm 50:14,15 NIV). Grief teaches so many valuable lessons. My first exercise was learning to say "Thank You, Father." How difficult, especially in the midst of such searing sorrow! To give thanks in such circumstances is indeed a sacrifice, for it is so easy to ask, "What have I to be thankful for in such a terrible loss?" The balm is applied while we say it; feeling has nothing to do with it at the time.

The second exercise was absolute trust that God would heal the gaping and gasping depression in heart and mind. I equated it with physical surgery: healing finally happens. There are scars, but the pain finally diminishes. I realized that the cure of the psychical pain would take longer than the cure of physical pain, but the equation helped me so much.

Prayer: Father! Thank You for delivering me and giving me strength to honor You in the valley of the shadow of my son's death. Thank You!

Patricia Erwin Nordman, Sing A New Song

Sunday, March 24, 2013

My Creed - Edgar A. Guest

My Creed:
To live as gently as I can;
To be, no matter what, a man;
To take what comes of good or ill
And cling to faith and honor still,
To do my best, and let that stand
The record of my brain and hand;
And then, should failure come to me,
Still work and hope for victory.
To have no secret place wherein
I stoop unseen to shame or sin;
To be the same when I’m alone
As when my every deed is known;
To live undaunted, unafraid
Of any step that I have made;
To be without pretense or sham --
Exactly what men think I am.
To leave some simple mark behind
To keep my having lived in mind;
If enmity to aught I show,
To be an honest, generous foe,
To play my little part, nor whine
That greater honors are not mine.
This I believe, is all I need
For my philosophy and creed.
 Edgar A. Guest
God hides some ideal in every human soul. At some time in our life we feel a trembling, fearful longing to do some good thing. Life finds its noblest spring of excellence in this hidden impulse to do our best. Robert Collyer.

Silent - in our lowly service among others, not seeking to be seen of men.
Silent - over the glory of the hours on the ­Mount, lest others think of us above that which is writ­ten.
Silent - over the depths of the Calvary path­way that led us to God.
Silent - whil­st we stoop to serve the very ones who have be­trayed us.
Silent - over the deep things of God revealed in the secret places of the Most High, impossible to utter to those who have not yet been bap­tized with that baptism with­out which they will be straitened in spiritu­al perception until it be accomplished.
Silent­ - over ques­tions only to be answered by God, the Holy Ghost, when that day dawns for the questioning heart, and silences all doubt by the glorious revelation of Him Who is the answer to all our needs.
Silent - when forced by others to some posi­tion where apparent rival­ry with an­other much-used servant of God seems imminent, only to be hushed by utter self-effacement, and our silent with­drawal without explanation, irre­spec­tive of our rights.
Silent - yea, silent in the judgment-­hall of our co-religionists,when criticized and falsely accused of many things. From Springs in the Valley.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Awakening! - Anonymous

A time comes in your life when you finally get it. When in the midst of all your fears and insanity you stop dead in your tracks and somewhere the voice inside your head cries out - ENOUGH! Enough fighting and crying or struggling to hold on. And like a child quieting down after a blind tantrum, your sobs begin to subside, you shudder once or twice, you blink back your tears and through a mantle of wet lashes you begin to look at the world through new eyes.

This is your awakening. You realize that it's time to stop hoping and waiting for something to change or for happiness, safety and security to come galloping over the next horizon. You come to terms with the fact that he is not Prince Charming and you are not Cinderella and that in the real world there aren't always fairy tales endings (or beginnings for that matter) and that any guarantee of "happily ever after" must begin with you and, in the process, a sense of serenity is born of acceptance. You awaken to the fact that you are not perfect and that not everyone will always love, appreciate or approve of who or what you are -- and that's O.K. They are entitled to their own views and opinions. You learn the importance of loving and championing yourself and, in the process, a sense of new found confidence is born of self-approval.

You stop complaining and blaming other people for the things they did to you (or didn't do for you) and you learn that the only thing you can really count on is the unexpected. You learn that people don't always say what they mean or mean what they say, and that not everyone will always be there for you and that it's not always about you. So, you learn to stand on your own and to take care or yourself and in the process a sense of safety and security is born of self-reliance.

You stop judging and pointing fingers and you begin to accept people as they are and to overlook their shortcomings and human frailties and in the process a sense or peace and contentment is born of forgiveness. You realize that much of the way you view yourself, and the world around you, is as a result of all the messages and opinions that have been ingrained into your psyche. You begin to sift through all the "stuff" you've been fed about how to behave, how you should look, how much you should weigh and what you should wear and where you should shop and what you should drive, how and where you should live and what you should be doing for a living, who you should sleep with, who you should marry and what you should expect from a marriage, the importance of having and raising children or what you owe your parents.

You learn to open up to new worlds and different points of view. You begin reassessing and redefining who you are and what you really stand for. You learn the difference between wanting and needing and you begin to discard the doctrines and values you've outgrown, or should never have bought into to begin with and in the process you learn to go with your instincts.

You learn that it is truly in giving that we receive. And that there is power and glory in creating and contributing and you stop maneuvering through life merely as a "consumer" looking for your next fix. You learn that principles such as honesty and integrity are not the outdated ideals of a bygone era but the mortar that holds together the foundation upon which you must build a life.

You learn that you don't know everything, it's not your job to save the world and that you can't teach a pig to sing. You learn to distinguish between guilt and responsibility and the importance of setting boundaries and learning to say NO. You learn that the only cross to bear is the one you choose to carry and that martyrs get burned at the stake.

Then you learn about love. Romantic love and familial love. How to love, how much to give in love, when to stop giving and when to walk away. You learn not to project your needs or your feelings onto a relationship. You learn that you will not be more beautiful, more intelligent, more lovable or important because of the man on your arm or the child that bears your name. You learn to look at relationships as they really are and not as you would have them to be. You stop trying to control people, situations and outcomes.

You learn that just as people grow and change so it is with love...and you learn that you don't have the right to demand love on your terms...just to make YOU happy. You learn that alone does not mean lonely. And you look in the mirror and come to terms with the fact that you will never be a size five or a perfect "10" and you stop trying to compete with the image inside your head and agonizing over how you "stack up."

You also stop working so hard at putting your feelings aside, smoothing things over and ignoring your needs. You learn that feelings of entitlement are perfectly OK -- that it is your right to want things and to ask for the things that you want -- and that sometimes it is necessary to make demands. You come to the realization that you deserve to be treated with love, kindness, sensitivity and respect and you won't settle for less. And, you allow only the hands of a lover who cherishes you to glorify you with his touch and, in the process, you internalize the meaning of self-respect. And you learn that your body really is your temple, and you begin to care for it and treat it with respect. You begin eating a balanced diet, drinking more water and taking more time to exercise. You learn that fatigue diminishes the spirit and can create doubt and fear. So, you take more time to rest. And just as food fuels the body, laughter fuels our soul, so you take more time to laugh and play.

You learn, for the most part, in life you get what you believe you deserve...and that much of life truly is a self-fulfilling prophecy. You learn that anything worth achieving is worth working for and that wishing for something to happen is different than working toward making it happen. More importantly, you learn that in order to achieve success you need direction, discipline and perseverance. You also learn that no one can do it all alone and that it's OK to risk asking for help. You learn that the only thing you must truly fear is the great robber baron of all time - FEAR itself.

You learn to step right into and through your fears because you know that whatever happens you can handle it and to give in to fear is to give away the right to live life on your terms. And you learn to fight for your life and not to squander it living under a cloud of impending doom. You learn that life isn't always fair, you don't always get what you think you deserve and that sometimes bad things happen to unsuspecting, good people. On these occasions you learn not to personalize things. You learn that God isn't punishing you or failing to answer your prayers.

It's just life happening.


Three Little Trees

Once upon a mountain top three little trees stood and dreamed of what they wanted to become when they grew up. The first little tree looked up at the stars and said: "I want to hold treasure. I want to be covered with gold and filled with precious stones. I'll be the most beautiful treasure in the world!" The second little tree looked out at the small stream trickling by on its way to the ocean. "I want to be traveling mighty waters and carrying powerful kings. I'll be the strongest ship in the world!" The third little tree looked down into the valley below where busy men and women worked in a busy town. "I don't want to leave the mountain top at all. I want to grow so tall that when people stop to look at me, they'll raise their eyes to heaven and think of God. I will be the tallest tree in the world."

Years passed. The rain came, the sun shone, and the little trees grew tall. One day three wood cutters climbed the mountain. The first woodcutter looked at the first tree and said, "This tree is beautiful. It is perfect for me." With a swoop of his shining axe, the first tree fell. "Now I shall be made into a beautiful chest, I shall hold wonderful treasure!" the first tree said.

The second woodcutter looked at the second tree and said, "This tree is strong. It is perfect for me." With a swoop of his shining axe, the second tree fell. "Now I shall sail mighty waters!" thought the second tree. "I shall be a strong ship for mighty kings!"

The third tree felt her heart sink when the last woodcutter looked her way. She stood straight and tall and pointed bravely to heaven. But the woodcutter never even looked up. "Any kind of tree will do for me." He muttered. With a swoop of his shining axe, the third tree fell.

The first tree rejoiced when the woodcutter brought her to a carpenter's shop. But the carpenter fashioned the tree into a feedbox for animals. The once beautiful tree was not covered with gold, nor with treasure; now she was coated with saw dust and filled with hay for hungry farm animals. The second tree smiled when the woodcutter took her to a shipyard, but no mighty sailing ship was made that day. Instead the once strong tree was hammered and sawed into a simple fishing boat. She was too small and too weak to sail to an ocean, or even a river; instead she was taken to a little lake. The third tree was confused when the woodcutter cut her into strong beams and left her in a lumberyard. "What happened?" The once tall tree wondered. "All I ever wanted was to stay on the mountain top and point to God..."

Many, many days and nights passed. The three trees nearly forgot their dreams. But one night, golden starlight poured over the first tree as a young woman placed her newborn baby in the feedbox. "I wish I could make a cradle for him," her hus­band whispered. The mother squeezed his hand and smiled as the starlight shone on the smooth and sturdy wood. "This manger is beautiful," she said. And suddenly the first tree knew he was holding the greatest treasure in the world.

One evening a tired traveler and his friends crowded into the old fishing boat. The traveler fell asleep as the second tree quietly sailed out into the lake. Soon a thundering and thrashing storm arose. The little tree shuddered. She knew she did not have the strength to carry so many passengers safely through with the wind and the rain. The tired man awakened. He stood up, stretched out his hand, and said, "Peace." The storm stopped as quickly as it had begun. And suddenly the second tree knew he was carrying the King of heaven and earth.

One Friday morning, the third tree was startled when her beams were yanked from the forgotten woodpile. She flinched as she was carried through an angry, jeering crowd. She shuddered when soldiers nailed a man's hands to her. She felt ugly and harsh and cruel. But on Sunday morning, when the sun rose and the earth trembled with joy beneath her, the third tree knew that God's love had changed everything. It had made the third tree strong. And every time people thought of the third tree, they would think of God. That was better than being the tallest tree in the world.

So next time you feel down because you didn't get what you want, just sit tight and be happy because God is thinking of something better to give you.

Author Unknown

Women in combat

America Thrusts Wives and Moms Into Combat

It’s official: Women are no longer ‘barred’ from the front lines. 
On January 24, America’s military lifted its ban against women serving in combat. The move could open more than 230,000 jobs in front-line combat and elite commando units to women. Thus, the feminist dream to see women wounded, tortured and killed alongside men advances.
Why? Are hoards of women soldiers demanding that combat positions be opened to them? No. For years, the military has expanded the number of positions labeled “non-combat” in order to open up more jobs to women. But the number of positions that were more obviously combat-related far exceeded the number of women applying for and accepting them. Women don’t want those jobs. And Army surveys show that 85 to 90 percent of enlisted women strongly oppose policies aimed at thrusting women into combat.
So who pushed for this? It was basically an aggressive minority of lobbyists and highly placed feminist civilian leaders, along with a few hard-core careerist military women. These politically correct ideologues are driven to prove that women can do anything men can do—no matter the costs to the military, to America’s security, or to the women themselves.
These costs are exceedingly well documented—and consistently ignored, shouted down or buried. The average woman is almost 5 inches shorter, with nearly 40 fewer pounds of muscle and 6 more pounds of fat, than the average man. She has less than half of his upper-body strength, 20 percent less aerobic capacity, and lighter, brittler bones. She cannot run or jump as far; last as long; grip as well; push, pull, lift or carry as much. The military has dealt with this by implementing separate conditioning standards for women, by lowering standards generally and eliminating some altogether.
Though civilian leaders love to speak of the “new warfare” being a tidy, push-button, technology-driven business, reality has never matched that fiction. War is brutal, physical, demanding and deadly. Politicians can easily overlook that fact in the midst of relative peace. They present their views as support for women, but how can their eagerness to plunge women into the nightmare of warfare be viewed as anything but disregard for women?
Some female soldiers recognize this—too late—and are not impressed. As one of them said, “Those feminists back home who say we have a right to fight are not out here sitting in the heat, carrying an m-16 and a gas mask, spending 16 hours on the road every day and sleeping in fear you’re gonna get gassed.”
Women face greater danger than men in most combat situations. Physical limitations make them likelier to be injured, captured or killed. This reality also endangers the men who are forced to fight alongside them. (Elaine Donnelly said bluntly, “No one’s injured son should have to die on the streets of a future Fallujah because the only soldier near enough to carry him to safety was a 5′2″, 110-pound woman.”) And when women are captured, experience has shown that they are treated far worse—unimaginably worse—than male prisoners of war. Though feminists lobby hard against rape generally, they “bravely” insist that, since women are duty-bound to serve as combat soldiers, rape in war cannot be stopped. Jessica Lynch, a poster child for women in combat, was allegedly beaten, raped and sodomized in captivity.
Shame on those decision-makers who would purposefully subject women to such abuse—only to serve their own twisted ideology!
Consider soberly: The military agency that trains pilots in survival, evasion, resistance and escape as prisoners of war actually includes a component to desensitize male soldiers to the screams of their women cohorts. Of course, these same men are then expected to treat women soldiers with utmost respect and dignity, in keeping with the sensitivity training that the military has forced on the modern warrior.
In the “brutish,” non-politically correct world of yesteryear, the strong were obligated to serve the weak. A traditional-thinking male seeks to protect a woman. An honorable man shields a female from danger and hurt. To the feminist, this attitude is contemptible. And within a gender-integrated theater of combat, it introduces a host of complications. A leader is expected to view that woman not as a woman, but simply as a soldier—a grunt whom he must be able to send into harm’s way. In the up-is-down moral climate of today’s military, his reluctance to pitch her into the lion’s den is chauvinistic and sexist!
America’s leaders are trying to convince us that we cannot win our wars without our wives and mothers on the front lines. They see that as a sign of the nation’s progressiveness.
When we see Islamic extremists sending women out to be suicide bombers, we see it as a sign of barbarity and moral and spiritual depravity. And rightly so.
The military is the most respected institution in America. It possesses some of the finest, most dedicated and self-sacrificing individuals the nation has produced. But woe be unto us if we fail to recognize how its effectiveness is being fatally undermined by a failure to beat back the virulent forces of feminization that enfeeble our modern society.
This is a terrible experiment. The Bible prophesies that it is going to fail cataclysmically. Leviticus 26:14-21 shows that our nation will fall before its enemies. Not because we don’t have enough women on the front lines, but—in part—because we have any at all.

Blithering Idiots!

Found this gem on Internet this morning:
  • If you can get arrested for hunting or fishing without a license, but not for being in the country illegally…you might live in a country founded by geniuses, run by idiots – blithering or mildly so.
  • If you have to get your parents’ permission to go on a field trip or take an aspirin in school, but not to get an abortion…you might live in a country founded by geniuses, run by idiots.
  • If you have to show identification to board an airplane, cash a check, buy liquor or check out a library book, but not to vote who runs the government…you might live in a country founded by geniuses, run by idiots.
  • If the government wants to ban stable, law-abiding citizens from owning gun magazines with more than 10 rounds, but gives 20 F-16 fighter jets to the crazy new leaders in Egypt…you might live in a country founded by geniuses, run by idiots.
  • If an 80-year-old woman can be strip-searched by the TSA, but a woman in a hijab is only subject to having her neck and head searched…you might live in a country founded by geniuses, run by idiots.
  • If your government believes that the best way to eradicate trillions of dollars worth of debt is to spend trillions more…you might live in a country founded by geniuses, run by idiots.
  • If a seven-year-old boy can be thrown out of school for saying his teacher is “cute”, but hosting a sexual exploration or diversity class in grade school is perfectly acceptable…you might live in a country founded by geniuses, run by idiots.
  • If hard work and success are met with higher taxes and more government intrusion, while not working is rewarded with EBT cards, WIC checks, Medicaid, subsidized housing and free cell phones…you might live in a country founded by geniuses, run by idiots.
  • If being stripped of the ability to defend yourself makes you more “safe”, according to the government…you might live in a country founded by geniuses, run by idiots.
  • Add your own!