Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Down Time

In this busy busy world that we live in we have to slow down and recharge or we'll collapse. I have many ways to slow down and recharge. I like to write, it relaxes me and that's why I write so often. Another way that I've found to slow down and recharge is to play music. Just spending time alone with my Hammered Dulcimer and playing different songs that I know or even creating new stuff is very relaxing and really helps to recharge my batteries. Sometimes just reading a good book is a great way to get alone and relax and recharge. My favorite way to recharge, to relax and enjoy my time alone is on my Motorcycle. My bike has been the best therapy for me personally. I love the freedom I feel when the wind is blowing across my face as I fly down the road. The ground rushing by under my feet and I love the way the road winds and curves as my bike leans back and forth flowing down the road with ease. Really for me this is it! I can free my mind of all fears and troubles. I can clear my mind of work and just get away from it all. The beautiful scenery around these parts of Tennessee just take my breath away sometimes and when I'm alone on my bike, I can escape from everything and I always come back refreshed and alive after my rides.

We all need alone time don't we? I'm sure each one of you have your own favorite way to relax, to get alone and recharge. You know it's important to do this. Jesus even did it. When all the people would gather around Jesus all day long wanting hear from him, wanting to learn from his teaching, even Jesus needed a break. Jesus always had people around him and there were times when he just needed to be alone and recharge. Jesus taught us though that his reason for being alone was not for selfish reasons. He wanted to be alone so he could spend more time in prayer with His Father, God.

Matthew 14:23 After he had dismissed them (the crowd), he went up into the hills by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone.

You see Jesus knew where true recharging came from. Jesus knew if he spent alone time with God then he would be recharged and refocused and energized beyond anything else that we can do on our own.

So what do you focus on while you are spending time alone? Sure reading, music, writing, and even riding motorcycles are all good, but in and of themselves, they're not enough. True recharging comes from a power source. That power source of course is God. Jesus knew it, and really so do we. Sure we all need time alone and there's absolutely nothing wrong with being alone for selfish reasons either, but we must make sure we also spend alone time with God. True peace for our troubles comes to us when we dump our burdens on Him. If we don't do that then we'll have to hop on that Motorcycle more and more and more often to get release, then eventually even that doesn't do it for us any more.

Spend more alone time with Jesus and be recharged!

Monday, July 23, 2007

The Folly of Fool's

The book of Proverbs has much to say about fools and the foolish things that fools do. Most importantly we can learn how our foolish behavior can have consequences that greatly affect how we live. Let's take a look at what can learn from a few of these verses.

1. A foolish person is one that rambles on and on. They cause their situation to be worse than it should be because they can't keep their mouth shut. A wise person instead listens rather than being a chatterbox. I once heard a quote from someone that said... "It's better to keep quite and appear stupid than to open your mouth and prove it." If we listen we learn and if we do what we learn we grow and become better, but if we think we already know it all and we don't listen... we'll the bible says ruin comes to that person.
Proverbs 10:8 The wise in heart accept commands, but a chattering fool comes to ruin.

2. Foolish people are slanderous. They say things about people whether true or not, it's hurtful and shouldn't be said of others. I've often said if you don't have something good to say about someone then don't say anything at all. Why is it foolish to be slanderous? Well eventually you will have eat your words or explain your words. If someone hears you say something slanderous about someone else you can be assured that that person you just talked about will hear about it and you will be called out to explain yourself. Only fools put themselves in that position.
Proverbs 10:18 He who conceals his hatred has lying lips, and whoever spreads slander is a fool.

3. Foolish people never seem to listen to good advise. I don't know if it's their pride or if they truly think they already know what's best. But one things for sure, your a fool if you do not seek the good advice or council of others that may have wise advice to give. We have to be willing to listen and make intelligent decisions based off what we have heard, but good advice can save us many headaches. The bible says that a fool feels like he's right and that his way is the best way or only way so he doesn't listen to others.
Proverbs 12:15 The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice.

4. A fool gets quickly annoyed at others and shows just how annoyed he is in an instant. He just doesn't have the ability to overlook insults, but instead gets quickly offended and this often can lead to quarrels or arguments or even terrible strains on relationships that really could have been avoided if only we hadn't made this thing such a big deal. The challenge is to be slow to anger and quick to forgive. Relationships will go easier and often in the end it wasn't that big of a deal anyway.
Proverbs 12:16 A fool shows his annoyance at once, but a prudent man overlooks an insult.

5. Foolish people have nothing to guide their life, they just live life to the fullest without regard for consequences. the bible says they are reckless and hotheaded. Wise people understand the importance of following and obeying God's word. They understand His authority over their lives and because of this they put away evil things and do all they can to avoid evil things. If we'll live in obedience we'll live with less consequences that result in pain and suffering. But to live recklessly is foolish and risky.
Proverbs 14:16 A wise man fears the Lord and shuns evil, but a fool is hotheaded and reckless.

6. Only a fool would ignore the discipline and advice of his father. Sometimes we think our fathers just don't understand us or we think they can be over bearing and too controlling, but in most cases they just love us and want the best for us. To be disciplined is never fun, but we must realize the reason behind it. The bible says a wise mans listens to and obeys the correction of his father, especially when it comes to advice or council on practical matters.
Proverbs 15:5 A fool spurns his father's discipline, but whoever heads correction shows prudence.

7. Foolish people have no desire to learn more, to gain more wisdom. The bible says it's a waste to even put money in the hands of a fool because there is no desire in their heart to do anything worthwhile with it. If we don't have a desire to learn more and do more with what we're given, then what use is the money we've been given. I'm reminded of the parable of the talents. Three servants were given a portion of their masters money while he traveled away. Two of the three servants invested the money they were given and doubled what they had, but one of the servants did nothing but bury his money. When the master returned, the two that increased their money was greatly appreciated and recognized, but the one that did nothing was sternly rebuked... He was a fool and what use was the money in his hands. No use at all.
Proverbs 17:16 Of what use is money in the hand of a fool, since he has no desire to get wisdom?

8. Foolish people think their opinion is all that matters. They find no pleasure in trying to understand others, they only feel their way is right and their opinion is what matters. They're so confident in this that they air them out for all to hear without regard for the opinion or interest in what others have to say. The bible says these people are foolish, and even prideful to the point they feel real good about themselves and their opinion and better than others and what they think. Ultimately they feel they're just better and they enjoy it and don't mind saying it.
Proverbs 18:2 A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinions.

9. Don't listen to the advice of a fool. They only think they're wise in their own mind but what they have to say means nothing... it's useless. The example that best describes this is found in the verse itself... it reads:
Proverbs 26:7 Like a lame man's legs that hang limp is a proverb in the mouth of a fool.

10. Only fools get out of control angry. They vent full out on whoever is around them and the end result is in many cases damaged or broken relationships. When we get so angry we rage, we say things that are hurtful without regard to others feelings. We're only focused on own our feelings and pain and we show how little respect or compassion we have for others. It's foolish to put ourselves in this position. A wise man works hard to have self control when he feels like venting out in full anger. It's OK to show our frustration and even our anger, but not to the point that we say or do things in rage.
Proverbs 29:11 A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control.

We've taken a look at 10 characteristics that foolish people have in common. There are many more listed in the book of proverbs and many of them even build on the sames ones we've mentioned already.
If your like me you can see some of these characteristics in your life as well. The lesson I learned from these verses was that the more I focus on myself the more of a fool I become. In almost every case the fool was prideful, was outspoken and thought more of himself than others. A fool just doesn't want to listen to good advice, but instead feels they already know best.

The key to all of this is to seek God's wisdom and by following His Word and council we will be less focused on ourselves and more focused on His agenda and will for our lives.

Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus help me to be less focused on myself and more willing to seek Your advice and council for my life through your word and prayer. It's in Jesus name that I pray, Amen.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

The other side of the fence

It seems that things always look better on the other side of the fence. So often we fail to see the great things, the beauty we have right here in front of us because we're focused on what's on the other side of the fence. I'm reminded of two truths when we think about the grass being greener on the other side...

"You have to be careful when thinking the grass is greener on the other side of the fence, because it might just be artificial turf."

"Often when we see greener grass you have to remember what's under it... often that green grass is on top of a septic tank."

Both of the above statements make us aware that things are not always better or even what they appear to be on the other side of the fence. When you find yourself always wanting to go to the other side thinking that things will be better, stop and take a look at your own yard from a different perspective. You might just find, you're where you want to be after all. You just couldn't see it clearly. One things for sure. God has you where He wants you even though you may not see it or even like it. maybe you're there to make a difference in the life of someone else. maybe you are planted where you are for reasons you'll never understand. But if all you long for is the other side of the fence, then you'll miss out on the life you have at home.

The picture at the beginning of this devotion was taken from the other side of my fence. There's a Barn in the middle of the picture, it's difficult to see in the photo, but I can see that Barn from my backyard about the same distance away. Now where I live I'm surrounded by trees and I can't see this beautiful view that you see here in the picture, but by stepping back and looking at my place in a whole new direction and perspective... we'll I don't think I would want to live anywhere else. Sometimes we just have to step back, walk away and take another look at things. It's amazing what we see when we do that. Count your blessing rather than you difficulties and worries, and see the blessings around you that God has given you. You can find the blessings, but it's difficult when you're focused on what's on the other side of the fence.

Psalm 104: 33

I will sing to the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Pledge of Allegiance

The following words were spoken by the late Red Skelton on his television program as he related the story of his teacher, Mr. Laswell, who felt his students had come to think of the Pledge of Allegiance as merely something to recite in class each day.

"I've been listening to you boys and girls recite the Pledge of Allegiance all semester and it seems as though it is becoming monotonous to you. If I may, may I recite it and try to explain to you the meaning of each word?"

me, an individual, a committee of one.

dedicate all of my worldly goods to give without self pity.

my love and my devotion.

To the flag
our standard, Old Glory, a symbol of freedom. Wherever she waves, there's respect because your loyalty has given her a dignity that
shouts freedom is everybody's job!

that means that we have all come together.

individual communities that have united into 48 great states. Forty-eight
individual communities with pride and dignity and purpose; all divided with
imaginary boundaries, yet united to a common purpose, and that's love for

And to the republic
a state in which sovereign power is invested in representatives chosen by
the people to govern. And government is the people and it's from the people
to the leaders, not from the leaders to the people.

For which it stands, one nation
one nation, meaning "so blessed by God"

incapable of being divided.

With liberty
which is freedom -- the right of power to live one's own life without threats,
fear or some sort of retaliation.

And Justice
the principle or quality of dealing fairly with others.

For all
which means, boys and girls, it's as much your country as it is mine.

Since I was a small boy, two states have been added to our country and two words have been added to the pledge of Allegiance... UNDER GOD Wouldn't it be a pity if someone said that is a prayer and that would be eliminated from schools too?

God Bless America!