Tag Archives: devotional

Flashback Friday 10

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Flashback Friday 10

We’re ending the first month of 2018 already! It may be the new year, but if you’re like me, you’re becoming weary of the winter weather. The Flashback for this week is from almost exactly 20 years ago. It was published in the January 29, 1998 edition of the weekly Chester County Independent in Henderson, TN. Reading back over it, I was reminded of the beauty of our amazing landscapes and how “the very stones would cry out” to glorify God in our silence (John 19:39b ESV).

As you read this week’s column, take a look around you at all the beauty you have in your life. I know it’s cold, and we’re getting tired of it, but spring will come. Rejoice in the good things of this season of our lives.

How Majestic is Your Name

tops-of-pine-treesWhat I love about pine trees is their majesty. They stand straight and tall, boughs uplifted to the heavens, as if in praise to the Almighty. When I look at a pine tree, I am reminded of one my favorite choruses by Michael W. Smith, “O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth. O Lord, our Lord, we praise Your name. Oh Lord, we magnify Your name; Prince of Peace, Mighty God; O Lord God Almighty.”

The words to this song make me want to stand up tall as the trees and “shout unto the Lord with the voice of triumph.”

I recently experienced my first ice storm, and saw pine trees in a new posture. As I drove to work, admiring the exquisite adornment of the countryside, I thought what a symbol of worship the bowed pine trees were. Instead of arms raised high, the trees were bent under the weight of the ice, as if in humble subjection to an awesome God.

ice on pine

As I think back on the memory of those ice-laden trees, the words of another chorus overflow my heart:

“I love You, Lord, and I lift my voice to worship you. Oh my soul, rejoice. Take joy my King in what You hear. May it be a sweet, sweet sound in Your ear.”

Flashback Friday 7

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Flashback Friday 7

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a Flashback Friday.  I’ve recently met several deadlines and enjoyed a few big events, and now find myself in a bit of blissful reprieve for a few short weeks before we jump into the holiday season. So I thought I’d take some time to schedule some Flashback Friday posts.

Today’s post is the very first column I ever wrote.  I showed it to my editor, Sue Hite, at the Chester County Independent and asked for feedback. I thought it was funny, encouraging, and meaningful, but what would Sue think? I sweated it out until she told me to run it on the Obits/Religion page as the first installment of my own weekly column.

Reading it back today, I still think it’s funny, encouraging, and meaningful. I wrote this the year I turned 30. Twenty years later, I’m balancing on the brink of celebrating the half century mark of my life on this planet.

Guess what…

I’m still making the same mistakes.

I think I’m making them a lot less often, and with a lot more grace and style, though.  But  those wayward Israelites still annoy me.

Not My Virtue

Patience is a virtue. It’s just not one of mine. Of course, life has written a daily lesson plan directed at teaching me, but I don’t have the patience to learn.

Last year I decided to read the Bible cover-to-cover, however, I lost patience with those thick-skulled Israelites. Moses must have been sure he was leading a group of toddlers. He had to be exhausted after a day of repeating,

“I told you not to build a golden calf!”

“No, you can’t have chocolate chip cookies, you’ll just have to be satisfied with manna from heaven!”

or “No, we can’t go back to Egypt. They want to kill you!”

“And so do I,” he must have whispered under his breath. His ears probably were burning from 40 years of hearing, “Moses, are we there yet?”

I became so disgusted with God’s chosen people. They just never got it. They made the same mistakes over and over. God punished them, and they did it again. They were brought out of slavery, famine, and the slaughtering of their children. Instead of praising God for His mercies, they turned their backs to him. Rather than publishing the first edition of 101 Ways to Serve Manna, they threw up their hands and said, “We can’t stand another day of freedom and free food falling from the sky, we’re going back!”

The Israelites had their every need provided, but they had no patience for the inconveniences they faced along the way.

Of course, I had to go and have an epiphany – bright, flashing lights and arrows pointing to my head. If the story of my life is ever written, years from now someone may read it and exclaim, “The moron! She kept making the same mistakes.”

The Lord has allowed me enormous blessings, but I stumble over the small stuff and scream in impatient tantrums. I’m still not a virtuous woman in the area of patience, but now instead of shouting, “I can’t take it anymore,” I pray, “Lord, let me learn from the Israelites.”

Flashback Friday 4

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Flashback Friday 4

Tomorrow is Halloween, and that means lots of kids, big and small, will be dressing up and going out trick or treating. Many of those kiddos will be dressed as their hero – superheroes, historical heroes, musical heroes, pop culture heroes, sports heroes – up and down neighborhood streets, mall hallways, and haunted house stairs, hero look-a-likes will be out in droves.

Thinking about all of these little hero worshippers converging on houses begging for candy made me think of this column from the late 1990s for this week’s Flashback Friday. After you read it, please share in the comments who your hero is.

Everybody Needs a Hero

“The Greatest American Hero.” “My heroes have always been cowboys.” The “Rocky” trilogy. Television, music, and movies.

Abraham Lincoln, General Patton, Jimmy Stewart, Mother Teresa, Princess Diana, Superman.

Heroes.

The world is enamored with greatness. We all seem to be searching for our ideal person – for someone to “look up to,” to pattern ourselves after. But have you ever noticed that most heroes are dead or imaginary? Is that because dead and imaginary heroes are less likely to disappoint us? Of course, as soon as some long-lost diary is discovered or the last living person who knew hero so-and-so contacts “20/20” with some juicy gossip, the dead heroes lose their high standing.

We all want our heroes to be courageous, personable, wise, witty, honest, and faithful. Of course, money and good looks sure don’t hurt. But most people, at some point, fall, and when they do, those who admire them are left in turmoil.

There was a couple in the church I grew up in who helped with our youth group. I thought they were the perfect couple and “idolized” them as such. When I was 15, they divorced, and I was devastated. I remember crying until my head ached, and I couldn’t breathe through my nose. My dad hugged me and pointed out that this is what happens when we put people on a pedestal that should be reserved for Jesus Christ.

Jesus is the perfect hero. After all, he is perfect. He is an example to all of us of how to live our physical and spiritual lives. He is a comfort to us. He is a protector and the savior. He is not dead or imaginary. The greatest investigative reporters will never find anything to tarnish his name.

Everyone needs a hero, and Jesus is the only one who will not disappoint us.

He is my hero.

How about you, who’s your hero?

Flashback Friday 2

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Flashback Friday 2

During a recent visit to my oldest son’s house, he and I were trying to figure out what to have for supper. Both sitting on the couch, staring straight ahead, stockinged feet resting on the coffee table, we took turns tossing out and turning down ideas.

“Waffles would be good,” he said.

“Yep, waffles sound good.”

“Ehh, I don’t feel like making waffles.”

“Me either.”

Still facing the TV, he moved only his eyes to look in my direction. “Do you remember how to make your grandpa’s pancakes?” he asked.

I remembered – in general – nothing specific like how many cups of flour or teaspoons of baking powder. As his daughter raced by, as toddlers do EVERYWHERE they go, he shouted, “Hey Riley, you want pancakes for supper?”

She stopped dead in her tracks, “Pancakes?!” She squealed, clapped her tiny hands, spun on her heel and raced to the kitchen. Ten seconds later she was back with a bottle of syrup. Dinner plans were definitively decided.

So I called my sister.

“The 22-year-old and the 22-month-old want grandpa’s pancakes for supper,” I told her.

She was quick to give me the details I needed to complete my mission. But why am I telling you this, you wonder? Because it leads me to this week’s Flashback Friday post. The following column was first published in the Chester County Independent sometime in 1999. It was reprinted in 2000 in an anthology of devotionals entitled Treasures of a Woman’s Heart,and has a little bit to do with my grandpa’s pancakes.

Early Morning Whispers

I remember sharing the hide-a-bed with two other slumberers each time we visited my grandparents. All decked-out in our footed, fleece pajamas – blue for me, pink for Kerri and yellow for Jerri – my sisters and I would sleep two side-by-side and one across the bottom.

Early in the morning, before anyone else was up, Grandpa Walt would lean over the sofa bed and whisper, “Guyla, wanna have pancakes with Grandpa?” My feet were on the floor before my eyes even opened.

Very quietly in the little two-bedroom house my mother was raised in, Grandpa would brew himself a pot of coffee on the stove and whip up a batch of his famous pancakes. The first pancake or two off the griddle would go to our dog, Skippy, because as all great pancake chefs know, it takes a few passes with the batter to season the griddle.

Two golden, fluffy pancakes smothered in real butter and Mrs. Buttersworth later, I knew that I was the most important child on the planet, maybe even the universe.

I come from a long line of twins. Of five grandchildren, I am the “odd man out.” But I never felt that way. I always told people that I was the special one because I was the only “singleton” in the family. My grandpa had a major role in making me feel that way.

But I’m not the only one he made feel special with those pancakes. Decades, weddings and births later, all five of us still shout “pancakes and hamburgers!” when Grandpa asks what we want for supper. When one of us goes to visit our grandparents, the next time we see one of the others we say in our best “nanner nanner” voice, “I went to see Grandma and Grandpa and I got to eat pancakes.”

Yeah, that’s right, we’re all adults now.

Early in the morning, my Lord whispers in my ear, “Guyla, wanna spend time with me?” So often I blink and roll over or jump up and rush into my day’s activities. But when I do stop to open my Bible and read, especially a psalm or a proverb, I feel like I am the most important person in the universe.

God loves me more than my grandpa does. He doesn’t get up and make me pancakes, but He did give me the man who does.

He loved me so much, that He sent His only son to die a brutal death on the cross, and He would do it all over again – just for me.