Lynx thinks

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Lynx

Folksy yet erudite
Aug 13, 2014
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#1
A FRIEND OF MINE

He is sometimes too quick
This friend of mine
Too quick to do things for others
To cook for fundraisers, church dinners or family reunions
To drive an elder to the doctor
To visit someone in a hospital or nursing home
He gives up his time and what he wants to do
And does for others

I have learned a lot about the heart of a servant
Because of this friend of mine

He is sometimes too slow
This friend of mine
When we cook church dinners a job of one hour takes two
Because we stand around and talk
And enjoy each other's company
And he sets the pace
When we went to the supermarket to pick up something
A quick trip took twice the time
Because everyone in town knows him
And he stopped to talk to them

I have learned a lot about priorities
And how to slow down and listen to people
Because of this friend of mine

He is often too quiet
This friend of mine
When he knows something about someone
Something negative, that should not be told
Where most, almost all others would take pleasure in telling
He has seen the pain gossip can cause
And he cares enough about the person to not say anything

I have learned a lot about discretion
And how to keep my big mouth shut
Because of this friend of mine

He is often too loud
This friend of mine
When he preaches about something we should do
And I have let that something slide
When he preaches against something I have let slip into my life
And I sit and say "Amen!" aloud
But inside I'm squirming
He steps on my toes sometimes, this friend of mine
Though he probably does not know who he is preaching to
The arrows God gave him find their mark

I walk a straighter path
Because of this friend of mine

He is always helping someone
Always at church prayer meetings, always cooking at dinners
Always working for God and people
Always with a willing and cheerful heart
He is my pastor
And I thank God I have been able to enjoy his presence

I am a much better man
Because of this friend of mine
 

Lynx

Folksy yet erudite
Aug 13, 2014
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#2
MY PLACE
A psalm

Sometimes I look at my life
And I wonder at the waste
I have so many talents (or so I have been told)
So many abilities, so many things I could have made of my life
But I have not
I work at a factory
I have no college degree
I have no career to build
And no desire to have one

People ask me why I haven't made anything of my life
"You are so intelligent (they say)
Why have you not gone to college?
Why do you not make something of your life?"
They say this so often that I begin to ask it too.

And so I bring my worries and questions
And come to You once more
(As I have before
A hundred times or more)
My life seems so much lower than it could be
Have I missed something?
Have I not heard You correctly?
Have I just been lazy?

Then You reassure me once more
(As You have before
A hundred times or more)
You remind me of all the things I have achieved
Things that have nothing to do with jobs and degrees
You remind me of all the things I do for You
The kids I have influenced
The people I have helped
The songs I have sung
Even the mountains of CDs I have burned and songs edited
For Your service

You encourage me once more
(As You have before
A hundred times or more)
That I am what You want me to be
No less, no more
You reassure me that I am where I should be
In Your love
In Your will
In Your plan
In Your hand
 

Lynx

Folksy yet erudite
Aug 13, 2014
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#3
I have learned...

I have learned I don't know everything. And the more I learn, the more I realize how little I know. Only those who know nothing think they know everything. Those who know more realize they don't really know much at all.

I have learned to listen more to those who talk less. They only talk when they have something to say.

I have learned to keep my mouth shut more when I am offended. Chances are they didn't mean to say that the way it sounded...... and if they did mean it that way, they are probably too rude to apologize if I confront them about it.

I have learned not to worry so much. Most of the things people worry a lot about won't matter the next day, much less in ten years. I will do my best - things I can not control won't be helped by my high blood pressure.


I have learned a person who is telling me something negative about someone, will be gossiping to someone else about me. Count on it. I've learned to avoid people who take delight in telling about the shortcomings of others, because their talk brings me down.

I have learned "What she said he said about me" is not important. As long as I'm in God's will, God will take care of me. Me stressing about rumors is only a product of my pride.

I have learned that on my own I'm not so hot. Only when I'm doing God's work, and leaning on Him instead of taking pride in my own ability, only then do I have any trace of talent.

I have learned when God says go left, not to go right. I could choose to go my own way, but I have learned (from experience) that is an astoundingly bad idea.

Multiple people have told me recently that one thing they like about me is that I never change. Looking back on all I've learned, I sure HOPE I've changed. There's so much room for me to improve.....
 

Lynx

Folksy yet erudite
Aug 13, 2014
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#4
Working with children in church is:
Being told repeatedly that you are not their father.
Scrubbing gum out of the carpet. again.
Having your ears blown out for no reason other than because a kid felt like squealing... for no reason.
Hearing "That's not fair!" or variations thereof 7,000 times per hour.
Breaking up silly fights over Silly Bands. (tm)
Trying to explain why insisting Santa Claus does/does not exist won't change anyone's opinion.
Trying to teach a lesson when the kids don't seem to be listening.
(From the other end) trying to quell uprisings while the teacher is teaching.
Sometimes wondering if you're really doing any good at all.

Working with children in church is:
Driving a bus for 40 minutes, before and after church, every service.
Rounding up kids who would rather be running around the church, and do so.
Driving a kid home early and missing most of church because the child has lice. Again.
Being kicked 4,000 times per minute in the seat back.
Telling a child to sit down for the 120,452nd time.
Having to slam on the brakes (DEER!) and a kid being mad at you because he flew forward... because he wasn't sitting down.
Waiting for a kid to find his coat before you can leave. Helping the kid find his coat. Trying to round up all the other kids who got bored and decided to leave the bus.
Being seen by some parents as basically a free baby-sitter.

Working with children in church is:
A little girl saying, "Thanks for the ride Brother Isaac!"
A boy earnestly requesting prayer for his dad in "big church" prayer request time.
A group of girls coming up to the altar, making a circle and praying with each other, praying hard, without any adults prompting. (Whataya know, they WERE listening! Who'da thunk?)
A boy getting excited because he said, "God would you stop this rain so we can go eat?" and 30 seconds later not a drop was falling.


Totally worth it.
 

Lynx

Folksy yet erudite
Aug 13, 2014
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#5
WHO ARE YOU?


When I walk in
You greet me with a smile
You speak friendly to me
But then the conversation always changes
Somehow, I don't know how
You always talk about others
How they have failed
How they have done you wrong
When I first came in I thought I knew you
But now I wonder
Who are you?
Who will you be tomorrow?

I hear you tearing down
A friend I really like
One who is not perfect
(But then we all, even you, are also not)
But one I am proud to call a friend
You talk about all his mistakes
But never once say anything good about him
And I wonder
Who are you?
Who will you be in five minutes?

I see the person come in
The one you were tearing down
I see you greet him with a smile
Just like you greeted me
You speak friendly to him
Just as you spoke to me
And then...
You begin to tear other people down
Just as you did when you talked to me
And I wonder
Who are you?
Who were you before I came in?

I need a friend
I need someone I can count on
Someone who will be the same today as tomorrow
I used to think you were that friend
But I don't know you
I watch you change your mask
And put a new one on
For every friend you wear a different one
Your masks all look the same, but they are different
For just a moment I get a glimpse of you
The real you, that doesn't change
But then it is gone, behind another mask
And I don't know you anymore

Who are you?
Do I want to know?
 

Lynx

Folksy yet erudite
Aug 13, 2014
20,011
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#6
FREEDOM

Before I became a christian I worried a lot. My whole life depended on me, on my ability to provide for my own needs. That is a scary thought - what if I got sick for a long time and could not work? What if I got laid off and could not find another job? What if I got injured and could no longer work? What if someone stole my money? I am glad that I can work to supply my needs but my life was literally in my own hands, and I can not see the future to know what choices to make. When my future well-being depends on me, what if I mess up?

Now of course I am free. God promised He would provide for me, whatever happens. His promises in this matter are many, expressed in many different ways, and I have seen God do just what He promised. Because I trust God, I am free from worry about what I have and what I don't have.

But if I am free from this worry it frees me to do other things, for freedom is useless if it is not used. I understand the value of saving, but I will not let it stop me from giving my tithes, offering, or helping out a brother who is truly in need. As I am free of my own worries, I am free to help others.

Before I became a christian I worried about being alone. What if my family died? What if I could not find a lady to be my wife? What if I had to move to another city where I knew nobody? What if I lived and died... alone?

Now of course I am free of this worry. With Jesus I am never alone. He is a friend that will never leave, never lie to me, never mislead me, never take advantage of or cheat me. He will always be here for me.

So as I am free of the worry of loneliness, I am free to love others without expecting love in return. I am free to love them truly as Christ loves them, whether they love me or not. I am free to love the people who hate me - not to say I love them while I secretly hate them for their spite, but really love them. As I am free of my worries about being alone, I am free to show Christ's love to others.

Before I became a christian I worried about my own social status. I worried about what my family, my friends, my boss thought of me, what rumors people might spread about me, whether I was cool, if people might lie about me. I wanted to make sure people knew I was capable, intelligent, witty.

Now of course I am free of this worry as well. All I need is God's good opinion. People will talk about me no matter what I do, and if I still cared about what they thought this would drive me nuts. But if they will talk about me no matter what, I am free to do what I know is good and right, what I know I should. I am free of the worry of other people's opinions.

So as I am free of this worry, I am free to encourage others. I do not have to do as some do, insensibly tearing other people down in an effort to build themselves up. I am free to build other people up, confident that I am where I should be in God's will, and God will take care of what little reputation I might have.

The world does not understand this freedom because all they know is being bound. You cannot explain a color to a blind man, nor a bird song to one who is deaf, neither can you explain how it feels to be free to one who has never been free. To those who are bound by worries of their own life, giving to others is crazy. If you give of yourself to others it takes away from you, and if you are depending only on yourself you want to keep all you have for you. The only reason a person in the world would give to someone else is if he was a friend, if the person felt sorry for him or if the person expected something in return. The commandments in the Bible to love others as yourself, to treat others as yourself, are not possible to follow with a whole heart because it seems to a person bound by worries to be sheer lunacy.

But I am free to give to others. Not because God commanded it (although He did,) not because I should do so (although I should,) not because it would make me look good, because someone asked me to, because I expect to be repaid, but because I am free to give. It is a simple exercise in logic, and logically there is no other choice.

I am free. And as I am free of my own worries, I will give to others. Not because I can, because I am asked or required to or because I am forced to, but because it is the only way that makes sense.
 

Lynx

Folksy yet erudite
Aug 13, 2014
20,011
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#7
REVIEWS​

I've been thinking about reviews lately.

I depend on other people's reviews a lot. I buy a lot of stuff online and most of it I have never seen or used before. One well known online store is particularly good for finding reviews on products from food to electronics to car parts. If other people have tried something and posted a review, I feel better about buying something and knowing I'll get a good product - or conversly, not buying it because I am fairly certain it is better left alone.

But not all reviews are helpful. Some reviews are misleading, deliberately or unintentionally. Some have no information at all about the product I want. Sometimes it takes some experience to filter through reviews and find the ones that will help me decide whether or not to put this item in my "shopping cart."

And I stop and wonder: What review are we giving God?

Some reviews are simply "This is great!" or "This thing stinks!" with no information. The reviewer may fill up half a page going on about how awesome or terrible a product is, without ever really telling anything about the product, why it is so good or bad. This effect is particularly noticeable with books certain political figures write. Their fans will log many good reviews, sometimes without even reading the book, while their detractors will post a lot of bad reviews, and I can guarantee most of them have never read the book.

If all we can say is "God is great!" that tells the world nothing. If we have no personal experience that we can (or are willing) to share, there is nothing to convince anyone to try God. I, personally, have many things God has done for me. But if all I say is "You need to come to church" that is too easy to brush off as just another obligation. If we don't share what God has done for us... not stories from the Bible, not miracles in California or Africa but what God has done for us personally, great things we have seen happen... then all our talk about how great God is might as well be saved.

Some reviews are not so much good reviews about a product as bad reviews about its competitor. "This is much better than brand X because..." and they go on at great length about how bad brand X is. Well yay, I'm glad you found something better than brand X, it sounds like junk - but dude, that doesn't tell me anything about the product I'm looking at. All you told me is how bad the other brand was.

If all we can say is "You should come to our church because we're better than the church down the road" that is doubly damaging. First we don't give any real reason to come to our church or try our God, and second we put the other church down. Unfortunately I hear many christians - not christians from other churches, these are pentecostals, people who are supposed to have God's sprit within them - putting down other churches all the time. Every time I hear it it makes me cringe, because one of satan's pet tricks is to make sure damaging gossip gets back to the ones being talked about. "Don't go to that church. They think we're going to hell because our women cut their hair."

Some reviews you read don't even have to do with the product at all. "I really liked this product but shipping took forever, they forgot to send the USB cable and when I called about it I got some guy with a chinese accent" doesn't tell me anything about the product, just that particular seller among many that sell that product.

Unfortunately I know a LOT of christians like this. Instead of telling people anything about God, all they seem able to speak about is their problems. Health problems, family problems, church problems, political problems, financial problems, problems problems problems! I have had to make an excuse to get away from some people because I was getting seriously depressed. For a people who are supposed to have victory, a litany of problems is not a good review of a life lived with God.

When I think of a good review I think of Bro. Pete in our church. You give him half a chance, mention anything about God, church, religion or etc, and he'll start talking about how good God has been to him. His diction isn't too clear - he seems to have some kind of very mild speech impediment - and his words are simple but his enthusiasm is contagious. I always look forward to hearing him testify.

About half a year ago Bro. Pete was in the hospital with heart problems. I met the pastor one night when I had something to do at the church. The pastor mentioned he was picking up some reading material from his office for Bro. Pete. I said "I bet he wasn't complaining about his problems when you talked to him." The pastor said, "No, he was still rejoicing."

Experts tell us the best salesman is not the one who spends a lot of time studying how to make a sale. It is not the one who knows all about human nature and how to convince people. It is the salesman who uses the product he is selling, likes it, and thinks you should try it too. If I'm selling something I personally don't like, all my sales pitch will be just a show and people can tell it. If I'm trying to sell you something I like - a really good chocolate bar, a certain pair of shoes (no comments here please... *ahem* ) a certain brand of computer I have found to be really good - then I have already tried it, found it to be great and I think your life would be better if you tried it too.

I'm reminded of my uncle Stanley. He's a pro fisherman, got sponsors, goes to tournaments, the whole bit. He says flat-out, "I'll use what the sponsor gives me but if it doesn't work I'll hand it back and tell them gimme some worms." But if you mention fishing to him, be prepared to spend at least an hour listening to him talk about a certain brand of punch bait. He will tell you how to use it, where to buy it, where he has used it, what he has caught, how many he has caught, and by the time he is through you will be convinced it is a magic potion that draws fish from thirty miles away... upstream. He's one of the best salesmen his sponsor ever had because he honestly thinks this product is good and he thinks if he can get you to try it you'll love it too.

That's the kind of salesman I want to be. I know my God is great, I know if I can just get people to try Him they'll love Him, I know the peace, the joy, the love that I feel from Him, I know all the things He has done in my life.

But it's up to me to leave a good review. And I'd sure better because whatever review I leave, people around me will read it.
 

Lynx

Folksy yet erudite
Aug 13, 2014
20,011
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#8
THANK YOU MOM

Thank you for all the times you said "I am not running a restaurant." Thank you for telling me to eat what you cooked or go to bed hungry. Thank you for your interest in health food. I can still eat almost anything and I still eat more vegetables than most people - not because I know they are healthy and I force myself to eat them, but because I like them. Thank you for making me drink before meals instead of with them. I can honestly say I eat what I want, when I want and as much as I want (and some of it is cheese, ice cream, etc.) but I have not gained ten pounds in the last fifteen years.

Thank you for every single time you said, "Lift with your knees, not your back." Many of my peers have complained about back pain but, although I do a lot of heavy lifting putting the truck order up every week at work, I don't know how back pain feels.

Thank you for caring enough to start homeschooling me. I know it cost money and your time, and it was certainly not as easy for you as it would have been to throw me on the bus every morning, but those were the best years of my life. Also when I took the test to reenter the public school system, being told I had tested at college sophomore level in reading comprehension was priceless.
Thank you for taking me to the Memphis Children's Hands-On Museum, the best field trip ever. I remember a lot about that place and part of me still wishes I was young enough and small enough to get away with going again.

Thank you for trying to get me to brush my teeth. That one never worked out too well (and I have the dental bill to prove it) but it wasn't for lack of you trying. My stubbornness kept me from smoking, drinking and "hard" drugs, but in this it worked against me. Oh well, thanks for trying anyway.

Thank you for every spanking you gave me. I didn't like them at the time, I didn't like you much at the time and sometimes I even hated you in the wholehearted, unreasoning way that a child can, but I don't recall a single one I didn't deserve. When I see people who were not disciplined when they were children I am very grateful. Thank you for not letting me grow up to be a brat.

Thank you for being more than just a woman who had a kid and must put up with the child's presence until he turns eighteen. Thank you for being a real mother.

Your son

Isaac
 

Lynx

Folksy yet erudite
Aug 13, 2014
20,011
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#9
WEEPING ALONE

Luke 22:31-34
31And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:
32But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.
33And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death.
34And he said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me.

Luke 22:60-62
60And Peter said, Man, I know not what thou sayest. And immediately, while he yet spake, the cock crew.
61And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.
62And Peter went out, and wept bitterly.


I like Peter. He wasn't perfect, but he had enthusiasm. He was like a Labrador puppy, full of energy, ready to go go GO and as often as not doing the wrong thing. But every time he messed up, he backed up, got going straight again and kept on going.

This chapter in Luke marks the lowest point where we ever see Peter. He has told Jesus he will follow Jesus anywhere, even if it brings him death - a brave statement. Jesus responds that before the next new day is well advanced Peter will deny him three times. In other books of the Bible we find Peter and the other disciples all denying this, affirming they will indeed follow Jesus anywhere.

Then Jesus is taken by the mob and the disciples all scatter. Peter follows from a distance, people recognize him as one of Jesus' disciples and Peter winds up denying any connection with Jesus three times. Then he realizes what he has done and, heartbroken at his own weakness, that he would deny Jesus for fear of his own safety, he goes out and weeps bitterly.

The important thing was, he didn't stay there.

Oh Peter didn't become perfect after that failure. He never was a spiritual superman. Although he got out of the boat and walked on water, his faith wavered and he started sinking. He didn't believe Mary when she said Jesus had risen. God had to get it through Peter's head that God could make unclean things clean before Peter was in any shape to preach salvation to the Gentile Cornelius.And after Gentiles were added to the church, when some Jews came to visit Peter tried so hard to keep up appearances that Paul had to reprimand him for shunning the Gentiles.

But Peter kept getting up one more time. Peter did walk on the water, something nobody else except Jesus has ever done to this day. Peter was the one who was given the keys to the kingdom of Heaven, to unlock the door for salvation to the Samaritans and Gentiles. Peter saw so many miracles that we don't have a count of how many happened around him. Peter was so close to God, so full of God's spirit that if his shadow passed over a person that person would be healed. Peter had an awesome ministry and a very exciting life.

Maybe you're like Peter. Maybe you have been so confident that you will follow Jesus everywhere, only to have your nose rubbed in your own weakness as soon as you turn around. Maybe you have failed in such a spectacular way that you just have to be impressed that you found a way to mess things up so thoroughly.

Maybe you just feel like going off by yourself and crying. And that's okay. It's natural to feel bad when you fail. I have fallen a few times myself and nobody knew but me and God, but I have felt like curling up in a ball and crying for a while. You're human, you're not perfect, it is possible to mess up and when you do it hurts. A lot.

Just don't stay there.

I've seen many people fail God in many ways. The difference is that some people fall and give up, while some get up and keep going. Some dwell on their mistakes until they convince themselves it's better to stay down. After all, if you're down you can't fall any further, right?

But if you stay down you'll never be able to reach for the things you could have.

Go ahead and cry for a while. Then get up, dust yourself off and start talking to God again. You have a great future and the power behind it is God's power. You can be a mighty influence, you can change many people's lives, you can bring joy and light to countless people who are alone in their darkness. It may be hard to believe it right now, so soon after you have tripped over your own feet, but you can do anything through God.

Everybody gets down sometimes. The people you look up to have been down sometimes. Believe it or not, they aren't any stronger than you. They just didn't stay down.
 

Lynx

Folksy yet erudite
Aug 13, 2014
20,011
5,808
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#10
COMPARISONS

When you look at me
And I seem so strong
Don't compare yourself to what I seem to be
You can't see the real me
Though I've been your pastor
Since you were a child
Your teacher, your friend
Your mother or father
Or just a person in the church that you look up to
There's a part of me you'll never see

You don't see the temptations I face
Or the times I may have failed
You don't see the times I've been angry
And had to bite back a hurtful word
Or the times I have been hurt myself
But I hid the pain behind a smile
Until I could be alone to cry

What you see
Is not all of me
And when you think I'm strong
I'm really not
Don't compare yourself to me
And feel that you are weak
There is a part of me that I hide
Just as you hide a part of you

And for all you hide your faults
Your failures and your pain
You just never know
I might think I'll never be
As strong as you
 

Lynx

Folksy yet erudite
Aug 13, 2014
20,011
5,808
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#11
THE HARD WAY

You are the person who disagreed with me
The driver who's fender I bent
The customer who's order I got wrong at that restaurant
The one who got offended at what I said
The person who took the other side in a sunday school debate
You were so convinced that you were right and I was wrong
That whenever I tried to argue my case, you shouted it down

You took the easy way
You yelled

I could yell too
It is much easier to raise the volume
Organize my arguments and shout them one by one
For I'm certain I am right and you are wrong
(Just as you are certain you are right and I am wrong)

It's so much easier to yell
But it never gets us anywhere

It's much harder to listen to you
Really LISTEN to your statements and admit you might be right
Nobody likes to be told he is wrong
To accept that he is wrong is even harder
It's hard to let you think that you have won
For winning seems so important to you
And my human nature wants you to be defeated
It's hard to wait while you are yelling
Hard to be patient and not try to shout louder

It's much harder to not yell

But I will take the hard way
Because it's the only way to get anything done
If we both take the easy way, we never will listen
We will shout our arguments and eventually leave
And we will each think what an idiot the other person is
And though you still take the easy way
Though I have to let you sometimes think you have won
I know that nothing will be accomplished
Until we both take the hard way
Until we both learn to listen
Until we both refuse to yell

So I will take the hard way
And I will wait patiently while you think you have won
I will try to ignore my wounded pride
Ignore the voice that screams for more volume
And tries to make me force you to see my side
Because someday I hope that maybe
You will take the hard way too
Someday, if I can keep from yelling long enough
You might learn that you don't have to yell
 

Lynx

Folksy yet erudite
Aug 13, 2014
20,011
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#12
WHEN THE SKIN CRACKS​

For a good many years now I have had something happen every winter. The backs of my hands get dry. Not all at once, and not catastrophically - just a little bit drier every day. I don't know why it's only the back of my hands, neither do I know why they get so dry when the rest of my skin seems to have no problem. But if I don't do anything they just keep getting drier and drier, little by little every day.

Of course there's an obvious solution: Skin moisturizer. One little dab would keep it from happening at all. And every time I notice my skin is drying out I think, "Man, I really need to get some moisturizer on them." But I never do; I'm on the road, I'm busy cooking something, I'm reading a book, I'm typing something on the internet... and by the time I'm done with whatever, I have forgotten all about my hands. The bottle of skin lotion is on top of my dresser, which I walk past at least ten times a day, but I will go for weeks without using it, while my hands keep drying out.

One fine day at work I glanced down at my hands and saw a thin red line. Odd, I don't recall getting anything on my hands... Wait, that's blood! My hands had become so dry they had started cracking and bleeding. It didn't really hurt much, but it was alarming enough that I immediately got some moisturizer from a friend who always carried some in her purse. When I got home I started applying moisturizer from that bottle I had walked past for weeks. My skin kept absorbing, absorbing, absorbing... For about five hours I kept adding lotion a bit at a time, and it kept vanishing into my skin.

But something was still wrong. Although my skin was no longer dry, it still felt rough. It had long since gone past merely dry, and had actually been damaged by the lack of moisture. No amount of moisturizer could return them to normal right now. I would have to keep lotion on them until the skin healed.

If that were the end of the story, it would have been fine. But there are other things that I let go, things that might not be a problem at the start, but are at the end.

Video games for example; those of you who know me well remember the trouble I used to have with video games. Not that they are evil, and I'm not saying anyone is going to hell for playing pac-man... but for me they were a problem. Especially video games with a good story line.

I knew there was a problem. I knew I spent a bit too much time with a game controller in hand. But hey, it was something to take up free time, right? That's what these things are made for, to take up free time so you won't get bored. And I really did enjoy them, and I have to say I was quite good at them.

But over time the problem grew. Video games became quite literally all I thought about when I was at work, church or anywhere else. The family could go to our favorite restaurant without me, I had a level to beat - and I knew just how I was going to beat it because I had figured it out during Sunday School. Bible reading, any church activity besides normal services, everything that could be skipped was skipped so I could get back to the game. What was supposed to take up free time was taking up time that should have gone to more important things.

But it was no problem. I could put down the controller any time I wanted, and I did sometimes. Multiple times I went a whole week without even turning the console on, and I didn't really miss it. See? No problem! Then I'd start playing again and be right back in the groove, spending all my time playing.

It finally ended as a result of an argument with God. He pointed out some inconvenient truths one day while I was driving to work, and the argument lasted all the way down the road. When I got to work I called my grandmother and told her I was going to sell my console and all my games, because I knew if I didn't do something to block myself, by the time the work day was over I would have found some way to rationalize myself out of it. To use the skin analogy, my hands had finally gotten so dry they had started cracking, and I had to fix the problem.

And just as my hands were not back to normal immediately, the video game problem didn't disappear overnight. It took some time to become sociable again, to learn how to enjoy the company of my family and church family. And I had to find something to talk about besides how great the current game I was playing was. But, just as my hands would never have come to such a state if I had applied some lotion when I first noticed they were drying out, this problem with video games would have been a lot easier if I had killed it when I first noticed it was a problem.

There have been other problems mind you: This was just the most notable. There was a website of satirical humor that I found quite funny, but after a few days of reading it I noticed my attitude was becoming more snarky. I wouldn't say hurtful jokes, smart remarks, but I sure was thinking them a lot. I had to stop going to that site. Then there was a chatroom made for music makers (that's me, that's me!) which I found quite useful. I learned a lot there. But they were not christians in that chatroom: They talked about many things christians have no business talking about, and though most of them spoke civilly to me in particular, they routinely ridiculed christians in general. When I was praying about a certain temptation I was enduring, God turned my attention to that chatroom - I've learned enough there and it was affecting me, time to leave.

Of course if I had not applied lotion even when my hands started cracking, I probably would have still survived. A few cracks in the skin is not exactly lethal. But if I had let it continue unchecked my skin would have sustained permanent damage. It would not be ruined exactly, but it would never have been the same. And if I had not sold my game console, if I were still reading that hilarious satire, if I were still hanging out in music chat, it probably wouldn't make me backslide... but it would be a drain on my spirit. I don't think I would leave church, but I wouldn't get as much out of it. And the longer I continued doing the things that weighed down my spirit, the more it would affect me.

So here we are in winter again. Finally, FINALLY it is getting cold enough to really call it winter. And my hands are drying out again. But don't worry about me, I put some lotion on them right before I sat down to type this.

I just pray I can be as prompt to realize and deal with the other kind of problems now as well. It's so much easier to handle these things if you don't wait until the skin starts cracking.
 

Lynx

Folksy yet erudite
Aug 13, 2014
20,011
5,808
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#13
The Minimum

As I went to work today
I saw a man along the way
His car was broken down
And he was looking for some help
I wish that I could help him...
I had some time to spare today
Before I had to go to work
But I knew just how much it takes
To get to where I need to go
So I just wasted it away
And now I don't have any time to spare

I'm sorry
I wish that I could help you
If only I had known you would be here
I could have left some time to spare
Might have spent less time online
Or skipped that show I don't like much anyway
I'm sorry
But I'm running on the minimum, you see
I don't have time to help you now
I only have just enough for me

As I was going home today
I saw a man along the way
With a cardboard sign that said
Anything that I can give would help
I wish that I could help him...
I had plenty of money before
Last payday wasn't so far
But there was so much I could buy
That video game I've been wanting to play
Restaurants I've never tried
I knew how much I needed for bills
And the rest I spent on what I wanted most

I'm sorry
I'd really like to help you
If only I had known you would be here
I might have skipped that movie last night
Maybe ordered a pizza less this week
Tried to set aside some to help you out
I'm sorry
But I'm running on the minimum, you see
I don't have anything to give you
There's barely enough left for me

While I was at work today
I heard a coworker say
Life is getting too much for him
His world is caving in around his head
I wish that I could help him...
When I was young in Christ I could
I had the strength and fire inside
But lately I haven't had the time to pray
I went to church the other day
God's power was flowing through so strong
But I had enough of God to do
Until the next service came along
So I just sat and watched the show
And fasting, I can't remember the last time

I'm sorry
I'd really like to help you
If only I had known you would be here
I might have prayed a little more
Might have been a part of church
Instead of just coasting through
But I'm kind of weak myself right now
I'm sorry
But I'm running on the minimum, you see
I don't have any power to help you
I only have just enough for me
 

Lynx

Folksy yet erudite
Aug 13, 2014
20,011
5,808
113
#14
COOKIES

Recently I was listening to a comedian talking about how his mother was "mean" to him when he was a kid. "Not only would she not let me have a cookie before supper - with the pathetic excuse that it would ruin my dinner - she put the cookies on top of the refrigerator. Now how cruel is that? You know, I have read the top, bottom and all sides of that cookie package, and not one place on there does it say 'Keep out of reach of children.'"

"Where was the bleach stored? Under the kitchen sink with the rest of the poisons."

I was thinking about this one day and I started remembering some of the times I've asked God for a cookie, and God told me no.

The thing about cookies is, they are not obvious poisons. We know the things that are poisonous to a christian life - drinking, lies, idols, lust, etc, we know they are toxic and we should avoid them. The Bible warns us about them repeatedly, and even if we didn't have the Bible we could observe the effects of these poisons in many people we know. God doesn't have to put them out of our reach and we don't have to ask if we can have these things. Everyone knows they are poisons.

Cookies, though, are not obviously harmful. In fact, other christians have some of the cookies I would like to have, and they do just fine. A new job, new career, new hobby, maybe I would like God to heal a friend - nothing wrong with these things. But God sometimes says no, for the same reason a mother says no. Because if God gave me what I asked for it would get in the way of what I need.

When I was a kid I couldn't understand why my mother would be so callous as to not let me have a cookie. I mean really, what a tightwad! They're not that expensive, she could have spared one. But my mother knew if I had a cookie AT THAT TIME it would interfere with the supper that was actually beneficial to me. It wasn't that a cookie was bad, but that it would get in the way of something better.

Have you ever asked for something and had God tell you no? Maybe you would like to move to a better location. Maybe you would like to find that special someone for you, maybe you're tired of waiting for a partner in your life. Maybe you would like to advance your ministry in some area. Maybe you would like something that you can't see any harm in, something you think would improve your life - and maybe it would. But maybe it's a cookie. Maybe it's something you can have later, or maybe it's something you won't be able to have at all, but it's something that would get in the way of God's plans for you right now.

Problem is, like kids we can get so focused on the cookies we want...
 

Lynx

Folksy yet erudite
Aug 13, 2014
20,011
5,808
113
#15
WISDOM OF A DOG

By Dan, an Australian Shepherd mix
(coauthored by my human, because I don't have fingers)

1. Always assume people you meet are friends unless they do something to prove they are not. You might get hurt once in a while but you meet a lot more friends that way.

2. Wag more, bark less.

3. There will be some grumpy people in life. Just avoid them. There are a lot more nice people than grumpy people anyway. And above all, don't let the grumps make YOU grumpy.

4. Be glad to be here, wherever here happens to be. It's a big, wide, wonderful world and you only have one life to explore it. There's no time to waste growling about life.

5. If you're stuck in a boring situation, the best thing to do is take a nap. You'll need your energy when the boring part is over.

6. If Master says "NO" stop doing whatever you were doing and look innocent. If Master says "NO" every time you do something, don't do it anymore. I think we dogs are better at this one than humans...

7. Don't waste time worrying about basic stuff like food and shelter. Master will take care of that. He's the one who brought you to his home, he wanted you here, he'll supply what you need. Worrying about stuff like that takes time away from the good stuff in life.

8. Sometimes Master will do some strange things that you don't understand. Don't worry about it, Master knows what He's doing. Trying to figure it out can make your head hurt.

9. Although you can't always figure out what Master is doing, you should be there when Master is doing something. You never know what will happen, and you probably don't want to miss it.

10. Spend less time inside and more time outside. Outside is where the interesting stuff is.

11. Be thankful for everything, even if it's the same old food every day. It's FOOD!
 
Sep 1, 2014
13
0
0
#16
thanks for this sounds like your Pastor is an awesome man :D
 

Lynx

Folksy yet erudite
Aug 13, 2014
20,011
5,808
113
#17
Whoops! I almost forgot... all content I posted on this page is CC licensed.

© 2005-2014, Isaac Thomas. Licensed under the Creative Commons CC BY-ND Creative Commons — Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported — CC BY-ND 3.0

Basically you can share it with anyone, for any reason, even a commercial reason, but you can't change it and you have to mention somwhere that you got it from me. This license is mostly for my protection, so nobody can copy what I wrote, copyright it and then try to restrict my use of what I wrote. Hey, it happens.

This license is applied because someone just asked me if she can use what I wrote in a book. Now that I've taken care of this, you can. Cheers!
 
Last edited:

CharliRenee

Member
Staff member
Nov 4, 2014
6,342
6,863
113
#18
I have learned...

I have learned I don't know everything. And the more I learn, the more I realize how little I know. Only those who know nothing think they know everything. Those who know more realize they don't really know much at all.

I have learned to listen more to those who talk less. They only talk when they have something to say.

I have learned to keep my mouth shut more when I am offended. Chances are they didn't mean to say that the way it sounded...... and if they did mean it that way, they are probably too rude to apologize if I confront them about it.

I have learned not to worry so much. Most of the things people worry a lot about won't matter the next day, much less in ten years. I will do my best - things I can not control won't be helped by my high blood pressure.


I have learned a person who is telling me something negative about someone, will be gossiping to someone else about me. Count on it. I've learned to avoid people who take delight in telling about the shortcomings of others, because their talk brings me down.

I have learned "What she said he said about me" is not important. As long as I'm in God's will, God will take care of me. Me stressing about rumors is only a product of my pride.

I have learned that on my own I'm not so hot. Only when I'm doing God's work, and leaning on Him instead of taking pride in my own ability, only then do I have any trace of talent.

I have learned when God says go left, not to go right. I could choose to go my own way, but I have learned (from experience) that is an astoundingly bad idea.

Multiple people have told me recently that one thing they like about me is that I never change. Looking back on all I've learned, I sure HOPE I've changed. There's so much room for me to improve.....
I'm still learning the things you have already learned. This was helpful to me, thank you. I just recently had to relearn this one...
Me stressing about rumors is only a product of my pride.
 

Leastamongmany

Well-known member
Jun 2, 2019
3,270
1,267
113
Usa
#20
Whoops! I almost forgot... all content I posted on this page is CC licensed.

© 2005-2014, Isaac Thomas. Licensed under the Creative Commons CC BY-ND Creative Commons — Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported — CC BY-ND 3.0

Basically you can share it with anyone, for any reason, even a commercial reason, but you can't change it and you have to mention somwhere that you got it from me. This license is mostly for my protection, so nobody can copy what I wrote, copyright it and then try to restrict my use of what I wrote. Hey, it happens.

This license is applied because someone just asked me if she can use what I wrote in a book. Now that I've taken care of this, you can. Cheers!
WOW YOU ARE A MAN OF MANY WORDS! THOUGHT PROVOKING,POIGNANT WORDS! BLESSINGS AND THANK YOU FOR SHARING!🙏🙏🙏