Category Archives: Uncategorized

Backside of Nowhere

reaching hand

Just as I stopped at the traffic light, the Cathedral Quartet sang the following words: “On the back side of a place called nowhere, forgotten by humanity…” How appropriate, I thought with a chuckle, because that’s pretty much how it feels to be stopped at a red light in this city.

As I waited and waited ……..and waited, for the light to turn green, I joyfully sang along with the guys. I’m just glad they were on tape and couldn’t hear me. Truth is, I couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket, but I do love to sing right along with any southern gospel music.

The words to the song were meaningful to me. “When they talked about potential, they did not refer to me…” Yes that was the story of my life before I accepted Jesus Christ as my Messiah. But everything changed “When He reached His hand to where I was….”

Can anyone relate? Have you, dear reader, despite your faith, ever felt that you were on the back side of nowhere, forgotten by humanity? I know you already know this, but today I just want to remind you that Jesus promised He would never leave you nor forsake you (Joshua 1:5, Hebrews 13:5).  He will reach his hands down to where you are, whether you are stuck at a red light – or stuck in one of life’s ruts.

That should make you want to sing with the Cathedrals and me, “So now you know the reason I lift my hands so willingly…..”

And we would all be in good company, for King David, when he was stuck in the wilderness, did just that, while singing the following Psalm:

Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands  thy name. (63:4)

Just Around the Corner

gorilla.1Hello everyone.  I don’t normally cross-publish from one of my devotional blogs to the other, but I felt especially inclined to do so today.  I know that this message will touch many hearts today.  God Bless.

These words are being penned from the gorilla enclosure at my local zoo. Sometimes, when I feel that my desire to write has been locked away in some inaccessible place, I come here for inspiration.

Lately, words just seem to elude me. What difference does it make? I asked myself. “All the difference in the world,” the LORD reminded me. “I called you to write,” He said, “to share with a frustrated world that I am very near to all; and I love them very much!”

Thus, I tucked away pen and paper, and a water bottle, and headed to my favorite place in this city, the zoo. I’ve heard others say that they hate zoos because they cannot stand to see animals caged in captivity, or mistreated in any way. I must say, however, that I am quite proud of my local zoo. The animals are truly cared for and they are, for the most part, far better off here than they would be in the wild. But that’s another topic altogether.

Entering the zoo today, I was immediately greeted by a beautiful chorus of flamingo song. It was as though these marvelous creatures, with feathers ranging from white to dark, vibrant pink, were welcoming me to their peaceful sanctuary where I could escape from the world for just a little while.

I had stopped at this very spot on many occasions, but this was the first time I paused to read the dedicatory inscription on the bench there. It read:

“Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight? I am waiting for you, for an interval somewhere very near, just around the corner.” Henry Scott Holland

What an absolutely perfect sentiment for today! My thoughts revisited dormant dreams and desires. Though I have not yet seen their fulfillment, why should they be out of mind? Patience, I reminded myself; patience. I also thought of my great desire -an almost daily desire- for the LORD to quickly return. He may currently be out of sight, but He is never out of mind.

Even the earth must remind herself of this. It is written, “…creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now….” (Romans 8:21-22). The LORD will, sometime soon, return to make all things new, to restore them to a state of perfection. Till then, LORD, “I am waiting for you,” knowing that your return is “Just around the corner.”

As I write these words, I am sitting on bench, positioned on one side of the large glass viewing windows. Twice, a young gorilla came to this spot and sat down right behind me, on the other side, and intently watched me write. This was so intriguing to the other visitors, that they gathered around me to watch the gorilla watch me.

I smiled. The fact that a gorilla found my writing to be of such interest is a very great encouragement to me. I only wish he could have read this message. He, like so many humans, feels that their lives are lived in captivity, yet all we need do is look up, for our redemption is draweth nigh – it is ‘just around the corner.’
Praise the LORD!

If you enjoyed this post, you might enjoy a related, archived message by clicking on the following link: Light Down Under

Smile Awhile

smile

You’ve probably heard it said that it takes twice as many muscles to frown than it does to smile. That may or may not be true, but one of the muscles used for smiling is called the levator labii superioris. On the other hand, the muscles used to frown include the depressor labii inferioris. Personally, I find it amusing that you use the depressor muscle to frown and that it is an inferior(is) muscle, but that’s just me.

Joy is one of the nine-fold attributes of the ‘fruit of the Spirit’ (Galatians 5:22-23), and smiling is the natural result of joy. If you can not think of any other reason to smile today, let me give you a very big one. You can say, as did the prophet Isaiah:

I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels. (61:10):

A smile costs nothing but gives much. It enriches those who receive without making poorer those who give. It takes but a moment, but the memory of it sometimes lasts forever. None is so rich or mighty that he cannot get along without it and none is so poor that he cannot be made rich by it. Yet a smile cannot be bought, begged, borrowed, or stolen, for it is something that is of no value to anyone until it is given away. Some people are too tired to give you a smile. Give them one of yours, as none needs a smile so much as he who has no more to give. ~Author Unknown

A brief hello

Greetings to you all.

Although I have taken some time off from posting due to a health issue, I am anxious to share my heart with you all once again. Thus, I am writing this brief note to let you know that both Polished Pearls and Rays of Light will be returning sometime this week. Till then, may God bless you all.

Don’t Stump Your Toe in the Salt

photo: Dempsey’s Resolultion Fitness

Last night’s dinner was good old-fashioned beans, taters and cornbread. After the first few bites I thought, these are perfect –just the right amount of crunch on the taters and just the right amount of seasoning in the beans. In fact, that’s the key to great-tasting beans, just the right amount of seasoning. Too little salt and the food will be bland and unappealing; too much salt and it is ruined.

My first pot of beans, which I made as a child, wasn’t all that great. I felt bad enough that they tasted awful, but then my step-father sarcastically asked, “Who stumped their toe in the salt?” If you guessed by context that this is a backwoods expression that means over-salted the food as to render it inedible, you would be right.

I thought of this because shortly after dinner, I shared the following Scripture with someone:

Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone (Colossians 4:5,6).

There are at least two places in Scripture where our Christian witness is likened to salt (the other is Matthew 5:14). I believe the same necessity for proper seasoning during cooking applies to sharing the Gospel as well. If we present the Gospel to those who are perishing with too little salt (i.e. love and compassion), what we offer will be very distasteful.

On the other hand, we must not stump our toe in the salt either. Meaning, we should not be so over-zealous that we ‘dump’ too much information on them all at once, thereby overwhelming them so that they cannot comprehend what we are saying, or think that starting on the path of righteousness is just too daunting a task for them to begin.

Dear reader, may we always be faithful to share the Gospel. However, let us do so with careful balance so that we may be a blessing and a benefit to those who will listen, rather than being destructive in our efforts. And, may  our speech and conduct always bring glory to our Heavenly Father!

Suggested Reading: A Covenant of Salt by Susan E. Todd

Feeble Weeble

Wow! Where has the time gone? I’ve been so busy working on an exciting project that I scarcely noticed the days flying by at the speed of light.
I am so close to finishing up my project, it will be several more days before I can get back to blogging. So, I thought this would be a good time to introduce my Rays of Light blog to those of you who haven’t visited there yet –and vice versa. You can always get there quickly by clicking the link at the top right of this page. But for now, you can just click on the link below to read an archived message called:

click here  →   Feeble Weeble

God Is Doing a New, Old Thing

My husband is in the other room watching a football game to relax. As I passed through, I heard one commentator say, “I’ve often thought I’ve seen everything there is to see in football   —then I go to another game.”

I’ve often thought the same thing about really good church services. Folks there sometimes say, “God is doing a new thing.” I agree. But I’m not talking about some of those new fads that pop up occasionally; I’m talking about the fact that God is not stagnant. His presence is always fresh and exhilarating!

The Lord God said in His word: Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert (Isaiah 43:19).

Rivers move! They certainly are not stagnant. It’s a good thing too, because stagnant waters draw mosquitoes, and you know what they do; they suck the life’s blood out of you. Rivers, on the other hand, are teeming with life –life that feeds the hungry.

Dear reader, many folks today are living in spiritual deserts. They are dry and hungry, and need now, more than ever, to be refreshed by the river of life. And the good news is; if you are a child of God, that river flows right out of you. C’mon, sing this old Christian chorus with me:

I’ve got a river of life flowing out of me!
Makes the lame to walk, and the blind to see!
Opens prison doors, sets the captives free.
I’ve got a river of life flowing out of me!

Spring up, O’ well, within my soul!
Spring up, O’ well, and make me whole!
Spring up, O’ well, and give to me,
That life, abundantly!

God is healing the sick and setting the captives free; nothing new there. He has been doing that since days of old. But consider this: if you and everyone in your church will stir that which is stagnant, and allow God’s miraculous river of life to flow out of you; a mighty torrent of God’s power will surely flow out of the building and into the streets. And when people are touched by that river, they will start doing some wonderful new things themselves. Yes, my friend, God is doing a new thing!

¹Song Lyrics and music by L. Casebolt

Stop Surfing and Relax

Christian Devotions

Even we old folks know that WTMI stands for Way Too Much Information. Not that long ago, I was scolding my computer screen with those very initials after surfing through the Sea of Overwhelming. But I love to do research, so this is just par for the course.

My devotional time is different. After spending time with the Lord and reading His word, I enjoy reading inspirational material from my fellow Christian writers, but who wants to be distracted by the hunt? I’m sure you have felt that way many times yourself. The good news is we don’t have to.

There is a little treasure trove of Christian devotionals, and links to more than 150 Christian blogs, all conveniently located in one website. So stop surfing and just relax.

For quick access, click the Devotional Christian website icon at the top of this post and immerse yourself. What a great way to start a morning -after time with the Lord of course!

P.S. A big thanks to Tony Kummer for putting this website together. He also has an awesome Ministry to Children website. You can visit it here:
Ministry-To-Children

What Would You Do??

* Disclaimer: I did not author the following story; I don’t know who did.  But I received this in an email and literally had tears run down my cheeks as I read it.  It is so touching that I simply could not let the opportunity pass without sharing it, as the email encouraged:

TWO  Choices

What would you do?….you make the choice. Don’t look for a punch line, there isn’t one. Read it anyway. My question is: Would you have made the same choice?

At a fundraising dinner for a school that serves children with learning disabilities, the father of one of the students delivered a speech that would never be forgotten by all who attended. After extolling the school and its

Dedicated staff, he offered a question:

‘When not interfered with by outside influences, everything nature does, is done with perfection.

Yet my son, Shay, cannot learn things as other children do. He cannot understand things as other children do.

Where is the natural order of things in my son?’

The audience was stilled by the query.

The father continued. ‘I believe that when a child like Shay, who was mentally and physically disabled comes into the world, an opportunity to realize true human nature presents itself, and it comes in the way other people treat that child.’

Then he told the following story:

Shay and I had walked past a park where some boys Shay knew were playing baseball. Shay asked, ‘Do you think they’ll let me play?’ I knew that most of the boys would not want someone like Shay on their team, but as a fatherI also understood that if my son were allowed to play, it would give him a much-needed sense of belonging and some confidence to be accepted by others in spite of his handicaps.

I approached one of the boys on the field and asked (not expecting much) if Shay could play. The boy looked around for guidance and said, ‘We’re losing by six runs and the game is in the eighth inning. I guess he can be on our team and we’ll try to put him in to bat in the ninth inning..’

Shay struggled over to the team’s bench and, with a broad smile, put on a team shirt.. I watched with a small tear in my eye and warmth in my heart. The boys saw my joy at my son being accepted.

In the bottom of the eighth inning, Shay’s team scored a few runs but was still behind by three.

In the top of the ninth inning, Shay put on a glove and played in the right field. Even though no hits came his way, he was obviously ecstatic just to be in the game and on the field, grinning from ear to ear as I waved to him from the stands.

In the bottom of the ninth inning, Shay’s team scored again.

Now, with two outs and the bases loaded, the potential winning run was on base and Shay was scheduled to be next at bat.

At this juncture, do they let Shay bat and give away their chance to win the game?

Surprisingly, Shay was given the bat. Everyone knew that a hit was all but impossible because Shay didn’t even know how to hold the bat properly, much less connect with the ball.

However, as Shay stepped up to the

Plate, the pitcher, recognizing that the other team was putting winning aside for this moment in Shay’s life, moved in a few steps to lob the ball in softly so Shay could at least make contact.

The first pitch came and Shay swung clumsily and missed.

The pitcher again took a few steps forward to toss the ball softly towards Shay.

As the pitch came in, Shay swung at the ball and hit a slow ground ball right back to the pitcher.

The game would now be over.

The pitcher picked up the soft grounder and could have easily thrown the ball to the first baseman.

Shay would have been out and that would have been the end of the game.

Instead, the pitcher threw the ball right over the first baseman’s head, out of reach of all team mates.

Everyone from the stands and both teams started yelling, ‘Shay, run to first!

Run to first!’

Never in his life had Shay ever run that far, but he made it to first base.

He scampered down the baseline, wide-eyed and startled.

Everyone yelled, ‘Run to second, run to second!’

Catching his breath, Shay awkwardly ran towards second, gleaming and struggling to make it to the base.

By the time Shay rounded towards second base, the right fielder had the ball . The smallest guy on their team who now had his first chance to be the hero for his team.

He could have thrown the ball to the second-baseman for the tag, but he understood the pitcher’s intentions so he, too, intentionally threw the ball high and far over the third-baseman’s head.

Shay ran toward third base deliriously as the runners ahead of him circled the bases toward home.

All were screaming, ‘Shay, Shay, Shay, all the Way Shay’

Shay reached third base because the opposing shortstop ran to help him by turning him in the direction of third base, and shouted, ‘Run to third!

Shay, run to third!’

As Shay rounded third, the boys from both teams, and the spectators, were on their feet screaming, ‘Shay, run home! Run home!’

Shay ran to home, stepped on the plate, and was cheered as the hero who hit the grand slam and won the game for his team

‘That day’, said the father softly with tears now rolling down his face, ‘the boys from both teams helped bring a piece of true love and humanity into this world’.

Shay didn’t make it to another summer. He died that winter, having never forgotten being the hero and making me so happy, and coming home and seeing his Mother tearfully embrace her little hero of the day!

 

They Surrendered All

When is the last time you sang the beautiful hymn I surrender all?

I surrender all — I surrender all — all to thee my blessed savior, I surrender all!

Did you wholeheartedly mean it? Did you pause to ask yourself, ‘What am I willing to surrender for Jesus?
And equally important, what am I not willing to surrender?’

John Leonard Dober and David Nitschman answered these questions with their lives. They were not martyred but choose instead to sell themselves into slavery for the remainder of their lives. Leaving their comfortable homes, their families and their freedom, the two departed Copenhagen in 1732 for good.

These two men spent the remainder of their lives as slaves in the West Idies where they became missionaries amongst their fellow slaves. Why they did so was proclaimed in their final words to their sobbing families as the ship departed: “May the Lamb that was slain receive the reward of His suffering!”

This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
John 15:12,13

These men sacrificed their very lives in service to their King. I must ask myself, would I be willing to do the same? Would you?