In the Throne Room

As we build this community prayer platform, we ask the Lord to listen to our petitions with full confidence they not only are heard but acted upon by God according to His holy will. These requests are on my prayer list and I hope you consider putting them on yours as you place your petitions before the Lord Sunday.

Let’s remember to approach the throne room and respond with faith and not fear, knowing the promises of God and His mighty hand will hold us through any situation! Sometimes, all it takes is just one prayer to change everything. Something extraordinary happens when two or more agree together in prayer.

What is one of the most important things we should do as Christians? Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints (Ephesians 6:18).

I will lead this week’s charge. Lord, may the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight  as I take the pulpit tomorrow at Howland (ME) United Methodist Church.

Frank is back in the hospital. He was having trouble breathing, has gained a lot of water weight, his a fib is acting up, and he started bleeding. He’s currently getting blood to bring his hemoglobin levels up and they’re giving him medication to try and get his heart under control. He is considered in congestive heart failure.

Russ is recuperating from hip surgery and undergoing physical therapy.

Lee is still housed at an intensive care unit out-of-state with serious injuries to his spine following a Labor Day weekend crash while visiting family. His wife Mary suffered a broken leg and is in rehabilitation.

Lois’ left eye is done and right eye is next week. She reported all kinds of floaters, some that look like webs and black spiders.

Jeannie also had eye surgery last week to correct double vision so that’s slowed her a bit but she’s recovering well.

Andrew continues to fight the fight. Latest development is a tumor in his neck making things like breathing and swallowing a bit of a chore.

Tara’s sinuses/allergies kicked in last week. She adds it’s been a yucky week in other ways too. Prayers needed. God knows.

Jean hasn’t been feeling well and requesting prayer and positive thoughts.

Cindy is experiencing vertigo and low blood sugar.

Keith is going through a tough personal situation.

Please pray for Alexander, 14, who has no control of his impulsivity. He is a smart, talented athlete who is cutting himself and is extremely self-destructive. Include his parents who are heartbroken.

Dave has a fast growing tumor behind his eye causing excruciating pain and will likely blind him in this eye. He needs radiation treatment.

Tim has experienced a major health crisis and needs prayer and support.

Jessieca is battling three muscle degenerative diseases, sarcoidisis, polymystis, and lumbar degenerative disease, requiring her to undergo monthly four hour IV treatments.

Please keep Brenda in your prayers. She has kidney stones.

Stacey will be having a big surgery Aug. 30 and could definitely use prayers!

There were a host of unspoken prayer requests and we heard of a number of deaths this week. Prayers for their families as they go through this earthly trial. We grieve … heaven rejoices.

We come to You, Lord, because prayer is the least yet the greatest thing we can do for each other. When two or more are gathered in Your name, we confidently know You are with us. What better company can we have? You reign and we trust You! We may be broken and battered but know You heal and quiet the soul. You are the source for all that happens in our lives. We thank You for the progress being made. We thank You for the many blessings we have received this week — some we unfortunately didn’t notice. Nonetheless, those blessings are ever-present in our lives. We thank You for healing. We thank You for slowing us down. We thank You for providing us our daily needs — no more and no less. We thank You for being with us, listening to us, walking with us on this journey. We thank You for the support of our family and friends … for seeing the extraordinary in the ordinary — sunrises, sunsets, flowers, kids laughing, adventures, good news amid the bad news. We also know we can come to You with our concerns and they will be heard. Through Christ all things are possible. We lift up those family members and friends who are battling various physical, emotional, financial, career or spiritual issues and ask not for Your guidance and healing (although that would be welcomed) but to keep reminding us we are not alone in our battles. Specifically we lift up Joe, Frank, Russ, Lee, Mary, Lois, Jeannie, Andrew, Tara, Jean, Cindy, Keith, Alexander, Dave, Tim, Jessieca, Brenda, Stacey and all those needing Your healing touch. We pray for the families of all those You have called home. We grieve … You celebrate. We pray for obedience to Your Will so Your “Son” Light shines through us through the power of the Spirit. And we come to You through the confidence of the words taught by Your Son Jesus.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Keep your joys and concerns coming. They have been and will be included during my prayer time and I trust they will be on your lips as well as you approach the altar. All it takes is a couple of keystrokes under the “Contact Me” button on the top bar {or to the right if you’re not a follower yet}. I hope it becomes your best friend as you navigate around the site so we can all be viable prayer warriors. You can also comment or reach me at wisdomfromafather@gmail.com.

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: Prayer is the voice of faith trusting God knows and cares.

 

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Five Minute Friday — Start

Happy Friday! Time for my Five Minute Friday contribution. Check out the amazing five minute takes on Facebook or at Kate’s place at  fiveminutefriday.com by our special community of writers.

I’ve been sharing snippets taken from Five Minute Friday: A Collection of Stories Written in Five Minutes Flat. They are a testament to the value of the exercise. This week, I’ll share some perspective from Angela who I hope inspires you to check us out or, better yet, try your hand at focused, unscripted writing for just five minutes. And share it on Kate’s site.

“When I felt stuck as a writer, Five Minute Fridays showed me that was only in my mind. Sometimes I wrote my FMF piece only in my journal, because the prompt brought out raw feelings I wasn’t ready yet to share. Still, it helped me find my words again when I wasn’t sure I had anything to say.”

The timer has been set for this week’s prompt, START, so I guess it’s time to GO…

We start our life with a gasp of breath and a slap on the bottom.

We start our schooling {at least in the old days} with kindergarten complete with snacks and naps.

We start our spiritual awakening {at least in many cases} with the planting of seeds of faith.

We start our adulting by making mistake after mistake after mistake.

We start our careers {usually} at the bottom rung of the ladder and often not in a field we were trained in.

We start our future {in many cases} by getting married and realizing marriage is a full time job that takes plenty of work from both partners.

We start our later years {in many cases} slowing down, phasing out, looking back.

And some day, all of us will start a final journey across the River Jordan — some slowly, other quickly and unexpectedly.

But, do we start every day with a prayer? Do we look at the extraordinary in the ordinary? Do we appreciate a sunrise or sunset, flowers in bloom, designs in the clouds? … STOP

Some things we can’t change. We can’t be physically born again. We can’t return to the “good old days”. We cant re-live the past.

But we can start honing our relationships on both the spiritual and human level. We can learn from our mistakes. We can go back to school or get re-trained or follow a new second career path. We can prepare for that final journey.

Wait, that comes down to starting every day with prayer and seeing God’s presence in the mundane and ordinary.

THOUGH TO REMEMBER: The world measures greatness by money, or eloquence, or intellectual skill, or even by prowess on the field of battle. But here is the Lord’s standard: Whosoever shall humble himself as this little child, the same is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 18:4). —  J.H. Jowett

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Bond … James Bond

I was never a big Bond fan. I may have watched a few here and there, but never bought into the franchise.

A few years ago I wandered across the street to catch SPECTRE, the 26th — count em – in the 007 series. As a result, I decided to see what I had missed and streamed  Dr. No and Goldfinger.  I must not have been impressed at the time because I never got any further than those two early flicks.

Well, Turner Movie Classics is highlighting screen adaptations of Ian Fleming’s novels sequentially this month. So I decided to give them another look. The other day I watched Dr. No and From Russia with Love. Last night I watched Goldfinger. Three down, 23 to go … maybe.

While I watched both Dr. No and Goldfinger less than four years ago, I have to confess, it was like watching them for the first time. I didn’t remember anything about the plots, only the lady leads — in order, Honey Ryder, Tatiana Romanova, and Pussy Galore — which tells you what my interests were in the mid 60s.

As I’ve been watching the films, I’ve been making some mental notes. Bond … James Bond has to be the dumbest spy ever. He gets hoodwinked at every turn by his nemeses and/or their henchmen. A simple karate chop usually incapacitates him. Of course, his repertoire of gadgets always come in handy at an appropriate time … after all, he is the star — in these three cases, Sean Connery. He also has an eye for the ladies, but, then again, they are easy on the eyes, especially as they drape themselves in satin, lace and towels. Even by 60s standards, it was an obvious sex sells ploy. I saw hints of more recent spy flicks on the screen. Seeds were certainly planted. The 60s special effects are crude by today’s standards and the story lines tend to push the envelope of believability.

But, hey, the 007 franchise was never meant to be believable. It is entertainment, a two hour respite from reality that brings us to exotic locales. Our first three offerings has the British Intelligence M16 agent visiting Jamaica and the Cayman Islands (Dr. No), Turkey, aboard the Orient Express and Venice (From Russia with Love), and Switzerland and Kentucky (Goldfinger) … usually with one of his  femme fatales in tow. Oh, by the way, SPECTRE is the back story.That’s an acronym for SPecial Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge, and Extortion.

Onward and upward I go. Thunderball is next.

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: Do what is right, not what you think the high headquarters wants or what you think will make you look good. — Norman Schwarzkopf, General-Ret

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Midweek Mirth

One of the misconceptions about being a Christian is non-Christians think we don’t know how to have fun or have a sense of humor. Trust me, if the Big Guy can have a sense of humor when it comes to dealing with us mere mortals, so can we.

The difference for Christians is we don’t have to debase ourselves or others to generate a smile. Laughter at life or ourselves is a gift from God.

So, let’s smile a little!

Express Line Vindication

A woman was in the six-item express lane at the store quietly fuming. Completely ignoring the sign, the woman ahead of her had slipped into the checkout line pushing a cart piled high with groceries. Imagine the first woman’s delight when the cashier beckoned the woman to come forward looked into the cart and asked, “So which six items would you like to buy?”

And now for the bonus while college days are still new …

College Daze

A woman used to live near a major university. Every fall, the new flock of kids attending college always included some who needed a little help with everyday chores due to never having really done any while they lived at home … things like doing the laundry or purchasing groceries.

One day at the grocery store, she was in the dairy aisle, picking out some eggs. As she usually did, she opened the carton to check them over for damage before putting them in her cart. That’s when she noticed the young man beside her mimicking her every move. When he saw she had noticed him, he leaned toward her and whispered conspiratorially, “What are we looking for?”

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: If you have just a little fun today, it’s a sign that maybe the future will hold even more fun for you. Fun isn’t just fun – it’s hope. -– Linda Richman

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Covers

One of my followers asked a simple question. How do you create covers and how important are they.

Well, in my opinion, covers are just as important as the body of work. In a way, it may even be more  important since it is generally the first thing prospective readers will see. Its important the cover reflect the content. The goal is to capture the attention of the reader to get them into your work.

The inspiration for Heaven Shining Through

An important element is that it matches the theme of the book. If you’re writing a scholarly work, you want to choose a formal format for your cover. If your novel is quirky, you should focus on a quirky title and cover. Romance? Same thing. Mystery? Same thing.

You can design the cover yourself if you have the skills, although most traditional publishers will usually work with you to create an appropriate cover. Independents using platforms like KDP, Smashwords, etc. will find cover creators as part of the process. You pick the format and upload.

It’s pretty seamless, although I fear the “standard” fare offered tends to make a lot of books look alike.

I’ve done it both ways with my books. Xulon created the cover for Heaven Shining Through although I provided the original artwork. They cleaned it up and chose the typeface to come up with the cover.

In my mind, I had a vision of the sun’s rays peeking through the clouds.  I actually caught one of those moments while driving along the back roads of Maine. I sent the original to Xulon who cropped it and came up with the cover. It was appropriate since the opening of the book was “I was driving alone on the dark black asphalt, seemingly darker because of ominous clouds on the horizon ranging from steel gray to puffs of white. Out of the corner of my eye, I caught a glimpse of white as the sun tried to peek out from behind the clouds. It didn’t succeed, but first a ray rained into the picture, followed by a halo of rays.”

I independently published Wisdom From a Father … one dad’s thoughts on life. I was proud of the cover, which features a photo I took of Marshall Point Lighthouse in Port Clyde, ME. The long planks hopefully invite readers to the lighthouse and, in turn, to open the book and choose their own path and pace. The type — Edwardian Script — was chosen to be personal and intimate. The combination blends the illumination, resilience, and comfort of the lighthouse with words that hopefully guide, build inner strength, and give hope. Wisdom From a Father is a reflective look at life, segmented into chapters. The words are updates of posts made right here on my blog. I’ve chosen 52 so readers can use the book as a weekly devotional if they so choose.

Initially, I independently published My Name Is Sam … and Heaven Is Still Shining Through. I also designed that cover, incorporating the basic points of the book. It included a similar sun’s rays peeking through the clouds but with bolder brighter colors — pinks and blues. A woman is seated at a bench overlooking the sunrise over the  ocean. It featured a specialized script text and clearly defined the content as a fictional memoir.

I liked the way the cover came out. It was bright. It was different. It captured the essence of the novel. KDP, however, the platform I chose, had a problem with the e-book conversion we couldn’t resolve. We tried. KDP staff worked  on it. I changed things like pixels and sizes. We managed to eliminate a lot of the white space, but not entirely.

I decided to switch to a small publishing house, Higher Ground Books & Media, which came up with a revised cover that still captured the essence of the story. It is softer than my original, which plays into the softer side of the novel. It also fit the KDP criteria.

Higher Ground Books & Media of Springfield, OH, is an independent Christian-based publisher designed to provide a platform for authors to share their stories and empower others through storytelling.  The small stable of authors features work that is inspirational, motivational, or educational, in both fiction and non-fiction genres. It is my hope the switch – coupled with self promotion – will kick start the latest novel and introduce my work to a new audience. New links are at the HGBM Store, Amazon, or Kindle.

So, the answer to the question about covers is you have to pay a lot of attention to them. My advice would be, after you’ve completed your manuscript, read your book a final time as a reader, close your eyes, and create an image that sums up your story. That’s your launch point. If you’re creative, run with your idea. If not, find someone who is to bring your vision to life.

Hope that helps.

All three books are available on Amazon and right here under the My Books and Projects tab.

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: The highest reward for your toil is not what you get for it, but what you become by it. — John Ruskin

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We Haven’t Been Up to Bat Yet

This week’s Words for the Week is a tongue in cheek message that resonates a real truth

Temptation tries to blind us to other possibilities. Consider this, for example.

A business man driving home from work one day saw a little league baseball game in progress. He decided to stop and watch. He sat down in the bleachers and asked a kid what the score was.

“We’re behind 14 to nothing,” the boy answered with a smile.

“Really,” the man responded. “I have to say you don’t look very discouraged.”

“Discouraged?” the boy asked with a puzzled look on his face. “Why should we be discouraged? We haven’t been up to bat yet.”

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: Every worthwhile accomplishment has a price tag attached to it. The question is always whether you are willing to pay the price to attain it — in hard work, sacrifice, patience, faith, and endurance. — John C. Maxwell

 

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Joy … Joy … Joy

I like to share my words when I preach from the slanty side of the pulpit. Today — and for the next three weeks — I was/will be at Howland (ME) United Methodist Church. While this has been delivered and shared before, I felt the people of Howland needed to know a little bit about me. As I explained, I was born, raised and educated as a Catholic, ordained as a Reformed elder, had credentials transferred as a Presbyterian, and most recently have been facing Methodist congregations. Hey, that all may be one!

So, here goes …

May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer (Psalm 19:4).

As I mentioned in my introduction, I’m not a preacher, but when I was an elder at Tyre (NY) Reformed Church, I was pressed into pulpit service. I came across my first sermon the other day and thought I would share it with you today.

… And He sayeth unto thee, the wicked shall be punished …

No, no (shuffle papers), these are the wrong notes.

Ah, here we are. Joy … one of the “glad” words like praise and rejoice.

I was working on these comments the other day, like a fish out of water. I knew what I wanted to say, but I didn’t know exactly how to phrase it. And being the procrastinator that I am, the days wound down to a precious few. After putting out that week’s edition of my newspaper, I settled in for a night of “rest” and “relaxation.”

Lo and behold, my grandson came along. He’s the one with more energy than any three-year should legitimately have {shows you how long ago this was written; he just turned 23}. He wanted to watch a movie and, since I wanted a few winks, I figured it was a good mix.

To make a long story short, he chose Pollyanna and instantly I recognized the hand of God in that decision. The movie was the connection I needed to discuss joy.

You’ve probably all seen the movie. Pollyanna has become a model for all that is good and righteous. In a town fraught with pettiness, loneliness, fear and tepidness came this bright-eyed maiden with a simple faith who touched the hearts and souls of the people of Harrington.

She reminds me a lot of Clarence, the angel in It’s a Wonderful Life. The simplicity of seeing things at face value is a faith lesson to us all.

Both Pollyanna and Clarence had a clarity in their world view. It wasn’t based on theological discourse. It wasn’t attained through rigorous study. No, it was a pure, simple faith in the goodness of God’s creations.

We often speak of the faith of a child … simple, unjaded, often direct enough to cut to our very own core We can tell from Scripture God loves his youngest creations. Jesus was as much at ease with the little ones as He was with others. They weren’t a bother. They were important.

And the common theme of this innocent view is the ability to look for the good in people … to look at the wonder of a snowflake … to explore the richness of life.

Praise ye the Lord.
    Praise God in His sanctuary.
Praise Him in the firmament of His power.
    Praise Him for His mighty acts.
Praise Him according to His excellent greatness.
    Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet.
Praise Him with the psaltery and harp.
    Praise Him with the timbrel and dance.
Praise Him upon the loud cymbals.
Praise Him upon the High sounding cymbals.
    Let everything that hath breath praise the Lord.
Praise ye the Lord.

That’s Psalm 150. What praise is expressed here. What joy. How can I keep still, Lord, when everywhere I see Thy works. How often I’ve heard these words and allowed them to vaporize off into the distance. Too many things on my mind, I guess, and it isn’t easy to shut out the worries, fears and concerns.

What joy there is in praise. I’ve been given so many marvelous gifts and yet I don’t appear to be the happiest person. It’s not that I’m thankless, for God knows I am thankful. It’s just I don’t slow down enough to let Him show me the life that can be mine.

The pivotal scene in Pollyanna, I think, is when she visits the good Rev. Ford to drop off some “notes” for his sermon. She’s wearing a locket her father gave her, which she allows the reverend to read.

“When you look for the bad in mankind and expect to find it, you surely will.”

You won’t find that reference in Scripture or any theological discourse. It’s from the sayings of Abraham Lincoln and it opened the reverend’s eyes.

It should open our eyes as well. Don’t we often look on the down side of life? Don’t we often focus on the trials and tribulations? Don’t we often look at the glass as half empty? Aren’t today’s readings more on the Debbie Downer side than joyful?

Don’t get me wrong. There are plenty of trials and tribulations in life. There is plenty of darkness out there.

But we have the Light. We have the Son. We know firsthand as Christians there is something better in store for us. Through thick and thin, we truly, truly have a friend in Jesus.

Maybe we should start looking for the good in people. I think we’ll find it just as surely.

What joy. What unmistakable joy. What a missed opportunity we have.

We hear the negative when we come to church, too. Very often, it is the God of fire and brimstone that gets the attention. We have a fear of the Lord drilled into us from our earliest days.

Certainly, our God is to be awed. To think He created us in His likeness and image only to have us throw it back in His face is loathsome. We deserve the fire and brimstone of hell. We deserve the fire and brimstone of hell.

But God loves us. He sent His only Son to atone for our sins. We remember Jesus’ cruel death … a death He freely chose to save you and me. He stretched His arms across the cross to create a bridge allowing us access back into the heavenly fold.

We can concentrate on the death … or we can concentrate on the Resurrection. We can concentrate on the somewhat and often times difficulties of discipleship … or we can concentrate on the promises God has given us through Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Half empty … half full.

Do we deserve eternal damnation?

Of course we do … but that is not God’s will. It’s His will to share His heavenly bounty with us. His one aim is for us to be reunited with Him through the blood of His Son, Jesus.

That’s the joyful message of the Bible and the joyful summation of our faith. Sure, some pretty crummy things were done both in biblical and modern times. God has shown His rightful wrath and He owns the right of justification. He is the creator, we are the creation. If He chooses to throw us in the fire for our blemishes, so be it. It’s His prerogative. Nothing we do on our own will ever change that. It’s all about grace.

Our gospel account [Luke 14:25-33] deals with two not so joyful themes – allegiance to God, even over family and the discord the Lord  expects; and “carrying the cross”, the emphasis on giving up self interest and competing loyalties and pointing out the high cost of following Jesus. He illustrates His point of counting the cost of discipleship with the two parables about the land owner and the king. He extols a commitment to finishing the discipleship journey once begun or not beginning it at all. Following Jesus is an all or nothing proposition.

My point is no matter how difficult and problematic our readings are [first reading was Jeremiah 18:1-11], there are still nuggets of joy and hope to be found for those who have made the commitment to Christ. See, I believe this just God doesn’t want any of His creation to be damned. He wants us all to be saved. He has given us that gift … freely, of His own choice. Our responsibility is to accept the gift … no strings attached. Half empty … half full.

Well, there are some strings. We must always and ever recognize and demonstrate this unwavering love. And we do that through praise and rejoicing.

Of course that leads us to prayer.

One television program my wife Karen and I generally tried to watch was Touched By An Angel. It’s nice to think we’re touched by angels and in the span of 47 minutes lives can be turned around. But angels are another topic. What I’m going for here is the transformation process found in our saved soul.

More often than not, at some point in the show that soul she is trying to save tells Monica to tell God to butt out. “Where has God been?” might be the question. Whenever that point in the show arrives, I’m reminded of George Bailey in It’s A Wonderful Life when he gets popped after praying.

I think sometimes God must get bored up there in heaven. I know I would, listening to the same old rhetoric over and over … words spilling from the lips, rote-style. “Heavenly Father this …” or “gracious God that …”

I think prayer is something else. It’s communication. It’s simply talking with God … from the heart, not the mind, from the soul, not the lips.

I’ve always had an open line to God. I’m not a “formal” prayer. In the middle of a traffic jam or when in the solitude of my distress I might internally scream at God. “What the heck is going on?” I might cry, perhaps not that sedately. I can talk with God one-on-one like a friend … and I know God speaks to me as a friend. We all know how caustic and sometimes blunt a true friend can be, cutting through all the garbage in our lives and touching our very souls.

This week, stop praying.

 

Well, that got some attention.

Seriously, stop praying … and start talking to God from your heart. The heart is our emotional fountain. Let God know your emotions. Heck, He knows them anyway. He knows our heart. He knows our motives. He knows the truth … better than we do. Don’t masquerade your emotions with platitudes. If you’re angry with God, let Him know. But if you’re happy with God, share that joy as well with words of praise, not because that’s what should be done, but because that’s the way you feel. Half empty … half full.

I’ll close with another story … one many of us can relate to.

“I’ve got some good news and some bad news to tell you. Which would you like to hear first?” the farmer asked.

“Why don’t you tell me the bad news first,” the banker replied.

“Okay,” said the farmer. “With the bad drought and inflation and all, I won’t be able to pay anything on my mortgage this year, either on the principal or the interest.”

“Well, that’s pretty bad,” the banker said.

“It gets worse,” said the farmer. “I also won’t be able to pay anything on the loan for all that machinery I bought, not on the principal or interest.”

“Wow, is that ever bad,” the banker admitted.

“It’s worse than that,” continued the farmer. “You remember I also borrowed to buy seed and fertilizer and other supplies. I can’t pay anything on that either — neither principal nor interest.”

“That’s awful,” said the banker, “and that’s enough. What’s the good news?”

“The good news,” replied the farmer with a smile, “is I intend to keep on doing business with you.”

The good news I’m telling you is God is our banker. Despite our failings, He wants to continue to do business with us.

Do we believe the good news or the bad? Isn’t that our dilemma?

The good news is Christ is alive. The bad news is that fact seems to have so little impact on the world today. In this world it’s easy to be fearful and troubled of heart. It’s easy to look at the glass as half empty … but Jesus tells us we must look at it as half full. Christ is alive and so are we.

You’ve probably figured out how I “look” at life. I try to see the little everyday miracles. I’m awestruck by the starry night or a flash of light bellowing amid dark stormy clouds. I’m struck by their beauty, but more so knowing no mortal nor chance of nature could create such masterpieces. It is in those moments when I spontaneously praise God. It is those moments I ask you to look for this week.

Pollyanna looked for those bright clouds. As she told Rev. Ford in the movie, there are 800 happy texts in the Bible … texts of joy or gladness. “If God told us 800 times to be glad and rejoice,” she said, “He must have wanted us to do it.” Rev. Ford went to the pulpit the next day and corrected the young girl. There are 826 passages, he said, intending to dwell on one each week for the … well, it equates to the next 16 years or so.

I’ll take Rev. Ford’s word for it. Suffice it to say, there are plenty of opportunities from Scripture to draw from, all pointing towards joy, praise and gladness. All we have to do is take our cue from the source of our authority.

Praise God.

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: The fault finder will find faults, even in Paradise. — Henry David Thoreau

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