Friday, October 31, 2014

She's There Now

His wife's graveside  service was just barely finished, when there was  a massive clap of thunder, followed by a tremendous bolt of lightning, accompanied by even more thunder rumbling in the distance. The little old man  looked at the pastor and calmly said,  'Well, she's there, now."

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Finding Peace in the Woods

A long walk in the woods is good for the soul.

"I went out for a walk,and finally concluded to stay out till sundown" said naturalist John Muir, "for going out, I found, was really going in."

The forest brings the majestic symphony of God's orchestra alive -- a far better production than anything originating from Carnegie Hall.

The heavens declare the glory of God. The birds, trees, sunsets. and lakes remind us that all is well.

Want a good remedy for a troubled heart? Go take a hike! Get out into nature and observe - watch - listen. You will find peace there. It's hard to be all worked up when you are quiet in a woods.

The Bible says, "Be still and know that I am God." Somebody bigger than me is in charge of the universe. I don't have to panic when situations arise beyond my control. Watch the birds. You'll see!

Joy is the natural state of the soul. The absence of joy indicates some kind of soul disease.

"Entanglements" keep us bound in turmoil. Sometimes, we let our negative emotions get the upper hand, and distract us from the path of peace. Fear and anger are both major entanglements, which can tie us up in knots before we even realize it. It's hard to be fully alive when anxiety and resentment are squeezing the soul.

Consider the lilies

Joy is internal, not external. It depends not on circumstance. "Stone walls do not a prison make, not iron bars a cage." A free spirit can never be imprisoned.

Hardships will come - but then they will pass. Yesterday's tears are merely passing showers. We should not dwell on the dark clouds. The sun always is shining behind them.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Clear Your Heart of Malice

Whenever you see a penny, remember the "Abraham Lincoln" attitude, and clear your heart of malice.

In 1864, there was, perhaps, not a more hated man in our nation that the gangly president. People on both sides of the Mason Dixon line blamed him for the deaths of their loved ones in the Civil War.

False friends betrayed him. Enemies assailed him. Throughout the course of his first presidential term, he had been misunderstood, condemned, despised and scorned.

On top of that, there were issues at home. In 1862, his son, Willie, died of typhoid fever, at the tender age of twelve. His wife, Mary, suffered from dark depressions, hysteric fits of rage, and mental illness. Poor Abe had his hands full -- both with a fractured nation and a dysfunctional household.

None was more surprised than Lincoln himself, when he re-elected for a second term. On March 4, 1865, he stood before a mighty throng of spectators and spoke these words at the inauguration:

"With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations."

Malice is defined as -- a desire to cause pain, injury or distress to another.
With malice towards none!

Yes, whenever you see a penny, remember the "Abraham Lincoln" attitude, and clear your heart of malice.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

A Good Place to Stop When You're Lost

The other day, while returning from my retreat at St. John's Abbey, I accidently made a wrong turn and was heading the wrong direction.  I didn't even realize I was lost until I saw Woodland Wesleyan Church on the horizon.  At that moment I knew I was on the wrong road -- so I stopped at the church, said a prayer, made a u-turn and headed home.

And my prayer is that Woodland Wesleyan Church will continue to be a good place for many lost people to make a u-turn and go in the right direction.

It is such a blessing to see the great work Pastor Andi Witter is doing as she leads this little congregation in the sticks and I also was delighted to see their brand new front doors,  inviting the community to come on in.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Be the Best "You" You Can Be

If you treasure the beauty that shows all around you, and try to add some of your own;
Enjoy the companionship others can give you, yet value your
moments alone.
If you honor opinions that differ from yours; yet stand up for what you believe.
Admire the accomplishments others have made,
But take pride in what YOU can achieve.
If you're a real friend who comes through when it counts,
Who is always worthy of trust?
If you follow your heart anywhere it may lead you, and do what you
feel that you must.
If you love those around you and love yourself too.
If your spirit is eager and free.
Then you know what it means to live life to the fullest, and be the best
--- YOU ---
"You can be."
(author unknown)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Two Kinds of Clarity

If you find yourself confused and in the dark, there are two ways to find clarity:  use a flashlight or patiently wait until the sun rises.