Category Archives: Faith

Broken Picture Frames

I like broken people, the ones whose frames are scratched, dented and their corners don’t match up well.  I like people who have discolored pictures, broken glass, torn canvases. Somehow troubles, pain, turmoil, and suffering tends to create genuineness.

There’s something about pain and trouble that acts like a cleansing fire burning out the impurities of life. Those who emerge from hard times are tempered, refined, and often, real.  It’s not that anyone wants a broken frame or cracked glass, but life breaks and shatters us anyway.  Continue reading Broken Picture Frames

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Slave, What Is Your Name?

(A reblog of an accidentally deleted post from 2-4-19)

Movie.

Gladiator.

Scene.

Maximus had been taken into slavery and became a Gladiator. He is ultimately taken to Rome to fight in the great Coliseum and wins the hearts of the blood thirsty mob for his valor and fighting skill.

The evil emperor, Commodus, thought Maximus was dead and forgotten. He goes to the Coliseum floor before the throngs to meet the great Gladiator, Maximus, whose face is always covered by his helmet. The ensuing conversation moves me to my core…

Commodus: “Why doesn’t the hero reveal himself and tell us his real name? You do have a name?”

Maximus: “My name is Gladiator.” (Turns and starts to walk away.)

“How dare you show your back to me! Slave! You will remove your helmet and tell me your name!”

Maximus takes off his helmet, turns and faces the evil Commodus.  In quiet, determined words, he tells his name, his TRUE identity:

“My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius. Commander of the armies of the north. General of the Felix legions. Loyal servant to the true Emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Father to a murdered son. Husband to a murdered wife. And I will have my vengeance, in this life, or the next.”

Utterly shocked to find Maximus alive, Commodus’ words falter. His troops draw swords to slay the Gladiators, but the Coliseum erupts in unison, “Live, live, live…”

The devious, scheming Commodus realizes he is politically and ethically trapped in the eyes of Rome, at least for the moment, so he reluctantly turns his thumb up to show the gladiator will live to fight another day.

Commodus walks from the arena while the Coliseum explodes in cheers, not for the evil emperor, but the gladiator slave as the chant begins…”Maximus, Maximus, Maximus!” Continue reading Slave, What Is Your Name?

Pharisee and Believer Recipes

Pharisee Recipe

Pour two cups of pride into a large mixing bowl while forgetting all the bad things you’ve done.

Add cup and half of good works to a cup of following church norms. Extra flavor occurs when family activities are sacrificed to accommodate church commitments.

Carefully compare yourself to others who’ve done worse things, then generously sprinkle in bowl when you need to feel good about yourself.

Smile continuously at those like you, but shake your head in “pity and concern” for those in need of God.  Demonstrate disdain for particularly sinful people, and keep your distance unless, of course, on a church mission trip.

Carefully sift from consciousness all personal weaknesses, struggles, failures, sin and wrongs against others.  Hide sifted mixture in large Tupperware container in back of your memory pantry.  Use multiple containers, when necessary, and cover with black trash bags to insure no one accidentally sees your Tupperware.
Continue reading Pharisee and Believer Recipes

Signs To See

The first time I saw them was when my daughter tugged on my shirt sleeve in church.  She nodded slightly to the row over from us or I would not have noticed.

Everyone was seated, and in the middle of a row of college students, one young lady was discretely using sign language to interpret for the young man sitting next to her.

He was a tall, slender guy, maybe twenty years old, with tiny hearing aids perched on each ear which were almost completely covered by his hair.

He watched her hands from the corner of his eye as she interpreted in sign language to him for the rest of the service.  She nonchalantly signed the words occasionally moving her fingers in rapid succession to spell out a word or name. Continue reading Signs To See

Down The Road

The road is icy and what little moonlight there is hides behind deep, dark clouds and ominous sky.  It’s midnight, and although the temperature is below freezing, the harsh, rushing north wind makes it seem colder by the minute.

The wipers swipe the windshield, back and forth, back and forth. Part rain, part snow, part sleet strikes the glass as if it were an all out assault.  The heater blows on high, and even with a coat, gloves and extra socks, nothing keeps up with the bone chilling cold outside.

Like an impending doom, the cold surrounds the body and car trying to overtake both driver and machine to remove all heat, and movement, from both. Continue reading Down The Road

You’re Pretty

She was a cute little girl, about 9 years old, with her hair in corn rolls and little rubber bands at the end of each braid.  She and her mother were walking up the sidewalk toward the restaurant, but her mother forgot something and stepped back to her car.  The girl just stood on the sidewalk. 

We were leaving, and quite frankly, I was talking to my brother-in-law as we obliviously walked past the little girl.  Turnabout is fair play, because I suspect she didn’t give either of us a moment’s notice either. 

She did, however, zero in like a heat seeking missile on my wife, Janet.  After passing a few parked car bumpers, we realized Janet was no longer with us.  We turned around and Janet was kneeling down looking the little girl eye to eye. 

The little girl was mesmerized as Janet spoke to her with a compassionate, peaceful smile on her face.  She  stared in her eyes soaking up the gentle words and kindness that naturally flow from Janet’s spirit as they talked briefly back and forth.   Continue reading You’re Pretty

The Valley Waits

You took me to a valley, a deep, dark, ominous land.  You pointed the way and asked me to go through.  You made it clear that only I could walk through it, alone, but you weaved character and stamina of heart together with thread and twine of pain and hope.  The twine seems so harsh and hard, rough, painful as it cuts into the heart beating flesh, but the thread is fine, gold laced, with soothing salve that brings peace with every beat.

It is velvety soft, but iron clad, happy yet sad, good and bad, all at the same time.

And now, You tell me:

Go now through the dark place.  I will not carry you, nor walk for you, for you alone must take the steps.  You must both descend, and climb, the rugged trail.  Know this, however, know that I number your steps as I do your days.  You lift your foot. I’ll light your path.  You take the steps.  I’ll guide your way. Continue reading The Valley Waits

Laughter in the Mind

Somewhere in the forest of the mind, echoing between growth rings of the trees, laughter is held captive.

Over time it dies, or at least settles in the hard wood, and many don’t really remember laughter at all.  We remember moments, the freedom, the feeling, not the laugh itself.

Laughter bubbles up from fresh water wells that runs deep in the soul. It spills over, runs across the ground, even the stony parts of the heart.  If there is enough joy, the water rises soaking even the high, arid places of the heart allowing lush green fields of Spring grass to once again grow.

In its sincerest form, laughter is kind and gentle. It happens when the heart is full, safe, secure.

It’s the kind of laughter children have when wrestling the family pet, and to their delight, the dog plays back.   It’s baby laughter when they first become old enough to respond to silly faces that cause hysterical laughter.  It’s a toddler’s uncontrollable belly laugh in a fullness and purity that we adults often crave to experience again. Continue reading Laughter in the Mind

All I Want For Christmas

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For peace.

For things to slow down.

For batteries not to run out in toys.

For salad and Whataburger pancakes.

For a hungry child to fill his stomach full.

For lonely widows to have someone to talk to.

For all the unwanted children in the womb to live.

For my own children to be happy, successful and fulfilled.

For the person with cancer to have a cure, if only that be hope.

For laughter that brings tears to the eyes and snorts to the nose.

For a little boy, with his dog beside him, to shoot a bull’s eye with his BB gun.

For abused children not to be afraid of what’s under the bed, or who’s around it.

For adults to have more fun playing with the box instead of the gift inside.

For once actually getting in the fastest checkout line at Walmart.

For people to love on Monday like they say they do on Sunday.

For God to admit that His practical joke on the world was cats.

For workers at nursing homes to be extra nice and careful.

For just an hour of conversation again with my dad.

For the ability to write something significant.

For the soldier to sleep through the night.

For unemployed to feel worth.

For a kind word.

For peace.

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Dear Easton,

Dear Easton,

Welcome to the family!  Welcome to the world!  At six months old now, you’re learning all kinds of things!

Even before the gender reveal party, when your mama pitched a baseball to your daddy and he hit the ball that exploded blue, we were waiting on you!   You’ve been loved from the beginning!Janet and Easton (2)

There’s so much ahead of you!  You’ve already grown like a weed the last six months and now you stare in people’s eyes when they hold you and start smiling and laughing.  You’re even working on turning over!  Soon you’ll be doing all kinds of things!

It’s funny how it will all seem so extraordinarily slow to you, but so incredibly fast to the adults in your life!  In fact, the longest year of your life will be when you turn 15 and waiting on your driver’s license.  Then, it will seem like forever before you graduate from high school, become a legal adult and then turn 21.

Don’t begrudge those years, Easton.  They are full of fun, adventure, life and memories!

After you reach those milestones Easton, and every other one in life, time will start to fly by faster than you can possibly imagine! Continue reading Dear Easton,