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What Are Problems Good For?
Watched by God
Shine Where You Are
Catch the Vision
Love's Proof
Confession: Good for the Soul
A Conformed Rebel
Church Indestructible
Expect the Best
When Life Gets Complex
Underestimating God
Who is Jesus?
What's for Supper?
Politically Right, Spiritually Wrong
In the Nick of Time
When God Seems Silent
Giving That Runs Over
But They're Not Like Us
Chewing Gum for God
Faithful to the End
The Markings of a Hypocrite
Casting the Bread
Walking the Path
Lessons from a Firefly
Cluttered by Clutter
In the Midst of Anxiety
Those Dangerous Leftovers
Behaving Like a Mockingbird
Looking in the Wrong Places
Treading on Problems
God Out of the Ordinary
Be Still
Lessons on Bathing
Our Perfect Guide
Avoiding the Heavyweights
Waiting in Holiness
The Power of Testimony
Letting the Light Shine
Free Indeed
Better World...Better Body
Stand Firm
Casting Off the Staff
Inconvenienced for God
Feeling Dirty
Church Alive
God on Time
Absorbing God
The Safety Net
The Prayer Closet
The Jesus Perspective
Truth from the Storm
A Penny Saved
Drinking the Dirty Water
Living With Purpose
Supporting God's Servants
Overcoming Inadequacies
Distorting God's Signal
Idiots for Christ
Walking on the Right Side
Stop Before Stepping
Salvation's Workout
In Hot Pursuit
Choose What Lasts
Tempations-Have To or Want To
Decisions and Money
A Tax Collector's Attitude
Dressing for Success
Zoned Out for God
Helping Wisely
Walking in Shadows
What's Mine Is...
No Extra Credit Needed
Answering Why
The Den of Iniquity
Thinking God's Thoughts
Big Dog Itis
Bondage Breakers
Soul Food
I Must Versus I Need
Doubting God
I Can't Believe I...
Lifelong Productivity
Hearing God's Will
Friendship's Power
God's Mighty Act
No Room for Christ
Joy to the World
At Just the Right Time
Accepting God's Plan
The Best Gift
The Richest Poorest Christmas
Uniquely Constructed Treasure
Full in Christ
Peace in Life's Storms
When Illness Strikes
Accepting God's Will-Regardless
Feeling Alone
God Unlimited
Anger's Double Edge
Every Need Supplied
Failure Permitted Try Again
Failure To Understand
Knowing We Belong
Moving God's Hand
Paid In Full
Wrong Place Wrong Time
Losing The Idols
Where's The Missing Piece?
Finish What You Start
Bumps In The Dark
Dating God
Barriers To Benevolence
What Jealousy Does
Imitation
Model Living
Talking With God
Rehearse Or Release
On Display
Clear Conscience Good Sleep
Validate The Message
Proving Identity With Patience
Directionally Misplaced
Broken But Beautiful
Blooming Where God Plants
Betrayed
No One Cared When He Died
Purged By God
Where's The Confidence
Faithing Finances
Free At Last
Life's In The Blood
Us And Them
Bad Decisions
Limited Sight Distance
Ragaling Our Reputations
The Final Move
Praying For Snakes
Good Grief
When God Shows Up
Joy In Adversity
Honoring Authority
Supernatural Power
Handling Prejudice
Not Guilty, Not Condemned
Good Advice...
Anxious Living
God Of Empathy...
The Bitterness Root...
Bird Talk...
Prayer Fix...
Position Equals Power...
Learning To Listen...
Position Equals Power...
Convicted By Convictions...
Nutrition From The Wrong Place...
Tested Faith...
Staying The Course...

Web surfing and channel surfing may be more common, but that’s not the only surfing taking place.
Surfing. Riding the crest and face of waves in an attempt to reach shore. Surfboard. An elongated board or platform used by surfers.  Read Need Surfing...




Reputations are like credit. Once ruined, restoring them is complicated.
Greg was a distant cousin and rebel who was somewhat of an idol for seventies teenagers with rebellious tendencies. He was into the “hippie scene” complete with long hair, boots, beads, and a Chevy van sporting wide tires, mag wheels and a custom interior. Read Regaling Our Reputation...



My three favorite shows as a teenager were, The Andy Griffith Show, The Waltons, and Little House On The Prairie. Simplicity was their calling card.

Early frontier life and the Great Depression forced simple living on the Ingalls and Walton families. Andy however chose simplicity. Sitting with one of his classmates at their high school reunion, he confessed his preference to be a big fish in a small pond. Read Simply Simplicity...


“It’s just a car,” I thought. “What does it matter if every inch gets clean?” But it did.
Dad had perfectionist tendencies when washing cars. I began helping him as a young boy, but we didn’t have water fights or soap scuffles. It was strictly business. Read Doing Our Best...

Johnny* built a fence, but not for penning animals.
Johnny’s fence was straight and didn’t enclose anything. It had no corners but coursed a straight line between his and his brother’s house. Anger over a perceived wrong built it, and unforgiveness staked the posts securely in the ground. Read The Power Of Forgiveness...



A deafening noise and sudden jerk is all I remember.
I was sitting at a red light in my prized red pickup waiting for the green signal. That’s when it happened. As I raised myself from the seat, I noticed my truck on the wrong side of the road heading the wrong direction. Fortunately no vehicles were coming. It took a few minutes to piece together the details-someone ran a red light, striking the car beside me who in turn hit me. Read Honest Estimates...



Why am I here? What's my purpose? Questions I've considered. And most everyone else too.

Adolescents contemplate them and the answers normally chart their life's course. Not considering them leads to roller coaster rides with little direction and accompanying unwise decisions. Read Created With Purpose...



I wanted to see but couldn’t, so I made another trip to the front of the class.
Like any elementary age boy, I enjoyed the back of the classroom. Trouble was, when the teacher wrote on the chalkboard I couldn’t see. Read The Power Of Vision...


I should have listened, but it was too late.

College wasn’t in the plans. I wasn’t even fond of high school and proved it by quitting my senior year only to return a few months later when the grass on the other side turned tasteless. I eventually graduated but entered the work world instead of another classroom. Read Regret's Poison...

She sat solemnly with no expression. He wailed loudly. He was a local; she wasn’t. But there was no comfort for either.
Marital problems and alcohol haunted their relationship. She headed to her home state for the weekend, leaving him alone. The accident happened on the return trip. A deer?
Read Grief's Gain...

I watched her turn the handle on the old sifter as I had many times before.
My wife is a young woman who cooks the old way. And yes, she still sifts flour. “Cake won’t turn out right if you don’t,” she says. Some cooks have given up sifting since lumpy flour and extra protein (bugs) aren’t normally issues anymore. Sifting is painless for the flour but tiring for the one cranking the handle.
Read Sifted...


He was five foot six, 165 pounds. Nothing about him portrayed football material. But “Rudy” had a dream.
Daniel Eugene Ruettiger was born August 23, 1948, the third of fourteen children. He had trouble learning because of dyslexia-a condition little understood at the time. Following high school and two years in the Navy, Rudy worked at a power plant, but his dream was attending and playing football for the University of Notre Dame. Read Created For Greatness...


 
He worked as a highway patrolman and was a new believer, but conflict soon tainted his view of the church and other believers.
Our church was involved with an interdenominational men’s group meeting monthly for Bible studies and meals. The purpose was honorable-we were men wanting other men to know Christ. Harry* was excited when we asked him to join. Read Resolving Conflict...



It was Archie’s favorite chair and “Meathead” knew better than to get too comfortable in it. Or anyone else for that matter.
A gold tone wing back chair rested in the middle of the Bunker’s living room, and it was off limits. While Archie worked, others were welcome to sit there but when he was home all perpetrators had to go. Read Getting Too Comfortable...




I tried it for a week and that’s all I could endure.

All my teenage male peers were sloppy. I wasn’t, but I wanted to fit in, so I decided to try their lifestyle. It wasn’t easy. Piling dirty clothes on the floor, leaving food scraps on my bed, and allowing loose papers to liter my desk wasn’t me. A place for everything and everything in its place was my motto. Read Not There Yet But Trying...


Imagine trudging through the desert, depleted of water and food. Suddenly an oasis of palm trees encircling a pool of fresh cold water appears. Your pace quickens. You finally reach the pool and lunge in only to be welcomed by a bed of hot sand. Read God Calls...




According to the Population Reference Bureau, world population has exceeded seven billion people. Of those about 33% classify themselves Christian meaning more than two billion claim a relationship with God.
I was taught God is big, but if all two billion Christians decided to pray simultaneously, could he handle it? Would mine get lost in the shuffle? Read God Calls...




The email sat in my inbox, longing to be opened.
I had emailed our friends in Nova Scotia for an update on their church plant. The last wasn’t very encouraging, so I prayed for a more uplifting report. It wasn’t. Read Trouble's Goals...


There was a time when retirement years weren’t celebrated and with good reason-there wasn’t any. People worked until they died or became physically incapacitated, at which time they depended on family and savings. Then a reason for celebration happened. Read Celebrating God...



Peck, peck, peck. I always hear them before I see them.
Several varieties of woodpeckers inhabit our region. Their hammering on trees, light poles, church steeples and gutters is unmistakable. Clinging to the side of trees with arthritic shaped claws, they do what would give the average person a migraine. Read Glorifying God...




Growing up, “Giving thanks” was normally associated with a meal blessing. I appreciated food, but it never dawned on me how thankful I should be. Young children don’t usually pay attention to newscasts about famines and starving people. I was no different. Read Thanking God...


It doesn’t fit. If I’ve heard it once I have a thousand times.
My wife says she’s built funny-at least from the waist down. Actually it’s not her build; it’s her legs. They’re vertically challenged, making it difficult for her to find pants the correct length. Most pants she models could host her legs twice. Read It Doesn't Fit...




She was doing it again. I was proud but also a little embarrassed.
Mom was “hawking.” “My oldest son has published three books.” “He writes for…” and follows with a list of magazines, newspapers, blogs, periodicals and websites.
Read Bragging Rights...

Walt Kowalski was a grumpy old man who didn’t care much for anybody.
Clint Eastwood directed, produced and starred in Gran Torino, a movie detailing Walt’s life as a bitter recently widowed Korean War veteran. He didn’t like his family who was after his money, the priest who badgered him about church or his Hmong neighbors-except for the daughter. She had a knack for seeing through his tough exterior. Read Mentor? Who Me?...


We were stuck, and it wasn’t the first time.
I’ve never lived in a large city, nor do I care too. Too many people going too many places all at the same time is my conclusion. But I’ve driven in a few, and almost invariably there is a commonality: traffic jams. Read What's The Hold Up?...

Somewhere around the mid 1700’s, Christopher Wiles was born. In our Wiles’ family history book, he was the oldest ancestor traceable without help from a professional genealogist. Because he was born and later married, I’m alive. Sure my parents contributed, but Dad descended from him and I descended from Dad. Read Leaving A Legacy...

My daughter ran for about six years and developed exercise induced asthma. I did it for one and acquired shin splints and bad knees. We even ran some 5Ks together, but she finished and was rested long before I glimpsed the finish lines. She was good enough to compete; I just did it for better health and the high. But at least I got the direction right. Read Running From God...



I admit confusion. I purchased it in good faith but it’s not fulfilling its purpose.

Even though the salesman promised it would take me to work, grocery stores, doctor appointments, restaurants, church, and on vacations, it idles under the carport. My vehicle is made to do all those things and more but only will if I connect the machine with its purpose. It’s one thing the salesman didn’t mention but probably assumed I knew to do: crank it up. Read Purpose Driven...

People die or incur serious injuries at them, leading authorities to put up warning signs or traffic signals.

I cringe when approaching intersections. Though I have only had one wreck at an intersection, I’ve observed others. I watched a tee boned car explode when one driver missed a stop sign. I heard a mother groan as she lay injured and crumpled on the floorboard. Read Intersection Crashes...


Lay off. The pattern of my life.

I swore when moving to Greenwood, South Carolina, I would never work at Greenwood Mills. But I did. Read Optimism's Hope...







“Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.” A statement normally used to reprimand procrastination. The practice involves putting off until tomorrow and comes from “pro” meaning “forward” and “crastinus” meaning “belonging to tomorrow.” Read Tomorrow...The Perfect Day.



Love and fear. Is it possible for both emotions to inhabit healthy relationships?

I loved my parents but also feared them. I loved them because they brought me into the world and cared for my needs. Read Love And Fear...

I stare out the window on a warm March afternoon of the winter that wasn’t in the southern United States. My garden plot stares back, “Are you going to prepare me?”
Read Living With Regret...


Sam thinks renewing his wedding vows will solve his problems. He tarnished his first marriage by unfaithfulness and the second isn’t fairing much better. He’s abandoned Mary twice already for another woman, a far off land and wasted living. Sam lives the prodigal’s dream. Read Genuine Repentance...





God can use you even if you have a sordid past and don’t have your act completely together at present.

I made the statement when speaking about religious lies. Following the lecture, one gentleman commented; “At one time I thought I had it all together but I forgot where I put it.” Read Successful Failures...



“Click, click, click.” His toenails brushed across the linoleum, followed by a whine and snort, then a pounce onto the bed. The process continued for four hours. Read Anxiety Stressors...



Attention to detail. Not everyone thinks it’s important, but Michael did.

Michael is the mayor of a small town in South Carolina. What he does is not for pay but out of the goodness of his heart. The town needed a facelift but had no revenue. Read God In The Details...



We called him the “grocery list” professor. And with good reason.

He was my most lenient college professor but also the one whose tests were terribly difficult. The reason? Lists. Pop tests were passed only by studying every list I encountered while completing homework. A’s on tests required extensive preparation. Read Sin List...



As a teenager, I was the king of bad decisions. One landed me at a local police station.

Age fourteen began a string of poor decisions. I took up habits better left alone and hung around with people who were unruly influences. I had a wonderful home life; I just needed to rebel. Read Bad Decisions...


“I love you if…” “I love you because…” “But if you don’t…I won’t.”

Most wedding vows incorporate a promise to love in sickness and health, in sorrow and gladness, through good times and bad times and without reservation. Marriage vows portray the model; reality reveals, well, reality. Read Simply Loved...


Ker plump, ker plump. The noise grew louder, but I wasn’t about to stop.

Being a teenager, running a paper route and going to school are not easy things to do at the same time, but I was making a valid attempt. Read Running On The Rim...



 

She was empty, betrayed and thirsty. Usually three strikes and you’re out. She had five.

Jesus met her in a region respectable people avoided. But then again, he wasn’t into traditions. Read Empty And Betrayed...



I knew she was there; I simply couldn't see her.

My daughter and I enjoyed several years of hiking when she was a preteen. She was young and fast. I was approaching 40 and slow. Read Trusting God With The Future...


She was condemned by the judges in her town. Death was certain.

Jesus was teaching at the Temple and the normal crowd gathered. He was quickly interrupted by religious leaders dragging a haggard looking woman. Read God's Son, Our Savior...

Every window conjured up nightmares. Every room was a breeding ground for ghouls and goblins. Not your normal description for a church but very accurate for the one I was affiliated with. Read Church-The Reason...








“Are you going to heaven when you die?” I asked. “I hope so,” she replied. It wasn’t the answer I was looking for but it would have to do.

My grandmother and I were taking an afternoon walk when I asked the question. Read Living With Uncertainty...


 
 

What if I would have done what God told me to when he told me to?

Life may have been different. I would have made healthier choices in high school, chose different friends and made better grades. I would have attended college immediately after high school instead of eight years later. Read What If...



With cliffs reaching more than one thousand feet and breathtaking vistas in front and behind, Royal Gorge in Canon City, Colorado, is a tourist’s paradise.

We were on a 24 mile round trip train ride through the middle of the Gorge enjoying the peaceful repose of a ten day vacation. Read Unity In Diversity...


Although a few may have considered him “tight,” my word was stingy.

He hired out work on the farm to the cheapest laborers regardless of quality. I know; I performed quite a few jobs for him. Read Wealth Redefined...

Even if it only covered a small portion of my chest, I had to have it.

My maternal grandmother lived in an old farm house void of central air and heat. By the time I arrived in the world, the fireplaces were covered and replaced with gas heaters. Read God's Cover...


“If you don’t like the weather, just hang around a while and it will change,” my friend said. And it did.

Our vacation in Colorado was sprinkled with rollercoaster weather. Read Friendship's Bond...


She agreed to follow the Chief Shepherd to the High Places. Instead he led her into the desert. Now she was confused.

Hannah Hurnard was born to a well-to-do English family, but shyness and a speech impediment made life miserable. It wasn’t until she turned nineteen that she finally discovered happiness. Read Trusting God in the Desert...



She was a marvel to observe, and you never knew what she would make next.

My great grandmother was a master crocheter. She would sit for hours with needle and thread, seemingly content to labor tirelessly on her projects. But nothing began until the yarn was rolled into a ball. Read One Stitch At A Time...


Lightning peeled and thunder rolled. All protecting us was a tent.

My brother and I were camping in the Smokies. The day was beautiful, but darkness brought dramatic changes. Read Trusting God In The Storms...


I wasn’t excited about going, but I had no choice.

Hiding the fact you can’t see isn’t easy for a young boy. Contacts and laser surgery weren’t an option for me in the 1960’s. Glasses were. Read Blinded To See...



My garden is plowed but nothing grows. And with good reason. Nothing is planted.

I grew up around gardens and have always intermittently gardened myself. My grandparents had them, and most parishioners in my father’s churches did as well. Read Spiritual Cultivation...


Death isn't a subject I enjoy thinking or talking about.

I’m obviously not alone. Witness the many terms we’ve invented to lessen the impact of what happens when the heart stops beating and the lungs cease functioning. Read Death By Proxy...




 


Situated in Red Square in the center of Moscow since shortly after his death in 1924, Vladimir Lenin’s corpse requires daily moisturizing and injection of preservatives under his clothes to safeguard its appearance. Read No Body...





I wasn’t a fan of the show or comic strip, but one character mesmerized me.

Linus van Pelt was created by Charles Schulz for his comic strip Peanuts. He was Charlie Brown’s best friend and Lucy’s younger brother. Read Security Blankets...



Wednesday was his day to visit the store and the day we closed at 2:30 p. m.

The little country store was the only one in town. I worked there as a day manager. Mack* was an insurance agent with flexible hours. Read Less Self...

Tick, tock, tick, tock. Each pendulum swinging in sync as each gear turns precisely. Read Lukewarm Living...






 


Green isn’t their ripened color, but every produce department seems to prefer it. I like yellow bananas, but producers pick and ship them green to retailers. I don’t like raw tomatoes, but even if I did I couldn’t enjoy them knowing what happens to ripen them. They too are picked green and then sprayed with carbon dioxide prior to shipping for rapid ripening. Read Gassed by God...




Six months and now they were leaving? What was I supposed to do? I had temporarily moved in with my parents-a difficult adjustment after being out on your own for awhile. Our home was four miles from the nearest town with not a neighbor in site. All the quiet I could want, and now they were moving. Read Every Need Supplied...






With flashlights in hand, they entered the gym. “Ready or not here we come.” Hide n seek is an old game, but we gave it a twist. The kids called it “Hide n Seek in the Dark.” While two adult seekers waited outside, several other adults helped the hiders hide. Read A God With Eyes...





I thought I heard him right, but I went to bed anyway.
I was living in a single wide mobile home in the woods. Our section of the state was experiencing unusually inclimate weather. Temperatures dropped, winds gusted and sleet fell. Read Hearing God...


When I walked in, I thought I had died and went to the wrong place: screaming and hollering, filth circulating in the air, some people running and others standing idle, stale air. I quickly became claustrophobic and wanted to escape. Read Quiet Places...








I was a young adult and had been hooked since I was fourteen. It was the seventies. In the United States of America especially, sexual revolution, political corruption, war, draft dodging, civil rights, gay rights, hallucinogenic drugs, alcohol and cigarettes were rife. Read Leave It Off Please...


I say it doesn’t bother me too much-at least most of the time. But I’m probably no different than most. Change disrupts my life. Read Routinges and Ruts...



My wife and I prayed over the decision for months. Should I resign or stay? God gave no clear direction other than a nagging feeling resigning was the right thing to do. Read Faith Stepping...



We adopted her on a cool fall day. Rejected by her mother and malnourished, we were her only hope. She was like any other kid with one exception: her baah. Gracie was a goat. Read Rescued...


Newfound Gap is nestled between Cherokee, North Carolina and Gatlinburg, Tennessee and was our destination on a cold winter day. We were headed for Charlie’s Bunion-a rock edifice dangling on the edge of sheer cliffs. Read When Rough Spots Blind...


 

Word came his good friend was sick, but he was too busy teaching and defending his cause to break away. After all, the sickness was probably minor. Two days later and feeling guilty about neglecting his friend, he decides to go see him. But it’s too late. Read Why God Cries...





She didn’t enjoy it, but it was her life. Hitting, cursing, anger, rejection. Kelly lived in an abusive marriage and had for thirteen years. She wanted out but didn’t know how and was afraid of what might happen if she left. Read Confidence Builders...




“Where did you put it?” “I can’t believe you can’t remember. I’ve said that a few times-as if I’m the king of remembering. Whatever “it” is, where “it” is is a mystery. If I knew, I wouldn’t have to ask myself or anyone else. Read Unforgotten...


She attended every antique auction we did. With money to burn, she could outbid anyone present if she wanted. Initially, we only knew her as the owner of a local antique shop we loved to frequent. Other vendors had booths in her store, but she and her husband hosted the most. Her prices were unreasonable, and we rarely purchased anything from either of them even when it was on sale. Read Misplaced Treasure...




If success meant easy living, he was a failure. If happiness required a large bank account, popularity and trendsetting, he should be life’s most miserable man. Read Surviving Tough Times...








She felt out of place but knew she needed to be there.

Most of the others were seated when she walked in. She felt their eyes burning into her skin as she ambled down the aisle searching for a seat. Read Our Little, God Much...







 
Carol King sang “I feel the earth move under my feet” in her 1971 hit “I Feel the Earth Move,” but I actually experienced it.Shortly after moving to an old home, my wife and I explored the overgrown backyard, contemplating how to restore its original beauty. A small area shook every time I walked across it. Clearing the weeds, we discovered a piece of metal which when lifted revealed a hole. Assuming it was an old well, we covered it with a flower bed. Read Stinky Days...







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