A Curse or a Blessing?

I’m not like my adoptive father in very many ways, but he sure hit that old cliched nail on the head about not liking telephones.

No wonder. As a minister, he was always being interrupted by otherwise well-intended church members who didn’t realize how much time and concentration it took to prepare two sermons a week–he rarely reused a sermon–and an in-depth Bible study for the Wednesday night prayer service.

No matter whether he was at church or at home, he couldn’t very well refuse to talk to a caller. But he sure didn’t have to like it.

I’m not sure whether he ever said this, but I’ll always associate this with him. “If I get to Heaven and find telephones there, I’m asking for a transfer to the other place.” A bit of an exaggeration, but that makes the point quite well.

I’m not a minister, and I’m not subject to the number and variety of calls he couldn’t get away from. But I still hate telephones, and it’s not just because of my father’s dislike of them.

When I graduated from college and got out on my own, I probably wouldn’t have had a phone except for not being able to call in sick without one. I didn’t get sick very often,however, so I rarely needed it for that purpose. And I don’t recall using it for very much of anything else.

I’d promised to write my parents once a week. Honestly, I often struggled to find something to say. If long distance had been free, maybe I would’ve called instead and let them do most of the talking. Oh, well…

After marrying my first wife, the phone got used a lot. Especially with the in-laws living far away. Unfortunately, long distance still wasn’t free.

Cell phones came along far enough that we finally felt we could afford one, and I thought we needed one for emergencies. Even though the cost of extra minutes added up to more than the cost of the phone itself, my wife saw it as useful for everyday calling.

When she and I parted ways, I decided to buy a cell phone–mostly for emergencies away from home. But I still had a house phone, too.

I don’t know if I rarely use the cell phone because I’ve never gotten over my lifelong dislike of phones. Even so, I wouldn’t think of going out without it. My wife and I have turned the ringer off on the house phone. We’d give it up, but our Internet access is cheaper by being bundled with the home landline. Incidentally, we periodically check it for messages, but very few nuisance callers leave them, thank goodness.

I’m a horrible text-er. Very, VERY slow. But if I need to get a message to someone while (for example) I’m at the doctor’s office, I will text.

I’m tempted leave the ringer volume up at church since rarely does anyone call me. But the thought of “Sunshine of Your Love” starting up at top volume during a worship service makes me silence it. Sometimes I forget to turn the volume up again for a couple of days.

I’m the first person to admit phones can be useful. Even so, I can’t understand people’s addictions to them. And doing all that talking and texting? Not my idea of fun.

Ah, but the apps for smart phones are something else. It’s great to have a Bible on my phone and a GPS app to locate an unfamiliar place. Not to mention the ability to monitor the flight a loved one is on.

So are phones a curse or a blessing? I guess it depends in part on whether you’re like me and my father or like a typical teen.

Do you hate or love phones? Are you addicted to yours or is it simply another useful gadget? Your comments are welcome.

I’ll be back again next Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

Best regards,
Roger

          

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“Count Your Many Blessings…”

When I began thinking about writing a Thanksgiving post, a number of approaches came to mind. Most of them passed right on out again. The one that stuck was the familiar hymn that says in part, “Count your many blessings. Name them one by one.”

That made me think about how impossible it is to be truly and completely grateful. Most of us aren’t apt to be thankful for the little things we have so many of. It would take many many hours just to express thanks for the hundreds of people in my life, past and present. Friends at church and in the neighborhood. People I’ve met on Facebook, Twitter, and at writing conferences. And that’s just one category of blessings. How could I even list all of the types of blessings I enjoy?

I left out an important part of that hymn. Lnes that say, “Count your many blessings. See what God has done.”

Yes, I believe firmly that “all good things come from above.” So, if God is the source of all blessings, who should I thank but Him?

I love to praise God. To acknowledge how wonderful He is. But I also love to thank Him–for my friends, my wife, my home, and so much more. So much more, in fact, that I couldn’t begin to count all of my blessings.

That’s the point of the hymn, isn’t it? With the innumerable blessings each of us enjoys on a daily basis, why should any of us have room in our hearts for complaining?

When someone is about to burst in anger or to say something rash, he or she may count to ten. Or twenty. It tends to calm them down slightly. And to put things in better perspective.

The next time you’re tempted to complain about something, why don’t you try counting ten or more of the first blessings that come to mind? It just might help you to develop a more positive attitude. It helps me at times.

How thankful are you? How about leaving a comment?

NOTE: Various people have complained about not being able to find or leave comments. Go all the way to the bottom of this post, beneath my “Best regards, Roger.” On the very bottom line of that last section just above the previous post you’ll see “Leave a Comment” if yours will be the first or “X Comments,” where  X denotes the number of existing comments.

~*~

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I’ll be back again on Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

Best regards,
Roger

Count Your Many Blessings

Are you familiar with the old hymn that says in part, “Count your many blessings; see what God has done”? Although I don’t hear it often–it probably sounds old-fashioned to people who’re more accustomed to today’s contemporary Christian music–it does pop into my head from time to time.

And for good reason.

As someone who takes seriously what the Bible says about every good and perfect gift coming from “above”–that is, being gifts from God–I place gratitude high on my list of priorities. Even the least of God’s gifts is far more valuable than I can ever  pay Him back for.

And if I could–if I needed to–it wouldn’t be a gift. Gifts have no strings attached.

One of my original songs goes like this:

What good can I do? What good can I say
That’s good enough to pay the Lord for loving me?
There’s nothing I can do. There’s nothing I can say
That’s good enough to pay the Lord for loving me.

What bad can I do? What bad can I say
That’s bad enough to keep the Lord from loving me?
There’s nothing I can do. There’s nothing I can say
That’s bad enough to keep the Lord from loving me.

So, what then can I do? What then can I say
To thank the Lord for loving me?
I’ll do everything I do. I’ll say everything I say
In the name of the Lord Who never stops loving me.

Any way you look at it, none of us deserves God’s goodness. His love and His mercy. His forgiveness. Life on earth right now and life throughout eternity.

If you know me–even if you don’t–you undoubtedly realize that I’m not very good at living my life in a completely God-pleasing and God-thanking way. I believe that’s true of all of God’s children, although some of them seem to do at least an outwardly better job of it than others.

One thing I never fail to do when I pray–something I do at least a couple of times daily–is to express my thanks to God. At the same time, I acknowledge that He is so much bigger–so much vaster–than I can possibly imagine. Compared to His perfectness in every way, my shortcomings, my failures, and my sins must look horrible.

Must look horrible? Not really.

Everyone who’s accepted Jesus as the Lord and Savior of his life has become a Child of God. So God wipes all of those bad things away from His sight. God loves His children. He provides for them–for us. Every good and perfect gift. We don’t deserve that. Not even the most righteous of people is as righteous as God. All the more reason to express our gratitude to Him the best we can.

Are you thankful for God’s provisions? Do you remember to tell Him? And to try to live in a way that shows Him just how appreciative you really are.

Please feel free to leave a comment. I’ll see you again on Wednesday.

~*~

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I’ll be back again on Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

Best regards,
Roger

The Glories of Morning Glories (Revisited)

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[NOTE: I wrote a post on this same topic last year, but today’s is quite a bit different. As if I don’t have the right to repeat myself! *LOL*]

It rained last night. A lot. And the weather forecast for today isn’t much better. Nothing falling at the moment, but the lack of sunshine makes today look like a bleary day. With very high humidity. A day to walk at the mall and not in the neighborhood.

Many people get depressed on days like this. They find it a challenge to make themselves do anything they don’t have to do. They would prefer to stay home from work and just snooze the day away.

I can’t say I’m like that. Not today, anyhow.

Going out this morning to get my daily diet cherry limeade (easy ice) at the neighborhood Sonic, I couldn’t help noticing the morning glories. We planted them at the base of the chain link fence at the front of our yard, and they have spread beyond our wildest imaginations. In addition to the seeds we planted this year, a number of them sprang up from seeds that dropped at the end of last summer and took root.

Someone recently pointed out that morning glories are considered “invasive.” I guess that’s why we also have morning glories growing throughout the pyracantha bush that towers over the front porch. (From being planted somewhere near the porch.) And why some have made the jump from the fence to the next-door-neighbor’s crepe myrtle tree!

As you can see from my pictures, the rain didn’t discourage the morning glories from blooming, and I think that’s a good symbol for the importance of maintaining a hopeful attitude on days like this rather than getting depressed or feeling lazy.

Rain will fall into every life. I’ve had my share, and I’m sure I’ll experience more as I grow older. But none of the bad aspects of life are so tragic that we can’t continue to count our blessings if we’re just willing to.

The Bible says that every good and perfect gift comes from above. I believe that, and I thank God daily for my blessings–His blessings. Nothing can keep me from appreciating the various morning glories He causes to bloom in my life.

What about you? Are you thankful for your blessings? How about sharing a comment?

~*~

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I’ll be back again on Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

Best regards,
Roger