Things That Aren’t Really Ours

Some years ago, I had some business cards printed; that was in the days before Vistaprint bargains. Current address and phone number.   Useful information about me. Designed to impress. Right?

Of course.

But a short time later the phone company–bless their pointed little heads–arbitrarily changed my number, and I was stuck with quite a stack of expensive and useless business cards. Useless unless I scratched out the old number and added the new one in some blank spot that looked better bare.

Of course, with my handwriting, I’m not sure I could have fit the new number anywhere on the card.

The way to impress? To put it in the colloquial, not hardly.

So I called the phone company. “You changed my number. My business cards are worthless now. You owe me some new ones.”

“Sir,” they responded with somewhat less than the sympathy I’d expected, “that’s too bad. But you don’t own your phone number. We do. So we can change your number at our discretion. And we are NOT responsible for your useless business cards.”

Thank goodness the phone company couldn’t take away my address, too, although I suppose that probably didn’t actually belong to me, either.

Have you ever tried sticking something in your mail box–yours, as in you bought it and you put it up–that wasn’t genuine mail? You may not have gotten in trouble over it, but the Post Office–more blessed, pointed heads–considers that box to be for their use only. The person who purchased and put it up isn’t free to use it as he pleases. He doesn’t really own it.

When we send checks to pay our income tax, we’re apt to question whether our earnings ever belonged to us. Methinks it’s not exactly a matter of “The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away.”

Some things just aren’t ours.

Not even our bodies. Not even this aging seventy-two-year-old body I claim as mine. As if anyone else would want it. . .

Whoops! But the Bible says the body is the temple of God’s Holy Spirit. It’s His to do with as He pleases.

But how can He inhabit or fully utilize a temple that requires so many different prescriptions just to function at what too often feels like just a minimal level? How useful can I really be at this age and stage of my life?

Hmm. Probably every bit as useful as He wants and enables me to be. If I weren’t accomplishing something in His name, no matter how modest, He would probably decide that keeping me alive was pointless.

Like phone numbers, addresses, and mail boxes, my life is something to use wisely and appropriately–as if it were really mine. And I should be thankful God hasn’t yet flicked the on-off switch. And I am…VERY thankful.

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

What “Good Old Days”?

Old people–sometimes mid-lifers, too–are known for their tendency to talk endlessly about “the good old days.” I don’t do that.

Yes, of course I remember a few good things from my childhood and youth and occasionally mention them to someone. But not as many things or as often as some people I know. Too much of my young life was darkened by an unwanted move when I was eight years old.

I’d never expected to be uprooted and have to leave friends and familiar things–my whole life, seemingly–and relocate to a new city in another state and start life all over again from scratch. I was hurt and angry. So I wasn’t inclined to try to adjust. Consequently, I spent a number of years growing fatter and more miserable.

Not exactly what I’d call “good old days.”

Moving away from there was a pleasure–I wouldn’t have cared where we went–and I hoped things would be better with the new city. I was a pre-teen then, however, and growing into adolescence is tough–no matter what.

But when I came down with acute viral encephalitis during the eighth grade and almost died, what hope I might’ve had for a better life seemed to die, even though I lived. Recovery was long and stressful, and I’m not sure I’ve ever felt nearly as strong and “normal” as I had before.

I can’t say whether my very small store of memories from childhood and my early teen years is a result of the encephalitis, but the memories I have are sketchy and sporadic. I don’t remember that much about high school or college, either. Even a lot of my adult life seems to be blurred or at last hiding in some inaccessible spot in my brain.

All of that to say I am not an old person who thinks back to the good old days. I remember too many days that aren’t worth talking about and too few to bother talking about.

If I  sound miserable talking about my past, I apologize. The fact is I’m not overly concerned about a past that seems, well, to be so very far in the past. I’m more interested in the present, anyhow. And in the future.

Being able to wake up every day and function just as well as I did the day before is more wonderful than you can imagine. Productive projects that keep me productively busy are definitely something to be thankful for. And the assurance of Heaven someday is far beyond wonderful.

I’m not in a rush to get there, you understand. But I’m thankful I have eternal life in God’s presence to look forward to. It will be perfect in every way this earthly life has so often proven imperfect.

What about you? Are you focused on the past, the present, or the future? How about leaving 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

 

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