Since When Did Laziness Become a Laughing Matter?

October 15, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Humorous

By Cynthia Ruchti –

You’ve noticed too, I’m sure. People joke about how lazy they are. They value “vegging,” the couch-potato kind, not the sweet potato kind. They brag about how long it’s been since they folded laundry, brushing lightly at the wrinkles in their shirt. It was pulled out of the tangle of clothes in the basket. Clean, right?

“Yeah, I didn’t get to the bank in time. Things came up.” They don’t clarify that the “things” were a nap, a snack, and a video game.

What keeps people from getting to their appointments on time? One of two things—doing too much or doing too little.

I lean more toward the “too much” end of the spectrum. I see a five minute window of buffer time and think of two important things I can get done in that window. That often makes me watch the second-hand of the wall clock as I rush up to the desk just before it ticks into place for my appointment time. Not good.

But neither is the world’s obsession with laziness, with doing the minimum necessary at work, at church, at home…just enough to get by.

One of the places where my husband worked developed an incentive program for employees who did their job exceptionally well—a gift card reward. “Great job. Here’s fifty dollars.” “Nice work on that. Here’s a hundred dollars.”

Grateful as we were for the extra money for the family budget, it always struck us as an oddity that “exceptionally well” and “excellent” and “nice work” weren’t expected. They were viewed as so rare as to deserve special recognition.

We don’t have to wonder what God would think of that. He told us. “Whatever you do,” He said through the Apostle Paul, “do it heartily, as unto the Lord.” (reference below)

As I write this, the table of people near me is discussing installing a toilet. “I put in that new toilet and she’s still complaining,” the man said. His friend asked, “How come?” “Oh, it wobbles some.”

I think even toilet installation has to be done heartily, don’t you?

PRAYER: No matter how popular it is, Lord, keep me from ever believing that laziness can be cute. It doesn’t mesh with Your plan for us. Show me where I might be making excuses for not putting my whole heart into something. Laziness is no laughing matter to You. Help me feel the same way.

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men,” Colossians 3:23, NIV.

Looks Like Granite

September 21, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Humorous

By Cynthia Ruchti –

Eavesdropping on conversations yields some of life’s most fascinating moments, and for writers, it’s not only acceptable, but a necessity. Character studies.

I remember walking through an airport a year ago; collecting snippets of conversation like corduroy pants collect lint.

“Okay, then,” a businessman said into his cell phone, “offer them fifty million, but that’s our final offer.”

I kept walking but would have loved to have heard the rest of that conversation.

A middle-aged woman told the younger woman sitting next to her in a boarding gate waiting area, “We’ll have to stop somewhere on the way to the church. I only packed my black tights. I forgot the pink pair. I can’t wear black.”

Funeral? No. Black would have been appropriate. Wedding? Maybe. Pink tights, huh?

The conversation I overheard the other day gave me pause, as they say.

“Looks like granite,” the elderly man said. “But it’s really yogurt.”

Now…

Yes! Me, too! I wondered what subject would have evoked that kind of observation. Looks like granite, but it’s really yogurt.

Before the day was over, I found a use for the phrase. A crisis hit, smacking me with the force of a block of granite.

Looks like granite. It seemed immovable. Impenetrable. A problem as heavy and crushing as granite.

But God, the true Rock, crushes “crushing” problems. To Him, they’re more like…yogurt.

Nothing threatens Him.

Does that comfort you like it comforts me? He can’t be intimidated much less overcome.
The next time I feel overwhelmed by something life’s catapult hurls at me, I’m going to rephrase my response. Instead of whining, “This is hard!” I’m going to straighten my posture, raise my eyebrows as I survey the scene, and say, “It might look like granite. But it’s really yogurt.”

PRAYER: Lord, give me the grace to see what You see when You look at the problems that seem so tough to me. Help me find hope in the truth that Your sovereignty trumps everything and turns crushing troubles into something no more threatening than a smoothie ingredient.

“Ah, Sovereign LORD, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you,” Jeremiah 32:17 NIV.

Faith step: When your need is great, tap into His limitless need-meeting ability.
—Cynthia Ruchti

Things Are Looking Up!

August 3, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Faith, Humorous

By Cynthia Ruchti –

My mother was a great diagnostician. As a registered nurse, she put the gift into practice both at work—sometimes upstaging the doctors with her insights—and at home with her five kids and anyone in the community who preferred consulting with Mom before calling the doctor’s office.

She rarely misdiagnosed. Some rare combination of observation, instinct, training, experience, and God-directed wonderment caused her to proclaim, “That’s ringworm, honey.” Or, “Your leg cramps? Try taking more calcium.” Or, “If my guess is right, you have Lyme disease.”

I follow in her footsteps in a lot of ways, though I left the medical field (lab assistant) decades ago. In an effort to self-diagnose my recent headaches, I walked myself through a Mom-like problem-solving routine.

Getting enough sleep? Pretty much.

Too much caffeine? Not enough? I’ll work on that one.

How’s your vision? Needing new glasses can cause headaches. Can’t afford the answer to that one.

Wait a minute.

Sitting at the computer more hours than the day is long. Reading. Hunching over to read fine print on websites and blogs.

I’m suffering from an excess of looking down!

Some of that I can correct with some ergonomic changes, and with neck exercises. But the best cure is to spend more time looking up. Brilliant deduction, Sherlock.

Life is like that, too. The economy is…down. Gravity drags us…down. People are downhearted, downright discouraged, and downtrodden by the insults of life. But real life isn’t in the dust at our feet. It’s not embedded in the carpeting.

“Look up,” Jesus said, “for your redemption draweth nigh.” That’s how I remember it from hearing it as a child.

A current translation adds an element of headache-easing posture. When the world is swirling, reeling, chaotic, confused, Jesus tells me to stand up straight. “Stand up straight and raise your heads because your redemption is near,” Luke 21:28 CEB.

My redemption and my Redeemer are always near. Up.

PRAYER: Lord, I think I’m beginning to understand better what You meant when You told me You were the “lifter” of my head (Psalm 3:3). Help me live with straighter posture, no matter what the news, the bills, or the doctor tells me. Cause me to live aware that You are near. Up.

“Now when these things begin to occur, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption (deliverance) is drawing near,” Luke 21:28 AMP.

In Our Time of Need

May 23, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Family

By Cynthia Ruchti –

My sister Carol carried a double major in college—Vocal Music Education and Spanish. At the time, all music education majors were required to pass Piano Proficiency to demonstrate at least a moderate ability to play the piano. The challenge was equivalent to passing the state bar exam while undergoing a root canal.

For whatever reason, and despite her love of music and outstanding skill vocally and on the French horn, at that time Carol and a piano knew nothing but discord in their relationship.

But getting her degree depended on passing Piano Proficiency. So she studied and practiced and agonized and fought off an army of knife-wielding nerves while the family prayed.

Often the phone rang with, “Get on your knees! Carol’s taking Piano Proficiency again!”

We prayed and consoled when she was handed negative results and told to retry in a few weeks. We prayed and consoled ten times.

We knew she could do it. And we knew God answers prayer—not because we deserve it but because He is merciful and gracious. So Carol took the risk and we who love her took to our knees an eleventh time.

Did you hear the shouts of joy from all over Wisconsin when after those unsuccessful attempts she passed Piano Proficiency and was freed from ever going through it again? Yup, that was us.

Did the Lord make her great at the piano that day? Or did He make the instructor think she was great so she could pass the test? It doesn’t matter. Either way, it was God’s grace.

Today she’s an amazing Spanish teacher who uses her music skills for worship.

Has the Lord intervened in your life to get you through the impossible, feed your courage to try again, take another risk, or trust, despite the odds?

AUTHOR QUOTE: When your need is great, tap into His limitless need-meeting ability.

“Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:16 NIV).

Lullaby For All of Us

April 9, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Worship

By Cynthia Ruchti —

She’s mellowed considerably in twelve years, but when our first grandchild was a toddler, she’d slap her little pink hands over her ears and in a voice that sounded like foot-stomping say, “Don’t sing!”

The first few times it was funny. Because she was born into a musical family, we thought her faux-tantrum must have been toddler humor. But it wasn’t. She meant it. For reasons we’ll never understand, something about our singing—no wisecracks, please—grated on her young nerves.

It was a trick slipping the “Happy Birthday” song past her at family celebrations.

One song remained firmly entrenched in my repertoire, though. With my children and now my grandchildren, I’m allowed the honor of being the first to sing into those downy soft ears, “Jesus loves me, this I know.” It’s a lullaby that soothes an hours-old troubled heart or the aged heart hours away from eternity.

How much time have I spent singing that lullaby since my daughter was born, then my sons, then my granddaughters and grandsons? How many repetitions of the greatest truth, the most potent comfort, the sweetest sentence ever uttered?

Jesus loves me.

Even now, I can’t look at those three words without a sense of awe-struck wonder. Imagine! Jesus loves me.

I can spread my arms wide and dance across a mountain meadow—“The Sound of Music” style—or I can whisper-sing it to a colicky child and know it is the truest of statements and the most life-changing.

The lullaby tradition with new babies is intentional. My heart longs for that singular thought to be imprinted early on each child’s brain. Whether they remember it or not, and no matter what life brings or the choices they make, they will all be told that the first song they heard in their life’s journey was the most significant.

Jesus loves me.

AUTHOR QUOTE: Take comfort today as Jesus sings that song into your heart’s “ear,” a lullaby that never grows old.

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” (Romans 8:35 NIV)

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