One Good Turn Deserves a Chihuahua Bite

October 11, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Personal Growth

By Hally Franz –

One recent rainy day I headed home after taking my kids to school, and crossed paths with my friend at our subdivision’s entrance. She was on her way out, but had stopped for a wet and ragged canine in the middle of the street. The little guy wasn’t budging, and she was on a schedule, so I agreed to take him and try to return him to his owner.

His build and form were that of a Chihuahua. I scooped up his sopping, shivering body and returned home. Once home, I checked his tags and secured him in a warm kennel. Recognizing the name on the tags (a benefit of life in a small town), I started making calls. It turned out that “Paco” had changed owners, and the tags didn’t reflect the new owner information – a slight complication.

As the morning progressed, I released Paco for a potty break. After a lap or two around the yard, I turned to find the dog morsel nowhere in sight. Panicking, I called for him and discovered Paco at my back door. By now, though, Paco was not as cold and vulnerable, and his saucy nature had surfaced. When I attempted to pick him up, he spun around and bit me squarely on the hand. Paco was now testing my patience!

The rest of the day included veterinarian calls to ensure Paco’s shots were current, another disappearing act on his part, more yelling and searching in the rain, and an eventual safe return home for my feisty friend. While Paco didn’t make my day pleasant, I was glad things turned out okay for him and his owner.

Sometimes helping animals and people isn’t easy. Sometimes, it isn’t appreciated. There are times when those whom we reach out to help, feed or simply give a preverbal lift, return the favor by biting us in the hand. Like a child who ignores parental advice, some individuals make it hard for others to help them. They are unpleasant, ungrateful or unable to recognize what might be good for them.

God doesn’t tell us helping and serving others is easy. In fact, we know it often is not. Further, we often make it difficult for our Father to help us. Perhaps we should show grace to those who don’t readily and thankfully accept our gestures of goodwill. Certainly, the Lord has done the same for us.

PRAYER: Gracious God, instill in me the desire to serve others, and, in doing so, You, even when it is inconvenient and unnoticed, burdensome and without thanks. Inspire me to resist walking away when someone is in need, but be glad to help in the opportunities You provide.

“But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.” (Hebrews 13:16 NKJV).

Debates, Digging and Discernment

September 9, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Life Topics

By Hally Franz –

We are in debate season. While I am not a political activist nor particularly informed regarding current campaign issues, I have tuned in to the debates. And, one of the things I find frustrating is how information presented as facts is so often disputed by the opposing candidate as exaggerated or simply untrue. How can facts be false? I mean, is there nothing in this world that is an undisputable absolute?

Why does it seem there is always some alternative way of arriving at a given statistic, some slight interpretation deviation that renders what should be very clear-cut pieces of truth as questionable or open to dispute? It is maddening!

Given this circumstance, it becomes the burden of us voters to delve deeper into the claims of the candidates, and to investigate the numbers a bit more for ourselves.

Our Christian faith is like that as well.

While we recognize the Bible as God’s holy and eternal truth, are there not various views on what we find written in His word? Some books of the Bible, like Job or Daniel, may be quite straight-forward and viewed similarly by most religious leaders. Others, like Revelation, for example, are seen quite differently by Biblical scholars.

I trust the wisdom of the elders and minister at my church home fully, but I know that other church groups in my community and world do not completely concur with the beliefs held by brethren whom I worship with weekly. Many of us share the most important truths surrounding our Christian faith, but we find differences as we dig deeper into God’s holy word.

So, in that way, growing into an informed believer is like becoming an informed voter. We need to do our own searching of the material that is available, the Bible and works of Biblical scholars. We need to become educated for ourselves and arrive at a place of peace and comfort concerning our own beliefs.

While the stakes of this election may be great, those connected with our faith are even more important. November may come and go without me figuring out truth from fiction. Likewise, I have no doubt that I’ll leave this world with unanswered questions for my Creator. In the meantime, my time may be better spent researching the mysteries of our Heavenly Father rather than the records of our earthly leaders.

PRAYER: Almighty God, help me to continually study Your holy word, so that I may become an ever-more confident Christian, able to thoroughly understand and articulate the Biblical truths that I hold.

“The heart of the prudent acquires knowledge, And the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.” (Proverbs 18:15 NKJV).

The Healing Power of Rain

September 5, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Personal Growth

By Hally Franz –

I wrote a couple of years ago about the devastation caused by a tornado in my home state. This summer, we in Middle America have experienced a terrible drought. Water conservation, deep well subsidies, lost corn crops and brown lawns have marked the past several months preceding Hurricane Isaac.

While others along the gulf coast were suffering through the high winds and torrential rains of the storm, we waited for the rains to come. When the rain arrived early in September, it was welcome relief after weeks and months of nearly no precipitation, a summer where we mowed grass only a few times.

It’s funny how a few healing rains can turn brown, patchy grass into green, growing lawns so quickly. Soon after the downpours left behind by “Isaac”, it was time to get on our mowers again. Color came back to our fading flowers, and trees that had started shedding dry leaves in August retained their foliage a bit longer, until the more typical commencement of fall.

It’s amazing to see how quickly a life can be turned around by the healing power of a relationship with our Heavenly Father. Repentance, forgiveness and baptism, fellowship with Christians, and time spent in worship and study – these are the life-changing activities that convert a drab, dormant, lifeless existence to one filled with color and growth and hopefulness.

As exciting as it is to see my lawn regain its lush, emerald beauty, and to return to a regular schedule of grass-mowing, it is much more pleasing to see His hand at work in the lives of new believers.

Never underestimate the healing power of rain.

PRAYER: Almighty God, healer of dry lawns and arid hearts, thank You for rescuing us from lives of hopelessness and drear, for bringing instead the hope of salvation and eternal life to those who believe and trust in You.

“Praise the LORD, my soul, and forget not all his benefits — who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s” (Psalm 103:2-5 NIV).

Pimento Cheese Memories

August 16, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Family

By Hally Franz –

My 92-year-old grandmother went on to her eternal home two days ago. Grandma had been healthy and active most of her life, enduring only a couple years of declining energy and mobility. She was blessed. I, along with all of her family and friends, have a ton of wonderful memories. We were also blessed.

In preparation for the funeral services of Erma Rhea Tucker, we family members have gathered together to recall and document some of our most notable memories of my grandmother. Some are heart-warming, others not necessarily family-friendly, most funny.

My earthly father, who greeted Grandma sometime during the early morning hours on September 5, told me a story about pimento cheese, and the tough, enduring character of his mother. Dad told me about a time when he was a child of perhaps 8 or 10. He, along with his younger brother, rode alongside my grandmother in an old truck as they drove home from the dentist in Louisiana, MO. Grandma drove with one hand while she used her other to roll toilet paper in wads that she shoved into her bleeding mouth. She’d been to the dentist and gotten sixteen teeth pulled. I only recently learned the exact number, because when dad told the story he simply said “every tooth in her head.”

When Grandma and her young sons arrived home, she immediately went to the kitchen and began grinding pounds of pimento cheese for dinner or perhaps some upcoming event. This was how my dad viewed his mother, a resilient and gritty woman. The story has always been a favorite of mine.

Cinnamon rolls, college sports, needlework, old hymns, little league ball, a school cafeteria, Frank Sinatra – those images congregate in my mind when I think of Grandma Tucker. Pimento cheese lingers the longest.

One of the greatest gifts Heavenly Father gives us is the people in our lives. Their influence and inspiration, their love and legacy are among the greatest things about life here on earth, and among the many things to look forward to in Heaven.

PRAYER: Merciful Father, thank You for the loved ones in our lives. What a gift they are to us. Help us to appreciate and remember good times spent with them, and give us the strength to smile when they begin their eternal lives with You.

“Then young women will dance and be glad, young men and old as well. I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow.” (Jeremiah 31:13).

The Guest List

July 13, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Worship

By Hally Franz –

Entertaining can be fun. Party stores have inspired us with an endless supply of clever themes and coordinating paper products to accommodate any occasion. Food retailers offer a tempting display of dips, appetizers, gourmet desserts, and meat, fruit and veggie trays. It’s all so thrilling! That’s the fun part of hosting a party.

The more challenging part of throwing a party is the guest list, which can sometimes be quite tricky. Determining how many and who to include for your niece’s baby shower, your 10-year-old’s birthday party, your senior’s graduation gala or the family wedding can be a major dilemma, much less fun than selecting a theme and munchies.

There are so many questions to consider. Will this be an obligation rather than a privilege for the guest? How many are in the class? Am I leaving any child out? Will they wonder why they have been invited? Will they remember us? Where will I put them? Can I afford what I want with this many coming? Will this group all get along? And, so it goes…

Once a host completes the arduous process of composing a guest list and inviting everyone, then there is the RSVP issue. This is where you wait and wonder who, if anyone or everyone, will make it to the soiree. Sometimes, an estimate regarding attendance is sufficient; other times, exact numbers are needed to be fully prepared. Conscientious guests will always RSVP, not wanting to leave the host “hanging.” It can be fun, but entertaining can be a real headache, too.

Our Heavenly Father is hosting a ‘round-the-clock party. Everyone is invited, so we don’t need to keep quiet to avoid hurting an uninvited person’s feelings. Preparations have been made for as many as wish to come; we can spread the news to any and all. His party is like none we have attended before, and it goes on forever. While He would love to anticipate our attendance for years, Father God will gladly welcome us even if we fail to RSVP until the final hours.

Our Heavenly Host asks that we accept His invitation. By accepting Him as our Lord and Savior, by repenting and being forgiven of our sins, by being baptized and beginning our Christian walk with Him, we assure our place at His party. That’s one I don’t want to miss!

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank You for planning an event unlike any we’ve been blessed with here on earth. And, thank You for an open invitation to celebrate eternally with You and Your children.

“Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost” (Isaiah 55:1 NIV).

Next Page »