Wavy Lines

June 7, 2020 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Jodi Whisenhunt –

Hemingway’s endearingly tragic infatuation with the sea was unavoidable given the parallels of its ebbs and flows with those of life. Not long ago I spent an entire week at the beach, and I developed a similar consuming respect.

Every day the water was different. One day, it was calm and soothing. The next, jellyfish swarmed. The day after, clear waves chopped. Our final day, rough storms threatened. I was cut by seashells, burned by the sun’s rays, stung by slimy, floating globs of “jelly,” and chased by tiny, translucent crabs. I shared a mother’s panic and prayers for her lost little boy and crumbled in tears of relief when he was found. I watched lightning spark the night sky and stars twinkle from afar. I was lulled to sleep by the steady breakers and laughed at by gulls.

Every day of life is different too. One day, everything flows easily and coherently. The next, nothing makes sense. The day after, choppy but fun! And, of course, some days are dark and dreary. Rejections wound my spirit. They cut, burn, sting, and pinch. Many times I have panicked and prayed over frustrations; others I have wept with joy of discovery. Every now and then, inspiration strikes with great electricity and incites my creative energy. At those moments, my jitters ease and my tensions release with a giggle.

After several days of yielding to the surf, my body adjusted to the habit, anticipating the next surge. I’d find myself swaying with the waves of the sea when I was standing on dry land. And so it is with life, a cohesive oscillation with God that in the end leaves me both exhausted and exhilarated.

And I rejoice that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).

All Things are Popsicles!

June 5, 2020 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Kim Stokely –

We’ve all had those mornings. You know the kind. You slapped your snooze alarm one too many times and now only divine intervention or a hovercraft will get you and your kids to work and school on time. It’s happened to me on more occasions than I’d care to admit, but one in particular stands out in my mind. The first thing I remember about it is me, yelling at the kids.

“We have to leave.”

They stared at me from the kitchen table, still bleary-eyed from sleep.

“Now!”

I downed my coffee while I searched for the car keys. Finding them in the last place I looked (who would have thought I’d put them on the key holder?) I tossed the kids a bagel and their coats and herded them out to the garage.

My son slipped into the back seat of our van while I buckled his five-year-old sister into her booster seat. “No fighting today,” I ordered, then softened my voice with a “please.”

The kids must have sensed my frustration because they remained quiet while I jumped behind the wheel and started the engine. As I turned the van onto the road I heard my son humming a familiar tune. I peeked in the rear-view mirror. He was tapping his feet against the seat and smiling.

“What’s that song?” I asked.

His eyes darted up to the mirror, probably to see if I was angry. When he saw my grin he started singing louder. I recognized the music as a song his dad and I had been practicing with our worship team the night before. The tune was right, but instead of singing “all things are possible,” my son crooned “all things are popsicles!” As I glanced again at his face I didn’t have the heart to correct him. He knew the song was one of praise but to his seven-year-old mind there was nothing strange about praising God for popsicles.

Isaiah 12:5 says “Sing to the LORD, for he has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world.”  (NLT)  To my son (and let’s face it, most kids his age) popsicles were glorious things. My mood lightened as I thought about all I had to be thankful for on this stressful morning. Two healthy kids, a loving husband, a warm house. My daughter joined with her brother and soon I did too, “all things are popsicles!”

And thank you Lord, especially for the grape ones!

The Humbled Hunter and Gatherer

May 30, 2020 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Connie Cavanaugh –

In Canada the busiest shopping day of the year isn’t the day after Thanksgiving, it’s Boxing Day, the day after Christmas. Boxing Day sales are legendary. Lately Boxing Day has become Boxing Week. Some money hungry businesses now promote Boxing Month!

A few years ago, long before dawn on a clear, cold Boxing Day, my husband, Gerry, headed for Future Shop, an hour’s drive away. He found an empty parking lot when he arrived at 5:30 a.m.

“I’ll be first in line!” he thought. Taking a chance, he sped off in search of a large java to keep him warm while he waited for the doors to open at eight a.m. That was a strategic error, bumping him to third place. He leapt out of his warm car into the Arctic blast of a winter morning and ran to line up outside the locked doors.

Gerry knew there were exactly three TV’s at this store for $499 — a saving of $200. The first three customers to physically lay hands on them could buy them. Gerry sized up the two guys in front of him and asked what they were buying, “the TV” they replied in unison. They looked fit. And young. And fast. Gerry hopped from foot to foot.

Standing in line for over two hours after a large coffee only increased the intensity of his hopping. He read his pocket Bible in an effort to take his mind off his urgent need to “hop.” Hundreds more bargain hunters lined up as the minutes ticked by.

When the doors were flung wide Gerry took off like a shot. He got his hand on the third and last TV without hurting anyone or compromising his Christian witness.

“Belated Merry Christmas!” He hollered when he got home, catching us all by surprise. The kids went nuts. We set up the new TV in the family room.

Every few minutes Gerry gave a low whistle, “We saved $200.” He couldn’t wipe the grin off his face. He watched sports all day.

That evening, we rented two movies, made popcorn, poured drinks and hunkered down. The proud hunter-and-gatherer doused the lights. It was pitch dark. He reached for the remote that rested atop the TV, beside his drink. He miscalculated.

Crash. Tinkle. Fizzle. Zot! Sparks flew out of the back of the TV. I rushed for the lights. Within seconds, there was a gradual dimming of sound and pretty soon, no sound at all. The color went sickly green and fuzzy before the screen went black. Gerry’s grin slid off his face, but not for long.

Ever the optimist, always the preacher, he burst out laughing. “Now I get it!” he chuckled. We were all ears when he quoted the verse from Corinthians he had read mid-hop that morning: “Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

The disappointed kids didn’t see the humor or appreciate the lesson as much as we did, but they listened.

“Boxing Day sales come and go,” Gerry reminded us. “And we can get pretty smug about the great deals we find. In fact, it’s pretty easy to get all puffed up with our latest great accomplishment, no matter what it is. But God wants us to remember that whatever’s good in us comes from Him. Everything else dims pretty quickly in comparison with knowing Him.”

We opened up the games cupboard and spent a great evening laughing and enjoying each other.

Oh, and by the way, we were able to get the TV repaired. The cost? You guessed it — $200.

Just the Right Gift

May 22, 2020 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Rhonda Rhea –

I have to tell you, I’ve seen some pretty ghastly Christmas gift disasters over the years. Shouldn’t there be a buying guide that lists what not to buy? Sort of an “un-buying guide”?

For women I think the un-buying guide should include anything that even remotely resembles a power tool. Vacuum cleaner bags—also a bad idea. Even the lavender scented ones. Another bad gift idea for women? A gift membership to the Guerilla Weight-loss Center. I’m pretty sure we should also include the special satellite sports-a-rama package.

And while I confess I’m not the final authority when buying for men, I think I can spot a few of the obvious gifts to avoid for them, too. The Basket-weaving Instruction Trilogy on DVD, for instance. Bunny jammies with feet? Probably a bad idea. I’m thinking a Martha Stewart action figure would leave something to be desired, as well as the book, It’s Okay to Cry: Expressing Your Feelings through Exploring Your Emotions.

When shopping for men, it’s usually a good idea to find something with a huge, florescent warning label that says bodily harm is imminent. If the gift can maim, cause vision loss or singe eyebrows, we’ve got a winner. If it comes with a remote, you might see him tear up.

But if you were shopping for Jesus, what do you suppose would make the perfect gift? I’m convinced I know exactly what He wants. He wants—you! And He wants you to know Him. One way we can do that is through connecting with Him in prayer. He wants us to spend time with Him—quality time.

Jesus told us we need private times of prayer. He gave us these great how-to instructions in Matthew 6:5-13: “Also when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by people. Truly I tell you, they have their reward in full already. But when you pray, go into your most private room, and, closing the door, pray to your Father, Who is in secret; and your Father, Who sees in secret, will reward you in the open. And when you pray, do not heap up phrases, multiply words, repeating the same ones over and over as the Gentiles do, for they think they will be heard for their much speaking. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.” (AMP) Then he gave us the Lord’s prayer.

Our Father doesn’t want to be ignored. He doesn’t want just a show of prayer either. He desires sweet, sincere times of communication where we join our heart and will to His through experiencing Him in a fresh closeness. It’s absolutely astounding that when we give that gift of quality time to Jesus, we find it actually becomes an extra delightful gift for ourselves. Now there’s a gift!

The membership to the Guerilla Weight-loss Center? You can keep that one.

O Holy Night

May 17, 2020 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Liz Cowen Furman –

How do you picture Mary, Jesus’ Mother?  My entire life I have been surrounded by folks who nearly put her on the same level with Jesus. I could never relate to such a perfect, annoyingly sweet pious woman who, appeared to me to be unreal, with no spunk.  One who showed up every Christmas in her blue robes and made me feel inadequate.

Several months ago, I was asked to be the speaker for my church’s Taste of Christmas Tea. I began praying immediately about what God would have me share. Every time I prayed I felt led to speak on Mary. UGH! I argued with Father. “LORD, couldn’t I speak on Mary Magdalene instead?”

That other Mary is someone I can relate to. A sinner, she had blown it, she had disobeyed God yet He redeemed her. Great hope in that story. But nope, He wouldn’t let me go there.

I decided if He wanted me to talk on Mary I needed to do serious research. So I went online and found much on Mary. Most confirmed what I had always thought about her. I was sad.

A dear friend (oddly enough with the same name as Jesus’ Mom) pointed me to a book by Marjorie Holmes called Two from Galilee. She assured me I would never look at the manger the same again. She was right, it was wonderful. A must read.

I read the gospel accounts so many times I have them memorized. Perusing online I purchased every book I could find about Mary and dove in. The best was titled, The Real Mary by Scot McKnight. What I discovered about Mary made her into my new best friend.

Jesus’ mother was no doormat. She was an ordinary young woman whom God called to do a job for Him. A faithful, courageous, dangerous woman of witness whose life I now can really relate to and aspire to emulate.

Mary was a woman of faith because when God called on her to do a seemingly impossible task for Him she said “yes” and let Him work out the details. She trusted God.

She was a courageous woman because she could have been stoned or divorced, she could and probably was ostracized. So would her baby for being illegitimate. Yet, she still answered His call on her life with a yes and trusted Him to protect them.

At some points in her journey she must have thought, “O Holy Night, what have I done?” Because God didn’t promise following Him would be easy, just that He would see us through.  Imagine five days on a donkey’s back in the wind and heat nine months pregnant.  That must have been fun.

Mary was dangerous because when she arrived at Elizabeth’s house and her calling was confirmed she broke into song.

In the Magnificat (found in Luke chapter 1), Mary’s words to Elizabeth, were tantamount to treason against the king (one who had members of his own family murdered if he perceived them as a threat).

McNight showed me that when she sang “God has brought down rulers from their thrones“, hearers would have immediately seen the implications for Herod and Rome. When she announced “God has sent the rich away empty” hearers would have immediately thought of those benefiting from the heavy taxation.

When Mary proclaimed “God has lifted the humble” and “has filled the hungry with good food” folks would have known it was meant for the poor just like her.

If Mary had sung her Magnificat on the streets of Nazareth among her peers they would have toasted and shouted halleluiah! But if Herod had gotten wind of it she would have been crucified. She sang it anyway believing God. So confident was she that she sang in past tense as though God had already done it. She simply trusted God to do what He promised.

In the 1980s her song was banned in Guatemala as subversive to the government. No patsy our Mary. No, she was not a wimp.

Second Chronicles 16:9 says, “the LORD searches all over the earth for people who have given themselves completely to Him. He wants to make them strong.”

So, how about you? God promises He has a job for each of us to do. He will make us strong if we will trust Him. When He calls you out for His purpose will you, like Mary answer, “Let it be to me as you say?” Or will you turn away in fear, untrusting and doubtful. I am praying for courage to say, “Here am I LORD, send me!” Hope you are too.

Merry Christmas!

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