Cookin’ Up a Good Life

October 25, 2022 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Dawn Wilson –

Ask my family. I’m not a good cook. I’m a good baker. I’m a cookie pro. But the other stuff—nope.

Mud pies are more delectable than my beef casserole. My husband’s dinner beverage of choice is Alka-Seltzer. My sons refer to our smoke detector as “Mom’s oven timer.”

I’ve managed better in recent years. Holiday dinners now consist of Costco ready-mades.

Although my family remembers my cooking adventures with exclamations of “Yikes!” or “Oh, wow!” (and “wow” is not meant to be positive), they have other memories of home that more than make up for my recipe experiment “catastrophes.”

Looking back, I think my sons had a pretty good life, and our granddaughters are getting healthy servings of the good life, too.

By “the good life,” I don’t mean everything was peachy-keen. We weren’t “rolling in the dough,” and we had more than our share of problems; but there was something that held us together like that stuff that makes bread sticky.

No, it was someone … God.

God is the not-so-secret ingredient that helped us respond to each other in love. He showed us how to stay on mission as a family. We took Matthew 6:33 seriously: “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (ESV).
The “all these things” included our food, shelter, and clothing—the basic necessities of life. Though others may not agree with our analysis, we felt rich because God was our Blessed Provider. We observed some other families with far more material possessions who struggled with their relationships, were never happy, and always in conflict or discontent. We knew we had it good.

As our sons matured, they realized how unique our family was compared to the many they saw in the world. I kept reminding them, “Knowing God makes a difference.” They saw other families suffer the consequences of making wrong choices—many of them falling apart in divorce or alienation. Then my boys compared others’ lifestyles to how we tackled stresses with the truth of God’s Word and practiced love and faithfulness. They understood the difference.

Along the way, God threw in some surprise adventures, like ministry opportunities as a family in Canada, and community holiday activities that filled our hearts as we honored the Lord.

Yes, in seeking God we enjoyed such rich blessing. The “all these things” meant so much more to us than possessions. We experienced the guidance of the Scriptures, a loving and supportive church family, encouraging friendships in Christ, and the joy to cooperate with God as He changed all of our hearts.

We know the “good life” doesn’t come from our good works, but from God’s good mercy and grace. It’s all about God’s good work in us (Philippians 1:6). His recipe for cookin’ up an amazing life can’t be beat.

The Gravity of the Situation

October 21, 2022 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Rhonda Rhea –

There are several reasons I’ll never skydive. I’ll give you my top two. First, I’ve seen videos of people skydiving. Their faces…well…they “flutter.” Wildly. Honestly, I don’t need to see my face flapping violently over my ears, thank you very much. That kind of wind velocity is just not meant for faces over 40. It ends up looking like a basset hound pup with its head out a car window—multiplied by how ever many years you are over 40.

I’m not daring enough to sass the math. Gravity plus wind velocity times X the number of years over 40. That’s an equation that simply can’t equal anything pretty.

But in addition to the math of it all, the second reason you won’t find me skydiving—and the biggest reason—is this simple: gravity. Seems to me skydiving could all too easily become sky-dying. It’s not even the jumping out of a plane part that scares me so much as it is the inevitability of the hitting the ground part. No it’s not the jumping, or even the falling. It’s the landing. And the possibility of it ending in a splat. Sometimes I wonder if people who skydive don’t really understand the “gravity” of the situation.

That reminds me, though, how glad I am that I know where I’m headed, eternally speaking. I don’t fear death. I will confess here, I do fear pain. Actually it’s not quite fear of pain. It’s more of a very vigorously enthusiastic hatred of pain.

But pain or no pain, it’s essential we know that our future is secure and that death, however it comes, is not the end. There’s amazing comfort there. And that always tends to put fear in its place. It even puts math in its place.

Second Corinthians 4:16-18 says, “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal,” (ESV).

The Amplified version of verse 17 refers to our existence on the other side of this flappy-faced life as “an everlasting weight of glory, beyond all measure, excessively surpassing all comparisons and all calculations, a vast and transcendent glory and blessedness never to cease!” Now that, my friends, is a weight that defies gravity. This is some math I can love. It’s a beyond-all-measure, never-ceasing glory. Its calculations are beyond comparison in this life. No need to bother with any old equation. This is the greatest of the “greater thans.”

I want to follow Paul’s instructions in this passage to “not lose heart.” As a matter of fact, instead of losing my heart, I want to keep it. And I know it’s some strange math, but I think keeping my heart means giving it away. A heart fully surrendered to Christ is one that is able to look past the pains of this life and to look past a wildly flapping, wasting-away face, experiencing renewal day by day. I want to live in that renewal. I want to live this life well in the power of the One who created me. And then, I want to finish well. I want to “stick the landing,” so to speak. Even if it ends with a splat.

A LOT of Hot Air!

October 14, 2022 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Liz Cowen Furman –

Every autumn, in Dubois Wyoming, near Yellowstone, we close and winterize our little motel, the Black Bear Inn. Draining the pipes prevents ruptures owed to the savagely cold winters. On several occasions, we have had to hire help to flush out the pipes. Last year, the men we contracted waited until after the first hard freeze. Their incompetence blew several expensive connections and cost us irreplaceable time while hustling to open in the spring. At that moment, we vowed to do the work ourselves, because replacing the cracked insides of nearly every toilet was such a pain in the drain.

When the time came to close the motel this year, all my assistants from home either fell ill or had prior engagements. Lee, my wonderful housekeeper, and her daughter, Sky, saved the day by helping prepare. However, we are not plumbers and were at a loss as to how to blow out the pipes once we drained them. During prayer request time at our church, I asked God to send anyone who knew plumbing preservation to help us accomplish this seemingly insurmountable task. God answered our prayer in the form of a cheerful handyman who volunteered to come the following morning and not only help but teach us how to do it ourselves.

Minutes into the project, our geriatric compressor blew a fuse and died. Generously, Lee volunteered the brand new compressor she recently purchased for her husband. After a few minutes of its service, the second compressor blew a gasket and perished. I called the local hardware store, whose owner was a dear friend of my late father-in-law, to inquire about renting a third compressor. When I arrived at the store he said, “I have the compressor for you, follow me.” We arrived at his place to find a compressor the size of my dining table mounted on a truck.

Once started, the compressor blew out the pipes in 30 minutes. However, it was so powerful we could not keep everything closed without blowing off the faucet heads. We solved this by opening all the faucets on the top half of the motel, then opening them all, to finally close the top leaving the bottom open, then repeat. It blew so much hot air that my hand under the sink faucet felt like a blow dryer was turned on it. Amazing how the right tool for the job makes it go more smoothly. It took us from about 9:00 am to 3:00 pm to find that tool but once we did, life was a breeze (more like a gale force wind).

Paralleled in our spiritual lives, issues arise where we don’t know what to do, or how to react. I have so often tried resolutions of my own. Inevitably, when I have killed my “geriatric compressor” (or brain) I resort to turning to the Lord. At least I used to. Now when something comes up that I’m not sure how to handle, I “seek WISDOM” in God’s Word, in prayer and from Godly friends.

James 1:5 states, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you” (NIV).

I am determined to ask God for help as a first resort from now on, rather than a last one. Join me?


October 7, 2022 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Kim Stokely –

It’s tough to be satisfied in our crazy world.

We stop at a restaurant for a light lunch and somehow get talked into ordering a triple bacon deluxe with extra cheese and super-sized fries.

We invest in a new computer, only to be disappointed the following week when its next generation arrives on the shelves with ten times the previous processing speed, 100% more storage and new technology so it’ll pay all your bills while it cooks your dinner.

My husband’s mother was recently singing his praises to family members we hadn’t seen in years. “John performs with his band around Omaha. He’s really good. You should hear the songs he’s written for Kim.”

My husband’s cousin, Cathy, turned to her spouse in mock reproach. “You’ve never written me a song.”

My mother-in-law continued, “John’s written Kim lots of songs! Funny ones. Romantic ones. They’re all wonderful.”

Cathy playfully smacked her husband Todd on the arm. “How come you’ve never written me a song?”

John, embarrassed by his mother’s attention, jumped to Todd’s defense. “He built you a house! I think that’s enough!”

“Yeah!” Todd laughed, thankful for the back-up.

It’s true. The deck we were sitting on had been designed and built by Todd. Not to mention the entire beautiful house.

In Cathy’s defense, we all tend to forget the blessings of the past because we are constantly bombarded with the message that to be happy, we need something new. How much time do we spend asking God for more; instead of thanking Him for all he has already provided in our lives?

Psalm 90:14 says, “Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days”(NIV). It’s my goal to wake up each day, rejoicing in all God has given me, instead of striving each day for more.

Lesson from a Zombie

September 30, 2022 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Dawn Wilson –

I’m not a zombie fan, but a TV commercial by Sprint Unlimited about an “undead” zombie made me laugh. In the commercial, a creepy-looking zombie asks a Sprint representative whether their “unlimited for life guarantee” also applies to someone who is “technically” not alive: “Like, maybe you were … undead”?

The Sprint rep replies, “Sure, like a zombie.” The slightly offended zombie suggests she not put “labels” on people. But when his ear falls off, he has to confess, “… I’m a zombie.”

We never try to pretend to be something other than we’re not, do we?

I’m reminded that the Pharisees strutted around, proud of their good works. They thought they were fooling people with their self-righteousness. But Jesus saw inside their hearts to where their lives were falling apart.

He called them “white-washed tombs” (Matthew 23:27-28) full of dead men’s bones. Hypocrites.

Before we get all judgmental with the Pharisees, we need to check our own hearts.
• Are we filled with pride?
• Do we spend more time looking “spiritual” while our inner life—intimacy with God—would make us blush if others knew?
• Do we want people to think we’re better than we are?
• Do we modify our actions to appear “holier than thou”?
• Do we quickly condemn others, but get defensive when others point out our own failings?
• Do we get upset when people don’t notice our spiritual accomplishments?

When the zombie’s ear fell off, the obvious exposure made me laugh.

But I don’t laugh when others discover my façades.

The cure for all of this, of course, is to know God and to get real with Him so we can be real with others. It’s recognizing we don’t need to impress anyone. We certainly don’t need to appease or impress the Lord. When we confess our sins, He is faithful to forgive; and He can certainly handle our everyday mistakes.

This is a call for authenticity. Honesty. Knowing who we are and Whose we are, and living in light of that truth. In Christ, we are accepted and secure, and we have dignity.

Once we know who we are in Christ, we certainly don’t need to pretend (like that zombie in the commercial) that we’re something other than what God says we are: sinners rescued by God’s grace on an incredible journey of transformation to become like His Son. Our greatest goal now is to live for the praise of His glory (1 Peter 4:11), not our own.

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