Sunday, October 12, 2014


This will be the last entry in my devotional blog.  I believe that, with my last article, I have exhausted the ideas that my unique experiences have caused me to contemplate -- my own spin on religious issues.

I've pointed out such ideas as "taking the Lord's name in vain" as meaning pretending to believe in God, rather than true belief.  Most Christians think it means saying things like Oh, my God, instead.  My take on it shows it as a much greater offence, I think.  You've been reminded of a Christian's required behaviors should the second coming of Christ occur during our lifetimes.  You've been asked if there is a real issue in whether God picked up dust and a rib to create Adam and Eve or whether God let us evolve from the sea and/or animal-kind, instead.  The creator of the universe was in charge either way.  And is it our arrogance that makes us believe we are "better" than creation's other animals or plant, insect, fish and fowl species?

How anybody could look at this planet and not believe that it was created by a being far greater, more brilliant and creative than man, I cannot fathom.  But there are those who don't believe and I pity them their lack.

So, goodbye, until we meet again -- in cyberspace or heaven.  May God be with you. 

See Lou Hough's other blogs at or see

Monday, October 6, 2014

What Does It Matter?

Like most college students, my friends and I joined the great debate about evolution.  Coming from a Southern Baptist background, I was imbued with the creation story.  You know, the one where God decided man needed a mate to keep him from being lonely and man responded, oh, wow, here's someone I can dominate!  Bring her on, God. 

Then there was the great Scope's trial that pitted the Bible against science, the scientific version being that we have evolved from creatures of the past.  Well, even if God did create first man, first woman, we did, are and forever will be evolving.  But, I get ahead of myself.

Kansas City, Missouri, used to have a big gorilla named Big Man.  I once saw a huge, black, black African American male stand for forever staring down that gorilla.  The primate was somewhat larger and a whole lot hairier, but otherwise they could have been twins -- something the man did not miss, himself.

When I look at a certain country musician under his huge cowboy hat, I see a turtle backing under it's shell.  A man I once knew looked like a monkey.

Some dog show people we used to hang around with looked at a picture of me sitting next to our two show afghan hounds and said "there are Ron's three dogs."  I guess I could have gotten insulted, but they didn't say I looked like a pug.  Besides, better friends than they came to my immediate defense.
Truth be told, we've known for years that a lot of people look so much like the pets they choose that it is almost comical.

The problem with accepting evolution is that the human race has set themselves on a pedestal.  We think we are superior to the others of the animal species.  We believe we are the only ones who can think and speak and create . . .

But perhaps we hold ourselves in too high esteem.  You see, we have colonies of ants and hives of bees, the latter having a queen or leader bee.  We have schools of fish and flocks of geese.  We can even see some intelligence in plant as well as animal and insect life.  Have you ever noticed how many weeds somehow settle themselves next to flowers of similar appearance?

During those college days of flexing my brain and learning new ideas, I asked my boss his opinion.  He was the President of the Southern Illinois College of the Bible, a Baptist school housed at Southern Illinois University.  His answer has stuck with me always -- and kept me humble.

"What does it matter if God chose evolution as the way to create us?"

Really, what does it?  God is in control either way.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Are You The Pearl Or The Irritant?

"Gather the people together, men, and women, and children, and thy stranger that is within thy gates, that they may hear and that they may learn . . ."  Deuteronomy 31:12

We are surrounded on all sides these days with ministers and lay people reminding us that we are where we are right now because God wants us here to learn something.  Sometimes  --  but not always  --  this is true.

I once asked God what my role on this earth actually was.  Clearly and distinctly I got the response.  "You are a catalyst."  Lo and behold when I look back on my life, I have found situation after situation where I have been used to effect change.  So, you see, I believe that not all lessons are meant for us.  Sometimes we are placed in difficult situations because our boss, our neighbor, a casual acquaintance needs to grow stronger.

Now that I know my role, I can take a little more relaxed view of my world.  I probably need to quit bellyaching so much about some situations, and when I find myself doing so, I'm reminded that sometimes the lessons are meant for me.

The time I was told my role, I reminded God that sometimes I can be vulnerable to pain also.  I don't mind being used to bring change where it is needed.  But is there any way it could hurt a little less?

I'm reminded now of the "birthing" of a pearl.  We know that a pearl's very existence requires a grain of sand or other irritant to cause an oyster to secrete the substance that surrounds the grain and turns it into a pearl.  Sometimes the pearl turns out to be a perfect size and shape.  Sometimes it turns into a baroque.

When I was very young, I saw a movie about discovery of a pearl that showed great promise.  In order to be sure, a pearl specialist had to polish and rub it down to find it's worth.  There was a big to do about it.  The specialist sat at a wooden table out of doors with a breathless audience watching.  In the end, the specialist dropped the irritant, not a beautiful pearl, into the pile of unusable nacre.  I suspect it was an honor that nature had chosen that oyster to attempt to make a pearl from an irritant, whatever the final outcome.

Perhaps we should feel honored when we find ourselves in situations where we are being used for others to learn and grow.  In the end, it is for God, our specialist, to determine the value of the pearl, just as it was His judgment as to whether our life experiences were meant for us to learn or teach or both.  We can accept our roles or fight them.  I suspect either way, student or teacher, we will have learned from each other.  Is there any other way?  And, by the way, God, I am honored to serve, even if it hurts.

Monday, September 15, 2014

I Am With You

". . . and lo, I am with you alway even unto the end of the world."  Matthew 28:20

How many times as a child did the words "I'm here", from your parents, give you comfort?  Think how much more of a comfort it was when Jesus said it to his disciples.  I am with you alway  . . .  I will be with you until the end of the world . . . You will have my help and support through thick and thin . . . until I return at the end.

Do we call on him for solace when we need help?  Do we thank him when it's done? To God, the Father, God, the son, and God the holy spirit do we give our thanks?  I am lonely, I am scared, I need your healing touch.

To God, the son, the holy spirit . . . thank you so much for your help.  I feel my anxiety lessened.  My fear is subdued.  My pain has numbed.

I praise your name for your help.  Amen

Sunday, September 7, 2014

How It Will Be

". . . That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.  Two men will be in the field, one will be taken and the other left . . ."  Matthew 24:39-41

My sense some weeks back was that I should read about prophesy right now, and that I should begin with Matthew, not the Old Testament.  My NIV Rainbow Study Bible makes this easy, as the passages are color coded.  Coincidentally -- or not --  I've reached prophesy about the end days just as our world seems to be experiencing some of the signs of them.  Part of me hopes not, because I think I still have a lot left to do here.  But, of course, I also look forward to being in the presence of our maker and his son.

The passage today says people working side by side could see different fates at the end.  One could be taken and the other left -- men and women alike.  Imagine that.  People could disappear before our very eyes, or we could disappear before theirs.  Of course we expect to join our family and friends as they collect around God's throne.

I'm reminded of the joke about the individual who arrives in heaven only to be shocked to see others he had expected would be sent to the hot place.  He inquired why everybody was so quiet.  God said not to mind them.  They were just surprised to see him there.

Good reason to get ourselves straight with the Lord before the real end is nigh, don't you think?

Monday, September 1, 2014

A Word To The Wise And Myself

"He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city."  Proverbs 16:32

If you read my Issues blog today, you will know that I let myself get riled this weekend.  I wish I had prepared this devotional before, rather than after, the experience.  But I don't know that it would have prepared me for the evil onslaught of the strangers with which I was dealing.

Circumstances can surely blindside you sometimes and if you don't wander around with your shields up, you sometimes take one in the gut.  And you also sometimes deliver one to someone else's as well.

I guess it's not possible to be on guard at all times, but it would probably help if we at least try to hit our center before we start our days.  We might be better armed if we would do that.

Now, I'm not concerned about the friends of my friend.  They didn't behave any better than I did.  In fact, they probably behaved worse considering they knew nothing about what was going on and acted like they did.  But if I lost that long-time friend it would be sad.

I guess when we are dealing with a load of junk ourselves, it would probably be advisable if we remembered others are probably dealing with a load of junk, too.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Our Job In The End

"Let no one on the roof of his house go down to take anything out of the house."  Matthew 24:17

As Jesus left the temple, after announcing to the teachers there all the woes that would come upon them, he told the disciples to look at the buildings.  He said all the stones would be torn down.

The disciples wanted to know when it would all happen.  They wanted a sign of his coming.

He told them to beware of the fake Messiahs.  He says the signs will be wars and rumors of wars.  He speaks of famines and earthquakes.  He who stands firm will be saved in the end.

Jesus wants everyone to understand that Christians in Judea are to flee to the mountains.  We are to leave the roof and the field without taking anything with us.

Over and over we see signs of the end.  Quakes like the one this morning in California.  Quakes here and there.  Wars everywhere like in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Ukraine.  We hear now of Iraqi Christians seeking shelter in the mountains.  But is this the end time?  That's just it.  The Bible tells us that nobody knows or will know.

It will not be announced that morning that this is the day.  It will just happen.  And our job is to walk away from everything and to be faithful to Jesus until the end. 

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Not On The Outside Anymore

"Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit."  Matthew 21:43

Some passages of the New Testament have always bothered me.  They are the ones where Jesus assures any non Jewish people that he did not come to earth to save them.  He tells us more than once that he came to save his own kind  --  the Jews.

I find it more than a little hurtful that he implied, through a non Jewish woman, that we were curs that receive his attention like scraps under a table.

Therefore, I find Matthew 21:43 a refreshing change from his usual words.  In this scripture he seems to be telling the Jews that they will lose the kingdom of heaven to a people who will produce its fruit.  Certainly Christianity produced worldwide fruit, multiplying and growing through until this day. 

Now, I don't feel so badly, Jesus.  Maybe we Christians are "a people" of whom you spoke.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

This, Too, Shall Pass Away

". . and this, too, shall pass away. . .".  This partial quote is from a speech made by Abraham Lincoln.  He told the story of a king from the far east who asked his wise men to make up a statement that would apply to all situations, good or bad.

I walked up the stairs to the library, watching my surroundings.  I saw a somewhat familiar face, but it had changed just enough I wasn't sure.  As I started to pass by, the face said, "I know you".

I mentioned a name, a question to my voice.  She confirmed.

I'd run into her once before at Wal-Mart, maybe about seven or eight years ago.  I'd grabbed and hugged her too hard that time -- just enough to irritate her  --  so I was careful not to push.  She rose from the bench and embraced me this time.

"How are your boys?" she asked.  I answered and added a note about my daughter and her kids.

"Do you remember my son?" she asked, describing the one she meant.  A visual image of a cute, sweet little boy, who had always been friendly to me, came to mind.

She described how her son had grown to manhood, attended college and worked with kids.  He had grown to be a wonderful person, as I would have expected.  Then she told me he was dead, cut down by heart trouble on a basketball court.  At least he was having fun at the end.

I have tears in my eyes as I write this today.  That wonderful little boy became a wonderful man and then he was gone.

She talked about how they had known of his heart problems since childhood.  "And we got to have him for twenty-three years," she said.  The positive spin that soothed her aching heart.

"I know why you took him when you did, Father," I said.  "You wanted him with you."

In a recent sermon Joel Osteen said God never leaves us in the valleys of life and when He brings us out, He makes things better for us than before the valley.

Part of me grieves for the ache in her heart -- and the hearts of her husband and the other three children.  The rest of me admires the courage and faith with which she faces life, as well as, death.

The hole in her life will never completely heal, I guess, but the ache will lessen as she remembers his beauty and sweetness.  Her life will go on and grandchildren will arrive periodically.  She'll have more good times to balance the bad.

This, too, shall pass away, may not mean that she will never grieve again.  But it does mean that she will crest the top of the hill once more and more joy will be in her vision.

And then at the end, she, too, will reach her time and he will be waiting with other loved ones to escort her to her Lord.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

All In The Name Of God

". . . All the killing?  It was for God.  Someone says the wrong prayer -- good-bye.  Someone eats the wrong food -- adios.  Spring comes and this one says Happy Ramadan, and this one says Happy Passover, and this one says Happy Easter, and then they pick up their swords and try to cut each other's head off."  Anabelle, a character in Man In The Woods, a novel by Scott Spencer.  HarperCollins Publishers, 2010.

And then the Almighty, the creator of the universe, paces the heavens wondering what He did when He created mankind.  Was this a worse mistake than the artichoke?  (And yes, I like artichokes, too).

I can't speak for those saying Happy Ramadan, but the other two were instructed by God not to kill.  It is one of the Ten Commandments.  His commandments.  Yet what do the people of the world do?  They kill, kill, kill.  That is the nature of the beast inside them.  It courses through their veins.  They acquire a taste for it -- a thirst for the jugular.  And then they have the audacity to blame it on God.  They are killing to collect converts for their version of our creator -- Jehovah or Allah.

How we shame our creator!  We disobey his directive and then refuse to be held accountable for our sins.  It isn't us, they say.  We are doing this for God, they repeat.  We are supposed to bring converts to the fold.

Some models of religious persuasion we are!  Do we show the world how to be good?  Do we concentrate on saving souls and feeding the poor?  Are we examples of mercy?  Good judgment?

No!  We are examples of shooting and knifing and bombing.  We destroy in the name of Jehovah and Allah.  Then we have the nerve to pray in our churches and mosques and temples.

Well, maybe in another time and place, we might set good examples by caring and loving behaviors -- by being kind and thoughtful -- by being gentle.

I don't know about you, but I don't think a loving and worthy God will accept our gifts of death and destruction.  He wants life and well-being.

So pack up your guns, your bombs, your knives, your evil ways and ask the God in Heaven to forgive you for your sins and to show you how to win converts through being friends. 

Thursday, July 10, 2014


Matthew 23:23 and Luke 18:12

I've been watching a Bible study with Kenneth and Gloria Copeland the last couple of weeks.  They are focusing on tithing right now.

The tithe has been somewhat of a mystery to me during my lifetime.  I can't tell exactly where the tithe being ten per cent of one's income is written in the King James version.  I've seen it in another translation.  On the one hand we have the widow's mite being heralded as more than anyone else's offering.  She paid all she had/they paid some of their abundance.  I get that 100 per cent of nothing is more generous than ten per cent of a lot -- in terms of the expense to the giver.  But a widow's mite isn't likely to go far toward feeding the priest or building the temple.

I also get the concept that it is the generosity of the heart Jesus was praising, as well he should.

I bought a Biblical Concordance by James Strong last week for help with finding specific references, but it has not been particularly helpful on these questions.  (Thanks to the Half Price Store's used book discount, it didn't even cost the amount of a whole tithe).

I also get that God loses patience with people who give their entire tithe to their churches while letting their parents or children go without.  I believe he wants us to help our families and that he counts that as part of our tithe.

Some of what bothers me, though, is the teaching that abundance will escape us if we fail to tithe, but return if we give ten per cent.  Think about that a bit.  How would I feel about myself if I gave God my $82.30 per month so God would give me more?  The widow didn't seem to give her mites so she could get more.  She gave God all she had and just walked away.

Another thing that always bothered me was claiming charitable contributions, including tithes to churches, on our income tax returns.  Do people, then, give God ten percent of their tax savings?  And wouldn't He appreciate it more if we just generously handed it over without expecting something back?  Probably.

Then there is the problem of paying all the bills after one forks over all they have (or sometimes even ten per cent).  Perhaps the widow didn't have to pay rent, utilities, car gas, car or buy food, to say nothing of various insurance premiums.  Try living on nothing today.  Perhaps we could live like Jesus, traveling town to town and living on the largesse of good Christian people.  But, then, Jesus had a gift of his own to share with others.  People were happy to house him for a few days while listening to his sermons or watching him perform his miracles.  Where does that leave the rest of us?  Not all that many people even partake of sermons or programs or devotions that are offered for free.  Much less are they willing to pay others a meal for them. 

Perhaps the tithe is just one of those mysteries that God will explain to us in the hereinafter.  In the meantime, the churches and pastors can reap the benefit of the abundance they bring.

But we do need to remember that God gets impatient if we tithe our garden products but overlook things pertaining to His laws like judgment, mercy and faith.  He wants our complete commitment, not just our dollars.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Touching Shoulders With Jesus

"Jesus said to them, you will indeed drink from my cup, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant.  These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared by my Father'".  Matthew 20:23

The mother of Zebedee's sons asked Jesus to reserve the places on his right and left for her sons.  Isn't that just like humans?  Everybody wants to be number one.  They seek out celebrities and nurture as good a relationship with them as they can.  It's as though they think that being near great people makes them great.

But Jesus told her and her sons that it was not his choice, but God's, who would be on his right or left.  God would make the decision as to who would touch shoulders with the Messiah.

Nothing's ever good enough for humans, is it?  Jesus had chosen just twelve disciples from an earth full of people, but Zebedee's wife and sons wanted first and second seats.

They should have been thanking the Almighty that they got to be in the presence of His son -- even in a crowd of onlookers -- much less wanting to be at the head table.  No wonder Jesus said, blessed are the meek.  He advised all present at the Sermon on the Mount that it was the meek who would inherit the earth, not the status seekers.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Signs Of Miracles

". . . You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.  A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a miraculous sign, but none will be given it. . .".  Matthew 16:3-4

Don't we all sometimes wish we had signs of what is to come?  Well, there were multitudes surrounding Jesus and they were asking for signs.  How many did they need?  Feeding thousands with loaves and fishes, as well as healing the sick and raising the dead weren't enough? 

If I understand correctly, he accused them of learning to interpret the signs of nature, but not the signs of future events.

Then he called them a wicked and adulterous generation who would get no miraculous signs.  In this case, it seems he is, once again, using the term adultery to imply a lack of faithfulness to God, not a mate.

Don't you wonder how they could sit around the real miracle -- Jesus -- and ask for a miracle?  He was quite justified in telling them they could not read the signs of miracles, or of the times.

How frustrated he must have been.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Be Careful About "Just Talking"

"You hypocrites!  Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you:  'These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.  They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.'"  Matthew 15:7-9  The New International Rainbow Study Bible

When we talk about the Ten Commandments and realize we are told not to take the Lord's name in vain, we are taught by men that it means not to say "oh my god" or similar little sayings.  I don't think that's what is meant by taking His name in vain and this scripture is one of the reasons.

According to Jesus, worshiping in vain has to do with saying religious things when you don't believe or feel them.  It means simply spouting the words we have heard from men, not from Jesus or God.

I once had a group of friends, members of a book club.  We were discussing parts of the New Testament one night.  Several of the members spoke with great authority about the scriptures they had studied in various Christian denomination churches.  During the evening it became apparent to all of us that they did not believe in the virgin birth or that Jesus rose from the grave.  This, I believe, is what Jesus meant when he said people worship him in vain and what God meant in his commandment. 

Being a Christian does not mean mouthing the words we read or hear from sermons.  It means really believing the unbelievable -- what is hard to swallow.

We are not taught it is easy to be Christian.  We are told it is very hard.  People look to believers for the truth.

If we don't really believe with our hearts and minds, we are just talking when we speak of God, the Father, and Jesus.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Why Parables?

". . . The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them."  Matthew 13:11

The disciples wanted to know why Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables.  His answer was that they (the disciples) had more knowledge of heaven than the people in the crowd.

He went on to say that the people, though seeing do not see, and though hearing, do not hear.  Jesus reminded them that Isaiah had prophesied that people would always hear, but never understand and always see, but never perceive.  He said the people had become calloused.  They had shut their ears and eyes and hearts.

In order for Jesus to heal the people in the crowds, he needed them to open up their minds and hearts so that they could more clearly grasp what he was teaching.

So Jesus taught with stories so that he might catch the attention of all who attended his gatherings.  He said he would speak in parables and thereby would tell the crowds things that had been hidden since creation.

He made the truths easier to understand.  It was their job to look, listen, comprehend and believe.

 A  Prayer For Reading Scripture

Father, please help me to read the words you want me to read.
Then, teach me to understand what I have read.
And further, to communicate this new knowledge to others,
So that they can understand as well.

Lou Hough

Friday, June 6, 2014


"Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you."  Matthew 5:12

This scripture comes right after the blessings Jesus announced during the sermon on the mount.  He had just told the people they were blessed when men reviled and persecuted them and told lies about them for righteousness sake.

How like we citizens of this world to go into attack mode about someone we assume to be a good person.  Haven't you noticed that?  The criminal element doesn't receive nearly as much bad mouthing as the "Sandra Dees" of this world.  Remember that song sung by "Rizz: in Grease?  "Look at me, I'm Sandra Dee, lousy with virginity."

But on and on people go, ignoring and cutting down the Christians of the world for being too good.  Haven't you heard people accuse others of being honest to a fault?  The intonation says that there is something bad about being honest, rather than good.  Haven't you known people that think their worldly ways made them understand the scripture more than the unworldly.  Then the unworldly think their way is better and they understand more than the worldly.

It's kind of a stuffed shirt duo duking it out to determine for themselves who is the best, when that is God's judgment, not our own that counts. 

Then, we have the ones who retaliate.  At the very least, they bad mouth and gossip.  In some times and some places, these have caused destruction, even death.

May the good Lord forbid that we should ever have another real prophet.  I guess they would have to create another martyr.  Their fear?  Someone should know more than they!  Their response?  That person should be hurt for their knowledge.  Their opinion?  Like Jesus, they should be hung on the cross until dead.  The result of not being able to crucify modern day prophets?  Attack instead with words -- or engage in terror tactics.

May God bring peace to this world.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

On A Prayer

". . . Talmudic scholars teach that every verse in the Torah has forty-nine different interpretations, each equally valid. . .".  Spoken by Paul Merlowitz, a character in Dark Spector by Michael Dibdin, Pantheon Books, 1995.

If you say so.  As I reread this statement this morning, I am bombarded with thoughts of my own.  Suppose I have forty-nine thoughts?

Perhaps you are wondering why a Christian woman is concerned with the Torah, the Jewish sacred scriptures.  I am reminded of the shock on Barbara Walters' face when she learned that Christians are somewhat concerned with Jewish beliefs.  You see, books from the Torah are part of the Christian Old Testament, part of our Bible.

Don't you know Christians who are totally overbearing in spouting that their interpretation of the scriptures is the one and only right way to view them?  And here we are told that the Jewish Talmudic scholars, themselves, can see a variety of ways to interpret every single verse.

We follow God's teachings, His will, on a wing and a prayer.  Now that last word, prayer, is the answer.  "Lord, please open my eyes and my mind so that I can learn what it is you want me to learn today.  Lead me to understand your ideas and your will".

Christians do have one helpful key to understanding.  We are instructed that when the Old Testament and Jesus' words seem in conflict, we are to follow the words of Jesus.

Happy reading, more understanding --  on a prayer.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

But How Is Your Heart?

The Christian Bible suggests that we should sing and dance for joy.  Today's arrests in Iran because six young people did just that and posted the video on the internet, is an example of how warped religious zealousness can get.  Even some Iranians are saying a little leniency might be in order.

I'm reminded of the book/movie One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest where the psycho toxic nurse shamed a young mentally ill man over his sexual needs.  It resulted in his suicide.

History is rife with the toxic side effects of religious nuts and their habit of trying to force their uptight rules on others.  We've got stories of wars ranging from Christianity through Islam . . . from Protestants to Catholics . . . throughout the world.

I want to ask them all, but how is your heart?  Jesus noted that men were as they thought in their hearts.

Is your heart filled with love or killing?  Is it filled with compassion or with compulsion?  Which do you think your god or my God would want to feel emanating from you?

Really people, besides the fact that cramming your beliefs down someone else's throats is not very effective, it's not very smart.

What is effective is holding love in our hearts.  The forcing, raging and killing are not love.  You can catch more converts with the love.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Let's Not Quarrel

"So Abram said to Lot, 'Lets not have any quarreling between you and me. . .'" Genesis 13:8

God -- and Jesus -- want us all to love one another.  This is especially so when we are family.  So, having written this much of this article, I read part of the May 19, 2014, Time Magazine.  I read the interview with Barry Gibb where he talks of moping around the house after he lost his brothers and how hard it is to form a band around close family members.  He said, "When you're blood, the rivalry is pretty intense."  He said everyone wants to be the favorite.

I know he's right, but how I hate that.  I've already told you how I feel competition outside business and sports seems so unfriendly.  I guess I want unconditional positive regard from those who are supposed to love me.  I need them to read my work and urge me on even when they don't agree with me -- my brothers, my children, my grandchildren.

I need to be surrounded by family and friends who encourage my journey through life like I try to do for all of them.  I hope they don't feel I've failed them.

I pray they will like my work, but even if the don't like it, I need them to defend my right to do it.

Don't you all need the love and emotional support of your family and friends?  Don't you think God would want us to try over and over again to give others the support we want from them?  Let's give it another try, why don't we?

Wednesday, April 30, 2014


Joel Osteen spoke April 27, 2014, about God speaking to people and how we need to listen.  In the non-Christian world, this point of view is tantamount to telling someone that we're crazy.  But those of us who know, know

Pastor Osteen says he knows in his heart when something is right.  (I note he usually holds his stomach, though, when he speaks of receiving God's guidance).  Much of my sensing is felt in my stomach, as well. 

In the religious world, many people refer to such messages as visionaries.  Some call them words of knowledge.  All take care whom they tell about them because of the negative reactions they bring from others.  There was a time people would have been committed to the loony bin for telling.  Fortunately, there are guidelines now restraining others from sending people off to asylums unless they are a danger to themselves or others.

The sermon set me off on a memory trip.  A common kind of visionary is to be headed toward a destination in a route you usually take, but feel you absolutely should not go that way this time.  How many times have you headed that way anyway and found yourself embroiled in a traffic jam?  That's what Joel Osteen means by listening to God when he speaks to you.

My two favorite times involved Montgomery Wards.  My second job, a seasonal one, was over, but I still needed extra work.  Nothing appropriate was showing up in the ads.  I just couldn't shake the feeling that I should try Montgomery Wards.  I called, but nobody answered.  I went out there.  The personnel director wasn't there.  I looked at the message board and found an announcement about a position in the sewing machine and vacuum department.  The good Lord knows I was experienced at using both of these.  Eventually the personnel department and I connected so I could fill out an application.  A week or two went by and I'd heard nothing.  I was so sure of my message from the Almighty that I asked one of my sons if Wards hadn't called.  "Oh, yeah, he said.  They did."  "When?" I asked.  "I don't know.  Two or three days ago." 

Still feeling comfortable with my word of knowledge, my visionary, I called them back and explained what had happened.  It appears the manager who received my app had felt I would be a better fit in the toy department because of my experience working with kids. 

So began my job in Lawn and Garden, Toys and Sporting Goods.  The manager of that department meant it to be a seasonal position until I said I wanted something more permanent.  He asked what experience I had with garden implements.  I could honestly say that for a number of years I had spent far more money on garden tools than clothes.  And I knew how to use them.

The next visionary is the kind that can truly get you locked up if you aren't careful.  I had just turned 62 when my full-time employer began passing bad paychecks.  Because of working two jobs much of the time, I seemed to always be applying for work and faced the prospect with great dread.  I saw the bad paychecks as a sign the company was about to fold.  So, I went to Social Security and applied for retirement.  I worked out a part time position with my company and planned to continue it as long as they stayed open.  Retirement was to become official on November 1.  On October 19 in the p.m., I bought a new computer for writing and for playing on the internet.  I had gone to the food court and prayed, asking if it would be okay.  I was certain I was told He would not authorize it, but if I chose to make the purchase, He would see I got money to pay for it.  On October 20, 2000, the company announced it was folding and most of us were working our last day.  I kept the computer, as God had promised and I knew He would be good for His word.  He didn't disappoint.

But still, I needed something part time.  Montgomery Wards near my new home was looking for a salesperson in women's clothes.  This time it wasn't a feeling in my gut or a sensing in my heart.  I was told directly not to apply because something was about to happen at Wards and "I don't want you there when it does."  What happened?  Wards, almost immediately, announced that they were going to close their doors for good.

So, like Joel Osteen said on Sunday, you have to be willing to listen.  You have to follow the messages whether they come to your stomach, your heart or your mind.  You have to heed the words.  And you have to take the opinions of others concerning the state of your mental health with a grain of salt.  You see, they may not be as privileged as God's crowd, or they may just not be tuned into the messages.  Whatever the case, this is for real, folks.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

No Money Accepted

I have received a few e-mails attempting to give me (or my devotional program) money.  Much as most of us could use extra cash in this day and age, my ministry through these blogs is free.  I receive no money for the work that I do here. 

Neither am I able to help the individuals who write and ask for financial assistance.  I am a retiree who writes because that is who and what I am and have been since high school. I live on a shoestring budget.

I hope that my three blogs are of benefit to others.  Much as I get discouraged sometimes, I believe that enough people read them to make my efforts worthwhile.

My blogs are as follows:   This is a political blog.  Many of my readers might disagree with my positions, yet I pray that they find a new way of interpreting and understanding their own political beliefs.  Personally, I tend toward being a liberal Democrat.  Yet, surprisingly, I occasionally agree with Republicans, such as in matters concerning the right to bear arms.  I strongly believe that we should improve our public schools and see that they are controlled at the national level.  That way we can be more sure that all students are presented similar materials and have equal opportunities to learn.  I believe that we should continue to support education at the highest level we can afford.  These children are the future for ourselves as well as later generations.     This is a place where I vent my hurts, angers, observations and knowledge to anyone who feels they can learn and benefit from the work.  If I offend others with my interpretations of their behaviors, I consider it poetic justice for them offending us.  As President Truman once said, "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen."  If you don't want others criticizing you, don't make waves in their lives.  It is time we demand that others treat us with the same dignity and respect that they expect and demand of us.    These devotionals are often based on life events.  They are meant to give others my spin on the world as interpreted by Bible passages and/or things I have learned from living seventy-five years. 

I believe that each of us can learn from each other.  I believe strongly in God.  I've had experiences that some would consider ridiculous, yet I know they are real because I have lived them.  I have survived much. 

Many of my beliefs are based on the Golden Rule and on my strong feeling that neither government nor religious preferences should ever interfere with individual rights.  Government and organized religions are meant to help masses of people be better organized and more considerate of each other.  They are supposed to help us survive, not interfere with our quality of life.  I seldom hear a liberal or conservative in either group who does not use his position to bully others into his/her own way of thinking.

I hope each individual who reads my work finds help, entertainment or becomes introduced to new perspectives.  My point of view is presented from the Main Street perspective.  That is how I started my political blog. 

Friday, April 18, 2014

From Sadness Comes Great Courage and Purpose

Unless you have been out of the country or live in a complete vacuum, you no doubt have heard of the recent terrors wrought on people of the Kansas City area. 

For several weeks, a phantom shooter has been targeting vehicles on some of the more traveled highways across western Missouri and eastern Kansas.  Approximately twenty incidents have happened, making drivers who use the highways experience at least high anxiety as they went to work.  Police and other law enforcement agencies worked together to find the shooter and possible copy cats.  They believe at least twelve of the incidents are linked.  There is sufficient evidence to support an arrest and arraignment of a suspect for nine of them.  He is currently in jail with a million dollar bond -- cash only.

In the midst of all this craziness, a shooter opened fire at two Jewish facilities last Sunday afternoon.  When the probable shooter was arrested that afternoon, he yelled anti-Semitic slurs and hailed Hitler as he was put into the police car.  These two incidents have been labeled as hate crimes.  A no brainer, really. 

As a young college student, I remember praying that our world could become more ecumenical.  Over the years I've felt we were making progress internationally.  There are inter-faith councils.  Priests and Rabbis talk with each other.  People attend each others celebrations where possible.

My ex and I sent two of our three children to preschool at the Jewish Community Center when it was still in Kansas City, Missouri.  Several of their teachers took university classes from my ex.  (My daughter then spent three years of her elementary education in a Catholic school.)   My wishes for a more ecumenical world sometimes seems to be close at hand.  Then the Arabs and Jews will go at it again.  Or, horror of horrors, the radical Muslims will strike out at someone.  In Africa, Christians and Muslims alike, have been killing each other.  One step forward, two steps back.

The killings at the Jewish Community Center and the Jewish nursing home actually killed three Christians, not Jews.  Today, a Memorial Service was held by Jewish people honoring the fallen Christians.  They are also grieving one more attack on themselves.  Christians, Muslims and Jews all joined together for the service today.  Voices were heard to say we will all just grow stronger despite these types of attacks.  Hear, hear.

But while the participants turn sadness into courage and purpose, the psychologist in me feels the need to say:  Let's spend some time, some dollars, some effort trying to figure out why such hate and psychosis grows inside the individuals who perpetrate such crimes.  What are we doing that keeps different races and religions from growing together and melding into one greater nation?  One greater world?  How can a man in his seventies have been able to live in this beautiful country all these years and still fester with hate that was spawned from a war fought when he was a child?  How can a young black man live in such turmoil that he needs to drive around the city breaking out windows, making holes in cars, shooting individuals and just plain scaring people?  When we get these and similar questions answered, then we may be able to communicate with each other.  Once we are able to tell each other that this or that behavior makes me feel bad or hurts my feelings, perhaps we will see the humanness in each other.  When nobody is labeled as racist or anti-Semitic or any other negative label for speaking truths, maybe we can begin to love and trust each other.

I hurt personally this weekend for many people from my past -- the three doctors who took care of by children, my OB-GYN, my University of Kansas adviser, many of my children's teachers, my former neighbors on Holmes road, etc.  How can such lovely, intelligent, gifted individuals be so hated?  How can we, after all the progress we have made in racial matters, still be breeding isolates who lash out in anger and hate?

The world has come a long way in answer to my request from God.  We still have a long way to go.  But that Memorial Service today, where at least three major religious groups came together, brings hope that we may some day be able to bring universal sadness to joy.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

It Can't Be Told Enough

"For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."  John 3:16

Go tell it to everyone . . . everywhere . . . that Jesus Christ of Nazareth was born on this earth so that he could die to pay for our sins.  Not his sins, but ours.  After the weight of this burden, I'm sure the weight of the cross itself felt like nothing.  But it was really something!

As we come up to the month of our Easter celebrations, we are constantly reminded of Jesus' great gift to us all. Even with all the commercialization of the Easter holiday, we still hold a debt of gratitude to God for the gift of his son.  We also owe Jesus for his great gift. 

We Christians are blessed beyond ordinary belief!  To you, Jesus, and to God, the father, we give our heartfelt thanks.

Shall we pay a little less attention to the Easter bunny and a little more to our salvation as we enter the Easter season?

Tuesday, March 18, 2014


"But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins . . . ."  Mark 2:10

Jesus was healing a man of palsy.  His friends had broken open a roof to let the man down for the healing.  Jesus said to the man that his sins were forgiven.

Some of the Scribes were on the scene and questioned why Jesus said this.  They thought that only God could forgive sin.  They accused him of blasphemy.

Jesus assured them that on earth he, the Son of Man, had the power to forgive.  As proof, he told the man to stand, pick up his bed and go home.  The man did as instructed. 

This also was an example of how forgiveness, though it may not immediately heal our palsy, etc., surely can heal our hearts and souls.

Modern Christians tend to believe that if we confess to an offence or error, and claim it as a sin, we can be forgiven if we ask for it.

Jesus has power on earth to heal and forgive.  Why don't we take advantage of this gift from God through Christ more often?

Saturday, March 1, 2014

The Spirit Will Speak For You

Matthew 10:19-20  "But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it.  At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you."

I fancy that it is every Christian speaker's wish or prayer that the Father will use him/her as a vessel to share God's will with others.  Why else would anyone want to do Christian work, if not to be God's disciple?

Here, Jesus was instructing his disciples in how to behave as they ministered to others.  He felt it was important for them to know that if they fell victim to arrest for preaching the gospel, God would speak for them.  They didn't have to grope for what to say.

How marvelous it would be if everyone who shares God's word with others would ask for the Father's help in saying what is needed.  That way, no needs would be left to chance.  God's will would be automatically spoken.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Are You Where God Wants You?*

Matthew 10:14  Any city or home that doesn't welcome you -- shake off the dust of that place from your feet as you leave.

I've told you before about buying and rehabbing an old house during the early 1980s.  Right toward the end of the needed repairs, I had an hankering to move to the Tampa, Florida, area where I had a brother.  I knew at the outset that God didn't want me to go.  I remember telling him during one of my prayers that I had received the message, but that the house still needed to be sold.  I wanted or felt that I needed to move on to another situation. 

I put the house on the market, but for reasons totally unknown to me, I forgot immediately that God had impressed upon me His will that I not go south.  So, when the house sold and closed in about three months time, I took it as a sign that God approved of my going to live near my relatives. 

I applied for positions, flew down for interviews and bought a house on contingency -- contingent on my receiving a permanent full-time job.  Well, the good Lord is said to work in mysterious ways.  His reaction to my move was not so mysterious.  I got my sons, my furniture, my car and myself moved down there only to find that I could not find permanent full time employment.  I worked a series of temporary jobs, including one that lasted six months.  I even found an additional permanent part time job.  I just never got the one that would insure my ability to buy, instead of rent, that house.

The lovely realtor who had sold me the house and I consulted concerning the situation.  She, being an avowed and practicing Christian, asked me a question I'll never forget.  What Bible scripture keeps running through your mind during this time?  I didn't even have to give it thought.  "Shake the dust of that city from your feet" came tumbling from my mouth. 

I didn't intentionally ignore God's wishes.  I simply forgot.  Nevertheless, He closed door after door and even a few windows to get my attention.  I have never even felt so far removed from His presence as I did during that time.  I was not supposed to move down there.  I had promised I would not.  I had forgotten my promise.  He insisted.

Sometimes we need to evaluate why it is that we find ourselves being square pegs trying to fit in a round hole.  It may be that we ignored God's will a long time ago, leading us to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

In my case, I rented an eighteen foot U-Haul with a trailer for my car.  I packed my sons and my belongings up into it and headed for home, shifting a standard transmission through those scary mountains.  I'd hardly started when an angry driver honked over a mistake I made.  One of my sons inquired if we were going to crash and burn.  I responded with an emphatic and confident no.  After all, after nine months in Florida, I was finally doing what the Almighty wanted me to do.

I found a temporary job almost at once.  By the next month I had that elusive permanent position.  In three months, I had recovered financially enough so that I could rent a house, instead of sleeping on my daughter's floor.  God was smiling on me once more.

How about you?  Are you where God wants you to be, doing what God called you to do?  If things are not going well for you, you might want to shake the dust of that city from your feet.

*Thank you for your patience during the hiatus.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Temporary Hiatus

On hiatus until further notice.

See last article       Hope

Thursday, January 2, 2014


Psalm 42:5  ". . . hope thou in God . . ."

I call Joel Osteen, the pastor of Lakeland Church in Houston, Texas, my Sunday preacher.  There are a number of reasons why I choose to get my weekly sermon from a television evangelist.  For one thing, it costs too much money to buy gas to get to a location where I can find my exact denomination.  But mostly, it's because with Joel Osteen, we get a continual message of hope.  No hell and brimstone messages from him.  We hear about a loving God.

We hear "take the chains off of God" and let him work his miracles.  Believe and have hope.  Dream big.  Don't pray for a C in one course.  Ask God for A's in all courses.  Then study and voila, miracles from God will occur. And Joel continually reminds us to stay in the faith . . . stay in the faith . . .

So, people have been hoping, praying, working hard to stay in the faith for a number of years now.  They listen to this pastor say that we are fearfully and wonderfully made by God.  We are made in God's own image, no less.  And when it takes a while for our hopes and dreams to be realized, he reminds us that God's timing is perfect.  When it is time for us to fulfill His will in our lives we will have whatever skills and means we need. 

I don't know about you, but I am staying in the faith and believing God who not only allows hope, but follows up hope with miraculous victories.