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    What's The Good Word

    In It may be too early in the day to try to spell, or even pronounce, this gangly word:
     
    Onomatopoeia.  Does this help:  “on-o-ma-toe-p-uh?”
     
    Its roots are Greek, meaning “word making.”  This seldom spoken but often used figure of speech imitates the sound of what it’s describing.  Mumble through this list and see what I mean:  Bang, coo, oink, meow, roar, chirp, soothe, crash, pop, baa, boom, beep, bow-wow, choo-choo, fizz, hiccup, moo, screech, splash, toot and zap.
     
    This linguistic tool can add a splash of color or a soothing sound to your word making.  The Old Testament proverb reads, “Like golden apples in silver settings, so is a word spoken at the right time.” 
     
    Our discourse can be coarse or caring, harsh or helpful.  Will you join me in this whisss-purrred prayer today? 
     
    “Let the words from my mouth and the thoughts from my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my Helper and my Savior.”  Psalm 19:14
    Psalm 1:1-3
     
    Posted November 17, 2018

    Up A Tree

    In 1914 one of poetry’s most beloved achievements was published. It begins….
     
    I think that I shall never see
    A poem lovely as a tree.

    It was penned by Joyce Kilmer who, as an Army intelligence officer in Europe, was slain by a sniper in 1918. His love of the Creator’s handiwork lingers a century later.
     
    A tree that looks at God all day,
    And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

    Civilization is framed by two trees. Eve and Adam disobeyed God’s warning to avoid the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Their sin, inherited by us, prompted God to dramatically demonstrate His love for you and me on a wooden cross. If Kilmer’s gift for bringing trees to life could give voice to these trees, what would they reveal?
     
    Poems are made by fools like me,
    But only God can make a tree.

    As we marvel at these magnificent, ever-changing, forested festivals, may we dedicate some of their oxygen to give thanks to the brilliant Mind Who invented trees.
     
    Will you consider turning over a new leaf today to thank God for the tree that makes it possible for you to live in the protective shade of His love forever?
     
    “Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on His law day and night.  That person is like a tree planted by streams of water which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither – whatever they do prospers.”  Psalm 1:1-3

    Posted November 2, 2018

    Believe You Me

    What do Johnny Carson and Pontius Pilate have in common?  (Hint:  It’s not Nebraska.)  Carson gained fame hosting “Who Do You Trust.” Pilate secured his place in history by asking Jesus, “What is truth?”
     
    Precious, lifelong relationships are taking sides on various issues, risking collapse.  Is resolution possible?  The psalmist wrote, “There is nothing a good person can do when everything falls apart.  The Lord … watches people everywhere and knows what they are doing.”
     
    Is ours an honest quest for truth?  Jesus declares, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.”  Not “What is truth” -- the real question is “Who is Truth?”
     
    What’s your answer?
     
    “You will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free.”  John 8:32
     
    Posted October 15, 2018

    What's A Body To Believe?

    It’s getting dicey to distinguish between what's real and what isn’t. Why even “artificial intelligence” is no longer an oxymoron!
     
    Some folks claim they’ve been to heaven and back. But has anybody ever been to hell and back?  Yuma, yes, but hell, no.
     
    Are angels and demons really duking it out in the skies all around us?  C’mon, Jonah actually survived a cruise in a whale’s belly?  Spleen that!  And are we to believe that the sea cleared a dry path for millions of refugees to flee Egypt?  Then there’s the “miracle” of feeding thousands out of one kid’s happy meal. Oh, and the biggest stretch of all – God is born in a baby’s body, thanks to divine intervention, is crucified, escapes the tomb and goes back to heaven, promising to return and take His followers to be forever with Him.
     
    Preposterous?  Sure, if you use human logic to explain the supernatural. Could it be that what we lack to close this gap is FAITH? The kind of faith which comes only as a gift, not a reward. Have you unwrapped your gift of faith?

    “For it is by God's grace that you have been saved through faith. It is not the result of your own efforts, but God's gift, so that no one can boast about it.”  Ephesians 2:8
     
    Posted September 30, 2018

    Seriously?

    It happens twice a year.  The day after New Year’s Day.  And the day after Labor Day.
     
    Our self-talk goes like this:  “No more pizza and frozen yogurt for you, Slim.  No TV binges.  It’s time to get serious.”  Back to work, back to school, back to the steady drumbeat of the rhythms of real life, aka normal.
     
    But is normal high on your list of pleasurable pursuits?  Are you relieved when you return to those, old familiar ruts?  Or do you grit your teeth and “Just Do It?”
     
    With your trust firmly secured to the Rock, Christ Jesus, those well-worn ruts of routine can become well-lit paths of peace.  At this point in your life is this your experience?  Seriously?
     
    “Listen to Me, My child.  Take seriously what I am telling you, and you will live a long life.  I have taught you wisdom and the right way to live.  Nothing will stand in your way if you walk wisely, and you will not stumble when you run.”   Proverbs 4:10-12
     
    Posted September 10, 2018

    Labor of Love

    When you start seeing TV commercials about Christmas, you know it’s almost Labor Day.
     
    Whose idea was it to salute the nation’s workforce by giving them a day off?  Some say he was a carpenter; others, a machinist.  Both must have been sad to see summer end and wanted one more backyard barbecue before tossing a tarp on the lawnmower and taking the snow blower in for a tune up.
     
    Our earliest ancestors looked to the moon to mark the change of seasons, just as our Creator intended.  All that transpires beneath that moon is fully known, caused or allowed by the One who also hung each star in place and gave it a name.
     
    He knows your name as well.  His genuine love for you sent His Son to take your place on that old, rugged cross.  There the Carpenter from Nazareth did the heavy lifting for us, the labor that paid for our sins. 
     
    Isn’t that worth celebrating every day, with or without a barbecue?
     
    Posted August 27, 2018

    No Mere Blue Sky

    Seattle is not a city.  It’s a state.  A state of mind.  As Perry Como sang in his 1969 hit,
     
    The bluest skies you’ve ever seen are in Seattle.
    And the hills the greenest green in Seattle.
    Like a beautiful child growing up free and wild
    Full of hopes and full of fears
    Full of laughter, full of tears
    Full of dreams to last the years
    In Seattle.
     
    Another city sounds too good to be true.  It will appear at the end of time as we know it.  It was first “seen” in the mind of Jesus Christ’s close friend, John.  Called “the holy city,” “the city of God” and “the new Jerusalem,” it will descend from above and become heaven on a “new” earth, since today’s earth will have been completely demolished and recreated.
     
    This miraculous metropolis will be cube-shaped, 1,400 miles on a side.  With 12-foot ceilings, it would be 600,000 stories tall, stretching from Canada to Mexico and from California to the Appalachians.  Spacious enough for billions – with a b – of residents.
     
    This city is not a state of mind.  It will be a sin- and illness-free reality.  What will qualify you to legally reside in this holy city that’s full of hopes, laughter and dreams to last an eternity?
     
    Posted August 14, 2018

    Weather vain

    Summer in Seattle tempts us locals to insist that the Emerald City is the most beautiful place on earth.  Property with waterfront or a view command top dollar.  Our temperate climate shields us from blistering heat.  July and August skies roll back the clouds, revealing snowcapped sentinels guarding both flanks of dazzling Puget Sound.
     
    Whether it’s sports teams, business icons, educational and medical facilities or appealing weather, we’re prone to preen with hometown hubris.  Perhaps this gives us cover to minimize our rainfall and vulnerability to earthquakes, tsunamis and North Korean missiles. 
     
    So what do we do with our bent to be bragodocious?
     
    Speaking through His Old Testament prophet, Jeremiah, the Lord said, “Wise men should not boast of their wisdom, nor strong men of their strength, nor rich men of their wealth.  If anyone wants to boast, he should boast that he knows and understands Me because My love is constant, and I do what is just and right.”
     
    Centuries later God’s messenger, Paul, wrote, “Whoever wants to boast must boast of what the Lord has done.”
     
    What or whom do you brag about?
     
    Posted July 31, 2018

    Going Under

    Feeling “under the weather?”  His mortgage is “under water.”  It’s hard to buy a home in Seattle for “under half a million.”
     
    Undernourished.  Underappreciated.  Underfunded.  It seems as if under is not where you want to be.  It connotes inadequacy, less than desirable.
     
    But consider this star-spangled exception, written in 1887 by Rear Admiral George Balch.  Revised five years later by Francis Bellamy, this gleaming assertion of love and loyalty was adopted by Congress in 1942.  Want to say it with me?
     
    “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
     
    Woops, we overlooked one “under.”   In 1954 one magnificent phrase was added:
     
    “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
     
    Only those under His banner, under His pledge of protection will experience God’s gift of everlasting liberty and justice.  Are we, as a nation, under God?  Are you?

    Posted July 15, 2018

    Our Father

    How close are/were you to your father?  How does he shape your self-image and choices? Did he gravitate to or away from you?  Was he a tyrant, a benevolent dictator or your cheerleader?

    Madonna hopes her “Papa Don’t Preach.”  Eric Clapton never saw “My Father’s Eyes.”  The Boss recalls “My Father’s Home.”  John Mayer urges dads to “be good to your ‘Daughters.’”  Luther Vandross aches to “Dance with my Father” again.  Beyonce adores “Daddy,” “the man in my life who can’t be replaced.”  He was rarely around and never said he loved her, but Reba McEntyre honors “The Greatest Man I Ever Knew.”  Harry Chapin’s “Cat’s In The Cradle” describes my own Dad’s good intentions to “get together then.”

    The “prodigal son” depicts God’s ideal father as generous, patient and unconditionally loving.  Indeed, God loves us so much that He sent His only Son from heaven to die for your sins and mine so that we could live with God both here and in heaven.
     
    Have you invited God the Father to permanently adopt you as His son?
     
    Posted July 1, 2018
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