America celebrates the annual day of observing the fallen heroes of our history Monday. This day becomes more dear to me as I age. I want to honor those brave that paid the ultimate price to secure our freedoms we hold dear, and protect our borders from aggressors. There are many men and women living in harm’s way today that we need to remember in our prayers, that they remain safe from the enemies of democracy worldwide.
I concern myself with many unnecessary things these days, mostly foolish worries of no consequence. I do have a concern for how we, as Americans, take this annual observance for the purpose of pleasures without the slightest thought of what Memorial Day is all about. Some time back, the VFW memorial put this statement out:
“Changing the date merely to create three day weekends has underminded the meaning of the day. No doubt, this has contributed a lot to the general public’s nonchalant obsevation of the day.” (This was in regard to making memorial day on Monday instead of the set day)
We could observe the half-staff flag until noon, the moment of silence at three pm, and even go to a parade, but does that really reflect patriotism and true heart-felt meaning of this sacred day? Have you ever had a conversation with family members regarding the fallen? What about your children, have you talked about the lost lives that helped to secure those nice things you enjoy? Most people would have to say no, I haven’t. Or I am not much on history, besides, they learn that stuff in school. I didn’t. When my children were growing, I didn’t take the opportunity to make this holiday a special time for my young ones. I truly regret that.
You see, Memorial Day isn’t about the Indy 500. It isn’t about the cookout with the family, or the church picnic, or the big sale going on at Walmart. It isn’t about the pool opening, school letting out, or a weekend vacation. It is about a young person, lying in a foxhole, knowing their life is nearly over in the next few minutes, their ambitions and aspirations lost to the ages. It’s about those 56 that signed the Declaration of Independance, men of means, but lost nearly everything, some dying in poverty, to secure a life free of tyrrany.
These along with the multitudes throughout our history, are not to be forgotten because we haven’t taken the time to talk to family, especially our kids, to inform them of these who gave all. Why not start a tradition? Take 10 to 15 minutes in your family gathering to tell a hero of the republic’s story. Tell the story with enthusiasm, make it interesting. If you cannot think about a real event, go online, get out an encyclopedia. Use someone from anytime in history, the founders, the wars, etc. Just do it. Your children love to hear stories coming from the one they love…that’s you. Don’t let them grow and not know, and teach them to spend time in prayer for those serving today. The fourth of July will be here soon, and then do it again. Make the holidays memorable, and start new traditions your family will carry on for generations.
Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all. Keith
Everytime I see a well groomed garden I think of God’s creation of seeds, herbs, and trees on the third day.
Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth”; and it was so.
Everything is to produce after its kind. I also see that the garden I am admiring took alot of work to beautify it. It takes seed, water, fertilizer, weeding, and eventually, harvesting. If you have ever worked a garden you know the commitment is season long. Take just a week without tending the garden, and your efforts up to that point may be in vain. Weeds, birds, and other critters may have taken the garden over. Or a few days of hot sun and no moisture, your crop may be burned up.
Words, actions, and attitudes are seeds. These seeds produce after their kind as well. The seed of every word we speak is watered and fertilized by our actions and the harvest follows as we diligently weed the garden by repetitive words of like manner. The harvest is bountiful, we sowed, and now we reap. This is very noticable in raising children.
It can be a wonderful experience for the entire family when we plant encouragement and confidence from God’s Word in our children. When the child grows to believe that they can rise to the challenge in every endeavor, as we weed out negativity and self-doubt. We water the seeds that have developed into a thriving plant with teaching the children the importance of giving themselves in service of others. And then as the plant matures, we shoo away the birds and critters, or bad company, with understanding and wisdom about the intent of evil influence.
This does not in any way mean the the child will be perfect in their lifetime, and never err. But consider the alternative, the way most kids are raised in this society. Plant the seeds of anger and self-service by harping out profanities and threats over them from early adolescence. Cultivate it with pointing out every flaw and defect. Then put a band-aid on the deep gash by buying them the most exspensive clothes, video games, etc. Tell the little gifts from God how they are worthless, and act ugly like their mom or dad, and you’ll reap a whirlwind harvest of a bitter, and angry child, looking to anyone but you for comfort.
“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.” Gal.6;7 (NKJV)
That comfort may bring an unwanted pregnancy, or an addiction that ends their young life. The TV has been your babysitter and every moral the plant has, is amoral. They learned to believe anything. Unfortunately, insult is added to injury as we water the plant with words like, I knew you would end up this way!
We don’t even see our part. We led them right to crows and critters with actions and attitudes, but expected them to turn out okay. How can we change this plant and cause it to thrive again? First of all, see your part, look at how the child finds you repulsive, if that’s the case. Repent. That means, turn and go the other direction. Ask God to help you find the right words, words that heal. Then set down with them and apologize for all of the damage you have done. Don’t allow pride to stop the possibility of watering the garden back to life. Don’t retort to their angry response that you may receive. If you feel the need to raise your voice in anger, take five, go to another room, pray again, then finish the conversation.
Now live the amends to the child by remaining calm when they rock you with bad attitudes and actions. Keep in mind they developed under your teachings, or how you tended the garden of their heart. There will be days that you will want to uncork on them, don’t. If they need to be disciplined, do so with love, and stick to your measures. You may change, they may not right away. In time you will see your seed grow into that thriving garden.
This is an example of the seeds we plant with things we say. There is so much I would like to say, examples other than in child rearing, especially those areas I personally experienced both good and bad regarding sowing and reaping…perhaps later
Thanks for reading, god bless and keep you all. Keith
I love witticisms and quotes and I must say that there is no better place to hear them than a recovery meeting. Some are real knee-slappers and others are very deep, even profound. I even came up with a new word…me-gotist. I had heard someone once say: “when I came to recovery, all I thought about was me, me, me…but now I only think about me.” Of course that indicated that they were improving, not so many thoughts of themself. After many years of addictions to alcohol and drugs, it really takes a lot of time to return to focused thinking about anyone but ourselves because of our compulsions to drink and dope.
There was a saying that I found very dark when I entered AA meetings. “It isn’t what you think about me that matters, it’s what I think about you that matters.” This is one of those sayings I thought was me-gotistical, but it isn’t. In time, I understood and today I find this statement rather profound. The thought that it has become important to me, how I see you, is a major change for any alcoholic or addict. We normally don’t care about anyone for any reason outside of our families and dealer or bartender. We also cared that we were viewed by others as a good person, until we were so hooked that only using and boozing mattered.
Through simple sayings, I was able to see myself and what I had become as a me-gotist. I asked God to make the necessary changes in me to be others minded, for the rest of my life. The realization that my view of others actually drives me to grow into the image of Christ, get outside of myself, and give attention to the needs of others, is liberating and purposeful for life. This is where joy is found, this is serene and surrendered living.
“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels (Christ in us), that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.” 2 Cor.4:7 “…He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.” 5:15
For me to be able to serve others that have the same problems I have, to enjoy doing so, proves to me that God is, and God cares for everyone. I am one of many that have experienced this change from darkness, only hearing dark words from others in the dark, to words of brilliant light from people free of the gloom of hopelessness. We have hope. Here is an exerpt from Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book that promises this:
“As we go through the day we pause, when agitated or doubtful, and ask for the right thought or action. We constantly remind ourselves we are no longer running the show, humbly saying to ourselves many times each day ‘Thy will be done.’ We are then in much less danger of excitement, fear, anger, worry, self-pity, or foolish decisions. We become much more efficient. We do not tire so easily, for we are not burning up energy foolishly as we did when we were trying to arrange life to suit ourselves. It works, it really does.” pg.87-88
From hearing some seedling words in a recovery meeting to thriving faith to live, these words from the dark side have brought light to many. Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all. Keith
One of the most difficult things for anyone to do is admit their shortcomings and character defects. We are prideful in thinking that we do not have such, or that others do not notice our flaws. Over the course of our life we have on Earth, we develop many resentments, bad habits, and attitudes that define us. The deception that we cannot change, or that we are too old to improve, robs us of life and enthusiasm to flow with all God has for us.
It takes nourishment to exist. The food and water we receive not only keep us alive but also cause our healthy growth. If we grow up eating junk that is not good for us, the cells may not properly develop, and we may have a life of sickness, and may die prematurely. It is important to eat a proper diet for health and long life, but we still want to eat junk from time to time or we may become bored with eating…so we think.
This is true for our spiritual side, our mentality, and character and personality. Feeding daily on positives will build strong healthy character, and outgoing personality. Positive living can make the difference in how we see things and people, through empathetic eyes, or seeing what others can become, and how to solve problems instead of being a problem.
Spiritually, the knowledge of who I am in Christ, and how I approach God in prayer, and studying His Word, all come by the nourishment fed to my spirit. How do you and I nourish ourselves spiritually? It is our desire to know the Creator and search Him out that drives us to the place of prayer, and causes us to dust off the Bible and actually read it. Some unfortunately, never get to the nourishing part of spirituality, and remain babies…no growth.
That is true for self improvement in our total being. In recovering from addictions, we have to face our character flaws and remove ourselves from the thought that we can get well without others help, and God’s help, or staying clean and sober will be short lived. Resentments, attitudes, and bad habits have become our “babies” that we nourished while in the throes of addiction, we were the only person who mattered. We felt unique, no one was like us. Our babies wanted fed…and we nourished them with poison.
“Maturity consists in no longer being taken in by oneself.” – Kajetan Von Sclaggenberg “Do not pray for easier lives, pray to be stronger men. Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers, pray for powers equal to your tasks.” -Phillips Brooks “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.” Ephesians 6:10 (NIV)
We must feed on goodness if we want self-improvement and a full life while we are here. To look back and say I gave it my best is good, but is it true? Think about you. (We should be good at that) Not in a way you see you, but how others see you. Will they say of you…he/she is a good spouse, a good father, a great employee. They go out of their way for others. He will give you the shirt off of his back. She is consistent, never thinking of herself. And the ones closest to us, our spouse, parents, and children, what do you think they think?
If we stop feeding our “babies” with self-deceit, and move toward maturity in service to God and others, intentionally putting our wants and needs behind everyone else’s wants and needs, we will be on our way to a full, mature life. Give thought to how you feed your body, what you allow in your mind, and feed the real you…your spirit every day with prayer and God’s Word. The effect will be felt by others around you.
Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all. Keith
Jesus was a story teller, and by the use of parables, taught great spiritual truths. There is one parable that left every hearer baffled and none seemingly understood, even His disciples. So He explained it to the disciples when they were alone without the following crowd.
“A farmer went out to plant his seed. As he scattered it across his field, some seed fell on the footpath where it was stepped on, and the birds ate it. Other seed fell among rocks, and began to grow, but the plant soon wilted and died for lack of moisture. Other seeds fell among thorns that choked out the tender plants. Still other seed fell on fertile soil. This seed produced a crop that was a hundred times as much as had been planted…anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.”
Jesus explained the seed was the Word, the hearer is the soil. The seed that fell on the footpath and eaten by birds, were those who hear the Word, and here comes old “scratch” saying in their ear, surely you aren’t buying this crap? This guy is saying someone you don’t know actually died for you..c’mon now, you are a good guy, everyone likes you. If you believe this, everyone will laugh at you. He has had several millenia to improve his art. But the lies are always the same as with the conversation in Eden, has god said ? These hearers reject truth and believe the lies. Is this you?
Other seed fell on rocky soil and didn’t make it either. The reason, Jesus said, no moisture. They received the Word gladly, and believed with their tongue…not the heart. They went about their business and the Word was forgotten. Many of us have been there. Fair-weather believers, that fall apart the moment trouble comes. Nothing changes with this individual. These talk the same, act the same, think the same ways, but tell everyone they are a believer. The life-style is the same. I was there, confessing Jesus, living like a pure devil. Is this you?
Some of this seed fell into the weeds or thorns, and Jesus said these are the ones that believe the Word, but life here is more important. Material gain and the cares of life have preeminence in their lives. These poor folks have placed their homes, cars, their children, and jobs all ahead of God and the Word. They really want to believe, as long as their busy life and things gained aren’t disturbed. God is placed on the shelf with all of their deities, pluralistic theology. Is this you?
The last example is the ones whose hearts were fertile soil and received the Word in sincerity. These are they who are not only hearers, but doers of the Word, and devote themselves to the truth of the gospel. The doers produce because they give what they receive, they die to self, they hold nothing back. Is this you?
I am convinced by everything around my sphere of understanding, from events worldwide, that these are the days Jesus spoke of in Matthew 24, that Paul spoke of in 2Timothy 3, that Peter mentioned in 2Peter 3. These are the days that the prophets foretold, Joel, Ezekiel, Daniel, etc. The real danger for all mankind is that so many of the believers, have turned a deaf ear to the Message, the seed is being choked out, snatched away, and has died from thirst. This is us.
We, the body of Christ must, by any means receive the seed of the Word, and allow it to fully grow, shooing away the birds, weeding out the soil and the rocks, and watering and fertilizing it. In other words, putting the Word as priority in our life, in the lives of our children. If we allow its dominance, change will come in ways that we didn’t expect.
I can say without reservation, that because of our neglecting the Word in our homes, and in our churches, (all churches in general, you may think the group you are with currently is super-spiritual and New Testament in action, that will change), that this is why we seldom see demonstrations of God’s manifest presence…He shows up by the unity of the body of believers hearts in agreement with His Word and placing the Word and ways of God on a shelf of its own far above any and everything in life.
Where are the healings, miracles, prophetic utterances? Are they dead with the apostles? Has God withdrawn them because we have the Word in written form, The Holy Bible? Many think so, mainly from traditional knowledge, you know, that church teaching we have never checked in to. If it is that when the written Word arrives the gifts are withdrawn…I guess the calling must be withdrawn too. It seems that when the miraculous is present, so are people. Those who feel the gifts passed with the apostles, have boxed God in, and with unbelief eliminated healing for many, and in reality, it was over debating over the gift of speaking other tongues, or no tongues. The seed choked out by doctrinal difference, stolen from the evil one with ignorance. Doctrinal pride robs our God-presence mentality to receive the bounty of His blessings, and realize He doesn’t withdraw, He adds, and adds, and adds.
I can say that my need for personal repentance never ceases to be a part of my walk with Christ. I must keep myself fertile soil for the sowing of seed, and the reaping of a hundred times what was planted in me. If these days are those leading to the consummation of all things, which day do we decide to be serious about it, and receive the seed of God’s Word in our hearts for real?
Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all. Keith