4 What It's Worth

Aspiring to Inspire

March 27th, 2016 - Easter

Thoughts on Easter...

  I used to asked my mother, "When is Easter this year?" I never understood why it couldn't have its own day like Christmas or the Fourth of July.
  She always said, "The first Sunday, after the first full moon, after the first Monday, after the first of March."
  Oh, brother! That sent me scurrying to the calendar to do the calculations only to find out she was always correct. 
  Mother is in Heaven now. I think when I see her again, if I ask her the same question she will say, "Everyday is Easter."
  It is appropriate for the church to celebrate an annual Lenten/Easter season, but shouldn't everyday be Easter in our hearts?

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This is a devotional inspired by something my pastor said in Bible study. I know sometimes he wonders if anyone is listening, but, yes, we are. This was first published in The Secret Place on July 24, 2011. The title is "Forgiven."

Thought for Today:"But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." Matthew 6:15 (NIV)

  Our pastor says, "The Lord's Prayer is meant to be said said daily. Otherwise, it would say, 'Give us this week, or month, or year our weekly, monthly yearly bread. Unless you don't want to eat tomorrow, you need to pray the Lord's Prayer every day."
  I have never missed a meal, so I have added the Lord's Prayer to my daily devotional time. After a few days, I felt led to personalize the prayer by changing the words us and our to me and my. After reciting the New Testament version, I say my personalized version so that I make sure I realize each time that it applies to me. Sometimes I stop myself in mid-- sentence when I pray, "And forgive me my debts, as I also have forgiven my debtors." Am I truly asking God to forgive me as I have forgiven others?
  God is loving and forgiving. God forgives me totally,
not grudgingly, not with resentment and bitterness like I sometimes forgive those who have hurt me. God never brings up my sins again. God has reminded me in this exercise of praying the Lord's Prayer daily to model my forgiveness after his.

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Here is a devotional inspired by my father, published January 28, 2016 in The Secret Place.  It is titled "Unlabeled."

Thought for Today: ...have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts? James 2:4

  My father was a career grocery man. He knew his groceries. It didn't matter what the outside of the can was like. If a label came off the canned goods in our pantry or if a container was mislabeled, he would shake it and tell Mother whether the tin contained peas, corn, green beans, or something else.
  Mother occasionally bought marked-down unlabeled items. When Daddy came home and shook them, he wrote the contents on the lid with a grease pencil. I don't remember his ever being wrong. Daddy's ability to do this was uncanny. As a child, I was fascinated. I admit to removing more than one label just to test his skill.
  When I think about it now, I realize there were other things Daddy didn't judge by outward appearances. People for instance. He saw them the way God wants us to see them. Daddy attempted to look beneath the labels and beyond the outward appearance to discover a person's true character.

Prayer: Omniscient God, you see and accept the real me. May I learn to look beneath labels and beyond outward appearances to see the persons you created. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Zap, Kackle, Plop

You'll find my humor writings under this heading.
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Saving Daylight

  Who's been wasting daylight anyway? Someone must have been or why else should we have to save it year after year? And we must be wasting more and more daylight all the time, because every few years we have to start saving it a little sooner than we did in the past.
  I don't think I waste much daylight. Does sleeping count? What if I stay up late and do some daylight stuff after dark? Then is it okay to sleep in? What about night people? Maybe they would rather save nighttime. Fair's fair after all.
  How much time do we waste when we arrive someplace early so we won't be late? How much time have you wasted holding the ketchup bottle upside-down waiting for the ketchup to plop out? How long have you spent waiting for the big hand to reach twelve? This is a big one for me - how much time do you spend at the drive-thru waiting for your fast food iced tea at McDonald's when you could make it yourself at home in 30 seconds? Ever time yourself watching the clothes go around in the dryer? What about watching to see the precise second the pot of water begins to boil? My grandmother always said, "A watched pot never boils." If that is true then standing there watching could take...well...forever.
  I'm not in favor of wasting daylight. But, if saving it is going to continue to be mandatory, like a rainy day fund for sunshine, then I think there should be some tolerance for wasting a bit of it from time to time.
  Now, lower the blinds. I'm trying to sleep!

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This piece was originally published in VISTA, June 3. 2012
 
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My writer friends will enjoy this piece, but I think most everyone can relate... 

Expiration Date
  I received a message from my printer this morning saying, "Ink Cartridge Has Expired." Really? I didn't know this could be a problem, but I am a conscientious writer and did not want to create any problems for my characters.
  The ink status indicator told me the cartridge was still half-full. I opened my printer and removed the black ink cartridge. On close inspection, I saw it was imprinted with a date, 2016/01/02. Who would have known? I held it up to my nose as I do when the milk has expired and tentatively inhaled, testing its aroma. I knew of no other way to test such things short of tasting it. The ink did not smell bad. I suspected, as with the expired milk, it would still be okay on the morning's cereal. But, did I dare risk using it?
  If I use this out-dated ink cartridge will the ink congeal in a thick unsightly ring at the bottom of the page like the one that forms just above the milk left too long in the plastic jug?
  I never fed my family spoiled milk. Expired - yes! Spoiled - no!
  I care about my characters. I created them. They are my fictional children. The status of the ink is questionable. If I describe my fictional children, define them, nurture them, give them life with sour ink, will they remain undeveloped, sicken and fail to thrive right there on the page? Will they toss down their spoons in disgust and stomp from the breakfast nook? Will they turn on me and rebel, refusing to resolve their conflicts? Will the readers think me cheap, neglectful and uncaring?
  On second thought, if my characters don't work out the way I had hoped, would expired ink be a good excuse? I am not a writer of dramatic intrigue or suspense thrillers. I changed the ink cartridges.