NEW KID ON THE BLOCK

Tornado

Let’s consider the following scenario:  You’re walking into your first day on a new job.  It is a large place, with several hundred employees.  You know that very soon your’ll be having interaction with dozens and dozens of these strangers.  But the only two that have welcomed you, or even reached out to you thus far are your immediate supervisor, and the HR Director!  It’s like walking into a new school, in a new state, half-way thru the school year.  It can bring on a real feeling of aloneness, even when in a crowd… as if you are a ghost no one can see!  Why won’t anyone reach out to me?  It’s almost as bad as being slapped in the face!

Fast forward to the last week in our area.  The entire central portion of the US had a week of sever weather, with high winds and very heavy rains.  These storm systems also produced tornados, which inflicted heavy damage in some areas, and even causing death and injuries.  These heavy rains caused flooding accompanied by major property damage.  Weather-wise, it’s been a rough week.

Fortunately, modern weather forecasting has given us ample warning time to prepare.  

One of the early warnings issued last week was to be prepared for possible power outages.  We have an electric range, so no power would mean no cooking.  Carol gave me a list of items that we might need over a period of 2 or 3 days, and off to Kroger I went!  The place was packed.  The ‘deadline’ for when the possible tornadoes were to hit was fast approaching.  Carol called me and said to forget the groceries, stop shopping, and to find a safe place in Kroger and hunker down.  I was instruted to STAY THERE!

I’ve seen my fair share of TV news-tornado-aftermath-coverage, and I know that tornados are not kind to Kroger, Lowes, Bed bath and Beyond, or to shopping centers in general.  I was already in the check-out lane, so I checked out.

There’s an old country song that says, ‘If you can’t be with the one you love, then love the one you’re with.’   Putting a twist to that, I decided that if I was about to die, I’d much rather die with the one I loved… than die with strangers I was with! 

I made it home just as a real tornado passed overhead less than a mile away!  Needless to say, I was very grateful, thankful, and happy to be alive and safe. The whole thing was a very frightening experience. We were so relieved when it was over!

And then, once again, only yesterday, very similar storm warning were issued.  Everyone it seemed, was taking them seriously.  I had an eye appointment that morning, and was told to come in early, as they would be closing early due to the weather.   Folks that we know were told that their workplaces were closing early.  Our church cancelled all meetings, including church service, that afternoon/night.  The city was basically closing down early yesterday! 

We stayed home, stayed in, and enjoyed watching TV!

And then last night… after the weatherforcasters had said  ‘all clear’ and the danger was passed, and there was no storm damage, and all was good again and ‘right with the world,’ I began preparing for bed.  And that’s when it hit me… my reason for writing this personal confession, and my reason for wanting to share it with you.  

Last night it suddenly hit me.  In all the ‘action’ involved with that earlier storm only days before, when that danger had passed, I was thankful, I was greatful, and I turned by heart toward Heaven in sincere appreciation to God for allowing us to be spared from harm.  I was aware of His loving hands around me!  But this time, last night for some reason, I had come complacent… I had lacked that same awareness of His loving providence!  It was as if I had ignored His loving, caring, intervention into our lives. I was shaken… not as much by what I had done, but by what I had not done!

That’s when He showed me the lesson in all this… in His wonderful, loving, way! 

Earlier that night, when the storm had left our area, and all was once again right with the world, I had simply gone on with my life, without pausing to recognize HIM and His presence in this situation.  It was as if I had treated HIM as the new kid on the block… the new one  at school… the new employee simply ignored. 

Like I said before, it was almost as if I’d slapped My Lord in the face!  That’s how I felt.

Wow!  To think that I could have done that!  

Now I had two things to thank Him for.  One: for His mercy in protecting us (and others) from the storm outside… and Two: for His amazing grace in revealing to me what I could be inside, and yet still loving me enough to expose that to me!

THANKS LORD!  Thank you for still loving me!

He Is Good All The Time

© 2019 Bill Murphy

We sang a song in a church I once attended that said, “He is good all the time.  All the time, He is good.”  How very true.  

I believe in thanking Him all the time, and all the time thanking Him, even for those tiny little things that may not mean much to others.  I’d rather thank Him ‘needlessly’ for something He didn’t supply… than to miss thanking Him for something He did!  This past week, one of those ‘silly little things’ happened.

Carol and I were returning home from Alabama, where we had attended my brother-in-law’s funeral.  We were somewhere in rural Tennessee, the day was overcast, and we were already in a somber mood.  Carol was driving… and I was simply watching the world go by.  Ahead, to the right, I beheld an amazing sight.  It was amazing to me anyway.  I believe that God knew that I needed a small shot of sunshine, a little dose of smiles, something lighthearted and upbeat.  The scene we passed was right out of a child’s nursery rhyme, but instead of a drawing, this was in living color.  There was a broad, flat meadow of lush, green grass.  This field lay at the base of a gentle hill, not much more than a low mound.  This high area was solidly covered with bright green corn stalks… which extended over this little hill and for acres and acres beyond.  And standing right up next to the corn…  the cornstalks brushing their sides… was a herd of brown and white cows.  And I thought…

Little boy blue,

Come blow your horn,

The sheeps in the meadow,

And the cows in the corn.  

Amazing! I couldn’t help but grin! 

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THE PERFECT GIFT

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© 2018 Bill Murphy

What do you give the one who has everything?  Most of us have confronted this problem… but it no longer must be a problem.  Let me suggest – giving that person appreciation.

We all want attention and appreciation.  But if we’re honest, these 2 items are near the top of our want-list. True?  So – this coming Christmas, birthday, anniversary, or for any gift-giving occasion, your problem is now solved… with a gift guaranteed to please.  I know that I want to be appreciated!  Don’t you?

There is another who also relishes our attention and appreciation… the one who most deserves it!  But He often must settle for a once-a-week ‘I appreciate you’ session, where we express our attention and appreciation to Him.  Yes, I’m speaking of our Heavenly Father!

I’m afraid that we tend to get so wrapped up in our busy lives, that we fail to see our lives in their proper perspective… that is: how our lives are related to His!  We’re reminded that we should stop and ‘smell the roses.’  But that’s only a start.

The next clear night, go somewhere that the city lights don’t interfere… and look toward the heavens.  Can you count the stars?  No, there are far too many to count.  And this is only the ones you can see.  There are billions upon billions far beyond these.  He created each and every one.

How large is this universe?  The size is far beyond anything we can comprehend or imagine.  How big is limitless?  He created it all.

This creator is our God.  Not only is He our creator, He is our Heavenly Father.  Compared to Him, we are but speck of dust.  And yet, amazing as it it, He knows each of us by name.  Scripture tells us that He knows how many hairs are on your head!  But more important than that… He loves you.

Yes, He wants our attention and our appreciation!  But here is the most amazing thing about who WE are: When He created us, he could have created us to ‘automatically’ love Him, to automatically give Him our undivided attention and appreciation.  But… He chose not to do so.  Instead, He made us ‘like’ Himself… he gave our temporary, physical bodies an indwelling spirit… a spirit like He is!  And He also gave us a will of our own… just as He has a will.  And why did He do this?  He did this because He did not want our lives to be controlled by instinct… not pre-programmed to be what He desired for us to be.  That would have been too easy.  That is the way He made all other animal life.

Instead… for us… He wanted us to be His CHILDREN, like unto Him, to be eternal, spiritual… children that He can call His own.

As a parent myself, my desire is that my children have an appreciation for what I am and for what I do and have done for them.  I’m sure you can agree with this yourself.

It puts things into better perspective… when we see ourselves as HIS children!

If there was ever anyone who actually has everything… then it is God Himself!  But does He really have it all?  We have no problem with being constantly aware that we are dressed, fed, and breathing.  So why do we think that we cannot be constantly and continually aware of Him, and of His rich blessings perpetually pouring down upon us!

A once a week pause to say, ‘thank you,’ is not nearly enough!  Pause often – and Give Him the gift of appreciation.  He deserves it!  And… He desires it.

 

 

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CHRISTMAS FOCUS

© 2017 Bill Murphy

As I write, we’re in that mystical time between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I find this season of the year best for reflection – for mental and spiritual re-grouping. When I’m focusing on Him, the better I hear what He’s speaking to me.

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This past Sunday in church, something was voiced from the pulpit which caused my mind to wander briefly. It was as if God was saying, “Come ‘ere a moment. I wanna tell you something.”

In my mind’s eye, I saw God’s hands offering a gift. Immediately, I thought, Is this for me? What is it? Can I open it now?

That’s when He spoke to my heart, and His words put the eyes of my heart into focus. I was focusing on the gift.

The truth is, God gives us so very, very much. He gives us love, joy, hope, peace, salvation, strength, healing, and oh so much more! God is a GIVER. He gives, and gives, and gives. And then He gives us more.

Then I saw the word gives, in capital letters. G-I-V-E-S. And His finger erased the letters G, V, and E. All this happened in a very brief moment, and yet His message to my heart came through clearly. He was telling me that He appreciated that I understood that He gives – and that He wished more of this world realized this also. But – by removing those 3 letters from ‘gives,’ He was showing me that it was supremely important to recognize and remember that He IS!

In that brief moment I saw that the focus should not be on the gift, but on the GIVER. Not upon what He gives, but upon who He is! We’d not have the gifts, were it not for the GIVER. That should be our focus.

This Christmas season, when you’re tearing into (physical) Christmas presents, be mindful of who is the giver of that gift, and tell them THANK YOU! Our human friends and family appreciate being appreciated also! Appreciation goes a long, long way.

Something tells me you appreciate being appreciated yourself!

 

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