Let Your Light Shine

Let Your Light Shine-Nauset Beach LighthouseWhen lighthouses let their lights shine, they guide ships and protect them from danger.

Like a lighthouse, you need to let your light shine.

You let your light shine when you:

  • Show people the way to go.
  • Warn them of danger.

Let your light shine in your own special way.

Every lighthouse is different. No other lighthouse looks exactly like Cape Cod’s Nauset Beach Light. Ships use that difference to know where they are and where they need to go.

Likewise, no one is exactly like you. Therefore, you have your own special gifts to offer. Share them as only you can. Give the gift of yourself.

Let your light shine every day.

If you see people in need, don’t be tightfisted. Help them.

  • Give food to the hungry.
  • Help the sick receive care.
  • Teach people the truth.
  • Guide people who are in the dark.

As a popular children’s song reminds us, let your little light shine.

“Let your light shine before people, so that they can see your good deeds and give honor to your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16 NIV).

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Save Your Breath

Save Your Breath-two little boysSometimes you need to save your breath.

You know that no one will listen to what you say.

  • Talking will do no good.
  • Explaining will not help.
  • Arguing will probably make things worse.

A person not listening to you can be a good thing.

  • You may not have anything useful to say.
  • Your ideas may be wrong.
  • You don’t like to admit it, but you don’t always have the right answers.

A person not listening to you can also be a bad thing.

Most of the time, a person will listen.

That person may not like what you have to say. However, he will listen. Therefore:

“Let everything that has breath praise the Lord” (Psalm 150:6 NIV).

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Thanks to Joy Hamilton Hale and Mackenzie Smith for the cute photo.

God Willing and the Creek Don’t Rise

God Willing and the Creek Don't Rise -- flooded creekAll my life I have heard people say, “God willing and the creek don’t rise.” My family usually said, “Good Lord willing and the creek don’t rise.”

I apologize to grammar teachers. I know don’t should be doesn’t. However, that is the only way I have heard or seen the expression used.

 

God willing and the creek don’t rise means people will do what they plan, if all goes well.

For example:

  • We will visit you tomorrow, God willing and the creek don’t rise.
  • She will begin her new job next week, God willing and the creek don’t rise.
  • I will finish this paper tonight, God willing and the creek don’t rise.

The speakers know they can’t always do as they plan. They can’t control everything that happens.

Years ago, if people lived near a creek, a flood could cut them off from the rest of the world. Often, they had no good bridge to cross the creek. When it started raining cats and dogs, they could not go anywhere. They had to delay plans. That was as bad as being up a creek without a paddle.

“If God’s willing, what does it matter if the creek rises?”

That quote came from Dave Dudgeon. His wife, Dana, added, “If God’s willing, He will provide a way, even if it looks impossible (or impassible) to us.” Mark 10: 27 tells us “all things are possible with God.” Maybe we should just say, “God willing” and not be a worry wart about the creek.

“You ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that’” (James 4:15 NIV).

Have you heard this expression? If so, did you hear “God willing” or “Good Lord willing”? Please comment.

Update:

Since this posted, I received several messages about a different origin for “God Willing and the Creek Don’t Rise.”

According to the Native Heritage Project, “the phrase was written by Benjamin Hawkins in the late 18th century. He was a politician and Indian agent. While in the south, Hawkins was requested by the President of the U.S. to return to Washington. In his response, he was said to write, ‘God willing and the Creek don’t rise.’ Because he capitalized the word ‘Creek’ it is deduced that he was referring to the Creek Indian tribe and not a body of water.”

This explanation also makes don’t correct, since it refers to a tribe (plural).

Regardless of the origin, the life lesson remains the same: Trust in and follow God’s will.

Thank you to everyone who commented on this. You keep me on my toes.

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Thanks to Becky Nash for the suggestion.

Make a Mountain Out of a Molehill

Make a Mountain out of a molehill--mountain reflected in waterWe often let the smallest problem bother us most.

We make a mountain out of a molehill. We make:

  • Something easy seem hard
  • A small problem seem big
  • Something unimportant seem important

Moles are small animals. So are the hills they make. Yet, we don’t like them.

  • They make a mess in yards and fields.
  • We may fall if we step on them.

However, if we watch our step, we can walk around or over molehills. We must climb for days to the top of some mountains.

Molehills destroy a yard’s beauty. A mountain’s volcano can destroy everything for miles.

Make a Mountain out of a MolehillWe often forget how small our problems are.

Think about:

  • Colds compared to cancer
  • Flat tires compared to car wrecks
  • A bad meal compared to no food
  • A rained-out ballgame compared to an island destroyed by a storm

We may not feel on top of the world all the time. However, most days can be hunky dory.

Let’s not allow small problems to ruin our lives.

Rather than make a mountain out of a molehill, remember what matters most. Also remember, whether our problems are big or small, we never have to walk alone.

“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us—they help us learn to be patient” (Romans 5:3 TLB).

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Jump through Hoops

Jump through Hoops--a dolphin jumping through a hoop in a poolSome animals have to jump through hoops to get what they want.

People also jump through hoops.

We have to perform certain tasks to get what we want.

Several services require us to jump through hoops.

That is true for:

  • Health care
  • Insurance
  • Government agencies
  • Jobs
  • Businesses
  • Schools

Often we must jump through several hoops.

Phone calls may mean:

  • Make the call.
  • Wait on hold.
  • Transfer to another person.
  • Wait on hold again.
  • Leave a message or call back later.

Paperwork can include:

  • Fill out a form.
  • Wait.
  • Fill out more forms.
  • Wait again.
  • Make a phone call to see what happened to the paperwork.

Have you been there and done that?

I have bad news and good news.

The bad news: We will probably have to continue jumping through hoops for most services.

The good news: Jesus loves us just as we are. If we give Him control of our lives, He will:

  • Forgive our sins
  • Offer guidance every day
  • Give us eternal life

No hoops, just an invitation into the family of God and a home in heaven.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16 NIV).

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A Rolling Stone Gathers No Moss

A Rolling Stone Gathers No Moss--a stream running between mossy rocksA rolling stone gathers no moss is more than a proverb. It is a fact. Moss grows slowly, and it does not grow well if moved. No moss grows on a rolling stone.

This proverb has a long history and two possible meanings.

  1. The most common meaning: A person who does not stay in one place (a rolling stone) has little success. He never grows (gathers moss) anywhere. The person:
  • Keeps changing jobs or where he lives
  • Owns little or nothing
  • Does not like responsibility

Therefore, we cannot depend on that person, because he:

  • May be gone when we need him
  • Gets nothing done
  1. Another possible meaning for a rolling stone gathers no moss: The ideas of a person who moves around (a rolling stone) do not grow old (gather moss). That person:
  • Finds new ideas
  • Becomes more creative

For him, gathering moss is like spinning his wheels.  He does something but feels like he gets nowhere. Therefore, movement keeps him fresh.

Perhaps we can find truth in both meanings.

We need to:

  • Accept responsibility
  • Stay useful

 At the same time, we want to:

  • Explore new ideas
  • Find better ways to do what needs to be done

Some of us find success in the same place doing the same thing – gathering moss. Others of us do better as a rolling stone – exploring different places and activities.

“Lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth” (Proverbs 10:4 NIV).

Thanks to Carole Fite for the suggestion.

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Money Burns a Hole in Their Pocket

Money Burns a Hole in Their Pocket--empty pocket pulled out of jeansSome people never save for a rainy day. Money burns a hole in their pocket.

As soon as they get money, they spend it.

They rush to a store or make an online order.

How they get their money does not matter. They spend it all.

  • Paycheck
  • Allowance
  • Gift
  • Prize

The amount of money does not matter. They spend it all.

Whether they have one dollar or a million dollars, they spend it. Then, when they need money, they have nothing. They stay poor as a church mouse. Therefore, they have no way to help themselves or other people.

They have fun for a short time. But the fun does not last.

Life can be hard. They need to be ready when those hard times come.

A few people may have someone who gives them all they want or need. Most people have to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps .

Therefore, they need to make a money plan.

Your income disappears, as though you were putting it into pockets filled with holes! (Haggai 1:6 TLB).

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Hole Up

Hole Up--hole in a treeIf we hole up somewhere, we find a place to hide.

Sometimes people who break the law hole up. They try to hide where the police cannot find them.

Many animals hole up in trees for the winter. They gather nuts or other food before the cold, snowy days.

I always thought the old tree at top would be a great place for squirrels or an owl. I have never seen any in it. That does not mean they are not there.

 However, Jenny Kuo found this squirrel holed up in a tree behind our house.

My home is my favorite place to hole up.

I prepare for cold, snowy days with:

  • A warm house
  • Favorite foods
  • A comfortable chair
  • Plenty of books

With all of those, I can enjoy hours of peace and quiet. I may be snowed under, but I am ready. I find comfort in my little garden spot of the world.

What about you?

Do you have a favorite place to hole up? Please comment below.

 “Do you really think anyone can hide himself where I cannot see him?” the Lord asks. “Do you not know that I am everywhere?” the Lord asks” (Jeremiah 23:24 NET).

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Tough Cookie

Tough Cookie -- Tim DerringerMy husband is one tough cookie. The way he handles hard times amazes me.

A tough cookie has often had a hard life.

My husband has suffered from:

  • A malignant brain tumor (In 2004, he was expected to live three to five years.)
  • A heart attack, stroke, and fall that caused a severe brain injury (In 2009, all three happened the same day. He was not expected to live 24 hours.)

A tough cookie is a strong person. 

My husband refuses to give up in spite of health problems. He:

  • Almost never complains
  • Rarely gets discouraged
  • Fears little
  • Refuses to accept defeat

A tough cookie decides to make the most of life.

My husband would prefer to be healthy and able to work. However, he chooses not to be a worry wart. Instead, he enjoys what he can. He crosses each day’s bridges as he gets to them.

A tough cookie is not perfect.

No one is. Life is not perfect. However, like all of us, my husband has a choice: complain or do the best he can. He says what happened to him is just the way the cookie crumbles. Therefore, he makes the best of life.

A second explanation of a tough cookie:

  • A difficult person
  • Someone who always wants his own way
  • An unpleasant co-worker

I seldom hear anyone use this second explanation.

“I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances” (Philippians 4:11 NIV).

Do you know a tough cookie? Please comment below.

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Thanks to Talmadge “Tim” Derringer for permission to share part of his story.

In Over My Head

In Over My Head--Acadia National Park CoastlineI love to travel the coastline of Acadia National Park. However, if I enter the water, I get in over my head.

Sometimes I feel like I am in over my head with life.

I have more on my to-do list than I have time to do. I drown in work.

Also, when I try new tasks, I feel in over my head because I:

  • Don’t understand how to do them.
  • Have to spend hours or days to learn them.
  • Think I will never learn.

I feel like I am spinning my wheels.  I want to give up.

When in over my head, I often tell myself:

  • I can’t do this.
  • I don’t know what I am doing.

When that happens, I need to get away from it all.

I need a break. My thinking must change to:

  • I can’t do everything, but I can do some things.
  • I can’t learn everything, but I can learn more than I know now.

When I focus on my problems, I feel in over my head. When I let go and let God take control, I find peace.

How about you? What do you do when you feel you are in over your head? Please comment.

“God, save me! I’m in over my head” (Psalm 69:1 MSG).

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