Monday, August 19, 2013


The perfect little rock tower beside the river, a bottle hanging from a noose in a tree, a mirror nailed to the trunk of a tree by the road. The anomaly that catches your eye, the distinctly man-made thing that peacefully resides in an abnormal place – these are the little quirks that remind me so impressively of the creativity of the human mind.

It is by these amazing little things that I am reminded of God’s immense power and creativity. And how astonishing that He should choose to pass these traits on to us!! I truly believe that our minds – our imagination, our creativity, our sense of artistry – are what make us so much like Him in our design. He gave us His love for beauty, for balance, for the things that please our eyes and give us a sense of rightness.

We were created to enjoy beauty and take pleasure in it. Of that I have no doubts.

Alas, that it would be so easy for this love of beauty to be such a stumbling block for the human race! Women can stress over looks until it becomes an obsession, men can be led astray by beauty that is not kept in check, and children can be distracted by the fluttering butterfly that will draw them off the beaten path.

Find the holiness in the beauty around you. Keep beauty in its rightful place – as something to please the eye and feed the soul. Do not let it lead your eyes to look where they should go, or tempt you into wrongdoing.

There can be such a thing as too much of the good things in life. Don’t let your love for beauty draw you astray.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013


As I walked into the bank to cash my paycheck, I saw there was only one teller working the front desk, and two people already waiting in line. Since my day was pretty much over, I was in no rush to get my transaction completed.

I began daydreaming, letting my mind mull over the things of the day, thinking of everything that happened. As I’m doing so, one of the guys working at the bank stepped out of his cubicle and paused by the head of the line.

“I do apologize, folks, we’re getting someone up to help with your transactions as soon as we can.” And he slipped by to get behind the desk.

Another teller came up and began speaking to the man in front of me. “I’m sorry about your wait, sir, I can help you over here at my desk.” Apparently, he had a more complex mission than cashing a check. As I stepped up to the front of the line, I heard the man grumble, “All this smoke…it’s awful…I have fires all around my place…”

My first reaction was to scoff, but I stopped myself before I could think anything negative. I glanced over at him. You’re alive, you’re walking on your own two feet, in a nice, air-conditioned building that smells as much like smoke as a skunk smells like roses. What ARE you complaining about?

I’ve really been thinking lately about thankfulness. I’m certainly not the most thankful person in the world, but more often than not I find myself smiling when I really have no reason to be. Is it because I have no reason to not be happy? Or is happy just my default emotion when there’s nothing else fighting to be seen?

It’s so incredibly easy to get caught up in life, and forget to be thankful for what didn’t go wrong in your day. Your car broke down on the way to work? Be thankful it didn’t break down when you were in the middle of the desert, or that it didn’t go up in flames before you got out. Lost your keys? Be thankful you didn’t lose your wallet! Couldn’t get to work because your child/spouse/roommate was ill and needed to be cared for? Be thankful that that person is alive and their body is fighting off a disease and not succumbing to it. And be thankful that it’s not YOU that’s ill.

It’s so easy to tell a truly content Christian from one that is not content and has lost their vision of Christ. Examine a person under stress and difficulty; what do you get? A griping, whining complainer, or someone who smiles at their problems and says, “My God is bigger than you!”

Thankfulness is not hard. It may be trying, and humbling, but it’s not rocket science.

Thankfulness: don’t ever forget to be thankful. When things go wrong, or your day gets rough, always be thankful. Find the sun behind the storm, the silver lining in the clouds. See the rainbow through the rain, and learn to smile in the trouble.