photo by Christian Widell via Unsplash
The final whistle is nearing as the opposing team members scramble to cut me off from the goal. Time for one last attempt and the season will be over. I turn with the sun in my face and advance up the field, tuning out everything but the goal.
Kicking and maneuvering the ball, I am on autopilot now. Five seconds remain. One last fake and I launch the kick.
Time stands still, the ball passes just out of reach of the agile goalie, and we are state champions. Only then do I hear the mighty roar from the fans.
The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”
The nations were angry, and your wrath has come. The time has come for judging the dead, and for rewarding your servants the prophets and your people who revere your name, both great and small— and for destroying those who destroy the earth.”
Loop – a structure, series, or process the end of which is connected to the beginning.
There is a great loop of time (or so it would seem to us) that is so imperceivable that we feel it does not exist. We go about our daily lives, enjoying or just surviving this world and its snares and traps. Someday; however, we will coil back on the beginning and the end will unfold before our very eyes. God’s promises are never forgotten, never unfulfilled. We love the promises that guarantee our comfort and safety. We feel that God must surely have forgotten that first promise…
“for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”
Fortunately, there is a way out of the loop, to slip loose from certain death. It sounds so easy that surely everyone will find it, but “No!”, for the walls of the loop are held together with pride. You can push on it, pry on it, try to jump out of it, blow it up, or set fire to it. There’s only one way to escape…on your knees.
Today, before it’s too late. Let the hearts of everyone be moved to bow before You and humbly ask for mercy. You wait with open arms now, but tomorrow might be the end of the loop.
Thank You, Lord for every kindness, every blessing.
26 Put on sackcloth, my people, and roll in ashes; mourn with bitter wailing as for an only son, for suddenly the destroyer will come upon us. 27 “I have made you a tester of metals and my people the ore, that you may observe and test their ways. 28 They are all hardened rebels, going about to slander. They are bronze and iron; they all act corruptly.
What Are Ye Made Of?
There is a metal of silver and gold
That has claimed many a man
Both body and soul
There is a medal, an achievement marks
That shows a man’s courage
It’s worn o’er his heart
There’s also a meddle that’s a worrisome thing
It comes from the devil
And his sick interfering
And last, it’s our mettle, the will to survive
In times that are tough
That helps us to thrive
Last night I was batting around some ideas for ways to define poetry in six words—okay, essentially four words, since the first two are “Poetry =” (i.e. Poetry equals). I called for backup from my friend Charles Robert Lindholm of The Reluctant Poet, and together this is what we came up with. Then I decided to make this a challenge to see how many different ways we could all come up with to define poetry in four words.
1 Lord, hear my prayer, listen to my cry for mercy; in your faithfulness and righteousness relieve my suffering.
A smile, a hug, even a kind word can ease the hurts of those who are in pain. It is not a difficult task. We do not have to be counselors or doctors or hold any position of power or authority. We only need to be willing to listen most of the time. To take it upon ourselves to look for and to respond to those around us who need an open mind, a caring heart, and a mouth speaking comfort.
Today. Yes, today, help us to open our hearts. To throw open the doors to our understanding and to listen and console and confirm those who are struggling in this world. May we be mindful of the times when we needed someone to listen and repay that kindness with an open heart. Help us to be Your feet and hands here on this planet, and bring You the glory and honor You desire.
My grandfather (bless his heart) was a man with big ideas and very little business sense. He married my grandmother, who was a woman of some means. Her father was an attorney and legislator for the State of Mississippi. He owned a large portion of Smith County that all went to her upon his death, when she was about twenty years old. Back then though young girls were not allowed to possess such wealth when they were unmarried, so two elderly aunts were given control of the holdings by the court, which meant my grandmother did not get much of the estate. She did; however, come into quite a large sum of money for the time.
After she married my grandfather he pretty much went through it. Let me be clear though, he was not an evil man. He wasn’t out to defraud my grandmother. He loved her dearly, as he did all his family. He just wasn’t a good money manager and he had one big problem…he had a brother named Prent who he thought hung the moon. Now Prent was kind of a rascal. He was always getting my grandfather into all kinds of “money making” schemes.
At this time, Prent had convinced my grandfather that beekeeping would be a real way to make money there in Simpson County. Bees were important to crop pollination and crops were the big business there in the area. They would set up a beehive and soon farmers would come from all around and pay them big money to leave them in their fields. “They”, however, usually meant my grandfather would do the labor and he (Prent) would do the sales.
Now this is where the story actually begins. My mother adored her father. She thought the sun rose and set because of him. So one day when she saw him loading up the Model A with all of his equipment, she just had to ask:
“Daddy, what you doing and where are you going?”
“I’m going to check on the beehive, honey. Would you like to come along?” He asked.
“Oh, yes! I’d love to” She replied.
She did not know what beekeeping was about and could care less. She was just delighted to be riding in that Model A with her father. She never got a driver’s license her entire life. She attempted driving with him once. She swore up and down that she ran that car into the bank of the road because he reached over and took the steering wheel from her. He always swore it was a case of “do or die”. I digress though, so back to the story at hand.
It was late afternoon when they left the house and headed up the road that led to the field where my grandfather had chosen to set up the hive. It was getting dusky-dark as he stopped the car and opened the trunk. He began to get his keeper’s suit on. He slipped on the heavy jumpsuit with big old gloves, a hat with the appropriate facial netting, and a smoker to calm the bees. When he was finally ready and as he closed the trunk he handed my mother the kerosene lantern and told her that she would be in charge of tending the light. She was thrilled and held it up high and proud as they marched off out into the ever-darkening field.
My mother always told me that she began to hear a most pleasant humming sound before they got to the hive. She thought it reminded her of the sound of someone singing a hymn a long way off. It was quite beautiful she said. As they arrived at the hive though she could tell it was the bees that were singing and they weren’t in a welcoming mood either.
“Hold the light. Hold it closer while I smoke them,” my grandfather told her, “They’ll calm down then.”
Well, sure enough the smoke calmed the ones around my grandfather down and he began pulling out the honeycombs. Then all of a sudden, my mother began to whirl around like some spinning top and screaming at the top of her lungs. Her arms were flailing around like a windmill. The light from the lantern lit up the field and you could see the bees flying up under the hem of her flair-tailed summer dress. She then took off running like she was on fire and all the while those bees were still circling and scooting in and out from underneath her dress and singing all around her head.
She was all the way down to the creek before it came to her to get rid of that lantern, and when she did, she threw that thing like it was a hammer-throw at the state track meet in Jackson. It sailed through the air; it seemed like forever, hit an unfortunate cow getting a late night drink, and wound up in the creek. There it hissed and steamed and sank out of sight with the bees still in pursuit. She kept running until she finally reached home. Later that night my grandmother had a long discussion with my grandfather and the next day Prent came and took charge of the bees.
My mother quickly forgave my grandfather the next day and continued to adore him until the day he died. She did; however, from that day forward, let it be known that she would not ever again be the light-bearer for any late night project.
The whole family went to the creek the next day and tried to find that lantern, but never did. Her younger sister laughed and said she probably threw it to the moon. I remember though that my mother said amidst her running and screaming down by the creek that night, that she thought she heard some singing and some laughter. I think it was gypsies. She told me there were families of them that would come through town sometimes and re-cane chairs and make baskets. I’ll bet you a dollar to a donut that they got that lantern and a big laugh, but that’s another story for another day.