The Stars At Night

filepicker_3cPDRdILRKezbUIF1Gss_shooting_starsI’ve been told that the English language can be difficult to comprehend due to the multiple definitions a single word can have.

As an example, think of the word “light.” It can be used in many different ways:
• The speaker shed some light on the subject.
• Her suitcase was heavy, and she wanted to lighten her load.
• He turned on the light switch, so he could see.

Light can also:
• Bring comfort when a person is frightened
• Be discomforting when it reveals a secret
• Guide us or help to give direction: Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path (Ps 119:105).

I remember a conversation I had with Richard Gregory concerning his time in the navy. When the ship was sailing under a “lights out order,” an officer would summons Richard to the deck. Richard could look at the stars at night and tell the officer what time it was.

Richard could do this because he was a student of astronomy, and he had memorized four important landmarks in the night sky:
• The 0-hour circle
• The 6-hour circle
• The 12-hour circle
• The 18 hour circle

Richard’s ability to comprehend the night sky was a benefit to his shipmates. It not only told them the hour of the night, but it also helped to guide the ship.

In I John 2:5, John used a word that is meaningful to our discussion: “Whoever keeps His word, truly in him the love of God is perfected.” The word “keeps” was a nautical term. Sailors in John’s day, would speak of “keeping the stars,” or charting their course at night by the stars.

In the verse above, John says the same thing that the Psalmist said: We need to follow the principles of God’s Word and let it direct the path we walk.

Think about it: You can lighten your load and brighten your path by following God’s love letter to you.

Worry Warts

worryAfter watching the evening news, it is easy to feel anxiety begin to build as you worry about the future. Someone has said that “Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, but only saps today of its strength.”

Why worry about yesterday? It is past and cannot be changed. If we spend the present worrying about the future, we are emotionally drained and sapped of our energy.

This does not mean that we should have no concern for what awaits us tomorrow, but what we need to understand is that there is a difference between worry and concern. All a worried person does is see the problem, while the concerned person takes constructive steps to address the problem.

Let me share a couple of things that I’ve heard about worry over the years. Worry is:
• Interest paid on trouble before it comes due
• As worthless as a handle on a snow ball
• Is spiritual short-sightedness, and the cure is intelligent faith
• “The reason why worry kills more people than work is that more people worry than work.” Robert Frost

If left unattended, worry can morph into a nasty case of anxiety. In the book, Anxiety Free, the author shares four rules to help in the management of anxiety.

Rule #1—See Things Realistically
• Be realistic not pessimistic
• When making predictions, focus on facts not feelings
• Focus on probabilities not possibilities

Rule #2—Normalize Consequences
• False alarms are not the same thing as reality
• You don’t die from obsessions, panic, or fear

Rule #3—Let Go of Control (You don’t need to control every aspect of your life)

Rule #4—Embrace Your Anxiety
• Seek out experiences that make you anxious
• Accept reasonable risk
• Stay in it as long as possible

When it comes to our emotions, I’m a firm believer that you either control your emotions or they control you.
Think About It!

The Doors

DoorsDoors: What image first came to your mind when you read “doors?” Was it the American rock band that was formed in 1965 and their lead singer Jim Morrison? Although I was not a big fan of The Doors, I did like a few of their songs.

My intent is not to focus on doors in the musical sense, but rather the doors that are a part of a person’s everyday life. These are the doors that we:
• Prop open and sometimes pry open
• Lock and unlock
• Open to invite people in or slam to keep people out

Thinking of The Doors and their song, we close doors to keep from feeling effects of a storm.

The analogy of a door is used several places in the Bible. Jesus spoke of being the Good Shepherd and the door through which people enter the gates of Heaven.

In the Revelation, Jesus said: Listen! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and have dinner with him, and he with Me Rev. 3:20 HCSB).

The next time your door bell rings or you hear someone knocking on your door, think about the offer Jesus has made in the verses above. You may want say: “I hear you knocking, Come on in.”

Essential Liberty

As I write this there is bloodshed in the streets of Cairo, Egypt. The military has or is about to suspend the constitution and dismiss President Mursi. The turmoil there forces me to think of the scandals here that plague the Obama administration. With this in mind, I have reflected on some of the speeches of the Founding Fathers, and the words of Reagan.

It was Jefferson who declared: “Honor, justice, and humanity, forbid us tamely to surrender that freedom which we received from our gallant ancestors, and which our innocent posterity have a right to receive from us. We cannot endure the infamy and guilt of resigning succeeding generations to that wretchedness which inevitably awaits them if we basely entail hereditary bondage on them.”

And, Benjamin Franklin warned: “They who can give up essential Liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither Liberty nor safety.”

Finally some words to challenge us from Ronald Reagan: “I think it’s time we ask ourselves if we still know the freedoms that were intended for us by the Founding Fathers. … Whether we believe in our capacity for self-government or whether we abandon the American Revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far-distant capital can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves . . . You and I are told increasingly that we have to choose between a left or right, but I would like to suggest that there is no such thing as a left or right. There is only an up or down — up to a man’s age-old dream; the ultimate in individual freedom consistent with law and order — or down to the ant heap of totalitarianism, and regardless of their sincerity, their humanitarian motives, those who would trade our freedom for security have embarked on this downward course.”

Perhaps what we need is the spirit of Thomas Paine who wrote: “If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace.”

May we rise up in a patriot spirit to right the wrongs of our day.