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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Onion

         Someone sent this poem to me back in the 1990s. I thought some of you might enjoy it.
The Onion

I was an onion before Christ set me free.
Layers upon layers of iniquity.
An ugly old onion whose fragrance was strong;
That my Jesus bought and loved all along.
Unknown to me what He was going to do.
Of what He was planning, I had not a clue.
Pulling each layer off one by one.
In order to make me more like Jesus the Son.
The first layer wasn't so bad.
I saw all the sins that I knew I had.
They were easy to fix, just change the way I talk.
And learn more of how He wanted me to walk.
Reading His Word, and learning again;
How to put aside my life of sin.
But the next layer was pulled which hurt more.
He was getting closer to the core.  
Unknown what He would find there.
I simply gave it to Him in prayer.
As another layer was removed, He started to cry;
Pulling this layer brought pain to my Father on High.
And I was crying over the sadness I felt;
The brokenness and all of the guilt.
Past memories that I thought were gone;
Were buried under layers disguised in a fragrance so strong.
As we peel onion more and more;
They put tears in our eyes as we get closer to the core.
So my Father wept over my pain;
Giving me a balm of comfort and strength to sustain.
“NO MORE LAYERS,” I would scream.
As He continued to peel them off of me.
“I'll have nothing left my Lord, what will I do?
I'll be nothing but a worthless core to you."
But He just said, “Trust me,” and continued to peel,
I thought He was blinded  to my pain that was so real. 
Year after year I shrunk more and >>more;
Until all that was left of this onion was an unsightly core.
It was then that I began to understand;
As the Lord embraced me in His loving hand.
He said, now and only now can you be;
The creation that will minister before me.
Clothed with the righteousness only from above;
Gone are your layers of self
so you can be filled with my love.
He took my layers of sin, hurt and pain;
And clothed me with love, truth and mercy in His name.
Yes, we are all onions, learning with each day;
How to overcome as each layer is taken away.
Some layers tear and pull and our heart;
While others grieve us to our innermost part.
But we are nothing but an ugly onion without Christ.
Layers upon layers of pride, sin and strife.
Only God can take those layers away.
And clothe us with His righteousness in that final day.           
All through this day Oh Lord,
let me touch as many lives as possible for Thee,
and every life I touch, do thou by Thy Holy Spirit
quicken, whether by the words I speak
or the life I live for Jesus sake.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Thanks, Lobster

           A doctor was eating in a restaurant and ordered lobster salad. The waitress asked him, “Are you fond of lobster salad?”
            “No,” came his answer, “I’m not fond of it, but I’m grateful to it.”

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Unwed Mother’s Child

            I read in the Tyler paper this morning something interesting. Star Parker wrote about an unwed mother, a college student, who decided to put her child up for adoption. The year was 1955—pre-Roe v Wade.
            You know her son today—his name is Steven Jobs.

Friday, August 26, 2011


            I come from a tradition that calls its preacher “brother”, “minister”, “Dr.”, or, as in my case sometimes, “you,”—as in, “Hey, you!” Nevertheless, I recognize many other traditions call their preacher, “Pastor.”
            With that in mind, here are some of my favorite letters, written to preachers called “pastors”, compiled in the 1990s.
Dear Pastor,
            I know God loves everybody but He never met my sister.
            Yours sincerely,
            Arnold.  Age 8, Nashville. 

Dear Pastor,
            Please say in your sermon that Peter Peterson has been a good boy all week.  I am Peter Peterson.
            Sincerely, Pete.  Age 9, Phoenix 

Dear Pastor,
            My father should be a minister. Every day he gives us a sermon about something.
            Robert, Age 11, Anderson 
Dear Pastor,
            I'm sorry I can't leave more money in the plate, but my father didn't give me a raise in my allowance. Could you have a sermon about a raise in my allowance?
            Love, Patty.  Age 10, New Haven 

Dear Pastor,
            My mother is very religious. She goes to play bingo at church every week even if she has a cold.
            Yours truly, Annette.  Age 9, Albany 

Dear Pastor,
            I would like to go to heaven someday because I know my brother won't be there.             Stephen. Age 8, Chicago 

Dear Pastor,
            I think a lot more people would come to your church if you moved it to Disneyland.
            Loreen.  Age 9, Tacoma 

Dear Pastor,
            I liked your sermon where you said that good health is more important then money but I still want a raise in my allowance.
            Sincerely, Eleanor.  Age 12, Sarasota 

Dear Pastor,
            Please pray for all the airline pilots.  I am flying to California tomorrow.
            Laurie.  Age 10, New York City

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Smarter Than Einstein

            Edmund Fuller passes along the old story of a gathering of mathematicians in which one member offered a speech on the meaning of Einstein’s theories. The speech went on and on.
            Finally, after an interminable period of time, another mathematician interrupted and said, “I think you are greater than Einstein himself. Twelve men understand Einstein—but nobody understands you.”
            As God’s ambassadors (II Cor. 5:20), we need to strive to share our message with the world in an understandable way.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Failed Son

         It is tough for a father to have a failure for a son. Such was the case for William, who lived near the town of Dearborn.
         William was farmer. William’s eldest son, Henry, always seemed to suffer from what we today call attention deficit disorder. He was not much help.
         As the child grew, he seemed an even greater disappointment. Farmer fathers typically yearn for their oldest son to stay and work the family farm. “Someday, all of this will be yours!” However, with little education, Henry left home for good at age 16.
         He wandered and for years never seemed to be able to settle down. The father wrote, "Henry is not much of a farmer. He's a tinkerer."
         William Ford lived near Dearborn, Michigan. The name of William’s son was Henry. Chances are, because of Henry, your lips utter William’s last name at least once a week.

*Source: APRIL 1865 by Jay Winik

Monday, August 22, 2011


            Larry King has written in his latest book about a great American composer who wrote a song—and disliked it so much, he placed it in a drawer and kept it there for twenty years.
            One day during the 1930s, the famous radio singer, Kate Smith, called the composer. She was set to perform at a big show on July 4.
            She asked her friend if he had a song for her.
            He replied, “I wrote something a long time ago, but it’s no good—too sentimental.”
            “Let me see it,” she said.
            “I don’t like it,” came his rejoinder.
            “Let me see it,” she cajoled him.
            At last, he did.
            The composer was Irving Berlin. The song was GOD BLESS AMERICA.
            Sometimes, we are not the best judges of our own work.

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Difference Between “I Can’t” and “I Can”

           The following letter to Ann Landers appeared Saturday, January 4, 1986, in THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS:

 Dear Ann Landers:

            The rightness or wrongness of abortion aside, I would like to say a few words to those people who say that they are "financially and emotionally unable" to care for a handicapped child.

            My husband and I have six children from 12 years to 11 months old.  Our 12-year old daughter has severe cerebral palsy and is unable to walk or feed herself.  She speaks with great difficulty.  Not a day dawns when I feel either emotionally or financially able to care for my handicapped child and equal to facing the heartbreak and inconvenience.  But I do the best I can and somehow everything gets done.

            I wish I had a dollar for every time someone has said to me, "I don't see how you do it.  You're remarkable! We couldn't get together the money to buy a new wheelchair and it would kill me."

            I used to smile when people would tell me how thankful they were for their healthy children and that they could never take care of a handicapped one.  I tell them they could handle whatever challenge they had to face.  I then explain brain damage does not always occur at birth.  A car accident, a high fever or an injury can cause as much damage as a congenital problem.

            Most of the brain-injured children I know sustained their injuries after birth.  Their parents are in a state of shock when the injury occurs, but like the rest of us they adjust to the tragedy and do the best they can.

            Life is not always fair and it wasn't meant to be. The same couple who decide to abort their baby because they learn through amniocentesis that the fetus is abnormal could have a car accident on their way home from the abortion clinic and wind up with a husband or wife who is in worse condition than the baby would have been.  Would they then say, "I can't  handle this emotionally or financially?"  I doubt it.  Somehow they would find the strength to do whatever is necessary.

            We parents of handicapped children are not superhuman nor are we emotional giants.  We just know that sometimes you have to take what life hands you and do the best you can with it.

            I know from my own life and the lives of the brave families I associate with that the difference between saying "I can't" and "I can" is often saying "I will".
-- Susan S. in Danville

Dear Susan:

            You've written a remarkably sensible letter and I thank you for it.  I know you don't consider yourself "special" but let me tell you, you are.  You didn't choose the role, but you are handling it with dignity and courage.  I doff my bonnet to you Susan, and to all the other out there who are traveling the same road.


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Daddy, what is electricity?

I can relate to the father who was walking with his young son. The boy asked, "Daddy, what is electricity?"
         “Well now, I don't really know," said the father. I never knew much about electricity. All I know about it is that it makes things run."
         A little farther on, the boy said, "Daddy, how does gasoline make the automobiles go?"
         The father answered, "Well, I don't know. I don't know much about motors."          Several more questions followed with much the same result; until at last, the boy said, "Gee, I hope you don't mind my asking so many questions."
         "Not at all, son," said his father. "You go right ahead and ask. How else would you learn any thing?”

Marking Down

            This morning, I started teaching the fall semester’s senior Bible class at East Texas Christian Academy. This has become a ritual for me, and I generally enjoy it. However, I recognize there will be trials… kind of like the old story about the young man who arrived home one January day with an atrocious report card.
            His mother frowned when she looked at the card and asked her son, “Oh, dear, what’s the trouble?”
            “There isn’t any trouble, he replied. “You know how things are always marked down after the Holidays.”

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Eamon de Varla

            Eamon de Varla was a dominant political figure in twentieth century Ireland. Among other achievements, he served as the president of the Republic of Ireland.
            Legend has it that he was once arrested in the town of Ennis during the middle of a political speech. He was set free one year later—and immediately returned to the spot where he was arrested. He began to speak again, “As I was saying when I was interrupted—.”
            I appreciate the symbolism of courage in that humorous story. God repeatedly tells his people in scripture to “be strong and courageous.” Perhaps, we Christians need to pick up more conversations where we were interrupted.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Climb the Mountain with God

            You’ve probably seen this before:

Lost Job-age 23

Defeated for Legislature-age 23

Failed in business-age 24

Elected to legislature-age 25

Sweetheart died-age 26

Nervous breakdown-age 26

Defeated for Speaker-age 29

Defeated for Congress-age 34

Elected to Congress-age 37

Lost re-nomination-age 39

Rejected as Land officer-age 40

Defeated for Senate-age 45

Defeated for Senate-age 49

Elected President-age 51

            Abraham Lincoln knew little success in his life, but when he succeeded, he succeeded well. However, his life serves as a reminder that much of life is NOT succeeding. Most of life is climbing the mountain, with some of that climb being imperceptible. A temporary portion of the journey can even be descending the mountain. Nevertheless, we continue the journey.
            I think the most satisfying climb is one traveling with God.
            Climb the mountain with God.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Sticks and Stones

           An old joke I love goes like this:

Two trucks loaded with a thousand copies of ROGET’S THESAURUS collided as they left a New York publishing house last Thursday, according to the Associated Press.

Witnesses were stunned, startled, aghast, taken aback, stupefied...

            Words do matter. An ill-timed word can wound forever. That’s one reason Paul wrote, Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone”(Col. 4:6.)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

What is Happiness?

            Several years ago, a 15-year-old girl wrote to the advice columnist, Abigail Van Buren:

Dear Abby,

            Happiness is knowing that your parents won't kill you if come home late. Happiness is having your own bedroom. Happiness is getting the telephone call you've been praying for. Happiness is getting good grades and making your parents proud of you. Happiness is being a member of a popular circle. Happiness is having parents who don't fight. Happiness is knowing that you're as well dressed as anybody. Happiness is something I don't have.


            15 and unhappy.

            A few weeks later, “Dear Abby” published a response from a 13-year-old girl:

Dear Abby,

            Happiness is being able to walk. Happiness is being able to talk. Happiness is being to see. Unhappiness is reading a letter from a 15-year-old girl who can do all three things and still says that she is unhappy.

            I can see, I can hear, but I can't walk.


            13 and happy

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Loser’s Card Game

            The story is told that during the Revolutionary War, a colonial spy, loyal to the British, presented himself at the headquarters of Hessian commander Colonel Johann Rall. With him, he carried a top-secret message of highest importance the Hessian military leader.
            The message contained the information that General George Washington and his army had surreptitiously crossed the Delaware River and were fast approaching Trenton, New Jersey—the camp of the Hessian army. To the spy’s chagrin, his request his request to meet with Colonel Rall was turned down. 
            The spy then recorded his information on a piece of paper and asked an attendant to take it to Colonel Rall. The message was delivered; however, Rall ignored it. Instead, he stuffed it in his pocket. Rall was engrossed in a poker game and did not want to disturb his concentration.
            Later, Rall’s day was rudely interrupted… by the muskets of the soldiers of Washington’s army. Washington’s army leveled the Hessians. Many, including Colonel Rall, ultimately lost their lives.
            This event occurred on December 26, 1776. It was the first major victory for the colonial army. They possibly would not have gained the victory had Colonel Rall been alert.
            Satan gains a lot of victories because Christians are not on the watch. Perhaps that’s why the apostle Peter wrote,Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (I Pet. 5:8.)

Source: Today in the Word, MBI, October, 1991, p. 21