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Sunday, June 23, 2019

Enhance Your Compassion


ENHANCE YOUR COMPASSION


Are you familiar with the term Good Samaritan? Perhaps you have lived near a Good Samaritan Hospital or Retirement Center. But what is the story behind the name?

The story of the Good Samaritan was one of Jesus’ most well-known parables (Luke 10:25-37).

A Country Road to Travel
In this story three men were traveling on the same road, each focused on their goals for the day. On the road was a man who had been robbed and severely wounded.

The first two men who passed by saw a needy person, but simply moved to the other side of the road. Unfortunately, each was a religious leader but compassion was sadly lacking. It would seem they had an out of sight, out of mind attitude.

Jesus was telling this story in an area where Samaritans were looked down upon. Yet He made one a hero.

I always think of The Samaritan as a traveling business man. He treated the man’s wounds, placed him on his own donkey and took him to an inn.

He could have let it go at that, but he didn’t. He gave the inn keeper some money and said, “Take care of this man and, when I return, I’ll pay more as needed.”

He could have looked at the man in need, simply felt sorry for him, and continued his journey. But Jesus made a strong point about enhanced compassion.

Another Road to Travel
Good Samaritans are known as people who come to the aid of another. Plenty of people can see a need and feel compassion . . . but . . . there is no desire for personal involvement.

Each of the three men on the road were alone with their feelings. No one was there to force them into action. The Good Samaritan volunteered himself to help another.

It’s the same with you and me. When we feel compassion, how will we act on it? Or will we act at all?


Sunday, June 16, 2019

Sleep? How?

SLEEP? HOW?

Time to go to bed

Have you ever been really sleepy until your head hit the pillow? What's with that, anyhow? I know the reason for one sleepless season in my life, and I found a cure.

My husband had taken a part-time job with a nighttime cleaning service. We needed the extra income, but the place we lived did not feel secure.

Each night I would stay up as late as I could, then to go to bed hoping to fall asleep, but sleep eluded me.

Being in ministry, part of our salary included housing on church property. It was set quite close to the street and there was no separation from the driveway into the church parking lot.

I was glad for the streetlight out front, but the parsonage felt more public than private to me. 
What's that noise?

After midnight one night, I heard angry voices outside my bedroom window. I got up and carefully pulled back the curtains to peek out.

The shouting continued, then a car door opened and a woman was pushed out. She gained her balance but the car sped off. She walked on after it.

Even as an observer I found this unsettling. In our family you might argue but never shout, and physical abuse was never an option.

I had been alone a lot over the years. The new twist was that this was my husband's first night job.

I began to wonder is there a scripture I could use to help me sleep? I knew Psalm 23 very well, but that didn't seem exactly what I needed.
Sleep is so refreshing

In a Bible Concordance I looked up the word sleep. I found Psalm 4:8. The New King James translation puts it this way: I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; For You alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.

Wow! The promise of two things I needed . . . peace and sleep! Every night I would turn my fears over to the Lord as I lay down and quoted that verse.

I slept because I believe God's Word is true. An ancient scripture in Isaiah 55:11 (NIV) says God will not let His Word "return empty." Instead, it will "achieve the purpose" for which He sent it.

There have been other times over the years I have quoted this scripture, believing God to keep His word.

Should you choose to believe Him, He can do it for you, too.


Sunday, June 9, 2019

Blowing in the Wind


BLOWING in the WIND


I’m sitting in one of my favorite eating places. High on a hill, its floor-to-ceiling windows overlook our valley town. Today I’m fascinated by things blowing in the wind.

A stormy day can be fascinating.
A few years ago, new landscaping was done outside the big windows. Improvements included a nice walkway and a large variety of desert plants.

I chose to have brunch here so I could watch a storm blow in. Dark clouds hovered over the mountains to the west and heavy rain had been predicted.

While eating, I saw rain clouds drop their load over the far side of the valley. But not once did a drop of rain come near me. The clouds always moved northward.

Picture this as a quivering green desert plant.
The only constant was the wind! Most of the plants outside reacted strongly to its force.

The least reaction was in plants which together created a hedge. But even when the wind calmed down, thin-spiked pom-shaped plants caught my attention. They never stopped quivering.  

Observing the reactions of the plants and bushes, I began to think about the winds of adversity. People react in different ways, just like plants.

It seems to me that people who stick together, like the bushes outside, have less severe reaction to adversity. In times of personal stress, I have been thankful for the hedge-like support of family and friends.

The quivering poms each stood alone. I kept thinking they’ll stop quivering when the wind calms down, but they never did.

In the winds of adversity how will I react?
There’s no doubt that high winds can cause a great deal of damage. Personal winds of adversity can do the same. But consider the example of the hedge.

Planted next to each other, the hedge did not eliminate the wind, it only softened the blow. In our lives that kind of support can keep us grounded.

We humans will always be blown about by winds of adversity. 

Do you want to plant yourself as a stand-alone pom? Or would you rather grow as part of a supportive hedge?

Sunday, June 2, 2019

An Everyday Challenge


AN EVERYDAY CHALLENGE


Days, Weeks, Months, Years . . . All Time
Our days are filled with many responsibilities and job requirements. Our biggest challenge? Time. 

Why? Perhaps because it requires choosing priorities. That's not something that always comes easy.

For example, how does one balance the roles of husband, father, wife, mother, caregiver and/or provider? If these don't fit you, make up your own list. You may notice that you are expected to be a team player and not just a solo act.

Three basic ideas can help us make better use of time. Put them to work and you might discover a new sense of satisfaction.

(1 ) There is a time for everything: King Solomon wrote varied examples of our use of time in chapter three of Ecclesiastes. There have been times when I have stopped to read this list because I felt overwhelmed with what I felt was a shortage of time. Sometimes it's important to regain some perspective.

We are all in the race of time.
(2) The race is won at the finish: Picture a major race with spectators cheering you on. Then you mess up and fall down. Their mournful “oh-h-h-h, no-o-o-o” matches your feelings exactly. Now what? Give up? Or get up and finish the race? Be brave. Public admiration is fine, but the most satisfying reward is personal. Give yourself a heartfelt “hurrah” when you persevere under pressure.

(3) If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well: Have you ever tried to think of a situation where that didn’t apply? I have, and I haven’t come up with anything yet. Why do something if it’s not worth doing in the first place? Frustration can come when we try to do things well, but fail to meet others' expectations. The important thing is to be honest with ourselves and keep on trying. The personal inner glow of a job well done can be very satisfying.
Life is lived one day at a time.

Solomon said, “There is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live” (Ecclesiastes 3:12 NIV).

Use of time is an everyday challenge, but you can be a winner. The underlined affirmations can help.


Sunday, May 26, 2019

Light With a Purpose


LIGHT WITH a PURPOSE


I find old houses fascinating. Whether I’m out for a leisurely drive or a walk, I enjoy seeing lamps in windows.

Hand-painted globe lamps are beautiful
On one vacation, we were walking a heritage section of town. It was daylight, yet I stopped to admire an old brick house with one window facing the walkway.

The curtains had been pulled back and in the center was a beautiful hand-painted globe lamp. How I would have enjoyed seeing those pink roses in their evening glow.

Light has been important to us since man first discovered the value of fire. But people continued to experiment until fire became tamed in candles, wick lamps and lanterns.

Thomas Edison experimented endlessly to create a light bulb, gigantic in size. Imagine how intrigued he would be with today’s choices in LED lighting.

Reading scripture is a bright idea
Cartoonists cleverly use a light bulb to indicate a bright idea. The nice thing is we don’t have to understand the principles of electricity to enjoy lights of all kinds.

Psalm 119:130 NKJV) says, “The entrance of Your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.” No one has to be highly educated to read the Bible. It’s available to everyone.

When you read it, or even listen to it, God’s light shines into your heart and mind.

I can hear people saying, “I don’t even know where to start.”

Here's an idea. Look toward the center of your Bible for the Book of Proverbs. A lot of people read one chapter a day, matching their chapter number to each day’s date.

Take time to think about how you can apply what you read to your life. 

Proverbs can be your daytime LED, or your nightlight. The choice is yours.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Blog? Why Bother?


BLOG? WHY BOTHER?

Person-to-Person Connections
I have found it’s harder to write a blog than I thought, because I want to write, not just journal. That means editing and rewrites, so why bother?

Three good reasons come to mind:

     1) I enjoy writing
     2) It allows me to share inspirational thoughts
     3) Sharing personal stories can encourage others

I want to be a bright spot in your day, so I try to keep things short. This makes is easy for New Day by Darlis to be read on a cell phone as well as a computer.

During years of employment, business writing needed to be clear and concise. I was well-trained in factual, no-nonsense communication.

Writing is Creative Communication
In retirement I have pursued a variety of classes. The first was on writing stories for children. I enjoyed that, but I think the most fascinating genre is memoir.  Part of that is the challenge to write creative nonfiction.

It was hard to wrap my head around that, but when I caught on memoir became even more fun. Instead of “just the facts, Ma’am,” facts are shared in a story-kind-of way.

"Snail Mail" is Another Connection
I’ve been writing inspirational short stories for five years. I put many of them into a book called REFLECTIONS: Inspirational Stories from Everyday Life. It was self-published and is available from BookLocker.com

As I continue my weekly blog, I also write cards and letters of encouragement to people who come to mind. I’ve always enjoyed being an encourager.

A writer’s magazine shared this reminder: A word fitly spoken (or written) is like apples of gold in settings of silver (Proverbs 25:11 NKJV).

I would love to give you something so beautiful.



Sunday, May 12, 2019

A Level Playing Field

A LEVEL PLAYING FIELD


I enjoy sending and receiving greeting cards. Now and then I search through racks to replenish my card file.

That's what I was doing when I noticed this message: Each person is given the gift of time on this earth to live, to love, and to leave a legacy. I've emphasized the words I pondered.
A Library Legacy

Is life really that fair? Some people are so rich they keep houses available in various places, should they decide to drop in for a few weeks. Others are so poor they don't even have food on a regular basis.

Some are able to leave monumental buildings in their name. I'm thinking of Rockefeller Center/New York and the Getty Museum/Los Angeles, California. Even as a child in the mid-west, I enjoyed the legacy of a Carnegie Library.

But do you have to be rich to leave a legacy? No. Consider Mother Theresa and her ministries around the world to "the poorest of the poor."
A Baby is Born into Time

No matter who we are or where we live, this message is true: At birth there is a level playing field . . . the gift of time . . . to love.

Even if we don't receive love, we can choose to love. It's not about loving pizza or Paris or material things. It's about how we choose to love people.

The most level playing field and longest-lasting legacy is this . . . relationships . . . how you choose to relate to people. Generosity of heart and spirit encourages others and memories of your kindness and concern live on after you die.
Love In Action is Personal

Of course, hatred and animosity can live on, too. How's this for clarity? "A good and honest life is a blessed memorial; a wicked life leaves a rotten stench" (The Message, Proverbs 10:7).

Consider it a blessing to be able to make your own choices. You've heard that Rome wasn't built in a day and neither is a legacy of love.

What do you want yours to be? Never thought about it? No problem. Just give it some thought, then get into action.