Sunday, May 27, 2018

Sling or Slingshot?


This title might seem like a to-may-to/to-mah-to sort of thing to some people. But really, it’s not.

Have you ever been intrigued by a photo in a newspaper? Drawn to it enough to cut it out and save it? It happened to me quite recently.

I was fascinated by a photo in USA Today (Tuesday, May 15, 2018, 3A). The photo had been taken in the middle east. The caption said the man was whirling a “slingshot” and to me it looked as long as he was tall.

Perhaps I was drawn to the photo because I had grown up with the story of a shepherd boy named David. With his sling he killed a giant named Goliath (1 Samuel 17). I had always imagined a sling as being much shorter.

In the newspaper photo it looked like the man was ambidextrous. His right hand was whirling a sling, but his left hand also held something long. A closer study of the photo made me think his left hand was on a crutch.

But still, there it was---photo proof that in modern times the sling, an ancient weapon, is still in use. The skillful person who uses it is called a “slinger.”

Slings and Slingers

A primitive sling, used for throwing round stones, consists of a piece of leather with a cord on each end. The ends of the cords are held in one hand while the arm is swung in rapid motion. Letting go of one of the cords causes the stone to fly through the air with lethal force.

Ancient armies used slings because of their deadly long-range capability. Expert slingers were needed, and the most valuable among them could sling with either hand.


Slingshots are different. They are hand-held and Y-shaped. Less powerful, they can be made of wood or metal with rubber bands attached at the top points. You might have played with one of these as a child. On a larger, more ancient scale, catapults used slingshot technology.

War No More

Wars have been fought in every century and weaponry has always changed with the times. In spite of that, hopes for peace seem to always remain. I’ve heard choirs express that thought in an old spiritual: Ain’t Gonna Study War No More. 

Both Isaiah 2:4 and Micah 4:3 speak of a time in the last days when nations will not train for war. Swords will be beaten into plowshares and spears into pruning hooks. Talk about major recycling! Read about it for yourself.

No more war? Even slings may become obsolete.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Blessed by a Peacemaker


It happened again today. A workman finished his work and sat down on our deck. “You have a great view,” he said. 

Every time I hear those words, I think of dad.

Over fifty years ago, dad moved our family to the Arizona desert. Back then you could get to the outskirts of Phoenix pretty quickly and dad loved doing breakfast in the desert. He’d pack us all in the car, along with the camp stove and supplies, and create some really fun memories.

The desert was fine, but dad also wanted a cabin in the pines. Knowing there was an affordable option in the Prescott area, he headed north to look around.

In Search of a Dream

Available lots were around the edge of a private campground and retreat center. The property was hilly and filled with huge boulders, but he picked a corner lot where two rough roads intersected.

The summer cabin he built was small, like all the others. I always thought the lot we enjoyed had been his first choice. But when I became his fulltime caregiver, I got the rest of the story.

One day I was remarking on the view when Dad said, “I really wanted a lot down closer to the center of the camp.” I said, “I never knew that.” He said, “I picked it out and thought it was settled, but then someone insisted they had picked it first.” I was intrigued at this new information.

“What did you do?” I asked.

“I explored lots farther away from the camp center. Not many people wanted to drive up the hills and build over boulders and gullies.” That explained our cabin, built over major boulders with a good view because of a gully.

Good Choice, Dad

I said, “I’m glad you let someone have their first choice down below. Nothing could be better than this view. But which lot was your first choice? Who got it?”

When he declined to say, I was rather disappointed. But then I thought I don’t need to know. All I need to do is enjoy the view. He kept his peacemaking decision private right to the grave.

The New Living Translation says, “God blesses those who work for peace . . ." (Matthew 5:9). During twenty-five years of ministry in Phoenix, dad and mom enjoyed lots of vacations and short trips to the cabin. Later it became their retirement home.

When my husband and I purchased the cabin as a vacation home, we agreed the folks could always live there. After mom and dad passed away, we decided to make it our retirement home.

Peace Just Keeps On Giving 

Dad was blessed for being a peacemaker, but his descendants were blessed, too. Isn’t that how life is? The decisions we make for good or bad affect not only us, but those around us now, and those yet to come.

Because I was blessed by a peacemaker, I’m often reminded to be one.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Thank God for Overs


Blogging is a rather new thing for me. About six years ago I started writing inspirational stories. I set a goal of five-hundred words or less, but I didn’t know how I would share them.

Cost was a factor, so my husband encouraged me to start sharing with my email contacts. That satisfied me for a few years, but I wanted to do more.

I had a couple of deep desires: (1) self-publish my stories, and (2) have a web site. Both were fulfilled in the same year.

My older brother and his wife funded the publishing of my book: REFLECTIONS: Inspirational Stories from Everyday Life with At the same time, I created a website under the domain name of Author Darlis Sailors.

New Opportunities

This past year a friend told me about Her encouraging articles appear under Fresh Start Momentum.  My youngest brother, a professional writer, suggested I call my blog New Day by Darlis. I loved that idea because I look forward to a fresh start each day.

I look at it this way. Why get stuck in yesterday? Maybe it didn’t go well, but you don’t have to stay in the past---even one day past. Give yourself a new start. God does.

A Source of Hope

One of my favorite scriptures is Lamentations 3:22-23. Since life can only be lived one day at a time, I see it as a source of hope. See if this encourages you, too:  Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.

I love the idea of a fresh start. Instead of regrets or self-condemnation, I make it a point to thank God each morning for His new mercies and a chance for “overs.” I don’t know about you, but my days are not generally perfect and I’m not either. A second chance on some things is very much appreciated.

Hope for the Ancients

If you know much about the life of the Apostle Paul, he suffered many hardships as he shared the good news of Jesus Christ. But he must have counted on God’s new mercies each day, too. He wrote, “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9).

Read to the end of that chapter and you’ll see why his faith was strong. He focused not on the seen, but the unseen. Think about it. Things we see are temporary, but the unseen is eternal.

Hope for Us Moderns

In the realm of the unseen, faith and hope are powerful energizers. When life gets tough, faith and hope help us persevere. But there’s nothing automatic about them.

The key is to deliberately apply them to your life. As you wake up each morning, let God know you’re grateful for a new day and you’re counting on His fresh mercies. Thank God for “overs.”

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Options for the Good Life


Yesterday I was privileged to attend an outdoor wedding. Surrounded by tall pines, chairs had been placed to create a center aisle. Along the aisle, clear quart jars hung from low plant hooks. Each jar held baby’s breath and bright pink roses in sparkling clear water.

Yards of dark gold burlap had been laid down to create the aisle. As the flower girl dropped pink petals ahead of the bride, it added to the lovely setting.

The pastor reminded the bride and groom that “love is not always a feeling but a verb, or action word.” As he continued, it was obvious that a good marriage is not automatic, but neither is the good life in general.

What is the Good Life?

Contrary to popular opinion, the good life lies in choices, not things. It’s life from the inside out, not outside in. Life is a constant series of choices, and not all stand alone. Sometimes they build upon one another. That’s why a foundation built of good choices is so important.

Some people live their life in constant turmoil because they never control their tongue. From them you can expect verbal lashings. Their brand of humor is cutting comments, and curses and swear words outweigh anything good they have to say.

One of the simplest admonitions to the new bride and groom was to “always keep your word.” That’s another way of saying don’t lie to one another. If you don’t mean what you say, don’t say it. If you know you can’t carry through, don’t promise. One of the simplest ways to create the good life is to monitor your words.

Choices and More Choices

The good life also comes by choosing to turn from evil and do good. To put it simply, evil is anything that creates harm, misery, pain or disaster. It’s important to remember that evil is an equal opportunity provider. It hurts both the person who chooses to do evil, and those affected by that person’s choices.

The good life also includes peace. That means being at peace with ourselves, with others and with God. It’s not automatic. We have to pursue it and make it a top priority. Peace is a foundational choice for the good life. Casually tossing it aside while making a decision can bring some hard consequences in which peace may not easily be restored.

The Good Life Can be Yours

My thoughts today came from Psalm 34:12-14. Those few verses are so succinct that I'll write them out and number the basic points:

Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days, (1) keep your tongue from evil (2) and your lips from telling lies. (3) Turn from evil and do good; (4) seek peace and pursue it.

These options for the good life are brief. The challenge, of course, is to keep them in mind and put them into action. Don’t expect easy . . . expect satisfying.