Wild Turkeys


Nadine and I decided to go for a little walk around our neighborhood this morning. Actually, we live very close to the country setting as it only takes a 1 block walk before we are in nature. It didn’t take long before we were heading down a long hill with scattered homes dotting the side of the road. Before us we saw wild turkeys cross the road to get to the other side (sorry about the chicken crossing the road joke. I couldn’t help myself). When we got parallel to the place where they had crossed, the Tom turkey spread out his back feathers in protest to our presence.

I have heard of turkeys living in the wild, but it is a wonderful sight to see them in the wild. It reminds me of the passage in Lamentations 3:22-23 where the writer said, “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.” Every morning the Lord has something new for us to enjoy if only we open our eyes and are willing to hear His voice.

On this journey, wild turkeys will come across your path. They may not be wild turkeys, but insights to solve a problem, or a word of encouragement from a friend, or an action that you didn’t expect from a family member. Opening our senses can have the wonderful effect of seeing God work in our lives every day.

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Seventeen Second Irritating Beeping


I woke up this morning around 6 am to go to the bathroom. When I returned, Nadine was wide awake. She had been in that state for at least an hour. She couldn’t sleep and the more she focused on the beeping the wider her eyes became until she couldn’t stand it any longer. She got up and traveled to where the noise was. Here was the culprit.

Irritants happen every day. They are a part of everyone’s fabric throughout the day. It can be a beep every seventeen seconds. The irritant could be the taxes that many of had to pay and weren’t expecting it. I’m not going to get into a discussion on the pros and cons of government choices that cause us to experience the consequences of those choices. I’m just saying that unexpected taxes can be an irritant that gets us out of whack with life.

The irritant that I experienced a while back came when I put on a new pair of boots before Nadine and I went to do some shopping with some errands. As we walked, I began to feel my metatarsal rubbing on the side of my boot which caused me to focus on the pain that was begging to eminate from the inside of my left foot. The more I walked, the more pain I began to experience. It was only when I sat down that I could relieve the pain. During our journey, we had to get to the post office to mail some letters and so we had to wal rather fast. What was interesting about that journey is that I quit focusing on my pain and the need to get to the post office which caused my mind to move away from the pain. I didn’t think about the pain because my focus was elsewhere.

Paul in Philippians spoke to this issue and gave us a tool for dealing with irritants of life. “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Paul realized that irritants will come into our lives on a daily basis. We choose what we think about. We can think about the taxes we have to pay or on the money we have to pay those taxes. We can think about the beeping, or we can think about the device that can warn us of impending danger. We can think about the pain that a new pair of boots cause, or we can think about the boots we have to walk from one place to another.

On this journey, we choose where to put our focus when irritants come and they will come. Our choice will determine whether our day is filled with positive thoughts or a day that if filled with negative ones. Choose wisely.

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Snow In May


I have been very quiet over the last several months with the writing of my jlog. I don’t have a good reason except for the fact that I have procrastinated in putting my fingers to my iPad and hence the lack of posts over the last few months. As I was sitting at my desk looking out at the weather we are having, it hit me to put my digits on the keyboard and write a few thoughts regarding the snow I am seeing as I write this.

I have used my snow blower 8 times this year to my joy of cranking on the rope and hearing the sound of power. There are some in Colorado who are groaning at the thought of more snow. Not me. I have reveled in every day it has snowed with the expectation that I might get to start up my power plowed—snowblower that is. I do not have the irrational thought that I will get to use it one more time. The weather report blew that thought out the window. But the beauty of seeing water in white form fall softly to the earth is a wonder that I haven’t gotten over.

On this journey, we have the choice to look at our circumstances from a negative or a positive perspective. We can groan at our circumstances and wish things were different, or we can look at the beauty before us and appreciate the blessings that are right before our eyes. I choose today to look at what’s positive.

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Blame Game


It is so easy to blame others for their actions that caused us to say something negative or act in a certain unkindly way.  “They were the reason I did such and such.”  “If only they hadn’t acted a certain way, none of this would have been a problem.”  “If only they hadn’t accused me of this, I would have never lashed out at them.”  “They had no right to do the things they did.”  “She made me do it.”  “He made me do it.”  I could go on and on about the blame game that we play today and have played for centuries.  We learned it early in life from our parents and became experts in placing the blame on others.

The earliest occurrence of this blame game came with the first couple on this earth, Adam and Eve.  In Genesis 3, we see the blame game taking place when God told Adam and Eve not to eat of the tree of evil.  Unfortunately they disobeyed God and when confronted, Adam blamed Eve and Eve blamed the serpent.

We find another blame game taking place with Moses, many years later.  Moses was called by God to lead the nation of Israel out of Egypt which Moses did through various miracles performed by God.  When the people grumbled about having no water, God told Moses to strike the rock which he did and water gushed out from the rock (Exodus 17:6)  In Numbers 20 the same scenario occurred where the people grumbled at not having water, so this time God told Moses to speak to the rock.  Rather than speaking to the rock, Moses got mad and struck the rock.  Water came forth from the rock, but the Lord was angry with Moses because he didn’t obey what the Lord had told him to do.

I have always thought that Moses wasn’t allowed to enter the promised land because of this sin of not obeying the Lord when He told him to speak to the rock.  I have revised my thought process based upon the responses of Moses 40 years later when the nation of Israel was about to enter the promised land.  Moses is speaking to the people just before they enter and this is how he describes the event 40 years prior about the water and rock incident.

““And the Lord was also angry with me because of you. He said to me, ‘Moses, not even you will enter the Promised Land!”  ‭‭Deut. ‭1:37‬ ‭NLT‬‬  ““But the Lord was angry with me because of you, and he would not listen to me. ‘That’s enough!’ he declared. ‘Speak of it no more. But go up to Pisgah Peak, and look over the land in every direction. Take a good look, but you may not cross the Jordan River.”  Deut. ‭3:26-27‬ ‭NLT  ““But the Lord was angry with me because of you. He vowed that I would not cross the Jordan River into the good land the Lord your God is giving you as your special possession. You will cross the Jordan to occupy the land, but I will not. Instead, I will die here on the east side of the river.”  Deut.‬ ‭4:21-22‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Do you catch what Moses was saying?  “The Lord was angry with me because of you.”  He said it three times.  Moses was blaming the people for not being able to go into the promised land.  There was nothing in his statement about his responsibility.  There was nothing about his lack of obeying what the Lord wanted him to do, “speak to the rock.”  I wonder what would have happened if Moses took responsibility and humbled himself, admitting his wrong and his disobedience?

On this journey there have been many times when we (I) have played the blame game and not taken responsibility of my mistakes.  What God wants is a humble spirit, not one that seeks to blame and justify wrong actions, wrong words, and wrong attitudes.  Humbleness is a forgotten quality that needs to be dusted off for present use.

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Wild but Tame


Sunday was a wonderful day for Nadine and me.  We went to church and heard a fabulous sermon by our senior pastor and afterward headed to Colorado Springs to visit my mom.  Initially when we got to View Point where she lived we tried to find her but she was nowhere to be found.  She wasn’t downstairs.  She wasn’t in the first hallway that we looked at where she usually walks.  Not in her apartment.  Not in the other hallway.  Finally we went downstairs and checked with the desk who found her visiting a neighbor.  She was up for her favorite place to eat, McDonald’s, so off we went.

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On the way we decided to go by Glen Eyrie, the Navigator’s headquarters to see if we could see any wildlife before lunch.  As we entered the property, we came across about 50 wild turkeys eating by the road.  They weren’t at all spooked by our truck that parked right by the road to take their picture.

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They were at peace because they knew that no one would try to threaten their lives.  Wouldn’t it be nice to live with that feeling of freedom but feel safe knowing that nothing could happen to us?  The fact is that when we are God’s children and have received His Son Jesus Christ, we have the same freedom that these turkeys have with the same feeling of safety that these turkeys had.  God said in Hebrews 13:5 that He would never leave us nor abandon us.  Never.

Today on our journey, be reminded like these turkeys that we have an advocate that goes with us to give us safety and the freedom to move where we want.

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Addicted


Nadine and I were at the airport the other night and were ready to fly home to Colorado. We love to be 1 1/2 to 2 hours at the airport before our flight leaves so we aren’t stressed like my children who love to push the window of not catching their flights.  Anyway back to the story.

As we were sitting there waiting for our flight, I caught a glimpse across the way four children belonging to one mother, all of them working on electronic gadgets playing games.  The children ranged from 3-7 and all of them were engrossed in competing against the computer for supremacy.  They had been playing for some time with no mother in sight.  I assumed that the older lady sitting a few seats from them was their grandmother which bore out later.  After about 15 minutes, the mother emerged from the airport and wanted them to all go to the bathroom with her before the airplane arrived.  They weren’t having any of that because they were addicted to their games.  She prevailed as they went with her kicking and screaming.

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I later began to look at the staggering studies regarding children who are addicted to video games.  It’s interesting to note that executives of gaming businesses for kids don’t allow their children to go to schools who have ready access to I-pads and tablets.  They don’t want their children exposed to the addictive nature of apps and games for children, yet they spend all of their working days developing apps to lure other children into the addictive cycle of electronics.

Lustig studies found that be it sugar or heroin, the brain responds the same way when exposed to technology.  The brain over-releases dopamine, over-excite and kill neurons, leading to addiction.  I read in another study that kids spend 8-11 hours on electronic equipment every day, more than half of their waking day.  I could go on and on regarding the literature out there about the addictive nature of electronics and social media.

On this journey it is very easy to give a child an electronic device and allow him or her to become engrossed.  It’s an easy baby sitter.  The harder choice is to limit their exposure so that they can develop their minds and bodies in activities that can nurture the soul.  Choose wisely.

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Resentment: Part V-Resolution of Resentment


For some of you, this was a long drawn out jlog that could have easily been solved by telling this in the beginning.  I do think we need to realize that there are various facets of resentment we need to be aware of.  But the resolution of resentment is what we all would hope for when we find ourselves in situations of being treated unfairly.

Joseph demonstrated the healthy way to deal with resentment after feeling helpless and experiencing the downward spiral of events he had no control of.  He even demonstrated retaliation measures before he turned to the resolution of resentment.

“Joseph could stand it no longer. There were many people in the room, and he said to his attendants, “Out, all of you!” So he was alone with his brothers when he told them who he was. Then he broke down and wept. He wept so loudly the Egyptians could hear him, and word of it quickly carried to Pharaoh’s palace. “I am Joseph!” he said to his brothers. “Is my father still alive?” But his brothers were speechless! They were stunned to realize that Joseph was standing there in front of them. “Please, come closer,” he said to them. So they came closer. And he said again, “I am Joseph, your brother, whom you sold into slavery in Egypt. But don’t be upset, and don’t be angry with yourselves for selling me to this place. It was God who sent me here ahead of you to preserve your lives.

God has sent me ahead of you to keep you and your families alive and to preserve many survivors. So it was God who sent me here, not you! And he is the one who made me an adviser to Pharaoh—the manager of his entire palace and the governor of all Egypt. “Now hurry back to my father and tell him, ‘This is what your son Joseph says: God has made me master over all the land of Egypt. So come down to me immediately!”
‭‭Genesis‬ ‭45:1-5, 7-9‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Did you hear the secret of resolving resentment?  Joseph wasn’t looking at the circumstances he had no control of.  He was seeing that it was God who orchestrated his past and present situation.  Joseph mentions God four times.  “IT WAS GOD”.  “GOD HAS SENT ME”.  “IT WAS GOD WHO SENT ME”.  Joseph transformed his past events into realizing that God was the controller of the past and his present.

Moving ahead to where Jacob, the father of the brothers dies.  After the burial, an interesting thing happens.  “But now that their father was dead, Joseph’s brothers became fearful. “Now Joseph will show his anger and pay us back for all the wrong we did to him,” they said.  (Retaliation at it’s best, or worst).

But Joseph replied, “Don’t be afraid of me. Am I God, that I can punish you? You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people. No, don’t be afraid. I will continue to take care of you and your children.” So he reassured them by speaking kindly to them.”
‭‭Genesis‬ ‭50:15, 19-21‬ ‭NLT‬‬

On this journey, Romans 8:28 comes to mind when Paul says, “And we know that God causes everything to work together for good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”  It doesn’t say that all things are good.  There are bad things.  There are good things.  There are things that we are helpless to do anything about.  But God causes everything, the good, the bad, and the ugly, to work together for good.  I hope on your journey that today you can see God working in your situation to cause it to be good for His glory.

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