Beloved Roadkill

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On a blazing summer day

In the sunny month of June,

A lone traveler just may

Find on the road something strewn

All about–something cooking

On the blistering pavement.

It may be known with looking

Something found what “behave” meant.

It lays so still and flattened,

A heap of marred flesh and fur;

Yesterday it’d been fattened

So it’s worth men could infer.

This carcass had meant so much

While still breathing and living.

It had been a friend and such

To the man who’d been giving

His provisions to the thing.

He gave it food; protection.

And he paid the price to bring

It away from infection.

He told it to stay with him,

Within the gates of his yard–

To just chew on the long limb

Of this tree. But that’s so hard!

It did not heed the kind man,

But it left the fence to find

Another branch which one can

Use it’s sharpened teeth to grind.

This is when it met a truck;

From noble to ignoble

In an instant of bad luck,

It became still–immobile.

The man did not hasten this.

He did not want it to be.

When he found, all his bliss

Was something he could not see.

If only it had listened

To his simple, earnest words,

The way wouldn’t have glistened

With blood and flesh pecked by birds.

 

Passing a dead dog on the side of the road arouses at least a little bit of emotion in everyone. Even those who do not love dogs are pained to see the body of such a creature laying by the highway.

Rarely though, in passing roadkill, do I think of the owner of the pet who met its unfortunate end.

I pass the animal, thinking about it only for a moment before I move on to another thought.

But, think about a dog owner that is searching for its pet. He looks everywhere, hoping that if and when he finds his long lost friend, their relationship can continue harmoniously. Instead of this, he finds the remains of his beloved pet on the side of the road.

Think of how he must feel.

Think of how much sadness and pain he must feel, knowing that if the dog would have just remained where he had commanded it to stay, this would not have happened.

I believe God feels the same way about us. He kindly shows us where to go and how to act. But, when someone strays from that, they become beloved roadkill.

He never wanted that to happen, and he is grieved at the sight. But, to him, letting his dogs roam freely in his fenced yard that they could escape from if they wanted to, was better than chaining them up to ensure their safety. He loves to see us running around and playing in his yard. He does not want to see us attached to the ground by an oppressive chain.

He is a chain-breaker, not a chain-maker.

“For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”

-2 Corinthians 3:17

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Bad=Good


Good things can be bad

And bad things good.

Sometimes things are bad

If times aren’t good.

A thing can be bad 

Just at some times.

It can still be clad

With good sometimes.

Likewise, a good thing’s

Not good always.

A certain bell rings,

And questions raise.

Marriage is good for

Women and men,

But for small girls or

Boys it’s near sin.

Even death seems good 

To relieve pain,

But not when it could

Be young ones slain.

Good is not always,

Neither is bad.

Even the sad strays

Into the glad.

Goodness and badness are not absolute adjectives for the things of this world. 

Above even good and bad themselves, timing determines the character of a thing. If it is the right time for a certain thing, it may be deemed good. But if it is the wrong time, the same thing may be deemed bad. 

For instance, take a road. It has two lanes, each going in opposite directions. Both are good and bad. 

If you are driving down the road in the right lane, it is good; but if you decide to start driving in the other lane without changing directions, that lane is bad for you. But the same lane you are driving the wrong way on is good for drivers driving the correct way on it.

In addition, if, at a later time, you were returning to your original destination on the same road, the lane that was bad for you at an earlier time would now be good. 

The same thing can be both good and bad at the same time for different people.

Just because something is ‘good’ for that person, does not mean it will be good for you right now as well.

Even humans, at the beginning of time, were deemed ‘good’ by God himself.

“God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.”

Genesis 1:31

Then, when sin entered the world, human nature became bad. It became an enemy to our relationship with the creator. But through Jesus and his sacrifice, we are able to become good again.

“Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.”

James 1:17

I Wished I Weren’t A Twin.​

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No thing is like

Having a twin

Who understands

The state you’re in.

A friend who seems

So like yourself

That you’ve questioned

If you’re yourself.

We’re different

In many ways,

But much the same

Most of the days.

Soon we’ll be men,

Dreams abounding,

Whose lives both sing

Though different sounding.

 

As the eve of my eighteenth birthday comes to a close, I am reminded of my extraordinary situation that I have called ‘normal’ my entire life.

I am a twin.

My brother and I are numbers four and five in our family lineup, and the next sibling up is eight years our senior. While having older, more mature siblings to learn from and come close to has been an amazing experience, it does not quite parallel my relationship with my twin. I am extremely close to my family, but Isaac, my twin, and I have something different.

We have always been on the same level, in the same place, mostly doing the same things.

We do nearly everything together, and I love it!

Now, however awesome being a twin is, some parts of it cause struggles.

Having someone who is nearly identical to you in appearance and sometimes even in thinking can be troublesome at times. I went through seasons feeling like I could never be myself because no matter what I did, I would still be just another model of the guy who shared the womb with me. “You are pretty much the same person.” people would say. They sometimes still do. And I hated to hear that.

“You are pretty much the same person.” people would say. They sometimes still do. And I hated that.

At times I even loathed being a twin. I wished I were a ‘normal’ kid with no sidekick. 

But I have to wonder if I had been a single birth would I have had similar fancies of being a twin?

These feelings of sharing an identity with someone else even lead to fears for my future.

Would a girl ever care about me specifically? Or would she just like ‘the twins’ and not care which one she got as long as she had one of us? After all, we are the same right?

But, in recent years, as I have matured, these thoughts have begun to drift away.

I have realized that I am different. One of the ways I am different is that I have a twin. And, believe it or not, we are different from each other.

Yeah, we look a lot a like. We act alike and talk at the same time, but it is awesome! The pranks are endless and the confusion for others never-ending. 

The look of joy and surprise that inhabits a person’s face when they finally realize we are twins is priceless.

We will always have an ice-breaker. We will always have an interesting fact. And at the end of the day, we will always find our individual identities in Christ.

He loves each of us in our differences and our multitudes of similarities.

Specifically, in the past month, God has shown me in an even deeper way how special my predicament is. He has shown me what a blessing it is to have such a sidekick–someone to talk to about anything, someone who knows what you mean even when you can’t express it in words, someone who knows you, someone who is a friend like no other.

I am a twin, and I am proud of it. I love my twin, and I love my life! 

The first eighteen years on the journey of this duo has been amazing, I can’t wait to find out what happens next.

Happy Birthday Isaac! I am so glad God gave me you for a twin!

Haiku Holiday

A man with hammers

Should use them to build something.

If not used, they rust.

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

(Ephesians 2:10)

Help!


In the season I’m in,

It’s just help I need.

School is now in session,

And it’s like a steed.

I climbed it last Thursday;

It took me dashing

Through the very first day,

My thoughts all flashing.

What was his name again?

What does she study?

That starts at eleven?

My mind is all muddy!

Where do I go from here?

How do I get there?

I’ll be tardy I fear;

Should I take the stair?

Oh someone please help me

In all of this stress!

I can’t even half-see

This whole ‘college’ mess!

But in all this worry

Have I thought of me?

My life is a hurry

To find who I’ll be.

But maybe I am not

Who I need to help.

Maybe I’m to be wrought 

As I hear their help.

More than any other time in my life, I can truly say, “I need help.”

I started college, and I need help with homework. I need help with balance. I need help with my thoughts. I need help with my dreams. I just need help.

And also, more than any other time, I am given numerous opportunities to get help. Questions to professors and other students are rarely treated as insignificant. Often they are answered gladly and promptly.  

But as I seek and take all this help for myself and my future, I am forced to think of how much I am helping others. How am I helping others? How am I encouraging others and assisting them in becoming the great people they want to and can be?

So, no matter what your situation or season, help others. You are never too busy to give away even just a little bit of what you are given so freely.

“Don’t forget to do good. Don’t forget to share with others. God is pleased with those kinds of offerings.”

(Hebrews‬ ‭13:16‬)

Cell Phony?

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You can be here,

But also there.

It’s what I fear

To do you dare.

If you are here,

Do not be there.

For if you’re here

You can’t be there;

You can’t be here

And also there.

How often do you get onto your phone, computer, tablet, or any other electronic device?

Once or twice a day?

No.

Several times a day?

Probably not.

Much more?

I would guess that most people do so at least dozens of times a day.  Some may even come close to hundreds of times.

I use my electronics fairly often.

When I wonder what time it is, I look at my phone.  When I check my email, I often pull out my phone to do so.  When I blog, I crack open my laptop.

Seconds turn into minutes, and minutes turn into hours.  Then suddenly, we have spent the majority of the day glued to some technological display.

Don’t misunderstand me.  I like technology.  It is incredibly useful and increasingly versatile.  But it can also be an enormous distraction.

There are times when the use of electronics is mandatory or very necessary.  But that is not always the case.

It is not always a good time to check that screen of yours.

Sometimes it pays to just listen to others or talk to those surrounding you instead of the ones who are on your device.

The famous martyr Jim Elliot once said,

Wherever you are – be all there.

 

courtesy of brainyquote

If you are with someone else, be all there.

Don’t “phone snub” them; listen to them.

“Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.”

(Philippians 2:4 NLT)

Don’t Be a Heifer

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Once upon a time

Cows could show emotion.

Sometimes they did rhyme

And cause some commotion.

They would write and speak

To express how they felt.

Some were bold, some meek;

But others’ hearts they’d melt.

Frowning and scoffing

They went all through their days.

Smiling and laughing

Is how they used to graze.

Because they showed them,

Does not mean they were good

Heifers to the brim.

Sometimes in grief they stood.

But despite all this,

They were all better off.

They weren’t all amiss;

They all shared the same trough.

Such days are far gone.

The beasts rarely do place

Another face on

Which they let warmth encase.

Why has this ended?

Why do they refuse to

Show undefended

Feelings to just a few?

 

Just think with me for a moment.

Have you ever seen a cow make another face aside from a blank stare of inescapable boredom?  

I have not.

They seem like miserable creatures, never changing, never revealing what they are thinking or feeling.

In this way we are much like them.  To often we pass by dozens, scores, hundreds of people without changing.  We never reveal our true emotions because we have the false idea in our minds that we must appear perfectly calm.

We think we have to look like we have it all together.

Many see tears as a sign of weakness.  They see problems as abnormal or imperfect.

But let me just tell you right now: No one is without problems.

We are all imperfect creatures that need each other to make it through this crazy world.  We all need that person we can go to with our true emotions.  We all need to have that person who comes to us with their honest feelings and struggles.

So I say, “Don’t be a heifer; be a human.”

It will do us all some good.

“Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.”

Galatians 6:2 (NLT)

Peach Perfect

 

tuscany-grape-field-nature-51947.jpegFor the last several years my family has been searching for a piece of land, a bit of acreage, a simple homestead, or anything else that would give us some freedom from the dreaded Home Owners Association.  Periodically one of us would come across a property for sale, ranging anywhere from ten to nearly one hundred acres, and suggest we go check it out.  Many times we quickly ruled them out, but sometimes we took much longer to pass up a deal.

Our land-purchasing excursions were sometimes more frequent and other times more sporadic.  We would be sure we wanted to move out of our neighborhood, but then we would question that desire.

Eventually, our zeal for life in the country died down.  We somewhat gave up on our property hunt.

Then, suddenly, after a very quick and surprising opportunity arose, we purchased a twenty-acre, peach orchard.  

No, we didn’t know anything about orchards or peaches or what it takes to run a successful farm, but we pressed on in faith.

Soon after the transaction, my brother began remodels on a small farm house that sat on the farm.  Our parents then started plans for a custom home to build on another portion of the property.  Meanwhile, we were thrown into the middle of our first peach season with no knowledge of how to grow the fruit.

Before we began harvesting, we did some research on peach trees and growing fruit.  But, even equipped with this limited amount of knowledge, we were practically clueless when it came to running an orchard.  Even so, we pressed on.

Although we were overwhelmed with the preparatory work, we were probably most surprised at the amount of peaches we had to pick in the first week of harvesting.  

Then we had our first sale day.

I’m not the most outgoing person when it comes to strangers, but selling peaches made me have to try to be.  Dozens of people of all types came to our farm in search of the soft, sweet fruit, and I was often made to speak to them.

I think I did a descent job of this, but I didn’t do it as passionately until I realized something.  Our orchard–our peach sales–could be a form of ministry.

Sporting our custom t-shirts that read,

“Love, Joy, and Peaches

Fruitful Family Farms”

we were proudly displaying our beliefs in a subtle way.  Although we did not shake a Bible and shout at our customers as they drove by, we were still ministering.

We openly spoke about our faith if it was brought up in conversation, but we did not force it on anyone.  We smiled at everyone as they walked up.

One particular man that visited our farm touched me and drastically changed my viewpoint of orchard work.  He came and purchased a small number of peaches, thanking us with a smile on his face as he began to walk away.  Then, in a way that I can’t quite recall, his wife was brought up.

She was in the Hospital; doctors had only given her a few days to live.

This was his current predicament, yet he still came to us smiling.  My dad said he would pray for him, and that seemed to bring the stranger a bit of joy.  He then got into his car and drove away.

We were all disheartened to hear the man’s story, but I was also given a sense of purpose in my farm work.

Later, my dad said he regretted not offering to pray with the man immediately.  I felt the same way.  Why had we hesitated? What difference could we make in even just one person’s life if we just prayed for them?  It wouldn’t have to be intricate; it could be simple.  So, as peach season is coming to a close, I realize that even selling peaches on a small farm in Tulsa, Oklahoma can be a ministry.

What do you already do that you can use as a ministry?

 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

(Acts 1:8 NIV)

Don’t Worry About a Thing

Life is tough.

I’m almost positive that everyone in the world would agree with this statement in some form.

There is sickness, war, death, grief, despair, hunger, poverty, and so many more things that mar our world.  I don’t go a single day without coming into contact with one or more of these things.  They are unavoidable.

And although everyone must react to these facts of our world, not everyone reacts to them in the same way.  Some get angry; some get depressed.  But, especially in America, one of the most common responses to the trials of this earth is worry.

People worry about what others think.  They worry about what they should wear and how they should talk. People worry about what they should do and what they should eat.  They worry about how much money they make and how big their house is.

People worry about everything.

I worry about a lot of things–a lot more than I am proud to say.

But what would life be like if we stopped worrying–if we stopped stressing out about the things we can’t control and started doing something about the things we can control?

What if we stopped worrying about how “cool” our caption is and just started being ourselves all the time?

What if we stopped worrying about having the newest gadget or the nicest car and started enjoying the simple things in life?

What if we stopped worrying about how much we “have” to work and started spending quality time with family and friends?

Life would be less stressful if we would just quit worrying.  And if there is something crazy, something bad happening to you, you have another option besides worrying about it.

You don’t have to worry.

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.  Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”

(Phillipians 4:6-7 NLT)

Look Like a Child

Once there was a fairy

Who had a little tale.

It was literary–

A story authors hail.

All full of magic things,

It was beloved by kids.

And even now it brings

The joy that age “forbids”.

For children grow quickly,

And some grow out of joy.

They seem much more sickly

Than when a girl or boy.

They have lost the wonder

That surrounded their youth.

But some still do plunder

The mines of glad untruth.

All still have kids inside;

Some have just misplaced them.

But those whose kids don’t hide

Are not those to condemn.

Cinderella, Snow White, Hansel and Gretel–these are just a few of the many classic fairy tales.  These stories cultivate imaginations with their whimsy and magic.  There is always a happy ending; and no matter how old you are, you can still enjoy a fairy tale.

Disney has been banking on these stories for decades, and they still show no signs of stopping.  Why would they?

They work.  They still draw crowds of people to the box office.  All ages can enjoy these timeless tales.

No matter how hard someone may try, there is a part of every one of us that wants to be a child again.  We all want to believe in happy endings.  We want to see the world through the optimistic eyes of a child.  We long for the simple life of adolescence, because the adult world can be a dark, cruel place.

Some people are immersed in the discord of the world and are always dwelling on the horrors of this life.  People that used to watch sitcoms now watch drama.  The main place that television is light-hearted is on channels geared toward younger generations.

It is as if culture says we must leave our happy endings and innocent stories behind when we grow up.  But I disagree.

Children can teach us so much about life.  They can teach us about faith, family, love, forgiveness, happiness, joy.

While children may cry more than adults do, they also laugh more.  They always bounce back.  One moment they are balling their eyes out and the next they are grinning and singing.  They don’t have to have much to have joy, and they have to have even less to spread it.

Imagine a world where people looked through the eyes of children.  If even just for a moment, look at the world and see it as a child does.  It is much more beautiful that way.

Who says you can’t still be a child sometimes?

Pablo Picasso said,

“It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child.”

So paint like a child!  Your life will be much more colorful!

“Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” -Matthew 18:4