Monday, April 29, 2013


Benjamin Franklin, in a letter to John Paul Jones, wrote, “Hereafter, if you should observe an occasion to give your officers and friends a little more praise than is their due, and confess more fault than you can justly be charged with, you will only become the sooner for it, a great captain.  Criticizing and censuring almost everyone you have to do with, will diminish friends, increase enemies, and thereby hurt your affairs.”

Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle (Romans 12:10 Mes).  

Monday, April 22, 2013


Many truths in the Scriptures refer to God’s personal involvement in your life.  God never wastes a hurt.  He never wastes a circumstance in your life.  Romans 8:28 is just one of many assurances God gives us:  And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them (Rom. 8:28 NLT). 

Every minute He gives us is an opportunity to love Him, to rest in His love for us, to trust His purpose for our lives, and to learn and grow. 

“We should be careful to get out of an experience all the wisdom that is in it – not like the cat that sits down on a hot stove lid.  She will never sit down on a hot stove lid again – and that is well; but also she will never sit down on a cold one anymore.” – Mark Twain.

I applied my heart to what I observed and learned a lesson from what I saw (Proverbs 24:32).

Give value to what you experience by learning from it and letting it equip you for the next experience you go through.

Monday, April 8, 2013


Jesus said, “And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it?  For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’” (Luke 14:27-30).

Jesus says to know what you’re getting yourself into when you choose to follow Him.  Look ahead.  Get ready.  It’s going to cost you.  So prepare yourself.  And in the end you will be glad you did.

God says “Prepare plans by consultation,…” (Proverbs 20:18 NAS).  Preparation can take a lot of time and extended commitment.  However, we live in a world where we expect instant results.  We want to get to the top of the tower without all the time and foundational work it takes to build it.  So we rush ahead and eventually become burned out and empty, or frustrated and disappointed, or we become top heavy like an upside down triangle – full of energy and a lot of activity but the foundation is too small to hold us up and we topple over.  In any case we walk away discouraged, defeated, and resentful.  And the goal is not reached. 

Pay the cost to set yourself up for success.  Preparation costs but the payoff later is rewarding.  It’s good to give time and energy to prepare for the future goal.  It’s good to use insight and wisdom to set ourselves up for a future reward.  And though it may be long in coming, it will be worth it.

“The will to win is worthless if you do not have the will to prepare.” – Thane Yost

Monday, April 1, 2013


I read in the Florida Times Union that an entire troupe of performing fleas froze to death in Germany.  No lie.  The circus director Robert Birk said he was shocked to find all three hundred of his fleas dead in their transport box.  He said it was the first time he had lost all his fleas to the cold all at one time. 

I’ve never seen a flea circus, so I did a little a research.  According to Wikipedia flea performances were first advertised as early as 1833 in England, and were a major carnival attraction until 1930.  The only known genuine flea circus that still performs is the one in Germany.  Fleas typically live only for a few months and are not trained.  Fleas are observed to see if they have a predisposition for jumping or walking.  Once sorted, they are harnessed by carefully wrapping a thin gold wire around the neck of the flea.  Once in the harness the fleas usually stay in it for life. The harnesses are attached to the props and the strong legs of the flea allow them to move objects significantly larger than themselves. Jumping fleas are used for kicking small lightweight balls. They are carefully given a ball; when they try to jump away (which is not possible because of the harness) they shoot the ball instead. Running fleas are used to pull small carts and vehicles or to rotate a Ferris wheel.  There are historical reports of fleas glued to the base of the flea circus enclosure.  Instruments were then glued to the flea performers and the enclosure was heated.  The fleas fought to escape, giving the impression of fleas playing musical instruments. 

At the risk of sounding uncompassionate I’ll be honest and admit that I laughed my way through Wikipedia’s description.  I never knew.  So flea circuses really did/do exist. 

On a less comical note, I wonder about the various times in our lives when we’ve been like “circus fleas” harnessed to a habit or pain or fear.  And we’ve kicked and tried to run and tried to escape or cope in our own ways and strength.  Instead of getting free we stayed “harnessed” to our destructive or self-centered patterns which I believe give Satan a sense of gratification.  Instead of kicking or running or using our own power to change our lives, we must let Christ free us and transform us.  The flea may think:  My own behavior baffles me. For I find myself not doing what I really want to do but doing what I really loathe, (Romans 7:15 Ph).  But the Christian has the truth:  In my mind I am God’s willing servant, but in my own nature I am bound fast, as I say, to the law of sin and death. It is an agonizing situation, and who on earth can set me free from the clutches of my sinful nature? I thank God there is a way out through Jesus Christ our Lord, (Romans 7:22-25 Ph).