Month: November 2009

My Thanksgiving (All Of This and Ty)

I am thankful… For sorrows that pass me by For the cleansing of a simple sigh For Donya’s Pumpkin Pie (more almonds, please) And Ty I am thankful… For the memory of friendships past For Autumn (but it goes too fast) For my half-empty, half-full glass And Ty I am thankful… For tears I never cried For okra when it’s fried For the people who are on my side And Ty I am thankful… For 1940 – ’91 For the man who called me son Though he left with work undone And Ty I am thankful… For troubles I never see For daughters better than me For freedom that isn’t free And Ty I am thankful… For Tommy and Mary Lou For Felicia and Jimbo, too (Tell them and I will sue) And Ty I am thankful… For breakfast, especially Mom’s For the occasional trip to Tom’s For my sisters and…okay, Don And Ty I am thankful… For the woman I take for granted For kisses yet unplanted For a love that’s been enchanted And Ty I am thankful… For Christ and Calvary For sinners He loves, like me For the promise of eternity And Ty I am thankful… For a thousand other things For the hope that a new day brings For a phone that sometimes rings And Ty I am...

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Wandering the Backroads of My Mind

Towns in these parts have international names. There is Paris, Detroit, Bogata, New Boston (and Old Boston), Naples, Atlanta, and Omaha, to name a few. Perhaps they were named by those who founded them based on the places they had once called home. Perhaps they believed that if they gave a town a noble name, it would live up to its name. Or maybe it was the place they most wished they could visit. Whatever their reasons for choosing such names, these pioneers scratched their new towns out of red clay and built them among stately Pines, pristine lakes, and lush, green meadows. They may have named their towns for exotic destinations in far away lands, or bigger cities in other states, but they gave them their own distinct personalities. They built the kinds of places and raised the kinds of families that time and circumstance may change, but not very quickly, and not much. I was raised more of a west Texas boy. The trees were shorter and the scenery might not have been better, but you could see more of it at a time. I was raised where the rolling hills of the famed Texas Hill Country ease themselves into the waiting arms of the west Texas plains and, but for ripples here and there, flatten and yield to the more rugged terrain, the horned toads, roadrunners...

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But I am Poor and Needy

But I am poor and needy; Make haste to me, O God! You are my help and my deliverer; O LORD, do not delay. Psa. 70:5 (NKJV) I saw him again today, this frail old man, dirty, heavily bearded, hollow-eyed and gaunt. He sits on the median of a busy intersection near my home, holding a cardboard sign that declares his destitute state and begs for help from passersby. I had seen him before, but only as I hurried past him, on my way to whatever was next in my busy life. But today our eyes met. I looked into his and he into mine and I wondered what his story might be. How had he come to this place? What misfortunes, poor decisions, or cruel twists of “fate” had conspired to reduce this man to the place of an undignified beggar? I looked and I saw myself. Crudely clad in the rags of unrighteousness. Hopeless to change my circumstance. Unable to rid myself of the stench and stain of sin. When I got home, I quickly turned to the seventieth chapter of the Psalms. I read the startling, sobering words of a king in distress. I listened as David, a rich and powerful king, declared himself “poor and needy.” And my heart cried out, “So am I!” I am poor and needy. I have so many needs that...

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The Law of the Jungle and the Law of Christ

Galatians 6:2,5 (NKJV) Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ… For each one shall bear his own load. From Rudyard Kipling’s timeless classic, The Jungle Book, comes this morsel of wisdom: “Now this is the Law of the Jungle — as old and as true as the sky; And the Wolf that shall keep it may prosper, but the Wolf that shall break it must die. As the creeper that girdles the tree-trunk the Law runneth forward and back — For the strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack.” Pay especially close attention, if you will, to that last line: “The strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the pack.” There is so much instruction for us in that simple metaphorical statement, especially if we consider it in concert with the words of the Apostle Paul. Allow me to break it down: THE STRENGTH OF THE PACK IS THE WOLF. You have heard, no doubt, that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. In any place of community – whether a home, a church, a business organization, or whatever – the strength of the whole is contingent upon the contribution of each individual. Without the wolf, there is no pack. It is the strength and dedication...

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Marriage: What No One Tells You, But Everyone Should Know

Listen up, kids. Dr. Love is in the house. I am here to give you the real scoop on this thing called marriage, so pay attention. Seriously, though. Donya and I went to a movie for the first time in umpteen years last Friday night. We thought that new Vince Vaughn flick, Couples’ Retreat, would be some good, old-fashined, knee-slapping fun. It was sort of funny here and there, but not hilarious. The message of it, however, was heavier than I foresaw. (Who ever heard of Vince Vaughn having a message, anyhow?) It was also pretty much right on. I could tell by the uncomfortable silence in the theater, the odd nervous cough here and there, the shuffling of restless butts on seats, that there would be relationship talk going on when folks left this flick. Delicious! The best line in the movie, says me, was near the end, when the respective couples were beginning to figure some things out and recommit to their partners. Vince’s character said to his wife, “That therapist thinks we have a problem. We don’t have a problem.” His wife readily agrees. Then, Vince says, “We have a million problems. But that is just life. I think everyone has problems. Marriage is not about solving every problem. It’s about commitment. It’s about facing them together, working through them.” (Something like that. I paraphrase.) Man,...

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