Category Archives: Inspiring Thoughts

Worthless Words

“God, I don’t think you really care for me,”

I said, as I woke up one morning after seeing a horrible dream.

I had just preached my first sermon the other day (April 1994) and was waiting expectantly for my next venture for the Lord.

Well, I don’t know just how the words came out, but I believe it must be just as Jesus said, “Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.” (Matthew 12:34)

I didn’t think about the matter much until late that afternoon when I happened to stroll into my room and felt like picking up the Bible and reading it at random.

And the words just jumped out at me and hit me like a hammer inside.

It said “Therefore this is what the Lord says, “If you repent, I will restore you ,that you may serve me, if you utter worthy, not worthless words, you will be my spokesman.” (Jeremiah 15:19)

The words really sank in and right there made me confess my worthless words that morning.I believe God immediately forgave (as His Word says).

But it was only a long time later that I got to preach my 2nd sermon. And justly too. It was not God’s fault that I saw a horrible dream that night.

In Proverbs 29:20 we read “Do you see a man who speaks in haste? There is more hope for a fool than him.”I had spoken in haste allright and probably faced the penalty.


The Great Preacher Solomon says, “Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God.” God is in heaven and you are on earth so let your words be few. (Ecclesiastes 5:2)

A little more sleep, a little more slumber….

The nights were very cold that December. It was natural, my flesh thought, to snuggle under those covers and snore away 6-7 hours.

“Hello! It’s time to pray”, the Holy Spirit would gently nudge me in the middle of the night.

Literally, I would drag myself out of bed and pray the classic 45 seconds prayer. The first 15 seconds kneeling on the ground, the next 15 seconds semi reclining and the final 15 seconds would be spent in the ongoing process of dragging me back to bed and onto delightful slumber.

This went on, I guess, for quite a few days and then the Holy Spirit thought it wise to instruct me a bit more firmly than the usual nudge at night.

I woke up one morning seeing an unusual dream. In the dream, I saw myself hugging a dog and holding my face against one side of its velvety body. I seemed to be enjoying this when suddenly; the other side of the dog came into vision. This side was rotten, covered with wounds and stinking.Instantly; I backed off, pushing the dog away.

I realized the Holy Spirit was speaking to me regarding my fondness for sleep. He seemed to be saying,” One side of sleep is good. It gives rest to your tired body and mind. But sleep has another stinking, rotten side which must be kept away from by the believer. It takes away valuable time of prayer and fellowship with the Lord and the results can be disastrous.


The great preacher Solomon says,” A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest and poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man.”(Proverbs 6:10, 11)

And how true. Many invaluable blessings maybe lost in that extra nap that we often tend to take.

Camouflaged Christians

by Nora Penia

Hunters and soldiers often use camouflage to remain unseen and hidden. They go to great effort to conceal their appearance: special clothes, face paint, painted vehicles and tools. Often their lives depend on their ability to remain invisible.

It is often easy for a Christian to slip unconsciously into camouflage, taking on the traits of those around her, absorbing the atmosphere and responding in like manner. Making one’s Christian state known can be awkward, sometimes resulting in becoming the target of mean spirited joking, put downs or outright antagonism.

Unlike soldiers who wear clothing which mimic the surrounding terrain, Christians change their behavior to blend in. They may use bad language or laugh at dirty jokes, or at most, simply shake their heads in mock disapproval. The prevailing customs in dress, or lack thereof, may be adopted just because ‘everyone’ is doing it. Or, they may decide to look the other way when those around them behave immorally or illegally.

Closer to home, they may ignore laws such as traffic laws or stretch the limit on their tax deductions. Perhaps a Christian will adopt some of the worldly attitudes about personal moral conduct – watching ‘soft’ porn on the cable, or flirting with infidelity.

At work one may go along with the crowd. and remain silent on moral issues -padding expense accounts, exaggerating product claims, lying about overdue work, etc.

I’m not suggesting Christians should attack others who believe differently, or force their beliefs on others. But, it should be possible to take a stand for Biblical truths quietly, politely, but firmly.

“But as for me and my house we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15

Most Christians, if put to a test and forced to decide between their faith and their lives, probably believe they would stand firm. Maybe they would; maybe they would not. Most of us will never have to make that decision. We will be tested in the small everyday decisions we make, in little things we hardly notice.

“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16

Everyday, whether we realize it or not, we are presented with one opportunity after another to shine for the Lord. In the check out line, where everyone is rushed and taciturn. Smile or grumble? In heavy traffic on the way home after a long day. Let others in or ignore them?

There is a wonderful movement among young people called What Would Jesus Do? You may have seen bumper stickers or key chains with the initials WWJD on them. It’s a new idea, but an old one too. Jesus spent several years teaching his followers to follow in His steps.

This ‘new’ movement is based on a book written in 1896 by Charles Sheldon by the name of In His Steps in which a whole community decided to live their lives everyday as they thought Jesus would. Charles Sheldon’s great-grandson revived and retold the story recently, giving birth to this new generation of WWJD’ers.

Our modern lives are so complicated, making it easy to forget our mission on earth. Earning a living, shopping, raising kids, doing housework and yard work, attending social functions, maintaining a church life, working on personal growth, exercising, preparing meals, doing the laundry — all can overshadow our spiritual witness.

Studies on human behavior have revealed that individuals usually follow the lead of the first two or three people to speak out in any group. After that, peer pressure starts to build, and the longer one remains silent, the harder it is to speak against the group. This is true even when the person KNOWS he is right. The pressure from other people can be intense, but most adults believe they are not influenced by others.

Perhaps Christians should practice speaking up right away and making their position on any controversial issue known. Not in a belligerent way. Just a simple: ‘In my opinion, this is wrong,’ or ‘I can not go along with this’. Nothing judgmental. No high and mighty self righteousness. It is possible other timid souls will be encouraged to speak up.

And, after all, people who are not Christians do not hesitate to express their views on any subject. Why not be the candle which lights the path, even if no one else follows?

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Nora Penia is an educator and writer. She has written one novel, as yet unpublished, and for over two years has written for her own online magazine entitled At the Fence, Relationships and Parenting.
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Exactly what is it that Jesus requires from us

by Gary Droit

Are you annoyed by the ritualistic feel of most churches today?

Are you tired of people who insinuate that if you’re not perfect, then you aren’t a good Christian?

Doesn’t it annoy you when people equate drinking and smoking with sin?

Yes, you know that the Bible does not command people to not drink. You know that Jesus changed the water into wine. You know that Christians are not perfect, they’re just forgiven. Nowhere does Jesus tell people they should try to stay healthy and take care of their body. In fact, He says the opposite, that you should not worry about such things. When people try to say that cigarette smoking defiles the temple of the Holy Ghost, you know that Jesus said it is not what goes in by the mouth that defiles a person.

Odd, isn’t it, how some people try to make their prejudices into commandments from God? Especially when Jesus complained about the Pharisees “teaching as commandment the doctrines of men.” But this seems to be the habit of those who wish to control others.

A “divining rod,” or “rule of thumb,” if you wish, for determining whether something is good or bad is the Love commandments. When asked which was the most important commandment, Jesus replied, “Love God with all your hearts… and the second most important is similar to it, love your neighbor as yourself.” Later on, Jesus gave as a “new” commandment: “Love one another.” When taken together with His assertion to “Love your enemies,” it can be seen that, by “one another,” He meant everyone, not just fellow Christians. Thus, as Paul said in Romans, “The law and the prophets are summed up in the one commandment, to love one another.” Unconditional altruistic love is how Jesus wants us to treat each other. Can love be faulted? It cannot. Anything done out of love is good. Understand that, by “love,” we are not talking about infatuation or sexual attraction. Those are different things altogether.

What is meant by “altruistic love” is caring about the feelings and well-being of the one loved. Jesus gave us an example when He said, “Greater love has no man than… to lay down his life for someone else.” Then He put his life on the block as a sacrifice for our sins. He paid it all, folks, paid for everyone, everywhere, once, for all time.

Why was His sacrifice able to wipe out the sin of all people? He was the only perfect person ever to live upon the earth. As a perfect person, His sacrifice was the perfect sacrifice. He had no sin that needed paying for, thus giving up His life was an act of purest love, utmost unselfishness. It was the perfect sacrifice, the only thing which could cleanse all sin forever.

It is not by our “being good” that we are saved from punishment. It is simply not possible for us to be that good, that we would not suffer punishment. Every human being save the Savior has been selfish at some time in their life. When you play a sport and attempt to win, you are being selfish. I’m sorry, but it’s true. When you have food and eat it, knowing there are people in the world who have no food, you are being selfish. It is sad, I know. How, then, can anyone be saved? Jesus said, “Believe on me, and ye shall be saved.” What does this mean? Simply that if you believe that Jesus is the Son of God, who gave His life to save us from punishment, that is faith, and that is all that is required.

Knowing that someone gave up their life to save yours, doesn’t this make you care about the one who gave up their life? Jesus said, “If you love me, then obey me.” What does He want us to obey? He gave us a “new” commandment, (meaning it replaces all the old ones) to “Love one another.” He cares about each and every one of us, and He wants us to care about each other in the same way. No parent wants their children hurting each other.

Love does not envy; love does not desire to control; love gives all it has, even gives up its life for the sake of the one loved; love is patient; love is kind; love is not proud; love does not punish, love praises; love is happy when it sees happiness, sad when it sees sadness; love nourishes; love encourages; love builds the other up; love desires to be always with the one loved; love heals; love does not destroy; love is not selfish; love does not ignore the one loved, but waits on them “hand and foot.”

That can be a tall order, folks. But love also gives strength to the one who loves.

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Gary Droit is a (mainly) self-educated “Renaissance Man”, being interested in science, art, anthropology, literature, Christianity, and most all things. He has been supporting himself and his family by repairing business machines (NCR corporation 1966-1990) and computers, building computers, installing and maintaining networks, and doing web design and graphics. He is presently interested in being a freelance writer. Email


The following is printed by permission from Peggy Hentz, Director of Red Creek Wildlife Center. Please visit their site to meet this wonderful place that cares for wild creatures.


A few years ago I was asked to do spiritual children’s messages with animals. I had a few stories in my pocket and I had said, I have a lot of different animals but I’m not sure how many stories I could come up with relating the animals to God.

He told me that I was a CREATION TEACHER” and said, “If I all you do is bring an animal, hold it up, and say, “this is a creation of God, it is special” then you have witnessed about God.”

And that’s what I want to tell you about. I’d like to get you to look at one creature and see it’s specialness.

In my priorities writing I talked about the specialness of creation, and about not allowing the work and entertainment of the world to distract us from nurturing the living, feeling creations in our lives, the people and animals and from our relationship with the Creator. In that letter though, I forgot one person, and this was quite fitting, because it is the one person most neglected by most loving/caring people. It’s the living, feeling valuable creature you see when you look in the mirror.

Neglecting your self is the easiest most common thing we all do. And there are a lot of reasons. First, the very nature of kindness is looking outward, helping others, sacrificing one’s self. Second is we get mixed messages from the world. On one hand we are told, “to thine own self be true”, “look out for number one”, on the other hand we are told to serve others.

And how many people REALLY know how to nurture themselves. Do you? Not physically but emotionally and spiritually nurture yourself.

Also, any time we sit and focus on ourselves, we worried about being selfish and self-centered.

There are so many SELF-words: SELF-RELIANCE, SELF-CONFIDENCE, SELF-ESTEEM, SELF-RESPECT. These are all different things and we tend to group them together, but the one self word that covers it all is SELF WORTH.

If this weren’t such a wide spread problem there wouldn’t be 2 walls of self-help books at Waldon’s bookstore. Most of the time spent in counseling is focused on the self. AA, Alanon, ACOA (adult children of alcoholics), Turning point, Women in crisis. These organizations, though they cater to certain life situations, basically work on self worth.

I have spent years working on my own self worth. I have had so much advice and so many suggestions given to me, and I’ve tried most of them.

I was told to “work through the bad and negative things in my past, deal with it and put it aside. This helped me learn self-understanding.

I was told to get to know and protect my inner child. This taught me self-reliance.

I was told to pamper myself physically, to reward myself, and spend time alone. I was told to practice saying “NO” to people. I should practice these things. But that was working from the outside in. Although I learned to act like a self-nurturing person, it never changed my feelings inside.

The summer my Mother died, I spent the first month dealing with the details and legalities of her passing. Services, wills, lawyers, family. Cleaning out her apartment was a major task. All this and trying to keep the wildlife center and the business running.

I realized I never took time for myself. Mother and I had a complex, trying relationship, but I was her primary caretaker and we were very close. A great deal of my time was spent sharing time with her and caring for her. Her death was going to bring a big change to my life and I hadn’t even taken time to mourn her.

In September, I took 5 days off and went backpacking alone with my Doberman, Einstein. So, Einstein and I hit the Appalachian Trail, my goal, to come to terms with mom’s death. Well, how do you go about doing such a thing?

The first day I walked thinking, concentrate on mom, think of mom, deal with mom. It almost became a chant. Well, this wasn’t going to do it.

So I sat several times and wrote lists in a notebook. I listed feelings and events and wrote about all the issues I had already dealt with so many times.

Then a question came to mind. One of those thoughts that you just know, didn’t come from you. What gifts did mom give me? Not the physical things but the gifts from with-in-side herself.

It started slowly with the things she taught me, like how to handle money, keep a budget, cooking. But as I sat, I couldn’t write fast enough. The list went on and on and on. And I realized something. Everything good that was inside of her, everything that was important to her, she had given me. These were gifts. Her shortcomings didn’t matter anymore. Within the limits of her abilities, she gave me everything she had.

And I was thankful.

And something special happened. I felt valuable, and special and very loved.

I began thinking about the other gifts I had received from other people. The lessons taught, the examples given and just the time spent with me.

And I was thankful.

I thought about the gifts the Creator had given me, the talents and opportunities, health and teaching.
And I was thankful.

After all my work of trying to heal my heart from the outside in, the Creator had healed it from the inside out. It was through thankfulness that I had found my self worth.

If we practice thankfulness, we will begin to live a thankful life. A life of thankfulness becomes a joyful life. A life of thankfulness becomes a life lived in prayer. A LIVING PRAYER. And I can not see how that kind of life could breed selfishness and self-centeredness.

I saw a message once on a child’s T-shirt. I’m special; cause God doesn’t make junk. If you don’t believe that you or your life is special and unique, it’s only because what is familiar, is often not seen. We become blind to the things that are there all the time. OPEN YOUR EYES OR ASK SOMEONE.

I do it all the time. I even become complacent about things in my life, and my life is extremely eccentric. And if you ask and of my volunteers, they will probably use more descriptive words. Who else do you know that goes to sleep listening to the hoots of an owl, coming from inside the house?

When I first opened the wildlife center, every animal that came through my doors was handled with awe. I’d open a box, peek inside and exclaimed, “oh a blue jay” or “oh a red tailed hawk” or “oh a possum”. After a while, it would be, ah, another red tail.
I realized one day how complacent I had actually become, when I had this 17-year old girl start volunteering for me. She was so excited and she wanted to give a good impression. Her very first day working with the animals, she came dressed really nice. Dress slacks and a nice blouse and brand new sneakers. I thought, “well, I guess I can get her to do some paper work”. I was showing her a program in the computer when someone arrived with a blue heron that had been hit by a car.

blue heronNow Herons are large birds, standing 3 feet high, with legs as long as their neck as long as their beak. The have deadly aim and can take an eye out. This is not the bird for one person to handle. I had to get this girl to help. She was holding the bird while I was treating it, and suddenly, it threw up on her……. And not just a little bit…….And they eat fish.

I never expected to see this volunteer again. A couple days later I saw her mother in the grocery store and she said, “Michelle was so excited. She said, where else can you get close enough to a heron that it could throw up on you?”

Familiarity breed blindness.

So, today I hold up before you, a being …………created by god. Take a really good, objective look at it. See it’s talents, gifts and achievements. See it’s shortcomings and faults. See it in it’s completeness. All of it’s humanness.

It is special. It is unique.

And be thankful.

For God so loved the world, He gave it YOU
Because God don’t make junk.


The following is printed by permission from Peggy Hentz, Director of Red Creek Wildlife Center. Please visit their site to meet this wonderful place that cares for wild creatures.


I got two new dogs this year – That makes eight, so I am now classified as insane. But I want to tell you about one. She is a mixed Alaskan dog that resembles an artic wolf.

When I can, I do grooming for the SPCA. It’s my way of saying thanks to the Creator for being able to do the work I do. This dog is one the shelter sent. She came in matted from head to tail. Filthy! Stink! She had sores on her neck from being tied with a tight collar and flies had laid eggs in her wounds. When I called her, she ran away. She was shy and afraid of being petted. But when I looked into her eyes, there was still a spark. The shelter had sent her hoping she’d have a better chance getting a home if she was cleaned up. She never left.

I had her about a week. The more secure she felt, the more her personality came out, and I started realizing something: She knew things:
She would sit, Lay down and stay on command.
She was housebroken.
And she gave great delight in shaking paws.
Someone, sometime in her life, probably when she was a puppy, loved and spent time with her.

One of my employees asked, “How can someone love something, then neglect it so badly?”

Answer: HUMAN NATURE. And it is. We all do it to some degree in some area of our lives.

artic wolf

How many friendships are lost through simple neglectfulness. A forgotten birthday or anniversary. A phone call never gotten around to.

How many newlyweds, who start out walking hand in hand, after 10 years and 2 kids, don’t even talk anymore.

How many children, wanted and planned for, get ignored when coming home with a picture drawn or a B+ on a test?

How many people feel separated from their Creator, because they never take the time for a daily prayer.

We always have the best intentions. No one starts out a relationship intending to abuse and neglect. But we often get so distracted with the minor details of day to day living, that our priorities get forgotten.

When I first opened Red Creek Wildlife Center, I decided it would be dedicated to the Creator. God had given me a gift with animals and all I wanted was to use that gift to care for them. I soon realized though, how easy it would be to get lost in the details of running such an organization. Permits, Regulations, Funding, Volunteers.

Neglectfulness is human nature. I didn’t want to loose sight of my original goals. I had to set up a reminder, something that would keep my priorities in focus.

The very first thing I do every morning is log into my computer. So I set up a screen saver, a scrolling marquee, stating my purpose: “PRAISE THE CREATOR BY CARING FOR HIS CREATION”

I was soon to find out that “His Creation” was not just referring to His animals. Hand in hand with animals goes kids. Last summer we started an Explorer Post and I had 5 or 6 teenagers at my home. Those 5 have turned into 20, and there is rarely peace at my house anymore. Working with the animals, these kids have found friendship, acceptance, purpose and self esteem. They have found themselves.

Sometimes it gets overwhelming and sometimes I just want a normal life, but then I see my screen saver and I remember my original purpose.

Part of the nature of neglectfulness is this: Familiarity bring blindness. Even our reminders can become commonplace, we don’t see them anymore, so occasionally I change the color or font of my screensaver. And that scrolling marquee has become such a blessing in my life.

Mondays and Tuesdays are very busy days for me. I work 12 – 13 hours each day and by Tuesday night I’m beat. Tuesday, August 11, I was getting done about 8:30 and at 9 there was a movie on Cable that I had seen the previews for and wanted to watch. All I was looking forward to was quick shower and hitting the couch to watch the movie.

At 8:00 Mom called, had broken her glasses, could I come fix them. Now Wednesday is my day off and I was planning on stopping by Mom’s early the next morning – and – I really wanted to see this movie. But she really wanted to see me.

I really debated this one. Mom was in her seventies, in a wheelchair. She was needy and she was declining. But—– I really wanted to watch that movie.

I was just about to ask if it could wait till morning and I looked across the room and saw the screen saver. Well Ok, I would miss, what? 15 minutes of the movie? Then mom goes, “Well, as long as you’re coming over, can you pick me up—–?” Well, there goes the movie.

I spent a nice 2 hours with mom. We joked, we laughed, I fixed her glasses. When I left, I gave her a hug and kiss and told he that I loved her. I got home close to 11. Well the movie was over and I went to bed around 12.
3:14 that morning, mom died.

And you know what?
I don’t even remember the name of the movie.

When we are aged and we reflect upon our lives, there will be many joys to remember—– But there will also be many regrets.
Guaranteed, we will not ever regret:
dishes not always being done or the bed made every day.
the car was always serviced just so.
We will not regret a missed soap opera or movie,
or a bill paid late.
We will not regret a video game not played or a score not topped.
What we will regret is
friends lost,
a marriage broken,
a child, bitter because of not enough time spent.

Yea, there are so many things we need and want to do every day. And sometimes there’s just not enough time in a day. But at the end of the day if something HAD to be neglected make sure it wasn’t somebody that loves and needs you.