When All Systems are Down, Be Happy! By Jo Russell

“It’s just like a small town to have only one eatery open after nine at night,” Paul commented to his fiancée, Carole. “Sorry. I’d hoped for some place nicer. But the only place open is the 24-hour McDonald’s.”

“That’s okay,” Carole smiled. “I love their senior coffee and fancy coffee lattes topped with cream.”

But as the seniors waited under the bright lights for their turn in line in the fast food place, Paul and Carole overheard the clerk telling the late night crowd the bad news, “Sorry, the computer is down. No debit or credit sales.”

When the couple got to the counter, Paul asked, “How about I write a check? That’s cash to you. Besides, you know me, Carole, and everyone else in town.”

“I do. But no checks. Just cash tonight. So sorry.”

So Paul and Carole stepped back, put their heads together, and counted the currency and coin in their wallets.

“I have $1.26.”

“And I’ve got $2.70.”

Together they looked at each other and got the idea, “Let’s check the car seats!”

“Dibs on the back!”

The senior couple dashed out to check in and under the seat and floor mats for more change.

They hit pay dirt.

“Two quarters!

“A dime and a penny!”

“Wow! A half dollar and a nickel!”

Sharing the richness of memories of their teen years, they slurped a milkshake through two straws. With fries and a drink before them, the two remembered that contentment comes from the inside out in all circumstances. And this experience brought them both a smile.

Paul wrote, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” [Philippians 4:11-13].

Paul’s challenges were much more serious than not having enough currency for a late night snack. A need for real sustenance arose often enough, but he looked beyond that. Instead, Paul focused on God, not on what he did or didn’t have. And God provided for him as he does for us. Paul advises us to be content and to look to God for our true needs.

How often do we ask for or long something that is not a need? How often does God say ‘No’?” But do more possessions that crowd closets, storage lockers and sheds fill the gap where God should be? What could be better to choose than a lasting relationship and communication with a great God of love, care, and provision?

Compare wants to needs. God always gives generously and in a timely manner.

Best of all, God’s divine communication never closes down to accept cash only. He opens the door at any hour—and it’s all free.

[Jo Russell is a Christian speaker, author of articles, anthology contributions, and award-winning Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women. available from Amazon.com, her speaking engagements and website, www.button-to-god.com. Enjoy chuckles and speeches, tips and excerpts in website options and weekly blog.]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All Seeing and All Knowing – Daddy Keith and Father God By Jo Russell

All Seeing and All Knowing – Daddy Keith and Father God

“Dad,” Janet requested, “Denise and I want to go to the show on Saturday. I’ve got all my chores done. I’m paying with my own allowance. Can I go?”

“What are you going to see?”

The teen told him.

“No on that one. It’s rated R,” Daddy Keith responded.

As he watched his family grow, Keith had proved to be an involved father.  He appreciated that in the rural community where he lived, friends and neighbors helped be extra eyes and ears when it came to all their kids.

Keith reminded his daughter. “There are plenty of other films to choose from at an eight-plex.”

“Well, all right then!” she stormed back with anger. “We’ll go see some baby flick instead. You know, like G. Would that make you happy? We’ll be miserable, though.”

“That won’t be necessary. PG would be fine, but only if you improve your attitude,” he told her.

“All right, Dad,” Janet remembered her manners, “Thanks for letting us go. I’ll tell Denise.”

But fifteen minutes after the film started, Keith got a call at home from his friend, Roger, who worked at the theatre.

“Did you know that your daughter and her friend bought a ticket for one movie, but went into the one that is R rated?”

“I’ll take care of it. Thanks for the tip, Roger.”

Daddy Keith high-tailed it down to the theatre, stepped inside and let his eyes adjust to the dark. He found the teen girls engrossed in the film while giggling and crunching two large buttered popcorns.
At first, they didn’t notice the newcomer. Without saying anything, Dad chose a seat. They  stopped. The girls stared. In the darkness, they blushed.

How could they help but notice that Janet’s dad, Keith, had taken a seat right next to his daughter and her friend? He stayed beside them through the end of the film.

So it appeared Daddy Keith was all knowing and all seeing. But that was thanks to Roger.

God, our creator, does it without any help. His omniscience – or knowing all – Is it a bad thing?

God knew Moses, raised as an Egyptian prince, would be a great leader to walk hundreds of thousands of people out of slavery in Egypt. He knew beforehand that Moses’ successor, Joshua, would conquer Jericho without raising weapons. It was a miraculous show of God’s power.

When Jesus was followed by large crowds who were far from any marketplace, Jesus might have smiled when he asked Philip, “’Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?’ He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.” [John 6:5-6].  And you know the rest of the miracle of God: Two fish, five loaves, and a blessing gave everyone food enough until they were full.

David writes, “O Lord, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue, you know it completely, O Lord.” [Psalm 139:1-4.]

Wow! Someone who knows us completely and cares enough for us to guide our lives and choices—even at the movies. What could you say about such a Father? He’s even better than Daddy Keith.

[Jo Russell is a Christian speaker, author of articles, anthology contributions, and award-winning Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women. available from Amazon.com, her speaking engagements and website, www.button-to-god.com. Enjoy chuckles and speeches, tips and excerpts in website options and weekly blog.]

 

 

 

 

Changing the World One Child At a Time – Thank You, Mothers! By Jo Russell

Motherhood: America’s humorist Erma Bombeck claimed it was the second oldest profession.

In the world’s oldest profession, the women’s dressier wardrobes were free of baby urp on the shoulders–a deposit that comes with motherhood.

If the Marines will only take and make the few, the proud, and the Marines, motherhood requires even more: 360 degree vision, a warm and welcoming lap, strength enough to leap tall buildings in a single bound with a child under each arm while answering the phone, fixing dinner, and keeping the cat from coughing up a fur ball on the rug. Plus during the teen years, a mother must continue to enforce and teach children who are hacking away at the umbilical cord with a machete. She finds the strength to hold tougher boundaries than a drill sergeant.

But the rewards come. In a job cut out for the proud, the few, the strong, a mother rises above all. God smiles at mothers. For their job is to change the world one person and one child at a time.

They do.

When Thomas Edison’s elementary teacher told his parents he was not able to learn and wouldn’t contribute anything to society, his mother took over with encouragement as well as teaching. She found he was drawn to read reference books. He loved those on science. When grown, the inventor/businessman contributed over 1500 inventions, including the famous light bulb, phonograph, and motion picture camera. His company supplied the concrete for the Yankee Stadium, built in 1922. He continued to dream, create and invent all of his life. Where a teacher had not seen his potential and believed, his mother did. And God never stopped believing in Edison’s ability and talent.

Thousands of years ago, a king advised his son to look closely for the sterling qualities of a good wife and mother. “She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: ‘Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.’” [Proverbs 31:27-29 NIV]

Along with the hard work of multitasking, mothers and grandmothers everywhere touch the world with influence and training about values. What character rises above and spans the generations?

What Mom and Grandma teach, plus the solid ideas and teaching of Christ from the Bible, help shape character, not just when children are young, but all through the years.

For example, Gina’s family and children grew together with daily Bible studies at the breakfast table.

When the teen years came, ATTITUDE stepped up to home plate. Gina had enlisted the help of many stable couples at church to continue her sons’ ongoing moral and spiritual growth. It had been a team effort. While she saw other parents let their growing children decide if they wanted to go to church, pray, or study the Bible, Gina didn’t.

Gina, who taught elementary school, thought that giving them a choice seemed to be something like the mom whose daughter flunked first grade reading and stood at the summer reading class door saying, “Honey, would you like to go to summer school with Mrs. MacArthur or go with us to Disneyland next week?” Gina MacArthur never saw the wee girl again.

Gina opened a small devotional with Bible studies at the breakfast table with her sons.

“Don’t give me that eye-rolling!” She warned them.

Instead, they sighed noisily. “Anything more to eat? Can we have seconds?” one asked.

It was Gina’s turn to sigh. At times, she felt there seemed to be so little feedback, Gina thought she was talking to the napkins. In spite of that, she persisted.

Her young men both left home, announcing they were glad to be out from under the rules of the roost!

Only months later, she got a package from her son, George, who had finished Army boot camp. Inside was a devotional inscribed with these words penned by my son: “Merry Christmas, Mom. God gave the greatest gift of all, but I thought this book would help in using that gift….Though there is such a distance between us, we can look to the Lord and know we are united in Christ. Merry Christmas and God bless you now and forever.”

The next year, her second son, Norman wrote her, too. “Things are awesome since I rededicated my life. People get along with me better. I smile more. I went grocery shopping, and for the first time in two months, I wasn’t in the ten items or less line!

Gina found herself wiping her eyes with a rag and saw that it was one of her son’s tattered cross country tee shirts. The caring parent cried even more as she realized that God had continued the work in her young adult offspring.

Moms, parents, and grandparents everywhere, persist as you raise your children. Teach them how to find the laundry hamper, but also how to find and seek out God. Your job is to plant the seeds. Count on God for the rest!

A big thank you for all you do! Happy Mother’s Day!

[Jo Russell is a Christian speaker, author of articles, anthology contributions, and award-winning Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women. available from Amazon.com, her speaking engagements and website, www.button-to-god.com. Enjoy chuckles and speeches, tips and excerpts in website options and weekly blog.]

 

 

 

 

 

Tattle-tale Talk By Jo Russell

With detailed reports, organization, and packing up the kindergarten classroom for the summer, Miss Roberts was feeling overwhelmed. It had been a terrible tattle-tale day. Miss Roberts wondered what had happened with her children who normally got along so well. Maybe they were cranky as they spotted the public swimming pool now open on weekends. Was it something hot and windy in the air so close to summer? Perhaps everyone was as eager as she was for a summer change of pace.

Then Miss Roberts asked, “Andy, you aren’t a tattletale, are you?”

“Just a little bit,” he admitted.

Coming from a place of peace makes a big impact on others. It is a healthy strategy for diverting anger, worry, and stress. Remember the words of King David, “He leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul.” [Psalm 23:2]

Give yourself time to led God lead you to his place of peace.

As school winds to a close and the pace is hectic at school and home–let the peace of God calm you through all circumstances — even beyond the last day of school.

Peace be with you!

[Jo Russell is a Christian speaker, author of articles, anthology contributions, and award-winning Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women. available from Amazon.com, her speaking engagements and website, www.button-to-god.com. Enjoy chuckles and speeches, tips and excerpts in website options and weekly blog.]