Who is Rich in God’s Eyes? by Jo Russell

Step back in time to a different era when struggling families made ends meet with one paycheck, a milk and cookies mom at home after school for the kids. It was a time when single-car garages and carports were all anyone needed.

Seven-year-old Jacqueline tagged along with her mother and sister as they walked a few blocks away to eat lunch with Mrs. Haines and to play with her kids.

“Jacqueline, please go help Mrs. Haines in the kitchen with lunch while the kids and I set the table,” Her mom commanded.

Jackie did. She was amazed that the toast Mrs. Haines gave her was golden brown. As the girl spread butter over the slice, she noticed it didn’t have one speck of black on it. Her mom usually scraped the black off the bread if the toaster stuck on high and overcooked it. But her family would eat it anyway, spreading it with lots of fruit jam so it tasted good. Toast with no black! Golly!

After a hot lunch of meatloaf with carrots and toast, the ladies sent the children to play together upstairs. That’s when Jackie saw a sight that left her astonished: a television set in the bedroom. I saw one downstairs, too. That means they have too televisions!

Later when Jackie, her brothers and mom walked a few blocks home, Jackie was quiet.

“What is it, Sweetie?”

“Mom, it’s about the Haines. Their toast doesn’t burn in the toaster. They don’t scrape the bread like we do. They have two televisions, too.” She paused before asking, “Are they rich?”

“No. I think they saved the old TV when they got another one.”

“Then are we poor?”

“Of course not! We always have food to eat, the car runs, we have furniture and a house, Dad works hard and we get to go on summer camping vacations. God takes care of us every day.”

“If we’re not rich and not poor, why don’t we have two televisions?”

Good question. Today, having multiple electronic devices and computers, as many phones as people in the house, and a second car in the driveway is a common lifestyle. But milk and cookies moms who are home with the kids in lieu of these luxuries is rare indeed.

Jesus said much about asking for needs. “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who weeks find; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” [Matthew 7:7-11]

Though God may give us a surprise in something on our wish list, the most lasting one is the relationship with Jesus. How soon does our excitement about a new purchase fade? His life with us is rich, and he doesn’t even need two televisions!

[Jo Russell is a Christian speaker, author of scores of articles, a half dozen anthology contributions, and award-winning Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women available where print books and e-books are sold.  Look for Give Us This Day Our Daily Grin – A Fun-Lovers Guide to Spiritual Living and Growing now  on Amazon Kindle and other e-formats Smashwords as well as print coming soon. Jo lives in northeast Arizona and writes a popular humorous weekly blog on her website, www.button-to-god.com.]

 

 

Dog and God Walking 101 by Jo Russell

A couple walk their dogs in Kenwood Estate, Hampstead Heath.

“Corky just graduated from Good Citizen training,” explained proud dog owner, James, who had been talking with his friend, Roger. Both were at the playground with their children.  “I didn’t know if he would make it because he’s so young, but he has done just fine. “  The tan labrabor sat quietly next to his owner as James pushed his two-year-old in the swings.

“Wow. Any other dog would be jumping around. Look how quietly Corky sits,” commented Roger as he watched his pre-school daughter soar high.

“That’s because he has learned to obey commands.”

Rex, the park caretaker, chuckled as he overheard that. He could say much of dog and owner behavior as his park was a popular spot for walking dogs. “Just watching is a crash course in Dog Walking 101,” he commented to the men. “But I can spot the obedience-training ones. They just walk quietly alongside their owners on the left side and leave some slack in the leash—just like Corky here.”

Rex continued, “But I’ve seen lots of dog walking here and it’s mighty interesting.” He explained that he had seen family dogs leashed to a stroller with a mom pushing. The pet would be zig zagging behind her, straining to savor the smell of a clump of grass, pulling the stroller and Mom off course.

He’d seen dogs pull their owners around the walking path for three laps before slowing down and letting their owners grab a breath.

He added the story of his last day off, when he headed  down a two-track dirt road to his favorite trout spot. “There I saw the bar-none most one-of-a-kind way of walking dogs. This white-haired SUV owner had stopped at the turn-off, got out of the car leaning on his cane, and then opened the hatch to let the two huge Great Danes off their leashes. Then he drove down the road without them! That made me hopping mad! I thought, ‘How dare he just abandon those dogs!’”

“It would make me mad, too!” Roger added.

“But the Danes giddy-upped after the car. I guess he knew just how fast to drive. When the car reached the lake, the guy stopped, petted the panting dogs, poured them each water, and opened the back hatch to let them Danes back inside for a ride home. They knew who took care of them. They knew who loved them. They knew who they belonged to. The pet owner just had another way of walking them because of his own problems,” Rex concluded.

Jesus knows who belongs to him, too. “I am the good shepherd. I know my sheep and my sheep know me—just as the Father knows me and I know the Father…My sheep listen to my voice; I know them and they follow me. I give them eternal life and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.” [John 10:14, 10:25]  Listening to his voice and following the Good Shepherd. That’s even better than Good Citizen training.

He assures us in our every day challenges this ironclad  promise, which spoken to leader Joshua. It  applies to our lives today, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be  afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” [Dueteronomy 31:6]

And like the white-haired driver putting a different spin on Dog Walking 101, God may put a spin on our walk with him. But he loves us and knows to stretch our abilities just far enough for us to grow stronger. Like the senior, God knows just when we need to stop and ride for a while.

[Jo Russell is a Christian speaker, author of scores of articles, a half dozen anthology contributions, and award-winning Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women available where print books and e-books are sold.  Look for Give Us This Day Our Daily Grin – A Fun-Lovers Guide to Spiritual Living and Growing now on Amazon Kindle and other e-formats Smashwords as well as print coming soon. Jo lives in northeast Arizona and writes a popular humorous weekly blog on her website, www.button-to-god.com.]

 

 

 

 

 

A New Look Inside and Out by Jo Russell

A new look. That was Marnie’s destiny once a month when she went to the beauty salon. For work, she pulled her hair into a pony tail and jammed her hair under a baseball cap with the company logo on it. Simple and fast.

But for her once a month hair appointment for a trim and style, Marnie steeled herself to go without a hat—at least for a day or two.

Annie, her hairdresser, did an especially great job on her hair this time. Though Marnie was forced to leave the baseball cap off when she was ready to leave the salon, she looked in the mirror at the salon and noticed, Why, I’m pretty. My hair looks beautiful! Will anyone notice?

When she reported for work with a new hairdo, Marnie’s boss greeted her with a quizzical expression on his face.

“There’s something different about you.” Long pause. “Did you lose your hat?”

The value you are to God matters more than anything. He loves you and me and cares for us regardless of our appearance, our assets or achievements. Whatever standards the world uses to measure value, such as appearance, assets or achievements, our maker doesn’t see us that way.  God knows us so well that he can name the number of hairs on our head—whether our hair is thick or thin–at any age.

Jesus himself said, “Indeed, the very hairs on your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” [Luke 12:7] We have value in his eyes each day. He gives us a new look inside and it spills over to the outside that others can see.

God’s love and care can give us the courage to face the future and have confidence in his meeting our needs on good hair and bad hair days. There’s plenty of his love to infuse into each day, whether it’s a baseball cap day or not.

[Jo Russell is a Christian speaker, author of scores of articles, a half dozen anthology contributions, and award-winning Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women available where print books and e-books are sold.  Look for Give Us This Day Our Daily Grin – A Fun-Lovers Guide to Spiritual Living and Growing now released for pre-sales on Amazon Kindle and other e-formats Smashwords as well as print coming soon. Jo lives in northeast Arizona and writes a popular humorous weekly blog on her website, www.button-to-god.com.]

 

 

 

 

 

A Good Kind of Drug Problem by Jo Russell

“When I was growing up, I had a drug problem,” Sam started. His audience of fellow fathers stopped in mid-bite on burgers at a local hangout. They stared.

“What? You?” Charley asked. He was astonished! Sam’s standing as a man of integrity, church leader and a Christian spanned all the years the men had known each other. He was a model of clean living.

“Yeah. I got drug to church every week. But it was the finest blessing I’ve ever had. I learned values. I learned about God. It was at church and at home how to be a man and a spiritual leader like my dad.”

Getting drug to church every week?  What does that have to do with child rearing?

Some parents vocalize that children should have the choice of choosing to go whatever church they want to with their friends or not to go at all.  Often these parents don’t attend church at all themselves. The message is clear: church is not important or essential. It is an extra, like dessert.  What values do they themselves teach and model at home and in every day life?

Children “getting drug to church” every week by their parents, guardians, or caregivers see that church is important to the grown-ups. Wee ones can figure out if the adults think if church is worth their time. Little ones can also see if the grown-ups are trying to live by God’s values.  When they themselves grow up, how will they live?

The Bible has much to say about God’s values in Christian parenting: “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not turn from it.” [Proverbs 22:6].

“Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” [Deuteronomy 11:18-19]

“Fathers do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” [Ephesians 6:4]

Men, step up to the plate as spiritual leaders.  It’s okay that your children get drug to church every week. It’s a good kind of drug problem!

[Jo Russell is a Christian speaker, author of scores of articles, a half dozen anthology contributions, and an award-winning book. Look for more tips on men stepping up to the plate as spiritual leaders in Jo’s new release, Give Us This Day Our Daily Grin – A Fun-Lovers Guide to Spiritual Living and Growing. Find it on Amazon Kindle and other e-formats Smashwords as well as print edition coming soon. Jo lives in northeast Arizona and writes a popular humorous weekly blog on her website, www.button-to-god.com.]

 

 

 

Communication Problems? Not with God by Jo Russell

Three college students performing a skit during a beginning language class took their places on stage. It was week four, but their skill level was shaky as the scene opened with the three talking together at a grocery store. The dialogue was in Spanish.

A few lines into the skit, one player rubbed her tummy, looked at the audience and slowly pronounced the words “Tengo hambre.” [I am hungry]. Instead, Sherry’s words came out as “Tengo hombre.”

That’s when the skit came to a dead halt. The students on stage smirked and those in the audience laughed out loud and kept laughing. She looked at the other players and asked, “Qué?” She didn’t have a clue why the skit stopped and everyone was laughing.

A tall young man in the skit pulled her backstage and whispered in English, “You didn’t say, ‘I am hungry’ or ‘I want hunger.’ What you did say was ‘I want a man.’” The single coed blushed as he continued, “That’s the difference between hambre and hombre. Just the way you say the vowel.” He continued, “But now that I know what you think, will you go out with me Saturday?

Both in Spanish and English, Sherry was speechless.

A communication problem? It’s easy enough for it to happen to Sherry or any of us when it comes to an unfamiliar language.

But when it comes to God, communication has come in thoughts, prayers, face-to-face meetings, dreams, and in his words of guidance for life in the Bible.

In Jesus’ own words, “But seek first his kingdom and righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” [Matthew 6:33].  He had been talking about our worry about basic needs, such as clothing and food.

David wraps up all needs along life’s path with these words, “Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.” [Psalm 105:4]

Whether you are hungry or need something else, God understands your language, communication and need.

[Jo Russell is a Christian speaker, author of scores of articles, a half dozen anthology contributions, and award-winning Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women available where print books and e-books are sold.  Look for Give Us This Day Our Daily Grin – A Fun-Lovers Guide to Spiritual Living and Growing now released for pre-sales on Amazon Kindle and other e-formats Smashwords as well as print coming soon. Jo lives in northeast Arizona and writes a popular humorous weekly blog on her website, www.button-to-god.com.]