You Sure Look Different With Your Clothes On! By Jo Russell

Ron’s shaggy blonde hair was cupped thick around his face when Mari saw him in the grocery store showcased against the European cheeses and deli meat. It was the first time to see him wearing something bigger than a hot mitt! He also looked at Mari with total surprise. She had never seen Ron with a shirt on. But then, he hadn’t seen her with one on either.

He stared, then blurted. “You sure look different with your clothes on!”
Mari thought the same of him. Were they lovers, only meeting in a motel when their needs were greatest or is Ron a male model? Is he hopelessly stuck on himself and determined to show off his compact well-muscled, hairy body?

Well, no.

Mari never before saw him before without wet hair, and water dripping off his body. Both swam laps in parallel lanes at the local pool for several summer seasons.
The world may cry for more skin and less clothes. Ron and Mari already had that at the Aquatic Center!

“You sure look different with your clothes on!” could have been the catch phrase of the flower-power generation like mine or now: “If it feels good, do it.”

God doesn’t just know you inside and out, but he knows what talents he has given you. He knows how he wants you to use them. He knows every joyful event in your life as well as the disappointments, losses, awards, victories, and challenges ahead. God knows the length of your life and what he wants you to do with it.

No matter where you are with God right now, he has not given up on you. Your age doesn’t matter, nor cellulite, moles, bitten fingernails, or the things you do better or worse than anyone else.

God knows you. He should because he made you. “You perceive my thoughts from afar…You are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue, you know it completely, O Lord.” [Psalm 139 3-4] NIV. What says love more than knowing someone completely and delighting in who they are?

You may not see the plan now, but God is smiling with his hidden agenda for your life. Will you let him guide and lead you? Wherever you are in your journey, God can take you there.

[Jo Russell is a Christian teacher, speaker, author of many articles, contributor to several anthologies, and 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. For more chuckles and to hear a speech, enjoy excerpts of her book and tips, check her entire website options and weekly blog.]   

 

Too Old? Too Young? Just Words in God’s Eyes By Jo Russell

The rented hall was buzzing with laughter and activity. In just a few hours, friends and family would honor Anna’s 80-year-old mother with a surprise party. Her son, Josh, was helping Anna with the crew in the kitchen. As he helped wash and tear mountains of lettuce for a salad while  others put together party trays, Josh’s forehead wrinkled with worry. The more time that passed and the more frenzied the preparations became, the more worried Josh was about his grandma.

Would this be too much for her? “What’s wrong, Honey?” his mom asked.

Josh voiced his concern, “Should we be surprising someone that old?”

Too old? Too young?  Boundaries by age and time are concocted by the world, but not by God.

Even the prophet Samuel was stunned that the king to be anointed to replace Saul was a half-grown David. His father, Jesse, had sent the youth–perhaps 15 years old–to watch the sheep while Samuel checked over the kingly-looking, tall, handsome, grown sons. But the Lord insisted David was the one. God justified His criteria in this way: “The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7 NIV)  Though David was chosen by God as king then, he didn’t mount the throne as king of all Israel for decades. He was past the minimum age of a U.S. President when that happened.

Age doesn’t mean anything to God. Do you remember that Noah, with no shipbuilding experience, took to building an ark at God’s command? He was no spring chicken then. Plus it took Noah 120 years. He was six hundred years old when the floods came.

Or that Moses, who led the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt, was an octogenarian when he did that?

Or Abram, at ninety-nine, and his wife Sarai, ninety, who had already gone through menopause, were expecting a baby. She was pregnant with Isaac. No wonder Abram–later Abraham–laughed.

Think about Apostle Paul in the New Testament. Historians guess his birth and death date, but figure he was over fifty when he made his first missionary trip. It seems pretty challenging for a senior to set off on foot across far-away countries. Though he faced opposition in wealthy cities by residents along the way who worshipped many gods and made money creating and selling statues of the fictional gods, Paul was steadfast. He stuck to telling about one God, our creator and Savior, Jesus Christ. With a record number of shipwrecks, Paul’s life was never dull. But he kept walking and sailing, letting God make up for what he couldn’t do himself.

So young or old, it doesn’t matter to God. He just smiles and keeps you growing past your age and abilities.

Live your life! Forget your age! 

[Jo Russell is a Christian teacher, speaker, author of many articles, contributor to several anthologies, and Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women, available from this website, www.button-to-god.com. For more chuckles and to hear a speech, enjoy excerpts of her book and tips, check her entire website options and weekly blog on www.button-to-god.com.]   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The New Meaning of Apples and Blackberries in the Age of Technology by Jo Russell

Fruit has taken on a whole new persona in the technological world. While many think in terms of electronic gadgets, I’m still stuck in Farmer’s Market mode when it comes to apples and blackberries and bites blended together in the fall celebration of harvest.

Recently, my grown sons reminded me, “Sometimes, you’re so old-fashioned you could have been the first human life on earth three million years ago!” To keep my relationship intact with them, I had to ditch dial-up internet and get up to speed. I had to upgrade. I began to rethink my definition of fruit.

Today, I find myself and others emerged in Apples, Blackberrys, Dells (definitely not the “Farmer in the Dell” type) and ever present pods (i Pods) that have nothing to do with pole beans or peas.

Some skillful users of technology are able to chew gum, talk on the phone, and navigate down the highway with a G.P.S. (Global Positioning System) guiding them with a robotic voice, “Turn left at the next exit…Missed it. Redirecting. Go point five miles and turn right at exit one ninety six. Then turn left at…”

Competing for road space on the rural roads are determined runners, in-line skaters, bicyclists, and horseback riders. Truly these extreme sport enthusiasts are taking their lives and cardio workouts into their own hands thanks to multi-tasking drivers outfitted with Bluetooth headsets, iPods, or phones.

Once, I received techie advice from a friend, “I give myself two weeks to master a new piece of technology. You need to do that, too!”

God didn’t give me that much time. Monday, my computer flipped on its back, waving its hard drive components in a death rattle. I had to order a new computer. Wednesday, I was chosen as a regional speaker with traveling orders to unknown places. No longer could I figure in wiggle time for getting lost in every area populated with more than twenty residents. That includes the dogs and skunks under the porch. Out with driving by landmarks and printed internet directions! In with a G.P.S.! Saturday for a keynote speech, I turned on a digital recorder I hadn’t used much. When I pushed the “start” button to record, the machine started playing back another speech for my audience of sixty-five women!

All of the technology has great capacity for making difficult tasks faster, more organized and more easily accessed. But to me, it sometimes falls into the same category as assembling a backyard gym set without tools or instructions.

Compared to technology, God’s message is simple and quiet. It’s an uncomplicated gift.
He loves you. Here’s the proof: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” [John 3:16 NIV.]

While you’re struggling with the fruits of technology, remember God’s simple assessment of you. You’re a top banana and the apple of his eye!

[Jo Russell is a Christian teacher, speaker, author of many articles, contributor to several anthologies, and Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women, available from this website, www.button-to-god.com. For more chuckles and to hear a speech, enjoy excerpts of her book and tips, check her entire website options and weekly blog on www.button-to-god.com.]

Dare to Do the Impossible! What Can’t You Do With God’s Help? By Jo Russell

Shortly after Ford Motor Company reintroduced its sporty Mustang, a highway patrolman parked under a tree by the isolated two-lane highway and yawned – until the bright Chevy Camaro and new Ford Mustang tore down the road side by side. It was a 50 mile per hour zone.

One hundred two miles per hour and rising! That’s what the radar read. With lights and siren going, the officer sped after them. Still, he knew that two V-8 muscle cars could max out at 160 to 170 miles per hour. Long minutes and distance passed before the two vehicles’ drivers noticed they were being tailed. Both slowed and pulled over.

Surprised at his first glimpse of the first driver’s face, the patrolman barked at him, “What do you think you were doing?”

The grinning man turned up his hearing aid and had him repeat the question. “Officer,” he said, we know we were speeding and we’ll pay the fines. We just wanted to see if we could still handle this”

The officer checked both of the drag racing drivers’ licenses. One senior was 85 and the other 87 years old.

Unlike our elderly racers, God directs us to respect laws. Hee did not advise these seniors to take on the dangerous and irresponsible act of street racing on a public highway.

However, God’s assignments may surprise us and stretch us beyond what we think we can do. For with God, there are no limits due to age, health, income, or status. Achieving the difficult, impossible, and unattainable becomes reality when God is involved.

Imagine the difference in our attitude.
When we kick the “t” off “can’t,” it reads “CAN.”
Take the “i-m” off “impossible” and see the “POSSIBLE”.
Take the “un” off “unattainable” and you’ve got “ATTAINABLE!”

Hold this verse in your heart and mind,
“I can do ALL things through Christ, which strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13. [KJV]
Believe, smile and let the journeys begin!

[Jo Russell is a Christian teacher, speaker, author of many articles, contributor to several anthologies, and Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women, Intermedia Publishing 2011. For more chuckles and to hear a speech, enjoy excerpts of her book and tips; check her entire website options and weekly blog on www.button-to-god.com.]