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June 20, 2016

The Only Thing

Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…

The only thing you ever had to do to make me happy was to come home at the end of the day.”

(President Bartlet to his daughter Ellie, “The West Wing”)

I just got off of I-10 at Baldwin. I should be home in an hour or so.”

We knew it had been a long drive for him, but our son’s voice seemed energized and enthusiastic. Nathan had just called as he was driving home from Duke University for the Christmas break, to update us on the progress of his journey.

The excitement, anticipating his safe arrival within the hour, had both his Mom and me running around finishing up decorations, and a few last things for his return home. Our Basset hound, Amos—Nathan’s dog—could sense that something special was going on, and despite his aching older joints, happily followed us around the house overseeing the final few preparations.

Five minutes later the chimes of front door bell interrupted our efforts. (more…)

Posted by: Scott Whitaker at 6:00 am
Filed under: Thoughts

June 13, 2016

Who Leads to What

Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…

Then I took a good look at everything I’d done, looked at all the sweat and hard work. But when I looked, I saw nothing but smoke. Smoke and spitting into the wind. There was nothing to any of it. Nothing.”

Here is my final conclusion: fear God and obey his commandments, for this is the entire duty of man.  For God will judge us for everything we do, including every hidden thing, good or bad.”

Ecclesiastes 2: 11; 12: 13-14 (The Message)

Solomon was supposedly the richest, wisest, smartest, most influential man in all the world at that time—and probably even by today’s standards. And he gets to the end of his life and says—

Then I took a good look at everything I’d done, looked at all the sweat and hard work. But when I looked, I saw nothing but smoke. Smoke and spitting into the wind. There was nothing to any of it. Nothing.”

Here’s another view of what Solomon is reminding us—that the “success” that society talks about which lies in the things of the world, in the things we do and achieve, the stuff we acquire—is nothing. And then concludes that “significance,” the “real meaning” in life, lies in the things of God, in who we are inside.

And that critical difference between the two creates a tension and conflict within us, between following the ways of the world or the ways of God. And when the ways of the world are going well we seem to be fine. We may not notice if we are doing what He wants us to do, or not. (more…)

Posted by: Scott Whitaker at 6:00 am
Filed under: Thoughts

June 6, 2016

For All You’re Worth

Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.

Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4: 6-7 (NLT)

Here’s a truth we realize sometime later in life—our feelings of self-worth have been, usually are, and are still today being shaped by the opinions and attitudes of others.

Some of us as children and in our younger years, have been surrounded by people who always affirmed us and our view of our own worth. But some of us weren’t as fortunate. For some of us it was it was about earning acceptance. Still others of us were abandoned—physically or emotionally—and got from all of that a negative view of our self-worth.

But all of us—no matter whether we grew up affirmed or not—somewhere along the way have been affected at some point by the thoughtless words, hurtful actions and unrealistic expectations of others. Words and actions which would color how we see ourselves, if we allowed them to, and which would plant seeds in our minds—causing us to begin to question our worth. Comments and acts by parents, teachers, coaches and others whom we respect and who hold positions of trust in our lives.

And because of those, no matter how much we believe in and have heard of God’s love for us—we struggle to believe it at times.

And that needs to change. (more…)

Posted by: Scott Whitaker at 6:00 am
Filed under: Thoughts

May 30, 2016

Memorial Day—A Call to Duty

Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…

“…From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” Luke 12: 48b (NIV)

After posting our American flag on this morning of remembrance, I noticed something sad as I walked around the neighborhoods. I remembered that there had seemed to be more flags being flown in the past on national holidays. Not today. Not on this Memorial Day.

I wonder how it begins. Indifference, that is. I wonder if we begin to learn it as children from our parents or other adults. I wonder how we could recognize its stealthy approach.

Indifference is too often missed for its true nature—the entry point on the slippery slope causing us to set aside our personal and moral responsibility toward others, toward this nation, and toward the One who is our Lord and Savior. Indifference is the antithesis of duty, a duty divinely set within us to be all we are created to be for others, for this nation and those who have gone before us, and for this world. (more…)

Posted by: Scott Whitaker at 6:00 am
Filed under: Thoughts

May 23, 2016

Nearer Forever Faith

Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…

Draw me nearer, nearer, blessed Lord, to the cross where Thou hast died.

Draw me nearer, nearer, nearer blessed Lord, to Thy precious bleeding side.”

I am Thine, O Lord (F.J. Crosby & W.H. Doane)

I saw his dad the other day. And the moment from over thirty years ago came rushing back.

The score was knotted at zero in the fifth inning of this baseball tilt pitting all-stars players from our North Florida area against those from a team in Central Florida. The winner of the game would play the next day for the right to go to the State of Florida—Pony League championships. I was doing my best to coach them toward that goal.

With my focus on the game and each pitch, I never saw the clouds forming high in the sky behind the backstop.

But he did. Of course. (more…)

Posted by: Scott Whitaker at 6:00 am
Filed under: Thoughts
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