Self-Examination

Thoughts on Gratitude and Thanks

Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18

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In all circumstances! This comes as a surprise when one considers the vicissitudes of human life. Sickness and health, poverty and wealth, joy and sorrow--are all ingredients of the cup placed to human lips--so all must come within the scope of thanksgiving. Why be thankful for everything? Because God causes everything to work together for good to those who love Him.

~ ~ ~ ~

A godly farmer was asked to dine with a well-known gentleman. While there, he asked a blessing at the table as he was accustomed to do at home. His host said jeeringly, "That is old fashioned; it is not customary nowadays for well-educated people to pray before they eat."

The farmer answered that with him it was customary--but that some of those on his farm never thanked God their food.

"Ah, then," said the gentleman, "they are sensible and enlightened! Who are they?"

"My pigs!" the farmer answered.

~ ~ ~ ~

Charles Dickens said that we are somewhat mixed up here in America. He told an audience that instead of having one Thanksgiving Day each year, we should have 364. "Use that one day just for complaining and griping," he said. "Use the other 364 days to thank God each day for the many blessings He has showered upon you!"

Do You Overindulge During the Holidays?

I cracked up when I saw this image, stating, "This is me, thinking about Thanksgiving."

When you sit to dine with a ruler,
note well what is before you,
and put a knife to your throat if you are given to gluttony.
Do not crave his delicacies,
for that food is deceptive.
Proverbs 23:1-3

We're in the sea of overindulgence holidays. We're polishing off the Halloween candy; now we're headed into the choppy waters of Thanksgiving. And then there's more fun: Christmas and Hanukkah, followed by the reinvention promise of New Year's.

My raft is overturned.

Admit it, these holidays are raging seas for our appetites.

We often struggle not to drown.

For, we often believe the lie of the satisfied appetite.

Being this long in the game with my own issues, I'm learning that, when it comes to our tricky carnal natures, there's no such thing. When it comes to matter of the appetite, the name of the game is more, more, more! And then some more piled on top of that! There! That'll fix everything! That'll make everything all better!

So, we consume whatever, however and in whatever amounts we desire.But it's all deceptive; the appetite we struggle with seems to act as a spiritual barometer. It registers as our chosen God substitute. And, because it is only a substitute, a counterfeit attempt, at best, it never fulfills us. So, what's the answer we choose if we're not careful? Gimme more!

Deception and Recovery

"You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor." Deuteronomy 5:20

The cute social media post thing strikes again. I came across this fluff ball the other day:

"Nope, I haven't seen your lipstick."

Adorable. Humorous. Human.

Indeed, this deceptive attempt at convincing did not start with our adorable pup. Rather, we need to look at history, a little further back. Let's peek in on a power couple.

Once upon a time, there was Ananias and Sapphira...Acts 5:1-11

Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property.

Thanksgiving: Blessings? or Mercies?

We can all provide a catalogue of things wrong with our lives and the world. Thanksgiving is a time when we must forget these things to remember God's mercies.

The origin of Thanksgiving is in the harvest festival of the Old Testament. The early American celebration was a self-conscious adoption of the Old Testament observance together with many other things. Throughout the year, the Hebrews constantly were summoned to thank God for His mercies and blessings. Many Psalms resound with thankful praise, especially Psalm 136:

O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good:
for his mercy endureth forever.

Mistaking Addiction For Happiness?

Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. Proverbs 4:23

"Frankenstein" author, Mary Shelley's quote recently stopped me in my tracks:
By The Man in Question - Frankenstein's monster (Boris Karloff).jpg

No man chooses evil because it is evil; he only mistakes it for happiness, the good he seeks.

You could insert the word "addiction" in place of "evil," and you'd have a fitting portrait of the chaotic addict.

For whether or not we understand it, face it or change it, the happiness lure is synonymous with our own addiction-prone hearts. We have more in common with Dr. Frankenstein and his obsessions than is flattering to admit.

We are creatures of what we treasure in our hearts.

"For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Matthew 6:21; Luke 12:34

If we apply Shelley's quote directly to our dear scientist, we see how he has viewed the creation of life in a laboratory as his happiness, as "the good he seeks." This was his addiction. So consumed, he did bring to life a creation compiled of assembled cadavers. A little electricity and presto! We have our grotesque monster.

His frantic behavior is not far removed from us, in the grips of our own personal addictions.

Are You Living the Language of Recovery?

"Rétablissement" is the French word describing recovery from illness or injury. Similarly, the phrase, "être en cure de désintoxication" has as its English translation, "to be in recovery from drugs, alcohol, et cetera."

I recently stumbled across some old vocabulary flashcards from my two years of high school French class. Some things have stuck with me years later, like reciting the alphabet and singing the Christmas carol, "Silent Night," à la française.

Yet, as I was flipping through the flashcards, I was re-reminded of just how much I had forgotten.

Seldom used words...
Factory is "l'usine."
Waste basket is "la corbeille."

Where Does Your "Precious" Lead You?

The character, Gollum, in J. R. R. Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings," is a study in addiction and its pitfalls.

This creature was obsessed with the powerful properties of a much-desired ring. Transfixed, he often referred to it as "my precious." This preoccupation, over time, led to his changed, grotesque form; it also contributed to both his torment and his tragedy.

The story portrays Gollum as a struggling being who had "come to love and hate the Ring, just as he loved and hated himself." His unfortunate fate inevitably followed. Upon finally seizing the ring, he fell into a volcano's fires. Both he and his "precious" were destroyed.

Now, how's that for a cautionary tale?

Seven Ways to Overcome Negative Body Image

Airbrushing is an all too common technique used in the fashion and beauty industries. In our current cultural landscape, you and I would be hard pressed to find a magazine cover which is not "retouched" in some way.

In 2003, actress Kate Winslet was quite vocal about her airbrushed body. She speaks of her experience with "GQ Magazine," along with their choice to feature her manipulated image on its cover...

"The retouching is excessive. I do not look like that and more importantly I don't desire to look like that. I can tell you they've reduced the size of my legs by about a third."

Binge Eating Disorder: A Male Football Face

"At least one out of every ten people with an eating disorder is a man or a boy, yet most people still think of eating disorders as women-only." ~ Eating Disorder Referral and Information Center


American football had some startling news this autumn season. In early October, player, Joey Julius discussed his departure from Penn State football last spring and summer on Facebook; his reason given was his struggle with binge eating disorder.

The Nittany Lions' kicker wrote on his page...

Celebrating Our Peculiar Selves

Scripture tells us we are to be a peculiar people:

But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 1 Peter 2:9


And, most of the time, that doesn't seem to stack up well against our limited definitions of beauty.

Yes, we have opened up more variance with image, reflecting multicultural, unique features. Still, we often seem to like to fall back on what is widely known, accepted and comfortable. Ergo, for example, tall, thin, blue eyes, blonde hair, on Caucasian skin tones.

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