Category Archives: Country Ripples

Reflective, inspirational thoughts.

Needed: Showing, Not Just Telling

Years ago, a person I know worked at a small business in a small town. The owner and employee had attended the same Sunday school and church decades before. The owner professed Christianity and was active in a Christian businessmen’s association. He had also gone on short-term mission trips.

One night, it was the employee’s turn to close the store. Besides turning out the lights and locking up, her duties in closing the store meant taking the deposit over to the bank across the street, and putting the deposit in the night deposit box.

The next morning, the employee was shocked when the owner called, demanding to know where his money was. The employee said she had put the money in the chute. The owner said the bank couldn’t find the money. The employee was hurt that the owner would think she had stolen his money, particularly since the owner had known her for years. It turned out that there was a new teller at the bank, and she had not reached far enough down the chute to get the bag. The owner never apologized to the employee.

While the owner talked about Christ in his activities outside the business, he didn’t show Christ in his business, at least, not on that occasion. What an impact it would have had on that employee if the business owner had refrained from  jumping to conclusions, or, if he had at least apologized to the employee. As it was, the employee was unjustly accused, and she couldn’t take the owner’s Christian witness seriously. The owner didn’t realize the place his Christianity was most on display was not on the mission trips, but right there in his store, among employees, customers, sales representatives, and delivery people. They were the people most affected by the way his Christianity was lived out.

Perhaps you think I am being a little harsh on the business owner. Consider this: the work environment is where most people spend a good portion of their day. Work is also the source of a lot of stress. People working for a business owner who brings Jesus to work won’t even experience some of that stress, because Jesus is the Source of peace, goodness, kindness, gentleness, self-control… (see the New Testament book of Galatians, chapter 5, verse 22). The business owner acts with those qualities, because Jesus is working inside of him or her.

For more information on faith at work, check out the Institute for Faith, Work and Economics site: tifwe.org

©P. Booher

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Taking a Break from Doing

As I write this I’m sitting outside in the front yard, soaking up the sun. The house inside is chilly, even with the furnace on. On a clear day like today, with the sunshine at full blast, temperatures warm up faster outside than in.

I feel sleepy (probably from staying in bed too long) and not motivated to do anything. My hips, some other joints, and some muscles are protesting last week’s yard work. So I decided to sit in the sun and chill out for awhile, wearing my wide-brimmed hat, long-sleeved shirt and customary blue jeans. I am ignoring the call of the dishes in the sink, the yard needing mowed and raked, and a lot of other items lining up on my to-do list. (I get a mental picture of soldiers lining up for roll call.)

My spirit feels as though I need time to do nothing, to block out responsibilities for a little while. I need time to just be an observer, soaking up the sights of trees and flowers blooming, along with the sounds of robins, Eastern phoebes, doves, goldfinches, orioles, cardinals, and chimney swifts providing nature’s symphony in the background.

Currently I don’t work outside the home, but I do the normal household tasks, along with outside work. I’ve been busy the past few days. Plus, there’s concerns and irritations which get on my nerves and sap my spirit. I need this time of saying “no” to all those things without feeling guilty. The chores and the world can wait for a bit longer. I need to enjoy “being” before I can enjoy “doing” again.

Anyone else know what I mean?

P. Booher

Photo Credit: P. Booher

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Friday “Walks”–Living by the Wrong Standards–AKA–I Owe an Apology to People

When I was in school, most learning took place via memorization and what’s now known as the visual learning style. If you were blessed with a good memory (as I was), had a mostly visual learning style (as I did), and liked to learn new facts (as I did), you generally got good grades. Note that I can’t take credit for any of these. They were part of my “package” when I arrived in the world.

A problem developed when I did start taking credit for these. Since I wasn’t popular socially, wasn’t pretty, and lacked self-confidence, I bolstered my self-esteem by tying it to the only thing I had–my academic achievements. I thought I was better than other people because I got good grades and they didn’t. (I cringe as I type that now; it is so way off-base, so foolish and arrogant.)

I didn’t understand that a person is born with certain aptitudes and skills not to lord it over people, not to think she is better than others but to develop and use those aptitudes and skills in the service of other people. A person highly-motivated to learn could become a teacher, for instance, putting his enthusiasm into the hearts and minds of others.

I apologize to people I looked down on. I was wrong and I know people were hurt by my attitude. 

A few Scriptures: “…knowledge puffs up while love builds up.” I Corinthians 8:1 (NIV), “…(God’s) love does not boast, it is not proud…it is not self-seeking…” I Corinthians 13:4, 5

©P. Booher

 

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Friday “Walks”–The Father’s Heart

Photo Credit: P. Booher

Last Sunday morning I stayed in bed too long and got up late to go to church. I was beating myself up for it, and I thought, “God must be angry with me for getting up late again, when I know that makes me late for church.” Then another thought came to mind, “No, but He is saddened that you are making it harder for yourself than it needs to be.”

It occurred to me that God, like any caring father, does not want to see His child make life any harder than it already is. 

Some Scripture suggestions: Psalm 103:13, I John 4:14-16, I Corinthians 13:4-7, Matthew 6:26, Matthew 7:9-11, James 1:17

©P. Booher

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Friday “Walks”–Believing A Lie

Photo Credit: P. Booher

Years ago I was facing a health problem. My pastor visited me at the hospital. He prayed for me, and after he left, I sensed God’s Presence in the room. In my mind, the Lord asked, “Do you want Me to heal you?” There was no doubt in my mind that He could. However, in the next instant the thought came that, “Oh, I can take care of this myself. I’m helping God because then He will have more power for other needs.” So I told the Lord, “No, I can do it myself”.

I still have the problem, and I regret not letting God take care of it there and then. If I had told Him “Yes”, I believe it would have resulted in a much bigger blessing than just a physical healing. 

I’m not sure how I got the thought that if God helped me, He would have less power at His disposal. That was a lie. Consider this: God is BIG. He created the heavens and the earth. I thought that by healing me, His power would be diminished??? REALLY???

God has no limits, except those He puts on Himself. 

Moral of the story? When God offers you a blessing, take it!

Some Scriptures for you (and me) to consider: Genesis 1, Job 38, 39, 40, Ps.8:3, Isaiah 40:12-29.

©P. Booher

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Friday “Walks”–Showing Honor or Dishonor to God by the Way I Treat My Body

Photo Credit: P. Booher

One night I was writing a post for this blog. I wanted to get it done, so I could post it that night, and meet my self-imposed deadline. The piece took longer to write than I figured it would. To add to that, I thought of some reference material to add. Weariness was settling in my bones and my eyes were feeling the effects of time on the computer, despite the blue-light filters in place. Finally I did the only sane thing to do—shut down the computer and go to bed.

It occurred to me that I honor God when I take care of my body, even in details like calling it quits for the night, instead of pushing through to completion. I honor God when I respect the body He gave me and use wisdom in how I do my activities.

I dishonor God with my body when I take foolish chances—like the day I crossed the road to retrieve a garbage can lid which blew half-way down the road. Coming back, instead of walking up the road farther to see oncoming traffic better before I crossed, I stepped out at a point where I had trouble seeing traffic—and faced a car coming up the hill. Thankfully, God chose to keep me from the consequences of my behavior. When I got into my yard, the Lord spoke in my mind, “I love you. You are worthy to Me. Don’t do that again.”

Every day, I have a choice whether to honor or dishonor God in the way I treat my body. Will I use wisdom, or will I act in foolish ways??

A few Scriptures to consider: Psalm 139:13, Psalm 103:13, I Corinthians 6:18-20

©P. Booher

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Unrealistic Expectations=Burdens I’m Not Supposed to Bear

Last summer I realized Abby, the Companion Cat for our household, was declining in health. I took her to the vet’s at least a couple different times, and did what I could. After awhile I thought, “This is a fight I can’t win”.

As I look back on that time I wonder why I ever got on that train of thought. First of all, it made the situation too dramatic. Secondly, it put too much pressure on me. It wasn’t a “fight”—and as far as “winning”—did I actually think if Abby pulled through, she would never die? That’s ridiculous. Animals live, but eventually they die. We’ve had several cats, and a few dogs, and over the years, they all died.

I suppose the reason I got onto that train was my anxiety over my mother’s health. After years of enjoying good health, my mother encountered various problems. My anxiety over that revved up considerably and influenced my thought processes concerning Abby.

Abby died and my mother is having on-again, off-again health problems. Most days she does well, but other days, not so well. I started to board that thought train again, but remembered words the Lord gave me a couple years ago during another time of anxiety revolving around her care, “Her times are in My hands”.

Reflecting on this takes the pressure off me. Yes, I am responsible for helping my mother and showing her love. No, I am not expected to “win” any “fight”. There is no “fight” to “win”. There is just living with her and treating her as Jesus would were He here physically. The Lord is ultimately in control—of her times and mine.

A few Scriptures to consider: Ps. 104: 29, 30; Ps. 31:15; Ps. 139:15,16

©P. Booher

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The Human Cost of Drawing Conclusions from Watching the News

During the Vietnam War, the evening tv news played a huge part in how people thought about the war and the soldiers fighting in the war. Coverage of atrocities such as the My Lai Massacre affected the way veterans were treated when they came home. Many were spat upon, and called names. Most veterans did not participate in such horrible events, but they were treated as though they did.

A few years ago, a man who had served in the war came through my register line. He had a “Vietnam War Veteran” hat on. I thanked him for his service. He told me when he came home from the war, people didn’t thank him for his service. Instead, they asked him how many babies he killed, how many women he killed, how many children he killed. The pain he still carried inside was evident in his voice when he said, “I didn’t kill any babies. I didn’t kill anybody. But that’s all people asked about.”

To me, this man’s heart-felt pain illustrates the danger we fall into when we stereotype people from watching the news media. We see events on the news in which a certain group of people are prominently featured, and we stamp everyone who belongs to that group—political parties, practitioners of faith beliefs, or whoever—as having the same beliefs, thoughts, and actions as the people in the news. But each person is an individual, and while a person may share most of the beliefs of the particular group, that doesn’t mean the person is in total agreement.

Consider this: when we open our mouths but have closed minds behind them, our words can hurt deeply, as my conversation with the veteran showed. Our words not only hurt the receiver, they hurt us, because we give up the chance to learn something or to extend grace, if not understanding.

Scriptures to consider: James 1:19, 20, Ephesians 4:29

©P. Booher

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Don’t Judge Me; I Won’t Judge You

Please don’t judge me. You don’t know my background, my particular inner battles. You don’t know what support I’ve had, whether little or much. You don’t know as much about me as you think you do.

For that matter, I don’t know as much about you as I think I do. I really don’t know much at all. I know maybe a tenth about you—and that’s what’s on the surface.

We are all different; we all have our own inner struggles. We keep some things private, even from loved ones. There are some things that still hurt too much or are too embarrassing to share with someone else, unless it’s with the dog or cat.

There is much we assume about each other, but we do so without knowing the accuracy of our assumptions. We jump to conclusions and find there’s no net underneath!

So, please don’t judge me; I won’t judge you. Simply come alongside me and walk with me for a little while.

©P. Booher

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What Didn’t Happen–A Different Kind of Blessing

I usually think of blessings as the kind I can see—the kind that happened. Recently I experienced the kind of blessings which are in the “what could have happened, but didn’t” category. This was during a stretch of time in which my mother went to the emergency room twice in a week, and my car went to the garage.

One day while driving up a long hill, the car started to jerk underneath. I thought, Is that the transmission or the gas feed? The only way it didn’t jerk was if I really gave it the gas or if it shifted. I didn’t drive it often until I could get the vehicle looked at, but one time I did drive it was to take my mother to the ER—then drive it home at night when the hospital kept my mother for observation, a round trip of about thirty miles, which included many hills. After taking it to a mechanic, I found out the car needed the transmission flushed.

The blessings contained in my “car drama” include:

  1. the car didn’t break down on the road (very important, especially when taking my mother of advanced age to the hospital, and when driving at night)
  2. no prolonged damage to the transmission
  3. no damage to the engine (what affects the transmission can easily affect the engine)
  4. people—a neighbor and then a relative—who when needed, were willing to help me out by taking me to the hospital to pick my mother up and by taking me to the service shop to pick up the car
  5. at first, the service shop couldn’t get the transmission lines to hold the fluid. Believe it or not, I emailed friends and requested prayer for that specific situation. Later on, believe it or not, the shop called and said the pressure was holding; the car was ready for pick up. I choose to believe prayer made the difference—why else would the situation change??

Other blessings were that my mother did not have any strokes. Instead, she had what is called “vasovagal episodes”, which were scary enough to me, but were not strokes. Another blessing is the caring and thoughtfulness shown by the nurses and staff at the hospital to both my mother and me. A visiting nurse came the other day and gave me tips on how to help my mother. She told me that if my mother has another episode like that, I can call any time and a visiting nurse will come, check my mother, do blood work, take it to the lab, and contact my mother’s doctor. We wouldn’t have to go to the ER. Finally, while sitting at home waiting for the call to pick up my car, I started counting the number of family and friends who would be willing to help me out with a ride. The number was higher than I thought; I have more support than first realized.  When I told that to my pastor’s wife, she remarked that was evidence God was standing by me in my troubles. “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5, Deuteronomy 31:6 (NIV)

While I didn’t want these troubles to happen, I found out when they do, blessings show up right there in the midst of them. It isn’t all bad news. That’s important for me to remember.

©P. Booher

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