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Sunday, June 23, 2024
Chaplain's Corner : 2011 Archives

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The Shell Project

As the weather cools and much of creation goes dormant for the winter, let me take you to the beach.  Have you ever noticed the difference in how children and adults collect shells? For the adult, they will look for hours for the perfect shell to add to their collection. They are looking for only those shells that have no chips or cracks. In sharp contrast, a child sees every shell and shell fragment as collectable.  Through their innocent eyes a dull broken shell is a thing of mystery and beauty. They will want to love and protect each shell to the best of their ability.

I regret I no longer have the innocence of a child when looking at God creations. Reality is that unfortunately I too am drawn to the illusion of perfection. I have come to understand that the shells that appear beautiful and without blemish, were rejected by the animal that use to occupy them. My true heart’s desire is to see things and people through the eyes of the creator. He too loves and wants the best for each one of us. He also knows each journey that has brought us to the shore.

A Telescopic View

One of the requirements of looking through a telescope is that you look with one eye, while keeping the other eye closed. It is one of the few times that our vision is truly focused. As we look at our work station we are able to see lots of things that require our attention. Not until we pick an item up and start to focus our attention on it, do we see any progress.  The same is true with our home life. We need to prepare meals, clean, do laundry, and repair that item that has been broken for weeks. There are times when we are so overwhelmed with all we have to do, we just sit down and choose to do nothing.

On the fourth Thursday of this month we have the opportunity to offer thanks for all of the blessings in our lives. This act of offering thanks does not require a huge meal, and an overdose of family. While we enjoy all of those things, the original purpose is to offer thanks in a focused way to the Creator for each of those blessings. So before you raise your fork, remember to bow your head.

As Another Day Begins

Are you waking each morning dreading the process of getting out of bed? Does the thought of starting another day bring you to depression and despair? There are some days that the highest priced coffee will never perk you up? If that is how you feel then let me offer a word or two of encouragement. First, you are not alone in those feelings.  Second, there are cures to help when times of depression come into our lives. It will require a little sacrifice, but it works. All you need to do is set your alarm for a time where you can be outside about an hour before sunrise. Go outside, and find a quiet spot to just listen. You will hear a sound that is often lost in all of the community noise. That noise is the sound of the songbirds greeting a new day. They are a confirmation that the Creator of heaven and earth is still in charge and encouraging us to start fresh and new.  Your sadness and depression may not disappear on the first day, but it is promised that ‘Joy will come in the morning.’ So just wait for it, and enjoy the music of creation.

The Sweet Flavor of Ugly Fruit

Growing up in South Florida we enjoyed a wide array of fruit. Some of the fruit was beautiful and other fruit was less than beautiful, as a matter of fact it was downright ugly. I quickly learned that the exterior of the fruit did not have anything to do with the flavor of that fruit.  I enjoyed some of the weird looking fruit even more than the typical fruit enjoyed by everyone else. One of my favorites was a sweet mango, while I never learned to enjoy the bitterness of the sour orange.

God teaches me a lot of things through nature. Like the fruit, we are never able to know what to expect from people from only looking at the outside. There are some people that have all of the earthly beauty that anyone could ask for, yet they are sour as that orange. Other people will never make the cover of a fashion magazine, but they are sweet refreshment to anyone they come in contact with.  So take some time to get to know the people around you for what is on the inside. And when you meet up with a sour personality, I have found that is a good area to grow my prayer life.

You Amaze Me.

There are some things I just am not able to understand. As an example I have been watching a bandage on one of the sidewalks for several months.  That would mean it fell off of some one’s skin, and that part I understand. What I do not understand how it remains stuck to concrete through extreme temperatures and weather. That bandage reminds me of how some of you function each day.  I know that many of you face piles of paper, difficult relationships, illness of you or a family member, and grief over the death of a loved one. After all of that, you get up and go to work each day of the week.  I just want you to know that you amaze and encourage me each and every day.

This confirms for me a theory I have been learning over the last few years.  I have learned that the journey we all travel is in reality the destination.  It is not about reaching some goal or spot in time, it is about how we face each challenge of life. One major thing to keep in mind is that none of us need to journey alone.

Putting the Pieces Together!

One of the things our family did growing up was to put puzzles together.  We started out with simple puzzles and slowly moved to putting together the big thousand piece monsters.  We learned quickly that there were rules in putting a puzzle together.  First you had to look for the corner pieces and built the four edges.  The long part was filling in the middle.  That is when I learned that perseverance was a learned attribute. I also learned that the most important part of the puzzle were not the individual pieces, it was the box cover.  Without knowing what the end product was suppose to look like we would never have a clue what to assemble next. The people that manufactured the puzzle had it easy they started with the completed picture and then cut it up into tiny pieces. It was our job to join them all back together. 

Like a puzzle wisdom is not about knowledge but perspective. When you look back at the completed project you will then see why things fit together as they did.  That does not mean that we do not attempt to force things to fit from time to time. A comforting thought for me is that God knows not only what the final picture will look like, but knows about each piece we are struggling with. So when the struggles get difficult, remember to take it to the Creator.

A Good Reflection

When you need a break where is your favorite place to go? Some people love the ocean and walking the beach. Other people love the mountains and looking at a sunset across the hills.  Whatever destination you may choose my guess is that God’s creatures are part of that picture.  Watching dolphin break the water as they swim along the shore is a great sight.  In the mountains you can watch deer, birds, and many other creatures roam the area.  These sights bring us back to a feeling of being centered with all of creation.

As you think about nature and creation, do not forget God’s creature that is reflected in your mirror each morning. As beautiful as nature is there is only one creature that was created in the image of God.

Keep On Keeping On

The other day I was following a car as we made our way off of a highway exit ramp.  We were both going to turn left, but the traffic light had just turned red.  Suddenly the car in front of me made a quick turn to the right, followed by an immediate U turn, bypassing the traffic signal. Their joy however was short lived. While they were able to elude the red light, they were not as successful with the blue light.

Each day I am honored by hearing people share stories about things taking place in their lives. I am fully aware that at times our daily routine requires a great deal of perseverance.  Perseverance is defined as: a steady persistence in a course of action, especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement. Some of the obstacles may include financial, health, or relational issues. There may be times when are tempted to take some shorts in life. But true character and perseverance requires us to keep working toward our goal, and ending well.

Time for Change AGAIN!

It is that time of year where seasons will once again change. The birds will soon be starting their migration north, and the lawns will need to be mowed.  Along with this change also comes pollen and allergies.  This year, I challenge you to look for the beauty as spring starts to blossom. 

We live in a great country, but we also live on an awesome world.  The Creator of the heavens and earth placed all of this in motion, and it is ours to enjoy as season changes into season.  Look all around and you will see the majesty of creation in the world around us and the people beside us.  As industrious people we attempt to recreate the wonders of nature. A Cadbury egg is good, and a plastic egg is useful, but neither can match the real thing at breakfast.

Seeing Clearly

Have you ever been to a three D movie and removed those fancy designer glassed they provide? The images are blurry and you will quickly get a headache, trust me I know.  When you put the glasses back on, the images on the big screen will once again come to life. I do not know how all the technology works. I just follow the directions of those that created the process and enjoy the show. 

There are times in our personal journeys that life becomes blurred and we are not able to focus. No matter how hard we try, it is beyond our ability to understand and move forward. When those times come may I suggest turning to the Creator. When we look at life through the Makers eyes, the steps become easier. The focus may not clear up immediately, but that will happen with the passing of time.  Like the poem footprints, we may find we were actually being carried.


Depending on a person’s age the word yesterday might mean different things. One memory might be a song by a British band. In reality yesterday is the name for several songs, movies, and albums. And when the meteorologist speaks of yesterday there is a chance they are ninety-five percent correct. For some of us yesterday can also be filled with regrets, sorrows, and pain.

Welcome to a new year. Now is the time to put our yesterdays behind us and look toward our tomorrows.  While reflection on yesterday is good, it should never be our focus. No matter how hard we try it will never return.  You would never drive a car looking out the back window, so why would we live our lives focused on the past. None of us knows what today holds, let alone tomorrow. That is the adventure we can find each day. After all there is only ONE that knows about yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

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