Only What’s Mine

The preacher came to check on me today.  His brother passed away last week, but he came to check on me.

He’s not my pastor.  Well, what I mean is, he’s not the man who is the pastor of the fellowship where I attend services.  My pastor checks on me too, but I’m not writing about him today.

The preacher came to visit me because he owes me.  That’s the way he sees it anyway.  It’s his way of paying a debt.

Did you know that on the worst day of his life, Jesus stopped to help a fellow who was just doing his job—and also having a bad day?

Jesus was being arrested, said arrest to be followed by a mock trial and, soon after, a very real execution.  Yet, He stopped everything to make life easier for a man He had likely never even seen.  (Luke 22:50,51)

He, who was about to die, stopped to heal a slave’s ear.

I marvel at the capacity to love.  But, I have seen it again and again.  The human heart, pummeled and battered by loss and sorrow, beats the stronger for those around who also hurt.

Did I say the preacher is paying a debt?

It’s a debt we all owe, one that will not go unsettled.

The Apostle, in giving instructions about temporal matters, gave us the words we must live by.  The one debt we will carry throughout our whole lives is the debt to each other—to love one another.  (Romans 13:8)

We love—because He loved us first.

And yet, I had other things to speak of with my friend.  You see, I am struggling with many things right now, things I don’t want to accept.

There are people I love making choices I would change for them if I could.  I’m sure if I could just lend them a bit of my brilliance, they’d understand and repent of their error.

And, as I suggest that to him, I suddenly remember that I don’t have a mandate to change people.

Lamely, I say the words:  I guess that isn’t mine to fix, is it?

He smiles.  But, as he smiles, he remembers why he stopped by.  I’ve gotten him off track.  He knows I’m still unhappy—perhaps even a little angry—at God for the changes which are being made in my life right now.

Looking around the music store where he sits, he waves his hand in a circle and asks a question I really don’t like.

Is this yours?

I don’t like the question because I know the answer.  You do too, don’t you?

I smile, a faux-smile if ever there was one.  I give him the right answer, the answer I know he wants to hear.  I don’t grit my teeth as I say it, even though it is all I can do not to.

No.  Not mine.

And then he is gone.  He leaves me standing in the doorway of a music store that soon won’t be.

Worse than that, he leaves me with a revelation I didn’t want and never asked him for.

I  only want what’s mine!

I’ve sulked all day.

I cleaned my French horn in preparation for upcoming events and the pride I have taken in the beautiful instrument dimmed as I realized it’s not mine.

After I closed the music store (still not mine) for the day, I climbed up into the driver’s seat of my pickup truck and thought, as I turned the key, this isn’t mine.

I helped the Lovely Lady clean up after supper and as a sparkling kitchen reappeared, I realized that none of the beautiful little home is mine.

I only want what’s mine.

I’ve been sitting here moping about what I’ve lost on this day of revelation, thanks to the preacher.  I’ve come to a conclusion.

If I can lose it, it was never mine.  Never.

If I can lose it, it was never mine. Never. Click To Tweet

You might think it would be a sad realization.  It’s not.

The freedom that comes from knowing what is mine and what isn’t is life changing.  If my treasure is bound up in things which can be taken from me, I am the poorest man you’ll ever meet.

hot-962139_640I’m not a poor man.

I only want what is mine.

Faith is mine.

Hope is mine.

Love is mine.

There are more things to add to the list.  Gifts, every one of them—given by the Giver of all good things.  They are things that can never be taken from us.  And, in the words of that great theologian, Casey Stengel, you could look it up. (1 Corinthians 12)

We’re told that the greatest of these gifts is love.  The more I consider it, the more certain I am it is true.

Funny, isn’t it?  If we can lose it, it isn’t ours, and yet we’re told we must give away love.

So, is love ours or not?

Most decidedly, love is ours.  You know what makes love the greatest gift?  The more you give it away, the more there is to give away.

The more we give love away, the more of it there is to give away. Click To Tweet

God has poured His love into our hearts in a never-ending stream.  It should be pouring out in the same manner.  (Romans 5:5)

I’m thinking that wealth which can’t be stolen or misplaced is worth more than any treasure trove to be found on this planet.

And, we get to give it away and keep it, too.

Funny.  I still only want what’s mine.

And, like my preacher friend, I want to give it away.

Again and again.

Give it away.

 

 

Spread love everywhere you go; let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier.
(Mother Teresa ~ Albanian/Indian nun & missionary ~ 1910-1997)

 

Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.
(1 Corinthians 13:13 ~ NLT)

 

 

© Paul Phillips. He’s Taken Leave. 2016. All Rights Reserved.

Ripples

We could go out and look at the leaves—or—you could stay there all afternoon and be unhappy.

Maybe it was the fact that we had just turned on the heat for the first time this fall.  It could have been.  The chill was creeping in from outside.

I’m not fond of the cold.  Oh.  I may have mentioned that before.   I probably have.

I had sat, huddled under a blanket, as I watched the Lovely Lady leave to go grocery shopping that morning.  I didn’t offer to accompany her.  When she arrived back home an hour later I hadn’t moved.

She knows me well.  A few well-placed inquiries, with a hint of concern, led me to the conclusion that I probably should take a drive with her through the countryside.

As I suspected, it was still chilly outside, but the sun was shining brightly.  It was, as she had averred, a beautiful day.  In the car.

Still. . . 

I thought, as we drove out of town on the busy highway, that it didn’t seem the right way to experience God’s creation.  In a car along with hundreds of other drivers speeding down the tarmac, the experience left much to be desired.

Then, I remembered the old bridge.  The turnoff was only a couple of miles on up the road.  She was all for it, even though she hadn’t worn her hiking shoes.  We stopped.

There are some who would have you believe the world is a horrible cesspool of a place to live in, God’s creation marred beyond recognition by sin and degradation.  They are partly right, but only partly.

On that brilliant afternoon, all I knew was I agreed with the Creator as He viewed the work of His hands in the beginning.  (Genesis 1:31)

It was good.  It was very good.

The Creator was right. It is good. It is very good. Click To Tweet

We tramped through the brambles and brushed beside the reddening poison ivy, laughing at the annoyance of thin branches that smacked us in our faces as we passed.  The sun on our backs felt wonderful and the scent of autumn woods refreshed our spirits as we breathed deep.

We had visited the old steel bridge only once before, but the way was clear and we didn’t mind the walk.  As we approached the old structure, it was reassuring to see that it hadn’t altered—an old friend almost, standing firm in spite of change and shifting conditions all around.

But, somehow the river drew us today.  We paid our respects to the old bridge and headed to the rock-covered landing up the waterway a few hundred feet.

Glancing down as we neared the water’s edge, I noticed a number of flat stones, worn smooth by years of tumbling against others in the current of the mighty river.

They were there for only one reason, of course.  Anyone who has spent any time at all at the river’s edge can tell you what that reason is.

I picked one up and, holding it with the flat side parallel to the water’s surface, spun it toward the other side of the river almost like a frisbee.  Just the slightest lift of the leading edge of the flat rock as it left my hand guaranteed that aerodynamics would do the rest.

skippingstonesI wasn’t disappointed.  The stone struck the water’s surface and instead of sinking—as we say, like a rock—skipped up to smack the water anew and to skip again, and again, and again.

One stone wasn’t enough.  Others followed the first.  They weren’t all perfect attempts.  On a couple, I didn’t get the front edge up and they quickly sliced into the water, sinking immediately with barely a plop.

Inadvertently, I picked up one or two rocks which weren’t flat.  For some reason, I didn’t just drop them to the strand on which we stood, but tossed them into the water.  They disappeared with a solid plunk, sinking down to the bottom to be tumbled along on their journey.  Perhaps, in another century or two, when they have worn flat, some other old man, or perhaps even a young one, will feel the joy of skipping one of those very rocks across the surface of the same river.  Perhaps.

The Lovely Lady took a photo or two of the result of my rock-skipping.  I’ve posted one above.  It’s a beautiful thing, showing the old bridge, along with the pretty autumn colors.

But the part that catches my eye, again and again, is the series of circular ripples on the surface of the water.

In my memory, I rub my fingers across the smooth stone that made all those ripples.  Thin and without sharp edges, it is perfect for slipping across the surface, leaving evidence of its passage, but slowing hardly at all as it spins quickly on to its next place of impact.

I remember, with amusement, the other stones I tossed into the water.  They too made ripples.  One ring.  Plunk.

Do you know what makes some stones suitable for skipping across great expanses of water?  They have tumbled and scraped and banged, for ages, against other stones going through the same process.

If I were to carry a huge stone, as big as my head, to the riverside and drop it in, there would be a tremendous splash, but it wouldn’t have as much impact, overall, as one of those small flat stones that spun out of my hand on that recent autumn day.

Oh, it would make an impression, the initial result being a single ring which would multiply and repeat itself into the distance.  But, it would still be only one circle, limited in its reach.

I want to shift the world around me.  Not in a spectacular way, but enough so that when I’m gone, folks will remember the impact.  Not me, but the result.

There are days when I feel old and worn.  I’m finally realizing that those days—the ones when I feel especially useless and weak—may be the days when I am finally ready to go spinning across the water.  In the hands of the Master Stone-Skipper, the ripples might be felt forever.

It’s possible.

The woman who poured expensive perfume on Jesus’ feet was such a person.  The impact of her act is still being felt today, as He promised it would be.  (Matthew 26:13)

You know—those plain, smooth stones were completely unimpressive as we walked over them on that riverbank.  But, in the right hands, they had a far-reaching effect.

We, who are being worn smooth by life and its hardships may be given the same opportunity one day.

Will today be the day we leave the ripples that will be felt forever? Click To Tweet

I wonder if today will be the day.

I’d like to make a few more ripples.

 

 

 

Success is more dangerous than failure; the ripples break over a wider coastline.
(Graham Greene ~ British novelist ~ 1904-1991)

 

Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.  And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is.
(Ephesians 3:17,18 ~ NLT)

 

 

 

© Paul Phillips. He’s Taken Leave. 2016. All Rights Reserved.

Say the Words

How was I supposed to know?

Perhaps they could wear signs.  Cautionary words are always helpful.

Warning!  Traumatic life event in progress!

That should do it.  Now, there’ll be no untimely jests—no teasing sales pitches—no words to regret, as my friend walks away minutes from now.  Give me a heads up; I’ll take it from there.

But, life’s not like that, is it?  

No signs.  No colored lights—green, yellow, and red—to keep us out of the danger zone.  We’re on our own.

clasped-hands-541849_640Or, are we?  On our own, I mean.  We’re not really.  Those of us who are students of the Word, followers of Jesus, have already spent a lifetime in training.

Everything—every single thing—we have learned of following Him, has been to prepare us for the relational interactions we will have on every day of the time we have on this earth.

Love God.  Love people.

Doing the first teaches us to do the second.  More than that, choosing to fulfill the former gives us no option but to fulfill the latter.

Loving God gives us no option but to love people. All people. Click To Tweet

Love is kind. (1 Corinthians 13:4)

Always.

Always—Love is kind.

The young man came in a few days ago, with his sweet wife and well-mannered children.  I have known him for many years now, a relationship developed through his pursuit of becoming a musician.  He was a boy when first I sold him a guitar.

That was several instruments and many additional accessories ago.  On this day, I would break the news that our business relationship of many years is about to end.  I didn’t like doing it, but I owed it to him.

As others have done, he reacted strongly, but perhaps, a bit more emotionally than I expected.  The face that turned to me suddenly was covered with sadness, his eyes almost grief-stricken.

Almost without thinking, I reminded him that, as with all of my life, I trusted a God who had proven Himself trustworthy.  For some reason, it seemed important to me to reiterate this truth I am convinced of.

“God didn’t bring us here just to walk away from us.  He’s still got good things ahead.  Good things.”

A short time later, as he and his family walked out the door, he stuck out his big, strong hand and held my slender one in that familiar strong, almost painful, grip.  It’s happened many times before. Then, smiling at me, he walked out with his family, not saying another word.

If I hadn’t known better, I would have thought he was afraid to say anything else because he didn’t want tears to come.  No.  That couldn’t have been it.

I was busy with another customer when he came back the next day.  Maybe, it was a good thing.  He asked the Lovely Lady to give me a message.

It seems he had received news on the previous day, right before I had seen him, that a young friend had died a horrible death.  He was overwhelmed.

He told the Lovely Lady to relay to me the message that the words I had said on that afternoon had been exactly what he and his wife needed.  Exactly the message that would give comfort and hope, not regarding my temporary inconvenience, but for the very real pain they were already experiencing.  They had left my store that day with renewed hope—renewed courage.

Even since that day, the number of folks who have shared their pain at losing loved ones has multiplied.  A lady whose father died and left her with no opportunity to attain closure of a tragic situation.  A man who doesn’t know how to comfort his teenage daughter after the death of his wife, her mother, less than a month ago.  The father whose son died suddenly.  The grandfather who will never go horseback riding with his grandson again.

The list goes on.  And on.  And on.

And suddenly it occurs to me—we don’t need the warning signs I wished for.  No words of explanation are ever necessary for us to know who needs help.

We are all members of a fallen race.  Every one of us carries our pain around inside.  No one escapes the pain.  It is our birthright.

We all need help.  And, kind words.

And yet, we who carry this pain and horror inside have been called to be ministers of healing and ministers of grace.  It is who we must be.

We, who carry this pain, are called to be ministers of healing to others who carry pain. It is… Click To Tweet

Comfort ye.  Comfort ye my people.  (Isaiah 40:1) God said the words to Isaiah centuries before our Savior came.  The message he carried was of comfort and hope.

And, what a hope!

At the end of your waiting on God, you will regain your strength and your resolve.  You who are now weary and defeated will rise up on wings of eagles.  (Isaiah 40:30,31)

We who follow Jesus carry the same message.

Perhaps, it’s time for us to deliver it.

We already know who the message is for.

Say the words.

 

 

 

 

He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.
(2 Corinthians 1:4 ~ NLT)

 

Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.
O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love; For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life.
(Francis of Assisi ~ Catholic Friar ~ 1181-1226)

 

 

 

© Paul Phillips. He’s Taken Leave. 2016. All Rights Reserved.

Heaven Comes Nearer

I still don’t understand it.  I have been a musician all my life.  Not a good musician, but still—a musician.

A friend posted a link to a recording the other day.  Eight people, mortals every one, sang music notes—notes I’m certain are in the normal twelve-note chromatic scale we use every day.

I can sing any of those notes.  Really, I can.  Perhaps not in the octave in which they sang, nor with the clarity, but I can sing them.

And yet, I sat listening and could do nothing but weep.  Someone asked me the name of the song playing on my computer, but I could not answer for fear my voice would crack as I spoke.

It is not a rare occurrence for me.  Perhaps, not for you either.

We are moved by great beauty, whether in nature or in art.  It is not easy to explain.  Maybe, it’s not meant to be.

There are things that are higher.  There’s no than to follow that statement—no comparison to be made at all.  

Higher things.  It’s all that need be said.

My friend who posted the video is a student of the Celtic traditions and often speaks of the sites those ancient cultures described as thin places—places where it seems that heaven is just a bit closer to earth.  I love the idea and would never argue that such places don’t exist (I’m sure they do); I just think thin places are to be found in more than only those remote physical locations.

My office desk is a thin place—sometimes.  The metal bench in the city park is a thin place—occasionally. Anywhere heaven comes close and raises the hem of the curtain between us and it—just high enough to get a glimpse—is a thin place.   

With a catch in my voice, I will admit I don’t understand any of it.  I suspect many reading this feel just as confused right now.  Today, the world around us is dark and we couldn’t find a thin place if our lives depended on it.

Higher things?  Ha!  The cacophony of anger and hurt is so all-encompassing that it almost seems we could never smile again, much less have tears of wonder and joy well up and cascade down our cheeks.

Still . . .

David, in an hour of deep unhappiness, reminded us that deep calls to deep.  (Psalm 42:7-8)  Even from the depths of despair, our souls recognize their Maker’s voice and echo it.  Our spirits respond to His Spirit.

He will give us songs in the night.  

He will give us songs in the night. Psalm 42:8 Click To Tweet

Where no thin place is to be found, our Creator surprises and opens the curtain just enough—just barely enough—for a glimpse of glory.

It is no small thing.

Hope springs into flame again; resolve is rekindled.

There is work yet to be done.  Our destination still lies ahead.

We journey to the place where no veil is between us and our Maker, the place where the only tears to be found will be of awe and wonder.

Higher things call us.

Higher.

 

 

 

I want to scale the utmost height
And catch a gleam of glory bright.
But, still I’ll pray till heaven I’ve found
“Lord, lead me on to higher ground.”
(Higher Ground by Johnson Oatman, Jr. ~ American pastor ~ 1856-1922)

 

Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.
(1 Corinthians 13:12 ~ NLT)

 

 

 

 

© Paul Phillips. He’s Taken Leave. 2016. All Rights Reserved.

 

Thick and Thin

The sheaf is growing thin.  

Thin.

Thirty-nine years ago, it was a mammoth binder filled with pages—one crisp, white leaf for every day which would pass in my chosen profession.  There was not yet a mark on any one of them; the story could only be written second by second, minute by minute.

The minutes turned into hours, weeks, months, and now years.  At first, even the minutes moved by like syrup on the coldest February morning.  And now, at the end, they fly like sand through the fingers of a child at the seashore

Page after page has been filled—lines with their scrawled script, margins with scribbled abbreviations.  Even the edges are covered with notes, reminders now of appointments never made, but still kept.

Funny.  Such a historical document should be conserved for the future, a textbook of success and failure, methods to be passed on to generations not yet even contemplated.  It has not been.

The pages lie at my feet in tatters.  Each page—completed—has merely been torn from the binder and dropped wearily to the floor at the end of the days.

withcustomersThere are mornings when I stoop down and scan a scrap of the paper underfoot.  Memory springs to mind and a smile might cross my face, itself a little more lined and aged than when the binder was first opened.

Frequently, a customer stirs through the debris and reminds me of a memory they have shared, as well.  My customers are friends, not income streams, and the memories are mostly sweet.  Mostly.

Bittersweet, these days.

Well?

The sheaf is growing thin.  

The crisp, white leaves gripped in my fist are precious and few now.  I am loath to fill them and let them drop to the worn carpet beneath my shoes.

Today was a day for the scraps of paper to be read.  As if the stress of a national election and its surprising outcome were not enough for one twenty-four hour period, the queue of old friends waiting their turn to reminisce and then to embellish the scraps of years past wound through my door from before opening time to well after the sun dropped behind the western horizon.

Each brought a gift, the gift of listening and speaking.  It is the way of friendship.

Iron sharpens iron, sometimes painfully, often by polishing gently.  (Proverbs 27:17)

Iron sharpens iron, sometimes painfully, often by polishing gently. Click To Tweet

I have been the recipient of such gifts many times over the years.  Grateful is too insignificant a word to describe what I feel.

I glance at the scraps of paper they have each left behind, scraps bearing their names and experiences, and I remember that I am a rich man.  How could I not be—with a life full of such amazing people?

Yet, I spoke with one friend today of my unhappiness with how thin the sheaf of papers is now.  He reminded me (gently) that God is still leading into the future.

God is still leading into the future. Click To Tweet

I said earlier it was my chosen profession, but it was never I who chose it.  The path was chosen for me—each step of my young life leading me to it and then through it, until now, as I near old age, I find myself stepping away from it at last.

I could never, in my wildest childhood dreams, have planned out such a journey, but He did.  Every step.

The days left in this little music store are flying.  There are not many more pages yet to be filled here.

I want them to be filled with words such as I heard today.  I want them to be filled with people whose faces I see in my memories tonight.

And, I think as I consider the thin sheaf of papers yet to be written in my business—I wonder how thick that other sheaf is?

The book was so thick on the day we entered this world.  Crisp and white, each page awaiting the record that has now been written, it had an adequate supply to last our whole lives through.

It is thinner than when we began.  The opportunities for achievements to be recorded, events to be heralded, dwindle everyday.

Sometimes, I pick up the scraps from those pages, too.  I’ve shared some few of those memories with you.  The ones I’m willing to bring to the light of day again.

Others of the scraps will never be seen or read by anyone else, except by Him.  He reads every one of them.  The thought makes me cringe, but not because I fear any punishment.  No, I cringe because, as any child with his Father, I never want to disappoint.

And, I have.  Again and again, I have disappointed.

Those pages are filled, never to be written on again.  My Father’s disappointment is past, the sins and missteps erased by His astounding grace.

Still, there are more blank pages.  How many?  I don’t know.

Perhaps, the sheaf is growing thin.  Possibly, it still contains years worth of crisp, white leaves to be filled with the record of tasks fulfilled, and a legacy left for many who will follow.

Either way, He guides my steps.

He always has.

Through thick, and now, through thin…

He knew how to lead then.

He knows how to lead now.

Be still my soul.

 

 

He has told you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justice, to love kindness,
And to walk humbly with your God?
(Micah 6:8 ~ NASB)

 

 

Be still my soul, thy God doth undertake
To guide the future, as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence, let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
(from Be Still My Soul ~ Katharina von Schlegel ~ German poet ~ 1697-1768)

 

 

 

 

 

© Paul Phillips. He’s Taken Leave. 2016. All Rights Reserved.

Unraveling

They brought the sign today.  It’s a big, ugly thing that sits atop a sturdy base to keep it from tipping over when the storms come.

I suppose some would not think it ugly.  The nice lady who sat and talked with us one night a few weeks ago likely thinks it a thing of beauty.  It has her name emblazoned on it, after all—right near the really ugly part.

FOR SALE

The ugly sign tells the world my days as a music store owner are limited.  Funny—when I say it that way, it doesn’t seem like much.  People retire, or change their profession, all the time.  

Somehow, it seems to go deeper than that.  Over the last few months, as the reality of coming change has become evident, I almost feel like the thing I have so lightly called my life has begun to unravel before my eyes.

And, as I consider that unraveling, I see, in my mind’s eye, an old golf ball I once found by the side of the road.  There was a sliced arc in the nearly white cover of the little orb, probably caused by a poorly aimed iron striking the surface at a bad angle.

The ball was useless.  Completely destroyed.  But, I was intrigued by what I saw through the slice in the cover.  It looked like rubber bands under there.  

I peeled the dimpled ball like an orange.  Sure enough, inside the cover, one could see nothing but rubber bands wound tightly around it.  I cut one of them and a section of stretchy rubber flopped away from the sphere.  After the action was repeated a dozen times or more, the mass of rubber pulled away from the core completely.

Looking at what was left in my hand, I examined the little black rubber ball.  A fraction of the size of the original dimpled one, this one felt as if it had air and liquid inside.

Arghhh!  Useless!

I hurled the little sphere away in disgust.  It hit the wooden side of a storage building standing nearby and, rebounding from that surface, sped back past my ear with alarming speed.

Wow!  A super ball!

I chased it down and took it home.  It might have been at the center of that destroyed golf ball, where it would never be seen directly, but it was certainly the most important part of the ball.  No wonder the old men who played the game could hit those things so far with their clubs!

I played with it for weeks.

Now, where was I?

Oh yes, life unraveling.  The end of my career as a  music store proprietor.

Unraveling.

I wonder.  Is that a good thing?

What happens if we get to my core?  What would be there, at the center?

What's at the core when everything unravels? Click To Tweet

Did you know that everything around the core of the golf ball is there for one purpose?  Just one.

They magnify the effect of the core.

The rubber band-like material compresses as the ball is struck and then rebounds to its original shape, lending its energy to the core which responds as only golf-ball-65646_640its components can.  The slick, dimpled cover reduces drag and helps the ball to fly straight toward its target.

It is what we are made to do.

Magnify.

The Psalmist knew it.  (Psalm 34:3)

Mary, the mother of our Lord, did too.  (Luke 1:46)

I may be exaggerating when I describe my recent (and continuing) experiences as life unraveling.  

After all, to a child who knows no better, a haircut can seem very much like being scalped.  The needle of inoculation feels like open-heart surgery without the benefit of  anesthesia to the toddler.  We laugh—sympathetically, but we laugh—as we watch them struggle against the very thing which is intended for their benefit.

I’m not so different.  Perhaps, you’re not either.

But, what’s at the core?

Maybe a better question is—Who’s at the core?

I want who I am to magnify the Who at the core.  And, like the Psalmist, I’d like to have company while I do it.

Magnify the Lord with Me.

Will you?

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I will bless the Lord at all times;
His praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul will make its boast in the Lord;
The humble will hear it and rejoice.
O magnify the Lord with me,
And let us exalt His name together.
(Psalm 34:1-3 ~ NASB)

 

 

To find a man’s true character, play golf with him.
(P G Wodehouse ~ English author/humorist ~ 1881-1975)

 

 

 

 

© Paul Phillips. He’s Taken Leave. 2016. All Rights Reserved.