Happy 8/28!

August 28th, 2015 | Posted by jameswatkins in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

Bible2015

I love the date of August 28. It reminds me of Romans 8:28!

      And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

Unfortunately, we leave off the verse that tells us exactly that “purpose.”

      For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son. . .

So, on this special day, here are some of my favorite posts on one of my favorite verses:

Christ’s career path: obscurity, popularity, animosity

Coincidences or “God-incidences”?

Did duct-taped recliner save our lives?!

God has a plan for new year

Squeezing Good Out of Bad: excerpt

Top ten things I’ve learned from cancer

Why? Some thoughts on life’s tough questions

Will God’s purpose be accomplished on election day?

Have a happy 8/28!

Copyright © 2015 James N. Watkins

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All five grands are back in school, so I have in my right hand, direct from my home office in Corn Borer, Indiana, today’s category: Top ten things I (Jim) want my kids and grandkids to remember. (These are even more important than state capitals and multiplication tables!)

10. God is often unpredictable, but never untrustworthy.

9. Be wary: the simple, obvious answer is usually wrong. (See graphic below!)

8. Choose your battles (you can’t fight them all).

7. Keep your balance between work and play, justice and mercy, grace and truth . . .

6. Don’t expect life to be fair, easy, or carefree. (Jesus saves, but life can still suck!)

5. So, develop tough hide and a tender heart (and don’t switch those around).

4. Understand that there are no problem people, just people with problems.

3. Remember, people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.

2. Love people; use things (and don’t switch those around either).

1. Put God first in everything.

There are a lot more: Don’t use drugs. Pay off your credit card balance each month. Don’t eat raw hamburger. But ten seems to be the universal limit for these sort of things.

So, when my final deadline arrives, I trust that my children and grandchildren will remember what I said, what I wrote, but mostly what I lived.

Copyright © James N. Watkins


rumors

Way to start rumors, Facebook!

Let the record show that I am not flying off to North Carolina with Beth Wooters! She’s the daughter of my college roomie, and I simply made a snarky comment that I’d be praying for her as she flew through “O’Hell.” Thanks, Facebook programmers, for emphasizing point 9 above!

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While tramping around the United States in a motor home, Lois and I developed comedy/drama sketches that played well in churches, camps and conferences. In 1993, Lillenas contracted us to publish our favorites in the book, Characters.

Creator magazine called the collection, “Humorous and witty . . . edifies the Body and glorifies God in an entertaining way.”

Now that Lillenas has rung down the final curtain as a publisher, we’re now making a few of our very favorite sketches available on a donation basis.

Click for six of our favorite sketches.

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The real ‘female Viagra’

August 18th, 2015 | Posted by jameswatkins in Uncategorized - (2 Comments)

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This just in: Today the FDA approved Addyi (flibanserin) AKA “female Viagra.” In clinical trials, the little pink pill increased sexual desire only 10 percent better than a placebo.* With that in mind, our research department indicates that the following medications may increase sexual desire in women significantly more than Addyi.

“Forget female Viagra! Here’s what’s really needed,” one woman responded.

Biagra
Has been shown to reduce anxiety attacks in males often associated with shopping malls and flea markets.

Criagra
Preliminary testing confirms the drug unclogs male tear ducts during weddings and “chick flicks.”

Friagra
Studies have shown that men actually acquire cooking skills and a desire to help in the kitchen with this medication.

Iagra
Male Pattern Blindness (“Where are my socks?” “I can’t find the ketchup!”) was alleviated in three out of four test subjects.

Liagra
Derived from sodium pentathal, it causes males to be truthful about size of fish that got away, golf scores and their whereabouts when “working late.”

Niagra
Promises to relieve multiple trips to the bathroom in the middle of the night for eight out of ten males.

Piagra
Studies show this diet drug works by creating a chemical aversion to pie, cake and doughnuts.

Pliagra
Has been found to reverse hard, rigid, unbending attitudes in males.

Wiagra
Constant questioning and second-guessing were completely eliminated in males tested.

When questioned if males would consent to taking these ego-altering medications, women were unanimous: “No Criagra, no Viagra!”

Copyright ڟ 1998, 2015 James N. Watkins. All rights reserved.

* “Across the three trials, about 10 percent more Addyi-treated patients than placebo-treated patients reported meaningful improvements in satisfying sexual events, sexual desire or distress. ” Food and Drug Administration

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creationlong

Have you seen the Facebook posts that read: MSOT POPEL CAN RAED TIHS AS LNOG AS THE FRSIT AND LSAT LTETRS ARE IN THE CRORCET ODERD?

TIHS IS VREY TURE IN LFIE!

If we start out well, and have the right end in mind, the middle will work out.

King David describes our beginning:

      You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
      and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
      Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
      Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
      You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
      as I was woven together in the dark of the womb (Psalm 139:13-14).

We are not the random result of a billion genetic possibilities. David writes that we are wonderfully, marvelously made and knit together by God himself. He watched over us as two of his wonderfully complex creations themselves created new life. (I admit don’t have an explanation of genetic birth defects and miscarriages. I do know that he created humans perfect but since the Fall, environmental and genetic damage have led to imperfection. But this is no surprise to God who continues to watch over every gestating creation.)

God lovingly watched over you and me as we were “woven together in the dark of the womb.” David goes to on write:

      You saw me before I was born.
      Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
      Every moment was laid out
      before a single day had passed.
      How precious are your thoughts about me, O God.
      They cannot be numbered!
      I can’t even count them;
      they outnumber the grains of sand!
      And when I wake up,
      you are still with me! (Psalm 139:16-18).

Is God’s “book” the genetic code that causes every human body to go through the “chapters” of secondary sexual development, fertility, menopause, old age, etc.? Or it is talking about God planning out our lives, such as “directing our paths” that is alluded to in Proverbs 3:6 and in many other passages?

While scholars struggle to understand the specific meanings, we can know that God is watching over us as we are formed in the womb and that every single day he is with us, thinking precious thoughts about you and me.

In verses 19-22, David points out that while God is with us from the instant of conception and will be with us every second of our lives until we are with him for eternity, we face a postnatal world of wickedness, murder, blasphemy, hate and idolatry. After such a wonderful beginning and the promise of an even more wonderful end, the middle can still be THROOGUHLY CUFSONNIG!

But two “bookends” hold life together! Physical life and eternal life. Knowing that God has given us physical life and knowing that through his Son we can enjoy eternal life, gives us hope and courage for the MEXID UP middle!

      Search me, O God, and know my heart;
      test me and know my anxious thoughts.
      Point out anything in me that offends you,
      and lead me along the path of everlasting life (Psalm 139:23-24).

WE CAN BE ARSUSED TAHT GOD IS LILVOGNY WICHATNG OEVR HIS POURCIES CHRIDELN FORM THE VREY BINNGEING TO THE VREY END . . . AND TEHN TUHOROGHUOT ERNTEITY. HE IS LALITRELY OUR “AHPLA AND OGMEA,” OUR BINNGEING AND OUR END!*

Copyright © 2015James N. Watkins

* We can be assured that God is lovingly watching over his precious children from the very beginning to the very end . . . and then through eternity. He is literally our “Alpha and Omega,” our beginning and our end!

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A platypus parable

August 10th, 2015 | Posted by jameswatkins in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

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For nearly twenty years, Lois and I traveled the United States, as well as a two-week tour to Australia, with “The Platypus Players.” Here’s one of Mr. Platypus’ favorite stories:

It looked rather strange, it looked rather odd,
Lying there shining on billabong sod.
It looked round and square, it looked thin and fat,
Platypuses stared and asked, “What is that?!”

They stroked at their bills and gave it some thought.
One platypus said, “I think that we ought
“To run to our home and bring back some cheese,
“These six shiny strings will slice it with ease.”

Platypus two cried, “No, no, no, no, no!”
“You’ll lose six slices right down that black hole!”
“I’ve given it thought. I think that I know.
“This is the world’s only six-arrow bow!”

Three tapped his flippers and thumped with his tail,
“No, no, no, no! It’s the world’s smallest jail!
“These six tiny bars keep criminals snug,
“You can lock up a snail, a crayfish or slug.”

The fourth creature said, “There’s no way it’s that!
“This strange looking thing’s a fancy door mat!
“Just rub your flippers over these strings,
“And mud ‘tween your toes is gone with a zing!”

Proudly they placed it outside of their door,
Their billabong floor was muddy no more,
“We finally know why this thing is made,
“By Gibson Guitars in U. S. of A.”

But soon their doormat was no longer there
Cleaning the floor of their platypus lair.
One of those creatures, the ones with no fur,
Had taken their prize with him or with her.

Yes, a human took their doormat away.
And pulled out the cheese and dug out the clay.
And turned some bright knobs on top of the thing,
And strummed on the wires and started to sing.

The platypuses thought, It doesn’t slice cheese,
Shoot arrows, jail snails, clean flippers with ease.
Guitars make music. That’s why they are played!
I wonder
, they thought, why people were made.

As the human sang and strummed the guitar
The four were amazed with bills all ajar
The he or the she seemed to sing to the air,
At least to Someone who didn’t seem there.

“I will praise You, God, I’m wonderfully made.
“To love and adore You all of my days,
“Your wonderful works are worthy of song,
“From morning to night and all the day long.”

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139:14

Copyright © 1987, 2001 James N. Watkins

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Happy anniversary to us!

August 3rd, 2015 | Posted by jameswatkins in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

Forty-one years ago today—August 3, 1974—Lois Farra and I were married at the Wesleyan church in Valton, Wisconsin. We’re heading off to the “big city” to celebrate, so some reruns today of past anniversary columns, pics, music and cartoons.

August 4 update: Our big anniversary celebration was kind of a bust. Lois wasn’t feeling well, I was distracted with an important meeting today, the food at the restaurant wasn’t exceptional, the hotel hot tub was broken with just one working jet—so we took turns sitting in front of it—and there was nothing good on TV. But, we’ve got each other! And that’s the whole point.

Columns
Falling in love . . . and getting back up
Fifty Shades of Beige (Reel v. real sex)
Top ten reasons I’m not divorcing my wife (1996)
Top ten secrets to staying married 30 years (2004)

Pics, videos and music
40th anniversary album (with captions)
40th anniversary video
Music from the video: Loving God and You (1973), Love in a Cruddy World (1972), Lois (1974)

And some cartoons

jimshortslove2

jimshortsiron

jimshortsprenup

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Top ten posts: July 2015

August 1st, 2015 | Posted by jameswatkins in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

FoundingFathers3

I have in my right hand, direct from my home office in Corn Borer, Indiana, today’s category: Top ten posts from July 2015

10 . A case for polygamy

9. Cure for common cold: sex

8. God is never late, but he sure is slow

7. Who is the supreme super hero?

6 . Does DNA disprove evolution?

5. Children who marry their parents: the psychology of courtship

4. Hope and humor cartoons

3. What was Paul thinking when he wrote 1 Timothy 2:12?

2. “It Is Well with My Soul”: the rest of the stories

And, the number one post in July 2015 . . .

1. Were U.S. founding fathers Christian?

(See list at right for the latest posts.)

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cornfield3

God spent his day of rest in Corn Borer, Indiana! No signs of creativity here—no magnificent mountains, gorgeous gorges, or silvery seas—only plain plains sprouting corn and soybeans. (The highest elevation is the speed bump at the Hungry Hoosier convenience store.) Apparently when God rests, he rests!

Unlike God, I tend to “diesel” on my day off. (If you have a car that likes to sputter a couple seconds after you turn off the ignition, it’s said to be dieseling.) That’s what I do on Mondays. Even though I try to turn off my thoughts about work as a writer/speaker/editor, my brain keeps sputtering. I usually end up saying to myself, I’ll just download these thoughts into the computer and then be done with it. But one thing leads to another and before I know it, dieseling has turned to a wide-open throttle.

God’s rest is total and complete: “For all who have entered into God’s rest have rested from their labors, just as God did after creating the world (Hebrews 4:10).

I need to pull into the rest area after racing down the road of life, turn off the ignition and allow him to quiet all my sputtering. While I like to think that what I’m doing in life is pretty important, it pales in contrast to creating galaxies, planets, mountains, oceans, life of all kinds and even Corn Borer, Indiana. I need to trust Him that His world will continue turning without my help today!

My brain does diesel a bit, but when I study his Word and then take time to meditate on a key phrase—often repeating it until my brain stops dieseling—I begin to truly relax in His care. Ahhh!

Copyright © James N. Watkins.

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Beyond ‘McPrayer’

July 20th, 2015 | Posted by jameswatkins in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

mcdonaldsdrivethru

Sometimes I’m afraid I treat God like the drive-through window at McDonalds. I scan the menu board of “promise verses,” place my order, and then race my engine as I wait impatiently.

One week in 1988, I decided that I would try to get beyond my “McGod” mentality of prayer and just praise the Lord—without placing one “order.” I picked the wrong week!

Monday, I discovered we had a little over one hundred dollars in our check book and bills of over a thousand dollars. Wednesday a publisher, who owed me several hundred dollars in back royalties, announced that it too was broke. I was tempted to shout my order into menu board speaker, but I managed to simply praise God that week.

Friday, while on my way to the bank for a loan to cover our bills, I stopped by my daughter’s school to pay her tuition. There had been an error last semester and we didn’t owe money that month. Praise the Lord!

My next stop was at a Christian university to check on some advertising copy I had recently written. “That was great,” the director announced. “We’d also like you to rewrite all our admissions brochures. Do you think you could do that for around a thousand dollars.” Praise the Lord!

I never did get to the bank. All our bills were paid! God does inhabit the praises of His people (Psalm 22:3).

Copyright © 2005 James N. Watkins

Related posts
Fifty praises between bed and bathroom
God is never late—but he sure is slow

Related trivia
The 2015 American Customer Satisfaction Index Report ranked 18 fast food chains by staff, courtesy, speed of checkout or delivery, quality of the food and order accuracy. At the very bottom: McDonalds. Number one is a store that closes on Sundays and strives to operate on Christian principles. Imagine that! Congrats to Chick-fil-A!


IOC WordPress

Daily posts from Imitation of Christ
My latest book, tentatively titled The Imitation of Christ: 90 Devotions in Modern English won’t release until spring 2016, but you can read daily excerpts on Facebook and Twitter. Thanks for following!

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