‘I like big buts’

January 26th, 2015 | Posted by jameswatkins in Uncategorized - (4 Comments)

bible2016
I like big buts and I cannot lie. No, it’s not that annoying Sir Mix-A-Lot ditty. I like the big buts of the Bible. For example . . .

No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us (1 John 4:12).

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but but have eternal life (John 3:16).

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God (Philippians 4:6).

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express (Romans 8:26).

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline (2 Timothy 1:7).

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair, persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed (2 Corinthians 4:8-9).

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin (Hebrews 4:15).

Do not be overcome by evil, but but overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21).

God has combined the members of the [church] body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other (1 Corinthians 12:24-25).

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love (1 Corinthians 13:13).

Yep, I like big buts!

Copyright © 2009 James N. Watkins

Note shift in time/space continuum: I’m changing the days I post here. Since most people need some hope and humor on Mondays, I’m moving my Tuesday posts to Mondays. Thursday will remain guest post day. And I’m moving “The Best and the rest,” my round up of the week’s posts, pages and social media comments, from Sunday to Saturday because, duh, Saturday is the last week of the week.

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Red Brick

From November 10, 2011

In less than one week (six days to be exact) . . .

. . . my mom was rushed by ambulance to the hospital with a second possible stroke.

. . . my cousin’s husband, 58, died suddenly of a massive heart attack.

. . . a college friend, who sang with Lois and me in a Marion College music group, was told by doctors there was nothing more they could do for her cancer and she was sent home to die.

. . . another friend’s work hours were cut in half and her husband is out of work.

. . . Lois will have surgery to remove her gall bladder and a suspicious lump in her breast Thursday.

And did I mention, I also spoke at a writers’ conference for two days? So I’m indentifying—just a bit—with the apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 4:8-9:

      We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.

Contrary to TV preachers who promise “health and wealth,” St. Paul honestly teaches that we can have great faith and still have great trials. In fact, I don’t have any objective research results, but I suspect there is no statistical difference between the amount of tragedy that holy Christians and heathenistic non-Christians experience—the same amount of trouble, perplexity, abuse and being knocked down.

There is, however, a huge difference promised in two little words: but not!

For instance, Earth’s atmosphere is pressing against each square inch of our bodies with a force of 14.7 pounds per square inch (1 kilogram per square centimeter). The force on a little larger than a square foot (1,000 square centimeters) is about one ton! You and I should be flattened by this crushing weight. But God has graciously created each of us with 14.7 pounds per square inch of pressure on the inside, so we aren’t crushed.

Both Christians and non-Christians face the same pressures, but believers have the strength and power of God’s Spirit within to keep them from being crushed. If you’re having one of those weeks, I pray that you will experience God’s miraculous “but not.” And thanks for your prayers!

Copyright © 2011 James N. Watkins

Update January 2015
Mom continues to live in her own home, although she has physical and mental challenges. My cousin is still mourning the loss of her husband. Our college friend died a few months later from her cancer. Lois came through gall bladder surgery well, biopsy came back negative!

Related posts
God is never late—but He sure is slow
I like big buts
Squeezing Good Out of Bad
Why? Why Questions, Wise Quotations

Photo by MorgueFile.com

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Hope for cultural change

January 19th, 2015 | Posted by jameswatkins in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

MartinLutherKingJrLong

In April 1963, civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. spelled out a radical strategy to change the culture of his time in his book, Why We Can’t Wait. Each participant in the Birmingham protests was required to abide by Dr. King’s “Ten Commandments.”

      1. Meditate daily on the teachings and life of Jesus.

      2. Remember always that the nonviolent movement in Birmingham seeks justice and reconciliation—not victory.

      3. Walk and talk in the manner of love, for God is love.

      4. Pray daily to be used by God in order that all men might be free.

      5. Sacrifice personal wishes in order that all men might be free.

      6. Observe with both friend and foe the ordinary rules of courtesy.

      7. Seek to perform regular service for others and for the world.

      8. Refrain from the violence of fist, tongue, or heart.

      9. Strive to be in good spiritual and bodily health.

      10. Follow the directions of the movement and of the captain on a demonstration.

Today we celebrate the hope for cultural change that Martin Luther King, Jr. preached in word and deed. Click for my book chapter expanding on “Meditate daily on the teachings and life of Jesus.”

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KELVIN

In Sunday’s “The best—and the rest” round up, I wrote:

      Je suis Charlie
      Millions of people around the world today, are proclaiming “I am Charlie” in support of the editors and cartoonists at the satirical newspaper, Charlie Ebdo, murdered in cold blood by two radical Muslims.

      As a writer, I am in total support of the freedom of the press. Every individual has the right to express his or her views in person, print or pixels—no matter how much I may disagree with those views. If I demand laws that limit your freedom, another law may one day limit my freedom as well.

Either we all have freedom to exercise our religion, freedom of speech, and freedom of the press, or none of have those freedoms. Let’s make #iamkelvin go viral!

Related links
The New York Times coverage.
Opinion piece by Franklin Graham.
My thoughts on the not-so gay debate

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God rejoices over you

January 13th, 2015 | Posted by jameswatkins in Uncategorized - (1 Comments)

pipeorgan-280
Everyone seems to have a word, a saying or a Bible verse for the new year. Last year I facetiously noted that my word for the year was “platypus.”

But, is it too late to have a verse for the new year? I just happened to come across this verse from a minor prophet that I think is going to have a major impact on my life this year. (And, yes, I know that in God’s universe, things don’t “just happen”!)

      For the Lord your God is living among you. . . . He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs (Zephaniah 3:17).

Wow! In the new year, I want to comprehend—or at least grasp a tiny glimpse of—its meaning.

God is living with us

In Scripture, Jesus goes by over 200 names: Lord of lords, King of kings, Almighty God, Prince of Peace, etc. etc. But my absolute favorite is Immanuel: God with us. Jesus promises:

      “I will not abandon you as orphans—I will come to you. Soon the world will no longer see me, but you will see me. Since I live, you also will live. When I am raised to life again, you will know that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you” (John 14:18-20).

It will take me a year to scratch just the surface of the reality that God the Son—who created the universe, healed the sick and raised the dead—is living within me.

He takes glad delight in us

It’s no secret that I’m a great, big, slobbering mess. And yet, he delights in me and my imperfect efforts to serve him through writing and speaking.

That is going to take even longer to sink in than the idea that he is living inside of me!

With his love, he will calm all our fears

I have lived all my life with low-grade angst and anxiety. But this week, my sister-in-law, Beth, sent me her song for the year. (I didn’t realize there were also songs for the year.)

      Turn your eyes upon Jesus
      Look full in His wonderful face
      And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
      In the light of His glory and grace

Every time I thought of our medical debts, my book sales figures and the odd pain in my side (I just knew it was cancer!), I mentally recited those words written by Helen H. Lemmel. All those thoughts did did “grow strangely dim.”

I have a God who chooses to live within me, takes delight in messed me, and calms me with his love.

He will rejoice over us with joyful songs

But wait, there’s more. As if that is not enough, God sings praise over us. Us! While we make feeble efforts to praise him privately and corporately, he is singing over us with joyful songs. The Hebrew word for rejoice translates “to rejoice, exult, be glad,” while joyful means “in proclamation, joy, praise.”

Throughout history, the church has emphasized the bad news of God’s displeasure with his people—and he is displeased with all who refuse to acknowledge and obey him. But, the church has failed to adequately express the good news of God’s sheer delight in those who want to please him:

      The Lord’s delight is in those who fear him,
      those who put their hope in his unfailing love (Psalm 147:11).

      For the Lord delights in his people;
      he crowns the humble with victory (Psalm 149:4).

      “I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy” (John 15:9-11).

I’m wondering if, in heaven, we will learn the lyrics of those songs that God has been singing over us. “Have a seat, Jim. I want to sing you a song.” Amazing!

I am just beginning to explore this little verse with the infinitely large message. Paul sums it up well:

      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 3:18).

That’s going to take not only this year, but the rest of my life!

Copyright © 2014 James N. Watkins

Pipe organ photo: MorgueFile.com

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CoverWhy2

Why do bad things happen to good people? Why is there sickness and death? Why doesn’t God answer my prayers? Why . .?

For over twenty years, I’ve been collecting quotations that attempt to address those difficult questions. So here are over three thousands years of wisdom: from King David (circa 1000 BC) to modern-day pastors, priests, philosophers, politicians, poets, and ordinary people from around the world. (See categories of questions and contributors below.)

Browse excerpts

Order today And order extra copies for friends and family.


Contents

Abuse
Aging
Criticism
Death
Depression
Despair
Difficulties
Discouragement
Doubts
Failure
Fatigue
Fear
God’s silence
Grief/loss
Illness
Injustice
Insignificance
Loneliness
Lostness
Mistreatment
Pain
Persecution
Poverty
Suffering
Temptation
Tragedy
Unanswered prayer
Waiting
Worry


Contributors

Keith Ablow Psychiatrist, author and television personality
Douglas Adams English writer, humorist, and dramatist
Charles L. Allen American Methodist pastor
Roger Anderson Author
Aristotle Greek philosopher and scientist
Louis Armstrong American jazz trumpeter, singer
Diane Kerner Arnett Author of Going Home: Facing Life’s Final Moments
Candy Arrington Author of Aftershock: Help, Hope, and Healing in the Wake of Suicide
William Arthur
Augustine Early Christian theologian and philosopher
Maltbie D. Babcock American clergyman and author of hymn, “This is My Father’s World”
Dwight Bain National stress management expert
Karen Ball Author and literary agent
Karl Barth Swiss Reformed theologian
Mark Batterson Author and pastor of National Community Church
Alexander Graham Bell Scottish-born scientist, credited with inventing the first practical telephone
Fredric Beuchner American novelist and theologian
Henry Blackaby Evangelical pastor, author of Experiencing God
Dietrich Bonhoeffer German Lutheran pastor, theologian, and key founder of the Confessing Church
Sarah Ban Breathnach American author of Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort
Emily Barnes American author of A Cup of Comfort
Erma Bombeck American humorist and newspaper columnist
Andrew Bonar Free Church of Scotland pastor
Horatius Bonar Scottish churchman and poet
Reihard Bonnke German evangelist known for his work in Africa
Christy Bower American author, Best Friends with God
Dianne Brady American author, Fraternity
Jim Branch American author, Becoming
Kely Braswell Church planter, author of Independent Me
Regina Brett American author, newspaper columnist
Jerry Bridges Christian author, speaker and staff member of The Navigators
Busta Brown Wesleyan pastor and denominational leader
Scott Wesley Brown Singer, songwriter
Kurt Bubna Pastor of Eastpoint Church
Mark Buchanan Author, professor of Pastoral Theology, Ambrose Seminary
Eve Bunting Ireland-born American author of young adult books
John Bunyan English writer and preacher, author of The Pilgrim’s Progress
Mark Canfora Founder of Celebration of Life Festivals, who lost son to suicide
Rosabeth Moss Cantor Professor of business at Harvard Business School
Leslie Caron American film actress and dancer
Oswald Chambers Scottish Baptist and holiness movement proponent, best know for devotional My Utmost for His Highest
Winston Churchill Prime Minister of the United Kingdom during World War II and again from 1951 to 1955
George Chakiris American dancer, singer, and actor
G. K. Chesterton English writer of prose and poetry, Christian apologist
Joan Chittester Benedictine nun, author, speaker
Marcus Tullius Cicero Roman philosopher, politician, lawyer
Mason Cooley Professor of French, speech and world literature at the College of Staten Island
Calvin Coolidge Thirtieth president of the United States
Letti Burd Cowman Author of devotional, Streams in the Desert written under the name Mrs. Charles Cowman
Neva Coyle American author
W. A. Criswell American pastor, author, past president of the Southern Baptist Convention
Larry Crabb American author, psychologist, speaker
Alain de Bottom Swiss-British writer, philosopher, and television personality
Donald Demaray American author, retired professor at Asbury Seminary
Mary DeMuth American author and speaker
Steve DeNeff American author, pastor of College Wesleyan Church
Tammy Darling American author and editor
Frances de Sales Bishop of Geneva, Roman Catholic saint
Charles Dickins English social critic and novelist
Emily Dickinson America poet
Jerry Drummonds Chairman and CEO of Verde Energy Group
Joni Earekson Tada Author, artist, quadriplegic, and advocate for handicapped
Thomas Edison American inventor
V. Raymond Edman American author, president of Wheaton College
Elizabeth Edwards American attorney, author, and health care activist
Jonathon Edwards American preacher, philosopher, and theologian
Ralph Waldo Emerson American author and poet
Patsy Whittenberg Engle Author, professor at George Fox University
William Feather American publisher and author
Margaret Feinberg American author and speaker
Francois de Salignac Fenelon Roman Catholic archbishop, theologian, author
Fran Fernandez Spanish author
Henry Ford American industrialist, founder of Ford Motor Company
St. Francis of Assisi Italian Catholic friar and preacher
Viktor Frankl Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist, Holocaust survivor
Robert Frost American poet
Pres Gillham Author, counselor
Seth Godin American author, entrepreneur, marketing expert
Lee Grady American author, ordained Charismatic minister
Billy Graham American evangelist, author
The Prophet Habakkuk Old Testament prophet
Archibald Hart American author, professor of psychology at Fuller Theological Seminary
Ken Heer American Wesleyan minister and denominational leader
Eric Hoffer American author, philosopher
L. Thomas Holdcroft American author
Oliver Wendell Holmes American author, physician, lecturer
Sichiro Honda Japanese engineer and industrialist, founder of Honda Motor Company
Bob Hostetler American author, pastor
Elbert Hubbard American writer, publisher, artist, philosopher
Selwyn Hughes Welsh Christian minister and author
Victor Hugo French poet, novelist, dramatist
Angela Hunt American novelist
Aldous Huxley English author, philosopher
Michael Hyatt Author, publisher
Ignatius Student of John the Apostle, third bishop of Antioch
The Prophet Isaiah Old Testament prophet
Wes Jackson Founder and current president of The Land Institute
St. James Brother of Jesus Christ, New Testament author
The Prophet Jeremiah Old Testament prophet
Jesus Son of God
St. John of the Cross Spanish mystic, Roman Catholic saint
Barbara Johnson American author, humorist
E. Stanley Jones American pastor, missionary to India
Robert Leighton Minister in Church of Scotland, Bishop of Dunblane
Martin Luther German Catholic priest, professor of theology, and leader in Protestant Reformation
Helen Keller American author, political activist, and lecturer who was deaf and blind
Timothy Keller American author, founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church
Thomas à Kempis German priest, author of The Imitation of Christ
Carol Kent American author and speaker
Martin Luther King, Jr. American pastor, author, civil rights leader
Michael Korda English-born writer and novelist, editor-in-chief at Simon & Schuster
T. D. Jakes Author, founding pastor of The Potter’s House
William Jenkyn English clergyman imprisoned for non-conformity
Steve Jobs American entrepreneur, co-founder, chairman, and CEO of Apple Inc
St. John One of Christ’s twelve disciples, biblical author
John Henry Jowett British Protestant minister and author
Joseph Jowett Professor of Civil Law at Cambridge University
Bill Kemp Author pastor, church leadership expert
Peter Kreeft American pastor, author
Elisabeth Kübler-Ross Swiss-American psychiatrist, pioneer in near-death studies
Ann Lamott American author and essayist
Brother Lawrence Lay brother in Carmelite monastery in Paris
Robert E. Lee Confederate General during U. S. Civil War
Abraham Lincoln Sixteenth president of the United States, served during Civil War
Jeanette Levellie America author, humorist
C. S. Lewis English author, Christian apologist, professor at Oxford University
Louise L. Looney American author, speaker
Max Lucado American author, pastor of Oak Hills Church
George MacDonald Scottish author and Christian minister
Douglas MacArthur American five-star general during World War II
Alexander Maclaren English non-conformist minister
Norma Jeanne Maloney American author and sign painter
Nelson Mandela Anti-apartheid leader, prisoner, then president of South Africa
Jason Mann Screenwriter, director
Brennan Manning American author, priest, speaker
Catherine Marshall American author of inspirational fiction and nonfiction
Peter Marshall Scots-American pastor of New York Avenue Presbyterian Church, chaplain of U. S. Senate
George Matheson Scottish minister and hymn writer
Somerset Maugham British playwright, novelist and short story writer
Stephen McCranie Cartoonist
Joe McKeever Southern Baptist director of missions
Mignon McLaughlin American journalist and author
Herman Meville American novelist, poet, short story writer
Linda Meissner Author, leader in Jesus People Movement
Stephen Merritt Missionary philanthropist
Thomas Merton American Catholic writer and mystic
Michelangelo Italian sculptor, painter, architect, poet
Calvin Miller American pastor, author, professor at Southwestern Seminary
J. R. Miller American author, editorial superintendent of the Presbyterian Board of Publication
Beth Moore American author, Bible teacher
Karen Morerod American author, actor
George Mueller English director of the Ashley Down orphanage, which cared for over 10,024 children
Cec Murphey American author and speaker
Andrew Murray South African author, pastor/teacher
F. B. Myer English Baptist pastor
Watchman Nee Chinese church leader and author
Henri Nouwen Dutch-born Catholic priest, professor and writer
Elizabeth O’Connor American author, teacher, counselor
George Orwell English novelist, essayist, journalist and critic
Chuck Palahnuik American novelist and freelance journalist
St. Paul First century missionary, church planter, New Testament writer
Thomas Paine English and American political activist, philosopher
George P. Pardington American theologian, teacher at Missionary Training Institute
Mark Guy Pearse Cornish Methodist preacher, author
M. Scott Peck American psychiatrist and author
St. Peter One of Christ’s twelve disciples, New Testament writer
Austin Phelps American Congregational minister, author, president of the Andover Theological Seminary
Edward J. Phelps American lawyer and diplomat
Nancy Pickering
John Piper American author, Baptist pastor, chancellor of Bethlehem College and Seminary
Francois Rabelais French Renaissance writer of fantasy and satire, doctor
Joe Ratliff American pastor of Shepherd of Brentwood
Betty Reese Officer of Pilot International, a volunteer service organization
Ruth E. Renkee
Eddie Rickenbacker American fighter ace in World War I, Medal of Honor recipient
F. W. Robertson English scholar, pastor at Holy Trinity Church
Will Rogers Vaudeville performer, humorist, social commentator
Janet Powers Roller American author, speaker, Miss South Carolina 1997
Franklin D. Roosevelt Thirty-second president of the United States
Theodore Roosevelt Twenty-sixth president of the United States
Samuel Rutherford Scottish Presbyterian pastor, theologian, author
Joseph D. Schneller American author, humorist
Walter Scott Scottish historical novelist, playwright, poet
Rebekah Freeland Shaffer American author, radio personality
George Bernard Shaw Irish playwright, music and literary critic, economist
Anna Shipton English author of essays and hymns
A. B. Simpson Canadian theologian, author, founder of the Christian and Missionary Alliance
B. F. Skinner American psychologist, author, professor of psychology at Harvard University
Alexander Smellie English minister, writer
M. Blaine Smith American author, musician
Malcom Smith English minister, author
Alexander Solzhenitsyn Russian novelist, historian, critic of Soviet totalitarianism
Faith Watkins Spaulding American social worker
Becky Spencer American author, singer/songwriter
Charles Spurgeon British Particular Baptist, known as the “Prince of Preachers”.
Charles Stanley American Southern Baptists pastor, author
Michelle Steele American pastor, author
Robert Louis Stevenson Scottish novelist, poet, essayist
Harriet Beecher Stowe American abolitionist, author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin
Charles Swindoll American pastor, Bible teacher, author
Noni Joy Tari
Hudson Taylor British Protestant missionary to China, founder of the China Inland Mission
Ira Taylor
Corrie ten Boom Dutch Christian who helped hide Jews during WWII, sentenced to Ravensbruck, became author and speaker
Mother Teresa Roman Catholic Religious Sister, missionary to India, Noble Peace Prize winner
Margaret Thatcher Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
J. R. R. Toilken English writer, poet, professor at Oxford
Cheryle Touchton American author, speaker
Leo Tolstoy Russian novelist, short story writer, philosopher, playwright
A. W. Tozer American pastor, author, magazine editor
Matthew Trexler American pastor of The River Church
Elton Trueblood American Quaker author and theologian, chaplain both to Harvard and Stanford universities
Henry Clay Trumbull American pastor, author, pioneer of Sunday school movement
Phil Vischer Creator of children’s videos, VeggieTales
C. H. Von Bogatzky German hymn writer
Marilyn vos Savant American magazine columnist, author, playwright
John Wagner Entertainer, encourager
Terry Wall
Terry Walling Christian leadership coach
Kay Warren American author, speaker, co-founder of Saddleback Church
Rick Warren American pastor, author, co-founder of Saddleback Church
James N. Watkins America author, speaker
Dennis Watson
G. D. Watson American Wesleyan Methodist minister/evangelist, author
John Wesley English Anglican minister/theologian, who helped found the Methodist Church and holiness movement
Charles West
Tammy Whitehurst American author, speaker
Warren Wiersbe American pastor, Bible teacher, speaker
Oscar Wilde Irish writer, poet, playwright
David Wilkerson Founding pastor of Times Square Church, best known for work with drug addicts and gang members
Dallas Willard American philosopher, author on Christian spiritual formation
Leslie Williams American author
Marvin Williams American pastor, author
Wilbur Williams Professor of Old Testament at Indiana Wesleyan University
Aron Willis Pastor, executive in Wesleyan denomination
Pete Wilson American author, founding pastor of Cross Point Church
Barbara Winter American author
Mike Yacconelli American author, co-founder of Youth Specialties
Philip Yancey American author
Sarah Young American missionary, author of Jesus Calling
William Paul Young American author of The Shack
The Prophet Zephaniah Old Testament prophet
Zig Ziglar Author, motivational speaker
Kyle Zimmerman American pastor


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Order Why? Wise Quotations for Why Questions today. And order extra copies for friends and family.

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corncobtank

Time Square’s lighted ball gets all the press, but other cities across America drop all kinds of things at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve. Some very strange things!

Objects
Six-foot-tall conch shell (Key West, Florida)
Indy race car (Indianapolis, Indiana)
Giant guitars (Niagara Falls, New York; Memphis, Tennessee; and Nashville, Tennessee)
Ten-foot Crayola crayon (Easton, Pennsylvania)
Giant Bayer aspirin tablet (Myerstown, Pennsylvania)
Chunk of coal is dropped, turning into a diamond at the bottom (Shamokin, Pennsylvania and Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania)
Ping pong balls (Strasburg, Pennsylvania)
800-pound beach ball (Panama City, Florida)

Food
Giant peach (Atlanta, Georgia)
Giant doughnut (Hagerstown, Maryland)
Giant pickle (Mount Olive, North Carolina)
Giant Sausage (Elmore, Ohio)
100-pound yellow illuminated Peep (Bethlehem, Pennsylvania)
Giant Dove chocolate bar (Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania)
Giant Hershey kiss (Hershey, Pennsylvania)
100-pound stick of bologna (Lebanon, Pennsylvania)
80-pound cheese (Plymouth, Wisconsin)
Car-sized potato (Boise, Idaho).

Animals
“Spencer,” the stuffed opossum (Tallapoosa, Georgia)
Giant sardine (Eastport, Maine)
Red lobster (Easton, Maryland)
Eight-foot long, five-foot high duck (Havre de Grace, Maryland)
“Marshall P. Muskrat” in a top hat and bow tie (Princess Anne, Maryland)
Live opossum in a Plexiglass pyramid (Brasstown, North Carolina)
“Captain Wylie Walleye” (Port Clinton, Ohio)
A pig is “flown,” not dropped (Cincinnati, Ohio)
Stuffed beaver (Beavertown, Pennsylvania)
Stuffed goat (Falmouth, Pennsylvania)
Hog (Fayetteville, Arkansas)
Real, but dead carp weighing up to 30 pounds (Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin)

People
And, each year, drag queen Gary “Sushi” Marion, is lowered in a giant ruby slipper (Key West, Florida)

This, of course, got me thinking of ways to put Corn Borer, Indiana, on the map. I’m proposing that Prairie Propane drop a giant ear of corn off the grain elevator. Or maybe not!

Regardless of what drops near you, have a wonderful—and safe—New Year!

Copyright © 2015 James N. Watkins

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lizard

I have in my right mitten, direct from my home office on the frozen wasteland of Indiana, today’s category: Top ten most popular posts of 20014 (2013 ranking).

10. (19) Vampires, werewolves real!

9. (1) Ancient prophet warns of conspiracies

8. (4) Does DNA disprove evolution?

7. (6) God is never late, but he sure is slow

6. (56) Three secrets for xxx-ceptional sex

5. (3) Help for suicidal thoughts

4. (8) Children who marry their parents: the psychology of courtship

3. (2) Were U.S. founding fathers Christian?

2. (5) The cure for the common cold: sex!

And, the number one post for September 2014:

1. (9) “It Is Well with My Soul” The rest of the stories

And click for the very latest post

Pictured, according to conspiracy theorists,lizard people rule earth. Photo from MorgueFile.

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Don’t look back!

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

janus2

We get the name January from the Roman god Janus who, much to his parent’s horror, was born with two faces: one facing forward, one looking back. And so, January is a time to look forward to the new year and back at the past.

Looking back at 2014, we see the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria’s brutal beheadings of men, women and children, racial tension and rioting surrounding the Ferguson shooting, the shooting down of a commercial plane over Ukraine and the Ebola deaths of thousands of West Africans.

But, the Bible urges us to look forward: “Do not dwell on the past” (Isaiah 43:18) and “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead” (Philippians 3:13b).

Remorse and regrets are obvious reasons not to dwell on the past. And, admitedly, there is much for which to grieve. But there are other subtle dangers of looking back:

Obsolescence

We live in such a fast-changing world that if we do things in 2015 the way we did in 2014, we’ll be left in the dust. (If you’re an author or publisher, you know that change is happening at warp speed!)

Stagnation

Our personal lives and our relationships can stagnate if we rely on the past. If I’m not growing, I’m dying. And relationships need active care and nurture to grow and mature.

Serious injury

Unless we’re Janus, we are going to run into serious trouble—and injuries—if we’re walking backward into the future. (Wow! I didn’t see that coming!)

So, I agree with Ralph Waldo Emerson’s advice:

      Finish every day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense. This day is all that is good and fair. It is too dear, with its hopes and invitations, to waste a moment on yesterdays.

Don’t look back! Keep looking to the future with hope and humor!

Copyright © 2010, 2014 James N. Watkins

Related—sort of—post
My predictions for the new year

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