Sunday, December 17, 2006
December 17, 2006
It’s Christmas time again. I just don’t understand how some people will go so much out of their way to buy their children more toys and gifts than they need, or will ever appreciate. When I was a kid, we didn’t have much so each toy or gift was very much appreciated, and most are remembered to this day. As I pondered this, another memory came to mind……
Remember that comedy bit where Bill Cosby said his father would tell him “Go get me something to beat you with!” ? Well, I was discussing this type of thing with some friends and one guy admitted that he was actually stupid enough as a kid to go get his dad a belt, with a buckle on it.
I guess I was lucky that my parents didn’t do that. My dad was much too impatient for that. He’d just unbuckle his belt and whip that belt out like a buccaneer drawing his sword. There was nothing more scary sounding as a kid than the thwap, thwap, thwap, thwap as dad drew out that belt. You just knew that somebody was about to get it!
Mom was more creative. She wasn’t very patient either. She’d grab whatever was most handy at the time. Remember those paddle ball toys? You know, the wood paddle with the rubber band attached to the rubber ball? We’d play with those until the ruber string broke. No one tried to fix those things, mom would write our name on it and hang it on a hook. We each had our own personal whooping paddle. That’s not all she used. Remember those Hot Wheels tracks? Yep, my mom raised a few speed bumps on my backside too.
One day it occurred to me: “Scott, she’s beating you …. with your own toys!” I could just imagine my mother shopping at Toys R Us, stopping in one aisle and thinking “Oo..that’ll hurt!” After that, whenever she asked what I wanted for Christmas, my response was “Nothing! Don’t get me anything for Christmas. I’m good. Really. I don’t need anything. Maybe some socks. Or a sweater. Bermuda shorts. Just no toys, please. Better yet, just don’t get me anything. I’m fine. Honest!” My parents thought I had matured and was being noble and meek and humble. Actually, it was a matter of personal preservation!
You know something? If you ask for “nothing”, then “nothing” is just what you may get. The Bible tells us “Knock, and the door will be opened. Seek, and you will find. ASK, and you shall receive ….”
So, be careful what you ask for this Christmas. You just might get it.
And please, keep in your hearts and minds – the REAL meaning of this Holiday Season. It’s not about the toys and presents – but it is about the true gift of the KING!
Peace, Joy and Blessings to you, from Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.
'For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.'
Sunday, November 26, 2006
November 26, 2006
Yep. It was worth it.
I spent most of the afternoon stringing lights, climbing around on the roof, putting together a lighted deer, and making the outside of our home look all “Christmas-y”.
While I was on the roof, my beautiful wife came out to see how things were going and cautioned me to be careful (I was on the second story roof). Just the sound of her voice, the way she said it, told me that she genuinely cared about my safety and well-being.
It was dark by the time I finished, and the lights had already come on (I used a photo-cell with a timer, so the lights automatically come on when it gets dark), from the deer in the front yard, to the Christmas Tree in the front window, to the lights along the roof line of the entire front of the house, across the garage to the Christmas Tree shaped juniper at the end of the garage. I went and got my wife to come out and see the finished product.
She was a few steps ahead of me and when she reached the sidewalk, she turned around and looked at our house. The look in her eyes and that sweet smile on her face said it all. My lovely little wife radiated love and appreciation like I had never seen before. She was pleased.
It took some time on a Sunday afternoon, and some hard work, and I know it will all have to come down and get packed away soon after Christmas Day, but seeing her face light up when she saw it – yeah – it was (IS) worth it.
Thursday, August 31, 2006
August 1, 2005
Have you ever wondered what might happen if people stopped bickering, put aside their differences and to decide to just get along?
What if they stopped being mean towards each other and started treating each other with mutual respect? Why can’t people just be nice and quit trying to “one up” someone else for their own selfish personal gain?
Why is it that a “scorned” woman feels the need to “take him for all she can get”? Why is it that people just can’t seem to treat each other fairly? C’mon, dang-it! Why can’t we just try to be nice to each other?
Why is it that the waitress at the restaurant couldn’t muster up a smile? I mean, she did her job well, she was rather attentive and earned every cent of her tip, but she still seemed so unhappy? Is it because she had had a bad day? And if so, why? Did she allow someone else ruin her day for her by treating her poorly?
How come we allow people to do that sort of thing to us? No, I’m serious, why do we allow that? I have come to believe that each person is responsible for their own happiness. All too often we allow someone else to bring us down. Or perhaps we rely upon someone else to make us feel better in order for us to have good day. Now, there’s nothing wrong with feeling good about someone else, it has happened to me. Other people are not responsible for my happiness. Can someone make me happy? Of course they can! But that’s not the point. I do not rely on others for my daily happiness. I enjoy it. Revel in the experience with them. But it would be foolish for me to rely on others solely to determine what kind of day I’m going to have. What if they're having a bad day?
You see, life is what you make of it. What kind of day you have is up to you, and no one else. It could be raining, snowing, sunny, windy, or whatever, and it can still be a great day. It is up to you, and you alone. Your happiness comes from whatever you already have inside you.
So things didn’t go your way today. So what? Big fat hairy deal! That’s life. Things don’t always go the way we would like it too. You can’t always have things the way you want. For one thing, it isn’t up to us. God is in control. The sooner we realize that, and turn every part of our lives over to Him, the sooner we will realize that all those things we used to allow to ruin our day, don’t really matter all that much.
So….what’s bothering YOU today? Is it something you can correct? If so, then do it. If not, then deal with it and let it go, and stop worrying about it. So things didn’t go the way you planned it. The world didn’t stop turning just because you didn’t get your way. So, just get through your day, and do it different this time. Deal with it, adjust, adapt and make the best of it. In other words…..learn from this and get on with your life and stop whining!
So, back to the original question…..
What if people stopped fighting and started treating each other fairly and with mutual respect?
What if we all started being nice to each other…..no matter what?
I sincerely believe that if we all did that, then this world would be a much better place to live.
There would be less fighting, fewer arguments, less disagreements, fewer hurt feelings and not so many wars. I say we give it shot. Why not?
What do YOU think?
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
1 The Lord gave this message to Jonah son of Amittai:
2 “Get up and go to the great city of Nineveh. Announce my judgment against it because I have seen how wicked its people are.”
3 But Jonah got up and went in the opposite direction to get away from the Lord. He went down to the port of Joppa, where he found a ship leaving for Tarshish. He bought a ticket and went on board, hoping to escape from the Lord by sailing to Tarshish.
4 But the Lord hurled a powerful wind over the sea, causing a violent storm that threatened to break the ship apart.
5 Fearing for their lives, the desperate sailors shouted to their gods for help and threw the cargo overboard to lighten the ship. But all this time Jonah was sound asleep down in the hold.
6 So the captain went down after him. “How can you sleep at a time like this?” he shouted. “Get up and pray to your god! Maybe he will pay attention to us and spare our lives.”
7 Then the crew cast lots to see which of them had offended the gods and caused the terrible storm. When they did this, the lots identified Jonah as the culprit.
8 “Why has this awful storm come down on us?” they demanded. “Who are you? What is your line of work? What country are you from? What is your nationality?”
9 Jonah answered, “I am a Hebrew, and I worship the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the land.”
10 The sailors were terrified when they heard this, for he had already told them he was running away from the Lord. “Oh, why did you do it?” they groaned.
11 And since the storm was getting worse all the time, they asked him, “What should we do to you to stop this storm?”
12 “Throw me into the sea,” Jonah said, “and it will become calm again. I know that this terrible storm is all my fault.”
13 Instead, the sailors rowed even harder to get the ship to the land. But the stormy sea was too violent for them, and they couldn’t make it.
14 Then they cried out to the Lord, Jonah’s God. “O Lord,” they pleaded, “don’t make us die for this man’s sin. And don’t hold us responsible for his death. O Lord, you have sent this storm upon him for your own good reasons.”
15 Then the sailors picked Jonah up and threw him into the raging sea, and the storm stopped at once!
16 The sailors were awestruck by the Lord’s great power, and they offered him a sacrifice and vowed to serve him.
17 Now the Lord had arranged for a great fish to swallow Jonah. And Jonah was inside the fish for three days and three nights.
I read this devotional this morning and it seems that the story of Jonah keeps popping up. I have been personally dealing with this Jonah stuff for several years now. I find it interesting that each time I see this story or read it, I see something completely new in there that I had not noticed before. I believe this is what is meant by the Holy Spirit speaking to us through scripture. Speaking to us as it pertains to you, in your situation, in your walk with the Lord, right now, wherever you may be. That's what's happening to me.
We are all familiar with the story of Jonah. God told him to do something that Jonah didn't agree with so Jonah took off in the opposite direction and God went after him and forced Jonah into obedience. God had a purpose and a plan for Nineveh and He was set on Jonah to do His work.
But I've noticed something different in this passage this time. Notice verse 16.
16 The sailors were awestruck by the Lord’s great power, and they offered him a sacrifice and vowed to serve him.
Even though Jonah was running from God and being selfish, God still used Jonah's rebellion (sIn) to reach those sailors. As soon as Jonah hit the water, the storm stopped and all those sailors realized that their "gods" were nothing and that the God of Heaven, the LORD, is everything and has more power than they had imagined. Their "gods" could do nothing, but the LORD controlled the storm. You see? There is so much more to the story than what is being taught in Sunday School. The story of Jonah is not about "Jonah and the Whale". The story is about us. When we refuse to follow what God tells us to do, He sends something or someone into our lives to set us back on track. If we're stubborn enough, it may take spending a few days inside a big fish! But even in our sin, God can still use us or our situation to reach a dying world for Himself. Jonah was used by God to reach those sailors. Of course Jonah never knew that, since he had problems of his own trying to figure out how to get out of becoming whale dung.
If Jonah had not disobeyed God, those sailors would not have realized "...the LORD's great power…" and then turned to the LORD.
Here's something else to think about: Jonah's sin effected other people, not just himself. Remember, Jonah was sleeping through the storm until the captain woke him up. Then the crew found out that Jonah's sin was the reason for the storm, and they tossed him off the boat! The problem was Jonah so they got rid of him! Sound familiar? Has this happened to you or someone you know?
Are you caught in a storm? Did your friends "toss you overboard"? Do you feel like you're about to be whale excrement? Hang in there. It just may be that God is using your situation for His Glory to someone you don't even know. Gee….maybe that's why the Bible tells us to be thankful in all things (including our trials). You never know who God is talking to. It may even be you.
Thursday, August 03, 2006
By Scott Trammell
While chatting with my fiance the other day, we talked about sin and how it all starts with the ideas that pop into your head.
While we were talking, we had an amazing idea. “We should invent something to help people avoid sin. Like an electric shock collar that would zap you when you have a sinful thought, just before you could actually commit the sin”.
What an amazing idea. A shock collar for sin. But then, the device would have to be able to read your mind, and know you are about to sin. We laughed long and hard over that one! But since that kind of technology does not yet exist (yet), one good way to make something like that work, would be for a guy to wear the shock collar and give the remote control to his wife. Then she could zap him when he needs it. After all, our wives are the only ones who can read our thoughts anyway, right? Well, except God, of course. Interesting.
Can you imagine, walking along with your wife, and a pretty girl walks by.
“OW! Why did you do that?”
“I know what you were thinking.”
Hmm…..maybe not such a good idea after all.
Sunday, May 21, 2006
Scott Trammell, May 16, 2006
I finished college in 1995 with a degree in Civil Engineering. Normally, after graduating, many engineers will go to work for a few years and then start preparing for their PE exam. Once they pass this exam (which in California, is actually 4 separate exams, where most all other states only have one), they will have the honor and prestige of being referred to as a Professional Engineer. There’s a certain amount of status that goes along with that. All of a sudden, you have credibility. Even other engineers, PE’s especially, speak to you differently and treat you differently (respectfully).
I’d never had the desire to get my PE. Others thought it would be a good thing for me to have, but I saw no use for it at the time. In my career, yes it would have been good to have but I didn’t think it would help my career, so I put it off. Besides, hearing the horror stories from other engineers about how grueling the exam can be (mostly from those who didn’t pass it), didn’t help me in wanting to subject myself to that kind of punishment and potential for disappointment. I already had enough disappointment in my life, I certainly didn’t want to add another failure to an already growing list.
Over time, my career path took a slight change and I found myself in a position where having that PE would have come in handy. It wasn’t necessary, but it sure would have helped, so I began considering it. I still didn’t want to subject myself to such a difficult test, so again, I put it off. Later, I found myself working on a construction job as the Project Engineer. I was pretty much responsible for everything. I shared an office with another engineer who, although he was a nice fellow, wasn’t altogether too bright when it came to civil engineering or construction. Then one day I found out that this guy had his PE! This fellow had actually passed the California PE exams. Then I began thinking that if this guy can do it, it can’t be all that hard!
So I filled out the application, and was accepted to be allowed to sit for the exam. I signed up for study courses and review courses (it had been a long time since school, over 8 years) and I did all I could to prepare for that test. And you know something? I passed. First time. It really wasn’t all that hard, and parts of it were embarrassingly easy. I remember wondering “what was I so worried about?” It wasn’t nearly as bad as I was told it would be. But I also know why it wasn’t so hard for me. I was prepared for it. I studied hard and carefully organized my reference materials and sought advice on test taking techniques from others who had done this before me. Sure, there were others who complained about the exam and how hard it was (since they didn’t pass it the first time), but that’s because they weren’t prepared for it. They didn’t listen to the advice of others who had already been there and done that.
Life is hard. That’s a fact. You need to be prepared for it. Jesus never said that following Him would suddenly make life easy or better for you. Jesus said that He came to give us life. But not just life, but life more abundantly! That means the lows will be lower and the highs will be higher. And we know through God’s Word that there is a great reward waiting for us at the end. So many people want to know what God’s will is for their life. We read the books and study “The Purpose Driven Life”, and still we ask what God’s will is for us. (“If it isn’t about me, then what is it about?”)
I can answer that for you. You don’t have to look any further, the answer has been there all along. Would you like to know what it is?
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1st Thessalonians 5:16-18
Rejoice, Pray, and Give Thanks (be Thankful). Sounds easy, doesn’t it? Sorry to say that it doesn’t always work out that way. Three simple things that, at times, seem so very hard to do. It doesn’t have to be so hard, but we make it that way when we choose to follow our own selfish desires rather than trust God and follow Him.
Life is hard. So what? Jesus took care of all the heavy stuff on the cross so that we wouldn’t have to. Just look at what Christ did for us, and all that He went through, and our petty little problems don’t seem so bad. Maybe then we’ll realize that life isn’t so hard after all. My wife taught me that with Jesus in you, life isn’t hard, life is JOY!
(My wife is such a blessing, but that’s another story altogether).
So to be prepared for this life, we need to study. I am so thankful that God provided us with a study manual so we can be prepared for the things we will encounter in this life. And the best part? It is all open-book! (Keep your Bible nearby).
Rejoice, Pray, and Give Thanks. I think it’s worth a try, don’t you?
After all, it is God’s Will for you.
Thursday, May 11, 2006
Sunday, April 30, 2006
Love has nothing to do with what you are expected to get. It's what you are expected to give.This is love: not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins... And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.
- 1 John 4:10, 16
Love the lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.
If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
Love is Patient, love is kind, it does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.
-1 Corinthians 13
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast.
- Ephesians 2:8-9
Now, that's Love.
Thursday, April 20, 2006
- Charles Spurgeon
Prayer doesn't change God, but it changes him who prays.
- Soren Kierkegaard
The less I pray the harder it gets, the more I pray the better it goes.
- Martin Luther
When you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.- Matthew 6:7
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
By Scott Trammell
April 5, 2006
Before going to bed last night, I turned out the lights just before heading upstairs. It was then that I noticed something different. There was a light shining in our living room that hadn’t been there before. As I stood in front of our living room’s big picture window, I discovered there was a street light in front of our house.
We’d always known that street light was there, we just hadn’t given it much thought until now. You see, the previous night, we experienced one of those severe Central Indiana storms and our giant evergreen, shaped like an oversized Christmas Tree, had been blown over during the storm. The high winds snapped the one foot diameter trunk about six feet above the ground. By the grace of God, no one was hurt and the tree landed on our neighbor’s driveway, so there was no damage to anyone’s home or property. We had the tree and stump removed and now all that’s left is the large blank area where that massive tree once stood. That tree had been somewhat of a landmark on our street. It was easy to find our home, “just look for the giant Christmas Tree”.
But now, with the tree gone, there’s a light shining through our front window. Strange how something so big and prominent, and even beautiful, in our lives can block so much light. How often do we let seemingly big things get in the way of God’s light in our lives? Oh, that “thing” may be big and beautiful and seem like such an important part of our life, but once it is removed (perhaps by an “Act of God”) we can finally see the light. God’s light.
Jesus said “I am the light of the world”, and the Bible tells us that we are to be beacons of light. It is up to us to show God’s “light” to a dying world. So, what is standing in your way? What is it that is keeping God’s light from shining through you? After all, there is nothing more important than shining God’s love on everyone we know.
Let your light shine!
Thursday, January 12, 2006
This is my little girl.
She's only 10 years old and she trains horses for barrel racing and pole-bending competions. She's very good at what she does, and she's sweet and nice and ton of fun to be around. She's also practically a straight "A" student. So, she's pretty, sweet, nice, fun and very smart. We're so very proud of her!
Friday, January 06, 2006
By Scott Trammell
January 6, 2006
While walking through a hallway at work today, I found myself a few steps behind a co-worker I’ve known for quite some time now. Sensing someone was following (and possibly knowing it was me), without looking back this co-worker asked “Is that you?”
I thought about it for a few seconds and realized that, regardless of who was behind them, the correct response would always be “Yes, it’s me!”
Being the smart-aleck that I am, I responded with “Yes, it’s me. But more importantly, is it YOU?”
This got me to thinking about this same type of exchange in the spiritual realm. God doesn’t ask if it’s us or not. He already knows. The important thing to ask ourselves is “Is it God?”
Whenever an opportunity comes our way, and it looks real good to us, we should stop and ask ourselves if it is from God, or is it the devil trying to trick us into something that could hurt us later on? According to Henry Blackaby, the way to find out is to test it against scripture. Is there anything in scripture that addresses this? Does God’s Word say not to do this? Read the Bible and find out. Another way is to seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Pray about it and seek God’s direction. Then – Listen! The third way is to seek counsel from fellow Christians. What is the Holy Spirit telling them about it? Just make sure you don’t ask people you know will always agree with you no-matter-what. Talk to people who know Christ and will give it to you straight. (These are your REAL friends, not those so-called “Yes Men”).
Remember, the next time you hear that “still, small voice”, the Bible encourages us to ask
“God, is that You?”
Thursday, January 05, 2006
I am most thankful for my wife, who honors me and affirms me and inspires me more than words could ever express sufficient appreciation. We spent New Year's day with her entire family. What an amazing group of people. It is truely an honor to be a part of that family and to be welcomed and accepted by them.
I thank God for the blessings in my life (which have nothing to do with money or possessions).
To my amazingly wonderful wife - thank you, Oh Catherine, My Catherine, for being who you are and for the love and warmth I now feel inside since I met you and fell in love with you.
There are a lot of people that are searching for happiness in their lives. I believe we should strive to have joy, rather than happiness. With true joy, happiness will follow. You may not always feel happy, but you can always know joy. Huge difference. Happiness is a feeling (and is temporary), Joy is something you just know (and lasts forever). The Bible says that God desires us to know joy. It doesn't say that God wants us to be happy, it tells us that we are to be joyful!
Without realizing it, my wife, Catherine, has taught me the difference between joy and happiness. Being with her causes me happiness, yes, but it wasn't until I met her that I knew the meaning of real joy.
God Bless you and may you have a great 2006.