What’s that, Mommy?

A Sojourner's Heartsong

I witnessed a funny thing today. I stopped to pick up carry out at a restaurant on my way home from work. As I waited for my street tacos, I sat at a table a few feet from the cash register. A young mother and her 5 or 6 year old daughter stepped up to order.

Once their order was complete, the mother opened her wallet and took out a crisp $20 bill. The daughter said, “Momma, what’s that?”

Her mother handed it to the cashier and replied, “That’s paper money, sweetheart. You can use it to buy stuff—just like a credit card.”

Her daughter responded, “That’s weird.”

😀 Times, they are a-changin’

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Are you seeking a closer walk with the Lord?

A Sojourner's Heartsong

Thunder and Lightning in Central OklahomaDuring this time of the year, we often experience violent thunderstorms. That is what we saw early this morning is central Oklahoma. These storms are the result of the unstable atmospheric conditions created by the clash between relatively cold, dry air masses with warm, moisture laden weather systems.

Clashes in worldviews produce similar conditions. This is especially noticeable for Christians who are seeking spiritual revitalization. With this in mind, we need reflect on the following:

1) It may be that one of the devil’s favored strategies is to cause believers to remain content in a lukewarm lifestyle. It is a lie, foisted upon believers by the father of all lies (John 8:45), that the Lord is not concerned about the heart condition of those who have drifted into a state of spiritual malaise. This principle is made clear in Jesus’ teaching regarding discipleship in John 15:5-8. Here Jesus states: 5

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Have you heard the news?

A Sojourner's Heartsong

It’s very important that people know that I really enjoy everything that has happened to me. And I tell my kids… you’re not going to be the tallest, fastest, prettiest, the best track runner, but you can be the nicest human being that someone has ever met in their life. And I just want to leave that legacy that being nice is a true treasure.

—George Foreman

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What does the Lord require of you?

A Sojourner's Heartsong

Micah’s resounding message will shape our lives for glory and change our world for good.

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May the words of this message reach hearts ready to hear and heed this high call on our lives!

© Bill Williams
2018.08.07

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Focus: Don’t let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do!

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Have you ever sensed something was lacking in your spiritual life?

A Sojourner's Heartsong

Have you ever sensed something was lacking in your spiritual life?

Have you ever felt you needed a fresh start in your spiritual journey?

Have you ever taken stock of your defenses against the onslaught of enemy attacks and found the walls of your spiritual stronghold in ruins?

If your answer to any of these questions is “Yes,” then I encourage you to spend a little time reading the book of Nehemiah. It opens our eyes to grand vistas of what God is able to do in the lives of those who trust in Him. In just fifty-two days the walls of Jerusalem went from rubble to renewal. Nehemiah 6:15-16 summarizes this as follows:

The wall was finished on the twenty-fifth day of Elul. It had taken fifty-two days. When all our enemies heard the news and all the surrounding nations saw it, our enemies totally lost their nerve…

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How to make the most of Monday mornings

Hopefully, this will be helpful to those of us who are struggling with the Monday morning blues. What helps you make the most of your Monday mornings?

A Sojourner's Heartsong

Do you dread Monday mornings?

Many people do. In fact, I recently learned there is  a term for the moment this dread sets in. It is: SMONDAY, which is defined as the moment when Sunday stops feeling like Sunday and the anxiety over Monday morning’s arrival kicks in.

I used to really dread Monday mornings. Now? Not so much. To be sure, I often wish the weekend would continue, simply because these days provide more time for doing fun things with family.

What has changed?

It is simple: I just pretend it is Tuesday, or any other day of the week, for that matter. Well, that isn’t actually true. In reality, I just spend a little time on Sunday evening getting ready for the week ahead. I have learned that the dread of Monday morning can be dealt with by doing a little preparation on Sunday evening.

I have also…

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Please remember to be nice

A Sojourner's Heartsong

Two children riding in the backseat of their grandparent’s car are having a bit of a tif. Nothing serious, mind you. They are just being a bit gruff with one another.

A grandparent intervenes, “Now, that’s not how we are supposed to talk to each other, is it?

The grandson replies, “Well, that’s how she was talking to me.”

More conversation ensues.

It becomes apparent that there is a slight misunderstanding of the Golden Rule at play here. You see, his understanding ran something like this: The way other people treat you is the way they want you to treat them.

So, if your sister is speaking gruffly to you, it logically follows that she wants you to be gruff with her.”

More conversation ensues.

The wise grandparents in the car explain: The Golden Rule applies to each of us, sometimes in spite of the way other people are acting…

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Six reasons we keep going back to Silver Dollar City

Well, this is not an exhaustive list. Hopefully, though, you see why we keep going back to SIlver Dollar City. We love it. Our family loves it. And, I haven’t even started to write about our favorite time at SDC, which is Christmas at SDC. Lord winning, that is coming is coming soon.

A Sojourner's Heartsong

Well, another trip to SIlver Dollar City is in the books.

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Someone asked how many days we have spent at SDC. Actually, I don’t know, precisely. I am certain, however, our family has been hundreds of times over the past few decades.

More often than not, the next question asked is, “Why do you keep going back?”

The answer to that is simple: Because we like it!

Actually, there isn’t just one reason. There are several reasons we keep going back. Here is a quick summary of a few:

1) FAITH: SDC was founded by a family whose Christian faith is central to their lives. It remains a place where such faith is celebrated. Quite often, one of the characters from yesteryear famously said, “If that don’t stir your soul, then your spoon done fell out the bowl.” If faith in Jesus Christ matters to you, then SDC is a…

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Lessons from Romans 12:1-2

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Seeing the Sublime — Learning from Children

A Sojourner's Heartsong

How many of life’s most important lessons do we learn from children? I really don’t know how to answer that question; but, I know it’s a lot.

I mentioned previously that I hoped to share a story involving one of my children that helps tie this discussion about living the good life and seeing the sublime all together.

Think of it in this way:

Seeing the sublime — learning from a child.

Many years ago I started telling our children bedtime stories. It was great fun to make up fanciful stories about far away places. Sometimes the characters would do some really incredible things. They might wear absurdly funny clothes. They would sometimes do things that just wouldn’t square with the reality. Now, my joy is multiplied beyond imagining as I occasionally have the opportunity to tell bedtime stories to my grandchildren.  This, alone, is a sublime experience.

All four…

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Are you living the good life?

A Sojourner's Heartsong

Are you living the good life?

Christopher Morley once affirmed that the good life consists of three basic ingredients: learning, earning and yearning.

To a certain extent, we can agree with this. But, in my estimation, we must insist that there is more to the good life. It seems that Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevski captures this concept when he declares: “Neither man nor nation can exist without a sublime idea.”

Even though life revolves around what we sometimes call the daily grind, it involves much more! We are here to serve and glorify God. We do this by yielding our lives to the Lord, letting Him direct our lives. As jet streams provide steering currents for massive weather systems, the will of God should determine the course of our lives.

In Philippians 2:5-8 we are told that the mind of Christ determined the course of His life and sealed His…

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Lord, help us to be sweet

A Sojourner's Heartsong

I had just finished speaking about living with no regrets. A gentle-spirited, older woman approached me. She was complimentary. She was not, however, her normal, cheerful self. She wore a worried expression on her face, which I was not accustomed to seeing there. So, I asked if there was something she wished to discuss.  “Well,” she said, “I agree with you that we should try to live without regrets. This is certainly the right thing to do. But, I think you should have included a thing or two in your talk about what we should do with our regrets. Everyone has regrets, you know?”

Now, I knew this woman quite well. She was loved and respected by everyone. I couldn’t imagine what she regretted that was troubling her so.

I attempted to sidestep the matter and change the subject. I don’t know why I did this. May have imagined she…

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Concerning fences and boundaries

A Sojourner's Heartsong

Just like good fences make good neighbors, appropriate boundaries make healthy work-life balance.

When fences are broken down or boundaries are ignored, problems will inevitably develop.

—Some have fences to mend.

—Others have boundaries to establish.

—We all need to walk in wisdom.

© Bill Williams

2018.07.24

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Are you a worrier?

A Sojourner's Heartsong

Have you ever wondered why we worry? Why do we so often offer the reassuring advice, “This really isn’t something you need to worry about.” Well, does that mean there are some things we should worry about?

Think about it:

  • Worry pulls tomorrow’s clouds over today’s sunshine.
  • Worry is wasting today’s time to clutter up tomorrow’s opportunities with yesterday’s troubles.
  • God is an ever-present help in trouble; in worry you are on your own.
  • Worry is a prayer to the wrong God.
  • Worry is something we all do, even though our Lord specifically said: Do not worry!
  • Worry is oftentimes confused with legitimate concern, which entirely appropriate.
  • Sometimes worry masquerades as concern, duping no one but the worrier.
  • Worry is like time spent in a rocking chair; it keeps you busy, but gets you nowhere.
  • Or, perhaps you’ve read the following line in one of those “church bloopers” email that’s…

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Have you been wounded by a friend?

A Sojourner's Heartsong

imageHave you ever been wounded by a friend?

Sure you have. That old bit about “sticks and stones…” just isn’t true. Really, who hasn’t been wounded by the words of others?

I was once wounded by a friend and have the scars to prove it.

My friend, who is notorious for his playful banter, took a swipe at me personally. It was one of those, “You never really…” statements, which seemed to impugn my motives. What it was in particular isn’t really the point.

Within minutes, he poured salt on the wound as we discussed a major project I had successfully completed. It started out with, “Oh, it was just…” which concluded with words that I felt totally minimized and marginalized my efforts, which didn’t seem to reflect any consideration for how this made me feel.

Because these injuries were inflicted by a friend and in a friendly environment, I…

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Are You Struggling with Your Juggling?

A Sojourner's Heartsong

Have you ever had one of those days when it seems like you are meeting yourself coming and going? Does it sometimes feel like you are juggling your life’s tasks and you simply can’t keep up? It’s easy to feel this way.

Thinking about this caused three questions to come to mind:

(1) What are some of the things you do to help you keep all of the balls in the air?
(2) What are some of the things that seem to really mess you up?
(3) What are some of the things we can do to become “better” jugglers?

Regarding the first question, I’ll confess that I’m not an expert at this. Even though it sounds a bit cliché, one thing that helps me keep all of the balls in the air is keeping my eyes on the ball. Or, as is usually the case, I’ve really got to…

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This day has been a long week

A Sojourner's Heartsong

While working for his former employer, a friend of mine had an extremely high pressure job.

One Wednesday evening, I asked him how he was doing.

He responded, “This day has been a long week.”

Have you ever had a day like that—a day when it seemed as though nothing was going right?

Like the homeowner in Maui I read about. He was told by the fire investigators that the cause of the blaze which destroyed his home was a short in the newly installed fire prevention alarm system.

He then said, “This is even worse than last year, when someone broke in and stole my new security system!”

Have you ever had days when, no matter how hard you tried, you just could not seem to make yourself understood?

Like the man who spoke frantically to someone at the doctor’s office saying, “My wife is pregnant and her contractions…

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I am grateful he chose to be my dad

A Sojourner's Heartsong

It hardly seems possible that it has been five years since he finished his journey. 

I enjoyed our phone conversations, during my afternoon commute; but, didn’t call often enough. 

I enjoyed morning coffee and conversation with him; but, I rarely made this happen. 

I enjoyed listening to his stories and learning about life in the real world from a genuine master; but, I, all-too-often, chose other things instead. 

I would give my left arm to be able to take a mulligan on how I played so many different shots in our late blooming relationship; but, I am so thankful he said, “I believe your search for your biological father is ended with me.”

I am so thankful he paved the way for me to have a genuine relationship with a real family who loves me simply for who I am, whose son I am. 

I…

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Are you trying too hard?

A Sojourner's Heartsong

As I write this little reflection, I can’t help but think of the T-Shirt one of my friends used to wear. On the back there was caricature of a wrinkly old man wearing a basketball uniform. Beside this image were these words:

So, this story I am about to tell is true; or, at least as close to the truth as it is possible for an old guy to recall.

When I was in high school (now more than forty years ago), I played on the varsity basketball team. Some who read this may find it hard to believe. A little back story might help. You see, my graduating class totaled only 16 people. Of this number, twelve of us started first grade together. Ours was a small school, located in the sparsely populated panhandle of Oklahoma. For some reason, I seem to recall there was a total of eighty-four…

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