5 Spiritual Disciplines to Overcome the Drought of Worry

All of us have experienced a drought sometime in our lives.There are those times when everything dries up.The heat is relentless and life-giving rain is nowhere in sight.First the grass turns yellow then the trees.It seems that our entire world is headed toward destruction. Worry is much like a drought. It sucks the life out of everything that lives. It also leads to other ailments and problems.These can be physical, emotional or even spiritual. Winston Churchill said, “When I look back on all these worries, I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he has had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which  never happened.” His words ring true today. One pastor wrote, “Most of our problems are huge, and they don’t exist.”
I wish I could say that I have learned to overcome worry. I have not. I have, however, found some spiritual disciplines to assist me when I worry. Let me share them with you.

Grace. Both God’s grace and my grace. I have found that when I worry I hav…

Grass Fires and Wet Toe-Sacks

One of the most dangerous and most helpful things in this part of Oklahoma is a grass fire. I say it’s most dangerous because of the winds that blow constantly.A small spark can get out of control and before you know it a raging destructive fire can char hundreds of acres.It’s helpful because although it’s destructive it also burns off old grasses and weeds and a new landscape is born from the ashes.Ranchers will set them on purpose (it’s called a controlled burn), to get the new grass to grow.This year I noticed that it only took a couple of weeks for the charred hills to turn a beautiful green.

In the past, many of the grass fires were fought with wet toe-sacks.Every small home or farm had a few of them lying around.They were used for a variety of things.When a fast-moving grass fire broke out they were submerged in the horse trough and used to beat the fire out.A line of residents from around the area would be called on to step up to the fire line and beat out the oncoming wall of …

I Dare You!

As a kid someone probably dared you to jump over something or stick your tongue on a flag pole on a sub-freezing day.  Maybe they dared you to talk to that special person that you really admired or a host of other things.  No matter, it was always something that was out of your comfort zone.

We all value comfort.  When I was growing up we moved to a house that had central heat and air conditioning.  Back then that was a big deal.  Of course the system included a thermostat.  The unique thing about the one in our house was it had a comfort zone printed on it. Right above 68 and 72 degree range were the words; "Comfort Zone".  The heat and air company that produced the thermostat was educating their customers on how their machines could keep the home owner comfortable.  It didn't take long before most people knew what their comfort zone was.  It also didn't take long after that for each individual to establish their own comfort zone.  I know people who are comfortable …


Do...You...really care?  The young man from the children's home belted out the old tune, his high-pitched voice ringing through the sanctuary of my childhood church.  It's unusual that a memory like that sticks in my mind some 50 or so years later.  Maybe it was the words, maybe it was the melody or maybe it was God speaking to my heart, but I remember the feeling that stayed with me for several days later.  I had just been confronted with what it means to be a follower of Christ.  It's been said, " don't have do anything, but you do have to care."  Jesus taught us to care for the poor, the sick, the imprisoned and those who had basic needs.  He also commanded us to nurture or care for our fellow Christian brothers and sisters.
The 3rd aspect of our associational vision is "CARE".  We must "PREPARE" the soil to take the seed of the Gospel.  We then must "SHARE" the seed itself. Once it takes root and begins to grow it is our…

It's time to PLANT

Spring is one of my favorite times of the year.  I really like warmer weather, blooming trees and flowers and birds singing.  I also really like planting.  In the many places Cindy and I have lived over the years we have made it a point to plant at least one tree. For the most part, we didn't benefit from the shade or beauty that those trees provide at maturity, but others have.

In ancient times a sower would go to a prepared field and scatter seed.  Most of you have read the parable of the sower or the parable of the soils in the Gospels and know the point that our Lord was making about sowing the seed.  Some fell on rocky soil, others fell on hard pan, and so on.  The point is that we are called to plant the seed, and leave the results to God.

Most of us love those times when we see the fruit of the planting.  It is a thrill when someone comes to Christ.  It's wonderful to be part of a great harvest of souls.  It could happen in series of meetings, at a camp or retreat or ju…

The Hard Work of Preparing

My father in law's garden is famous in our family.  It is a special place that yields a tremendous harvest every year.  He and my mother in law have labored for decades on their mini farm.  Our family, friends, neighbors and others have benefited from the fresh vegetables and fruit that grows there each year.  Everything from tomatoes as big as a cat's head to fresh black berries, squash, potatoes, greens of every type and other wonderful fresh goodness comes from that plot of land. The garden has always been a place of tranquility for me since I met Cindy back in the early 70's.  She tells of how it all started when they moved there some 55 years ago.  You see, the garden was not like that back then. It was just a red clay field where cattle and horses used to roam.  It took years of hard work to prepare the soil.  That work included plowing to break up the hard clay and tilling to bust up the clods.  Then all sorts of "additives" were placed in the soil in ord…

The time of Giving

This time of year is stressful for most people.  There are a lot of factors that contribute to the anxiety.  Family problems; financial distresses; sad memories or the loss of a loved one during the year all factor in as we approach Christmas day.  Then there's the gift giving anxiety.  In some cases of dysfunction in a family the giving becomes a competition.  How can I out give my ex spouse?  How can one side of the family out give the in laws?  It goes on and on until one or more in one of the families makes the decision that they've had enough and forfeits the game of giving.  Then there are those who try to make up for all the things they haven't said or done during the year by purchasing gifts that are way too expensive or extravagant.  Sometimes the receiver of such gifts comes to expect it and even require this yearly purging of guilt on the part of their spouse, parent or other relationship.  You probably know someone that would fit into either of these categories…