First, something cute. Just because, well, we need something cute right now, and cute is better than the rant I was tentatively going to start with.
The meme and the following devotional came from a good friend who sends me prayers and devotionals daily. I don’t often share them here on the blog, as I don’t believe in flaunting my spirituality, which is why this devotional really resonated with me.
The world tells us to build our lives on the transient shifting sands of the current dictates of society. It is all about our public image, how other people perceive and judge us. We define ourselves by our money, accomplishments, notoriety, and accumulation of things. This can include how we reflect our religious beliefs. If we multiply our duties in observance of religion, our money, time and work yielded to God without our heart’s involvement, then it becomes mechanical and habit forming. It may be what we need to provide a false sense of security.
As long as we are pouring our time, energy and money into the observance of religion, we don’t actually need to pour our soul into our faith in God. If we pray in public, we don’t need to pray in private. As long as we talk the talk, we don’t have to walk the walk. That is the way of this fallen world we live in.
1 Samuel 16:7 The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.
God doesn’t want duties and public displays of religion. God wants awareness of our hearts. He wants our souls awakened to his presence. He wants us to build our lives on the security of his rock-solid foundation of faithfulness and unfailing love, grace and mercy.
That’s the end of the devotional that was sent to me, and I would just add that that awareness of heart has always been the cornerstone of my spirituality whether I’m in church or not.
Now, since it’s been a while since Slim Randles has been here, I thought I’d let him finish up today before I give in to the urge to let go with the rant. This is a post he first shared in 2013, but it’s worth a rerun. Enjoy…
Janice Thomas hasn’t been the valley’s most innovative art teacher since the invention of dirt for nothing, you know.
One of her goals has always been to get the community involved in the art scene. She’s gone so far as to invite several well-known artists from the city to come and give demonstrations here. So when Janice once again waltzed into the Mule Barn coffee shop and tacked up a poster, we almost had a foot race to check it out.
This year, she’s having a sale and show of her students’ work, but with a difference.
“The way I see it,” she said, “these kids need some Christmas money, right?”
Coffee-sipping nods all around.
“And they need to take pride in their art work, too,” she said. “So I kinda put it all together and came up with the ‘Faces of Love’ Christmas art show.”
“Faces of Love?” said Dud.
“Oh yeah,” Janice said, smiling. “You see, the paintings are all portraits of people the students love. You know, Mom and Dad, grandparents, the guy down the street who volunteers at band practice, that kind of thing.”
“Sounds good,” Doc said.“And nothing at the art show will cost more than ten bucks. I figure we’ll sell all of them, too.”
“You sound pretty sure of that,” said Doc. “Are they that good?”
“Frankly no,” Janice said. “But hey, it’s Christmas and they’re only ten bucks.”
“Still, selling all of them will be quite a trick,” Doc said.
“Not really,” Janice said. “I have a secret weapon.”
We looked at her.
“I got the Valley Weekly Miracle to promise they’d print whatever portraits didn’t sell.”
Doc laughed and slapped his knee. “That’s great! That oughta get ‘em all right. Those poor folks don’t have a chance.”
“Wait until you see the portrait two of the kids did of you, Doc,” Janice said.
Doc looked around sheepishly while we laughed. “Hey, any you guys got twenty bucks on you?”
Uncle Perk couldn’t hear the best, so he took a free hearing test. Beltone. 1-866-867-8700
Check out all of Slim’s award-winning books at his Goodreads Page and in better bookstores and bunkhouses throughout the free world.
All of the posts here are from his syndicated column, Home Country that is read in hundreds of newspapers across the country. I am always happy to have him share his wit and wisdom here.
Slim Randles is a veteran newspaperman, hunting guide, cowboy and dog musher. He was a feature writer and columnist for The Anchorage Daily News for 10 years and guided hunters in the Alaska Range and the Talkeetna Mountains. A resident of New Mexico now for more than 30 years, Randles is the prize-winning author of a dozen books, and is host of two podcasts and a television program.