Friday, January 27, 2012



The voice over the phone said, “Hi Jerri. I want you to listen. Don’t say anything…just listen.” I asked who was calling, but no answer. All of a sudden I heard a high shrill voice. “Wheee…wheee…” The voice sounded something like the Geico pig roaring down the zip line in a recent witty commercial.

I was totally confused. Then the voice came back again. “Did you hear yourself?” What?

“Who is this?” I asked again. As it turned out, the call was from a neighbor, the voice (sounding like the Geico piggy) was definitely mine.

The mystery was solved when I was reminded by my neighbor that I had tried to place a call to his mother at his home, and instead of disconnecting the line after the call, it had remained open and consequently my voice was recorded.

You’re probably wondering by now what I could have possibly been doing to sound like the Geico piggy! Well, it turns out that I had two of our grandchildren with me in our golf cart going for a little joy ride.

While we were in our back forty going up and down hills I was making the appropriate ‘Granny sounds’ to make the kids feel like they were really flying. Ha! I sure got busted! Needless to say, I was sure glad I hadn’t said anything ugly or inappropriate, especially since I was being recorded.

My neighbor and I got a real good belly laugh out of that one, but when I hung up after talking with him I couldn’t help but think about how ALL our words ARE being recorded.

In the Bible Jesus says, “Every idle word that men shall speak they shall give account thereof in the Day of Judgment.” (Matthew 12:36) Guess that might be the reason Thumper’s mother said, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”

Proverbs puts it like this: “The heart of the righteous studieth to answer: but the mouth of the wicked poureth out evil things.” (15:28) Even nature itself teaches us that we should listen twice as much as we speak, why else would God have given us two ears and one mouth?

James, the earthly step-brother of our Lord admonished us to be “…quick to listen and slow to speak ...” (James 1:19) Good, sound advice even after 2,000 years.

Everyone knows who the meanest member of the _______ church is. No, it’s not Sister SharpTongue or Brother BlowHard. The meanest member of YOUR church and MY church is the TONGUE!

The third chapter of James gives an accurate description of what this mean member is capable of doing. This member, the tongue, can set on fire a world of evil among other members of the church.

Mr. Tongue can praise God one minute and curse men the next. Even a horse can be made to obey with a small bit in his mouth, but the tongue, no man can tame. James also said that a small rudder can control a whole ship, but seemingly, no one can contain Mr. Tongue. He does his own thing, whenever and wherever he pleases.

You’ve had a bad day if Ms. Tongue ever gets a hold on you. She will tear you up one side, and down the other, all the while pretending to ask prayer for you to that inner circle of fellow church members.

Beware the person who talks to you about someone else. You can count on them for one thing and one thing only. They will soon be talking about you to someone and it won’t be flattering.

The key is to make a determination that you will not listen to Mr. or Ms. Tongue when they begin talking about others. Instead, walk away or hang up the phone.

One day a person came up to me in a local store and started talking about someone (and it wasn’t nice). I just looked at them and said, “That’s not true.” Then turned on my heel and walked away. That person has never approached me about anyone else. No, we’re not good friends now, although we used to be. I don’t need friends like that and neither do you!

Our words are being recorded in heaven by God Almighty. They will be brought up at the final judgment where we will give an accounting. Let’s live in the light of eternity.

Friday, January 20, 2012



The Republican Presidential primary contest is heating up and so are the nasty swipes at each other, not only by the candidates themselves, but the demons in the closet are coming out also.

This week ABC aired an interview with Speaker Newt Gingrich’s ex-wife Marianne; she had quite the ax to grind with the former Speaker of the House. The Jan. 19 TV interview was her first since the pair divorced in 1999.

Apparently, the jilted Marianne had been planning for many years to stick the knife in her former husband’s gut. Previously she had warned; she was capable of ending Gingrich’s political aspirations for president with a single interview. We’ll see if her plan works.

Gingrich denies her charges that he wanted an ‘open marriage’ and claims he repented of his sin when he joined the Catholic Church. None of that mattered to Marianne. Obviously the only thing on her mind is REVENGE!

“Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.” This famous quote comes from a play called “The Mourning Bride” (1697) by William Congreve. The complete quote is a bit longer, but you get the picture. Don’t mess around buddy or there will be a grievous price to pay!

Many of us remember the Betty Broderick episode. Betty was jilted by her husband Dan, for another woman. In 1989, after practicing with her firearm at a local shooting range, she entered their home and found them asleep in bed.

They awoke, apparently startled by the intrusion, and Betty shot them. Linda, the new wife, was shot in the head and chest. The dirty dog that jilted her, got his in the back. She remains incarcerated and unrepentant. Apparently she still feels that vengeance is sweet and worth the price.

In 1992 Meredith Baxter starred in the TV movie, A Woman Scorned. She masterfully played the part of Betty Broderick, leaving audiences with mixed emotions of satisfaction and frustration. Satisfied that Dan and Linda Broderick finally ‘got theirs’, but somehow frustrated because true justice was still not administered.

Building on man’s desire for vengeance and revenge, the Investigative Discovery Channel premiered a new series on Jan. 21 entitled SCORNED: LOVE KILLS.

The series “uncovers crimes of passion sparked by a spurned lover's snap from provocative paramour to predacious threat. …. The stories featured in SCORNED pair sexual intrigue with bedded betrayal to form a recipe for murder.”

In the Bible, God warns us about taking revenge in our own hands. Bitterness and unforgiveness will only lead to untold tragedy. In Romans 12:19 God says, “Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,” says the Lord. (NASB)

We often hear it said, “Hurt people; hurt people”. This is so true, but when one takes up the sword of the avenger, it can quite often lead to something as serious as the Betty Broderick debacle. Not only did two people die, but four children and God only knows how many grandchildren, were forever affected by Betty’s act of revenge.

Recently I talked with someone who was very hurt and wanted to lash out and hurt the person who had betrayed them. This is not only unwise, but a sin. In Proverbs we are admonished with these words, “Do not say, “I’ll pay you back for this wrong!” Wait for the LORD, and he will avenge you.” (20:22 NIV)

In the case of Betty Broderick and Marianne Gingrich, the words of the Bible truly come to life. “Jealousy is cruel as the grave: the coals thereof are coals of fire, which hath a most vehement flame.” (Song of Solomon 8:6) Betty killed her ex-husband with a gun; Marianne has tried to kill hers with words. Either way it is a sin and unfortunately it will boomerang on the perpetrators in the end.

We need to leave judgment up to God who sees the intent of the heart. How much better it is to echo the words of Jesus, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”

And…lest you think I’m talking about something I know nothing about, let me add that my first husband of sixteen years, left me for another woman. By God’s grace I have been able to walk in forgiveness, leaving him to God’s discretion and discipline.

And in return, my reward for walking in forgiveness has been the love of a wonderful, faithful husband. We will be celebrating our 40th anniversary this year!

Thursday, January 19, 2012



Last week as I picked up one of our grandchildren from school, I noticed a local pastor in front the vehicle in front of me. Just the day before I had sent him a congratulatory text; regarding a comment he had put on Facebook about losing 55 lbs. No small feat, as we all well know.

Since I had a minute or two before little Graycen came bounding down the schoolhouse steps, I got out of my car and went to congratulate him in person. Wow! What a difference 55 lbs. makes in a person’s appearance. You go Pastor Carnes!

Both our daughter and granddaughter have been going to Weight Watchers since last May and between the two of them they’ve lost enough weight to equal a whole adult person.
(Before and After Pictures of Sandy and Mallory)

I wonder how many people have made losing weight their 2012 New Year’s resolution. The local gyms and wellness center have probably noticed an influx of new members. No doubt Jenny Craig and other diet gurus are besieged with orders for diet food and cookbooks; all claiming their way is the best way.

It was no surprise when I did a little research to find that weight loss is one of the top ten resolutions on just about every list you can find on the web. Also, it is no surprise to find that it is the ‘top’ resolution broken every year. So glad the pastor and our family members have made their decision to lose weight as a lifestyle, not as just another resolution to be broken.

Following is a sample of the typical top ten resolutions: drink less alcohol, eat healthy food, get a better education, get a better job, get fit, lose weight, manage debt, get organized, quit smoking, take a trip.

The top two resolutions most commonly broken are: lose weight and quit smoking, followed by getting out of debt and eating healthier.

Is it wrong to make resolutions? I don’t think so. Paul the Apostle made a great resolution recorded in Philippians 3. “ I'm not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don't get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I've got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I'm off and running, and I'm not turning back.” (Message Trans.)

A resolution is actually a decision. That’s what Paul declared in the preceding scripture. “I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.” In the case of those I’ve just mentioned who have lost weight; it has been their determined decision to do so.

One organization on the web that encourages making a determined decision states, “Research shows that it takes 21 days to break a habit or form a new one. Have you struggled to change something that you desperately want to change? Experts say that your best chance for success is to start a mission and find people to keep you accountable.”

They go on to ask you to sign up on their web page and find encouragement online to make positive changes in your life. Not a bad idea. For those interested go to

I’ve talked with folks who don’t want to make any resolutions or decisions for fear they will break them. Somehow those folks just never change anything in their lives and are stuck in a rut.

Old folks like Charlie and me find it hard to make changes but we’ve found when we make positive decisions to go forward in our lives it’s always a good thing. One of the best decisions we ever made was to pray together as a couple. We’ve seen God do so many wonderful things as we’ve joined together in prayer.

Our two Weight Watcher champions dropped by the other night and joined us for dinner. Do you think I could even tempt them with a freshly baked cake? No way. They were determined. Sandy ate a few natural snacks she found in my cupboard and Mallory decided to relax in front of the fire. Since confession is good for the soul I can tell you that Charlie and I ate some cake and even topped it off with some chocolate ice cream.

Sandy and Mallory are doing several things to help them with their determined decision, their resolution if you will. They are planning a trip with the Bleckley County Seniors to Europe this summer and they spur each other on with words of affirmation and encouragement

With determined decision, a realistic goal and a friend or spouse to offer encouragement, resolutions can be achieved. Who knows; maybe Charlie and I might even make some new resolutions this year? How about you?

Friday, January 13, 2012


Recently I when I had checked my Facebook account received another one of those pictures with a hidden image. My FB friend challenged all the readers of his post to see if they could see the real picture within the obvious picture!

I’ve been receiving a lot of those ‘hidden pictures’ lately. It’s fun to locate the hidden images. One picture that received a lot of hits was of a man that showed him from two directions in the same picture; a profile and a full frontal view. It was unusual to say the least.

Our good friend Rick Boyd, gave us a beautiful framed picture of the face of Jesus Christ as a housewarming gift. We still haven’t found all the hidden scenes in this painting. So far we’ve found over twenty and are still counting! Amazing!

More recently our daughter and son-in-law (Dotty and Carl) gave us a painting of the city of Jerusalem as viewed from the Mt. of Olives as a Christmas gift. The artist, Ruth Mayer, has painted many hidden figures in the area of the Garden of Gethsemane.

Several of the apostles are secreted away amidst the leafy boughs of the olive trees. Among the many flowers in the foreground is the likeness of a man kneeling as he digs in the fertile soil, obviously planting more flowers. Charlie is much better at this than I am and has found five or six other figures in the painting.

One of the neatest pictures is of an old man and woman sitting on a bench under an olive tree reading their Bibles. Hey! That’s Jerri and Charlie on that bench! What a surprise, when we realized that the artist had actually painted our likenesses into the foreground of the painting. Behind us is the glorious sunset over Jerusalem.

Charlie says the old couple is studying for their finals in the sunset years of their lives. That reminds me of the acronym B.I.B.L.E: Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth. We certainly need to be boning up for that final exam.

Speaking of hidden pictures, do you realize that God can show up in the strangest places? Sometimes you’re not even aware of his presence until a situation arises in which you need him and He reveals that He is already there.

In Isaiah 45:15 it says, “Truly you are a God who has been hiding himself, the God and Savior of Israel. (NIV) Sometimes it does feel like God is hiding himself, especially when we’re going through trials. Who has not posed the question to God, “Where are you?”

One of Ruth Mayer’s most beautiful paintings is of NYC where an angel with outstretched arms hovers behind the Twin Towers. She painted this particular piece before 9/11. You have to study the picture to see the angel, but once you discover it, the image is one of the most obvious and beautiful parts of the picture.

If you’ve taken time to read the stories of the survivors of 9/11 you can’t help but realize that God was there…in the offices, in the hallways, on the subways and in the faces of the brave responders to the attack.

God is also hidden from our eyes many times when we’ve clouded our minds with the fleeting things of this world. We’ve become too familiar with God on some levels. We take so many things for granted, things that used to amaze us; the provision of our needs, the daily warmth of the sun, the smile of a little baby. The list goes on.

This year we need to ask God to give us the fresh faith of a child, the feeling of wonder when we see a sunset; the thrill of being hugged by our spouse as if we were still dating; the excitement of a prayer answered, though the request seemed inconsequential and most of all to rejoice as we feel the presence of the Lord in our lives.

In Isaiah’s day God WAS hiding Himself, but on that first Christmas long ago in Bethlehem, He chose to reveal who He is, as pictured in the Lord Jesus Christ.

“By common confession, great is the mystery of godliness: He was revealed in the flesh, Was vindicated in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Proclaimed among the nations, Believed on in the world, Taken up in glory.” (I Timothy 3:16 NASB)

When we visited Ruth Mayer’s art gallery in California, she took great delight when we could find one of the hidden images within her paintings. How much more delight does our Heavenly Father take when we see his face in every area of our lives.

He wants to reveal Himself to everyone in this world. Will you take the time to ask Him today to reveal Himself to YOU?

Note: To view Ms. Mayer’s paintings go to: