Valentine’s Day

As the story goes, a student came to Socrates one day to ask his advice about marriage. The old man dodged and demurred but the young man was persistent. “Please, master, I must know, should I marry or not?” Again, the philosopher declined to answer directly, saying something about it being a matter one man could not resolve for another. But his disciple continued to plead.

Finally the venerated teacher blurted out, “It doesn’t matter!”

The young man was stunned. “But of course it matters, Teacher! It is of utmost importance. How can you possibly say ‘It doesn’t matter?'”

The old man smiled wryly and responded, “Because no matter whether you choose to marry or not marry, you will wish you had chosen the other.”

Now, I don’t know whether that little anecdote makes you smile, wince or burst into tears but I do imagine that you can see some smattering of truth in it. It’s a rare relationship of any length at all that hasn’t at some point questioned the wisdom of its own existence. Even the best of them have tripped across one or two rough rocks during the trek along life’s road.

We can survive the occasional stone and stumble, even thrive in spite of the mishaps and false steps. Join hands, kiss the hurts, help each other mend and move on. Stay on the course but take time to enjoy the view from time to time. Keep focused on the destination but every now and then take a look back to remind ourselves of how far we’ve come. Celebrate our love, be together in ways that matter, forgive as frequently as needed and more frequently than asked. Live below our means so we can give more than is expected. Be genuinely grateful and show sincere appreciation. Honor one another.

Pretty much it comes down to treating one another the way we desire to be treated. Funny how often that works, isn’t it?

H. Arnett
2/14/17

Posted in Relationships, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

A Fine Imitation

The Eagles have been one of my tip top favorite bands ever since they formed the year I graduated from high school. Over the years, they rolled out hit after hit until a fifteen-year hiatus in 1980. Their second reunion album “Long Road Out of Eden,” released in 2008 I think, demonstrated they still had a powerful poetic touch, could yet lay down wonderful vocals and riff out some mighty fine guitar leads.

When I saw online last Tuesday that The Eagles tribute band Hotel California was slated to perform in Wichita on Friday night, I thought “That sounds like it might be a fun thing to do.” When my son Sam texted me on Wednesday from near Kansas City to suggest that he, Randa and I go to the concert, I thought “Well, yeah!” So… Sam drove over and we met up for supper at the River City Brewery and Restaurant in Old Town Friday evening. From there it was only a two-minute drive over to the Orpheum Theatre.

Being inside that theater in itself is reason enough to drive over to Wichita but it was certainly the performance that made the evening memorable.

From git to gone, it was terrific! The four-piece Canadian-based band nailed the vocals and wailed the instrumentals. One of the lead guitar players looked a tiny bit like Joe Walsh and the drummer/lead vocalist bore more than a passing resemblance to Glenn Frey. I’m certainly no certified high-powered music critic or authenticator; I’ve never seen The Eagles play live or even watched video of any of their concerts. But I have heard their songs thousands of times. And when I closed my eyes, I could not tell that it wasn’t them on the stage. The performance was that authentic.

Now I will certainly admit that it was not the same as being at an Eagles concert but it was very much like listening to The Eagles. When the vocals are that good, the bass and drums carry the rhythm that well and the guitars are exactly what you remember from the title tracks, you feel like you are definitely experiencing the band’s music. It made me wonder how many hundreds or thousands of hours these guys have devoted to their craft.

In a similar way, when we devote that much time, effort and energy to the imitation of Christ, those around us will feel like they have experienced his presence. When the compassion we show, the forgiveness we demonstrate and the love that we live are completely infused with his grace, meekness and mercy, others may close their eyes and believe that Jesus yet walks upon this earth.

And we are not imposters in this imitation for it actually is him living in us.

H. Arnett
2/13/17

Posted in Christian Devotions, Christian Living, Music, Spiritual Contemplation | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Prayer for Friday

My God and my Savior,
I give you praise and glory.
I adore your name
for your name is worthy
of adoration, honor and awe.

I pray that this day
you will bless those that I love.
Bless my family, O Lord,
give them strength and grace,
wisdom and peace.

Bless those with whom I labor,
bless neighbor and friend,
bless those who attend to my needs
in unseen ways,
those who tend my trash,
who clean these streets,
those whose work allows me to eat,
to sleep undisturbed.

Bless those who lead,
those who rule over me,
guide them into wisdom and mercy,
may they walk humbly before you,
may they honor you and do your will
that we may live in peace rather than strife,
that good may come upon the earth and not evil.

Bless me, O Lord, I pray,
that on this good day that you have made
I may truly honor you in all that I do.
So completely shape the thoughts of my heart, O God,
that even every word will speak of light and love.

H. Arnett
2/10/17

Posted in Christian Devotions, Christian Living, Family, Poetry, Prayer, Spiritual Contemplation | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Prayer for Thursday

Your name, O Lord, is worthy of praise.
You are holy and righteous,
full of grace and wisdom.
Your name is above every name
on earth and in heaven.

I pray, Lord God,
that you will look upon me
in mercy and kindness,
that you will forgive me of my sins
and forgive any who may have sinned against me.

Bless them, O Lord,
show them kindness and favor,
heal their wounds,
bind up all that is broken in them,
soothe and smooth every scar—

and in me as well, I pray.

Grant me grace, my Savior,
to face every challenge
and wisdom for every situation.
May good come from the work of my hands
and others be blessed by the labor of my life.

Do not let me grow bitter
against those who oppose me
nor take for granted those who do not.

Help me, O Lord, to delight
in returning good for evil
and blessing for cursing,
that I may be like you,
that you may be delighted in me.

To you be power, glory and honor,
forever.

H. Arnett
2/9/17

Posted in Christian Devotions, Christian Living, Poetry, Prayer, Spiritual Contemplation, Worship | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Prayer for Wednesday

O God, Creator, Sustainer and Provider,
holy and magnificent is your name,
worthy of all praise and glory,
majestic, magnificent, and mighty.

You are before and after all things.
Blessed be your name, O Lord.

In the midst of my daily madness,
I pray that you will give me
the peace of seeing the good
that is around me,
the wonder of small things.

I pray, O Lord,
that you will give me today
all that I need for today
and that I will see in all that you have given me
the opportunity for blessing others.

Help me to perceive their needs,
to understand their pains and fears,
to not be afraid to draw near to the friendless,
nor be too proud to pray for the powerful,
nor too vain to pray for the weak.

Forgive me, O Lord,
as I forgive others,
lead me in paths of peace and righteousness
and guard my heart from secret sin
that I may dwell in your house forever.

H. Arnett
2/8/17

Posted in Christian Devotions, Christian Living, Poetry, Prayer, Spiritual Contemplation | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Prayer for Tuesday

Help me, Lord, to remember
that though I am prone to weakness
yet through you
I am strengthened within
by the power of your Spirit.

Help me, Lord, to remember
that though I am made of dirt
your work is being done in me
and through my weakness
your perfection is completed.

Help me to see within and around me
the evidence of your grace,
the presence of your power,
the completeness of your love
the witness of your wisdom.

Help me to delight each hour
in your will for my life,
to accept that your ways are not my ways,
to know that you have counted all my days
and to not resent, fear or deny

that all those who live godly lives
will somehow suffer persecution
and yet find that our sufferings
are not fit to be compared
with the glory that will one day

be revealed in us.

H. Arnett
2/7/17

Posted in Christian Devotions, Christian Living, Poetry, Prayer, Spiritual Contemplation | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Prayer for Monday

Help me, Lord, today I pray,
to remember that though all of life
is but a vapor,
I must still give an account
for all deeds done in this body of flesh.

Help me to remember
that though I am flesh
yet you have caused your Spirit
to live in me,
that my body is become your temple.

Help me to remember
that true and spiritual worship
requires a harmony of action and belief,
that whatever is done or left undone
for the least of these your family

is done or not done
for you.

Help me today, O Lord,
to seek justice,
to love mercy
and to walk humbly
before you.

Amen.

H. Arnett
2/6/17

Posted in Christian Devotions, Christian Living, Poetry, Prayer, Spiritual Contemplation, Worship | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment