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As a writer, needle artist and photographer, I invite you to share my pursuits with me on this site. Among other things, there is a weekly post called “D-mail” that examines the spiritual meaning in current stories, both personal and news events.  I invite your comments at  cathycongerblog@gmail.com

“The act of putting pen to paper encourages pause for thought, this in turn makes us think more deeply about life, which helps us regain our equilibrium.”  N. Platt

Scripture:

Destructive people produce conflict; gossips alienate close friends.. Proverbs 16:27-29 (CEB)

The words of a whisperer or slanderer are like words of sport to some, but to others are like deadly wounds; and they go down into the innermost parts of the of the victim’s nature. Proverbs 26:22 (Amplified version)

Without wood a fire goes out; without a gossip a quarrel dies down. Proverbs 26:20 (NIV)

Abstain from all appearance of evil. I Thessalonians 5:22 (KJV)

Here are six things God hates,
and one more that he loathes with a passion:

eyes that are arrogant,
a tongue that lies,
hands that murder the innocent,

a heart that hatches evil plots,
feet that race down a wicked track,
a mouth that lies under oath,

a troublemaker in the family. Proverbs 6: 16-19 (The Message)

OUR WORDS ARE POWERFUL

Our words are powerful. The old saying “sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me,” couldn’t be further from the truth. Despite our ability to forgive and forget, a well-timed, hateful string of words can emotionally damage a person for years to come. Sometimes a truth is best taught through the vehicle of humor. For example, the following joke:

Mildred, a gossip and self appointed guardian of morals, always stuck her nose into other peoples business. She worked hard to point out the sins of others and of course was above any personal moral flaws. At a church meeting, she announced to all present that Harry was an alcoholic after she saw his car parked outside the town’s only bar one afternoon. She emphatically told Harry, and also all others at the gathering, that everyone seeing his car parked there would know what he was doing. Harry, a man of few words, stared at her for a moment, turned and left the building. He didn’t explain, didn’t deny, didn’t defend. He said nothing. However, later that day he parked his car in front of Mildred’s house — walked home — and left the car there overnight.

Harry was obviously familiar with I Thessalonians 5:22 , “Abstain from the appearance of evil” and used it to give Mildred a taste of her own medicine.. Hopefully, the two people did not cause a feud because as Proverbs 16:28 says, “Destructive people produce conflict; gossips alienate close friends.Can you just hear the rumor mill in Mildred’s church cranking out damaging information? I wonder if Mildred learned her lesson.

Abstaining from any appearance of evil goes a long way toward not providing wood for the fire of gossip. Proverbs tells us that if we want a fire to go out we should stop feeding it wood. Likewise, if we want a quarrel to die down, we should stop gossiping. The writer of Proverbs describes an unwise person as “one who speaks like the piercings of a sword” (12:18). Our tongues can be like a multi-bladed Swiss Army knife when it comes to the variety of ways that we cut and destroy each other.

Unhealthy attitudes of anger, irritation, frustration, and impatience—even disappointment, stress, guilt, and insecurity—all contribute to our damaging speech. No doubt Mildred’s need to condemn Harry and probably countless others stemmed from her unhealthy attitudes. As we cut with our words, we wound and divide friendships and relationships. It’s no wonder that the infamous list of seven things that are an abomination to the Lord includes anyone who “sows discord among brethren” (Prov. 6:16-19).

We have all gossiped at one time or another. We have also relished in hearing some juicy negative thing about someone we know. We don’t need Proverbs to know that gossip , and revenge for that matter, are wrong. And we have all been on the hurtful end of a chain of gossip.We know how hard it is to undo the falsehood that gossips have perpetrated on us.

Whenever you are tempted to spread or listen to gossip, remember Mildred and Harry. I know I will. And don’t fall into the excuse that you want to know something about someone so that you can “pray for that person”.

Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip.
Will Rogers

Prayer: Father God, may we not be quick to spread gossip or repeat gossip or use our tongues to hurt another in any way. Amen

For 10 days the end of May Chuck and I took my parents (who are from Pittsburgh) on a car trip to see the sights of nature they had never seen.  We flew to Denver, rented a car, spent three days sightseeing and visiting with our son, Michael and his wife, Kim and 2 kids, Katie and Andy arounf their stomping grounds near Denver.  We saw the garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs and then rode the cog wheel train up Pike’s Peak.

After that, Mom and Dad, Chuck, and I drove over the Rockies through Vail, Glenwood Springs, and Grand Junction into Utah.  There we saw Arches national Park, Capitol National Park and the sights along Utah Hwy 12.  Then we visited the amazing Bryce Canyon National Park and on to Zion National Park (my favorite).  We crossed the desert through the Navajo reservation and on into Arizona where we met up with Chuck’s brother and his wife at the Grand Canyon.  Wow!  After that we made our way down through Sedona and Prescott Valley

where we visited friends from Wisconsin Rapids now retired there.  We flew home from Phoenix having shot 1700 photos!!  But don’t worry, I’ve spent all summer editing them down to a reasonable amount.  Hope you enjoy seeing them.  They can be accessed by going to the following website:

www.flickr.com/photos/congerfamily

Scripture:

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. II Corinthians 4:16

So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those to come. Psalm 71:18

The righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon. They are planted in the house of the Lord; they flourish in the courts of our God. They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green, to declare that the Lord is upright; he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him. Psalm 92:12-15

YOU ARE AS YOUNG AS YOUR FAITH

This month is doctor month for me. Somehow I managed to make appointments with my orthopedist, opthamologist, internist, podiatrist, physical therapist, psychiatrist, and pain specialist. Besides having to spend hours in medical offices, fill out reams of forms, and figuring out which doctor needs a referral from which, I discovered that everybody needs to know how much I weigh in order to treat me. I was weighed six times this week! Also, when you are over 60, there are a lot more things that have to be tested. I feel old!

While feeling sorry for myself, I began to pray about what to write in this week’s D-mail. Well, God had an idea. He led me to a poem I wrote long ago (when I was young and cocky) and to a set of words written for Jesus Love’s Me. In reading through the poem, I recognized that it needed some work, but oddly enough, its words seemed to be meant for me today! It just shows how God can use anything and anyone –even yourself- to speak his message. Here is the poem I seemed to have written for myself, such as it is. Maybe it will speak to someone else out there too.

The Ageless Soul

Age may wrinkle the skin

but to give up enthusiasm

wrinkles the soul.

Worry, doubt, fear and despair

turn the spirit back to dust

long before the body is in the ground.

Living in the state of wonder,

like staring into the heavens

or watching a newborn find his fist,

feeds your appetite for what is next.

Youth see the end of every failure

as the end of the world,

but wisdom knows that the soul

survives its adventures.

You are as young as your faith,

as old as your doubt,

as young as your confidence,

as old as your fears,

as young as your hope,

as old as your despair.

Wisdom is the knowledge

that inspiration comes with failure

and the power to hope

belongs to the longsuffering.

This is the gift saved for those

who have lived long upon the earth.

by Cathy Conger

I mentioned the following stanzas for Jesus Loves Me, the first song about Jesus most of us ever learned. Perhaps these added words will make it the song we can sing into our old age.

JESUS LOVES ME

Jesus loves me , this I know,

for the Bible tells me so.

Little ones to Him belong.

They are weak but he is strong.

(Chorus)

Yes, Jesus loves me…Yes, Jesus loves me.

Yes, Jesus loves me…the Bible tells me so.

Though my hair is white as snow.

though my sight is growing dim,

still He bids me trust in him.

Though my steps are oh so slow,

with my hand in His I’ll go

on through life let come what may,

He’ll be there to lead the way.

When the nights are dark and long,

in my heart He puts a song.

Telling me in words so clear,

“Have no fear, for I am here.”

Though I am no longer young,

and the song I have is sung,

I will serve him till the end,

my Redeemer, Lord and Friend.

When my work on earth is done,

and life’s victories are won,

He will take me home above,

then I’ll understand His love.

Yes, Jesus loves me… Yes, Jesus loves me.

Yes, Jesus loves me…the Bible tells me so.

Prayer: Jesus, we are forever grateful for your never- ending love. As those of us who are facing our senior years grow more needy physically, watch over us and provide for our safety and health. Show us how we may serve you no matter what our age and help us to share our wisdom faithfully with the young. Amen