What Am I Grateful for Today…Thinking Through a Problem

13 God said to Noah, “The end has come for all creatures, since they have filled the earth with violence. I am now about to destroy them along with the earth, 14 so make a wooden ark. Make the ark with nesting places and cover it inside and out with tar. 15 This is how you should make it: four hundred fifty feet long, seventy-five feet wide, and forty-five feet high. 16 Make a roof for the ark and complete it one foot from the top. Put a door in its side. In the hold below, make the second and third decks (Genesis 6:13-16, Common English Bible).

I never claimed to be a great photographer. Before you start laughing at my picture, I recognize it is far from a great picture. It does, however, help convey my point.

You may not recognize either item in the picture on the left above. On the left side of the picture is a hard rubber hook. On the right is a hook fashioned from a piece of coat hanger wire covered with paracord.

I posted on Facebook a few weeks back, Cindy bought me a new guitar.  It came with no strap buttons. Most strap buttons require drilling a hole in the body of the guitar. That is not something I wanted to do. The answer is simple enough. By a neck strap made to use with a classical guitar. If you have ever seen Willie Nelson playing on his guitar, “Trigger,” you have seen the type of strap of which I speak.

So, I went to Amazon thinking I would buy one. I was unable to find one I like. The pic on the left is just such a strap but it is really too small to use with a guitar. It is made for a ukelele.

I decided I would make me one so I went in search of the needed supplies. I figured I could use paracord. While some people use duct tape for everything, I come pretty close with paracord. The problem came when I started looking for that hook. I have spent several hours searching the internet to no avail. I still feel like one is probably there but I just can’t find it.

I decided I would attempt to make a hook using a piece of coat hanger wire. My first attempt failed. It was way too big. I couldn’t get the hook into the sound hole without stretching the strings, possibly to the point of breaking them. I was looking for something else on the web and saw something that with some modifications might work. I bent the wire as necessary and then covered it with paracord. It works, just as I intended.

God gave us brains and the ability to use them. I was able to sit down and figure out a solution to my problem. I was able to think my way through the problem.

I can’t figure my way through every problem. My math skills, for example, are limited. I might not be able to think through that problem. But this one was different. No math was involved.

Noah had a problem too. God gave Noah an assignment. God told Noah how big to build the ark. God said what materials Noah should use. God went on to talk about the purpose of the ark. Nowhere in Scripture does God give Noah instructions for how he was to get things done. Noah had to use the brain God gave him to think his way through the problem.

I am aware that my dinky guitar clip is nothing compared to what Noah did. Still, I had a problem and God showed me a way, helped me think my way through the problem. For me, it all comes down to, God gave all of us brains and God expects us to use them. If you use the abilities God gave you, you might be surprised at how much you can do.

Today I am grateful for the ability to think my way through a problem. What are you grateful for today? Write it down in your journal and then go out and share that gratitude with someone else.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,

Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved


Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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