Be Great Today

Posted by Richard Harris | | Posted On Tuesday, September 13, 2011 at 5:38 PM


Jason Garrett is the first year coach of the Dallas Cowboys and thus is in the prayers of all here in Dallas; trust me he needs all the prayer he can get. Garrett is not only a coach but also played fourteen years for several different teams in the NFL as a backup quarterback.

Here in Dallas the sports world seems to OCD on the Cowboys. Anything a Cowboy coach or player says is always out there for all to here. They even air the head coach’s news conference on the radio. Normally when this comes on I go elsewhere for entertainment. Yesterday I stuck around; glad I did.

Garrett was asked how it felt to be a back up and always being close to being cut, that is fired in the sports world. He turned to one of his catch phrase quotes that caught my attention,

“….it’s all about being great today.” and then added, “It probably comes from my experience as a player. ‘Don’t worry about yesterday. Don’t worry about tomorrow. Be great today. Try your best today to put your best foot forward and be your best.”


This is a fantastic attitude not only for a football player but for each of us.
Here it is; too many of us are bogged down with the past allowing it to suck the energy and motivation to be our best right out of us. So we settle for second best because we think that is what we deserve. Nothing could be further from what God wants for us. Others spend a lot of time fretting over future events thus taking our eye off ‘the day.’

Let’s look at his quote from a biblical perspective; I think I see some intersection of the two:


1) Don’t worry about yesterday. Yesterday is done, what happened, happened, good or bad. There are no do over’s in life. We have to learn to move forward.
Philippians 3:13-14

2) Don’t sweat tomorrow. Tomorrow will take care of itself. Sure it is good to plan and even dream but do not let it consume your day.
Matthew 6:34

3) Today is where it is at. Today is what you can control. When you get up in the morning that is game time. Put your best foot forward. It has been said a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. Today is that step, you own today.
Philippians 3:12

4) Be great today! I love the fact he does not say be average today or get by today; no he says “be great today.” Don’t set out to just get to the end of your eight hour work day but set out to be great. Look for something extra special to do for God, be your God given best.


So what are you waiting for? Stop fretting over yesterday, tomorrow will come soon enough; be great today!


Scripture:
Matthew 6:34, “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.”
-The Message by Eugene Peterson

Philippians 3: 14, “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Go for the prize!


Prayer:
Dear Lord, guide us to keep our focus on you, not to waste our days regretting the past or worrying about the future; but focused on being great for you today! We ask these things in the name of Christ, Amen.


Simple/truths 175 written by Richard Harris for more simple/truths go to simple-truths.net.
You can now follow me on twitter at RAH_OHHH. If you live in the Dallas area you can purchase Simple Truths Volume I for a suggested donation of 20 dollars to Our Hands, His Heart. For further purchase information reply back to richardgrl@aol.com. If you do not live in the Dallas area you can purchase Simple Truths Volume I at simple-truths.net.

“Mashed Potatoes anyone?”

Posted by Richard Harris | | Posted On Monday, September 12, 2011 at 10:45 AM


Things are a bit hectic around the house these days. My wife and daughter are busy preparing for my daughters upcoming wedding. With all of this activity it leaves dad in charge of the younger gang and household a little more often than usual or is safe.

The older kids are no problem they can go on co-pilot with little trouble. Then there are the younger two, Caleb at 7 and Gracie at 5, they need a little more supervision, somewhat like dad. Kids I have had them for a while, I can deal with just about anything; dinner well that is another story all together.

My wife has never worked outside the home, thus spoiling her husband to the fact he has never really had to cook. Perhaps she had a memory lapse with this recently; I understand she has a lot on her mind. But her memory lapse left me, Caleb and Gracie to cook barbecue chicken and mashed potatoes.

She made it sound so easy; I thought surely we can get this done. First to be dealt with was the chicken, me and my trusty assistants went at it like Martha Stewart. We bushed on the sauce, the pepper, the spice and tucked it in the oven. As I put it in I thought ‘chicken done’ and we all smiled at each other with great satisfaction.

The mashed potatoes were instant and I mean how hard could that be. It was so easy I let my assistants head off to watch a little television, no need to trouble them on this one. They were more than glad to head out of the kitchen.

As I began I realized that Kim had not walked me through this so my only course of action was to read the instructions. Not a strong point of mine I might add. I filled a good size pot full of water, remembering how I had seen it done in the past. After I filled up the pot I went to the box, by the way what is an instant potato anyway? On the back were very clear instructions that even a 49 years old rookie could follow.

I read the instructions starting at the point just after how much water to put in; I thought I had that down. I went right by the letter of the law on the back of the box. I added some milk at the end and started pouring the little flakes into the pot thinking soon we would have some delicious father made mashed potatoes. Not so.

The more I poured in the more it looked like flake soup. I stirred as the directions instructed but soon noticed that there was way too much water in the pot. So I just poured in the whole box hoping to overcome the excess water. Much to my disappointment this did not work. My hopes of doing a bang up job were going up in ‘flakes’.

As Kim arrived I stood there next to my mashed potato soup and waited for some help. Without laughing too hard she went to the cupboard and pulled out some instant potato reinforcements and poured them in, while instructing me that perhaps I had put in too much water. When she finished we indeed had mashed potatoes; as a matter of fact we had enough for the whole block.

The whole instant potato disaster could have been averted with a few simple fixes; often that is how we are in life as well, we are close but not close enough.

Fixes to our Problems:

· Read and follow all the instructions. I started too far down the box thinking I knew the first part of the process, obviously I did not. We do the same with God, we think we have it all together but when we get to the end of the day we realize that we missed an easy first step in His directions that lead us to unnecessary trouble. Follow all His instructions, take nothing for granted!

· When I found the problem I just started throwing more flakes at the problem, I never went back to the instructions which would have clearly showed me the problem. When you find yourself in trouble don’t just start reacting, pause long enough to go back to the instructions (God and His word) and see where the problem started; take nothing for granted. Often we get ourselves in more trouble by making quick decisions without consulting God.

When you find yourself going down the wrong road pause and remember the instant potatoes; better to have none or to start over than to waste a lot of time and throw the entire box away.

Same with life, before you get too far out of Gods will it is better to stop and start over instead of throwing a whole life away. The great thing about God is that He even has instructions on how to start over!

Scripture: Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him; And He will make your paths straight.”

Prayer: Dear Lord, Help us to learn from you and to live out our days according to your Word. When thank you that when we fail you still love us and provide a way out of even our failure! We ask these things in the name of Christ, Amen.

Simple/truths 176 written by Richard Harris for more simple/truths go to simple-truths.net. You can now follow me on twitter at RAH_OHHH.


Learning from the More Experienced!

Posted by Richard Harris | | Posted On at 10:39 AM


I have been watching my kids play for some 26 years and if the Lord is willing it looks like I will be doing it for some time to come. Lately I have noticed something interesting at these moments.

I play different roles when I watch my children play, let me give you some examples. There are times I am an observer. Over the years I have learned to just keep an eye on them and let them run and romp without any words from me. At these moments I am letting them use their imaginations or find new friends. Dad is not all that needed.

There are other times that I am the referee. These are times that they are playing with siblings. I have to make sure that no one is getting an unfair advantage, especially when an older one seems to be roughing up a younger one. When a dispute arises I have to be mediator; giving out instruction or discipline however the case may warrant.

All of that may be interesting but it is not what I have observed lately, I knew the above point’s years ago. So what you might ask have I noticed, glad you asked.

When the kids go out to play in public and I am fulfilling my role as either observer or referee there is a group that sees things very different from what I do; senior adults.

They love to watch my kids do the most simple of things. When my children run and laugh; they laugh right along with them. Almost always I am sitting and watching making sure everyone goes by the rules or does not get hurt.

When my kid’s wave they are off the charts excited, when hugs are distributed those with more experience than me are first in line. What I see as routine, after all I watch my kids play all the time, they see as exciting, new and fun.

This week I had to say to God, “I get it!” Now I understand why my two younger children scream for joy and demand to get out of the car when we pull up to Papa or Grandma’s house.

It is because those older and wiser know that time is short. That there is no such thing as routine in life; they know that smiling and having a good time are times to be cherished, enjoyed and preserved in our memories.

Lesson learned: Life is short, if you are wishing for the kids to be another age, more independent or if you are just getting through the days. Be careful what you wish for, sooner or later your get it; they will be older, more independent or gone from sight. When you get your wish you may very well regret you did not enjoy life more and smile along at the simple things that bring a child joy.

Most of us are wound too tight, let us learn from the experienced; while watching kids, smile a little and laugh a lot! Children and their smiles are a precious gift from God.

Scripture: Ephesians 5:15-16, “Be very careful, then, how you live-not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity because the days are evil.”

Prayer: Dear Lord, guide us to relax and enjoy life, to live for the moment that you provide. Never cease to remind us that children are a gift and to treat them as such. You are a good God, great in blessings and we ask these things in the name of Christ, Amen.

Simple/truths 174 written by Richard Harris for more simple/truths go to simple-truths.net. You can now follow me on twitter at RAH_OHHH.


The Scar

Posted by Richard Harris | | Posted On Wednesday, May 11, 2011 at 8:29 PM


When I was 6 years old I spent most of my time outside like most children in the 60’s. One day I was running in my neighbor’s back yard, it was a little wet and I slipped. This would have been no big deal except for the fact I slipped on an old piece of wood. I ended up cutting the top of my foot badly enough to need quite a few stitches. If any of your know me well you know I tend to get a tad dramatic when it comes to pain; it started young.

Through the normal course of time the foot healed, stitches were removed and my life went on. One of my favorite things to do as a kid was to put hydrogen peroxide on any kind of cut or scrape. I loved to watch it bubble up taking care of any kind of dirt in an open wound. Strange yes but my strangeness is a topic for another day. Back to the story, months after my foot had completely healed I decided to put some hydrogen peroxide on it. But much to my disappointment there was no action. Of course the family got a good laugh out of me trying to clean an already healed wound.

What I did as a child many are trying to do as adults; Cleaning already healed scars.

Our lives are filled with failures and hurts; they cause emotional scars that last for years. As adults we spend much time attempting to clean already healed wounds. How we deal with our old scars affects much of how we handle our life emotionally and spiritually. Let’s use my 42 year old scar story and apply some lessons here.

· I could see my scar every day, I still can. Any time I put on a sock it is there, when I walk around the house bare footed it is there and it is not going anywhere either. Often we live with the visible scars of mistakes in our life; they come to us in daily reminders of a failure in our life. Chances are, like the scar on my foot the scar on your heart is not going anywhere either.

What to do? Yes my scar is still on my foot but I never pay attention to it. That is old news. Yes that reminder may be there but if you have taken it to Christ and asked for His forgiveness then it is old news to Him. Let it be old news to you as well. Here is what the Bible says, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1. Don’t let an old scar continue to condemn you!

· I tried to clean a scar that had long since been healed, funny for a 6 year old but not so funny when we as adults keep beating ourselves up for something that was put away long ago. The devil loves to remind you of your old scars by the way.

What to do? Once again seeking God’s forgiveness makes all the difference. He is a far better cleanser than even hydrogen peroxide; when he cleans us up it is a done deal. Stop trying to clean a scar that has already been healed; you’re wasting time and insulting God. The Bible says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9. Leave the old scar alone!

· There can be lessons learned for example I always kept my eye open in my neighbor’s back yard after that day. I made sure I did not make my way back to the emergency room for more stitches. I learned my lesson that day and to this day have not returned for that reason. We need to learn our life lessons; when we do God uses our scars for good.

What to do? Instead of dwelling on that last marriage, foolish decision, word misspoken, or angry fit of rage keep in mind the pain it caused, may still cause and use that for motivation to not open up any more wounds. Do you see the scar, feel the pain? Move forward with it not backward. Say no more angry words, make no more foolish decisions, I am not going back; and with the help of the Holy Spirit don’t! The Bible says, “Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16. The time of need is when you are tempted to return to an old scar, we need to learn our lessons!

Lives hurts; clean them up, stitch them up, let them heal, give it to God and watch them fade away.

Scripture: Psalm 103:11-13, “For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him.”

Prayer: Dear Lord, speak to hearts concerning the things we are holding onto. Help us to release them to you, help us to accept your forgiveness and allow healing to our sinful and broken hearts. We are thankful that you love us completely and we ask these things in the name of Christ, Amen.



Personal Borders

Posted by Richard Harris | | Posted On Tuesday, April 12, 2011 at 7:47 PM



As I travel the border I have passed many international bridges. I have stood in the markets and looked across the river with the ability to throw a rock to the other side. I have stood and watched people as they cross over in both car and on foot.

Let’s talk reality for a second, then ask ourselves a question, then finally apply it:


Today I sit 80 miles north of San Fernando where a bus filled with 59 men women and children were kidnapped, killed and buried. They simple went missing. Last week I was in a town where just a few miles from where I was staying Mexican pirates killed a man while on his jet ski. Just across the Mexican border is Juarez; a very dangerous place where women in particular are not safe and where gunmen have taken shots a children’s birthday parties, chaos reigns.
The government is unable to control the chaos, many of the police and government is corrupt or undermanned by the heavily armed cartels.

I have enjoyed the towns I have visited, mostly the small ones and felt very safe for much of my travels. As a matter of fact some of the towns I have visited are statistically some of the safest towns in America.

For just a moment let us take politics out of the picture; you’re not conservative or liberal, you’re not Republican or Democrat you are just a creation of God with real feelings, real families and honest emotions. By the way I do understand the implications of a border that is not secure. I deal with it on a daily bases in both Dallas and down south, but that is not the subject of the day.
Imagine you are a father in Mexico and you fear for not only your life but for the life of your family. You can’t let your children out of your site and even to put your family on a bus is a risk. You do not have police you can trust and if you do they can’t overcome the violence and crime that surrounds you. Life is hopeless, fearful, stressful, chaotic and desperate. The present is scary and there is no real hope for future change.

What would be your response? Would you say to yourself I will wait it out, hoping for the country to get its act together? Would you simply say that is just the way it is and let it go?
Or would you do whatever it took to take care of your family?

Though most who read this are on the safe side of the International Bridge; all of us have to make a somewhat similar decision about our spiritual life.

We each have to deal with our spiritual borders.

On one side of the spiritual border is chaos and fear of the unknown. We ask what will happen after we die and ask ourselves am I prepared for that moment. There is hopelessness on one side of the border. People live out their lives with no hope for the future and a negative outlook about the days ahead of them. On that side of the spiritual border the past sins haunt us and hold us in spiritual chains. It is a helpless and hopeless way of life.
That is of course the wrong side of the border; there is another.

There is a side of the spiritual border where unconditional love and hope lives. Not a life of perfection but of perfect love from a heavenly Father. There is a peace that passes all understanding, one not attained on our own. On this side of the border people live out their days not worrying about past sins; they have been forgiven and now look forward to a heavenly hope. This world still has its issues but they pale in comparison to the future hope. On this side of the border there is purpose to our life. There is compassion for others as we experience grace in our own lives.

This of course is the right side of the border.

The real question is yours and yours alone to make:

What side of the Spiritual Border will you live?

It seems like an easy question but we complicate it with our pride and self reliance. Unlike crossing the man made border crossing the spiritual one is safe and easy. You need only believe. This is not about religion or denominations; this is about the most important decision anyone will ever make.

As I stand at the physical border my heart goes out to those who have to make difficult decisions. As I stand on the safe side of the spiritual border my heart goes out even more to those living without an eternal hope.

May we be thankful God has given us a passport to the other side that will never expire; Jesus Christ. He has bridged the gap that we might live on the right side; we simply need to cross the river.

Scripture: John 5:24, “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.”

Prayer: Dear Lord, we thank you that you love us enough to provide for us though we are sinners a way to eternal life and peace in this one. Guide us to not only cross over to your side but to live our life in a way that shows other your love. We ask these things in the name of Christ, Amen.

The Mississippi/Gulf Coast

Posted by Richard Harris | | Posted On Sunday, April 10, 2011 at 6:10 PM


Over the last six weeks I have traveled from St. Louis Missouri to Brownsville Texas. These journeys have taken me from the heartland of the U.S. to the most southern point in Texas. I have been privileged to see many of God’s great creations; two of my favorites have been the mighty Mississippi and the ocean at South Padre Island. Neither of which I had seen before.

The Mississippi is the working man’s body of water. Nothing spectacular just slow and steady. As I stood next to it for the first time I was impressed to watch the water flow. Not rush and no rapids, where I was at anyway, just a steady obvious powerful movement southward. I picture the Mississippi as the person who goes to work every day, puts in their eight hours then goes home and takes care of business there. They don’t call in sick or take unnecessary days off. They are dependable, not flashy or showy, but without them work would grind to a halt in this or any other country.

They are the Sunday school teacher that stays at it for years or the teacher dug into the trenches leading our young people. You know them as mom, dad or grandma or grandpa. They are the under appreciated but absolute necessary in society.
That is my take on the Mississippi.

The gulf coast well that is another matter totally; it’s all about sizzle and making a splash. No doubt it has movement just like the Mississippi but friends, you know it. The waves pop against the shore without fail day and night. There is a noise that though it may be relaxing is inescapable. The ocean is not sneaking up on anyone and my guess is it has no intention of doing so.

The ocean is the singer with the wonderful voice, the salesman that demands attention with his personality, the speaker who speaks eloquently or the writer who tugs at your emotions with the written word. They and those like them are exceptionally gifted.

They can be depended on for entertainment, amusement, moving emotionalism and great worship. There God given gift is meant for the masses; not to be hidden. The ocean is no less dependable than the Mississippi; it has a routine, sneaks inward at night then moves out in the daytime. Yet it is more spectacular in its routine. Such is the same with the gifted, while sitting beside you in a quiet moment they may seem subdued but when their moment to speak, sing, sell or inspire comes they are in their element doing what God has blessed them to do. In front of the crowd is where they belong; it is as obvious as a roaring ocean.

The Mississippi and Gulf Coast are both bodies of water but are entirely different. That is how God made them. Such is the same with each of us; we have the same Creator, are human beings but each of us are unique.

The world is made special by the fact that we are all different yet same. How boring would this world be if we had not only the same creator but the same personality and gifts? What fun would that be?

What a wonderful God that made people who could sing beautiful as well as moms that love and sacrifice for so many. How equally inspiring is the one who day in day out gives his best in what we consider a common job as well as the speaker who moves us with their words and drives us into action.

There are times that the Mighty Mississippi might seem a little under appreciated or the Gulf Coast might seem taken for granted, may it never be. May it never be for you either; never and I mean ever take what it is that God has gifted you to do or the place He has positioned you and feel like you are less than some other.

You are a unique creation of God; steady or splashy you’re important to Him and to the rest of us as well. Keep flowing through life because much like the Mississippi and the Gulf at one point we will all end up meeting in the same place.

Scripture:
Ephesians 2:10, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do.”


Prayer: Dear Lord we thank you that you have surrounded us with beauty and special people to make our life more meaningful. Lead us to use the gifts you have given us to not only gain satisfaction in our own life but to point others to you. We ask these things in the name of Christ, Amen.

River, Really?

Posted by Richard Harris | | Posted On Tuesday, April 5, 2011 at 11:56 AM


Over the last two weeks I have driven well over 1500 miles, almost all of it new territory. As I drove into far South Texas near the Mexican border I kept running across signs on bridges that read something like this, “Nueces River”. The Nueces River is just one of the many rivers or creeks I have driven over during my travels.

When I drive over bridges that claim to be a river or creek there is one thing I expect to see; water. Here in South Texas there is a catch; no water. Sure they have plenty of signs and obviously many people spent a great deal of time naming these water ways. I am sure even some have followed the water on a map to know where it was going to intersect the bridge but somewhere the water did not get the memo.

Bridge after bridge I look with great expectation, but to no avail. After a while I became very hopeful at each bridge; just wishing to see even a drop of water. I started to feel bad for the people here with all these river and creek beds but no water, what a tease for people who live in a very warm climate. Apparently a very dry climate as well I might add.

Not only was there no water but in what should have been a creek or river bed there were trees and brush. There was not even a hint that at one time a body of water lived here. The trees looked like they were quite a few years old and the brush looked like it had never been pushed back by water.

There is a real problem here close to the border; a bridge is saying it is something it is not.
There is a real problem with Christianity; a lot of people are saying something they are not.

Or at least they are not acting the part anyway. It works like this, we say we are Christian. We wear the right clothes on Sunday, we say the right things at church like amen, God Bless you, Praise the Lord and all that stuff. We say long flowery prayers at family reunions and basically in public look like a Christian. I want you to think river bridge here; it says river bridge and looks like one, but in fact it is just a bridge going over a dry spot of land.

We say one thing in public yet when it gets down to the actions at home or behind the scenes or when no one else is looking, well there we run, shall we say a little dry. It is one thing to profess something; it is a whole other thing to let our actions do our talking.

I am not saying this is easy, apart from the Holy Spirit of God we can never walk as Jesus did. You see the world sees plenty of crosses on our necks and fish on our cars and by the way there is nothing wrong with that, but more than anything they need to see the truth of our belief in our actions.

The world is in dire need of seeing a river of love coming out of our hearts as we deal with them. They need a flood of Christ like compassion for all people, even for those that we would call our enemy. The world and fellow believers yearns for a rushing wave of forgiveness sent their way. Instead of condemnation, hate and anger the world needs to see the fruits of the spirit springing up in our lives; love, joy peace, patience, goodness, gentleness and self control.

Daily the world drives over the bridge of our life, as they do they need to not see someone who claims perfection but claims to live their life as close to He who was perfect. Will our lives run dry at times, absolutely? Those around us need to see the authenticity of our failure and the beauty of the fresh flow of forgiveness that comes from knowing the Lord.
A river with no water, a creek with nothing but brush that is only a tease and a bad one at that.
A Christian without a fresh flow of God’s mercy leaves an equally dry taste in the world’s mouth.

Today let us take a good look at ourselves and break the dam of pride that keeps us from being as Christ like as possible and let the river of life flow through our lives.


Scripture: 1 John 4:16-17, “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the Day of Judgment: In this world we are like Jesus.”


Prayer: Dear Lord, help us to lean on you daily, to represent you who we claim to belong to. Forgive us where we fail you, guide us to your truth and love. We ask these things in the name of Christ. Amen

all simple/truths are written by richard harris

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