Enjoy a Peaceful Smoky Mountain Retreat

If you are contemplating a visit to the Great Smoky Mountains, please consider visiting our lovely three-bedroom rental cottage, Rocky Top, located in the Hidden Mountain Resort in Sevierville, Tennessee.


“Torpor” is often a word needing defining. Living illustrations of it abound. Synonyms are inertia, apathy, lethargic indifference, sluggish inactivity. A simpler summary word for it is “laziness.”

Lazy people often seek to dignify it by such statements as: I am not lazy, just in the energy saving mode. I am not unmotivated. I am just highly motivated to do nothing. Lazy is such an ugly word. I prefer to call it selective participation.

Or, whenever I feel the need to exercise, I lie down until it goes away. I’m a multitasking procrastinator. I can put off multiple things at once.

Benjamin Franklin described it saying “…laziness travels so slowly, that poverty soon overtakes him.”       

In reality even ignorance is the child of laziness. A lazy person lacks the initiative to push back the frontier of ignorance. A motivated person will search for an answer any time knowledge is lacking.

The idea of what we are expected to be and do is recorded in the first book of the Bible, “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” (Genesis 2:15)

We are the contemporary Adam and Even to whom that truth is now applicable. “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them…” (Ephesians 2:10)

Therefore, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might…” (Ecclesiastes 9:10)

Life was never intended to be easy, much less to accommodate laziness.

Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard.

Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield, antidote with this bromide, “Know the true value of time; snatch, seize, and enjoy every moment of it. No idleness, no laziness, no procrastination: never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.”

The last phrase of that statement still resonates.

King Solomon used a small insect to illustrate a big principle. He said, “Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.” (Proverbs 6: 6 – 8) Lessons abound in that elemental axiom.

For starters an ant has no commander driving it to achieve. It is a self-starter. There is no one around to keep watch and demand excellence. It is in its nature to work and be a responsible worker.

An ant is initiatively farsighted. It plans ahead in the summer for the winter by storing up resources. It is wisdom that drives the ant to be creative.

Time is a gift from God. We must constantly be aware that our clock is ticking away and the final day will come when we will run out of time. Hence, let us live our lives purposefully and productively for the Lord. We shall have to give an account to the Lord regarding our conduct of a steward of all He has given us.

We are to live carefully as people who are wise, making the best use of our time, because we are living in dark and evil days. (Ephesians 5:15–16).

Our Ever-Present Help

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.” Psalm 46: 1 – 3

After reading this Psalm, Martin Luther, in a time when his life was threatened, wrote the great hymn, “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.”

Let your mind marinade in these words:

“A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing;
Our helper He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing:
For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and pow’r are great, and, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.
Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing,
Were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God’s own choosing:
Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabaoth, His Name, from age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.”

The title “Lord Sabaoth” stands out in the Scripture, but its meaning is little known. It means the Lord of armies. A contemporary song identifies God, His angelic army, and their protection.

“…I know who goes before me I know who stands behind

…The God of angel armies Is always by my side

…The one who reigns forever He is a friend of mine

…The God of angel armies Is always by my side

…My strength is in your name For you alone can save You will deliver me Yours is the victory

…Whom shall I fear? Whom shall I fear?

The opening line of the text noted above is a summary of the sufficiency of our God: “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”

Even if you are facing an intimidating situation these truths apply.

Rely on the truth declared in these closing thoughts: “…You hear me when I call You are my morning song Though darkness fills the night It cannot hide the light… Whom shall I fear?”

Hear it again: “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.” Psalm 46: 1 – 3               

May your conduct reveal you believe these truths. Let others see Jesus in you.


Jesus said, “…you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness… Therefore you are witnesses against yourselves…” (Matthew 23: 28 & 31a)

Jesus was warning that appearances can be deceitful. He used a word from the world of drama to describe persons who pretend to be something they are not. It was the Greek word “hupokrites” and is translated “hypocrite.” It described a play actor.

Ours is a theatrical society.  Many engage in the role of the great pretender. Synonyms for integrity are “honesty” and “faithfulness.”

For years the Marine Corps has had as its motto “Simper Fidelis.” meaning “always faithful.” America has major moral and ethical problems today because integrity is missing in the boiler-rooms, barrooms, board-room, bargaining-rooms and bedrooms.

A lack of integrity has resulted in the coining of the term “sleaze factor.” A lack of integrity has resulted in social decay in America.

During the Korean War one of our officers, General Dean, was captured. Day after weary day he was teased and tortured. More than once he was threatened with death. One occasion arrogant guards burst into his cell telling him he had less than an hour to live. They thrust paper and pen on him and told him he had only a few minutes to write a farewell note to his wife before his execution. He had no reason to doubt them. General Dean and his wife had one son named Bill. As the general concluded the letter he did so by asking his wife to give Bill a message for him. He wrote, “Tell Bill the word is…” Suppose you were writing such a letter and could fill in the blank with one word. What would it be? He chose to conclude by saying, “Tell Bill the word is integrity.”

Integrity simply means “You can count on me, I’ll keep my word. I’ll be true.” That is it. I am not for sale at any price.”

Integrity is Martin Luther standing before his accusers who believe they have the power to banish him to hell and threatening to do so, but offering him pardon if he will recant his faith and him saying, “Here I stand, I can do naught else.”

Integrity is a teenager willing to fail a test rather than to compromise and cheat.

Integrity is an adult saying no to alluring sexual enticement rather than compromise and break the heart of his Heavenly Father.

Integrity is a consistent character that won’t compromise even if circumstances make it easy and the potential for ill-gotten gain is great.

Integrity is a “not for sale” sign on the cover of your book of moral codes.

Integrity is saying, “Hear I stand Jesus, you can count on me.”      

Good Grief

“Good grief” is an expression of surprise, dismay, alarm or other emotion, usually negative. The term, a euphemism for “good God,” dates from the early 1900s. It appeared frequently in Charles M. Schulz’s comic strip, Peanuts, where various characters would use it in addressing the hapless hero, “Good Grief! Charlie Brown!” Do you ever have cause to apply it to the circumstances of your life? Do you ever experience surprise, dismay, alarm or other emotion, usually negative? The chorus resounds: “I do.” 

Grief isn’t good, but good can come out of it, though sometimes we are slow to recognize it.

The warning Jesus gave His disciples is applicable to each of us, “you will grieve, but your grief will be turned into joy.” I Thessalonians 4:13-14

Every time we wrestle with the events in the catalog of pain the Bible shows up and offers us hope, such as, “Our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18

We are all on the scale of suffering somewhere between life being free and easy, and suffering that seems unbearable. The latter is described in Scripture as groaning. However, this darkness is not going to end in despair, not even death. If you are a follower of Jesus, this groaning will end in God’s glory and your joy.

Grief is a form of pain, physical or emotional. Dr. Braun, director of the former leprosarium near Baton Rouge, was asked if he could give a person suffering from leprosy one gift, what would it be? He said he would give them the gift of pain. Not being sensitive to pain they might put their hand on a hot stove, and not feel the heat injure themself seriously. Pain, like all suffering, is a warning signal something is wrong.

Consider the form of pain: grief. The big three in terms of loss usually involve the death of a spouse, child, and/or close family member, becoming unemployed, and, finally, moving and/or the loss of a home. But there are many other major life changes that can cause grief, too—things like illness, disability, separation, divorce, abuse—all excellent candidates for triggering a grief response. That’s why how you handle grief is so important. 

Grief is love with no place to go. It is the final stage of love. As such it often awakens us to the need of God from which comes all comfort. You don’t have to suffer alone. The same Jesus who wept at the tomb of Lazarus wants to be your companion in time of grief. Overcoming grief takes time. Don’t try to ignore it. Internalizing it can be emotionally harmful. There is an old hymn with a line that offers comfort, “Take it to the Lord and leave it there.” Express it to Him.

Claim these promises.

“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” (I Peter 5: 10)

“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34: 18)

Blessed to Bless

The greatest blessing known to man, aside from getting to know Jesus in a personal relationship, is being a blessing to someone.

 “So encourage each other to build each other up, just as you are already doing.” I Thessalonians 5:11

I am always delighted when someone is a blessing to me for two reasons. One obvious, but not the primary reason, is it lifts me up. However, the primary reason is I know they are blessed by doing it. Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35) We all know how good it is to receive, but we can never fully know how good it is to give.

When was the last time you were on the receiving end of a blessing? Felt good didn’t it? When was the last time you were on the sending end of a blessing? Felt even better, didn’t it?

Recently I have had people reach out across the ages and express gratitude for what I was to them years ago. What a blessing, not just to me but to them in doing so.

One was a viable 93 year old. She was gracious in recounting past experiences, prompting exchanges.

Another was a 50 year old adult who has spent his life in ministry helping steer people on behalf of the Lord. He told of how he had invested in young lives, specifics I had invested in his life over 30 years.

Yet another had spent months trying to find out if I were alive and how to reach me. Such a special blessing.

Still was another who has had three highly successful phases to his life, a mega-contributor to many. He recalled how I visited the home of his parents and as I was leaving I looked down at him as a little boy and said to his parents, “You’ve got a winner there.” That passing comment he said motivated him to strive to be a winner in all of life.  

Remember, “Kind words are like honey sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.” (Proverbs 16:24)

It has been my joy to reach out to others and express to them how they have been a blessing in my life. About 30 years ago I made a list of 15 persons who were a blessing in my life during the years of my youth. I contacted each and expressed my gratitude and abiding love for them. I am glad I did, for all of them are no longer alive.

To you the reader of this, I have prayed for all who receive it that the Lord will fulfill the following in your life today.

“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.” Numbers 6: 24 – 26