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Truly satisfied

by Ronnie McBrayer

by Ronnie McBrayer

An old Quaker farmer placed a sign on his land that read, “This farm will be given to anyone who is truly satisfied.” A wealthy merchant came riding along and saw the sign. He thought to himself, “If this man is so eager to part with his land, I might as well claim it, for I have all I need.” He walked to the front porch and explained to the farmer why he was there.

“Art thou truly satisfied?” the Quaker asked. The merchant responded, “I am. I have everything I need.” The old farmer answered, “My friend, if thou art truly satisfied, then why doth thou need my land?”

It is human nature to want, search, and covet even after we have everything we need. There is this insatiable desire within us that we can’t seem to satisfy, a hunger we cannot fill. But how does satisfy the hunger of the heart that so often drags us to our undoing?

There’s no easy answer. Whole religions have been built around answering that question; and everything from self-flagellation and asceticism to quiet meditation and psychotropic drugs have been tried to free humanity from itself. Yet, the heinous rate of consumption, the constant grabbing and clutching for more, continues with happiness levels as flat as ever.

But maybe the presence of desire isn’t the real problem. It’s not that “we want,” but that we want the wrong things. What is the object of those desires; what is it that we are after that we think will make us happy? Those might be the better questions.

See, we have been duped. We think that acquisition will satisfy us. We have been fooled into thinking that a shinier car, a bigger house, a younger wife, a better neighborhood, or the newest piece of technology will make us happy. But it’s an evaporating illusion. When you are chasing after what will never ultimately please you, getting more of it, won’t get it done.

I think that’s what Jesus was getting at when he said, “Seek first the Kingdom of God, and all these other things will be added to you.” He was saying, “You’re going to desire, you’re going to want; just point those cravings in the right direction. Go for what counts!” Then you discover that living a satisfying life requires very little. You will discover that the hungry life can be replaced by the happy life.

Ronnie McBrayer is a syndicated columnist, blogger, pastor, and author of multiple books. Visit his website at www.ronniemcbrayer.me.

 

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Terrance N. “Terry” Bengtson

C-OBIT-bengtsonTerrance N. “Terry” Bengtson 72 of Cedar Springs, died Thursday, November 6, 2014 at his home after a long fight with non-hodgkins lymphoma, stage IV since 1994 with many good years in between. Terry was born March 22, 1942 in Traverse City, MI the son of the late Alvin and Jean (Chapman) Bengtson. He graduated from Mancelona High School and Northwestern Michigan in Traverse City. He was a State Farm Agent in Cedar Springs for 39 years, retiring in 2008. He had been a member of the Cedar Springs United Methodist Church, Sand Lake Eagles, Sparta Moose and past president and member of the Cedar Springs Rotary. Terry loved many years of sailing on Lake Michigan on his boat, “Premium Fund” as a member of the Muskegon Yacht Club, where many friendships developed. He also golfed on a league with his son, Jeff for many years. Surviving are his wife, Diane, whom he married on March 23, 1963; children, Christine (Rodney) Klenk, Jeffrey (Robin) Bengtson; grandchildren, Mackenzie, Natalie, Rock and Tori; step grandson, Trey Dunlap; brother, Jerry Bengtson; sisters, Julie (Joe) Hoskins, Debbie Richards, Cheryl (Mike) Coy; many aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews. Special thanks to Louis Marks, MD, Kathleen Yost, MD, Julie Kowacz, MD, and special nurse, Cathy Forest of Spectrum Health Hospice. The family will greet friends Saturday, Nov. 22 from 11:00 am until time of service at 1:00 pm at the United Methodist Church, 140 S. Main St., Cedar Springs. Pastor Steve Lindeman officiating. Interment Elmwood Cemetery, Cedar Springs. Memorial contributions may be made to the Cedar Springs United Methodist Church or Spectrum Health Hospice, 4500 Breton SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49508. Arrangements by Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs.

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JEREMIAH COLTYN RUSSELL

C-Birth-RussellKelli Destrampe, Jeremi Russell and sister McKenzie of Cedar Springs welcomed Jeremiah into the world on October 22, 2014 at 8:23 pm at Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital. He weighed 5 pounds, 15.6 ounces and was 19 inches long. Proud grandparents are Beverly Hale, Deb Bauer, Ted Russell. Great-grandparents are Beverly Bowyer, Larry and Sally Boarts.

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LINDA KAY VAN SPLINTER

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April 21, 1945 to November 8, 2004

 

In loving memory of our wife, mother and grandmother who went to be with the Lord 10 years ago. Your presence we miss,

Your memory we treasure,.

Loving you always,

Forgetting you never.

 

Jack, Robert, Jacqueline, Jerry, Levi and Cody

 

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BARB VAN HOUTEN

C-MEM-VanHoutenIn loving memory of our beloved friend, Barb, who passed away 5 years ago, November 5, 2009. Not a day goes by that we don’t think of her and smile. She brightened our lives with her kindness, love and positive attitude and we learned so much from her. What a blessing to have her in our lives!

 

Love and miss you, Barbarino!

 

Terry & Robin

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Young and dumb

Keeping-the-Faith-RonnieMcBrayerBy Ronnie McBrayer

 

My adolescent son told me the other day that “teenagers should rule the world.” After I stopped guffawing at him, I remembered that scientists have proven that the adolescent brain is incapable of logical decision-making. Not enough physiological development has taken place, and it is impossible for a teenager to always behave or react rationally.

But I don’t think today’s teens could do much worse than today’s adults. We seem as immature as our children. Maybe science has figured out why. Researchers say that no living person, in reality, is very old; because the cellular matter in our bodies is constantly regenerating. The cells in our bodies, no matter one’s birth date, average about 15 years of age…so…we are all teenagers!

Yet, the relative youth of our bodies is no excuse for immaturity. We may not be born with the capacity to make healthy, rational decisions, but that is a virtue that can be acquired. Science, once again, has confirmed this fact as well.

In 2009, professors Dilip Jeste and Thomas Meeks published a major paper on their research into human wisdom. Among their discoveries was the fact that those who are genuinely wise have the benefit of age and experience on their side and, more often than not, bad experiences.

You have to fall on your face a few times, get caught in a self-manufactured disaster or two, and then wisdom mercifully begins to take root. Thus, the older you are, the smarter you should be, and the younger you are, the dumber you are. That too, is a scientific fact. Yes, we need what youth offers: Audacity, vision, zeal, and a healthy dose of revolutionary chaos on occasion. But like a fine wine, only time produces wisdom.

So it should be no surprise that our world is in its current condition. It is a world that values youth, childishness, and this month’s fresh face from L.A. more than it values the sense and wisdom that comes from age. It is a culture that sacrifices on the altar of youthful stupidity the wizened experience of its elders.

It does so at its own tragic expense, for a society that will not listen to the voice of history is a society that is doomed. There’s a proverb that goes, “Old age and cunning will always beat youth and exuberance.” For the sake of the world, I hope that’s true.

Ronnie McBrayer is a syndicated columnist, blogger, pastor, and author of multiple books. Visit his website at www.ronniemcbrayer.me.

 

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Janice Graves

 

Janice Graves age 65 of Morley passed away on October 30 at Spectrum Health Butterworth Campus. She was born March 27, 1949 the daughter of Charles and Arlyle (Plumb) Phipps. During her working years she worked in customer service, a waitress and even day care. The last fourteen years she has worked for Rite Aid in Cedar Springs. She enjoyed bowling, camping, golfing and kayaking. Janice was a member of the Cedar Springs UMC. She loved spending time with family and friends. In 1988 she married Robert Graves who survives. Also surviving are her Mother Arlyle Phipps of Greenville; children Ronda Smith of Cedar Springs, Bill (Kim) Shepard of Cedar Springs, Bob (Cecelia) Graves of Kalamazoo, Dawn (John) Kennebeck of Whitehall, Ken (Cheryl) Graves of Howard City; Several grandchildren and several great-grandchildren; Her loving pet dog Spanky; Three brothers Gale Phipps, Alex Phipps, and Craig Phipps; Five sisters Delberta Windiate, Ethel Palmer, Geneva Dean, Valerie Green, Cheryl Hellar; and many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her father and a brother Jerry and sister-in-law Dixie. Funeral services will take place on Tuesday at the Cedar Springs United Methodist Church with Pastor Steve Lindeman officiating. Visitation will take place on Sunday from 4-6 pm and on Monday from 6-8 pm and prior to services at the church on Tuesday.

 

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The Lesson of the Blue Jay

The Rev. David Meyers

Holy Spirit Episcopal Church

1200 Post Dr., Belmont, MI  49306

 

 

A couple of weeks ago, my wife and I stopped at one of the many harvest markets in the area. Committed to supporting our local farmers and orchardists, we loaded up our car with all sorts of goodies. One of our purchases was a nice bunch of Indian corn. What lovely reds, oranges, blacks and yellows on those ears! With careful arranging, a nice bow, and florist wire, it looked beautiful hanging outside, next to our back door.

This week, as I was backing out of the driveway, a big, beautiful, bold blue jay swooped down from the trees and landed on that prized bunch of corn. He thought we had sent out invitations and prepared a feast for him. Upon closer look, I noticed this was not his first visit. One of the ears was entirely stripped of kernels. While I was tempted to shoo the bird away, I started chuckling at the lesson of the blue jay.

What better use for that beautiful decoration than to feed God’s creatures? Sometimes we put much thought into the frills and decorations of our lives, forgetting that there could be more important needs. I know I like to adorn my life with extras and luxuries, occasionally forgetting that some others are concerned with basic survival. That is not to deny the validity of beauty in our lives. “Art for art’s sake” is a legitimate goal. It is important, however, to examine what we have and how we employ it. Maybe we treasure too many things that could be put to better use. This is an important question that should be asked, knowing that there are wonderful resources in our cupboards, our buildings, in our bank accounts. It is prudent to weigh the private satisfaction our possessions provide with the possibility that God may have another idea—a higher purpose.

The Gospels talk about not burying our talents, not keeping our lights under a bushel, not letting our salt lose its taste. Jesus told us if we had a couple of coats, we should give one away to the person who has none. Those are pretty important lessons. People easily get overly focused on the fluff of life. Christians have to be mindful of the stewardship of possessions. We have to ask ourselves, “Where will the corn do the most good?”

I know I got more pleasure watching that old blue jay gobble up my Indian corn than I ever did when it hung quietly on the side of the house.

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NATALIE GRACE BENNETT

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Kirk Bennett, Lacey Wyn, big sister Dalanee and big brother Brody of Grant are welcoming home their daughter, Natalie Grace. She was born on October 11, 2014 at 9:03 pm. Little Natalie weighed 7 pounds, 12 ounces and was 21 ¼  inches long. Proud grandparents are Karen and Gene Bennett, Betty and Larry Wyn. Great-grandparents are Ann and Ken Mitz, Leona and Art Bennett, Linda and Lloyde Combs. Great great-grandparents are Christina and Clifford Wright and Myrtle Bean.

 

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Happy 90th Birthday

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ALGER NIELSEN

 

The family of Alger Nielsen, retired Cedar Springs High School teacher and coach, invites you to help celebrate his 90th birthday at an Open House on Saturday, November 8th from 4:30 to 8:30 pm, at the D.B.S. Community Center in downtown Trufant, MI. A supper buffet will be served from 5 to 7 pm. Join us for a great evening, but NO GIFTS, please!

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