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Devotionals

  • A Discount by Any Other Name

    Discount SignI find too often I get all caught up with the busyness of life that I forget some things. For example, last week the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and I had birthdays.

    Our birthdays are only two days apart, which is convenient for me. My birthday is first, and if my wife gets me anything for my birthday, it reminds me I need to get something for her birthday two days later. I could not plan it out any better had I tried.

  • A Mystery Of Murderous Distortions

    Shopping Centre Fashion Sense can be criminalI do not want to alarm anyone – I’m not wound that tight – but there is a devious conspiracy in our country. A cabal of murderous distortions.

    To be quite honest about all this, I was not the first to notice this conspiracy. In fact, it is quite unusual for me to notice anything first. As all husbands know, the husband is the last to know . . . anything.

    It was the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage who first become aware of this conspiracy and brought it to my attention. I like to give credit where credit is due, unlike some banks I know of, or who know me.

    This is not the first time something like this has happened. Don’t ask me how she does it, for I do not know. I just wish I knew her secret. My wife is the first to notice everything.

  • A Suspicious Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Waste

    A bird with a very suspicious look and mind - wasit pitched a timeshare vacation proposal?I have discovered over the years several types of minds. The “open mind” which catches everything except the truth. The “analytical mind” which organizes everything to the point of sterility. The “closed mind” which you can bounce ideas and they never stick.

    For every man, there is the “woman’s mind.” Every husband knows if he wants to change his wife’s mind, all he has to do is agree with her. Finally, the “political mind,” which for all practical purposes is an oxymoron. Politicians obviously do not have a mind of their own. They change their mind so often you hardly know who they are.

    I find most people’s minds are like beds – all made up and tucked neatly away. Many of these people have sound minds – sound asleep, that is.

    The most valuable mind is the suspicious mind. It is in this frame of mind that the real picture has developed for me. An incident several years ago illustrated this to me.

  • All My Friends Are Getting Old

    James Snyder's friends are all getting oldGetting old seems to be a long and slow process. The longer it goes the older you get.

    I didn’t really think I was getting old until a few weeks ago I was visiting with some friends from high school. You know those old high school friends that you had fun with when you were young enough to have fun? And oh boy, what fun we had.

    A sharp difference exists between being young and being old. You have to get old to really understand the difference because when you are young you do not have enough time to think. That’s the problem with young people today. So many things to do and so much technology they do not have any time left over to think.

    Those young whippersnappers.

  • Another Christmas up the Chimney

    christmas tree burningIt hardly seems possible that another Christmas has come and gone. I think it comes quicker than it goes, but then that is just my opinion.

    We were sitting for the last time around the Christmas tree which was about to be disassembled and I happen to say, “I can’t believe Christmas is over. Where does the time go?”

    To that, the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage looked at me and said, “The older you get, the faster time goes.”

    I remember as if it was yesterday when without thinking, which is usually dangerous for me, I once responded, “You must know.”

    I got the “stare” that encouraged me not to respond in that vein ever again.

  • Apart from That, I’m Doing Fine!

    talkingI know I am not correct on many things, just ask the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage. If I could be right as many times as I am wrong, I would be a genius. The problem is, I am more wrong than I am right, which puts me a little bit out of balance.

    People always say things they really do not mean. I guess they are just trying to be nice and courteous.

    For instance. My wife will say as I leave the door to go somewhere, “Drive safely.”

    I do not know what that means. Does she think I am going to drive like an idiot? Well, maybe that is not a good illustration.

  • As Summers Go, This One Is Going

    summer sunsetDuring my high school career I was no thespian, however, I could act the fool when called upon. My friend was the thespian and starred in our senior high school play, "Finian's Rainbow." One of the musical numbers was, "When I'm not near the girl I love, I love the girl I'm near."

    I have altered this title a little to fit my own needs. My version goes, "When I'm not in the season I love, I love the season I'm in." It is a wonderful motto and has solved quite a few problems down the years. Just don't ask me to sing it for you. I can, but you do not want to hear it... believe me.

  • Bad Breath Ain’t Always That Bad

    bad breathI am always super sensitive about my breath. I try to take care of it, but at times, I’m a little bit off schedule. I really do not know when my breath is really bad.

    For me, I only know my breath is bad when the person standing in front of me passes out.

    It is rather embarrassing to have bad breath, particularly when you are in the company of very sophisticated people. I have bad breath all the time because of my great delight in eating cheese. The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage warns me all the time that eating cheese will create bad breath. I know she is right, but cheese is very delicious.

    I was boarding an airplane to travel north when the thought struck me that I had eaten a block of cheese before I got to the airport. I was wondering if my breath smelled bad or not. I tried to test it on myself but it never registered with my nose.

  • Can Two Walk Together, Except They Be Going to the Same Store?

    It takes two like minds for a couple to shop togetherAfter about a million days of toil, sweat and aggravation, the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and I decided to take a few days off and relax.

    I am not a real expert when it comes to relaxing. I have not pursued a PhD in relaxing and therefore it is a foreign theme to me.

    Of course, I have advised many people to chill out, relax a little bit and not get so excited about things. What doctor do you know who takes his own medicine? Or, what pastor do you know that listens to his own sermon?

  • Cat and Peacock

    On second thought . . . LET ME IN !!!!!!!

    Funny picture of a scared cat and a peacock

  • Celebration Has Become a Way of Life for Me

    What will celebration in Heaven be like?I have just celebrated my birthday, my wife’s birthday and our wedding anniversary. I am not sure how old I am or how long we have been married and I won’t even go to my wife’s age. I’m old enough to know better.

    I have long past the idea of candles on my birthday cake representing one candle per year. The fire department will not give us a permit to do that.

    Someone asked me how long we have been married and without even thinking, I said, “Forever.” Once that word danced out of my lips I knew I was in trouble with the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage. One look from her, and I knew that my forever had ended.

  • Did I Just Blow My Cover?

    Rev. James Snyder actually fixed the lawnmowerThis month I celebrate another birthday. At my age, I cannot remember exactly which one but that does not really matter. The number of the birthday, in my point of view, does not influence the celebration of the birthday.

    Life has been rather good to me in many respects. The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and I are a wonderful team and have been for so many years; I’m not allowed to say how many.

    As a team, she can fix anything and I can break anything. That certainly goes hand-in-hand with life. No matter what I can break, she can fix. This has made life rather good.

  • Get me to the airport on time

    airplane1I was off to the airport on another trip. I started out early, arrived at the airport on time, but when I arrived the plane had canceled and I had to apply for another plane. The next plane headed for my destination was about two hours away. This would, in fact, make me miss my connecting flight.

    I suppose I ought to be grateful that I was able to catch a later flight. It gave me some time to sit in the airport with nothing to do but think. Talk about a boring afternoon!

    One of the things I thought about was never flying again. But, necessity is the mother of inconvenience, or something like that.

  • Go Ahead, Call Me If You Dare

    Picture of a person nappingI don’t think it was in the mind of Dr. Bell when he invented the telephone for people like me to be harassed by people who are only after my money. Don't get me wrong here. The telephone has been a great blessing to many people. But lately, the wrong people have my number.

    It finally came to a head this past week. At least as far as I was concerned.

    The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and I had a very busy week and by Thursday we had accomplished a lot, or at least we thought we had. We had lunch with a very good friend and enjoyed ourselves tremendously.

  • Have You Seen My Glasses? And Other Trick Questions

    Missing Eyeglasses

    The only person who asks more questions than a lawyer is the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage. I am not saying that questions are bad, at least not all of them. What I am saying is, some questions can be trick questions.

    To know the difference between a legitimate question and a trick question takes years of practicing being a husband. If the husband learns anything in his marriage, it is this.

    I know people ask questions in order to get information. Not all people ask a question in order to get information. Some people ask questions in order to trick somebody into saying something that is compromising.

  • Hearing and Listening Are Not Necessarily the Same

    The difference between hearing and listeningAs big as my ears are, you would think I would be able to hear everything I am listening to.

    I like to think I am hearing what I am listening to but I have so many illustrations that prove otherwise. I’m not sure what it is, but I am working on it with the help of the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage.

    It was on a Friday and I was very busy trying to get things done for the weekend. Some in our domicile can multitask and then the other can hardly do one thing at a time.

    I’m not quite sure how my wife does it, but she can do half a dozen things at the same time and get them all done perfectly. It is like one of those jugglers at the circus who can keep half a dozen balls in the air at the same time.

  • I Didn’t Win $750 Million

    Rev. James Snyder didn't win 750 Million DollarsDuring a recent lottery shindig, everybody was watching to see who was going to win all that money. Even I got all caught up in the excitement and was on the edge of my seat too.

    “Why,” the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage said, “are you so interested in that lottery?”

    “Well,” I said as soberly as possible, “what if I win all that money? Wouldn’t that be tremendous?” Then I flashed a gracious million-dollar smile at her.

    She just stared at me, rolled her eyes and walked away. As she was walking away, she mumbled something like, “You gotta pay if you’re gonna win.”

  • I Was Just Thinking

    thinking kidThinking is not my strong suit by any stretch of the imagination. Every time I start thinking, I either get a headache or get into trouble. I’m not sure which is worse, the headache or the trouble.

    In my normal pursuit of life, thinking sits in the backseat. If there is an emergency, thinking may come forward and help out. However, in the meantime, thinking is not something I like to do on a regular basis.

    That is my side. On the other side, the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage is always thinking. Most of the time, she is thinking about jobs I should be doing. I don’t know how she does it, but she can come up with a list of “honey-do’s” that will occupy all my time. Of course, I must confess, while I am doing these “honey-do’s” I am thinking, but  not thoughts I would like to come out into the public arena.

  • Is the Whole World Crazy or Is It Just Me?

    Teddy Bear DriversDriving across town the other day I was nearly hit by four different vehicles. One ran a stop sign, another swerved in front of me and almost hit me and I’m sure the other two were on their cell phones. After a while I begin to think my life was at risk here.

    I decided to drop into a little coffee shop and cool my heels a little bit. I ordered some coffee, took a table in the corner and just reflected on my day.

    Why is it, I thought to myself, do people drive so crazy? How do they get a driver’s license?

  • It’s Hot… And I Love It

    thermometer 2Recently it has been rather hot around here. A little hotter than usual, in my estimation. I really don’t know if it is getting hotter or as I get older, I’m not able to handle the hot weather.

    Whoever invented air-conditioning needs to have a Nobel peace prize offered him (or her). I have been enjoying the luxuries of air-conditioning inside while the outside is boiling hot.

    I was enjoying the A/C with all of its amenities when the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage came inside literally sweating.

    “My goodness,” she said hardly able to get the words out, “it’s hot outside.”

    That did it for me. I did not need to go outside to check to see if it was hot outside, I did not have to listen to the weather report to see how hot it was, the wife said it was hot and therefore it was hot.

  • Normal Isn’t All It’s Cracked up to Be

    walnut“Well,” the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage sighed rather deeply, “now that the hurricane is over I guess we can all get back to normal.” When she said “normal,” she looked at me and gave me one of “those looks.”

    I am very much confused when it comes to this idea of normal. What in the world is normal?

    Often when we go out somewhere she says, “Please try to act normal tonight.”

    For me, normal is just the way I act. Furthermore, I am not acting.

  • Some Things Are Just Personal

    penI will grant I have a few eccentricities. But, far less than the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage has avowed through the years. Listening to her, a person might come to believe my eccentricities are without limit. It is simply not the case.

    I firmly believe one man's eccentricity is another man's way of doing something. After all, everybody has a way of doing everything they do. If that is eccentric, we all have a lot of ‘plaining to do.

    If the tables were turned, I could make an equally infinite list of eccentricities associated with my wife. Since she set the table, who am I to turn it? I keep this as a secret stash to revel in occasionally when I am feeling a little poorly about myself. The secret will go no further.

  • The Amazing Wonder of A.G.E.

    birthday2I have just celebrated my recent birthday. By now, it is getting to be old business for me. Just another day of the year to celebrate something, which just happens to be my birthday.

    I believe that if it is my birthday, I should be able to celebrate whatever birthday I want to celebrate. You are only as old as you celebrate.

    I am not embarrassed at how old I am, I just sometimes cannot remember the exact figure. Some of my friends are rather legalistic along this line and are demanding the exact number of my birthday. Is it really that important? Does it really matter how old you are?

  • The Endless Flow of Ink

    A picture of pen and ink.This past week I had my yearly visit with my doctor. Believe me, it was no vacation but it did vacate the cash in my wallet. It was not the loss I needed at the time.

    It is amazing about my doctor. He knows the exact cash I have in my wallet at any given time. More amazing, everything he does for me is covered by that cash in my wallet. One time I try to hide a five spot in my wallet, but to no avail. The doctor knew it was there, somehow, I’m not sure how.

  • The High Cost Of Speaking Your Mind

    Husband's (and everyone) should be careful when they speak their minds.One thing I have learned throughout my life is sometimes speaking your mind only gets a piece of somebody else’s mind – and not the good piece.

    The old saying goes that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. However, I’m surprised the old dog doesn’t know the old tricks. What good is a new trick if you have not really mastered and learned from the old tricks?

    My experience in this area stood me in good stead for many years. An incident happened recently bringing to light how valuable this “old trick” really is. I may not be good in the new tricks, but I think I have mastered a few of the old tricks.

    I really do not know when this incident started, but somewhere along the line I said something resembling a guttural “uh huh,” and forgot about it. What you say in these odd moments may determine your quality of life for many years to come. This points out the difference between husbands and wives.

  • The Merrification of Christmas

    christmas manger1One word defines Christmas. It is the word “merry.” I never tire of wishing people a Merry Christmas. Although, for some, it may not be politically correct, but for the rest of us who have at least two gray cells working, it is wonderful.

    I was relaxing one afternoon this past week when the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage approached me with a request. It is very difficult for me to deny her request, even though it goes against my current energy status.

    “Would you,” she said so very sweetly, “go to the mall and pick up a gift that I had ordered?”

    Being married to GMP for more years than I can remember, is very difficult for me to say no. Actually, even when I do say no, someone on the other end of the conversation is not listening.

  • The Strange Myth of Multitasking

    A devotional about work and multitaskingI have been pondering a delicate question this week. Why is it I can only do one thing at a time? If only I could do several things at a time, I could get more accomplished.

    The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage is an expert when it comes to multitasking. Although I have lived with her for over 45 years, I still do not know how she does it. She is better than a circus juggler and can juggle a dozen tasks at the same time.

    Not me, that is for sure!

  • This Fall Was a Major Trip for Me

    Picture of autumn autumnThis past week the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage said to me rather casually, “I guess you know today is November?”

    She’s always joking with me and I assumed this was one of her jokes.

    “You can’t fool me,” I said quite sarcastically, “I know it’s October.”

    With that, she led me to the refrigerator where she had a calendar and pointed to me that today was the first day of November.

  • Those Annoying Sounds of Silence

    Rev. James Snyder survived hurricane Irma with electricity and silenceIt was in the 60s when Simon and Garfunkel recorded their famous song, “The Sounds of Silence.”

    I must confess that I do enjoy what I know of as “The Sounds of Silence.” Nothing is more relaxing than sitting back with a cup of coffee and enjoying the silence as it whistled by. This has become a rather infrequent period for me.

    I love the silence and I enjoy the peace and quiet it brings.

    The problem is, silence can be taken too far.

  • To Stink, or Not to Stink, That is the Question

    smellThere are all kinds of questions in this world of ours. Most are rather annoying. It would not surprise me in the least if there were a gang of hooligans somewhere hired to make up silly questions. If I could find this gang, I would disperse them immediately, without a question.

    Of course, there is the fact that the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage is in cahoots with these question-maker-uppers. Every once in a while she comes up with questions for Yours Truly.

    It is not the questions I object to but rather the answers I am supposed to give in connection to the questions. My wife has a silly notion that the answers I give should be in direct correlation to the questions she asked. Who made up this rule? Oops, that was a question. Sorry about that.

  • Two In A Row Okay, But Three Is Suspicious

    Rev. James Snyder loves apple fritters.So that you know, I am not suspicious (knock on wood). I take a rather practical approach to life and try my best not to get bent out of shape. At my age, it’s rather difficult to keep my shape. I try to keep my guard up, but no matter what I do, I drop it.

    Tuesday I was engaged in a “project,” when the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage came and brought me an apple fritter. “I thought,” she said rather cheerfully, “that you could use an apple fritter.”

    I was most gracious for this apple fritter. Nothing raises your spirits and encourages you to do your best like an apple fritter. I know my wife and I disagree as to the nature of these apple fritters so it surprised me that she brought one to me.

  • What Time is it Really?

    Daylight Savings Time - Turn the clock forward an hour or turn the clock backwards an hour?When it comes to certain things, I am quite a bit confused. One thing has to do with time. What I want to know, what time is it?

    I do not know why time cannot be the same for everybody. After all, everybody is squirming about equal rights. Why can’t we have equal time rights? Why do we have to split it up so much?

    If that is not enough, we have this idea of changing the time. Who in the world came up with such a stupid idea? You turn the clock ahead one hour and then a couple months later you turn it back one hour. What good does that accomplish?

    It is like giving somebody a dollar and then six months later taking that dollar back. What exactly is going on? It just does not really make sense to me.

  • Where Do You Look When She’s Lost Her Voice?

    A picture of a woman using a megaphoneIt has been a quiet week at the parsonage. Far quieter than usual. I cannot remember a time when it was quieter. If silence is golden, the week glowed with a yellow brilliance.

    Have you ever noticed when you lose something, it is always in the last place you look? I could save a lot of time, not to mention energy, if I would look for that lost item in the last place first.

    Back to the sounds of silence in the parsonage.

    When the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage awoke from her beauty sleep on Monday morning, she discovered sometime during the night she lost her voice. It was a strange sensation that bears repeating - often.

  • Where Have All the Clowns Gone?

    clownsThe Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and I were getting ourselves situated in the living room with some after supper coffee while watching the little bit of TV. These days, a little bit of TV is about all a person can handle.

    Nothing quite measures up to a nice hot cup of coffee after a scrumptious supper and if anybody can scrumpturize a supper, it is the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage. Every once in a while she will point out the fact that I am not as skinny as I once was. My response to her is simply this, “It’s your fault for being such a wonderful cook.”

    That stops the conversation; she smiles, sits back and thinks about what I just said. I sit back and smile thinking that I have gotten out of another bit of a pickle.

  • Where in the World Does Time Go?

    Where in the world does time go? A devotional about time and aging.I remember my grandfather telling me that the older you get the faster time flies. Laughing at him at the time I thought it was another of his little stories he loved telling.

    Just the other day I caught myself telling one of my grandchildren, “The older you get the faster time flies.” Then it occurred to me. I am my grandfather. I am not sure how I got here, but here I am.

    It is hard keeping up with things, especially when time ticks by so fast. Just when you think you are all caught up, you realize you have to start it all over again.

    I was complaining about this the other day to the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage. Normally, I try not to do any complaining in her presence. She has the ability of turning my complaint upside down and confusing me to the extent that I have no idea what I am complaining about.

    In my complaint I said, “Where does time go?”

  • Why Did I Get Up This Morning?

    Rev. James Snyder wonders why he got up for a bad day.All day long, I've had this burning question in my mind. One of those questions you just cannot shake and as the day progressed, it loomed larger and larger until I had to address it. Personally, I would like to have addressed it, put a stamp on it and send it to Timbuktu. I just do not know the ZIP code.

    It all began first thing in the morning. Some days try to trick you into thinking it's going to be a good day by starting the day off perfect. Such was not the case with this day.

  • Why I Am Suspicious of All Yard Sales

    garage saleOne of the passions that I really do not have is going to yard sales. The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage is another story.

    It is my sincere belief that yard sales were created with her in mind. There is not a yard sale within a 150-mile radius she does not know about. If she does not know about a yard sale, it probably is not a legitimate yard sale.

    Long ago I have come to the point that I will not go anywhere with my wife on a Saturday morning. That is usually when most of the yard sales are and she has several times tricked me into going with her.

  • Would You Like A Burp With That Hiccup?

    A drunk with a Bible question wakes up Rev. James Snyder early in the morning.Looking at the alarm clock by my bedside, it clearly read 2:37 a.m. The loud buzzing sound was not in my head after all. Who in the world could be calling me at this hour of the night?

    I grumbled to myself, sat straight up in bed and gasped. An emergency! Someone’s in the hospital! Someone has died!

    All kinds of such thoughts danced through my sluggish brain as I reached for the telephone.

    Pastors are on call 24/7 and never know when an emergency will summon to duty. It may be in the middle of the day, or in this case, in the middle of the night.

    Many telephone calls I’m not so anxious to get.

  • You Can’t Have Your Cake and Eat It Too

    A devotional warning about saying things one doesn't understand.I was waiting in line at the grocery store minding my own business, which is a full-time job these days. I have worked hard over the years to master this “minding my own business.” I have not been all that successful, but I still try.

    As I was standing in line I heard the woman behind me say, “Johnny, you can’t have your cake and eat it too.”

    I did not know the background story because I did not hear the whole conversation. When I heard that my mind took me back to those thrilling days of yesteryear when my parents, both of them addicted to this phrase, said to me, “You can’t have your cake and eat it too.”