Light and Blood Made All the Difference

English: An array of colored pencils, these pe...

English: An array of colored pencils, these pencils are made by Crayola. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. 1Samuel 16:7b

There were colored pencils everywhere. Taking out the trash I noticed them: just laying there with other pieces of trash that missed the dumpster. I picked them up. Colored pencils reminded me of my brother and I couldn’t throw them away. A wipe with a Lysol wipe and sharpening and they were good to go.

My older brother was an artist before he became an alcoholic. When he left home, he left behind his colored pencils. I still have them. At first I kept them hoping the artist would come home but when the alcoholic died and took the artist with him, I still couldn’t throw them away. I kept them to remind me of the artist that once was.

There was one pencil that may have been his favorite. It is more noticeably worn than the others—Carmine, a burgundy color. One of the pencils I picked up looked very close in shade but had no label, no identifying mark. I took a scrap piece of mail and drew a line with each pencil. On the white portion of the paper I could see the difference but when the line crossed the black advertising I could not define a color.

That’s the way it was with my brother. This darkened world only saw a bum with no identity and they tossed it in the dumpster. But God is Light and He saw the difference His Son’s shed blood made.

The unidentified pencil I found was light brown like the tone of my late brother’s tanned skin. The pencil left behind is that same tone mixed with red. I don’t believe it’s a coincidence. It reminds me Christ’s shed blood covered what the world discarded and the artist is redeemed. I imagine Paul creating custom art for the Mansion walls.

I admit it, there are days this darkened world has me forgetting the difference Christ made in my life. In darkness, we cannot see the reality of who we are. They say one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. I say the world’s trash is God’s treasure.

God looks at us through His Son and I’m sure glad He does. Do you feel discarded or like a treasured keepsake? Remember, you are colored with the blood of Christ, if you have accepted Him as your Savior.


Paul’s pencil is on the left next to the discarded one I found.

(First published July 2, 2011 on


Ribbons of Praise

I was thinking of Grandpa McKinney this morning. Someone had a picture of a hymnal opened to his favorite song, This Is My Story, and I couldn’t help but remember the joy he took in leading the congregation in singing it when he filled in for Mr. Bebermyer. That memory sent the memory train along the tracks to camp outs, Sunday School lessons, silver dollars and ribbons for learning my Bible verses.

Last week, Farrel’s hosted an ice-cream eating contest. It happened to be on the 15th anniversary of Paul’s passing and I would have liked to have gone but had other plans already. Paul used to go there and bring home ribbons that said, “I Made A Pig of Myself at Farrel’s.” 

When I thought back this morning on my times with Grandpa McKinney, I didn’t see Paul there, even though he must have been. I got to wondering if that was the difference between us: I got ribbons for hiding God’s Word in my heart and he got them for putting empty calories in his stomach. When he hit his teens and maybe a little while before, it was evident he just went to church because our parents made him. I went, and continue to go, because I want to continue the ribbon of praise Grandpa McKinney started so many years ago.

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