Painfully Coming to Myself

I believe this was the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere...possibly a zoo in Florida, however. 

I’m still waiting for the day I come to myself.

Luke 15:17 tells us about the prodigal son coming to himself…some versions say “when he finally came to His senses…”   (If you don’t know the Biblical account of the prodigal son click the link and read it.  It’s a very an interesting story). 

I started to say “While I am not prodigal…” but then I looked up the word “prodigal” for the first time in my life.  I always assumed it referred to his running away, but it actually means “wasteful, reckless, uncontrolled.”   So, not only am I prodigal with myself, my time, my health, and my thoughts, I desperately need to come to myself in the sense of being a child of God; I need to act like that’s who I am….not because of who I am, but because of who HE is.  Be righteous because He is righteous.  (1 John 3:6-8)  

I also looked up what it means to be righteous, which is one of the dominant attributes of God.  It means having character, being decent, honest, moral; having integrity, living honorably, without reproach, with rectitude, uprightness of mind, heart, and soul, having virtuousness…I’ll stop right there.  Being righteous (Christ-like) is way more than I can attain, on my own that is.  

Bear with me…I do have a point as I dart here and there with my musings.

While earnestly praying for a sick family member (my seven-year-old cousin recently diagnosed with B-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia), seeking a miraculous healing for her, I began to realize that I not only wanted that miracle for her, but for myself.  Unashamedly, I want to see God’s hand in a huge and unquestionably miraculous way (not forgetting that He moves in the miraculous every day, things that I take for granted). 

But for a moment, I wanted God to know that a miracle would speak volumes to unbelievers as to Who He is; and to believers, it would be a solid faith-builder.  It takes foolish audacity to tell God what He should do to get the results we think we’ll see.

And then it hit me…or rather, He showed me:
I wanted the miracle more than the Miracle Maker.

And perhaps all these years, I have wanted freedom more than the Freedom Giver, the solution to my problem more than the Problem Solver; a way out more than the Way Maker.   Am I simply having regret and desiring relief without repentance? 

Gluttony is the only sin where I beg for help but add a stipulation:  “But, God, I don’t mean right now!   Right now, I want this cheeseburger, fries, and strawberry milkshake.  And oh, these chocolate chip cookies.  But Monday, Lord!  Help me on Monday to get this voracious appetite under control.   I’ll eat my way the through the weekend, but Monday, Lord…Monday!”   No, I never said that in words to God, but I did say it in my actions.  Loudly and repeatedly.  I really don’t want Him to be Lord of my plate and silverware.   I want to be in control of that!

Dying to self, crucifying our fleshly desires…what a terribly painful thing!  Being righteous?  It means to do what the word of God says no matter how you feel…or how badly I want to keep eating when I’m full.

Sugar makes my appetite insatiable.   That’s a proven fact.  But I invariably eat it again no matter who long I’ve been “clean.”  God may never deliver me from that affliction for reasons known only to Him.  (Or maybe He is teaching me to discipline my self-nature, bring it under subjection, because for most of my life, flesh has ruled me.)

Ouch!  It’s painful being pruning by God’s own hands.  Very painful, indeed!  Even knowing the rewards are far sweeter than any morsel of the sweetest sugar could ever is not easy.

His rewards are far sweeter than anything that 
may be keeping YOU in chains right now, too.

Maybe I am waking up and coming to myself…finally coming to my senses.   But I like the path of least resistance, so I am not promising to crucify my “self” before Monday. 

Lord Jesus, help me.
I desperately need You, Lord.


FMF: Complete

If I look at my life in the natural, “incomplete” would be a better word for me than complete.  But then I remind myself, it’s not about me, what I see or how I feel, but it can definitely feel like it’s all about how I feel.  A preacher once said, “You can’t believe everything you feel.”   That about sums it up.

Looking at things spiritually, I am assured that my completeness is in Him.   When He said from the cross, “It is finished,” everything I could possibly need was complete in Him at that moment, and for all eternity.  Of that, I am completely sure, I just forget it every now and then, especially when I don’t have the answers I seek or see the changes I that escape me.

Scripture promises me:
For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.  (2 Colossians 2:9)

That is all.  The end.

Deibert Park, Florence, AL


Monday Musings: Understanding

UNA flower petals after the rain
One morning, I woke up in a cloud of confusion. As I lay in bed, I talked to God about all thing things I just don’t understand. Like cancer, or children dying from catastrophic diseases, or destroyed lives, and even my inability to be the better person I want to be. Heavy stuff. I told God I knew that I didn't have to understand, but I want to understand.  I told Him that I knew He was in control, and surely there’s a greater plan than the pain that I see.

That morning, I arrived at work earlier than usual.  I normally sit a few minutes in my car before I start my day, praying and reading a few Bible verses.  As I randomly opened my Bible, I said, “Help.” I really needed Him to touch my spirit.  I landed on Psalm 119. I began to read the lines I had highlighted and underlined:

Verses 27 and 28
Make me understand the way of Your precepts;
So shall I meditate on Your wonderful works.
My soul melts from heaviness;
Strengthen me according to Your word.

Verse 34
Give me understanding, and I shall keep Your law;
Indeed, I shall observe it with my whole heart.

Then Proverbs 2 came immediately to my mind, which reads in part:
…Lift up your voice for understanding,
Seek her as silver, search for her as for hidden treasures;
Then you will understand the fear of the Lord,
And find the knowledge of God.
For the Lord gives wisdom;
From His mouth come knowledge and understanding;
He stores up sound wisdom for the upright;
He is a shield to those who walk uprightly;
He guards the paths of justice,
And preserves the way of His saints.
Then you will understand righteousness and justice,
Equity and every good path.

The Answer: 
 Seek Him first, 
His face, His presence.
 In everything. 


One of Those Daze....

Some mornings I wake up and want to give up.   On those days I wouldn’t even hit the light switch, or bother getting dressed.   I’d just stay at home, curl up with the dogs and ignore the world.   Today would have been a good day for it.   However, I do see a ray of sunshine peeking through my backyard trees…and it looks like it’s going to be a good day in spite of myself.  And, being Sunday, I wouldn't  choose to ignore church.   My parents always made sure we were at church if the doors were open.  They are in their 80s now, and they still go to church unless they have a really good reason.   

Yesterday I posted a slightly political post.   I guess a post about "Trump Derangement Syndrome" isn't slightly political, is it?  We all have opinions, don't we?  Whether it be politics, religion, whatever, when presented with the facts, we get to draw our own conclusions.   If you don’t agree with me, that simply means that I don’t agree with you, either.    People talking about “haters” who don't agree with their opinions are often “hating” louder and more obnoxiously than the ones to whom they are responding.  It makes me weary, and I don't want to be involved with that, but sometimes my big mouth or commenting fingers itch to respond.   I'm getting better at not doing that.  Some things, left alone, would garner a lot less attention, and 'less attention' is what 90% of what's being repeated these days should get.   The silliest stories go viral; people are constantly offended, and there is usually only a grain of truth to the current outrage.

I have written some of the best blogs…all in my head.   “Best” is a relative term, I assure you.  I freely admit that some of my headnoise is probably best unsaid…along with some of the posts I did write, perhaps like the Trumpitis one from yesterday.  

I hope your Sunday is a peaceful one.
If you don't have a church you attend, 
why don't you visit a new church today?


Calling It What It Is...

Reflections...Deibert Park, Florence, Alabama

A Nevada professor recently shot himself in protest of President Trump.  Some headlines say it was a suicide attempt, but since he shot himself in the arm, that is obviously fake news.  He has a sickness that affects the way he thinks.

Some call it Trump Derangement Syndrome.
I call it hatred.

The disease isn't caused by Donald Trump.   It's caused by hate, and right now, the current president is on the receiving end.   Hatred is a nasty, life-altering affliction that causes once seemingly normal people to do stupid things, like shoot oneself in the arm.

Compassionately, this professor obviously has mental issues and needs medical attention for more than just his arm.  Hopefully, he will get the help he needs, and they will keep him away from the campus and the students away from him.  He is facing felony charges.  He's 69 years old, he may consider retirement after this.     

Of course, Donald Trump is 72...
I have a sneaky feeling he won't be retiring until he's 78.

President Trump is so hated by the democrats, progressives, liberals, socialists, and at least a quarter of republicans, that people are taking a closer look at President George W., and have decided he wasn't such a bad president, after all.   Most likely, the shift in feeling is because the Bush family voices their disdain for #45.   Ol' Jeb did take more than one verbal beat-down during the 2016 campaign, so I'm not saying that I blame them, but forgiveness is a lot more attractive than bitterness.

I don't remember the 1960's...I'm only going on historical accounts...but when I look around at our divided country, I don't think it is as bad as it was in the 60's (my reasoning would be a whole different post).  In today's world, the loudest voices are not the majority, but they get more coverage.   We know that's true due to the fact that Donald Trump was elected regardless of how loudly his detractors decried his path to the White House.  

Yes, I know Hillary won the "popular vote."   But until the electoral college is yanked off the election process table, California and New York won't decide who runs the rest of the country.   I don't care what side of the aisle you're on, that should be a scary thought.

People seem to have lost the ability to process information or themselves.   No one wants to wade through the bull crap to find the truth.  And there is a lot of doubt.   Truth is worth it!  We can't afford to let it get buried deeper and deeper.

Just three years ago, who would have thought Donald Trump would be president, and who could have imagined his presidency would cause people to attack his supporters, even children enjoying a Coke in a restaurant wearing a MAGA cap, and a US Representative to call for "push back" (in the form of not letting them go to public places in peace) on people who work for him?  Trumpitis is a thing...and that thing is hate.   The only thing I know that will change what is going on in America right now is prayer.  

That's what I'm going to be doing.
Even if I'm doing it alone....

Sunrise in Cades Cove, Great Smoky Mountains


An Angry Body Slam

I left work yesterday for an appointment with a new doctor, after more than a year without a doctor (I’d been going to a nurse practitioner near my home; she about killed me…that’s whole ‘nother story).   When I arrived, they said I didn’t have an appointment.  I argued that I did, so they looked at their records a little closer and found my name.  She said, “Now your co-pay is $35, you know that right?   Thirty. Five. Dollars.  You know that, right?”  

The two girls begin to tell me that the doctor had a meeting, and she may not be able to see me.  “What?!”  “Yeah, you may have to reschedule.   What would be a good time for you?”   I said, “Since I took off work to come here, now!  Now would be a good time.”   She said, “Well, she’s got that meeting this afternoon…”    The other girl sticks her head from around a partition and says, “I was just about to call you.”   (It was 2:55, my appoint was at 3:00.)   The first girl says, “Mondays and Tuesdays are our busiest days.”  I said, “I made this appointment five weeks ago.”  She said “I apologize for your inconvenience,” but she was really loud when she said it, and I felt like she was saying it for the benefit of the other people in the waiting room, like the situation was more of an inconvenience for her. 

I stood there not knowing what exactly to do, and she told me that there was a possibility the doctor could see me.  Then she said that normally something like this wouldn’t have been a problem, "but the nurse practitioner didn’t come in today."   I didn’t even tell her I did not want to see the practitioner, I wanted to see a doctor, and I didn’t want a two-minute drive-by examination. 

Then the doctor walks by and says to no one in particular, “I can’t see anyone else today.”

I didn’t act ugly, but I was mad and definitely wanted them to know they had inconvenienced me. 

The girl says, “Would you like to reschedule?”  I said, “I would not.”   She said, “Well, here.  Take this paperwork and fill it out so that you will have it when you come back.”   It was about eight pages of more questions than I would answer.  I took the book and walked out.

Like I said, I wasn’t ugly.  But they knew I was mad because I didn’t bother to hide it.   I don’t know if it’s related or not (probably is), but last night I dreamed I was at a relative’s house, and I was about to watch a TV show (on losing weight, rather real life-like, wouldn’t you say?)  I cleared out a place on the couch for me to sit (my cousin hadn’t cleaned house in a while, apparently).  Before I could sit, a friend of my cousin, a girl I didn’t know, sat down.   I told her I’d just cleared that spot for me, but she said she wanted to watch the show.  I picked her up and tossed her on the floor like a 50 pound burlap sack of peanuts.

I think God was telling me I body slammed those two girls with my anger.   


Anniversary, Ole Boy-isms, and Current Events

Last weekend Ole Boy and I celebrated 22 years of marriage (after six years of dating) in Nashville.  I love this man more today than when I married him!  He can be funnier than me at times, and he always has a song ready, tweaked for any occasion:

Me:   Cheese would be good on this.
Ole Boy (singing):   Cheese release me, let me go…

Me:  That burger was a little greasy.
Ole Boy (singing):   Greasy loving, seeing’s believing…

And he’s always quick with Ole-Boyisms that tickle me every time:  

Server (as he is giving us the bill):  I’m sorry for your wait.
Ole Boy (as server walks away):  I guess he could tell we put on a few pounds.

Me:  Sitting comfortably on the bed watching an exercise video.
Ole Boy (walking into room):  Hey, have you…oh.  Sorry.   Didn’t know you were exercising.

Turning on sports highlights first thing in the morning:  “Wow, this game went into overtime, they were playing when I went to bed last night!”

Every now and then, he may go too far tweaking a song and adding my name:
Down in Alabama, where the alligators grow so mean
There lives a girl that I swear to the world
Makes the alligators look tame
Polk salad Margaret, polk salad Margaret…

Musings on recent events:
  • I haven’t worn Nike in years, but I used to wear their high tops back in a younger day.  The whole Colin Kaepernick “new face of Nike” controversy sure has given Nike a lot of publicity, which may have been their strategy all along.  In a few weeks (or less), the boycotts will be finished, Kaepernick will be old news yet again, and I’ll still be wearing my Yellowbox flip flops.  With so many unsung heroes from which to choose, I am mildly curious why Nike would choose this knee-man who really didn’t sacrifice anything.
  • What a spectacle it was, the Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing for Brett Kavanaugh last week.   Protesters weren’t the only ill-behaved ones, there were a few disorderly, prideful senators, as well.  Folks haven’t figured out that loud, disruptive protests, much like impromptu boycotts, don’t accomplish anything.  Well, except the Kavanaugh hearing protests did garner more than 200 arrests.  I’m sure their bail money had already been set aside by someone other than themselves.  For all their obnoxiousness, all they accomplished was hand cuffs and finger prints, and maybe a few minutes inside a holding cell. 
  • The anonymous writer to the NY Times…If I were a betting woman (other than the occasional scratch off ticket, that is) I’d say Omarosa was the author of that missile…er…missive. 
  • Something else I’d bet on:  “The Connors” (the “Roseanne” spin-off premiering next month) will tank in record time.   The reason "Roseanne" was such a hit was because it had enough conservatism to attract conservatives, with more than enough liberalism tossed in to keep Hollywood quiet.   They were watching, though, Roseanne the Trump supporter, not "Roseanne" the show.  Watching and waiting, ready to pounce.   That’s not to say Roseanne didn’t help their agenda out a little.   Or maybe it was Ambien.  As for "The Conners" tanking, we shall see.   I won’t be watching it, and that’s not just because I don’t have cable.
  • Serena Williams had a tantrum on the tennis courts, and when she wasn't allowed to get away with it, she said she will continue “fighting for women.”  What?  I doubt she'll miss the $17,000 in fines out of the nearly two million runner-up prize.  Fight on, dear lady, though I can't image what it is you are fighting.  Anger issues, maybe?

That’s all my time for today!
Later this week...or next...we'll taking about Freedom.  Again.
Time to put on my face and make a mad dash for a parking place.
Have a grand Monday, and an even grander week!

**Please don't forget to pray for our Nation. **


Rushing Along While He Takes His Time

Scenery at Deibert Park, Florence, AL
God’s timing sometimes feels like He’s ignoring us when He is, in fact, teaching and preparing us. He doesn’t get into a rush, though we often try to rush Him. Prayers we feel are unanswered are always on His timing, He is not on our timetable. It’s a sad day when we get so much in a rush for an answer to prayer that we decide we have the answer, only to soon find out it wasn’t God’s plan. I’ve done just that on my journey to freedom. 

I don’t normally get into a rush, unless it’s a mental rush which normally ends up just being a head full of jumbled thoughts. Yet I want quick answers from God to my prayers! (I don’t like to be late, so I’ll rush Ole Boy on Sunday morning so we can get to church early and take my favorite back row seat…but I digress.)
I started praying for freedom some fifteen years ago. My understanding of freedom and what it truly means has changed a lot since I began asking Him to free me. I expect it to change again because I have so very much to learn. 
Freedom isn’t a destination, it’s the journey; the daily walking, choosing to stay on the course, learning what He's teaching me.  If losing weight were to remain my focus, it would be such a disappointment to get to my “destination” of being thin to find the only thing that had changed was the number on the scales!   Change won’t be rushed, just like the scales won’t be, as anyone who has tried to lose weight knows full well.
God, in His infinite wisdom and mercy, has much better plans for me than a number on the scale. He won’t be rushed. I may as well enjoy the stroll up Freedom Lane, working on getting to know Him instead of waiting for the scales to be a number I like.

Butterfly in my back yard

See more thoughts on rushing:


Seven Steps on the Road to Freedom

I wish I could remember where this was taken,
Probably somewhere in the Great Smoky Mountains.
I’m going to be brutally honest: I do things knowing full well I'm sinning. I’ll attempt to justify my behavior as I’m doing it, knowing there’s no justification. There are times I don’t even fight the temptation, I just cave immediately. God doesn’t like that. I've been trying to change my ways, but the harder I try, the worse I act! I don't have all the answers, but I am taking steps in the right direction.  Some of them are not easy steps...well, not until I start walking.

Salvation:  When I know in my heart I am not where I should be, I remember I must yield to Him. Repent. Let Him mold me into a vessel worthy to receive all He wrote in His book for me. (Psalm 139:16) I must learn to trust in the cleansing power of His blood and His grace for the change that escapes me.

Prayer time:  I try to not give Him only the last worn-out ten minutes of my day. I’m not saying I don’t give Him those minutes, I just don’t let that be the only time I give Him.

Bible reading:  Even if it’s just a few verses that truly speak to me, I read every day.  This is Part B of prayer time. (If you think you're too busy, start making the effort and you will find the time.)  We need to be good stewards of the time He gives us. Get up earlier, give up a lunch hour to Him, put the phone down, don’t watch that TV show…

Watch my intake:  Television…is there anything but garbage on prime time?  No, and there's not much good on social media, either.  When I realize what I'm doing, I stop singing along with songs that promote sin.  I try to be more conscious of what I'm actually listening to (I do not listen to a lot of secular music).  I must remember that if I wouldn’t do with Jesus in front of me, I should not do it with the Holy Spirit inside of me.  (Sometimes those songs get in my head and won't leave!)

Forgiveness: As long as I am watching my intake, I must also deal with the out-takes.  I choose to give people who hurt me to God, along with all the anger and bitterness that attaches so easily to unforgiveness. Which do I want:  Freedom or revenge? Freedom is infinitely sweeter. The best revenge I can have is to be free from all the chains that have me bound, including the angry space I give them in my head and heart. Who the Son sets free is free indeed.  He can’t put freedom in my hand if I am grasping unforgiveness. I choose to let it go!  (Sometimes repeatedly, but I do it.)

Change my focus: I have to stop looking around at the turmoil of the world in which we live.  (Scrolling through the internet can leave me anxious)  I will lift up my head! (Luke 21:28)  I will make my headnoise a “No Negativity” zone.  I'll combat fear with my favorite memorized scriptures, and replace murmuring and complaining the same way.  (Complaining is really hard to give up!)  I can't have peace or a merry heart when I allow negativity to rule my thoughts.  (I don't mean to say that I will bury my head in the sand and not be aware of what's happening in the world.)
Meditate on things that are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, things with virtue, and anything praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8).
Help others: I'm not a social person...reaching out to strangers or folks I don't know well is really difficult.   But I will endeavor to help when I see the need and can be of aid.  God sees the simple things we do like opening doors, picking up an item in the store that was dropped by someone else and left to be stepped on, and taking my items back where they belong if I change my mind.  Giving money anonymously to a struggling co-worker would be a wonderful blessing to them, checking on  an elderly neighbor regularly…

Outward actions do not change my heart.
God does that.
And I trust Him.

Roaring Forks, Gatlinburg, TN


Forgiving My Past

My first marriage was an abusive one. The relationship was brief, thankfully, and I rarely think about what I experienced at his hands. One memory, however, troubles me from time to time, a night of one of his unexpected explosions.

In case you didn’t know it already, 
unforgiveness is a sneaky evil. 

We lived in a house that had been made into four apartments, two downstairs, two upstairs. This particular night, the yelling, hitting, and kicking went into the wee hours of the morning until he finally fell asleep. I don’t remember if I slept at all. When he woke up a few hours later, he took my car and went to the store, leaving me a few minutes to escape. I didn’t have a phone, so I ran to my upstairs neighbor to call someone to come and get me. She wouldn’t let me in. I knocked and knocked…and begged.

She later told a mutual friend she was afraid to let me in, even though she knew he was gone.  She had heard everything the night before, every person in that quad-plexed house heard it. No one called the police…

When I find myself thinking about that night, I find the one I haven’t forgiven is the girl upstairs. Not my tormentor. Her. I’ve had to forgive her many times over the years.
Then there are times like my morning drive to work, when I realize that I just wasted precious God time dwelling on bad experiences.   Yesterday, it was my first-grade teacher, who made my introduction to school a nightmare. Though she died years ago, she is another person I’ve had to forgive many times over the years.  These days, I really don't know if I'm just remembering, or still harboring resentment; either way, when these moments happen, I ask God to forgive me, and I say "I forgive you, Mrs. Moore."

Other people have treated me worse than these two women, and I can’t explain why these two experiences still rear their ugly heads these many years later while other bad memories never bother me.  Just as people have offended me, I am certain that I’ve offended others. And just as my two antagonists never thought of me again after our brief encounters, I’m sure I don't remember every person I’ve hurt.

Unforgiveness stops me from moving forward…
to forgiving my present.

I never took the time to map out my life. I’ve made no plans to accomplish some great feat by the time I reached a certain age, or within so many years. Except to lose weight; that’s always been my goal. I call it “Living in the Future” because my planning has always been centered around “Next summer, when I lose “this much” weight, I will…” but such a next summer never arrived.

With my Christian walk, I'm sad to admit that I can’t say I’m 100% sure what God’s plans for me are.  I think it's writing until I sit down to write but find mind is too unfocused, and I convince myself that no one wants to read what I write. I think maybe He wants me to tell others about freedom, until I realize I’m not yet free.  (I will be, in Jesus' name.)   I think my calling is teaching until someone actually asks me to teach one little ladies class, and my immediate response is, “Nooo!”

It's easy to fall into a trap of unforgiveness toward myself for being everything I don't want to be and nothing that I dream of being.  In order to move into the future He has planned for me (Psalm 139:16), I have to come to a place of acceptance of where I am today...I'm not quite there yet!   I have to forgive my inabilities and remember that He doesn’t expect perfection of me!  I am so thankful that His mercies are new each day. 

It doesn’t matter what I’ve never been. 
Lord, mold me into what You want me to be.


Monday Musings: Blacking My Own Eye

Don’t you love it when what you’ve been saying hits you right in the eye?

Me either. 

I spend a lot of time pondering truth and seeking answers for a book I am writing.  It’s a “living in His freedom” daily devotional because so many of God’s children live in chains, and that is not the life He intends for us.  My chains happen to be food-related, but the promise of His freedom covers any chain that has us bound. 

Back to my mental black eye…earlier in the week, I wrote in my book notes: 
We do need personal goals.  If your first thought when thinking of goals is, “I want to lose 100 pounds by this time next year,” you probably need to change your focus.   
On another day, I wrote:
Weighing every day may be indicative of weight loss being more important than His freedom.  If we find ourselves upset because of fluctuations…a gain, I mean, which we will see occasionally no matter what we are doing…then we are placing the importance of weight loss over walking in the freedom He wants us to do.  It’s not about the weight.  It’s about Him.  It’s always about Him.
I confess:  I’ve been getting on the scales every day. 
I’ve lost 14 pounds.  But…

…on Saturday, I went to a birthday party for my husband’s one-year-old granddaughter.   I knew we were having the regular cake and cookies type party foods, plus pizza.  I made up my mind beforehand that I would have one slice of pizza, and that’s what I did.  Ole Boy, who is trying to lose weight, and that is his focus, ate pizza, chips, dip, cake and ice cream (his focus was a little off Saturday).

For dinner, I had Mexican food without cheese dip or rice, and without stuffing myself.   Sunday morning, we found that he maintained his weight loss.  I gained a pound.    

So, I whined, “If I was going to gain weight, I should have had the cake.”  And that’s not all I said.  I was murmuring and complaining!  God doesn't like that.  Getting into the shower, I remembered the words I’d written.  :::BAM!:::

I do not want to slip back into it being about the weight.
That has never, ever worked in the past.  
Old habits die hard.

I don’t claim to have all the answers…but I do know the One who does, and by seeking Him first, I will find the answers.  I’m probably going to be writing a lot about this in the next few months.  

So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.
John 8:36 NLT


God's Love is Intrusive

Image from Pixabay
Have you ever fallen head-first into The Pit, that very real and dark place where one sinks in the mire of hopelessness and despair?   It can be easy to slip into The Pit, but never so easy, if not impossible, to get out without help.  Perhaps we find ourselves there because of our own choices, disobedience, or unforgiveness...and we slide in slowly, not realizing we were sinking in quicksand until it’s too late.

Whatever the reason we find ourselves in a pit, it's here where our identities are stolen and we believe every lie the enemy tells us about ourselves.  When a person has been stripped of the awareness that he or she is the child of a living and forgiving Father, they tend to recoil from anyone trying to lead them back to God.  

There are times when the choices we’ve made are so bad and the lies we believe are so great that we feel unworthy to call out to Him, no matter how willing He is to forgive us, and it’s easier to stay in the pit than fight to get out.

It is here where God’s love is intrusive.  If we walk away from Him, He comes after us and rejoices greatly when we return to Him (Matthew 18:12-14).  God said, "Behold, I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out.” (Ezekiel 34:11)   

His hand is already outstretched and ready to bring us up from this horrible pit, out of the miry clay; He wants to set our feet upon a rock and establish our steps (Psalm 40:2).  When we ignore His hand, He comes closer, intruding on those lies we have believed, calling us until we stop wallowing and start listening.  He is patiently and jealously waiting to forgive us when we’ve finally had enough of pit-living, and are sick and tired of repeating the bad choices that got us there.  

All we need is faith as small as a mustard seed that God will meet us right where we are…to believe anything else would be one more lie.  Remaining in the pit one more day is your choice.  But Jesus died to set you free, and His blood is intrusive.  

If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
If I take the wings of the morning,
And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
Even there Your hand shall lead me,
And Your right hand shall hold me.
If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall on me,”
Even the night shall be light about me;
Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You,
But the night shines as the day;
The darkness and the light are both alike to You.

Psalm 139:8-12


Monday Musings: The Truth and Mockery Edition

Huntsville Botanical Garden
God’s children tend to forget (or just not realize?) that we will give an account for every idle or careless word we speak (Matthew 12:36).  So, is it careless to repost clips, memes, photos, and posts that we didn’t bother to verify as truth?  

The Bible tells us that God hates lying (Proverbs 12:22) and that all liars will have their place in hell (Revelation 21:8).    I wonder if God considers it lying when people post untrue “memes” or repost false stories?  I think He does.  He is serious about that “not bearing false witness" thing.   

Every day we sow seeds.  If we sow deception, what good could we possibly reap? 
Don't be misled--you cannot mock the justice of God.
You will always harvest what you plant.  (Galatians 6:7 NLT)

No one is holding news media or social media accountable to the truth.   Well, except God.   He’s watching His children as they carelessly post and repost photos and stories.  We do want Him to be watching over us, yes?  Except for when we put our typing fingers to use for things that do not give Him glory and honor?   Untruth never has honor attached to it…for anyone.

If we choose to share a post or meme on social media, it is our responsibility to verify that it is true.  Otherwise, we are in the same place as the person who purposely wrote it.  Ignorance is not an excuse.  

Wouldn’t we all like to see a better America?  We can start by sowing some healthy seed.   Stop reposting garbage on social media, consider carefully what say and what you post, don’t argue with people who don’t agree with you, and stop whining!

In case you hadn’t noticed, people have a tendency to whine.  
That might include me.

One last thing…though this is not a LAST thing, but a LASTING thing:  Pray.  Get your eyes on Him instead of what’s going on around you.   Change your focus.  Let me grab a mirror and say that again:  

Change your focus. 

“…let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles…fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.  (Hebrews 12:1, 2 NIV)

Cades Cove Sunrise, Great Smoky Mountains


Saturday’s Six: The “If” Edition

If every event that happened this century hadn’t been sensationalized by the media for ratings, maybe people wouldn’t have stopped caring.

If vulgarity wasn’t accepted as comedy and blatant disrespect of authority wasn’t customary, maybe people would be nicer to each other.

If people weren’t belittled and harassed for a different political or religious view, maybe people would come together and solve problems instead of creating new ones.

If we weren’t drowning in a sea of deception so vast that people no longer care whether or not what they are saying and hearing is the truth, people would realize they were drowning.

If people realized they were drowning, who would they look to for help? Are Christians floundering in the same ocean, or are they in the lifeboat with lifelines ready and willing to help?

If Christians realized that their lifeline is the Word of God, they would know the power in the name of Jesus.

Full-grown thistle...Lawrenceburg, TN
Half-grown thistle...Lawrenceburg, TN

Baby thistle...a weed by any other name...
but pretty little finches love to eat thistle seed
Lawrenceburg, TN


Let’s talk about Donald Trump, Christian to Christian

When we look at America in the natural, with the blatant disobedience and rebellion…the sheer ugliness of what is happening around us, it is easy to forget that the battle isn’t flesh and blood (Ephesians 6:12). It’s not a comfortable thing to think about principalities, powers, rulers of darkness, and hosts of wickedness, is it?  But that’s where the fight is, so when we aim our darts at people, we lose ground in the fight, because we are being disobedient to the word of the living and almighty God.

God is a God of purpose, with a plan for each and every person, and as the creator of the universe, He placed each of us where we are for a reason.  Who dares question His methods or the people He chooses to use? For now, He has chosen Donald Trump to occupy the White House.

What are we to do with this reality? 
What does His word tell us?

Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.  (Romans 13:1)

It doesn’t stop there. Paul further says:

Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. (Romans 13:2)

I sure don’t want to bring any extra judgment on myself. I choose the respect the Office of the President, regardless of the occupant.  To disparage the president, no matter how you feel about him, is wrong according to scripture.  We can't attribute every good thing in the economy to a previous administration without also blaming that same administration for all the bad things that might happen.   A year and a half into the current term, it's time to let go of what used to be and focus on where God has us now.

1 Thessalonians 5:17
In 1 Samuel 16, Samuel anointed David King of Israel.   During the next many years, David would not raise his hand against King Saul, though Saul was determined to kill him, and he would not allow his men to speak against God’s anointed.   That is respect for God's authority of who He places in authority.  It's how we should act.

We aren’t called to like Donald Trump or everything he says or does. Aren’t you glad God didn’t put that in the Bible? But we are called to pray for him (1 Timothy 2:2), and to not speak evil of him, or anyone. (Titus 3:1-2).

I cringe at some of President Trump's tweets and his prideful comments. I also cringe at the way his comments and actions are so often distorted in the media. Like you and me, the President is not the finished product, and not everything news personalities and political pundits say about him are true.

Some say Donald Trump is God’s judgment on America (I do not believe this is the case, and the same has been said about Presidents past). But if so, wouldn’t it be ever so important to already be in a posture of prayer?

God’s word is living and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword…and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart (Hebrews 4:12). I think it’s time to put the word of God back in authority in the hearts and lives of His people.  God blesses obedience.

If you are unsure of what to pray for the president, here are some starting points:
  • Pray for the summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un in Singapore on Tuesday. For God’s will to be done on earth as it is in Heaven (Matthew 6:10).
  • Pray for his salvation, that he be filled with the Holy Spirit.
  • Pray that his eyes be opened so that he sees, that his ears be opened so that he hears from God, and pray that his heart is opened so that he understands.
  • Pray for maturity in his position.
  • Pray that the Holy Spirit infiltrates his every decision.
  • Pray that God gives him spiritual wisdom.
  • Pray that President Trump is consistently surrounded by God-fearing, praying men and women.
  • Pray that God gives him strength to follow through with Godly decisions, even in the face of much opposition.
  • Pray for his safety.
  • Pray for Truth to sweep our nation, that the blinders be removed from God’s people, and that the Holy Spirit will permeate and saturate this nation in a way that those of us living in this day have never seen.
(Prayer points from a previous post: Quit Tooling Around)

Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.
(Psalm 33:12)

I long to live in a peaceful and unified nation; blessed by God to be prosperous and powerful.  It can happen.  Jesus told us that with God, all things are possible (Matthew 19:26). I look around me, and I acknowledge that unity very much looks impossible, but I remember that the first part of this scripture says “With men, this is impossible…”

But it won’t be free. Someone is praying the price.
That would be us. The Elect. The Remnant.
The Ten. (Genesis 18:32)

It has to start somewhere.
O God, let it start with me.

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