Thursday, October 19, 2017

Finding Faith in a Weary World

Huntsville Botanical Garden
What does a Christian do when faith is hard to find? World injustices or the evil days in which we live can make it harder to believe Christ is on the throne and in control. Maybe your pain is much closer to home, a divorce, a financial disaster, the death of a loved one for whom you diligently prayed over.

When we walk through life seasons that are heartbreakingly painful, we have to make the conscious choice to believe what the Word of God says. In the bad times, clinging to the scriptures is crucial. It is just as important in the good times, but when we are brokenhearted, often the last thing we want to do is pray.  We may open the Bible only to find the words bouncing off our eyeballs and into the abyss.  Find one scripture that speaks to you and believe it, hold on to it; it is your lifeline.

Fear plays a big part in our moods and emotions. Fear doesn’t always creep in, often it walks up and slap us, stopping us dead in our tracks. We can’t let these days filled with divisiveness, threats of North Korea bombs, war, or people doing unspeakable evil to each other cause us to forget that God already knew about such things. He said there would be wars and rumors of wars, nations rising against nations, famines and earthquakes in various places, and he warned us that because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold. But He also told us not to be afraid.

Not being afraid isn’t easy, but the more we learn to put our trust in Him, the clearer things become. When we are clearly thinking, we can see things for what they are. We aren’t fighting people…flesh and blood…we are fighting satan and his evil crew, and they use people as tools to kill, steal, and destroy.

________________________________________

I saw this on Facebook: 
Fear does not stop death, it stops life.

The Bible tells us repeatedly, “Don’t fear.” But how do we do that when faith is slipping, and there are real threats surrounding us? How do we trust Him?

The answer is relationship. When we draw near to Him, he draws near to us. The closer we are to our Source of life, the more we trust Him. The more we trust Him, the less fear we have, and we are able to love Him with our whole hearts. The more love and less fear we have, the more we are willing to do the things we are commanded to do for the kingdom of God:

Love our neighbor as ourselves
Feed the hungry
Care for the orphans and widows
Proclaim the good news of Christ

________________________________________

We know life isn't easy, and we don't always understand our heartaches. But God promised to save us, to be our peace, to comfort us, and to hold us in His hand.   We have to not only read the words written in the pages of the Bible, we must believe them with our entire being.

The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
and His ears are attentive to their cry

The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them;
He delivers them from all their troubles

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

The righteous person may have many troubles,
but the Lord delivers him from them all
(Psalm 34)

Don’t focus on the problem. 
Focus on the Solution. 
His name is Jesus.


Sunday, October 15, 2017

Stolen Identity...

Who are you?

Too many of God’s children are in the middle of an identity crisis.  It’s not that people have forgotten who they are in Christ…many have never known.  There is a famine of God’s word all across the land, and it is not because it isn’t available, it’s because people are not partaking of the bread of life.  Jesus said, “I am the bread of life.” (John 6:35), and John 1 tells us that Jesus is the word, and has been since the beginning.

But we have to read it to truly know who we are! 

Do you know what happens when people don’t know who they are?   They take on a persona that is not who God says they are.  Why do you think there is such an epidemic of men who think they are women and women who think they are men, or why we are having an explosion of homosexuality? 

It’s because satan himself hones in humanity’s self-will and convinces people (even at very early ages) into believing that they are the exact opposite of who God has called them to be and who He says they are.  It’s a complicated case of mistaken identity; complicated because people truly believe lies about themselves.  They grasp those lies with all their might until they totally accept the deception.  It then becomes a case of identity theft. 

To put it as plainly as I can:  The devil twists God’s truths and convinces people that they are who he (satan) says they are instead of who God says they are.   They are perishing from lack of knowledge…the lack of knowledge of who they truly are! 

And it’s not just happening in the world.  It’s going on in the church, in our youth, and even in our own lives.  We (or maybe I should just say “I”) believe we are not worthy to do what God called us to do because of the way we look, or not able to do God’s will in our lives because of our current circumstances or situation.   God has a plan for each and every one of us, and the thing holding us back is a lie…or more specifically when we believe the lie. 

Read God’s word about who you are, and get in your rightful place.  If you have accepted Christ as your savior, you are a legitimate child of the One True God.

John 1:12
…to all who did receive Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God.

1 John 3:1
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! 

1 Peter 2:9
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.




On Calvary’s hill of sorrow
Where sin’s demands were paid,
And rays of hope for tomorrow
Across our path were laid.

I see a crimson stream of blood,
It flows from Calvary,
Its waves which reach the throne of God,
Are sweeping over me.




Sunday, October 8, 2017

Confessions of a Reluctant Church-goer


I’ve been doing a lot of confessing lately.

I really don’t know how people will perceive me after I say this:  I don’t get excited about going to church, and there are times I just don’t want to go.

::::There, I said it::::

I go because I know I should.  I don’t want to forsake the assembling together, but if I miss a service, I don’t feel guilty.

I saw a Facebook post asking, “What do you like about your church?” I didn’t have an answer.  I mean, I don’t dislike anything about my church.  The preacher has a good word for us each service, the singing is fine…I don’t know most of the songs, but that’s not so important because I was never very demonstrative in public worship. Although if there’s a song sung that touches me, I may get a little teary.  Everyone is pleasant, though most of the folks with whom I was friendly left when our former pastor retired.

Are you thinking I need to find a different church? Nah. I think it has always been this way. It is not a phase I’m going through. My walk with Christ isn’t determined by where I go to church, and my lack of passion for attending a service doesn’t affect my salvation. I talk to the Lord all through the day. I spend most of my lunch breaks in my car praying and reading the Bible through. (I probably won’t make it to 100% because after Leviticus, I’m thinking seriously of completely skipping Numbers, Deuteronomy, and 1 & 2 Chronicles.) I listen to sermons online during the week.

But I’m just not enthusiastic about church. 
Am I alone in feeling this way? 
::::raised eyebrow:::: 
Would you admit it if you aren’t always enthralled with the experience? 
And maybe you are. 
I hope you are.

When I was a child, if there was a church service, we were in attendance. If there was a revival, we were there every night…even if it was a six-week revival in the summertime. Every service. For some reason, I still remember that evangelist’s name: Jerry Ramsey.

Preaching was different then. My pastor preached salvation hot and Hell hotter. He could tell you in excruciating detail the agony leading up to Christ’s crucifixion, until you could almost feel the pain yourself. There were nights when everyone, saint and sinner alike, was on their knees at altar call.

This morning I am missing the old hymns and a 
good old-fashioned Hellfire and brimstone sermon. 

I am also missing my childhood preacher and his family…people to this day I consider my own family, though they live many miles away. I am missing the little church on Tuscaloosa Street that was such a huge part of my youth.

I wasn’t excited about going to church then, either. 
I never knew there would be days I would really miss it.



Saturday, October 7, 2017

Did God do That?


Nate is headed to North Alabama…or what will be left of him by the time he gets here.

Have you ever noticed when someone suggests that earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, etc., could be God’s judgment, some folks lose their minds.   They indignantly say things like “God doesn’t do things like that!” and “That’s not the God I serve!”

I don’t argue with them because truthfully, I don’t know.  

But I do wonder why they think that’s not the God they serve.  Reading through the Old Testament, we find stories of God commanding complete and utter destruction of people…men, women, and children, too.   At times, livestock as well.   Then there’s the time He told Joshua to hamstring the horses…

Sending earthquakes and hurricanes?   It could be the God we serve.   
  • He hardened hearts then made them pay for being hard.
  • He allowed kingdoms to defeat the Children of Israel for their sin, then punished those kingdoms for doing so. 
  • Nehemiah called Him a great and terrible God.   
  • Then there’s Job…

But did He purposely destroy Puerto Rico, flood Houston, or send earthquakes to Mexico?   I don’t know.   But I do know He allowed it.  The Bible tells us the wind and the sea obey Him (Matthew 8), He makes lightning for the rain (Jeremiah 10), He rained down hail more than one time to kill people (Exodus 9, Joshua 10), and plans to do it again (Revelation 16). 
 
It’s kind of hard to think about, isn’t it?
But He loves me...and I love Him, even
when I don't fully understand.
The LORD does whatever pleases Him, in the Heavens
and on the Earth, in the seas and all their depths.
(Psalm 135:6)

And I will serve Him.

But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD."
(Joshua 24:15




Praying for protection for all from the coming storm.  


Wednesday, October 4, 2017

How are you sleeping?


After waking up to the news about Las Vegas on Monday, I found myself doing my normal functions, performing my duties so that other people could do theirs. Every time I heard something about Las Vegas, I shut my eyes tightly so that I only teared up a little. Oddly, I noticed an irritability with others that normally isn’t there.

I am thankful to be alive; thankful my family and friends are fine…yet my heart still breaks for a place I’ve never desired to visit, and for people I don’t know.

With the hurting people not far from my mind, life went on. I ate, I talked with others, I did what I was supposed to do. Something was different, though. As the hours went by, when Monday turned into Tuesday, and now Wednesday, people are thinking of Las Vegas less and less. But I am mindful that while today I am exempt from the heartache others are suffering, tomorrow is not promised.

We are bombarded with information every day, and precious little of it is good news. Story after story of destruction and evil, people bickering, hurting each other, killing each other. Earthquakes. Hurricanes. Hate. My mother said people are desensitized. I believe she is right. We watch TV and scroll through social media, blasted with the evil deeds of the day, and then as a new story develops, we forget about the last one.

Is it any wonder so few of us are sleeping and so many 
of us are on sleeping pills and/or anti-depressants?

I don’t know if this post could get any more bleak, so I will put this out there for us to dwell on instead of bad news:

Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed,
yet My unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor My covenant
of peace be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you.
Isaiah 54:10

I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace.
In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart!
I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33

…The peace of God, which transcends all understanding,
will guard your hearts and your minds in Jesus Christ.
Philippians 4:7

Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you…
do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
John 14:27


I came across this video on Facebook. If you haven't watched it, it is well worth 8 minutes and 39 seconds of your time:


Thursday, September 28, 2017

Confessions of a Tired Christian in the Face of a Tool


People are weary.  Distracted.  Over-exposed, overwhelmed, and over football. 


Let me go ahead and get my snark out of the way.   Here are some "Margafesto" definitions you may find useful for this post:

Tool:  to͞ol 
noun:    a person, especially one used by the enemy, blindly carrying out the carefully laid 
plans of the evil one. 

Toolery:  to͞olərē 
noun:   the behavior of a tool.

Tooligan:  to͞oləɡən
noun:   the more obnoxious tool. 


Funny thing happened on the way to a football game…all of America got distracted!

Good grief.  
How much attention can we give tools in uniforms? 

Tooligans who are so dissatisfied with America that they allow themselves to be used as tools of divisiveness should take a mission trip to Haiti, Equatorial Guinea, or Zimbabwe.   Or simply do some in depth research on how people are treated in North Korea, Saudi Arabia, or Sudan.  Knowing what goes on in oppressed countries will make the hardest heart realize that America, even with her problems, is a great place to live. 

Freedom of speech, though.  I get it, and I get tired...I get tired of the one-sidedness of it.  My first inclination is to respond to supporters of knee-takers with pointed comments and a bit of sarcasm.   I refrained from tossing too many comments into the vast abyss we call the internet, but I did give in and slap out a few rebuttals on Facebook.


The thing is, adding my two cents worth doesn’t do any good…in fact, it only adds to the fray.  Just like they won’t convince me that they are doing a good thing somehow making a positive statement, I will not convince them that they are being disrespectful, divisive, and…well, a tool. 

When friction is coming from both sides, we only get chaos and disorder.  Someone must be willing to rise above the toolery.   I say it should be Christians.

The reminder here is that we aren’t fighting flesh and blood.  (Ephesians 6:12)  

While we are focused on the NFL, the enemy is blatantly walking in, gearing up, and taking their places for battle.  But we are ungirded. 

We. Are. Not. Ready. For. Battle
We are sidetracked by the actions of others.

We know who God is, but we are ignoring Him and giving our attention to carefully laid distractions.  God aches to bless us because He loves us…but when we remain focused on devil's deeds and his tools, getting involved with the bickering, we miss out on the great plans our Father has for us. 

Here’s how we gird ourselves:  PRAYER...God’s children praying, all of us, together, and each of us individually...without ceasing.  There's a lot of disagreement between brothers and sisters in Christ, and we are often known for that more than we are known for our love for one another.  Let's stop worrying about who is wearing what, who is playing or not playing music, who is too loud, who prays too softly, or :::gasp::: who is speaking in tongues.   Christians must unite and learn to love one another despite our differences, and maybe even because of them.  Jesus tells us that people will know we are His disciples by our love for one another.  (John 13:34-35)  Outside of our own church, are we there yet?  A house (country) divided can't stand.  (Matthew 12:25)

Christians in heavily persecuted countries aren't debating theology.  They are praying!  We cannot afford to remain separated by walls of denominations.  It’s time to come together corporately and pay the sacrifice of prayer to the ONLY ONE who can turn this country around!  

Stop worrying about that the NFL is doing.   Look up!   Seek His face!  He can handle a few over-pampered, over-paid, over-bearing, spoiled football players.   Pay attention to the real issue:   satan is moving in and setting up house in our own front yard.   

We have the authority to stop him…in the name that is above all other names, the name to which every knee will bow and every tongue will confess, in the name of the One who saves, who delivers, who heals, and He who is coming back again, in the name of Jesus Christ…that’s how we do battle. 

Are you ready to take our country back? 
Let’s do some kneeling of our own!

Pray that eyes will be opened...
so they see,
(and that we see).
That ears will be opened...
so they hear,
(and that we hear).
That hearts will be opened...
so they understand
(and that we understand).


PS:  It's not just the NFL.   There are many well-placed, divisive stumbling blocks being rolled into our paths every day.  Be ever mindful of the hour in which we live...watch carefully so that you don't trip.


Sunday, September 24, 2017

The Problem With Preachers...


For preachers (teachers, apostles, bishops, pastors…whatever the chosen title), James makes it clear that when one steps into this office, they are held to higher standards and will be judged more strictly. I am not sure if James was including the fact that people will judge leaders more harshly as well, or if he is just cautioning people who are thinking of going into ministry of God’s decrees. But people watch, and they can be quite critical. 

It is not just preachers…when we call ourselves “Christian,” we should hold ourselves to a higher standard and rise above what the world has to offer. More plainly, we should strive to act according to that Scripture dictates.

Do you have problems with that? 
The Good Lord knows I do.

I am not very good at turning the other cheek. When someone insults me, my first inclination is to pull out the sword of sarcasm and snark. And even if I don’t say anything directly to my offender, we can be pretty sure I told them off in my head. I’ll have to work on my fleshly humanity…it is a daily battle.

Preachers/teachers live in a body of flesh as well, so like the rest of us mortals, they aren’t going to be perfect. Invariably, however, there will be people who expect them to be, just as they expect perfection out of anyone who says “I am a Christian.” And they will expect the preacher to live up to higher standards… standards they do not live up to themselves.

In a previous post, I mentioned a local (unnamed) pastor and his choices in music. I may have been wrong to write about it. When I found myself even more bothered by one of his subsequent posts, I decided it was time to unfollow him (and pray for him) instead of fighting my feelings and wondering if I am judging him. Pastors do not have an easy job…much is expected of them (often too much) with criticisms that are fast and harsh, but approval and encouragement are often not given.

I said all of the above to get to this point: The world around us is watching. We need to be light to them and not add to the darkness. We can’t lead while we are sitting on the fence wondering what this world is coming to; we must get off the fence and on the path of righteousness! All Christians are called to be leaders, whether or not we hold the official title of teacher.

It is impossible to be light when we become as polluted as our environment. We have to renew our minds daily through scripture and prayer. We cannot renew our minds when we fill up on rated R movies, or television shows and music that promote, glamorize, and glorify sin. If you sit down to pray or read your Bible after the pollution of Hollywood, you’ll find that Hollywood is foremost in your mind, and it will be hard to put those things out of your mind.  Chances are that when you’ve spent hours contaminating yourself, you won’t be spending much time in God’s word. 

We alone must make the decision as to what is more important to us.




Saturday, September 23, 2017

...About the Father's Business...

It's a new day dawning... 
Not everyone wants to hear this, but Jesus really is coming back, and judging from the world in which we now live, His return may be sooner than we realize. The signs the Bible tells us that indicate we are living in the last days are all around us, every day, but we are not following His commandments.  We aren't loving our neighbor as ourselves...we aren't even loving each other so that the world knows who we are (in Him).

Don't you think it's time to put religion aside and make relationship our priority?  Love.  We must learn to love...and Jesus tells us to love even our enemies, and to pray for those who spitefully use us.  Matthew 5:43-48

We can no longer slumber and sleep in a day when we need to be awake and alert to that we are not deceived.

Pray for mercy for the coming days. He is ready and waiting to pour out His spirit on His people in these last hours. In such a busy, clamorous, noisy world, we cannot allow ourselves to be sidetracked from the things He has called us to do.

Pray, brothers and sisters!  Seek His face – listen to His voice and heed His word. (And in order to heed His word, you must read it!)


Are you ready for His return? 
If not, you can talk to Him right now.

Have mercy upon me, O God,
According to Your lovingkindness;
According to the multitude of Your tender mercies,
Blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
And cleanse me from my sin.

For I acknowledge my transgressions,
And my sin is always before me.
Against You, You only, have I sinned,
And done this evil in Your sight—
That You may be found just when You speak,
And blameless when You judge.

Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
And in sin my mother conceived me.
Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts,
And in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom.

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Make me hear joy and gladness,
That the bones You have broken may rejoice.
Hide Your face from my sins,
And blot out all my iniquities.

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from Your presence,
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
Psalm 51:1-11



Thursday, September 21, 2017

What Was I Thinking?


When my heart issues kicked in, I couldn’t sleep very well. I could either toss and turn or do something more productive, so I began to pray and read the Bible in the long hours of the night. I would pray for every need I could think of, whether I knew the people or not, if I’d heard of someone’s problems, I prayed for them. I prayed a lot for the people of North Korea, asking God to deliver them from the Kim family dictatorship, to feed the hungry, and for the Holy Spirit to infiltrate the country. I pray for other countries where I know Christians are persecuted.

I pray for our own country…for our president, our leaders…I cannot imagine trying to lead a country of people determined to destroy it from the inside out.

With the pollution of what is called “news” and all the Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and, eh…blog posts in our faces, there is a constant churning of (not always accurate or truthful) information before our eyes. I am aware that looking at it is of my own choosing. I am reminded of a Sunday school song from long ago, “Oh, be careful little eyes what you see…”

I’m not always so careful. And I believe my spending too much time scrolling social media has affected my attention span, often reducing it to mere seconds. In less than a minute, I can scan 50 or more stories, posts, and advertisements. Is it any wonder my thoughts are out of control and explode in my head like a meteor shower? Sadly, my thoughts are not nearly as spectacular as asteroids and shooting stars.

I had a little more to say, but I’m out of time this morning…
so I’ll leave you with this thought: 

It really is important what I think about, 
and I know I need to choose better thoughts for myself. 

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. (Philippians 4:8 ESV)

The birds have nothing to do with the post...I just like my zoo photos.


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

I don’t always talk about my medical issues...

...but when I do, I tell it all.

It hasn’t been a great medical year for me. It all began in February with an iris inflammation that I had trouble getting rid of, the steroid was raising the pressure in my eye, which meant a different medicine for a longer period of time. Around that time, the tooth that I had had a root canal on just six months earlier decided to act up. Then a persistent UTI, something I’d never had to deal with before, attacked me and did not want to let go, even after four rounds of antibiotics…but according to the urologist, I had been on too many antibiotics. (Ya think?) In the middle of that, my knee started really bothering me, so much so that I was limping around (and making plenty of sound effects)…and before I could make it to the doctor to see about my knee, my heart decided to run amok. “Amok” as in beating fast and furious, and for an added attention-getting measure, it would toss in a few definite skips. It started in the middle of the night, and I may have had a panic attack because I convinced myself that I might be dying, so I made Ole Boy take me to the ER…which ended up being an all-night/good-part-of-the-morning ordeal. In all of the testing, they found my d-dimer was elevated (which led to CT scans and ultrasounds to be sure I had no blood clots), and that my aorta is enlarged. 

I had never heard of d-dimer…have you? I had to make him repeat it twice, and even then I didn’t understand. That’s what Google is for. Good ol’ Dr. Google.


It all sounds about as serious as a heart attack, doesn’t it? My knee is bone-on-bone; got a shot for that, which helped a lot. After all the antibiotics, the tooth is doing better. I am on a beta-blocker, which is helping my palpitations/rapid heartbeat, and I am scheduled for a stress test and echocardiogram next week. The enlarged aorta (aneurysm) is not enough to worry about (righhht, because the word “aneurysm” isn’t scary at all), but will be watched.

I just wore myself out telling you all of this.

Thank God for insurance! I cannot imagine not having it. I have not enjoyed all the co-pays and deductibles (I had used up all my medical flex spending money by midsummer). In fact, I really haven’t enjoyed any of this…which reminds me of an Andy Griffith episode (Aunt Bee’s Medicine Man) where Andy told Aunt Bee, “Augusta always enjoyed poor health as long as I can remember.”


Some of the above (the story, not Andy Griffith) may explain why I didn’t write very much over the summer. That, and laziness. But, some days I felt really rough, and a constant heart rate of 98 tends to make me extremely tired. I’ve used more sick hours this year than I have in all the other ten years of my employment combined. There has been a lot of prayer for me, for which I am eternally grateful.

If you toss a few episodes of what can only be described as panic attacks in the middle of the night…you now have my year in 533+ words.

And that’s enough for one post, don’t you think?
When I began this post, I had more to say than just all my issues.
It will keep.


Friday, September 15, 2017

My Judgmental Ways

Me in my uniform
 at the private school
I’m not a people person. The whole “love thy neighbor as thyself” thing can be hard for me, and frankly, there are days I don’t even try. By “not try” I do not mean I am ugly to others, I mean I just don’t engage. Shouldn’t Christians engage with others?

Back in high school, I was a bully. Mostly not, but there was one guy…I’ll call him Mark, because that’s his name…who I didn’t like.  At all.  I didn’t treat him very nice.  For some reason, I woke up this morning thinking about him. The reasons I didn’t like him were many, partly because of how he acted, and probably partly because of how he dressed, though I didn’t normally pick my friends by their appearance. Anyway. There were days I was pretty ugly to him, other days I ignored him. Years later, I ran into him while shopping. (He left this area years ago.)  He came over to speak to me…we talked like we had been good buddies. He introduced me to his friend. To my face, he showed grace, and I was impressed with the man he had become. He may have only been nice to me just to make me uncomfortable…but I doubt it. I like to think he really is a nice man regardless of my treatment of him. Long ago, I asked God’s forgiveness. I didn’t think to apologize when I saw him…

…and the school we went to was a Christian school. Maybe I shouldn’t tell y’all about my bad side. Not sure why Mark is on my mind this morning. I prayed for him, maybe that’s why.

Today, I will work on my judgmental ways. But first I need to figure out exactly what is being judgmental. Is it judgmental when I am bothered by the pastor of the largest church in my area who posts on Facebook about his favorite Guns N’ Roses and Pink Floyd songs? He’s not even my pastor…why would I be bothered by it? Is my being bothered by it being judgmental?  Especially since every now and then I crank up the radio to a 70's tune and sing along for all I'm worth.  I may also need to work on my hypocritical ways today, as well.

If I’m in church making mental notes about the way others are dressed, that’s surely judgmental…even if they might reconsider wearing a dress that short ever, much less to church.

Ugh. I’m not going to do well working on my judgmental ways from the looks of it.  It's a struggle to bring my thoughts into captivity to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5).   Am I alone in this fight?

I hope your Friday is a grand one. It’s not even 6 a.m. and I am already struggling with being nice to others and I haven’t even had to deal with anyone yet.




Thursday, September 14, 2017

Disobedience

Huntsville Botanical Garden

We seem to have lost the fear of the Lord. The Bible speaks a lot about the fear of the Lord, and I don’t believe it is telling us we should be terrified of the one true, loving and forgiving God…but to be reverential, to be in awe of Him, to walk in obedience. Perhaps we should be fearful by our disobedience.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 9:10). I want wisdom, don’t you? I also want to know Jesus in His majesty. I want to worship God on his magnificent throne…the foundation of which is righteousness and justice (Psalm 89:14), and His throne is where we find mercy and grace in times of need (Hebrews 4:16).   I want to know Him in a way that I am in reverent awe of the One who created this universe with the spoken word (Genesis 1), in His great power and outstretched arm (Jeremiah 27:5).

Just a side note…the earth is not billions of years old. Creation took only six days. It disturbs and saddens me that so many Christians take the world’s view of this earth and make it their own. They will justify this belief by saying, “He did create, but He let it happen over millions of years.”  I fully believe these people have not studied God's word.  But this is a post for a different day.

Where are we disobedient? For me, gluttony is one of my ways of disobedience. It should be more important to me to choose to not overeat because the Bible indicates that gluttony is a sin. I am working on it…not as hard as I should be…but I am trying to make obedience in this area of my life more important than the number on the scale. I need to make the goal obedience, not weight loss.

Most everyone has areas of disobedience in their lives. Another of my areas of rebellion is writing...or the lack thereof.  I know God gave me the talent to write but I mostly “write” in my head and that’s where it stays. If God gives us a talent, He doesn’t mean for us to keep it locked away inside ourselves. The singer should sing! The teacher should teach! The encourager should encourage. Writers should write! We need to be about the Father’s business with our fellow man…and woman, of course. Our talents should be used for His glory.

I don’t want to just be a better person. I want to be a better Christian. I want to live out loud (in actions, not words) and with purpose, so that His light shines in me. The days are becoming colder, my friends. We live in an evil generation, and time is growing short. If there is an area of disobedience in your own life, there is no better time than now to start doing what God has called you to do!

Opryland Hotel, Nashville, TN


Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Actions and Choices...ugh!

One of my favorite iris shots for a couple of years ago.


Even if we justify our actions or blame someone else, we are still responsible for the choices we make.

Saying, "I can't help it." or "I can't control myself!" will not wash as a good enough excuse when we are face-to-face with the One who suffered and died for our freedom.

Wishing I wasn't "this way" is not an excuse.

Tell yourself "no." and make your flesh obey.  And if you're like me, tell yourself to shut up even now and again....

...because I have really been wanting to write Ashley Judd an open letter.  But that argument with myself is for another day.

Tulip petals

Monday, August 14, 2017

Monday!

Monday.
Today, I vow to not focus on weight loss or food. No counting of calories, worrying about fat grams, carbs, or protein.  
 
Today, I will seek to obey God’s commands:
  • I will feed on His faithfulness (Psalm 37:3)
  • I will taste and see that He is good and I will take refuge in Him. (Psalm 34:8)
  • I will not labor for food which perishes, but for the food with endures to everlasting life… (John 6:27)
  • …because He is the bread of life (John 6:48)
  • I will eat only as much as I need.
  • He is my shepherd (Psalm 23:1), and I will let Him feed me with knowledge and understanding. (Jeremiah 3:15)
  • I will remember that because He died for me, I am no longer a slave to sin. (Romans 6:6)
  • And I choose to NOT LET SIN RULE in my mortal body, nor will I obey its lusts…sin shall not have dominion over me. (Romans 6:12-14)
And as I do these things, I will reap what I sow, and weight loss will be one of them, but that is not first on my list. Foremost, I seek to have a closer relationship with Jesus.
Have a great week!

Friday, August 11, 2017

♪♫...It's a mixed up, muddled up, shook up world...♫♪



Transgenderism and Sports
Not surprisingly, this is only a real issue in women’s sports.  A man who is a woman in his head still has a man’s body.  Dysphoria is in the mind not the physique, and a man, on average, has greater strength in his legs and even more so in the upper body.  If you don’t like those facts, talk to God…that’s the way He made us.  How can it be fair for women to compete against men, no matter what the men think they are?

After all, if a man thinks he’s a bull, you don’t put him in the pasture.  You get him help and keep him away from the cows.  

Do I think gender dysphoria is real?  Yes, I do.  But the answer is not to dress them in different clothes and chemically or medically alter their bodies.   The answer is Jesus Christ. 

North Korea and President Trump
I remember when Donald Trump first announced his candidacy.  I said that if he did get elected, he’d have us in a war within three months…but at the time, I did not, in my wildest dreams, think he would be elected.   In the end, I voted for him, I support him, and I fully believe God placed him in office.  Oddly enough, I am less worried about Kim Jong-un now than I would have been with the previous administration.  I believe that Trump will do as he says, and removing the Kim regime is in the best interest of the world.   I do wish President Trump wasn’t quite so antagonistic with his comments…but we definitely know where he stands and what he intends to do. 

North Korea needs Jesus, and I am praying that the Holy Spirit infiltrate that country.  Ours, too.    

Reparations
There are more than one group of people who should be given compensation for past sins if one group gets it.  We should all hope that we don’t get what we deserve…that’s where God’s grace comes in.  What we need is forgiveness.  If you want money, work for it.


The so-called actress…who got her knickers in a bunch because someone called her “sweetheart” and said her dress was pretty…made a Facebook rant that was two and a half minutes long, which was two and a half minutes too long.  My best guess is that this is an attention seeking scheme because she realized her star has faded to the point of obscurity…floating around in oblivion (and you’ll notice her trying to wipe the smirk off her face in the beginning of the video).  

Some people don’t like being called sweetheart, honey, sugar, etc…I understand that.  But is being called “sweetheart” any reason to go to their manager…who, by the way, she :::gasp::: touched!  By her own admission, she shook his hand.   The manager may be like me and hate hand-shaking.  

There are too few compliments in this world.  Please stop subjecting us to your absurdity, Ms. Judd.  You are an embarrassment to womanhood, as you proved all too well in January.  You need Jesus.

Insults
Is there a moment when someone is giving you a piece of their mind (which they usually can’t afford) when you just want to say, “Are you talking to your reflection in my eyes?  You are describing yourself!”   

And by the way, when someone is being unfair or baiting you, you do not have to answer the phone, read the text, acknowledge the comment, or remain in the room…walk away…unless you want to fight.  Some people do enjoy a little scrapping.  Maybe some would argue that I insulted Ashley Judd.

The reason I bring up insults is the musings above have a way of getting people riled up, and riled-up folks are not always nice.  They need Jesus.  I do, too.  More and more every day.


Monday, August 7, 2017

My Completely Erroneous Diet Rules


  1. You can only start a diet on Monday. 
  2. You can’t start a diet on Monday if you know you are going out to eat on Wednesday, or Thursday, or Friday…or any day that particular week. 
  3. If you have a Jack’s biscuit (of any variety) for breakfast, the day is shot, eat all you want. 
  4. If you eat candy as a pick-me-up in the afternoon, the diet is over. Start again next Monday. 
  5. If you are going on vacation, put off all dieting until the second Monday after you get back. 
  6. If you lose 3 pounds in a week, reward yourself with a Jack’s biscuit and refer to Rule 3. 
  7. If you eat too much for lunch on Tuesday, do not skip supper. In fact, the diet is shot, eat all you want, plus dessert! Start again on Monday. 
  8. Have a plan, think only of that plan, feel guilty even if you think of anything but that plan. Beat yourself up for eating a marshmallow; refer to Rule 4, then wonder how much you can eat before Monday. 
  9. On the days that you are doing great, judge others for what they are eating. If you know them well enough, judge them out loud and to their faces. 
  10. On the days that you are not doing so well, pester those people you judged the day before until they give in and eat the pizza buffet with you for lunch. (Make sure they leave as miserably stuffed as you.) 
  11. While on a binge, when you eat (which will be most of the day) remind yourself constantly that you’ll get started on Monday. 
  12. While binge-eating, eat fast. It won’t make Monday arrive any quicker, but you can eat more that way. 
  13. On Monday, try one of the plans you’ve already failed at 170 times. 
  14. Spend half of your paycheck on one of the various diet plans, chemical concoctions, gym memberships, or “diet” food. 
  15. And finally, weigh every day and agonize over every ounce that is gained, even if yesterday you weighed naked in the morning, but today are weighing fully clothed at night.




Sunday, August 6, 2017

An Uninformative Update...

I haven’t blogged this summer.   Have you missed me?   I know you have!   I have no reasons and no excuses, just no energy.   Could be the heat, could be the carbs…but I won’t tell you about that in this post.

I went to a family reunion in Texas in July…it was absolutely wonderful seeing everyone.   It’s been a whole month, and I have still not sent a thank you note to my host-cousins.   That’s just how I roll…I’ll get to it this week…I hope.  

Last weekend, I went to Gatlinburg, TN, and Maggie Valley, NC.  It was really nice, and for the last weekend in July, the weather was pleasant.   The devastation from the fire in Gatlinburg wasn’t as bad as I had envisioned, but that does not mean it wasn’t bad.    Homes and businesses destroyed and lives lost...it’s heartbreaking.  But if you are thinking of not going to East Tennessee because of the fire, they are up and running, and would love to have you visit. 


Once upon a time, I envisioned myself as “amusing,” hence the blog domain of “AmusingMargaret.”  Over the years (I have been blogging over 15 years) I have realized that between politics and crazy antics by crazed people that I feel compelled to address, I find not so funny anymore.   So I bought another domain:  MargaretsMusings.com.   I’ve mentioned it before, but I am seriously wondering what to do with it.   I mean…all the world needs is one more blog, right?  And…uhm…I don’t have just ONE more blog, I have several.   

While in Texas, my phone went haywire.   After lots of tweaking the settings, several resets and much frustration, I bought a new phone.   My grandson got the old phone (which wasn’t that old), put his SIM card in it, and it works perfectly.  Go figure.   My new phone’s camera is pretty good…here’s a small sample of what it can do…

Apple Valley Stores and Cafe, Townsend, TN

Streets of Gatlinburg
Streets of Gatlinburg

Streets of Gatlinburg
 

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