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TAKING A KNEE

 All of you football fans know exactly what I speaking of when I tell you to "Take a Knee"


It was a single play used to stop play.   What ever you do-do not become distracted and drop the ball.

In today's culture dropping to your knee has so much more meaning.


 It all started with the infamous Colin Kaepernick.  He dropped to a knee during the "National Anthem" as a sign of protest of racial inequality and police brutality.  We are not here to debate this practice.  I do wonder if he realized the tradition he began across cultural and national lines?  It is now common to see it in a variety of sports as a solidarity stand.

You see it during protests as a way to draw attention while signifying a non-violent approach.  When we drop to a knee we are indicating our agreement to abstain from attack.  The young woman above is on one knee, but she is holding her sign high to indicate her protest.

I myself will always remember a Beth Moore conference when she went down on both knees before thousands to pray.  Powerful.  Google had this to say~


"Kneeling may not be necessary to reverent adoration,

 but it does promote a proper attitude. God is holy and we are not. "


Kneeling is an act of submission and recognition of our status before a Holy God.  Is it required?  NO!  Interestingly, Google also says if it causes you to feel the presence of God, use it.  If not, sit or stand, but kneeling is not required.  

Here is a little tidbit I found,  kneeling was begun in the Christian church in the 7th century.  Although many times in The Bible we read of God's people kneeling, it did not become a "requirement" until that point.  In most Protestant churches it is never required.  I grew up only kneeling during Communion or prayer time at Sunday night services.  

My take away--if it brings you closer to God--by all means take a knee.  If your head bowed does the same thing, bow your head.  If you need to stand on your head to feel the close presence of God ~ DO IT!  Whatever it takes to keep your mind off the world and on our Holy God in this busy world is worth doing.  Take a knee--take two knees-fall prostrate on your face.  Take whatever measures necessary to draw near to God and recognize His presence.  "It is when you voluntarily bow the knee to Jesus now, and hold him as supreme King in your life, that you are less concerned about the outcomes of various power plays with other human beings that exist in your life (teacher, boss, government, etc.).  In my thoughts, I cannot imagine being in the presence and not falling to my knees or perhaps on my face.  HE IS HOLY!



"As I live, says the Lord,

Every knee shall bow to me,

and every tongue shall give praise to God."

Romans 14:11


OVERWHELMED

 


It is obvious I love dogs and cats (I am allergic, but still like them).  Please think about what I am about to say before shooting the messenger.  Everyday I see posts on social media about some poor dog who is lost, some abandoned puppy, or an emaciated stray who is wandering the streets producing puppies at an alarming rate.  There is a huge army of concerned animal lovers who are out there trying to affect change in this culture.  They are constantly raising money, transporting dogs, caring for these cast aways.  Once the government was charged with taking care of this problem, but the citizens were not happy with their methods.  They formed their own organizations and began saving these poor animals.  Still it is overwhelming when you see the number of kennels that are overflowing and the great need there is in solving this problem.  Neighbors report neighbors for abuse of animals.  I have a friend who regularly checks the dumpsters and picks up strays.  Put a picture of a neglected dog on the WWW and you get an immediate response.  It is heart warming to see the compassion so many can have for our furry friends.  Yes, the problem is overwhelming, but that does not deter the animal lovers from continuing to try and help. 



I am also overwhelmed.  I am overwhelmed with the effects of poverty on our fellow man.  We have people living in sub standard housing, people who cannot pay their utility bills, people who are abused, people who are hopeless for a better tomorrow.  It is overwhelming the needs in our midst.  There certainly are groups and people out there trying to help.  I took a poll among those I volunteer with and we all feel overwhelmed.  Being overwhelmed does not give us the get out of jail free card to ignore the problem.  We are given a direct command to LOVE OUR NEIGHBOR.  Loving our neighbor means seeing them and helping where we can.  I heard a sermon recently about God having us where He wants us.  I came away remembering this implies He will use us where we are.  Open your eyes to the community you live in, see those who are struggling, and offer a helping hand.  We are quick to post pictures of those who are ill or in need of prayer for physical reasons.  We tend to look past those who are abused, hungry, cold, desperate.  Perhaps we feel helpless, perhaps we do not know how to proceed, perhaps we are overwhelmed.  There is such a fine line between helping while maintaining the dignity of those we are helping.  There are ways to help, there are things we can do and I am not suggesting you pick up the strays on the street corner (unless God nudges you).  I am asking for you to look beyond the overwhelming essence of loving our neighbor and caring for them and put a toe in the water to begin a journey of loving all those God loves.  Find a place to start and then see how God works.  HE is an amazing God and wants nothing more than to use you.  What a blessing!

"Whoever is kind to the poor

lends to the Lord,

and He will reward them

for what they have done."

Proverbs 19:17

JUNK IN

Anytime I have a subject come up two times in quick succession, I take it as a nudging from the HS this needs addressing.



 We all have heard the phrase junk in-junk out.  All those years of trying to be an athlete taught me one sure lesson~ I would never be any better than what I ate.  I am a confessed junk food junkie.  Thankfully in my old age, it does not have the appeal it once had, but an occasionally well fried potato can bring a smile to my face.  All those years of running and training would never get me to my best shape, if I did not eat right.  Truthfully, I have had a lifetime of only spurts of eating right.  I do not think about food a lot, (that's a blog for another day) and only eat when I think it is meal time.  I can remember what I had for breakfast and lunch yesterday, not because I have a great memory, but because I eat the same thing almost everyday.  This is not the subject of the blog, sorry.  The point is if I did not eat nutritionally sound, I would never be as good as I possibly wanted.  Putting the right things into my body was necessary to obtain the highest level of performance.




This week my small group study has a session on being careful what we look at, listen to, read, etc.  It is cautioning us to not allow Satan access to us by being seduced by things of the world.  Satan gets through to us by seducing and corrupting our minds.  We are (or become) what we allow to infiltrate our minds.  One of the ladies I work with can burn my ears at time with her speech.  I stop and caution her, especially when she is around others.  I excuse it as being a lifelong habit, probably generational that she does not even think about.   The truth of the matter, even when I am alone with her, I need to ask her to refrain from this habit of profanity and vulgarity.  If I hear it enough, I will become numbed and desensitized and look past it.  In an effort to try and help her change, I have compromised what I know is not God pleasing.  WRONG!


Today's devotional also spoke on this very subject (that would be number two).  The writer speaks of "storing up God's words within you."  His warning, "Be careful what you look at, read and think about.  Fill your heart with good things and you will think good thoughts, speak good words and bear good fruit."  That should pretty much end the blog, but I will leave you with one example.  Last night I watched a movie that was truly a redemption story.  The basic concept of the movie was really good, the story line was really good, the vulgarity was atrocious.  Instead of turning the movie off, I convinced myself the story line was so good, I would ignore the language.  WRONG!  I am allowing myself to become desensitized to how offensive this is--how unwholesome--how NOT God honoring. WRONG!


I leave you with this thought, junk in--junk out.   Be careful.  "Fill your heart with good things and you will think good thoughts, speak good words, and bear good fruit."

"Either make the tree good

and its fruit good,

or make the tree bad

and its fruit bad,

for the tree is known by its fruit."

Matthew 12:33

STORY TELLING

Have you ever had someone offer to share your services or something you possess with another without asking you first?  I am pretty certain I am guilty of doing this without even thinking .  I am a fixer, so if you come to me with a problem, I am going to try and help you solve the problem.  Need a truck, I do not have one, but my neighbor does.  I am certain he appreciates me making the offer without consulting him first.  It is never intended to be intrusive or crossing boundaries, but if you think it over I am indeed all up in your business.

I am reading another World War II book about helping people escape the Nazi nightmare.  After finishing the Churchill biography, I was due an easy book.  As I read this morning, I came across a line which inspired this blog.


"That would be giving away that which was not hers to share."


I think I have written about this before, but it is so important that it bears a repeat.  Our stories are just that--our stories.  I had a long discussion last night with a dear friend about the importance of our stories and how important it can be to share them with the right audience.  We all know friends or family who have stories they do not share.  They keep them in that secret place we talked about yesterday.  Though that makes me sad, knowing there are many that might be helped if we are willing to share our stories, I respect the story owner's right to privacy.  The stories of others are not ours to share unless we are given express permission to share them.  Sharing another's story could be construed as gossip.  Looking up the definition of gossip you find ~

"casual or unconstrained conversation or reports about other people, typically involving details that are not confirmed as being true."



Perhaps you think you know all of the story to be the truth--or what you think  is true.  We have all played the whisper game and know how quickly things can be altered as they are passed from person to person.  The rule of thumb should always be, if it is not your story, do not repeat it.  PERIOD.  It is one thing to say, John Doe is sick.  It is another to give a blow by blow story of the details of the illness, the diagnosis, and the prognosis.  There is too much leeway in what the next person hears and how the story can get changed to be the one sharing the story.  We all like to be in the know.  Being in the know does not give us the right to spread the word.  That is left to the one who owns the story.

I AM GUILTY!  Trying to do better, but it pays to remind myself.  Repeat only my own story and leave the story of others to those who have lived it to tell.  

"Set a guard over my mouth, Lord;

keep watch over the door of my lips."

Psalm 141:3

HIDDEN PLACES

 I think I have told you our small group is studying this Beth Moore study 


Not my favorite of Beth's studies, I tend to want to study strictly the scripture and look for ways to apply it.  Not to find a problem or question and then build a study around it.  That is why God made us all different--thankfully!  Would it not be a boring world otherwise.  Somehow I have gotten roped into helping teach this study.  Any type of verbal communication (except maybe a one on one conversation) is not my strong suit and now I am teaching a book that is not my choice of what to study.  God has SUCH a sense of humor.  He loves to point out He can use us even when we are dragging our heels.


Secret Places

The section I worked on yesterday talked about the secret places in the recesses of our minds.  How laughable that we think we can hide anything from God--and yet~  "We kid ourselves into thinking that sin is safe in the secret places."  This section is on the path to sanctification and the author writes "the mind is often the last inner chamber we allow God to sanctify."  OH, Friends, it gets deeper.  "The mind is the biggest battlefield we have on which our spiritual battles are fought.  Even our feelings eventually bow down to our thoughts."  SO there is a relationship between the way we allow ourselves to think (WE are in control) and the feelings we have.  It is a misnomer that we cannot change the way we feel.  I can testify how God has changed my feelings with my submission to His desires.  If we change the way we think (IT CAN BE DONE), before long our thoughts change the way we feel.  I can tell you I have seen God take my feelings from hatred to compassion.  HE will do a great work in our lives if we admit (HE ALREADY KNOWS ANYWAY) our secrets to Him and give Him control over our thoughts and feeling about them.  BUT GOD--He loves us with an unfailing love which cannot be diminished.  Your secrets are not really secrets, but they can fester and stand between you and a sweet relationship with God Almighty.  LET GOD HEAL YOU.

"If you hide your sins,

you will not succeed.

If you confess and reject them,

you will receive mercy."

Proverbs 28:13


FOREVER JESUS

 


OH, HOW I YEARN
FOR THESE
GREAT HYMNS
TO BE UPON
OUR LIPS



BLESSED SABBATH,

DEAR FRIENDS

WHAT AM I READING?

 


This is a biography of Churchill and the years from the beginning of the Nazi aggression until the United States entered the war.  I do not normally read biographies, but perhaps this is a good indication of I might enjoy them.  The book is well researched and written.  My one objection was there is WAY TOO MANY personal details of the Churchill circle's life for my taste.  I am not really interested in who was married to whom, who had an affair with whom, who was a dead beat gambler, who was the victim of unrequited love, and on and.  I read this for book club this month, but my advice to anyone who enjoys WWII history and biographies is perhaps you should skip those chapters with those details.  At this point in the game, I believe we all know that Churchill enjoyed dictating while strutting around in his birthday suit.  Do we care?  You can find this book HERE

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