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NEVER CHANGING

 In a recent email exchange, I asked how the change at work was going.  The answer began my wheels turning--- "I suppose change is inevitable."  My response was I have lived a life of change and learned to "Go with the flow".




Change is inevitable, for we do not live in a static world.  Things are always changing.  I also found this ~





Platitudes are great, but real life is another thing entirely.  While mulling this over, I thought about standing in the strong Texas winds that blow from the west consistently.  I can walk facing the wind and refusing to change direction be blown flat on my butt, or I can change directions and allow the wind to help move me along.  It is my choice.  Life is filled with change--it is a given.  Our part of change is to either adapt to it or fight a losing battle against it.  Changes come--in all areas of life.  It is just a matter of time---get ready because change is coming.  I love the above quote and hope we all can seek the opportunities and not get stuck in the mire of refusal to comply.  Sooner or later--we must either comply or get left behind.  That can become a real struggle as we age.


There is one constant that never changes in life---the fact that Jesus paid the price for our failures.  That does not change.  The promise of eternity is all because of Him and there is no compromise.  Not to say that we cannot change our opinions over points of theology with growth and study.  BUT the one thing which is never going to change is what Jesus did for us.  It is the line in the sand.  Come what may---as the world swiftly changes---Jesus is the sure and certain way.  No need for change when He is the answer.

"For I the Lord do not change."

Malachi 3:6

COVER UP

Texas weather is a proverbial whirlwind.  You don't like today's weather--stick around--your favorite kind is coming.  As I write this a cold front screeched through last night--literally.  The wind howled all night and is still making its presence heard.  Today the highs will be in the 40's--wind chills in the 30's----yesterday it was in the 80's and the day before it was in the mid 90's.  YES--you heard me right--it hit 95 Monday after a slow warming trend claimed dominance at the end of last week.  And with those rising temperatures the snow bunnies became bathing beauties.



 

As Hero and I walked by one of  the pools during his noon time constitutional stroll, we noticed the pool area was filled with all the young college coeds in their sunning attire.  They all prefer the brands Barely There and Covers Nothing for their swim suit wardrobe.  NOW-in fairness to them--if I still looked like they do perhaps I would dress similarly.  In the days when I did look like them, even though I was a little rebellious, I did not dare barely dress.  Momma kept a tight rein on some parts of my life--with the aim of always being a lady.  AND a lady certainly did not overexpose herself in public!   


Today's my swimsuit wardrobe is filled with the brands Behind a Berka and Covers It All.  Time and living life has taken a toll on my body and it is best kept covered.  Lesson learned about over exposure to the sun after skin cancer surgery is one small example.  I have a criss- cross of scars & wrinkles from surgeries, accidents, and the pull of gravity.  Perhaps I would be doing those lovely coeds a favor if I walked out there in a bikini sans cover up and showed them what they have to look forward to.  Instead--IF I dared to go to the pool, it would be with a cover up that I took off after I found a chair in some obscure dark corner (then what is the point of going to the pool).  Some things are best not seen---with me in a swimsuit on the list.


I have noticed they all walk to the pool in some form of coverup.  There are over 700 apartments in this complex so it it a huge area requiring walking through and around several buildings.  They are careful to keep everything covered with a long shirt or swim cover.  Once they reach the pool--the cover is flung off and they found a chair to sprawl in and soak up the sun.  So much for the cover up---if you didn't see anything on the way to the pool--it was all exposed once they arrived at the pool.  Very little left for the imagination--with only strings to hide behind.


NOW---don't think I am some old grandma prude--on second thought perhaps I am.  The point of this post is not swimsuits at all.  This reminded me of our (that means me too) efforts to cover up our sin---hide it behind some excuse or justification of the whys it is not our fault.  We think---no one will ever know as long as we are sinning behind cover--but though man may not know---there is One Who knows all.  There is no way to cover it up--sweep it under the rug--or hide behind the tree.  He knows--just ask Adam and Eve.  SO before you don that sin cover up---remember God sees it all.  Yes---our sin is forgiven once we accept Jesus into our life.  BUT there will come a day when we stand before the throne and see a recap of our lives.  Will it be criss-crossed with the wrinkles and scars from a sinful life or will we reflect the perfection of striving toward Jesus?  My toes are black and blue---I just stepped all over them.

"For we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ,

so that each one my receive what is due

for what he has done in the body,

whether good or evil."

II Corinthians 5:10


IN ALL THINGS MODERATION

I LOVE my Fort Worth Doctor, BUT----I DO NOT always love what she has to say during my annual physical.  This year was no different, BUT she is a truth-teller in my life.  Last year--I had to go back in for a check at six months.  She was not happy with my weight.  This year---through my great efforts---the weight is great---the numbers are not so great.  I have been bordering on taking cholesterol meds for years.  NOW, it is in my genes since both bothers take the meds, but I am not a fan of meds.  SO I eat chicken--so much chicken I could lay eggs and definitely do a lot of clucking.  Exercise has also  been a key--but since the pandemic lock down, I have not been consistent in my exercise program.  I walk everyday--but the weights--well it is hit or miss.  I miss a LOT!    SO--stubborn soul that I am---I am once again trying to get with the program.-

The surprise number this year was my triglycerides.  They have NEVER been high, but this year--SURPISE--they are above acceptable margins.  She & I talked this over---since I am a creature of habit, it didn't take long to narrow down the culprit.  When you eat and drink the same thing day in- day out---it is pretty easy to track down the seemingly innocent culprit.  I LOVE lemonade and now that you can get it infused with all the berry flavors it is my favorite drink.  I was drinking several glasses of lemonade throughout the day.  IT IS SO YUMMY!  BUT she is pretty certain this is my downfall.  NOW in my defense, there are worse things than drinking lemonade---but that is no excuse.



SO---I am going back to drinking Arnold Palmer's.  If you are not familiar--this is iced tea(decaf in my case) with a splash of lemonade.  I will have withdrawal for about a week--but it's the price you pay when you fall off the sugar wagon.  LESSON LEARNED--too much of a good thing is not always a good thing.

WELL now where in the world could I be headed with this?  Moderation is a good thing--but I am not always good at moderation.  Somehow I begin to believe if a little is good--what harm could a lot be?  This is not always the case in life.  I can truthfully tell you I ran too many miles over my lifetime.  What began as a healthy activity became an obsession.  I ran my first marathon after completing a half marathon and thinking--this is no big deal--I can do a marathon.  Can I tell you the difference in a half marathon and a whole?  Double it---and quadruple the pain.  I also have mechanical issues and misalignments which lead to much pain and suffering.  I took WAY too many naproxen and now live with the damage done to my kidneys.  TOO MUCH is just that---over the line --leading to permanent damage.  Moderation is the key.  I could have enjoyed all the same benefits without the wear and tear on my body.  BUT I became obsessed--and our obsessions can be our downfall.

Even The Word addresses moderation--

"Let your moderation be known unto all men."
Ephesians 4:5

AND there is quote after quote to be found about it.  Bottom line---"Everything in moderation, including moderation," Oscar Wilde.

CURIOSITY

In the last couple of weeks, we have spoken of conversation and the intent behind it a great deal.  I absolutely LOVE it, when in the course of a conversation,  a golden nugget of wisdom appears.  Perhaps we should always enter any conversation with this in mind ~


BE MORE CURIOUS THAN CERTAIN


I am fairly certain this came from the following quote~


If only we could remember this, before launching into an argument.  What if we could hear everyone out on their side of the conversation and not immediately jump on the band wagon of you are wrong.  Are you listening to what is being said or thinking about how to refute it?  There is much to be learned from determining where the speaker is coming from before declaring him dead dog wrong.  I truly believe there are two sides to almost every argument.  

What if before declaring the opposing view wrong, we were willing to hear them out--before interrupting (we talked about that recently) and with an open mind.  Do they perhaps have a point?  Could there be more to the argument than we understand.  Do we even give them an opportunity to state their view?  Are we the least bit curious or are we closed off and unwilling to listen to what they are thinking?  Would it make any difference if a loved one was the one we didn't agree with?  Is there any way any part of our argument could be flawed or there could be extenuating circumstances?  Are we the least  bit curious?  Food for thought today---do a little introspection and be curious.

"Let each of you look not only to his own interests,
but also to the interests of others."
Philippians 2:4

THE TRUTH ~THE WHOLE TRUTH AND NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH

 


Once again--mindless television has conjured up a topic from empty chatter.  Deception was the word that caught my attention.  Exactly what is deception?  Dr. Google gives this explanation~


The act of hiding the truth, especially to get an advantage.


NOW, that opens a can of worms!  Does this say we are deceiving only when we are working to get an advantage?  The more I read the more confused as I felt like I was going in circles.  Most of us think deception involves lying---and I found out that is not always the case.  Lying involves making a false statement.  "Deception does not require that one make a false statement or make any statement at all.  True statements can be deceptive and some forms of deception do not involve making statements. " AND then I found this~


"Deception includes both dissimulation (hiding or withholding  information) and stimulation (putting out wrong or misleading information).  Both deception and lying can be accomplished by omission as well as by commission."


One word uttered on a mindless-meaningless episode of "Mindless Chatter"  and I am off to the races.  Time to pause and reflect on exactly where I am trying to go.  One thing which came to mind was exaggeration.  At one time or another all of us are probably guilty of exaggeration.  "I thought I was going to die!" is more than likely an exaggeration used to try to convey the depth of our feelings.  Only necessary in our minds, we do not trust that the depth of our distress will be understood--so we exaggerate. Is exaggeration deception?  As with many things--it depends upon intent.  Are we trying to get an advantage or are we trying to make certain the depths of our emotion are understood.  In any conversation with one who English is not their native tongue, our tendency to exaggerate or the use of colloquialisms can cause great confusion.  There are times we should  say what we mean and mean what we say.


In my mind deception always comes with intent.  If we omit the truth, exaggerate the truth, or avoid the truth for personal gain---we are in the business of deception.  BUT this lead me down the next road.  What would you think the worst deception is?  "Mindless Chatter" labeled the deception of ourselves the worst form.  Interesting------Once again Dr. Google listed these are examples of deceiving ourselves~


1.  Keep making excuses for ourselves or others.

2.  Can't accept responsibility for things.

3.  Keep blaming others (blame shifting).

4.  Keep avoiding unpleasant realities.

5.  Feel defensive or threatened when people challenge us.


AND then I found this -

"We deceive ourselves to better deceive others."

WELL--now that leads me to believe deception is most certainly about intent.  It is a double whammy---we begin with "me" so that we can spill over to "you".  I tend to fool myself on many levels.  I might state---"I plan to workout today" to try and convince myself and whomever is at the other end of the statement that I will be in the gym---fully knowing I plan to sit on the sofa eating chips and watching "Mindless Chatter".  SO--perhaps we all need a truth meter installed to warn others when we are "exaggerating" or just plain down right telling a falsehood.  Remember that statement~ "Why can't we all just get along? "  Knowing the world would be such a better place, if we did, we ask this question.  Today I am asking,

"Why can't we all just stick to the truth?"  A point to consider while doing your thinking and pondering today-----AM I A TRUTH TELLER?


"So put away all malice 

and all deceit

 and hypocrisy

and envy and slander."

I Peter 2:1


"The heart is deceitful above all things

and beyond cure.

Who can understand it?"

Jeremiah 17:9

DESENSITIZING

 The Wonder Dog did not come to live with me without some trials.  To begin with, he came with a back injury which took weeks of rehab.  He was dragging a leg and this necessitated me picking him up so that he could make as few steps as possible at the start of his rehab.  He also was not house-broken and this required MANY trips outside until he got the hang of it.  I had to constantly keep an eye on him so that he would not over exert or lift a leg.  After two rounds of anti-inflammatories, we began to slowly increase his walking distance.  It was at least three months of constant attention, before it looked like he was headed in the right direction.  I have told you before, Hero was my grand's dog when I took him.  There were 3 under 4 and a baby on the way.  To say that he had to feign for himself is an understatement.  When ever the little ones were around he was a favorite toy to torment.  He actually spent a great deal of time hiding from those 3 boys.  I can't imagine why since he became their live plaything.  After those three months of me nursing him and house-breaking him, I told my daughter, "He's my dog now."  There was a great deal of relief--on her part and Hero's part.  He had landed in Dog Narnia by coming to my house.  More than one friend has expressed they would like to be my dog.  It comes with its rewards, BUT you also have to do things my way.   He is easy to snatch up and we always go the way I want.  POOR HERO---NOT!



Here he is staying with #1 daughter and #1 Granddaughter, when I had the flu after Thanksgiving.  I could not walk him, so he spent a week with them.  I am pretty certain that look is, "HELP!!"  He is a quirky little dog(I call him My Needy Old Man)  and has learned to love our routine and solitude.  With four children, routine is a three ring circus at their house.  He still hides from them.  


I have always loved dogs,  but after not having an inside dog for decades when Hero came to live with me---I had allergy problems.  My allergies have actually gotten worse with age.  I had noticed allergies anytime I stayed with the grands, but I would blow, sniff and go on.  When Hero moved in, it took a LOT of anti-histamines and time to become desensitized to him.  With time and treatment, I began to tolerate being exposed better.  Now---I still have allergies, but I was not having problems with Hero in Louisiana, so I am pretty certain I am allergic to Texas (they call it cedar fever over here).  The human body is an amazing thing---we can learn to tolerate so much with time and exposure.

As I was thinking this over, I thought about how we desensitize ourselves to sin with exposure.  I little fib becomes white lies and finally can settle into full blow deceit.  When we do not stop to repent for those "little" sins we open ourselves up to "big" sins.  This supports my belief that sin is sin---there is no sliding scale of degree.  And then we do things which numb our body from the effects of sin---we medicate ourselves with man-made remedies.  It is truly a slippery slope.  I am so thankful I have learned to tolerate the dog dander which gave me so much grief,  BUT caution is necessary when it comes to sin.   I do not want to open the door to sin by allowing exposure to creep in.  Okay--I am ready--tell me what you think.

"But each one is tempted when he is drawn away 

by his own desires and enticed.

Then, when desire has conceived,,

it gives birth to sin,

and, sin, when it is full-grown,

brings forth death.

Do not be deceived,

my beloved brethren."

James 1:14-16

WHEN I AM WEAK

 Have you ever looked around you and allowed yourself to observe?  With time and thought, you may discover others have exactly what you think you want.  Their lives look so full and you cannot understand why you are not living a life such as theirs.  Their families seem as if they came for a Hallmark movie.  Their marriages are long and successful with someone who still wants to hold their hand after decades.  Their homes are warm and invitingly decorated with style.  Their dinners are gourmet creations with seemingly no effort.  You notice others in your line of work who have worked their way to the top of the field.  They are well rounded and well respected and possess great integrity.  Everyone in their wake walks away impressed and desiring to be just like them.  Everything they attempt is mastered and they never seem to fail.  Every trip is perfect and they have traveled extensively and enjoyed great adventures.  Every single aspect of their lives seems perfect in every way.




The world would have you believe their are those who lead this perfect life.  Perhaps they may even think they have achieved perfection.  What I have learned is to not envy---not even desire that perfection.  With every hole I have climbed out of, every mountain which had to be scaled, every roadblock creating need for detour, every health scare requiring patience, every loss of the dearest.  In fact with every sad, difficult, heart wrenching disappointment I have learned things are not always what they seem when you are looking at others.  My most significant growth has always come with adversity.  At no time is God more apparent than when I am struggling, suffering, and in despair.  When I run out of places to turn, and recognize I cannot do this without Him ~ I finally get it.  I cannot do this without a relationship with God.  All the other--though nice--is temporary---He is eternal.  No matter what I do, what success I claim, how loving my family is, how good my health---it is all fleeting.  He is everlasting.  


Real growth and spiritual maturity comes with real struggle and pain.  When our humanness fails us then I realize only by His Grace can I hold my head up.  These lyrics say it so well~


You are my strength when I am weak

You are the treasure that I seek

You are my all in all 

Taking my cross my sin my shame

Raising again I praise Your name

You are my all in all

When I fall down You pick me up

When I run dry You fill my cup

You are my all in all

Jesus, Lamb of God

Holy is Your name

Jesus, Lamb of God

Holy is Your name


"Not that I speak in regard to need,

for I have learned in whatever state I am,

to be content:

I know how to be abased,

and I know how to abound.

Everywhere and in all things

I have learned both to be full

and to be hungry,

both to abound and to suffer need.

 I can do all things through Christ

Who strengthens me."

Philippians 4:11-13