Thursday, July 31, 2014

FACING THE DEMONS

Some have commented on my courage---the courage to leave my hometown--start another life--leave all that was familiar and live in a strange new world.  Step WAY out of my comfort zone into the zone of different.  For in all truth it is not uncomfortable--it is just different.



A display of courage only comes with facing our fears.  Fear and courage are so closely intertwined they are kissing cousins.  Would there ever be courage without fear?  I fear not!


I was reminded of the great courage many Believers display by the movie "Persecuted".  Most of us face no persecution for our faith.  The only persecution I have ever endured has been snide remarks--certainly no threat of bodily harm or any loss--material or otherwise.  Were I faced with persecution how would I react?  Could I face my fears---display courage--and hold to the truth?  



Perhaps the fears we are forced to face in our lives are training grounds.  You would not run a marathon without training for the race--or if you did you would not run it well.  Doctors do not begin practicing medicine after medical school without training in real life.  Most things in life require training to accomplish the required best result. I began conquering my fears and showing courage as a child--many of us do.  My brother and cousins delighted in frightening me--and to ever show fear was to invite eternal torment.  It took learning by training myself to never grimace or show fear.   So with fear, we must train ourselves to be courageous by conquering our fear.

 Our enemy loves to use our fears--one of his most effective tools.  When we are quavering in a corner or merely obsessing over the what-if's, fear takes control and we loose our effectiveness in serving The Father.   He has given us a book full of examples to learn from when faced with fear producing experiences.  Whatever you are facing--is it worse than battling a giant with a stone and sling shot, or facing a lion whose stomach is growling, or facing a battle with a handful of soldiers when the enemy has thousands, or knowing tomorrow's fate of hanging from a cross after being severely beaten?  


We are taught He will supply the courage--our job is obedience and allowing Him to be by our side.  Courage is faith wearing the disguise of bravery--but truly it is faith which conquers our fears.

"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you."
Deuteronomy 31:6

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

LET IT GO

The hit Disney movie "Frozen" has the theme song, "Let It Go".  I have laughed at all the comments surrounding the melody and lyrics getting stuck in the heads of children and adults.  Obviously the mark of a hit song---when you cannot get it off replay in your mind.



The song--while catchy has nothing to do with today's post-beyond it began the wheels turning.  So interesting all the things God uses to nudge me.

I began thinking about the things in my life--occurrences I had a difficult time letting go of their memory.  The consequences paid when I was unwilling and sometimes unable to let go of negative emotions.  Negative emotions lead to our limited supply of emotional energy being wasted.  It allows one bad situation to control our thoughts as we roll over and over the details and all the surrounding speculation.

It took me a long time to learn---of my own accord I was unable to "let it go".  Until I was able to admit my inability in my own power to leave behind things that had hurt me--made me angry--created envy --I became a slave to the negative.  Exactly what our enemy hopes and plans for--taking our minds and hearts off the blessings and joy lavished by The Father unto the fallen world we live in.

Letting go---came from turning it over---giving it up---confessing--and asking for help.  The help always comes.  I fall off the horse---regress---begin harboring the negative and again have to go back and start again.  I am thankful for the patience of The Father and His willingness to help me let it go---over and over.

“Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead. I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
 (Philippians 3:12)

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

TODAY'S PERSECUTION

I went to see the movie "Persecuted".  Do you think Hollywood has any idea the impact this thriller can have on the Christian community?  I walked away thinking--not just about my faith--but my faith and the government---and just what is going on in the great USA?

We seem to have deserted or at a minimum turned our backs on the ideals this country was founded under.  And YES, I know not everyone was a Believer who formed this great US OF A---but read the documents---God was in the center of  the freedom we hold so dear.  OR do we hold those freedoms dear?

I came away---pondering what my response would be to persecution and questioning What really is going on.  The mark of a great movie--when you walk out the door talking about who was right/wrong and what side were they on?  All thumbs up for this one---but I still say Hollywood has NO idea!


Monday, July 28, 2014

WHAT ABOUT TODAY?

As I pedaled as hard as I could to get up the mountain in my mind, it dawned on me how difficult this quest for health can be.  NOT only difficult--but unending!  Yesterday's post linking to John Piper's blog about ending well---has me thinking.


I have trained for and run four marathons.  I literally have run thousands of miles in my thirty years of running.  The best physical condition I have ever been in was during the 18 weeks of training for each of those long runs.  The fact is I have not run in more than a year and a half---and my past accomplishments do nothing for me today.  Yesterday's training is a thing of the past and left no lasting impact on me today.  Unless I am willing to begin again and build for the future---the past is exactly that--in the past.


How many of us think---I have done my part---been there and done that--now it is time for someone else to step up to the plate.  I served my church, taught Sunday School, cooked dinners, did more things to serve than I can remember.  I am at retirement age--so it is my time to rest.  I served on civic committees, belonged to civic clubs, worked for my community--but now I am retired and there are younger professionals who should step up and take the mantle while I play golf/tennis.  I spent years helping the homeless, the struggling, the poor, the disadvantaged, but that time has now past.


If our spiritual health shadows our physical health---what we did in the past--is just that--in the past.  What we did yesterday to further The Kingdom--to glorify The Creator is wonderful---but what have I done today?  He has not stopped blessing us--the fact we are now considered seniors does not stop the steady flow of His blessings.  There is no reason as long as we are physically able to quit---we may not be as fast--we may not be as strong---but we can still run the race.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.
Hebrews 12:1

Sunday, July 27, 2014

LIVING FLAT OUT UNTIL THE LAST BREATH!

I often take inspiration from other posts on blogs among other things.  After reading these wise words by John Piper on "Desiring God", I knew you needed to read them word for word yourself today.  Profound and inspiring words--that I may comment upon in another post--but for today---these word are enough.

PLEASE Click HERE

Blessed Sabbath

Saturday, July 26, 2014

MEANWHILE BACK AT HOOD

The tom-tom's were beating this week--but slowly---it is extremely hot here and getting hotter.  The true indicator of the heat---the natives are not out in number walking their canine friends.  If they are walking-at all--the walks must be shorter--not many seen on the streets.




One notable email this week.  You remember back here--the great snake discussion.  The neighbor who instigated the diatribe on snakes has sent a new email.  She wants us all to go over to the corner of Mystique and Mystery and look at the dead snake in the road.  She is CERTAIN it is her snake and wants us to identify him.  I do not need to go by---his identity is DEAD JAKE.




Upon further investigation, I discovered he obviously is DUMB JAKE, since the air temperature is over 100 degrees and he was crossing an asphalt street which must be the temperature of a hot oven.  Those whose curiosities are peeked--need to hurry--he will soon be WELL DONE JAKE!

I tried a new class at the Y this week--it has some really fancy name--but it all boils down to an Abs Class.  I was OUTRAGED when the instructor made me get right in front of her in the middle---some silly comment about watching my form.  She did NOT fool me for a minute--it was ALL ABOUT the need to stop my cheating!  If you are in the back of the room---an arm or leg thrown here or there looks a GREAT DEAL like you are actually doing the exercise!



AND NO I do not exercise for fish!


Since there is little going on here in the GREAT STATE OF TEXAS---

I thought I would carry you back to OLD LOUISIANA

With today's cry for everything to be "Green", there has been a new wave in 
Yard Art in my home state.  I leave you with this beauty entitled 



THE ONLY GOOD POSSUM
or
PLAYING POSSUM ETERNALLY

That's all the news today in THE Hood--where all the women are good looking and all the children well above average.

Friday, July 25, 2014

DEFINING TO SHAPE OR IS IT SHAPING TO DEFINE?

I ran into one of my young Texas friends recently.  The first thing she said to me was "Wow, look at your guns!"  With a question in my words, I responded, "No there at home, I do not take them out with me usually."  Turns out she was speaking of the muscles in my arms---When did muscles become guns?  I lost something in translation here--because they certainly do not shoot and are not shaped like guns---so WHY GUNS?


Perhaps all those hours of lifting weights are paying off.  Muscles are beginning to show their shape and definition .  That shape was not easy to come by--in fact it took a great deal of really hard work.


Which brings me to today's deep pondering--shape and definition.  Do the events in our lives define who we are or merely shape who we become?  Four AM and this is what I am thinking about---GEES!

I have been married twice--  Does divorced define who I am?  It certainly has shaped how I look at things.  I do not introduce myself as divorced and do not mention my martial status unless asked. 
Both of my parents are gone now--Daddy died when I was fourteen and we lost Momma fourteen years ago.  A child loosing a parent before adulthood certainly shapes their future.  God created us to live in family units, but that is not always the case.  My first marriage at far too young of an age, probably was shaped by the loss of a strong male relationship in my life at such an young age.  I do not mention loosing Daddy or Momma when meeting someone.  They both certainly helped shape who I am today.

Today's devotional came from the scriptures when Paul asked "Is it legal for you to flog a Roman Citizen who hasn't even been found guilty?"  Paul was using the definition of Roman to shape the outcome of his pending flogging.

We all use labels which define us to create advantage in our lives.  The name of the area where we live, the name of the school were we graduated from, our title at work, our honors and awards--at some point we all insert those defining labels to garner favor or impress others.  Too much inserting can backfire and create the exact opposite effect and give us a less desired label of pompous.  

All of this to circle back to the question---Do the events in our life shape who we become or do they define who we are? Thinking---Thinking--Thinking---

MY ANSWER--all the events in my life have shaped who I am today--but none of them--taken alone---define who I am.

When I became a Believer---it began to define who I was.  The years of living, the search of The Word, the wise teaching of many others, and the gentle nudging of The Father have shaped who I am today more than anything else in my life. If I am to be defined by one label only--I pray Believer would be the one. 

This quote was on the newsletter of my former church in Louisiana this week--no co-incidences--all God incidences!


“Define yourself radically as one beloved by God. This is the true self. Every other identity is illusion.” 
Brennan Manning

The LORD is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you.
Psalm 9:9





Thursday, July 24, 2014

YOUR NOSE IS GROWING!

According to Dr Oz---Oprah's personal guru on all things medical--your nose will grow until the day you die----BAD NEWS FOR SOME!  NOT ONLY THAT--but my ONE GOOD FEATURE---my ears--they will continue to grow as well.  Since my ears are so darling--no need to worry--but some of you Howdy Doody's,  best be looking for a plastic surgeon.  Don't believe me---then look here.




Here I was thinking your nose only grew when you told "Whoppers".  We all know about poor Pinocchio---




rut

He is the shining example of why our noses grow---or so I thought. When the truth would have served him better--he continued on with one tall tale after another.  That is what happens when you start distorting the truth---there seems to be no place to stop.  

Why do we feel the need to not live truth?  Why do we go down the path of deception into the dark forest of guilt and shame.  There are times we avoid the truth to protect others--but have we protected them when reality is still staring you in the face?  


"Oh,the tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive."
Sir Walter Scott 

There is a famous quote in The Word as well.  It declares we should know and live the truth by living as His disciple. The truth is always better in the end. 

Deep thoughts in the middle of a hot summer day---

"If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.
Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."
John 8:31




Wednesday, July 23, 2014

YOUR EARS WILL FALL OFF!

One of the instructors at the Y always inspires me.  She is my ideal of how I would love to look (if I were 30 years younger and had her body type and was willing to work out 8 hours a day)  While teaching the class, she is also motivating all of us slugs.  In today's spinning class, she told us---


"You can't go backwards.  There is no going back.
If you were to go backwards, your ears would fly off."

It was ALL I could do to not jump off that bike and start writing.  It certainly took my mind off the work and pain for a while!



SO that is why God made our ears with the flaps toward the back of our head!  AND that is why we run/cycle/walk frontwards---WHY our ears are so precariously mounted on our heads that the slightest wind will blow them off!

WHO KNEW!!!!

But of course, the wheels started spinning in the bottomless pit of my mind.  When do we go backwards--when is it appropriate or is it ever?  

I have read articles promoting walking backwards and have a good friend who could even run backwards--we all disliked her intensely since we were struggling going frontwards!  It stands to reason if God had intended us to walk backward, we would have eyes in the back of our heads!


My exercise mantra is "All Forward Motion Counts"--you will note--there is NO mention of backward motion.  We do have a swimming stroke called the "Back Stroke"--but are we going backwards or are we going frontwards on our backs?

ALL THIS leads here---I had a comment on a blog recently by a sweet friend,
"Grace is all about do-overs."  I have done a great deal of thinking about this.  Does grace mean do-overs, or re-do's or does grace mean try again?  We surely cannot go backward in life and re-do.  We can fess up, ask forgiveness, and go forth with change.  Grace entails forward motion in my pea brain.  I certainly do NOT want my ears to fall off--since they are my best feature--so I will keep going forth---in forward motion---one foot in front of the other---trying to do better and leaving my sin behind.

"Then neither do I condemn you,"Jesus declared.
"Go now and leave your life of sin."
John 8:11

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

YOU CAN DO THIS!

My blogging friend Ceil posted this--and the wheels started spinning.



Hold on---we are taking a ride on my stream of loose association. 

Why certainly we have ALL taken a chance at some point in our lives.  If you learned to ride a bicycle, skate, ski, or any other activity which required an unlearned skill---you took a chance.  We climbed on, stood up, or held on and trusted we would conquer the beast called fear and trusted that we could master the feat.




Another blogging friend, Linda, who is here, is returning to school at middle age.  In the land of young and fresh minds with cocky attitudes---she is taking a step toward gaining an occupation.  She is conquering her fear--her apprehension---and moving forward toward a new future by becoming a "non-traditional" student.



Life is filled with opportunities to take chances---trips, education, adventures, crazy wild -fun things to do.  We either take a chance---and LOVE the thrill--or we sit in the corner and miss the fun.  The EASY thing--is sitting back and refusing to try--a missed opportunity---a golden moment in the sun--lost forever.  


 

It is all about conquering our fears and remembering--What is the worst thing that could happen?  I might not learn immediately,  I might never succeed, I might get hurt, I might have to try again-----AND SO?  Unless you take the chance, conquer your fears, and at least try---you will never know--what you missed!


There were days in my life--when I was screaming at God--telling Him,

I CANNOT DO THIS!!!

He heard me--but He kept pushing and then pulling me along--refusing to allow me to quit.  He kept insisting I put one foot in front of the other--keep moving--stay on the path---DO NOT GIVE UP---You CAN do this! He insisted I take a chance--a chance that life would still be joyful--a chance that He would use me--a chance in seeing the blessings.  He did not expect me to do it alone--He held me up--grabbed my hand---reminded me-- I am with you--I have your back--I've got you--I am holding on to you---He gave me the courage and pulled me out of the corner---He insisted I keep trying---He soothed my fears- and here I am today--

DOING IT!

Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you. 
Deuteronomy 31:6

Monday, July 21, 2014

LEAVING WITH GRACE

When I left Ruston, my home for 47 of my 64 years at the time, I did not leave well.  I slipped out of town---under the protest of my dear friends and family--I silently crept away.   I was asked by many to leave with a flourish of parties and protracted good-byes.  I did not have the courage--nor the grace to leave well.  Refusing the kind offers of sweet family and friends, in an effort to protect myself from the pain of good-bye was wrong and I am truly sorry for my selfish refusal to leave well.  

I had a long time friend tell me this summer, "When you left, it put you in the wrong, to many of those looking on."   One of the things I have learned is to not make excuses---no blame shifting--fess up to my part in a bad outcome and move forward.  I must shoulder the blame for my reluctance to accept my responsibility for the events leading to my leaving, and the poor manners in refusing the generous offers of so many to say those good-byes.

Perhaps part of my reluctance to return to the place I will always call home--is the pain associated with my refusal to leave with grace.  Yes, I was following God's lead by moving here, and I see the reasons every day why this was a good move.  I have healed--and yes, there are scars--but my life is now going on and I anticipate with great joy what God has in store as I travel down His path.  I do regret--- not leaving well---with the grace to say good-bye with my head held up and with the grace and dignity of one who had been loved well as I have loved so many.

One of my daily devotionals recently was on Paul's leave taking of the Ephesian Elders as described in Acts.  What a beautiful testimony of how to leave when directed, but leave well.  He left knowing he would not see them again, saying good-bye and giving instructions and admonishments of how to live as Believers, and finally a blessing.  This is an example of leave taking as a Believer.  Acknowledgement of all God has done and imploring His blessings on those you are leaving.  A lesson---in grace and dignity.


"Now I commit you to God, and to the word of His grace,
which can build you up
and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.
Acts 20:32

Sunday, July 20, 2014

LEGACIES

My dear friend lost their sweet mother recently.  They told me this about her,


"Her Bible was her testimony and all she wrote in it
and the prayers she sent up for so many.
A true prayer warrior!"



Their mother was also a friend of another dear friend.  This friend when asking me to pray for this family said this about her,



"One of my most favorite little ladies in the world.."





What a WONDERFUL LEGACY!


How I wish I could explain the intricacies of God's revelations to me. This one
included. 



I was put on the track this week of writing my last will and testament by an email I received. Premature?--we never know--only The Father knows our exact number of days. As evidenced by the tragic loss of a young mother in Ruston last night, we need to be prepared.


The scripture I read today while reading through Paul's letters addressed this very same thing. Co-incidences--I think not - -I believe in God-incidences---His works can be complex and intriguing --as He reveals His truths to us.
II Corinthians chapters 4 & 5 are filled with profound truths which God chose to inscribe upon my heart.






All this began the process of mulling over the question of the legacy I will leave someday. Material inheritances--are certainly great---but fleeting---never lasting.The only lasting legacy is intertwined with the relationships we have. I began thinking of my loved ones and the legacy they left. Sadly some legacies were shallow at best.  



What will be my legacy? My perception of truth is not the same as those I love and call family and friends. Will my life leave a legacy pointing to The Truth? What will be said when I leave this realm and travel to the next?  Time to self-evaluate based upon the truths contained in The Word. As I live out my final chapters---I am praying redemption will shine through as my lasting legacy--I pray my final portrait will show God's redemption of my brokenness-His  all encompassing love, and faithful provision as He walked by my side, with abundant and sufficient grace which showered over me day after day,  A legacy of being His Beloved and He being My All in All.

"So we make it our goal to please Him,
whether we are at home in the body,
or away from it."

II Corinthians 5:9

Saturday, July 19, 2014

MEANWHILE BACK IN THE HOOD

The drums have been relatively quiet this week---no major crisis's--no throw-downs--all is at peace here in the hood.  Lost cats, looking for homes for strays, hunting for reliable contractors, more of the day to day.



I did have a couple of sweet visitors this week and we played and enjoyed the Fort Worth wildlife---AS IN ANIMALS PEOPLE!  We went to the zoo!



It was only in the low 90's the day we chose to take our tour.  We all lasted about three hours, which is pretty amazing since we had a 3-2-1 year old with us.  We saw a lot of the exhibits, but not all.  It is a HUGE zoo!

As we entered the gates, I heard my kindred spirits --The Monkeys---calling me.  Unfortunately we never made it by the primates---I KNOW my monkey friends were disappointed---since we often speak the same language.



You CANNOT go to the zoo here and not see the two baby elephants-



Beautiful Alexis, in this video, is one of my sweet new friends here in Fort Worth and a member of my church small group. She also is in charge of the PR/Special Events Department at the zoo.   It is GOOD to know important people!

We saw LOTS of snakes, reptiles, mammals, birds, fish---MANY members of God's Wild Kingdom.  Go here and see the zoo's debut on Wild Kingdom.

The zoo has a HUGE iguana which sits on top of a building on one of the prominent FW streets.  The story of his arrival and debut via helicopter--per Alexis is hilarious.  ONLY IN TEXAS!



A week of swimming, trampoline park, park, and the zoo---FUN TIMES!  


LIVING LARGE & WILD HERE IN THE BIG CITY!

Friday, July 18, 2014

STAYING BALANCED


Three of the Grands--Maintaining Balance

While at the zoo, I passed by a couple of bird exhibits which caught my eye-





As I gazed at the bird wonders---I was struck by their ability to maintain their balance on one skinny leg.  The bulk of their mass is suspended in mid air on a leg with the appearance of a twig.  

I have given yoga a whirl in my lifetime pursuit of fitness.  This picture should be explanation enough why I did not stick with it.  So many are enthralled and laud the experience of yoga.  I felt as if someone had told me to cross my legs and arms behind my back while balancing on the tip of my nose.  NOT my cup of tea!



Spending my professional career counting beans---Staying in Balance is necessary in the world of accounting.   I would explain it to all you novices, but then I would have to kill you---it is ALL A BIG SECRET---job security!



There is a thread of balance running through my life.  As I mulled it over, I thought about the littlest grand and watching him learn to walk.  We come into this world---with no sense of balance.  Our muscles and muscle memory must learn how to hold us in an up-right position and then as we establish balance we attempt to walk.



As we age, one of the things we loose is our ability to balance.  A combination of loss of core strength and slower inner ear response cause many of the elderly to loose their balance.  We do not catch ourselves as quickly if the leveler gets off and down we go.  MANY a broken hip is the unfortunate result.  So we begin life with no capability of balancing ourselves and we end life reverting back to having no balance.

I have always laughed and said, "I might be a bubble off center"  This in no way describes my ability to stand up-right and proceed, but has everything to do with my quirkiness!



The truth is maintaining balance in my life is a day to day task.  Allowing busyness to obstruct my vision of my priorities, I loose sight of how my day needs to line up to stay in balance.  The world crowds in and I loose sight of my plumb line---The Word.  To finish well---and maintain balance---I must not look down--but always up---seeking the focal point which will serve me well while seeking to maintain balance. Only The Father can keep me centered and balanced as I continue the walk down the path.


You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability.
II Peter 3:17

Thursday, July 17, 2014

KING OF THE MOUNTAIN

Late summer evenings---the sun finally below the tree line---hot-humid air enveloping the coming dark--as mosquitoes swarmed searching for their evening meal--children squealing and laughing as a game was played.  An all time favorite--"King of the Mountain" could become quite brutal--especially when played with the boys.  A circle was drawn to represent the mountain top---within the circle--The King--the object--all those surrounding the mountain worked to unseat the king and take over the rule.  Planning, plotting, attacking--it could turn rough on a dime--and usually someone walked away crying before the evening was ended. 



A children's game or a training ground for life- what would you say?  The eternal quest for power and control often turns into a deadly-treacherous adult game.  When is enough--enough?  There is no satisfaction---no quenching of hunger when it comes to wealth and power.  Finally after scraping--fighting--plotting--planning--you arrive at the top of some heap---financial--power--control--authority---you are the mecca---the icon---the king.



OH BUT--there is no rest at the top.  Someone is always plotting--planning--scheming to take your seat-that seat at the top.  Lurking--waiting--for one mistake---one error in judgement---hoping you will take the long hard fall.  We forget all power belongs to God--and any we might have--whether in business, civic, family or any other man made empire--it is on loan from Him.  God allows us authority and power---and how we use it---that is up to us.



"What are we afraid of when sitting in the seat of power-

Loosing the power--and the security and safety we feel comes with it.

Loosing the honor that comes with the power."  

"Someday there will come a reckoning of how we have used the power God has loaned us--be it home, school, work or any other venue. "  Chris Freeland-sermon July 13,2014

So for today God may be allowing us to sit at the top of the heap--we may be King of the Mountain--but the only rest for our souls is found in Christ--the only satisfaction --the only contentment comes from God Almighty---there is no eternal rest in the things of this world--our only true fortress is God Alone--all other is fleeting.


My soul finds rest in God alone;
my salvation comes from him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress,
I will never be shaken.
Psalm 62:1-2

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

AND ---WHO ARE YOU?

I might have been guilty of riding on the coattail of another's renown.  Slipping through the door--hopefully unnoticed---standing at the edge of the spotlight trying to claim a spot of glory -- because of who or what I know.



I am a huge fan of the Williams Sisters----have watched them play tennis for years---been there through thick and thin with them---admired their talent--sat on the edge of my seat cheering them on.  This should allow me entrance into all of the world's great tennis clubs.   The cold hard fact is that I do not even play tennis. I KNOW THEM---but sadly they do not know me. 



There is a long wonderful list of music on my play list.  I know all the words to each and everyone of those songs.  I sing loudly and heartily--accompanying the talented artist with the best of my ability.  I follow their careers, watch for new recordings, attend their concerts---become a part of their groupies. For some reason, they do not send me backstage passes--no front row seat-- I know them all well---but they do not know me.



There is a story in Acts of impostors trying to use and steal the spotlight using others' gifts as if they owned them---the Seven sons of Sceva.  In an attempt to banish evil spirits using the name of Jesus---as they had heard Paul did, they were reprimanded by an evil spirit---


"Jesus, I know and Paul, I know about,
 BUT WHO ARE YOU?"
Acts 19:18

The word tells us even Satan acknowledges who God is--and the Son of God--the Blessed Redeemer---but having the head knowledge and bowing before Him are two different things.  We are not allowed a VIP pass into eternity without the badge of Redeemed around our neck. A badge with a huge cost-but freely given to us by a simple prayer---It is never too late--do not chance the cost of being asked-------WHO ARE YOU?

You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that--and shudder.
James 2:19


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

MY TEN FOOT POLE

One of my lovely friends at the Y---told me--


"You always come so put together."

WHO ME???---Got it all together!---Where's my ten foot pole---


Another life lesson - ALL is not what it seems.  Appearances can be deceiving.
The image in the mirror may be--

CLOSER

FATTER

SHORTER

insert your own-----THAN THEY APPEAR


A word of wisdom---reflections can be deceptive ---the image you see may be your perception of the truth--while truth --the intangible illusive is a moving target depending upon the beholder.


NEVER JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER!

I read a book about a homeless man--smelling bad---looking tattered---obviously down on his luck entering a church for services one Sunday.  No one spoke--no one sat close---the congregants all entered into worship---and then deathly silence---WHERE was the Pastor?  The homeless man stood up and walked to the front of the worship center---and slowly took off his disguise----it was the pastor.

We all wear disguises---I disguise myself as an athlete--while the truth is far from that.  I appear to have it all together---right clothes--right shoes---wrong body!  I disguise myself as a hiker---have all the correct and latest equipment--know the lingo--but in truth one hiking trip a year does not make me a hiker.


Which brings me to the question---who among us is wearing the disguise of a Believer?  Another recent read spoke of the author knowing all the lingo--knowing the steps---attending all the meetings---but lacking the relationship.  Troubling--to realize we may be missing the opportunity , being fooled by the Sunday disguise, and not beginning the conversation.  Troubling!

"Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith;
test yourselves.
Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you,
unless of course, you fail the test?"
II Corinthians 13:5

Monday, July 14, 2014

CLIMBING THE MOUNTAIN

I have spent many an enjoyable trip hiking in the mountains.  It is an adventure like none other with new experiences around every bend

.

You usually begin your hike in the valley--but the trail begins the upward ascent quickly.  The early stages of the trail are long stretches of up an up.  I find myself stopping and resting quite a bit as my heart rate climbs with exertion.

Many parts of the trail are through deep forests with limited visibility.  The only indication of others on the trail is hearing voices from afar.  Voices which can be misleading since the reverberation off the trees can create misrepresentation of the direction and whether up or down.  As you climb switch-back trails---you go up and up--with a short break of flat at best--but usually a slow steady climb as you search for the top.



Often you will come out of the deep forest and hit a mountain meadow--filled with breath taking wildflowers of every color and type.  A false sense of accomplishment will be quickly dashed when you realize you have only climbed out of the tree line.  Enjoying the relatively flat terrain of the meadow and usually the beauty of the brooks flowing through it is short term for you are headed to the final climb.



Those last miles as you head for the summit are the most treacherous---loose rock--called scree can fill the trail--huge boulders to climb over---at times the only safe way up is on your knees.  Occasionally some trail builder will leave hand holds in the rocks to assist you in the final pull up.  The last few yards are the most treacherous and dangerous but with the final push and pull up---you reach the crest--or the pass---of the long climb.



As you look out at the world--all is below ---there are no words to describe the beauty.  You stand on top of the world with the beauty of the mountains stretching as far as you can see--all below you.  The clouds all an arm length away provide a lofty umbrella just above your finger tips.  There is no equal to the beauty of what you see--and you can only see this sight if you first take the climb.


These mountain hikes are a great deal like life.  Parts of the trail are treacherous, dangerous, and more difficult than you think you are capable of.  There are meadows to walk through--seasons of beauty and relative ease.  The future is not known as the trail switches back and forth as you continue the climb which requires blind trust knowing every turn can hold danger or surprise.  Still there is only one choice to get to the top---keep putting one foot in front of the other.  God often holds our hands---and sometimes even carries us--when we cannot go on---He never leaves our side and guides us as we climb toward the top.  Then the sweet reward as we look upon the beauty of His grace--the Son shining upon us---as we finally reach the crest.



He holds in his hands the depths of the earth and the mightiest mountains.
Psalm 95:4