Friday, December 25, 2015

That Awful Hangover!

Someone I know said that she woke up with a hangover this morning after being out with a friend on Christmas Eve, but that she was blessed that she woke up. As hard as it was, I did not comment that, yes indeed, she is truly blessed to have awakened.

Many years ago when I was a young person, I awoke many mornings with the most excruciating headaches, or more to the point, hangovers. This started in my teen years when I would drive a car load of drunk friends home from a popular dive about thirty miles from where we lived. I was as drunk as anyone, and I can remember seeing three center lines on the dark highway. I would choose the middle line, and stay to the right. It's a wonder I didn't kill someone, either in my car or in another. I was blessed to have awakened the next morning.

In later years, after I married and had a family, I still drank alcohol to extreme. We lived in a "bedroom community" that partied during the summer months after all the children had been put to bed. The houses were open due to no air conditioning so we could hear everything. But, it didn't stop most of us from being even more irresponsible and drinking to excess. Many nights are lost to memory, and, again, it's a wonder something didn't happen to one of our children, and, more to the point, I was blessed to wake up the next morning.

You understand, I'm sure, what I'm saying. I could say something to that person about her observation, and that she surely doesn't understand how true it is that she has been blessed with, at least, one more day. But, my comment would fall on deaf ears. I would not have listened, and neither would she.

What is it about youth that makes us think we are smarter than experience and wisdom? Maybe we believe that's for someone else, it will never happen to me.

And, why didn't it happen to me? I believe it is just what my friend said; I was blessed. You see, in later years, when I grew a brain, and it wasn't pickled, I made the decision to accept Jesus Christ as my Savior. He knew that I would, so He protected me all those years of irresponsible behavior. He kept me safe to be His child and heir.

Unfortunately,  He doesn't do that for all. Many lives, young and old, have been lost on our highways due to drunkenness. Perhaps it's because He knows who will and who won't accept His gift. I can't answer for certain, but that is what I believe, and I am so very grateful and joyful that He called to me, and I accepted Him as Lord and Savior.

So, did you drink too much last night? Will you drink too much next week on New Years Eve?  Will you be one of those that wake up blessed the next morning? Or will you be one of those that don't wake up at all?  Please, please, accept that wonderful gift Jesus wants to give you. That gift is, indeed, the greatest blessing of all.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

This Cannot Be A "Merry" Christmas

Society has portrayed the birth of Jesus as an event to bring "peace on earth", when, in fact, it was more comparable to the invasion at Normandy. Jesus came to earth as an invasion of Truth against the evil that has taken this world. Without the invasion at Normandy, Germany would have taken over and destroyed France. France would be speaking German today. Without the invasion of Truth and the establishment of God's church, satan would have destroyed us all long, long ago. 

With satan in this world, there will never be peace on this earth.  Peace will only come when we give our lives to Christ and establish His kingdom on earth. 

Jesus came to earth to create a holy war, an uprising of His people to reclaim it for the Father. We must not sit quietly by at Christmastime, or any other time, after we have accepted Christ as our Lord and Savior. Then is the time to stand up boldly and proclaim HIs sovereignty, and fight to bring His kingdom to this earth as it was first intended. 

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Annoying People

Jay Leno look-alike.
Consider your daily encounters. Unless you are mild-mannered and numb, you will meet people every single day that truly just annoy the heck out of you. It is early morning, I haven't left my house, and I have already encountered three extremely annoying people. Let me just note that all three are women. I have no idea if that is relevant, but it seems to be the norm in my little world.

First, there's the person that complains every single morning about having to go to work. Every. Single. Morning. Then there's the politically correct person who didn't like my comment, so she deleted it. We have the person who knows everything about everyone, and at every turn spills everything she knows. 

You guessed it. I'm a Facebook user, and some of my "friends" on Facebook will at some time, every day, annoy me. "Why do I keep them as friends?" you ask in puzzlement. Well, some of them are game friends. Some of them would be offended if I unfriended them. (God forbid I offend them.) Some of them are family. YIKES!

But, here's the real reason. You see, I am annoying, too. In fact, I can honestly say that I am probably more annoying than the whole bunch put together. I'm opinionated. I'm outspoken. I am hard-headed, convinced I'm right about everything, sarcastic, have a warped sense of humor, a religious fanatic (according to some), and patriotic. I usually disagree with much of their normal thinking, and I'm not afraid to say so. Wow. I really am a most disagreeable person. 

It's entertaining to note that, despite all of that, I have lots of friends, good friends, friends I love dearly and loyally. They are imperfect. So am I. And so are you. And, consequently we kindly put up with one another and love each other anyway. Because we always remember that:

1 Corinthians 13 matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.
Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.

8-10 Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled.

Saturday, November 28, 2015


Hi. My name is Shirley, and I am an inconsiderate person.

I really wish there were Inconsiderate Anonymous meetings. Alcoholics have meetings and mentors to help them with their problem, so why can't we jerks have our own meetings? God knows, we sure need the help!

I'm afraid there are other disrespectful people in this world that probably wouldn't attend the meetings. However, I believe there are a ton of us out here that really desire to get over this malady and become civil and gracious, even to the other thoughtless boobs out there in the populous.

Families suffer the most when there are ill-mannered folks within its nucleus, and holidays can be disastrous. I have to admit that I just might be responsible for some discord at times. Maybe. Once or twice. It almost always happens when I think someone has been rude. So, I become rude. And where does this get us? Oh, for shame! It hurts others. It hurts those who are kind and polite. It hurts the gracious ones who have the manners to ignore the slights, but suffer through the outbursts or uncivil behaviors around them. Children and teens may not even comprehend what is happening, but they are aware of some underlying misfunction.

I am guilty! And I hate it every time it happens! I promise God and others and myself that I will do better. Perhaps I do better for a while. But, self, MY self will come back eventually and try to claim that my uncivil reaction to his rudeness is warranted.

God, please help me get over myself. Please help me to remember that my behavior proves nothing to the other ill-mannered culprit. It only hurts the innocent, the ones we both love so much. And, that is the best reason in the world to stop being a jerk.


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

His Mercy Humbles Me

I have been reading a book by John Eldridge, The Journey of Desire, and in one chapter, The Divine Thwarter, I am feeling challenged about the disappointment I have felt over the last few years. 

I came to Christ later in life than many. I had lived a life of physical pleasures and addictions, wanting only to please myself. I had Jesus compartmentalized in a corner of my mind. I knew who He was, and I was baptized at age eleven. As long as I believed in my head that He was the Son of God, I felt I was good. So, I lived my life the way I desired, trying to make believe I was happy, but knowing that I was completely miserable with the choices I had made for my life over the years, and I was angry most of the time.

Then, at age thirty-seven, I accepted Jesus as Savior and Lord of my life, and everything changed. My passion was to serve Him and worship Him, to honor Him in any way that He asked me to do. He asked me to leave my career to be home with my teenagers who were struggling. I willing did that, though it almost cost my marriage because it cut our family income in half. I stayed with an abusive husband because God told me to. I lost every friend I had, but I made many, many new ones to encourage me in my new life. He asked. I was faithful. And I grew spiritually through hearing and reading His word.

In 2002 things changed again. I had a botched surgery that had me bedridden for over six months. It took years of more surgeries to try to correct the problem, but I have never been able to recover fully. More surgeries for other problems have incapacitated me more and more, and being unable to be ambulatory took its toll over the last thirteen years. I now walk with a cane much of the time. I am overweight, and I cannot exercise. My body has replacement parts, I live on multiple medications, and I am in pain continually.

I am 67 years old with an 85 year old body. Yes. I do feel sorry for myself. There are places that I would love to serve Him, but it is no longer possible. I have to say "no" when I'm asked. I am misunderstood. It seems now that the only ministry I can be involved in is one that is from home, with my phone or in prayer. Disappointed? Yes, I am. I feel as if I have been thwarted, and I don't understand why God has allowed it because I came to Him so late, and I have so much desire to do so much more.

God spoke to me this morning. He said, "You came to Me late, you said it yourself. You wasted 37 years on pleasing yourself instead of Me. You put substances in your body that weren't good for you. You developed unhealthy addictions. You sat on your throne all those years and hardly gave Me a thought. And now you feel sorry for yourself and disappointed? You want Me to rescue you from the harm you did to yourself? I am God! I will do as I please, and I choose not to rescue you this time as I did so many times before you accepted My Son. Now you will serve Me as I choose, and you must choose to serve Me with gladness and patience in your humbled state. I love you, and I have always been merciful to you. That won't ever stop."

It seems harsh? No. It is truly a mercy that I didn't die many times. He has been good to me when I wasn't even His friend. I will be thankful. I will get over being disappointed. I will get over being jealous of those who can serve Him in the ways that I always wanted to. Maybe not today, but I will get over it. I know He will help me, but it's my turn to be merciful to myself.

Friday, November 6, 2015

I'm the Real Live Grinch You've Heard Them Tell About

I'm a grinch when it comes to Christmas, and I am totally unashamed to be called one by those who love Christmas. I'm not the kind of grinch that goes around stealing little kids' presents or candy. I don't paint myself green or spike my hair to look more recognizable. I just don't like Christmas. I don't think I'm mean, and I try to keep my feelings quiet, though I do have to admit I've never been very successful in keeping quiet about anything. There you have it. But, before you begin to hate me for being a grinch, please let me explain my side of it, at least.

One of my fondest memories of Christmas is 1965 when I was seventeen. I had summer and after school jobs, so I had my own hard earned money to spend on my parents. I lived in a small town with the county court house and main street that you see in pictures. That Christmas memory is of walking the sidewalks of that main street. The snow was falling and crunching under each step. As I visited each shop, the sun was setting. Pay attention and you'll hear the Silver Bells ringing.

My hometown, Falls City, Nebraska as painted by
native John P. Falter in 1946 for Saturday Evening Post
Time warp to 2015 and today's Christmas shopper. The malls and the "super centers" are overflowing with people in a hurry, angry people. Some have walked for so long that their feet are throbbing, their backs are aching. They've had it with the other rude shoppers and the store clerks who are either just as rude or else non-existent. Shoppers are grabbing anything that looks remotely appropriate for their task, and cheap enough to pretend it will fit in this year's budget. But, frankly, the "so-called budget" was left behind long ago. And the credit card debt keeps rising higher and higher. Let's not talk about the parking situation, okay?

Have you taken a look at the houses up and down your suburban block after 7 p.m.? Or maybe you've been carefully watching so as not to fall behind the Smith's across the street with your decorating. They have maps from space that show how brightly lit U.S. cities are at Christmas time. Year after year the Smith's increase their strings of icicle lights by five strings. They add another Santa Claus somewhere on the lawn and two more lighted snowmen. The rest of the block sees the additions, and the next day you'll see an increase of the electric bills for every house in sight. Make way, now, for the fifty cars per hour strolling leisurely through the neighborhood, blocking local traffic, and totally disrupting the theme of "Peace on Earth". The cars are simply following all the lighted stars perched on top of all the houses in the community. 

Inside those beautifully decorated houses Dad and Mom are scratching their heads and wondering why they hadn't been more diligent about paying off last year's Christmas bills. Little Johnny and Susie are in the living room arguing over who's going to get the biggest and most expensive presents this year, and still complaining about the handmade gifts that grandma made for them last year. And she actually had the nerve to buy them some clothes!

I'm seeing all the negative, aren't I? But, that's what I see when I see Christmas hovering near. Maybe it's my age, but I want Christmas to be about Jesus again. I want to see the innocence of Norman Rockwell paintings, and Mom and Dad actually buying just ONE very inexpensive fun toy. I want to see them give their extra money where the money is so scarce that the kids don't get a Christmas ham or a toy. I'd rather see the kids in the suburbs sprawled around the room with their family, reading the Christmas story, laughing and talking, playing games with grandpa. I'd rather hear kids tell me what they're giving as gifts rather than what they want to get. I wish Christmas to be about Jesus again.

So, looks like I'm gonna continue to be a grinch about Christmas. I'm not very confident about all this changing soon, and I just don't feel much like celebrating what Christmas has become. I'm trying to give gifts to my family off and on during the year and not be extravagant, as I have in the past, with my grandchildren who are thankfully not very materialistic. My Father is teaching me what and who is important. My family is rich when compared with most in this world. 

Shame on us for wanting more. But, we do. It's the American way. I want to do what little bit I can do to make my little corner of the world different. And, the only way that I believe we can change our materialism is to change our hearts. And, the only One who can change our hearts is Jesus. That's why I want to see Jesus put back in Christmas again.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Who Was Your "Resource Officer"?

As usual, I was just 1965 we had no need for a "resource officer" in our high schools. Why is that, do you think? Was it because we respected authority? We certainly had a few misfits here and there, but we displayed more respect than is now shown, I think. If any disrespect was shown to an adult, I can assure you that our parents were immediately attending to the problem.

I was a rebellious teen, but i would never have physically NOR verbally attacked my teachers, let alone a police officer. Yes. that was 50 years ago, but why should that fact change the fact of teaching respect and honoring authority for authority's sake? What's wrong here?

Ironically, i think it started with my generation and its initiation of choice to live disrespectfully, and therefore they were unable to teach respect where they had none.

Isn't it time to reverse the trend at home, and therefore in the world?

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Annoying Little Divas

My adult daughter was visiting from out of town, and it's always interesting to be able to have our talks when everyone else isn't around. I was writing the bible study sheet for our church small groups, picking Jill's brain, and just generally talking back and forth about stuff. I repented out loud that I have problems being patient with certain behaviors some women have. One such area is being around divas. I love them, but just impatient with their actions.

Jill said, "Maybe they just need to be divas. Maybe they need that attention and know of no other way to get it. 

I realized the silly little needs that I have and how annoying I know they are to others. Wow. She has always been so very wise beyond her years. But, quite frankly, it's a quality that I find very annoying sometimes.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Through the Tears

I go through the motions of writing my verse because I love to make you laugh, and think, and smile, and cry, but mostly to make you laugh. I love to make people laugh. It's one of the very best sounds in the world, and to know that you did that for them.

But, sometimes when I'm writing or talking and making you laugh, I'm crying. That's okay, because it's important for you to laugh.

Today, through my tears I wrote a poem that made people laugh, and that makes me feel better. And I'm still writing. And I'm still crying.

Friday, October 2, 2015

It's A Sick and Despicable Trend

Yesterday I was driving home from running some errands and heard the news report about a shooting spree on a college campus in Oregon. The reporters rambled on and on giving the same details over and over of all kinds of information that I just had no need to hear.

So, I began thinking back to the 50's and 60's. Yes. I know how long ago it was, but this didn't have to change like it did. Living in Nebraska, if there was someone shooting someone in Oregon, no one in Nebraska would hear about it. It took a day or two for Nebraskans to hear about Charlie Starkweather and Caril Fugate being on the run and terrorizing the Midwest. The point is, if people didn't hear about it, the crazies didn't get any ideas and try to duplicate it. There were extremely few idiots taking pot shots and going on campuses or school rooms or churches to kill people. Sure, there were a few, but not like today. Why is that?

I'm thinking our media should take a whole lot of responsibility for this. Yes, there are people out there who think they want to know all the little bits and pieces of information, but why? I believe it's because the media has sensationalized it. Why do we need to know how many guns he had, or what kind they were, or where he got them, or how many times he reloaded, or what he was wearing, or how he got in the building, which door did he come it? There are nine or more people dead!!! There are seven more wounded!!! Isn't that enough to know? Are we so blood-thirsty ourselves that we want to hear all the gory details? Why do I need to know more facts than my neighbor when I rush over to hash it all over with them? The authorities who investigate these things need to know the details, but we don't! And frankly, I really don't see how we can stop this sick and despicable trend.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Anger Shouldn't Stop the Loving

My husband grew up in a home that today we would call "dysfunctional". What an innocuous word when you consider the depth of destructive behavior that occurred on regular basis! The children were given daily examples of bitter emotions acting out between husband and wife, but all the world saw was a jolly and sweet man with a strong and aloof woman. Inside the walls of their home was fear and distrust and deep pain. 

No matter the dysfunction that you may have grown up with, it doesn't have to carry over into our adult lives. We can choose to reject the bad patterns that we may have learned early and choose healthy behaviors instead. My husband made a decision that he would not behave in the ways of his family, but when he and I have disagreements and become angry we quickly forget our promises to one another. This is when we need the Holy Spirit to remind us to obey the Scriptures and lean on the Savior for help.

1 Corinthians 13 has the perfect instructions for treating, not only those we know and love, but everyone.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. 

God is Love. God is faithful. And God never fails. That's why we can trust Him with our failures and weaknesses for help. I pray for strength and help every day
to handle all my weaknesses. Sometimes I still fail. But my Savior is always there to lift me up and set me back on the right path. He takes good care of me.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

It's A No-Brainer

I've been reading some of Leviticus this week. I know, right? God help me!  It's interesting how in Old Testament times God made stipulations for every kind of sin. He had it all worked out for them right down to the last detail how they could atone for their sin. And the people, who always had to go through the priest and his sons, had to know exactly what to do in case of every different sin. What a headache (especially for the bulls and sheep) to have to know and go through all that! And smelly! All that blood and entrails! How could they tolerate it?
And then God made One sacrifice that covered every sin. If we accept that gift of sacrifice and repent, it's done! 
So tell me, is this too simple? Why wouldn't anybody want this gift? Why would you want to live each day thinking, "Oh, I have to be good, do good things, say the right things, or I will have to go through all that bloody process (no pun) to pay for it and then clean up all that mess." Why would you live like that when you don't have to? Just take the gift......Jesus! You'll be so grateful that all you'll want to do is please Him. And the only sacrifice you'll need to make won't be a sacrifice anymore. It'll be a pleasure.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Pain of Betrayal

I met a lady today who was in terrible pain, her heart broken by someone that she has spent her life loving, but who has hurt her over and over beyond belief. She has no hope for this relationship to ever be different, and her tears just won't stop. These words for her flowed from my heart, but Jesus gave them to me.

"Carol, I am so sorry. My own son hates me and wants nothing to do with me, so I can share your pain. But, think of this. Jesus felt just as we do, hurt and abandoned and betrayed. His own people turned their backs on Him and sent Him to the cross. But, people are still doing that every day, and imagine His pain. Allow Him to comfort you, and pray each day for the one who is causing you pain. Love them anyway, just as Jesus loves us, and remember that He can penetrate any hard or wicked heart. No one is a hopeless case as long as he is alive. In the end it is their choice, but Christ will do everything He must, except making that decision for them, to change their heart. You are blessed to know the Savior. Pray the same for those you love."

People will hurt us because there is sin in this present world. Still, there is One who understands and shares our grief and pain. Never give up hope! Jesus is a miracle worker, and He knows how to heal our wounds and their souls. Ask the Father daily for His help, obey Him in all things, and He will honor it with His faithfulness.

Monday, August 17, 2015

I Don't Want To Hear It

It's been more than 30 years, but I have no problem remembering how nasty my mouth was before I accepted Christ. Nevertheless, I am still stunned when certain words come out of a human's mouth, especially when those words are directed at me. Rudeness and ill-treatment still make me lose my temper quickly if I'm not careful enough to check it. But, the filth that some people can verbally spew will pretty much leave me speechless. 

Yeah, I did it, and I am not oblivious to that fact. It's just that the vileness of it is pretty shocking when you are no longer use to hearing it. I wonder how some of you do it out there in the work force every day. And, if you've never talked that way, it would be even worse for you. Please tell me that you don't get used to it.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Dealing with the Monsters

Satan comes to us every day of our lives in the form of major "monsters". Some "monsters" are bigger than others, but there is not one single "monster" that is big enough to overpower Jesus Christ. If Christ is living within us, which happens when we invite Him in, there is absolutely nothing that we cannot overcome with Him.

"You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world." 1 John 4:4

He Decides

"But our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases."  Psalm 115:3. 

When the Father decides our time is up in this world, it's done. If He decides, for whatever reason only He knows, that we need to not be protected, and we suffer hardships or pain or incapacity, it's done.

God is faithful to protect His children who love Him and obey Him. We see that throughout the scriptures. He is faithful, but He also knows all, is the wisest being, is totally in control of me and you. Why would I complain if I am stricken when He is in control and knows and allows it? If it were bad for me spiritually, for my soul, He wouldn't allow it. If it is allowed, then I have something to learn from it. 

It ain't easy. but He didn't promise easy. He promised strength, and comfort, and light, and wisdom, and His infinite love, and we should obey Him in all things. And that's enough for me.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Are You Ready For the End?

By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in  the world. 1 John 4 NASB

Are we living in the last days? According to God's Word, the answer is a resounding "Yes". According to God's Word in multiple scripture, we recognize the signs. 

Are we seeing those signs in today's world? Yes.

Have we seen the antichrist? According to John, the antichrist was already known in the world at the time of John's writing. 

I believe the antichrist is the muslim brotherhood who deny any existence of a god other than their own. They torture, mutilate and murder anyone who claims Jesus Christ as their God.  The muslim religion began thousands of years ago, but it is only in the last fifteen to twenty years that we are recognizing the muslim faith explode all over the world, and they are quickly moving in to every territory to establish their ground.

My prayer is that every knee will bow to Jesus Christ and the Father God Almighty before it is too late, even though it means certain persecution and even an hideous and painful physical death. My prayer is that we prepare ourselves with the holy strength and power to overcome that physical death and mortal fear. My prayer is that through it all, whenever it may be, that Jesus Christ is glorified and honored and praised for the Savior of the world, and that God the Father and Holy Spirit are lifted up as the One and Only God. I pray that the Three in One are praised and worshiped today, in Jesus name! Amen.

Are you ready for the end? Are you prepared with the armor of God? It is coming, and I believe it is here.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Opinions and Other Smelly Topics

Those who know me know I do a lot of online reading. I like to stay informed. and I try to read what both sides of any topic are saying. I have to say, it is pretty shameful how many people talk when stating their opinions. I'm not talking strictly liberals, conservatives, atheists or Christians. I am talking about all of them. I have said some pretty shameful things in the past, but I think I've learned a very valuable lesson from befriending a certain lady that thinks totally differently from me about political matters. If you feel the need to state your opinion to someone, never put it on a personal basis.

Name calling is one of the most destructive forms of communication. Yet, many who state their opinion seem to feel that the only way they can change someone's mind is to attack them with labels and bad language. The bullying of our children has come under such scrutiny lately, simply because we see the effects of it, and we loathe such behavior. Still, a great majority of our adult population uses bullying and belittling to one another to make their case. Where do we think these child bullies learn this stuff? They learn it at home, even at school by their teachers. Labeling and name calling have become a way of life, and then we wonder why there is so much hate in the world!

Never use the word "You". Such things as, "You can't seem to get it through your head!" "You are crazy to think such things!" "You conservatives! You all think alike!" "You liberals are all power hungry!" are not only juvenile, they are ineffective. It is so easy to slip into this way of thinking and speaking, and it is an attack on the other person's integrity rather than a statement of fact about the subject. We must be willing to attack the subject matter only. We must know the facts so that we can logically speak about them.

Even worse is the name calling that I see. Again, it is bullying technique that is useless to solve any problem. When calling people names it seems that we'll go to any length to find a word or label to so humiliate and offend, as if drawing attention more to the foolishness of the person's opinion than the problem itself.

I'm convinced that the real problem is that most people simply have an opinion, but they have no facts to back it up. It is ignorance, due to laziness for not wanting to do the work to know what to say. Have you ever noticed how many people will quote things that they have been told are in the bible that are not really there? Who do you know that believes something about our country's Constitution that isn't there at all? If you listen to one side of a news report, it's a good thing to tune in to the other side's reports. You seldom get the whole story from one side of the fence.

When my friend and I discuss politics we seldom get through it without exasperation or raising our voices. We've been known to yell in public places and cause our husbands to shrink back in angst. But we never point verbally or physically to one another. The discussion isn't about us, it's about politics. I admit that she has a better memory for facts than I do, and that really makes me want to resort to finger pointing, but I must refrain. Then, we move on to better subjects like where we're going for lunch, and we laugh our way through the doors. A difference of opinion is never worth hurting another's feelings, bullying or character assassination. My opinion is not more important than my friendship. Know the facts, or keep still.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

The Perfect Parents

Parents constantly beat themselves up emotionally when any of their children grow to live contrary to what they've been taught during their childhood. We ask, "What did I do wrong?" "What should I have done differently?" "If I had only loved a little more." "Did I love too much?" "What went wrong?" Isn't it a shame that most parents are so eager, most are too eager, to take the blame for their child? God forbid we should allow our child to suffer a little or take on some responsibility for their own actions!

If you read the comments on social media or those attached to news items online you see some of the reason why parents feel so guilty. Those comments are written, almost without exception, by the luckiest parents in the world whose children grew to adulthood to be okay.....anyway. In other words, the parents weren't perfect, but the kids are mature and responsible anyway. Consequently, mom and dad believe that it's all due to their tremendous parenting skills, and if your kid didn't turn out quite so well, well it's no doubt because you were an unloving or inattentive mother who probably worked instead of staying home where good mothers always are. Or, dad was not loving enough, and never came home from work at a decent hour. It's all the parents' fault!

Then there's the men and women who know everything about rearing children, even though they've never had a child and have never even been married. But, it's obvious to them whose fault that kid's problems are, and frankly, they know more about what makes a good marriage, as well.

Let's just take a step back for a minute. I know for a fact that there are terrible and irresponsible parents. I may have been one of them. But, when children reach a certain age, the parent of a normal boy or girl should be able to realize that, no matter if you weren't totally perfect, that child is old enough to know right from wrong, know the basics that he or she was taught, and should now have brains enough to be the responsible one.

Now, I'm not talking about your basic juvenile delinquent here. I'm talking about Tom and Mary's son Tom Jr. who is off smoking pot at age 17 or worse, bullying the 14 year old whose nose is off center, or their daughter Cindy Lou who's rude and obnoxious to most of her high school teachers. Both kids know better. Both kids were taught to have respect for others and to obey the laws. So, if they were taught by mom and dad, and they break the rules anyway, who's to blame?

If the finger pointers are going to use the bible, which they so often do, I sure would like to know what verses they're using to make their points. I can't seem to find anywhere in the good book that says that if a child goes wrong, it's always the parents' fault. What I do find is that the prodigal son had a loving and doting father, but the son strayed away regardless. I find that David was a man for God's heart, but Absalom, his son, had a murderous heart, and for that matter, so did David. Then there was Cain who murdered his brother. Wait a minute! Adam and Eve disobeyed their father, and guess Who that was! Even God, the Creator Father, has children who disobey. I think it's time that those of us who are nursing our guilty feelings about being such bad parents stand up for ourselves for a change. You and I weren't perfect, by any means. But, our offspring need to fess up to the fact that they know better, and it's all their fault for behaving so badly.

Those of you out there with such great adult children who are responsible, God-fearing, law-abiding. good-mannered people who mow their lawns every week and make sure the car payment is on time, need to make a note to yourselves. You should remind yourselves to thank your wonderful Father in heaven that your less than perfect nurturing skills didn't produce what you probably deserved. Be so very thankful that your child turned out okay......anyway......that you never again automatically blame a parent for some snot-nosed kid's bad attitude or foul mouth. You just don't know it, but your grown up, all-American kid was probably just like that once upon a time.

Friday, June 26, 2015


Today I was browsing through some pictures for another story that I had written when I glanced upon this one. I hurriedly read the caption, then moved quickly on. It wasn't what I was looking for. But the picture haunted me throughout the day. I normally get irritated if someone writes something as if it were said by God. But, I have done that, so who am I kidding? Later in the day I went back to look at the picture again, and I decided I wanted to write about it. There are some things on my mind that I want to share.

Most of us don't have the misfortune of knowing just what a woman like this goes through when she lives a life on the streets. We can only imagine what it must be like or what she must do to exist there. Television and movies have somewhat opened most of our eyes, so the reality of it becomes a bit clearer. But, truly and thankfully, we sincerely cannot take our imagination far enough to the depth of the deprivation she usually suffers. We just haven't got a clue.

My first thought when I went back to look at this picture was, "I wonder what we would do if a woman like this walked into our sanctuaries some Sunday morning for worship." And, I have a long list of answers that I wish with all my heart that we would do.  I can see myself running toward the back of the room as she slinks in through the door. "Come in! Come in!" I call to her. "We are so happy to have you here this morning. Please! Please come sit with me and my family while we worship."

And then, out of the corner of my eye I see Mr. and Mrs. Marvelous Jones rushing over to be introduced and welcoming this filthy woman, trying to make her feel more at ease. As I'm introducing her, the associate pastor's wife steps up, along with her two teenage daughters, to say hello. Yes. I can see it all so clearly, just as Jesus has instructed us to do.

Or would I be the first to wrinkle my nose at her foreign odors that somehow we all recognize? Would we begin to whisper among ourselves, glancing to see where she went, hoping she won't come closer to where we sit? Would we speak to her at all, or would we leave that for the pastor, to do the dirty work, so to speak? After all, that's what we pay him for. Where would our love go when faced with pure and ugly sin in our sanctuaries? Would she feel God's love, or would she see, as usual, man's base reactions to something they don't understand?

It's possible that the real sin in that case would be the sin of those who not only know personally the grace of God's love but are unwilling to extend that same grace and love to one who has not experienced it. What are we afraid of? We know what Jesus would do and what He wants us to do, so what holds us back?  

Unfortunately, this scenario seldom, OK, probably never happens or will happen. And, perhaps I'm just being too hard on us Christians, but I doubt it. No matter what she has, or what we think she has done, we must always remember that we may smell better, our hair and clothes may be cleaner and neater, but to God, our sin is just as filthy as hers. We haven't the right to look down our noses at her or think of her as nasty or vile. We have no idea why she is the way she is. We haven't walked in her shoes, as they say. We only know that she needs the loving grace of the Savior just as we do, and we can find opportunities to tell her if we would just step out and say hello and show her God's love through His people.

He never said it would be easy, or even fun. But He has said, "If you love Me, obey me. Do it!" So, the question is, will we?

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Appreciate the Gift That You Have

Not long ago I expressed my appreciation to a friend of the dedication and love that person applies to his ministry and to his friends and family. I also mentioned in the conversation that I appreciate the way he prays. Ashamedly I admit what I said was, "I'd give anything to pray like you do." What I meant by that is I admire the attitude with which he prays and his creative ways of blessing and thanking the Lord for so many different areas of our lives. The vastness of his ways of approaching the Father, and the love and devotion contained in his words, humble though they are, instills in me a desire to be as pleasing to God with my words as my friend must be with his.

The fact is, I have been given a different gift, a gift of writing. I delight in the gift because I know He gave it to me. I began writing when I was a very young girl when my imagination was forming, and I lived in a dream world. Today I still live in that dream world, and I have an endless imagination, but, longingly I would prefer to write about my Savior and what He has done, and is doing, in me. There's nothing that I can imagine in my mind that is more exciting than that reality. All I need is a thought, a suggestion or some small inspiration and the words just flow onto my keyboard. I don't have to think much about it, plan it, outline it, or do much rewriting. This is my Father's gift to me.

The other fact is, as easily as writing comes for me, when I stand to speak, or if I'm called on to pray aloud, the thoughts detour and falter, and the words become muddled and repetitive and limited to phrases and cliches that I have heard most of my life in "religious" community. These are methods of which I have always had distaste. It would seem that when speaking my tongue goes faster than my brain; or could it be the opposite? My thoughts go in ten different directions, and when my mouth opens it can't remember what it really wanted to say. What frustration!

If I am so concerned about what or how I am talking to God, He will be little pleased. The Holy Spirit urges me to pray with abandon, with no thought for anyone, anything, or for myself; only for Him. Only for Him!

I can, and should show appreciation for my friends and their gifts. But my gift is different, and so I will bless Him for it!