The Simple Truth

Hey, there, dear friends. Been managing my thoughts fairly well with the strength of my patient heavenly Father to rely on. πŸ™‚ I have actually been able to push aside my own personal cares a bit more and renew concentration on other concerns.

I’ve been pondering a lot lately on how we as humans complicate the truth of salvation, in the world as well as the church. A few thoughts I jotted down in the last couple of days on the matter…

Found myself thinking on humanity today

And all the futile efforts ever on display…

There are so many complicated ways

We aimlessly strive for heaven.

So many foolish tries derived

From the devil’s crafty leaven!

And, yes, the unchurched is bogged by its fair share of cares,

But my musings are more than equally logged by

The church itself –

With its mangled thoughts and jangled “oughts”

They increasingly demand its people to bear.

And, oh, all the sins they no longer recognize

In their vain attempts to be “progressively” wise!

They shut their eyes to the Word of God

While evoking His name on paths both twisted and broad,

“Fixing” what needs not be fixed

While ignoring the rotting within the mix…

And, oh, the tragedy of trying our hearts out

To make our hearts right by ourselves!

We bend the beauty of salvation out of shape every time,

Presuming we know which way to climb,

Straining to reach heaven by our own deed,

With our sin-stained hands

Ever searching for the remaining

While the only thing required was done,

Already won

When the Lord took pity upon our need

And for us did bleed…

If only in all our dim thinking

Into that one untangled thought we’d truly delve!

We’d find the truth.

There’d be nothing left to prove.

If only we could surrender the notion

Of knowing better,

From the ugly claws of deception

We’d find ourselves finally unfettered!

Oh, teach our hearts to be so simple, Lord!

Help us each to take your

Uncomplicated offer on faith

And learn to rightly carry it forward,

Finding in You the endurance to stand,

Resting in the assurance of eternity’s hand.

A sweet guarantee indeed,

When once we see from all humanity’s been freed!

May we hold onto and hold out to others the simple truth of salvation in Christ! Blessings and prayers! Thanks for reading! ❀

A Social Gospel?

As Resurrection Sunday approaches, my mind naturally inclines to Calvary, to the glorious and complete redemption there.

But- it further goes to the churches in our land of late.

To pondering what the sermons across the country will consist of…

Will humble gratitude for the cross prevail?

Will a brokenness over the broken body of our Savior have its proper place?

Or will the disturbing trend for feel-goodism be front and center?

It can be a blatant parade of back-patting and busy work, a focus firmly centered on egg hiding and hunting and new clothes…

Or it can be more subtle, a type of gladness without the substance.

Doing the things because we always do the things, but all without pausing to contemplate why we do the things…

Or, sometimes, even if they are God’s things!

Yes, indeed, speaking His name, singing His praise,and doing good unto others can most definitely be His things!

But, then, there is also speaking His name in an attempt to gain His endorsement over sin, doing what we call good deeds that do not a thing for someone’s eternal destiny, aligning with what we deem the “correct” culture that has not a hint of Biblical correctness or an understanding of what mercy really means, and singing in a soulful, hip sort of way, but rarely inviting Him further than our lips…

It is a something that has infiltrated our churches at an alarming rate.

I did not coin this phrase, but it well suits where we are-

What we are far too often presenting is:

A social gospel.

An attempt to “cool” up and make “user friendly” the message of Christ that strips all the meaning.

And it sure doesn’t have to be Resurrection Sunday to see it.

But this season we celebrate His indescribably beautiful sacrifice to us does emphasize for me the disparity existing far too often between the soul of the church and the soul of the Lord…

So, all that spiel to say I offer you a perhaps different something to think on this Good Friday.

A list, if you will, of what the Gospel is and is not about…

It’s not about being cool.

It’s about being faithful.

It’s not about putting a happy face

To every gritty ounce of grace.

It isn’t the nod to embrace

The filth of our sin.

Rather, it is the precious breaking of

Those terrible bonds

Our mind must stay upon.

The cross must brutally remind

Of the Salvation we could not

Ourselves find…

Sundays of lapping up a self-soothing

Phrase,

Cannot cure the disease of humanity’s

Vacant glaze.

For your belly with fill for a while;

You might even dare a smile.

But the hollow, sin-shrunken frame

Stays on your back mile for mile…

You trade true freedom

For endless, useless scrabbling,

A weak, powerless strum

Over allowing Jesus in to blast away

All the wastelands you’re still

Inhabiting!

“But, I want to feel good, ” a grumble

Rises in the crowd,

“Jesus means all I do and all I am is

Stamped approved!

Let me float on my mellow cloud

And the rest of you can just sit there

Letting your Bible and your truth bog

Down your mood…”

“Ah, but friend,” comes the pleading

Reply.

“There is but one Bible. One truth. One Christ.

Christianity has never meant you’ll

Feel good for always-

Not in this life, anyway…

It’s about Jesus taking on the

Degradation we could not will away.

Not that we might stay in it,

But that He could split the veil

And show us a better way….

It is about endurance of hope

In the recognition of every high and

Low.

It’s about denying self and taking up

One’s cross,

Knowing the depth of His love

Covers every cost.

It is mercy, to be sure.

But blended perfectly with His

Holiness,

And this alone, church,

Must be our answer-no compromise!

For only in His truth do we begin to recognize

Desperate humanity’s cure….

May we hold fast to His truth this Resurrection season and always! Blessings and prayers on your Good Friday, dear friends! ❀

Following Jesus

Hello, there, friends. Impromptu home school has completed, I officially have a high school graduate, and we all remain well and busy. Finally got Zoom to work (sort of) and managed a few Brady Bunchish youth group meetings. Yay!

Last week, our small church was finally able to meet in person with some of the necessary adjustments.

I had the thrill of my two musical kiddos back to doing Praise Team just in time for Mother’s Day.❀

So…some changes are smoothing out…yet writing, my dear companion, has remained somewhat elusive.

Time continues to weigh in and snatch the quiet hours from my hand.

And then…today…

This morning, I had still been ruminating on what God would have me to share next and in what form. I was feeling kind of in a funk about it, to be frank.

And, then, the second Sunday our congregation was back together, the man we as a family have looked up to for spiritual encouragement and truth for the past six years stood at the pulpit today and decided it for me, with the hand of God firmly nudging the whole situation, naturally.

With all the humble honesty we have come to know and appreciate, our beloved pastor announced that after a month or more of resistance, he went to the emergency room to deal with ongoing pain struggles he had kept between himself and his wife.

After tests, it was discovered he has stage 4 cancer, affecting his prostate, bladder, lymph nodes, and already beginning to steal into his bones.

It was devastating news for us, to be sure, but nothing compared to what we imagine he is currently grappling with.

Of course, he requested prayer for both himself and his wife, one of the kindest women I have ever known and a constant help to my children.

If you feel so led, please feel free to add them to your prayer lists. Their names are Don and Deb.

But, that is not the bulk of what I want to share, really, as important as that is.

Instead, I want to draw on what he did following the announcement.

He proceeded with his sermon from the gospel of Mark, specifically about the calling of Simon Peter and Andrew.

About following Jesus.

From heart-stopping news to the Good News.

I could go on and on about how in awe I am at the bravery that took to keep stepping, keep sharing, keep pastoring today.

No one would’ve faulted him stepping away for this Sunday, if not longer.

Many have had to face that surrender and are certainly not lesser for it!

Yet…there he was today, pressing on.

However, I cannot help but be mindful of the humbleness and the striving to just share Jesus that fuels the soul of this man.

It spurs me on to the heart of the matter.

For, what could be expounded on in rich detail and complex emotion can also be summed up in the key phrase he shared with us today.

The same Jesus shared all those years ago with two rough fishermen from Galilee.

The same our Lord shares with us today:

“Come, follow Me.”

I am sure it wasn’t a simple decision to do that today, as many days are not, but we as a congregation got a great example of what that can look like.

No one has any idea yet where this journey will take Don, Deb, and our church. We all know evidence points to an arduous trek.

But, it also points to one not made alone.

Not when you are following Jesus.

Prayers and blessings, dear friends! Thanks for reading a small piece on a very dear person in my family’s world. I hope this finds you all well!

Man-made

If there’s one thing we humans are good at, it’s manufacturing.

We perceive a need, we pull out the thinking caps, the drawing board, sketching pencils-complete with a towering stack of erasers to take care of those, err…rough drafts. 😏

Eventually, through trial and error, we usually crank out a suitable answer to that need.

And there’s mass awe and satisfaction…until the next need crops up, of course. πŸ˜‰

And, you know, that’s fine, in general. It keeps inventive minds rolling, something I can personally attest to the importance of, being a mom to such creative types. πŸ™‚

But, there are some areas humanity’s tendency to manufacture shows up that it just doesn’t belong.

Particularly, today, I think of the church as a whole-our places and methods of worship.

Observances. Rituals. Traditions. We are rife with such.

There’s a lot of Biblical essentials in there, too, of course-at least, for some.

The Holy Trinity, the Bible our inerrant Word, Christ our only means of salvation.

I still know several congregations where this is at least part of their core of beliefs.

I also know others where even such simple truths have been distorted, some more recently, others for, well… for centuries.

Either way, I have only seen them grow further altered as time goes on, unfortunately.

Along with so many other things from what marriage should be to who deserves life, with lots and lots of stops for tweaking in between. 😞

But, really, beyond these obvious and obviously dismaying alterations, there are countless little twists that predate them.

Rituals augmented without much scriptural basis, traditions tacked on because they seemed holy, emphasis weighed more on ceremony than purposes of the heart.

When you sit down and begin to really sift through some of the trappings-the things we do because we’ve always done them, the committees we belong to because we’ve always had them, and the structure we cling to because it’s always been there to cling to, there are a lot of things that are just…well, things.

Man-made things. Some well meaning, some not even inherently bad-when not adopted as requirement or penance.

And others?

Well, outright lies, bald truth be known.

Now, no disrespect meant. I have friends from many different denominations.

I know all have their own emphasis and I know there are devoted followers of Christ in many a style of church.

But, there are some traditions we hold onto that are just… unnecessary.

They don’t really equate to greater closeness to Christ and they certainly won’t usher us into a higher rent district in the kingdom of God! πŸ™„

It’s actually something akin to an odd sort of arrogance to think these things we do make us any more fit for heaven, even if we don’t really recognize it as such.

I think in some cases, years and years ago, we bought into specific notions, either by not checking them against scripture or by seizing on a misinterpretation of a verse.

Or, else it just felt right and that was good enough for us.

Humanity, after all, struggles to resist manufacturing…

Even ways to produce “virtue”.

Over the years, these notions were solemnly doled out, one generation to the next, gaining more and more a semblance of sacredness with each passing, like a hand-me-down garment worse for wear yet never allowed to be discarded.

Rarely do we recognize there was no value to donning it in the first place.

It’s not that I am anti-tradition, necessarily.

I was in the thick of the anti-tradition camp in my day, and that can become its own set of dangerous rituals, let me tell you!

No…the answer lies not in abolishing all we’ve ever done. That’s the proverbial throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

But, I think what I long to see more of is being led by the Lord, seeking His word above the order of the program, the steps He’d lead us in versus the steps prescribed by the various procedures we’ve chosen to put in place.

To tear away all the man-made ways we try to reach God and truly humble ourselves before Him.

Because, in doing that, He who actually made man will lift us up in due time.

Heavyish word tonight, I know. But, the Lord put it on my heart, so…out it came! May we each examine our motivations carefully, seeking not rituals but a relationship with Him. Blessings and prayers, dear friends! πŸ™‚

Joyful Noises Among the Generations

We’ve had an especially wonderful couple of weeks of youth group.

Typically, we are all about food, music, Bible study, discussion, game.

And that is nearly always the order.

Oh, occasionally, it’s been game first, then Bible study- particularly when the game happens to be a good object lesson to lead in to the scriptures we’re focusing on.

But, these past couple of weeks were somewhat a needed shake-up of all that.

Not that there’s anything necessarily wrong with a routine.

Kids, even when they reach the teen years, truly appreciate the familiarity of knowing what to expect when ( Particularly the food. That’s a big chunk of my department. πŸ˜‰).

And we do normally have great discussions, awesome worship, some fairly major feasting, and a whole lot of fun.

But, this year we have a different group. A significantly smaller group as others have graduated and/or moved on.

But, really, it’s not a bad thing!

Because, it’s a core group. A group hungry for the Lord.

And a group hungry to serve!

It’s a lovely thing to behold.

That last is what lead us beyond the usual order of business these past two Wednesdays.

Instead, we chose to seek a way to minister to our community.

Now, we’re an incredibly small town, as I believe I have mentioned in previous posts, so it takes a bit of creativity to find places to plug in at times.

But, creativity is one trait these kids have in spades.

So, what did we do?

Well, it may not seem exactly earthshattering, but I truly believe we filled a need.

Taking up our guitars, our drums, and our sheet music, we trooped over to the nursing home across the street for a bit of a jam session.

There was a lively mix of old hymns and newer worship songs sung with the residents there.

There were chalk drawings done depicting a lighthouse and an eagle to remind us all how the Lord is our guide and our uplifter.

There were encouraging verses spoken in the normally rather quiet living room area of the assisted living facility.

Best of all, there were stories swapped of God’s goodness and the richness of a life lived for Him.

Frail hands squeezed ours with surprising strength and hugs were generously given. Brightened eyes smiled into ours with amazing alertness.

Ah, the beautiful bridges that were built between the generations-ones I know we will return to again and again as the Lord leads.

There’s something to be said for not neglecting the wisdom of our elders or dismissing their earnest desire for a listening ear.

There’s also something to be said for recognizing that, for all the decrying of the current state of our youth, the young still have much more to offer this world than we often give them credit for.

Sometimes, it’s all just a matter of bending the routine a bit and bringing the joyful noises of the generations together. ☺

In this, we find countless simple yet profound ways to serve one another.

Prayers and blessings to you, friends! May we each realize all we can learn from one another and look to the generations both younger and older to serve and to be served by.

Revival Begins With One

Too often people of this world think in terms of the more.

More money.

More prestige.

More stuff.

We humans are sadly prone to this insatiable hunger.

And, since the church is, in fact, made up of us fallible humans, it stands to reason that this intense scratching in the gut spills over into the church.

Shouldn’t, of course. But does.

And what do churches generally want more of?

Well, some-not all-but, some want more state-of-the-art.

Veritable shopping malls for buildings.

The gift shop, the coffee shop, the three-story playhouse for the kiddies.

The smoke machine, the laser lights, the drummer on display behind plexiglass.

Always adding more fundraisers to add more things…

More cool trappings to add more bodies in the cushy seats.

Because more is always better, right?

Well, I hate to burst any bubbles or come across too harshly, but, umm… no.

But, but…

More means more people going to our church doing more awesome Jesus things!

That can’t be bad!

Yeah, but, it’s not necessarily a given that more are actually getting to know Jesus there.

For how many are there without the saving knowledge of Christ?

How many drift through without true discipleship?

But, but, there’s lots of people! That’s revival, right?

Wrong.

Oh, I know so many churches, even many fellow believers, that picture revival in huge waves of people, that if only we could get more numbers, that we could see more happening for Christ.

But substance sacrificed for more numbers isn’t what brings about revival.

Because, revival doesn’t really begin with a mass of people.

Revival begins with one.

But, but, Jesus preached and there were thousands!

Peter added thousands, too!

Billy Graham crusades! Thousands!

Yes, that’s so. But, there was still a need for each soul to experience that individual heart change.

And, then, to be discipled after.

Jesus always, always, even in the press of a crowd, took time for the one.

Just ask the woman with the issue of blood.

Ask the disciples He so often took aside to teach deeper understanding of His truth, to ensure they were getting it.

Ask countless others who met Him and had a radical change not because of some fancy happening, but because of the one on one.

For, without taking notice of the one, it’s just far too often a case down the road of :

Whatever happened to so-and -so?

I dunno. They came to the big get-together a while back, the worship was really cool, there were lots of people! So-and-so went forward to pray, I think, but, all of a sudden, they stopped coming.

We can’t, of course, reach all and keep track of every one.

But, in the quest for more numbers, it can be especially hard.

For the one can be much easier to lose in the mass when our heart’s not on the revival of that one.

Now, it behooves me at this point to note that I know these major revivals some speak of are not likely if we know our scripture, particularly end time scripture.

But, still-if we could all learn to care about the one, how much more change could we really see for the whole?

It’s worth more than a passing thought.

Lord, help us to not lose sight of the ones you put in our path for the sake of wanting more. I know times are not destined to improve in the here and now, but, still, revive our hearts. One by one.

Thanks for reading. Blessings and prayers, friends!

With the Blinders Off

I promised this in a previous post. Prayerfully, I am plunging in to expand on my experience with the charismatic movement…

The first time I ever blogged something, even before my almost-but-not-really mommy blogger phase , I began writing with a mission.

I was fresh out of the charismatic movement I had spent so many years in, full of intense emotions, and determined to counsel others on the dangers therein.

Unfortunately, I don’t think I was terribly grounded yet in my newly found wisdom- nor the ways of the blogging world.

I really didn’t get readers. 😏

So, needless to say, that attempt didn’t last very long!

It would be quite some time, in fact, before I even broached the subject again. And when I did, it was much more tentative than my earlier attempts.

I was beginning to recognize how much of my earlier belief system needed unpacking and how much needed to be rebuilt.

And that takes time. Painstaking time. Coming out both barrels blasting as if I had the authority?

Not an option if I truly wanted an about-face from the past.

For so many things clung to me from my very first church experiences onward, things that permeated the very atmosphere.

Things that honestly left me angry when the truth fully dawned on me.

Things I was not ready to talk about with any measure for quite a while.

But, now that the initial anger I left my old church with has long since faded, I feel I can delve into this. I may still tread on some toes, but I know in my heart there’s no malice in my words- just deep-seated sorrow.

I hope I can convey that somehow here, even with the hard things that must be said.

So, what are these things I speak of?

Well, there are several, so I will begin by highlighting what stood out to me from the various erroneous teachings and just plain oddities I encountered over the years:

1. If you aren’t “falling out in the Spirit” (allowing someone to pray over you till you fall flat on the floor, presumably in a state of euphoria) and babbling together in strange tongues, you are missing out on the “better” part of the Spirit.

This part of the Spirit, according to their teaching, is a special, separate anointing that all Christians should and can have, if only we want it enough.

2. There was also the “name it and claim it” philosophy running rampant- that which says the more you give monetarily, the more you get monetarily, that Christians ought all be financially rich, or something is wrong in their walk, that what you declare in His name can automatically be.

3. There is an almost superstition to keeping every word spoken on the positive. To make sure we are “speaking only good over ourselves”. As if admittance of a struggle automatically causes even more struggle to dump over our heads.

4. Those who were not inclined to gyrate in the Spirit during music were subtly shamed for our “lack of fervor”.

Singing the same phrase countless times, almost chant-like, was supposed to somehow generate more of the Spirit in our midst.

5. We were to hunger for physical signs- angel feathers, gold dust, supernatural healing. Heaven was supposed to meet earth and become an everyday occurence, effectively eliminating reverence.

6. Sermons were there, but wandered over the same few passages that could be bent to human will in the guise of “seeking the Spirit”.

Seldom was salvation discussed or altar calls offered, at least not to lead anyone to Christ.

Altar calls usually involved looking for a prophetic word or the aforementioned “falling out”.

Some would have what they called “carpet time” for hours while their children anxiously waited in the nursery-unless it was a day someone had a notion to troop out the young ones for their “training in the Lord”, that is.

6. Guest speakers were brought in by the droves, some with mystical music to accompany them, some who claimed prophetic giftings, others whose moral failings and extrabiblical leanings were continually excused by grace and the words “fresh revelation”.

This last is what finally broke within me, caused me to stop punishing myself for not being “enough”, and stirred my heart to leave.

I had begun to read the Bible with new eyes that saw what it said versus what it could be bent to say.

I saw that nothing in scripture advocated much of what we did Sunday to Sunday.

So…I saw the writing on the wall.

I knew I couldn’t remain in a place where I could not respect what my leadership embraced, nor what they turned a blind eye to.

So much of it could be summed up to that. Spiritual blindness.

For, that by itself can easily account for buying into a pack of lies that simultaneously claims freedom from the rituals of traditional church and piles on a whole new set of them.

And, as stated, there was a time I was furious for the years this belief system robbed me of.

But, now… it’s more like heavy heartache.

Because I don’t know how many of those people I spent so many years with are really, actually saved.

I want to think some believe in the truth of trusting Christ alone for salvation, but there were so many crowded ideas and conjuring up of “a movement of God”, I cannot honestly say I could see the fruit.

It’s not that they never did good. Their food and clothing ministry thrived. The downtrodden felt like they were embraced.

But the confusing spiritual mix they served up in addition clouded the rest.

And, walking around with that knowledge, yet unable to persuade anyone in that old life of what I feel God revealed to me, is hard.

Unspeakably hard. Especially when some are beloved family.

I pray but I also keep my distance now, honestly. There’s no listening ears there at this point, and definitely no going back for me.

I now exercise extreme caution, testing teachings Berean-style to scripture, and sitting under a pastor that is very much Bible-based, to the point of directing us to test what he says to scripture.

I’m finding the simple clarity of salvation in Christ alone is a life-giving antidote to years of burdensome clutter.

And, slowly, I am finding my feet in sharing this. I am surer now than ever of where I stand:

On Christ alone.

To any who are unsure of the charismatic movement, I pray you test what is said against the Word of God and the Word of God alone. Thanks for reading and God bless!

Self-Help Never Helped Anyone

There aren’t too many brick-and-mortar bookstores left these days. (Makes an old-fashioned, flip-through-the-pages girl like me rather sad. πŸ™)

But, on those occasions I happen upon one still, what is one of the biggest sections I find?

Self-help.

Usually right next to the Christian section, no less-when they’ve got one.

Kind of speaks to society in general:

Don’t like the idea of God’s help? Well, then, here you go, help yourself!

And there’s a veritable sea of publications with slick covers, beckoning to the struggling with empty promises for a new life by Friday.

Self-improvement. Self-reliance. Self-empowerment.

Pick one up and a few may even allude to some sort of faith at times, though it seems more of a cursory nod than the foundation of their philosophy.

So many authors, so many books, so many ways…

So much foolishness!

For, every one of those books lay claim to the secrets of “successful living”.

And so few ever acknowledge the God who holds the real secret!

For successful living has not an iota to do with what house you live in, what’s in your wallet, or your driveway.

Nor with the length or contents of your resume, your online followers, or cookie-cutter, Instagram-ready family.

For all those things are just that.

Things.

Some of them quite nice.

Family, obviously, is extremely important and not just a thing! As a wife and mom of four, I can definitely attest to that!

But, the idol of the “perfect” life with them or in general?

Well, that is just that-an idol.

And idols are dangerous, false gods in the way of our loyalty to the One True God.

As is trying to self-help ourselves.

For there is no helping ourselves…

By ourselves.

I know. I have tried so many times-and have the trail of failed attempts behind me to prove it! πŸ˜‰

Having been through a few rough patches in life often leads to grasping at band-aids of all sorts.

But, nothing ever stuck till I recognized that the only real help comes when we bow every bit of our self-serving ways to our desperate need for a Savior.

It’s not that all advice out there is bad.

Scripture, naturally, is full of wisdom for the ages. When I need help, I prayerfully reach for the Bible and find God answers quite well!

It’s a matter of being open to listen, of course. πŸ™‚

There are also many wonderful writers and teachers versed in the Word and a lifetime of walking with the Lord who have a lot of insights to share.

I am just especially cautious with whose work I read and listen to these days.

Anything that does not place God and His Word first, last, and in between is not something I linger on anymore.

It isn’t worth it.

So… suffice to say, where in those few bookstores left (or that huge online landscape of offerings), the self-help section is wide, would that we choose the narrow aisle of biblical truth:

Self-help never helped anyone.

We need His help for now and all time to see any real change.

Blessings and prayers, friends. May we ever be in pursuit of the help only the Lord can provide.

We’re Fighting the Wrong Enemy

I feel like I might be harping on this issue, but it’s what He’s placed on my heart…

Even in my somewhat limited scope of living, I hear and read so many things from fellow believers:

“If only so-and-so group would stop doing this, we (Christians) wouldn’t have to do this.”

“If that wasn’t happening over here, we wouldn’t have to do that over there.”

“We have to mobilize ourselves.”

“Fight fire with fire.”

“Get stirred up for a cause.”

“Take down the enemy.”

Wait…what?πŸ€”

Now, which enemy is it that you refer to?

“Well, the other side, of course.”

Ah. The other side.

The nameless, faceless amalgamation that stands for everything you do not.

That enemy?

Yes, keep them in that clumped up category to make it more palatable:

The liberal.

The neo-Nazi feminist.

The tree-hugging, seal-cub-saving, vegan toothpick.

The hateful Atheist.

The snowflake millennial.

The lisping fruitcake.

I could go on tossing out cruel, pointless stereotypes, but, that’s belaboring the point.

Which is that every one of those groups, the groups we as Christians often deride and label oh-so-conveniently are not just collective groups across the divide.

They’re people.

Individual people with names and hearts and dreams and vulnerabilites.

Created by the same Creator as us.

Souls for whom Jesus died, same as us.

Souls He expects us to care about, even when they answer with vigor.

And it’s not our job to fight them, no matter how much we might disagree with them.

They are not our enemy.

That designation belongs to he who is in the world.

Remember? The one who comes to steal, kill, and destroy?

The prowling lion, seeking to devour?

All too often, we believers forget that, standing idly by, hurling our useless words at the ones being devoured instead of addressing he who devours.

And don’t you think the devil loves that?

For he knows it does nobody any good to stand there stomping our feet and shouting at these misguided souls to stop letting the lion devour them.

Especially if we get so busy on that particular bent that we lose sight of sharing the way out of the lion’s jaws-the truth found in the Word and the grace Jesus provided through the blood He shed on Calvary!

Satan delights for us to forget that key!

Now, this is not at all to give the tired, off-the-mark argument of “judge not lest you be judged.” That verse gets misused way too often to excuse all sorts of rampant, ungodly behavior!

No, we must remain firm in our stance for Christ and in the Word.

But, that stance must always, always be in love or we’ve lost our foundation.

It isn’t to say all will answer our love with gratitude.

Most assuredly not!

But, it isn’t for us to fret on that score. Do we really think God does not have it all in hand anyway?

Of course, He does!

All we can do is prayerfully, humbly tell the good news of salvation as He instructs us and then leave it in Hands.

If we could only use our desire to mobilize for that!

Another thing to pray for, I guess.πŸ˜‰

Sunshine Award Answers

I have been nominated for a Sunshine Blogger Award! Such a surprise and so nice to be thought of. ☺

A big thank you to Robert at Watching at Wisdom’s Gates! Your kindness is very appreciated.

https://roberlain.wordpress.com/

I know at the end of this I’m supposed to have eleven people in mind to nominate, but, where I am not necessarily new to blogging, I still feel fairly “young” at this go-around, so I am still getting to know most people. I can’t say as I know eleven people right now I feel I can comfortably nominate. ( That haven’t been nominated already. There are also a few who I feel probably don’t really do this sort of thing! ☺)

So, forgive me if I forgo that part. There is no offense meant.

I actually considered just skipping this post altogether to avoid doing so. Robert was gracious enough to say it was a no-obligation deal…but, frankly, I liked his questions and felt it could actually be beneficial to answer.

So, those somewhat elaborate explanations out of the way, on to the answers (and if I need to be drummed out of the blogging club for breaking the rules, well, we’ll deal with that laterπŸ˜‰) …

1. What’s your favorite Bible verse at the moment?

I have several that have carried me through different points in my life, especially Phil. 4:13 and Jeremiah 29:11, but, right now, John 8:12 has been speaking to me:

“I am the Light of the World. He who follows me will not walk in darkness, but have the Light of life.”

Very helpful, especially on the dark days, to know His light is there to guide my path. ☺

2. Who’s family for you?

Well, foremost is God. Without Him, there is no family. But, as to the human side, we have a full house here. There’s my dear husband of 7 years (my second chance at love ❀), four kids (One girl, three boys. Older three are from my first marriage, youngest boy is a lovely bonus.) and two dogs.

3. Who are your closest friends?

Friends I’ve struggled to do well with, to be honest. It isn’t something that comes naturally. But, if I had to say I’m close to anyone, it’s my pastor’s wife. She is incredibly kind and easy to talk to. And I am meeting/getting to know again some lovely brothers and sisters in Christ here. ☺

4. What’s your favorite YouTube channel?

I’m more of a Youtube dipper than a channel devotee. If I have an oldie or worship song pop in my head, I do love to go there to look it up, though.

5. If you could have a second home anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Hmmm…this is a tough one. I am a creature of sameness, so the thought of being elsewhere is not necessarily something I ponder often. Probably down in Oklahoma someplace, as that is where my parents moved to several years ago. It’d be nice to be nearer each other again.

6. What was the last song you listened to?

Not sure of the name, but it was my daughter singing snippets of a disco song from their school musical. 😊

7. What’s your favorite form of social media (apart from WordPress!) and why?

Well, I used to do it all. When you write a book it’s more or less expected. It became a madhouse of obligation! When I felt the need to step away for my spiritual health, I deleted all accounts. I haven’t readded any other than this one blog. I don’t know that that will change. I leave it to God’s direction. πŸ™‚

8. What’s your local church like?

We are an old church, been here over a hundred years. There’s a mix of elderly people, young families, and those of us in the middle. Our pastor is very humble and kind, very much about getting into the Word and looking there for our direction. We also have a growing children’s/youth ministry.

9. Do you have a garden? If so, describe it πŸ™‚

Hee hee. Oh, if you only knew what you asked! We moved to this really old house in this very small country (read no grocery store, one gas station) town. I have a nice big yard. Tried a garden that first summer out of that sense of “I should”. Couldn’t grow much but weird carrots to save my life. My oldest son, however, grew a big, beautiful, “accidental” watermelon (he planted seeds from a refrigerated melon and managed to get it to thrive.) in the front yard. So…if we want things to grow, it’s his job now. 😊

10. What’s the community you live in like?

Well, in addition to what I described above, our town is fairly tightknit. We know each other and help out how we can. Not to say we don’t have our troubles still. Troubles are everywhere, after all. But, we are blessed, by and large, with some very kind, faith-filled folks.

11. What would you like to study more?

Well, I am currently digging deeper into the minor prophets. It’s a part of the Bible I have read before, but it’s been a while and I would like to understand it better.

In addition to that, prophecy in general-particularly as it relates to the end times-is always heavy on my mind.

The clock is ticking and we who hold the truth of Christ must continue to share it while we can.

Well, that about sums it up.

Thank you again, Robert! God bless!