Get it Together

Been pondering what I wanted to say today to honor 9/11, knowing this day in history rightly deserves something. In reading dear friends’ words and tossing around thoughts of my own, all I keep landing on is how much this time is in contrast to then. Those were scary times. Hard times indeed. And I won’t pretend sin wasn’t rife in our nation then. Yet, there was also such a period of solidarity that sprang up out of tragedy that unfortunately faded far too quickly and hasn’t been seen since




Was it really so long ago

Devastation rolled across our screens?

Did the skies really tear open and explode?

Did the buildings crumble ?


Did our high hopes tumble

As city streets began to fill with  screams?

Has it really been that many years

Since we met the challenge with prayerful tears?

Has it all faded from memory

The way we united on bended knee

And shared in the burdens and the fears?

I am loathe to think we have forgotten.

Yet, I must acknowledge the pledge

To stand hand in hand has gone rotten.

Did I know this would happen?

With a twinge, I have to admit I saw it somewhere down the road.

I cringe at the way humanity

Slips away so casually,

Our ardor toward our Lord grown so quickly cold!

Oh, Father, that remembrance would stir!

Oh, that useless rants would cease

And peace in Christ would be allowed to occur!

Oh, I know our downfalls,God.

Yet, I also know You can lift us beyond.

Though we too often neglect to

Do as we ought,

Guide us yet to Your truth

And teach us again to forsake You not.

Oh, disentangle us from this tether of sin,
And help us to come together again!

What Do You Identify As?

Update on Pastor Don: Last week, he underwent a lot of tests. He has another one Tuesday and from there should come the final assessment on strategy. He was still cheerful, but understandably feeling the tiredness and pain. He wound up somewhat tag-teaming on the sermon with a young man in our congregation. Very blessed, wise words on our identity from James 1. Particularly how we identify ourselves and standing firm in that.

Put me in mind of one of my posts from September 2019. Figure since I have gained quite a few friends on here since then, it was worth a reshare in a time when it would be incredibly easy to be tossed to and fro…

When someone asks you what you are, what is your ready answer?

If your career features prominently, you might say,

“Well, I’m a _( fill in the blank with the appropriate work description).

If you are a spouse and/or a parent, it will surely be one of the first things that springs to mind.

If you have a hobby you are particularly passionate about, you could expound on yourself in that area.

Or, in that vein, if you have an accomplishment you are especially proud of, that may top your list.

And if you don’t have any of those things, or even if you do but struggle with the spector of bygone times, you might just label yourself by your failures!

I have some experience there, to say the least. πŸ™‚

But, all that to say, which of us identify ourselves first as His?

Oh, many of us indeed identify ourselves as Christians!

But, is it something deeper than a mere word, something stronger than the rest of those worldly trappings?

Something we go to first?

I can only speak to my own tendencies here, but, when asked, I admit, unless it’s a spiritual conversation to begin with, I don’t always think to identify myself in terms of Christ first.

I can get caught up quite easily in the monikers of this temporal existence with the best of them:

Wife. Mom. Author. Baker. Youth leader.

Not bad things, mind you. Just…things.

But, if we want to go negative with it…

On a particularly tough day, it might be:

Abused. Abandoned. Unable. Screw-up. Filthy Loser.

Allowing the shadows of life- past and present, positive and shameful-to engulf me over the shadow of the cross.

Forgetting the forgiveness therein, the redemption that wipes out what I was, and the truth that dispels every lie the enemy has fed me.

I have said this in previous works in the blogging world, and the echo calls to me still. So… I’ll say it again for friends new and old:

That truth I refer to?

It’s that, in Him, I’m not that girl anymore!

Instead, He has called me chosen.

A royal priesthood.

God’s own possession! (1 Peter 2:9)

When I don’t let that be what I identify as, it leaves me vulnerable to the pointing fingers of the past.

As well as to the world’s generic labels of the present that while a part of me do not encompass the core or begin to describe what’s to be most important.

And, oh, what I miss out on when I neglect my true identity!

It’s like living as a pauper when I am the King’s daughter!

Lord, help me remember my identity in you. Help us all!

Blessings, friends!

Thanks for reading (or re-reading. πŸ™‚) Sending prayers out to each of you and all the hurting places in our world.

Holding the Standard

I haven’t absorbed as much as you’d think being married to a handyman for nearly eight years.😏

(Maybe it has something to do with aptitude…or my downright clumsiness with tools. 😁)

But, despite that, there is one thing I have learned.

When it comes to any aspect of building, there is a standard to be met and held.

Without it, you stand a risk of all sorts of problems, to say the least!

The same can be said for our spiritual walk.

Now, I am not one to beat folks over the head with a list of “do’s” and “don’t’s”.

Such legalism can leave a person feeling mighty hopeless.

But, I must say that often, too often, it seems the bar is being lowered in this land of the living.

Particularly, sadly, for those of us who count ourselves the Lord’s own, more and more so as the clock wears on.

Oh, we have God’s grace. And we mustn’t ever forget we have that grace.

His grace is the only way we will ever measure up, after all.

For that matter, His grace is the only way we even recognize the sin stain which causes us not to measure up-on our own, that is.

Because, yes, our redemption is that amazing grace, found solely through the death and resurrection of the Son, praise God.

But, that said, so many of us, too many of us, take this beautiful sacrifice as a free pass.

“I have my ‘God Insurance’ in the game of life, so, now, I can just hop on the do-as-I-please express!” πŸ™„

But, oh, friends, you don’t want that ride! It’s a ride, I’m here to tell you, that does nothing in the end but disappoint at best!

And at worst? Well, let’s just say a crash and burn is painful beyond description. πŸ™

It’s not always easy to provide such cautions.

I always want to make sure I am coming from a place of love.

Too much danger of tipping into the sanctimonious otherwise.

Now, it’s great when you encounter those who get the spirit you intend, or, better yet, are at the table, already hungry for such truth.

But, try to kindly counsel others, especially those who look around and just can’t seem to recognize their own emaciation staring back at them, and it’s a whole new ball of wax.

It can be rather dismaying to watch the hostility, labels, and angry epithets fly then.

Or, worse yet, indifference.

For, there’s a disturbing trend to keep a tight grip on spiritual compromise in these days.

It’s everywhere we look.

Media. Government. Schools. Homes. Churches.

Our hearts.

It’s becoming increasingly unpopular to do otherwise!

Oh, perhaps, it’s not really so new. One only has to peruse the scriptures to see such littering page after page.

It’s only become more prevalent, perhaps, as everything’s on a twenty-four-seven information overload.

The world’s got more opportunities than ever to spew out an ongoing parade of violence and vulgarity.

Not to mention, time is drawing nigh and satan, the defeated foe, is seeking to entangle and take down all those he can with him.

And no one is what I’d call immune from his schemes.

For, even for those of us saved by God’s grace, there is the endless subtlety of distraction, in all its countless forms.

The strategy being if the devil can’t snatch our soul, he can at least sideline us with the world’s many “goodies”.

That way there’s no one left to hold up the standard.

Or, after a while, as our Bibles collect dust in favor of a pulpit pep talk, even remember what the standard is supposed to be.

So, what is one to do? Hole up from the whole world, singing our Kumbayahs under a blanket and wait on the Lord from the comfort of a hermetically sealed bubble? 😏

Well, no, of course not!

That defeats the “in the world, not of it” principle set out in scripture.

Not to mention it’s kind of difficult to shine a light for Jesus burrowed in your down comforter. πŸ™‚

So…no…we mustn’t duck and cover from it all.

Rather, ours is to remain firm in the Lord in the midst of it all.

To celebrate that grace that saves us, but never allow it to become cheap.

To seek the light of His truth that it might grow us and direct others to the same.

Ours is to know the standards set forth in the Holy Word and hold it fast.

And to refuse to build our house on anything less.

Blessings and prayers to you, dear friends! May we be mindful of the many distractions this world throws at us and may we indeed hold up the standard the Lord set forth for us in the midst of it all.

We Are Never “Screwed”

Forgive me for the potential crudity in the title.

I began writing this just after a conversation with fellow believers who said if certain people won our next election in this country, we are “screwed”.

I could have added a bit more finesse to my phrasing, I suppose, but, as it still suits my feelings, I’ll let it sit.

Anyway…

I’ll tell you I started off this post weeks ago. I was in a flurry of furious thought, frankly, burrowing through headlong when I suddenly found myself unable to finish.

I think it was mostly for fear it would all just become a means to sputter the bitter anger I was so troubled by.

However, after a few weeks reflection, I feel like I can prayerfully explore these thoughts.

So, back to the beginning.

They said, “We’re screwed.”

And my first thought was, “No… no, we’re not. God is in control.”

I said as much.

I’m not sure if I was really heard or not, to be honest. When folks are on a roll, they don’t tend to want to be stopped in their tracks. And their track that day was to shake a fist at society.

My assertion was like an unwelcome gnat to be brushed off. 😏

It’s not that I’m in love with the deteriorating morals on display in our current cultural climate.

Nor that I don’t care what goes on in this nation.

I most emphatically do!

But-

To say we’re “screwed” is to dismiss the One who is ultimately and always in control!

And I can’t rightly reconcile myself to that, no matter how much some of my fellow believers seem to want me to fall apart with them.

It isn’t that it’s easy or going to get any easier if the trend towards anything-but-Christ continues.

But, didn’t He warn us of this very thing in His word?

I’ve been in 1st and 2nd Timothy again recently, reading of the difficult times to come.

Lovers of self, lovers of money.

Boastful. Arrogant. Disobedient.

Ungrateful, unholy, profane.

Looking to have their ears tickled.

One need only glimpse at headlines or, dare I say, glance about the neighborhood to find these things.

Difficult times? We’re there.

We’re getting deeper and *spoiler alert* going to keep getting deeper all the time.

At least until Jesus comes back to take His own. (Come quickly, Lord Jesus!)

Now, it isn’t that we should just resign ourselves and sit back with folded hands watching the evil unfurl in front of us like the late, late movie we’re repulsed with yet can’t look away from.

God does ask us to stand up, workmen that need not be ashamed. We absolutely must be about the business of standing for Christ.

But, what should that standing look like? πŸ€”

For, He also says He’s not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, of love, and of a sound mind.

My amplified Bible actually says: “sound judgment and personal discipline [abilities that result in a calm, well-balanced mind and self-control.] ” 1 Tim. 1:7

I think, at times, we sacrifice the calm for the storm.

Namely, the storming of social media with our angry words, the storming of the streets with our shouting matches, the storming of government institutions in our frenzied attempts to bend policy to our will.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think Jesus preached for us to go stomping about like the Hulk, smashing whatever’s in our way, so consumed with our righteous indignation we’ve swelled ourselves beyond recognition.

Now, yes, I hear someone out there bringing up the moneychangers Jesus rather firmly chased out of the temple.

He wasn’t necessarily calm then, was He?

No…but, He was always in control.

Not the anger controlling Him, as we are so prone to do.

Because, where Jesus went in there, took care of business, and moved on, we struggle much with that particular ability.

For, we as humanity have this nearly insatiable hunger to take something and gnaw on it.

Regurgitate. And gnaw some more. πŸ˜›

Forgetting often to reflect what we are chewing on and whether it was even beneficial in the first place.

We tend rather to assume if its flavor seems reminiscent of the “correct” side, it must be okay to have swishing around on our tongues, never knowing the sweetness of the Lord was never even there.

And so, we wind up choosing the bitter gall of whipping each other into a state of dark outrage instead.

We say things like, “We’re screwed.”, polluting ourselves with the claim it’s fact, dismissing all the while the purity and refreshing to be found in trusting the Lord, come what may.

I know I can’t change how others feel nor the lens they might be viewing our present circumstances from.

Only Jesus can do that.

So, the best I know to do is keep living and sharing His truth, no matter how many times it may be brushed aside.

And, of course, pray for the souls in need- both those tangled up in this self-serving world and those who don’t even realize the knots of anger they’re in.

May we be mindful of how we speak and where our trust lies, Lord.

Blessings, friends.