Monday, January 31, 2011

Joshua - Man-made Decisions = Man-made consequences.

It’s one of the coolest stories in the Bible. Check this out:

And when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done unto Jericho and to Ai, They did work wilily, and went and made as if they had been ambassadors, and took old sacks upon their asses, and wine bottles, old, and rent, and bound up; And old shoes and clouted upon their feet, and old garments upon them; and all the bread of their provision was dry and mouldy.

And they went to Joshua unto the camp at Gilgal, and said unto him, and to the men of Israel, We be come from a far country: now therefore make ye a league with us. And the men of Israel said unto the Hivites, Peradventure ye dwell among us; and how shall we make a league with you? And they said unto Joshua, We are thy servants. And Joshua said unto them, Who are ye? and from whence come ye?

And they said unto him, From a very far country thy servants are come because of the name of the LORD thy God: for we have heard the fame of him, and all that he did in Egypt, And all that he did to the two kings of the Amorites, that were beyond Jordan, to Sihon king of Heshbon, and to Og king of Bashan, which was at Ashtaroth. Wherefore our elders and all the inhabitants of our country spake to us, saying, Take victuals with you for the journey, and go to meet them, and say unto them, We are your servants: therefore now make ye a league with us. This our bread we took hot for our provision out of our houses on the day we came forth to go unto you; but now, behold, it is dry, and it is mouldy: And these bottles of wine, which we filled, were new; and, behold, they be rent: and these our garments and our shoes are become old by reason of the very long journey.

And the men took of their victuals, and asked not counsel at the mouth of the LORD.
And Joshua made peace with them, and made a league with them, to let them live: and the princes of the congregation sware unto them.
Joshua 9:3-15

It’s interesting to watch your team get hoodwinked isn’t it?Part of me always thinks that the story should end shortly after their little speech about how old and worn out their stuff is with Joshua saying “Oh ye vile men! Why do ye think to deceive us?!”

But no, instead Joshua makes peace with them and swears oaths to not kill them.

To me this story is a plumb line to get me lined right back up with the credit I give out to certain people. Joshua… he was just a man. The things, the amazing things he did, were all done by the Lord through him. That important verse that says they “asked not counsel at the mouth of the LORD” tells me Joshua made a decision on his own. And when you have man-made decisions you get man-made consequences.

There are a lot of stories about leaders that have fallen, singers that lied about diseases, lust and greed over-riding pastors and evangelists good senses. But there are a lot of those same stories in the Bible. Anyone that would disagree with that obviously hasn’t read anything about King David. And I think perhaps we just make them out to be so much more than what they are for the exact same -and wrong- reason.

You see, it kills me that Joshua made a mistake – but not for the right reason. Once again – just like I complained about in the Trouble with Narnia – I want Joshua to be the main character. I want Joshua to be the hero, and be perfect, and wise and smart and good. But the story (even though the book bears his name) isn’t about him. It’s still about the LORD. He failed to inquire of the Lord. Joshua is just a man. And he forgot himself, just for a moment, and made a man-made decision.

I’ve made decisions in my life that turned out to have man-made consequences. They aren’t all horrible decisions that ended up with me broke or jobless or anything like that. They just weren’t decisions that would have been made had I taken time to seek counsel at the mouth of the Lord. They fail to bring out the fullness of His riches and glory in my life.

I’ve also followed the counsel at the mouth of the Lord and had to struggle through some God-made circumstances for me.

We often assume if bad things happen that we made a mistake, and if good things happen God is happy with us. But that isn’t the example we see from scripture all too often. God leads us into rough waters, bad timings, impossible circumstances that break us down. And He does it all, absolutely, for His own glory.

And whether we'll admit it or not, we try and make good things happen for our glory.
There are a lot of decisions that need to be made in life, some of them – like making an agreement with a neighbor you think lives too far off to see again – seem inconsequential; but all need to be made under the counsel of the Lord.

I’ve got a lot of decisions up my sleeve in the coming year. And I’m, honestly, begging God for answers. The things I seem to be getting back as a response just don’t seem to make sense with the direction I think we’re going. I need wisdom and understanding, faith, and to keep pressing in until I see what He’s saying and when He’s saying it for. This word from Joshua is timely, just because I appreciated the reminder – seek that counsel.

Unsaid, but implied so clearly in that verse is this one solid truth: if they had sought that counsel, He would have given it.

Blessed be the name of the Lord.

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
Matthew 7:7

Friday, January 28, 2011

Deuteronomy - His way isn't far off.

So todays book of the bible was Deuteronomy.

After coming out so well from Leviticus and Numbers I strolled into Deut fairly confident that something great was going to come from it.

By chapter 28 I was getting a little nervous. It seemed like the only thing happening was Moses telling everyone what had already happened.

I thought about trying to think out some great revelation from the idea of God including a whole book of the Bible to just say what had already happened to illustrate the point of telling people, reminding people, what God has already done. But that wasn’t really hitting me. And I really wanted something to stand out to me.

What ended up happening wasn’t some great insight. It’s so simple it makes me literally want to cry with frustration. But it was God speaking directly in answer to what I asked Him this morning.

On the drive to work I was talking to God about how I wanted to grow, and learn, and how I wanted to sink into the idea of community with believers and encouraging them and iron sharpening iron and fellowship on more than a once a month basis. As I walked to my car and saw my neighbors houses and said “God, I want to fellowship with them, I want to know them and their struggles and be a source they can come to when they need a hand – but I honestly don’t even know how to meet them.” And as I drove I was telling Him how I wished there were someone in my life to just show me how it’s done. Show me what they did to open doors. Show me how they have these conversations with fellow believers. Show me how they sit down and press into the spiritual discussion of growth and change, and struggles and sin instead of only touching surface nothingness like games and sports and movies. Why can’t someone teach me?

But in chapter 30 God seemed to be responding in a way that I didn’t want to hear – this is what He says:

And the LORD thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live. And the LORD thy God will put all these curses upon thine enemies, and on them that hate thee, which persecuted thee. And thou shalt return and obey the voice of the LORD, and do all his commandments which I command thee this day. And the LORD thy God will make thee plenteous in every work of thine hand, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy land, for good: for the LORD will again rejoice over thee for good, as he rejoiced over thy fathers:
If thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which are written in this book of the law, and if thou turn unto the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul. For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it. Deut 30:6-14

I remember back when I was seeking the Holy Spirit that someone told me that I was making it too hard. That all I had to do was stop making it so hard and it would happen. I’m proud to say that I managed to not kick him in the shin. Never has a more frustrating phrase been uttered than “It’s easier than you’re making it.”

And here is God saying “DO THIS”, and I will make your heart able to do it. And what I’m telling you isn’t hard to understand. It doesn’t have to be taught to you. It’s in your heart. All you have to do is do it.”

It doesn’t mention my specific questions, obviously, but something about it just tells me it applies. I just have to, somehow, stop making it a difficult process, and let it be something that is simply written in my heart – something already in my mouth.

The biggest promise in these scriptures is that first verse I shared - And the LORD thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.

He’s doing the work in my heart. At some point, just like speaking in tongues eventually happened, all I’ll have to do is open my mouth and speak His words to my neighbors, follow the promptings of a heart that is written upon with His words, after His heart.

His calling isn’t far off, it’s not too high, it’s not across the sea, it’s not impossible for a person like me. (Yes, I made it rhyme on purpose because sometimes I roll like that.)

I didn’t come into this year with a lot of expectations like I did last year. But here’s what I think now:
2011 is going to be very embarrassing and humbling.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Numbers - How long till we believe Him?

I’m really surprised to say this – I mean, I’ve read the entire Bible through, so I’ve hit Numbers before, but I suppose I just forget how much non-numbers type stuff there is in the book. It’s still not among my favorites (the book of James reigns on), but I found myself wishing I had more time to digest Numbers than just one lump sitting of it.

Suffice it to say, from Exodus – up to Numbers, so far the kids are still being bad. These children of Israel complain, so God gets mad and kills some of them, the kids repent. Until the next day when they get tired of eating manna all the time and they complain again and we start all over. I’m perpetually amazed that there was anyone left to walk around Jericho much less the large large numbers tromping about killing bulls at the end of this book.

But as I started it… warily… I asked God “Is there anything I’m going to be able to pull out of Numbers? (I stressed “Numbers” in a whiney tone that told God exactly how I felt about this little book.) Fortunately, He’s moved past the immediate killing of whiney-babies and simply stayed quite while I plugged into Numbers *whine* *whine*.

And I'm glad He did because it really is a far better book than people give it credit for.

There were several moments that caught my eye/ear, but one thing really stuck with me.

God led this stubborn, double-minded people all this way to give them the “Promised Land”. They get to the doorstep and sure enough, the spies say it’s everything they hoped for and more. BUT, well, it looks like it would take a miracle in order to get into the land so – obviously – the people start crying and, - honest to goodness – say “It would be better if you had left us to die in Egypt” or even if they had died in the wilderness. Then they immediately try and stone the folks saying they'd win the battle and started planning a return trip to Egypt.

And here is Gods response:

And the LORD said unto Moses, How long will this people provoke me? and how long will it be ere they believe me, for all the signs which I have shewed among them? Leviticus 14:11

How long will it be till they believe Me?

It’s a sucker punch. “for all the signs which I have showed them – how long will it be till they believe me?”

Holding onto that thought, the verses kept flowing until I reached Chapter 20, where the kids are thirsty and there isn’t any water. So God tells Moses to speak to a rock and water will come out.
But Moses, instead, hits the rock with his ever trusty rod. Still works though – water comes out, and the kids are happy.
But God wasn’t. And while I’ve heard a few people talk about the importance of the “strike” and track it back to Jesus’s crucifixion and why the strike shouldn’t have happened – it’s Gods next words that surprised me.
He says “And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them"

The reason Moses struck the rock – “Because you believed me not

And from there my imagination took over and I began to wonder about events. So here is what I wonder:

Moses, has been using this rod a lot. It’s been a snake, it’s how most of the plagues began, it’s how they figured out Aaron was supposed to lead (his rod budded).. Moses was pretty used to using his rod for his part in the miracle process.
Moses also didn’t like to speak. His first reaction to God’s call was “No way, I stutter” (something to that effect).
And I wonder… just because I can… if his dislike for speaking and his familiarity with using that faithful old rod had any impact on his decision to hit the rock rather than just speak to it.

If I follow that trail, it leads it right home to me.

Because here I sit willing to do so much for Christ, willing to use all my little tools and ideas, and every once in awhile He says “go pray for this person in this way” and I say.. ‘um, I’ll go pray for the person this other way that looks less crazy”. Or He points out something that can be done that is outside of what I call my “skill set” and I never actually say “no” I just proceed to do something close to what He wants – but done my way. Maybe you haven't done that - but I sure have.

And granted, while God has done some amazing things for me those things are nothing compared to what the children of Israel got to see and experience, and be a part of. And He asks them how long… how long after all I’ve showed you, how long till you believe me!

And I wonder if He’s ever asked that of me.

It’s going to sound odd, but I was raised to not be noticed. As the children of a pastor we were very noticed and it was outrageously important that we not be bad, wrong, stupid, silly, foolish or any other synonyms that rhyme with "not perfect". Within that scope, I learned it was better if people didn’t notice you at all, because noticing you meant people talked about you. And I discovered people, even when saying nice things about you, can draw negative attention to you. So I learned to blend in. And even today I still strongly desire to just blend in. I hate being different. I hate it with an absolute passion. I hate people looking at me. I hate people thinking about me. I hate people noticing me. But nearly everything about my Christian walk that I’m unable to hide leaves me standing out in the open looking very obvious, very noticeable, and very different. I get angry at other Christians sometimes wishing that they were more – out there – like me just because that would mean I’m less noticeable.

But God takes Moses, who does not like speaking and calls him into speaking to hundreds upon hundreds of thousands. And when that isn’t enough, He calls him to perform a miracle based on the one function he doesn’t like to do: Speak it.

God takes me, who desires to hide behind someone else and slip in and out of church with hardly a squeak in between, and calls me over and over again to be different, noticeable, even outlandish.

And when I hide, when I refuse to perform in the functions to which He has led me – it’s not about me. “Because you did not believe Me”

I’m going to struggle with it. Writing about it, examining it, knowing it’s there and understanding it for the hindrance and disobedience that it is – I know I’m still going to struggle with it.
But what I take from this is knowing the root of my struggle. As I battle for spiritual growth in this particular area my prayers don’t need to be centered around “make me more comfortable stepping out” but instead my heart can cry out – “Lord, oh my Lord, help me to believe You.”

I’d like to think something changes in the very dynamics of the problem when I’m the one calling out to God “ How long Lord, how long til I believe You after all you’ve done?”

I think the rest of the story certainly bears a mention - that the people that didn't believe God's promise concerning their ability to make it into the Promised Land - God angrily says "As truly as I live, saith the LORD, as ye have spoken in mine ears, so will I do to you:"

God help us all when God agrees with us rather than us agreeing with Him.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Leviticus - I want to be clean!

I have a definite picture in my mind of old testament people.

This picture comes from the fact that when God said to go circumcise themselves, the men, with no medical/anesthetizing capabilities whatsoever, suddenly picked up whatever qualified as their “knives” back in those days and started cutting on themselves and their sons. Or as in the case of a very angry Zipporah, the mom’s got that job. Let me tell you, there isn’t any way on earth I’d find the inner chutzpah to do that.

But they did it. And the Bible is incredibly short on verses that leave a person trying to pump themselves up to do what God asked. Take for example Moses’ conversation with God. God says drop the rod in your hand and Moses does. The rod becomes a snake and the Bible says Moses “fled from it”. Then God says “go pick it up” and the Bible simply says Moses did.

What’s missing is the 19 times Moses kinda stepped towards the snake saying “Ok… I’m just gonna grab the NOOO!” and runs back.

Bearing some of those stories in mind, I tend to classify OT people different from regular people. As though they somehow don’t have feelings, or get scared, or notice/care that people are staring – things like that. But… and I never thought I’d say these words in my entire life, something about the book of Leviticus really opened my eyes to the idea that I might have something in common with these people.

I think our common ground may just be an inner screaming of our hearts that cries out “I WANT TO BE CLEAN!”.

As I listened to verse after verse after verse after verse in Leviticus talking about what they did in order to be pronounced clean… my God, I feel inadequate in my own desire. What was there that they would not have been willing to do?

And the priest shall take some of the blood of the trespass offering, and the priest shall put it upon the tip of the right ear of him that is to be cleansed,and upon the thumb of his right hand, and upon the great toe of his right foot: And the priest shall take some of the log of oil, and pour it into the palm of his own left hand: And the priest shall dip his right finger in the oil that is in his left hand, and shall sprinkle of the oil with his finger seven times before the LORD: And of the rest of the oil that is in his hand shall the priest put upon the tip of the right ear of him that is to be cleansed, and upon the thumb of his right hand, and upon the great toe of his right foot, upon the blood of the trespass offering: Leviticus 14:14-17

Let me tell you, from the book of Leviticus there is a lot of blood sprinkling, a lot of blood pouring around, a lot of people putting their heads on animals and then killing it. And you didn’t just do it like WE repent today, they did this constantly. Oh, you touched a dead animal – bring something in for your offering. Oh, you “went in and lay with” your wife, bring down that offering. Oh, you think your house has mold!!! Bring in that offering.

All these things were done in a desperate attempt to just be clean. And it’s the one thing that I finally grabbed onto in Leviticus and said “YES! That’s me!” It’s the one thing that I’m missing in our churches today – that overwhelming, willing to do anything if they can just be clean. Our churches are so painfully clean, that my oblation over my own filthy state of my heart doesn’t have a place and that hurts. I’ve been made clean by the sacrifice of a perfect lamb, but oh… oh, all too often my heart and my mind, my selfishness and laziness and idolatry of things that I put above God those things overwhelm me – especially as I sit in His presence – and my heart is broken and I find myself crying out to God to make me clean again! please! Only to find myself in a congregation that has already moved on.

I’m sure it’s not everyone, there are others out there who, like me, find themselves broken and trembling in hatred of their own wickedness in the presence of a fearsome and awesome God. But the majority today seems to be running through their program. Leaders that are afraid to stop the service, or let the service run until 2pm if necessary in their desire that people not only find the altar and experience the presence of God, but recognize their need to humble themselves before it.

And I want to catch myself before I simply complain about our churches today because my simple truth today is about me. I can try and apply it to anyone else that I want to but, God spoke to me today in those verses. Those people were willing to do anything God said in order to be clean. They’ll slaughter God only knows how many animals, they’ll let some priest rub the animals blood on them, they’ll let the priest dump oil on their head, they’ll sit outside the camp away from everyone for 7 days yelling "UNCLEAN", they’d put their hands into a jar of animal blood and sprinkle it around an altar, rub it on things, pour it on things… all the while saying blood is unclean: don’t touch it.

And I struggle with simply staying at the altar while everyone chats it up on their way out the doors.

Oh God, - there is a burning in my heart to be clean. To be free, completely and constantly free from the wickedness of my own heart that torments me. Torments me. But until I become as these Old Testament children of Israel, I believe I will only know it in part. Until I put everything else aside and am willing to make a fool of myself, to shove my sin to the forefront of my life rather than bury it beneath platitudes and churchy words, I will only enjoy sips of the deep fountains of purity that God could avail to my heart.

Oh let me be like them.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Genesis - Why Reuben gives me hope...

And Reuben returned unto the pit; and, behold, Joseph was not in the pit; and he rent his clothes. And he returned unto his brethren, and said, The child is not; and I, whither shall I go? Genesis 37:29,30

When I say I want to grow spiritually, I don't just penny ante about the business. So this week I've added a new aspect to my day.

At work, we're allowed to wear headphones to block out our obnoxious neighbors entertain ourselves while we work. Typically, I'm listening to music or a Matt Chandler sermon - seeing as my pastor from my "home" church has yet to put his sermons on cd for me *hint hint, wink wink, nudge nudge*, but this week I've finally implemented something I'd been thinking about for awhile: BibleGateways Audio Bible.

In short, I'm listening to a book of the Bible a day. Tomorrow, Leviticus. Yeah. I'm as thrilled as you would be.
But it also explains why you got two posts on Genesis back to back. :)
There was a third post to be had from Genesis though, but I just couldn't figure out what it was.

You see, as I was listening to the story of Joseph suffering the betrayal of his brothers, there was something about it that really bugged me but I just couldn't quite put my finger on it. Tonight, as I thought about it again it suddenly hit me.

It's Reuben. His little part gets just two quick verses, but those two verses caught me.

The brothers are watching Joseph coming towards them and begin plotting to kill poor Joe and toss him into a pit. However, Reuben hears of the plan and suggest they not go so far as to kill the boy, but instead just throw him in the pit and leave him there. Reuben plans to go back and get Joseph out and return him safely to their father.

Instead though, after they put him in a pit, some traders come along and they sell Joseph to the traders.

Reuben, apparently unaware of what's going on, goes back to the pit to pull Joseph out and discovers him gone.

That's where that verse above comes into play. Reuben rips at his clothes and wonders what on earth he's going to do. (paraphrasing)

Why does that mean something to me? Why do I appreciate that verse?
Because God didn't have to put it in. He could have just left it at how awful the brothers were, how they faked their brothers death, and put him in a pit, and sold him. But there was one brother in the crowd, and God thought it was worthwhile to mention his desire to help the brother. God thought it was important to show someone that's in a bad crowd, and that doesn't intend to follow what the crowd is doing, but finds himself far in over his head.

It's not too often in my life I've followed a crowd. But every once in a great blue moon I've found myself in a crowd that left me uneasy, and feeling "wrong" and as though I shouldn't be there.

I've got to tell you, never once in my life did I imagine that God cared that I didn't feel comfortable there. I've always imagined God saying "Get out you idiot" (or something to that effect) and when I didn't, well... I got what I deserved.

Maybe it wouldn't mean anything to anyone else in the world, but once I figured out what was bugging me about those verses, I just couldn't help but feel grateful, relieved, surprised even. God cares about the crowd I'm in. He cares that while I might be in a situation over my head with people doing something wrong, that well, I don't want to be doing something wrong. He sees my intentions, and the desire of my heart, even when my actions - unfortunately - don't always line up with those intentions.

As you carry on through the book of Genesis, you know that in chapter 49 Jacob dies. But just before he dies he blesses each of his children. After considering all this about Reuben, I wanted to find out what kind of blessing Reuben got and I was both pleased and sobered:

Reuben, thou art my firstborn, my might, and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power: Unstable as water, thou shalt not excel; because thou wentest up to thy father's bed; then defiledst thou it: he went up to my couch. Genesis 49:3-4

Jacob was married to both Leah and Rachel, but had children not only with them, but with each of their maidservants. According to 35:22, apparently Reuben "went and lay with" Bilhah, Leahs maidservant (whom Jacob had also "went and lay with"). That explains the last part of those verses but it seems to also lead me back to Joseph.

Reuben seems like he wants to do well, but it just doesn't work out. And that's what his blessing seems to indicate as well. The verse 3, shows all his goodness, "excellency of dignity" - what an awesome phrase to be able to use for someone! - but then verse 4 begins "unstable as water".

I appreciate that God knows I want to have the "excellency of dignity" in my heart and working in my actions as well - but I pray He helps me find more stability than what Reuben had. I hope I never find myself in a crowd and lumped in with their sins. Because that's exactly what happened when they met Joseph again later on.

I want to be the Reuben of verse 3, but I sure appreciate knowing that God sees me even when I - despite the best of intentions - find myself in over my head.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Genesis - When God yanks you to Zoar.

And while he lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; the LORD being merciful unto him: and they brought him forth, and set him without the city. Genesis 19:16

I was sitting in new, cushy, purple chairs. The sanctuary looked entirely different, and yet still the same. I knew the rooms, I’d roamed these halls, and I’d loved many of the people of that sanctuary. I’d met the love of my life (Freddie, my 3 yr old, curly red-haired puppet), and received a small insignificant gift that meant the world to me. I’d also spent my time on that platform growing more as a musician than I’d ever done before as I finally had other musicians to play off of so I did not have to play lead on every song. It was challenging. It was growing.

But it was wrong.

It wasn’t always wrong – I’m confident that I needed to make a pit stop at that church and learn and grow. But I’d been feeling the strange stirring in my heart that it was time to go. But I didn’t know where I would go, and the idea of going back to having church in my house was…not a pleasant one. So I continued to sit in those pews, wondering what on earth to do.

And while I lingered…

God grabbed me, and my brothers family, and being merciful, dragged us out of the church.

It didn’t feel merciful. It felt awful. For everyone. And then there was the question of where to go, what to do. I eventually ended up parking in a small Baptist church that needed a piano player until I finally kept a promise I’d made to a pastor who, also, literally grabbed me by the arm and made me promise to attend his church for just one service.

And in that one service I found my own little Zoar. I’ll never forget that church as I first found it. With a pastor so obviously anointed but with problems. And with a family in the church that knew the power of incessant phone calls when I stopped attending shortly after arriving. I needed to move to Zoar.
But I didn’t do it on my own.

I wish I could, but I can’t actually claim responsibility for some of the best steps in my life. Because too often, those steps came from, while I lingered, a man laid hold upon my hand, and the Lord being merciful to me, brought me forth and set me outside of the familiar.

There isn’t a narrator on our lives. No deep James Earl Jones type voice who narrates what’s happening so that I can know that whatever this awful event is that’s changing my life is just another “and the Lord being merciful” moment. No deep voice saying: “And the Lord, being merciful, kept her off the 410 loop until after the accident” while I change a flat tire. No great epiphany as I find myself without a job that it’s because the Lord is being merciful to me while I would linger.

And, granted, not every event (good or bad) is God yanking you around because of His mercy. Sometimes we just make mistakes. And it’s hard to know the difference because sometimes you’re sitting at a Baptist church wondering what on earth you’re doing here and if God is ever going to show you a better place. But… He will always get you to your Zoar. Even if He has to take you by the arm and drag you.

And, while in the middle of it I likely won’t enjoy it, I’m breathless with gratitude that I serve a God not afraid to yank me when I linger.

Genesis- I ate my apple.

And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. Genesis 3:6

My sister-in-law and I were sitting in Little Caesars pizza waiting on our Pizza! Pizza! We were chatting it up, practicing our British accents when drama struck. A man came in to pick up his food and went to the cooler and pulled out the devil himself.
In this particular case, the devil looked to me just like a cherry Pepsi.
It’s a flavor I’ve been craving since… roughly… May of 2009. I had not tasted a dark caffeinated beverage since that date.
Until last night.
My S-I-L watched me moan, avert my eyes, and stare drooling at the cold, 2 liter bottle of devil.
And I made it out alive.

The next morning, Sunday, she wanted to stop at a gas station for gum on our way to church so we did. Only she returned to the car with the devil. In her loving generosity, after having watched me ache for a cherry Pepsi the night before, she bought me a cherry Pepsi.
The devil haunted my car all morning, then haunted my fridge that evening. Sitting quietly. Chilling. Making itself even more tempting.
Until about 6pm, sitting there with my dinner of chips and salsa, I saw that the cherry Pepsi was good for drink, and pleasant to the eyes, and a drink to be desired to make one hyper, and I took of the drink and did drink, and didn’t share with anyone.

A nearly 21 month streak… is down the drain and I’m bitterly disappointed.

I can’t blame my S-I-L, she was being kind, generous even, thoughtful. She didn’t know she was handing me my very own apple. I was the one who made the decision to drink it. I was the one who chose.

But I want to clue you in on my thought process –

  • It’s there. You know you don’t want to waste food of any kind. That would just be awful. It cost money, granted, it’s not your money, but you’d be pouring money down the drain.
  • Face it. It’s just a cherry pepsi. That’s all it is. This isn’t a gateway drug or something for crying out loud. It’s just a drink.
  • You know you want to drink it. And it’s right there to drink. It’s not a huge 50lb keg, it’s a 20 oz bottle. When the 20 oz bottle is done, you’re done. This isn’t a life-changing decision for stinks sake. It’s a 20 oz drink someone thoughtfully bought you. Just drink it and be done with it.

And I drank my apple. And my eyes were opened.

And let me tell you, regret stings like few other things.

I’ll never get 21 months back. I start back at day one and go again.

But that’s my choice.

All too often, once you’ve eaten your apple - whatever your apple is – you’re tempted to just keep eating. What’s the use? Your streak is blown and let’s just face it - the apple tasted good.

But it didn’t taste good enough. It wasn’t worth my 21 months. It wasn’t worth losing my Eden.

So, I start over again. I’m working on day 1.

And while I can’t promise that I won’t go apple bobbing along the way, Because a lot of other apples of different shapes and sizes might be thrown my way. They won’t all taste like cherry Pepsi. But I’ve discovered in the last 12 hours just how bad an aftertaste apples have. And while I might look at them, and see they’re good for food, and pleasing to the eye, I know something about the apple that I didn’t realize before. And ironically, the wording came from my S-I-L as well. You see, the reason she wanted to stop at the gas station Sunday morning was to get a pack of gum or something to get the aftertaste out of her mouth because she’d been sick the night before. And she said this: Little Caesars doesn’t taste as good the second time.

No apple tastes good the 2nd time you taste it.
And you will always taste that apple twice.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Talking about worship take 2

Even as I wrote yesterdays post something inside me twisted as, well, I know people that lead their church's worship service and people that have just tried so hard. These people are people that I love more dearly than my own life and the idea that they would read my blog and click away hurt or feeling as though they've failed makes me sick to my stomach.

So I'm back again to talk about worship vs. singing.

I don't think it has one thing to do with what songs are sung. I can worship my little heart out to "Victory in Jesus" or I can worship myself to pieces to "Lord I give you my heart". Some songs are just appropriate at different times. I still love "Oh, how I love Jesus" but adore the new version of "Amazing Grace" that includes "My chains are gone".

It's not about what you sing - though I find it hard to imagine worshipping to "Bringing in the Sheaves" - but it is entirely about how you sing it. I've loved my worship at every church I've been to. Whether it was my brother leading it, or another leader, or, on the off night that people didn't show up - the older lady that can't keep time. If you worship, I will do everything in my power to worship with you.

But here's what I get.

Sometimes, other people aren't worshipping with you. And it's hard to lead people into worship when they aren't going to go - or when you feel like you've left them behind because they just refused to follow you into worship. I get that. And quite frankly, I've never figured out what a good leader is supposed to do with that.

My gut? My (often angry little gut) says church is about God, and if they don't want to worship God then phooey on them - I'm worshipping till I'm done.
Then there's another little part of me that steps up and says "That just sounded really really selfish - they just need help"

I was in a church once that had people come in that led an incredible worship service and yet everyone around me sat there appearing to simply be waiting for the people to finish. I was fostering kids at the time so when I took one of the children away from an older woman so that I could stand up and worship with the child, the older lady looked at me and said "That music doesn't do anything for me."

I nearly bit my tongue in two trying to not say something.

It shook me to actually hear what people were thinking. It was almost better to imagine what people were thinking than to actually hear someone say it unrepentantly and not even realize what they'd said.

Worship isn't just music and song - truly, when I'm worshipping at my best I can't even sing. Worship is simple adoration, love devotion. Described in the Bible it's as simple and awe-striking as the angels calling out to each other HOLY - HOLY - HOLY. Imagine if we had a service today and all the speaker did for 30 minutes was call that out. I don't know what would happen, but I'd sure like to be there just in case.

By telling any church that hears me what happened to me last Sunday I, by no means hope that they will all simply follow those specific steps to accomplish what I had. Because truly, only one thing on that list is what brought it about. The leader worshipped and the people worshipped with him.

The people are so responsible for what happens in churches today and I think we honestly just don't realize it. One person sees another person worshipping and it moves them a bit deeper into worship, a 3rd person sees two people worshipping and it moves them deeper until more and more are turned towards worship.

I'll gladly raise my hand to be the first person to say "YES it's embarrassing" when you're one of the few and you're moving along at a far faster clip than everyone else. It's right up there with shouting hallelujah during a corporate board meeting. Worse still is that if I did it in the world they'd just think I was eccentric and weird. In the Christian world all too often you might get hit with another type of stick altogether. It's the stick that says "That's disruptive" or says that they're "over doing it for attention", I've even heard it being blamed as someone wanting to take control from the pastor by pulling a Holy Ghost spell that takes over whatever was going on in the service.

Sure those things happen. There is a reason Paul wrote specific verses about their being order in the church and even wrote guidelines about how to handle people speaking in tongues in church.

But for the most part, it's the people who are to blame. Not the leaders, not whether you sing off the wall (but seriously, that is just so handy - if you want to sing a song people don't know, POW it's right there on the wall, start singin') it's not about whether you sing too fast, or too slow. It's about leaders worshipping as people, and people worshipping as leaders.
And I just made that last line up on the fly, and I've got to tell you I think it's catchy.

Regardless, to my song leader friends out there and yes, I'm talking to you both, mother and daughter - I love you more than my own life, and I think you're wonderful leaders, and you have the most beautiful voices. Don't give up. Don't be discouraged. Don't weary yourselves thinking "I need to do better". It's not about trying harder.
I love you.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The church I went to Sunday...

***Keep in mind while you read this that I believe I am entirely responsible for my actions and my worship. Regardless of what you do or how you do it, I will still answer for what I do and how I do it. I'm not putting everything off on the church because, well, a lot of people went to the same church I did Sunday and didn't have the same experience I did.***

***PS, for those that don't know - I'm Pentecostal. If you're not pentecostal or believe in the filling of the Holy Spirit with speaking in tongues then this post might seem... odd to you. You might even worry that I was disruptive. Don't worry. I worried about that enough for the entire world. But, in a Spirit Filled church, my actions should have been considered nothing out of the ordinary.***

Dear churches,

I had an amazing time during the worship service this past Sunday.
And I want to tell you some of the things that helped. I’m not saying that you have to do these things, I’m not saying you’re wrong not to do these things, and I’m not saying… anything… except that all these things combined with the presence of the Holy Spirit and my willingness to step out of my pew created an amazing experience.

The church I went to Sunday put the song on the wall. My hands weren’t full of papers, or books. All I had to do was look up. I can’t raise my hands if my hands are full cause I’d look real silly.

The church I went to Sunday sang hymns off the wall but didn't feel required to sing each verse.

The church I went to Sunday sang choruses off the wall.

The church I went to Sunday repeated choruses and the choruses of hymns as they felt the Spirit of God lead them.

The church I went to Sunday, quite obviously, attempted to have a time of worship, rather than a “song service” (please tell me you see the difference?)

I walked from my little hidey-hole at the back of the church to the front of the church – directly in front of the stinking platform (but off to the side as much as I could convince God was ok) and I worshipped there. I’d say I sang there, but I didn’t sing much. I shook. I spoke in tongues. I spoke praises to God and every once in awhile if I could get my breath - I sang.

The only thing that I cared about at that exact moment was worship. Not singing. And that’s because the person leading the singing, well, he was worshipping too. He just had to sing more of his worship than I did.

So dear churches, you do whatever you like. I don’t even mean anything positive or negative for you. I’m just telling you how I worship. If you want me to sing, by all means sing. But if you want me to worship, then don’t just sing a song.

But I will tell you this; I’ve never come back from singing a song service awestruck. I left that service wanting more. I left that service hoping for the same experience if not a greater one next Sunday. I left there longing for more of God.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Dye-ing to self.

A truly beautiful little 12 yr old girl I know wants to dye her lovely brown locks blond.

And I told her, from my stores of infinite wisdom (har har): "You will never make yourself more beautiful than what the Master Creator has already designed you to be."

The most creative Being you could possibly imagine has designed your hair, your eyes, your nose, your cheeks, all flowing together with perfect harmony and beauty. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. Inside. And outside.

So if you're changing your body, your hair, for simple funs sake - by all means go right ahead. But if you're changing it to be "prettier" you will never be more pretty than when you are exactly what God made you.

I said all this and got my typical reaction "I better go home now" :) She's used to lectures from me on being what God wants. I'm almost surprised she still visits at all when she doesn't seem to want to hear what I say. But she does. And I still speak.

But as I sat in church yesterday during the message my mind became distracted from the preacher as I wondered if I don't do the very same thing. Sure I don't do it physically, but do I do it internally? Do I attempt to be things He has not created me to be all for the sake of being "better"? Have I not put things in my life that perhaps He never intended to be there?

Did I search for a job in a career field He didn't want me to be in just because it was more "professional"?
Did I look at missions trips when He just wanted me to learn to witness to my next door neighbor?
Did I think my house has to have a certain "look"?
Did I think I needed to see all the most popular movies and tv shows so I could develop friendships with the "world" by being "current".
Did I think I needed to dress a certain way because my own taste might be thought "odd".
Did I need to stop sporadically talking in a British accent because people might think it's weird?? Ok, maybe I'm getting a little too personal. :)

Point being, there is something genuine, beautiful, and unique in each of us as to our personality, and His plans for our lives. Some of us are destined for wealth and riches because of His plans. Others are destined for wealth in faith and jobs that put us just below the poverty level. Some of us will make our friends at mommy and me classes, while others make their friends chatting it up with supermarket employees.

We're different. But sometimes we're different from what God has planned for us because we don't quite get his plan or think it's "pretty" enough.
But maybe we just need to grow into it.
So, if you're just enjoying your hair and add another color just to play with it - go for it.
But if you're searching for beauty - discover your beauty in the brown.

Monday, January 17, 2011

How I lost 70 lbs. and kept it off.

This post has been a loooong time coming. People have asked and asked and asked and the answer has always been the same.
The question - "How did you lose so much weight?"
The answer- "I changed my lifestyle."

That was 70 lbs ago.
But the interesting part is that I lost the 70lbs over 6 months ago. I've steadily remained at the same weight regardless of what I do now, or how badly I eat. I've gone back to a lot of old habits of my old lifestyle (thanks to some very rough months) and the healthy things I was doing well are ... well... not quite as prominent. Hmm, well I suppose they're still prominent or I would have gained back weight, but I've let a lot of old habits back in as well.

I'm still drinking water - I've just thrown in a few more sprites (a month - not day) than usual. And I got too cheap to buy vegetables and fruit. And I got too busy with work to want to cook so I ate out more often.

Yet, my 70lbs stayed off.
Why is that?

Because I'd hit a plateau. One of those beautiful places where it takes a lot of effort to break through to begin losing again. But also one of those places where your body just sits at regardless of most things you do (unless you really just go off the deep end with junk food and such).

And I realized that if I'm going to get any further with the weight loss, I'm going to have to press in more than I've ever done before. Because you see, though my weight hasn't changed - my body has. It doesn't feel as healthy as it did 6 months ago. My scale was very deceptive. Because suddenly my weight did not resemble my health. 6 months ago I felt physically stronger, leaner, more stamina, less tired, ready to jump and run and.. well, anything.

My weight didn't change, but I know I did. I'm not in the condition I was in 6 months ago.

And then I saw my spiritual self.

I've really grown spiritually in the last year and a half. But I also see areas of spiritual muscle that I have neglected, and so they have grown weak. I've neglected areas that hold me up, and help me grow stronger and healthier. I'm at a bit of a spiritual plateau. I've grown, I'm happy and thrilled with where I am in my walk with the Lord - but I know I could be stronger, healthier, more spiritually fit per se. I know there's depths and riches I've only begun to taste and understand.

But now, now that I've moved past the whole "baby" stage of my Christianity these little every once in awhile efforts to grow and change aren't going to cut it any more than having one good healthy meal is going to get me through my weight loss plateau.

I have to press. I have to push. I have to change my lifestyle once again. And from experience - both physically and spiritually - I know I need Gods help or it's not even possible.

I'm good. I'm happy. I'm healthy. Both physically and spiritually.
But I want to change my lifestyle again.
I want to hurt and struggle and fight until I break a boundary that I haven't gotten through yet.
And I mean that all in the best way.

I'm losing weight and gaining ground spiritually.
And only one of those was a new years resolution.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Eavesdropping in the ladies restroom.

I was visiting the ladies restroom when I heard a young voice call out from the stall:

"Mom? Are you still out there?"

Not even a moment passed before a tired looking woman leaning against the wall returned "Yes, I'm here".

In that moment I realized, how such a simple question could lead to panic. The child sounded fairly confident when she asked, but had the answer not been so forthcoming... I can easily imagine the fear that would have gripped her young heart.

I wonder, how often we call out like that to God and just don't recognize the answer. Or if sometimes the answer is to trust that when we can't feel Him he's still there -whether we hear Him or not- just because He said He would be.

It's not easy. And sometimes it just downright feels unsafe. But I love that I have a God that when I call out from the recesses of a darkened, small place, fearful and afraid - He's patiently leaning against the wall still. Never having even considered abandoning me. No matter how long I take.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The problem with Narnia


I really enjoyed the new Narnia movie “Voyage of the Dawn Treader”. My niece and I went out this past Sunday to see it and I was not disappointed. I could have easily done without the extra 3-D expense, I’d have been fine with regular D, but I still have very few beefs with the movie. In fact, I only have two.

In an effort to not spoil the movie for you, I’ll only share one… and it’s the same problem I have with the Narnia books, CS. Lewis, and all the movies.
You see, I fully expect, demand even, that the Pevensie kids should be in each book. It’s supposed to be about them. Every time I see Peter and Susan no longer allowed into Narnia it deeply upsets me – that’s not how it’s supposed to be! And then to have precious Lucy and Edmund banned… I’m telling you, I barely control a hissy fit. Not Lucy… Lucy HAS to be in the movie. There is no Narnia without HER. SHE discovered it. SHE is, among the 4 main characters, the mainest. (What’s that spell checker? Mainest isn’t a word?)

It upsets me.
I literally hate CS Lewis for doing it.
Because it’s a lesson I just don’t want to learn.
It’s not that it’s hard to learn…. I get it, I just don’t want to learn it.

You see, I’m wrong about Narnia. It would be there if there were no Lucy, Susan, Peter, or Edmund. It’d be there if there had never had been a Mr and Mrs Beaver, Reepicheep, or Tumnus the fawn. It’d be there even without the White Witch, the Caspian family, or Jill Pole.

Because the story isn’t about Narnia, the War, the kids, or belief in something good beyond this world.
The story is about Aslan. Where He is, the story is.

I want the stories of this world to be about us. I want it to be about the little orphan girl in Haiti, the old man dying with cancer; the homeless man on the street corner who gets a new life and a new job through a second chance. I want it to be about the people that blocked the big bad villains from protesting at a military funeral. I want it to be about a girl who said “Yes, I do believe” when her classmate pointed a gun at her face.
I want my story to be about me so people will see and know what I’ve done, been through, gained victory over.

But it’s not. I can be written out of the story at any time, so can you. The main character will be the main character no matter how many times I try and upstage Him. Lucy called Him Aslan, but I know Him by another name.

And just recently, He wrote me out of my own story.

You see, for years, I’ve struggled with being strict, and harsh; from demanding perfection and saying pointed things when I shouldn’t. I pointed out every little thing, when sometimes, people just needed to be able to grow in their own free time, in Gods time. I hated it in myself, but wasn’t able to stop – even if I didn’t say it, the thoughts rolled around in my heart diseasing me like an ugly abscess.

And then one day, the abscess was gone.

I played no vital role in its removal, didn’t even notice it until I realized how peaceful I was all of a sudden when someone was doing something that I normally would have at least internally reacted to. In the story of my life, pages turned and I never saw it, wars were fought and I lifted no sword. Because it wasn’t my story. It’s His.

I hope I find a way to remember that feeling of filth that I’d struggled with, if for no other reason that it will let me continue to rejoice in this peace. I’m a nicer person now than I was even 3 weeks ago. If you don’t know it, you soon will. A chain that shackled me is now loosed. And I don’t even know when or why He won my victory. But it’s a story. I bet it’s a good story too. But it’s not going to be found in any book about me. I just get to appear in a book about Him. He put my name in the book.

Thank God.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

In need of a Savior.

I’m trying to imagine a man who knew no sin.

It’s not easy to even imagine.

To a God who equals lust to adultery, and hatred to murder??? Yeah, It’s a bit hard to imagine someone who was able to meet those standards. Especially while He was accused of wrongdoing and crucified. Especially while He was able to know the hearts and motives of men.
Yeah… It’s hard to imagine.

So when I look though His word and I see Him and I see the meek and mild Man that was still so strong and outspoken – I can’t help but look at myself.

I’m sick at the thoughts of the vile things that go through my heart; anger, disregard, selfishness, even laziness – Even in trying to do good and do well my motives are not always exactly as I’d like them to be. I find myself tamping down desires for respect and praise, hoping someone sees Jesus in me not because they need to see Jesus but because I want people to know I’m “spiritual” and “good”. It’s a hypocrisy that – to me – is a worse sin than drunkenness. At least a drunk is honest about his failures.

Mine remain shrouded in deceiving cloaks of goodness as I try and do good while at the same time seeing and knowing my heart as utterly wicked.

As I see Him more, as I seek Him more, I seem to see myself more as well. I see darker recesses that I didn’t know where there –motives and intents that I was unaware of or simply never evaluated before. I see my attempts at beauty and goodness and cannot help but notice the black spots of sin and self tainting them.

There is no hope for me outside of Him. There is no rescue save Him.

I am in need of a Savior.

This need - this desperate need - did not end when I knelt down and accepted Him into my heart. That was simply a day when I received a glimmer of my need. And now, each day I wake I need a Savior. I’m in need. I’m lost without a Savior. I’m doomed without a Savior.

This is no message of sadness, no message of self-flagellation, this is my message of hope: because I have a Savior. I have what I need. I have a Savior who takes my wayward heart and slowly brings it around to what He wants it to be. I am not a completed work – but I am certainly not what I was before.

My sister-in-law posted on her facebook the first verse to Amazing Grace which most Christians know by heart:
Amazing Grace, How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost. But now I’m found
Was blind, but now I see.

It’s perhaps those words that spurred me today to write of my own wretchedness that I’ve been battling lately. I am still a wretch. You will likely not see it, God has changed many of my actions, and changed some of my words – but when it comes to my need for a Savior I am still just as much in wretched need of Him today as I was the day He saved me. I just know it better now.

Lord help me Jesus,
I've wasted it,
So help me Jesus,
I know what I am,
But now that I know,
That I needed You so
Help me Jesus,
My souls in Your hand,

Your name is Jesus
Your name is Jesus
You’re the wonderful, counselor, my friend
You’re what I hold on to
I know that You brought me through
All the days of loss and to the cross, You knew
That I’d need a Savior

Tuesday, January 04, 2011


At Christmas I went searching for a Christmas ornament for my tree, something to look back and remember 2010 by. I finally found a small wooden ornament with the word "HOPE" emblazoned in it.

In 2010 I let go of my dream of fostering and put my mom in a nursing home. By the end of the year I just wanted hope, something to hold onto. I ended the year tired, hurting, and pathetically lamenting on verses like "Without a vision the people perish" while I whined about how weird it felt to not have something to do with fostering in my line of goals.

I brought in the new year in an unusual way.. to prevent a general outcry from those that don't know me well enough I won't say "what" exactly that unusual way was but in that weekend I found a strength in myself that I am still embracing.

The past is the past. The future is ahead. I'm responsible for the present.

What I know I need to do, I'm attacking and simply doing. Regardless of fear, regardless of that lazy feeling you usually get 2 seconds after you walk in the door from work and sit down.

The word for 2011 is PURPOSE.

I have purpose today.

My goals aren't to lose weight, or to enjoy life more; it's not to get organized or go back to school. I don't desire to quit smoking or drinking (since I do neither), or begin volunteering, or even break a bad habit.

This year, I purpose to chase after God.
This year, I purpose to chase wisdom.
This year, I purpose to live with purpose.

It's as though I woke up this year and took off. Words like "chasing" and "purpose" and "driven" feel appropriate.

I'm tasting, just a taste, of the joy I lost over the last year.

I've never had a year begin so.... intensely.

I'm curious do you have a word for your year?

Monday, January 03, 2011

Quote - Horatius Bonar

"To be entitled to use anothers' name, when my own name is worthless; to be allowed to wear anothers raiment, because my own is torn and filthy; to appear before God in anothers person - the person of the Beloved Son, - this is the summit of all blessing.

The sin-bearer and I have exchanged names, robs and persons! I am no represented by Him, my own personality having disappeared; He now appears in the presence of God for me. All that makes Him precious and dear to the Father has been transferred to me.

His excellency and glory are seen as if they were mine; and I receive the love, and the fellowship, and the glory, as if I had earned them all. So entirely one am I with the sin-bearer, that God treats me not merely as if I had not done the evil that I have done; but as if I had done all the good which I have not done, but which my substitute has done.

In one sense I am still the poor sinner, once under wrath; in another I am altogether righteous, and shall be so for ever, because of the Perfect One, in whose perfection I appear before God. Nor is this a false pretense or a hollow fiction, which carries no results or blessings with it.

It is an exchange which has been provided by the Judge, and sanctioned by law; an exchange of which any sinner upon earth may avail himself and be blest."

- Horatius Bonar, "The Everlasting Righteousness: or, How shall a Man be Just with God?" (Carlisle, Pa : Banner of Truth 1874/1993) 44-45

(Completely stole this post form Tolle Lege because it's outstanding. :)

Advice to the world from my mother.

I am a person who covets advice like candy. I want to hear wisdom, as those words sound sweeter in my ears than almost any other. So, being greedy concerning those things I felt not even a smidge of remorse as I hit my miserable little mother with question after question. I went into it wondering if I’d get anything of value, seeing as her sentences don’t all make sense now.
“Do you want something to drink mom?”
“Well, they’ll all get around if it’s here.”

After enough of those conversations I didn’t have a lot of confidence that I’d get much. So thanks to low expectations, she far exceeded them. It took awhile, there was some staring off into space and forgetting the question, there were some random answers with words that all together didn’t even make a sentence, there was even some nodding off, and there were also answers that I asked her what she meant and after a little bit I was able to put together what she was trying to get at.

All this advice for the price of a Dr Pepper and a hamburger.

What advice would you give to a young person today?
Use what you got.
(It seems overly simple at first until you start to think about it and the word “But” inevitably comes into your mind. Use what you got anyway.)

What advice would you give to a young single woman today?
Be prepared.
Be prepared for what?
If she’s gonna flirt with someone, she might get more than she bargains for.

What advice would you give to a young mother today?
Make sure you read the same things as the kids.
(I thought our words might have gotten mixed up, so I asked her to explain it, but we were having difficulty… ultimately she actually meant to make sure you live the life you’re telling your kids to live.)

What advice would you give to a young man today?
Treat her right.
(I asked her what if he didn’t have a girl, and I have no idea what that answer was.)

What advice would you give to a pastor today?
Tell them the truth.
(No explanation necessary)

What advice would you give to a pastors wife today? (My dad and her were pastors of several churches over the years.)
Don’t get upset when they try and throw you a net.
(Seeing as my family nickname has always been Net, I took umbrage to that and asked her to explain. We circled the world a few times before it came out that church women can sometimes be the worst in the world and they attack pastors wives. I’ve seen it in cases that didn’t involve my mom even so the general idea is, don’t get upset when the church women attack you and try and make you feel less than you are.

What advice would you give a child today?
Don’t be afraid to stand.
(Asked her to elaborate and she described something along the lines of a child not being afraid to stand up for what they feel is right even though they’re young.).


I was kicking myself for not having paper and pen, so nothing was written down and these are all done just as best as I can remember them. They may have been more that I don’t remember unfortunately.
As I said though, I want wisdom, It’s like a sweet tooth craving to me (even stronger than a Sonic Slushie, which is saying something!) So if anyone reading this has any answers to these questions of their own – please know that someone over here really wants to read your answers. What advice would you give? If you answer several and have a blog of your own I’ll be happy to publish your responses in a post as well linking to your blog. You can answer in comments or email
I'd love to see your answers.