Friday, July 31, 2015

The Battle is His

I was feeling overwhelmed yesterday.  Overwhelmed by the hardness and callousness of this age.  When people can be confronted face to face with what abortion is.  When people can see plain as day that Planned Parenthood has been breaking federal law....when they see the casual-ness with which they discuss the sale of the body parts of unborn babies.  And not care.

But more than not care.  They defend.  They lash out in anger...in hatred.

And I feel helpless.  How do I respond?  What kind of difference can I make when hearts are so hardened?

And I came across this passage in 2 Chronicles 20: 15-17.  It felt like it was meant for me in this situation....

"He said Listen King Jehosophat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem.  This is what the Lord says to you.

  'Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army.  For the battle is not yours, but God's. Tomorrow march down against them.

 They will be climbing up by the Pass of Ziz and you will find them at the end of the gorge in the Desert of Jeruel.

You will not have to fight this battle.  Take up your positions, stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you O Judah & Jerusalem.

 Do not be afraid.  Do not be discouraged.  Go out to face them tomorrow and the Lord will be with you."

Jehosophat and his people responded with praise.  The day of the battle they sang and praised God.  And as they did, God began to defeat the enemy causing confusion among them so that they destroyed each other.  King Jehosophat's army never had to fight.

Verses 29-30
"The fear of God came among all the kingdoms of the countries when they heard how the Lord had fought against the enemies of Israel.  And the kingdom of Jehosophat was at peace, for his God had given him rest on  every side."

God fought the battle.  And, God received His glory.


And I felt God was saying to me.....
The battle is not yours.  It is the Lord's.  Do not feel compelled to do what I have not asked you to do.  Do only what I ask.  And I am asking you to pray.

So stand firm.  Pray.  Praise Him.  The battle is His!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Fifty five million

Fifty five million.  Fifty five men, women, and children who should be here..standing beside us, a part of our lives. Sometimes maybe you can sense what could have been, what should have been...in a whisper, in shadow & light, in a thought much like a memory.



Fifty five million people who WERE and then were not.  Can you feel them?  They should be here now.  They would be our brothers & sisters, our aunts & uncles, our friends, our colleagues, our spouses.  Today some of them would be fathers & mothers themselves.  They would be connected to us, an intricate part of our lives.  If you've ever felt that something was missing..someone was missing....it's because they are.  Fifty five million people are missing.

Entire generations, entire futures eliminated, erased.

Each life is unique.  We know this.  This is scientific fact.  The genetic code in each and every person is unique to that person.  There never was and never will be another person like the person introduced at the time of conception.

So how many unique opportunities, talents, skills have been discarded along with fifty five million people?  Countless.  Where would we be today with them beside us?  We will never know.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

The Thorn in My Side

I have a problem with food.  Well, actualy, I should point out that I LOVE food.  My problem is actually a problem with self-control.



So many of my Facebook friends seem to have gotten on the health boat and are sailing along so smoothly.
I've gotten on many health boats over my lifetime,  But, as the boat starts to pull away from the shore, food beckons me with it's siren song & I jump from the boat & swim back to my island of "I'm gonna eat what I want to eat when I want to eat" and "It's easier to just sit here & I don't want to exercise".

And, the thing is, I know from experience that being healthy feels good.  It feels so much better than the blobby ball of lethargy and blech that I am now.  But, even those times I've worked hard to get to a certain point and I feel good, I'm still eventually wooed back by the allure of eating greasy, fatty, salty, sweet, rich, decadent food.



I can't even imagine long term maintenance of weight loss....because I ALWAYS gain it back.
There's a part of me that has thrown in the towel and says that I just don't care anymore...that feels destined to always have a weight problem.

But, then there's another part of me that doesn't want to become what I'm becoming....I already see the toll that carrying around extra weight is taking on my body.  I have so little energy, aches & pains, it aggravates my varicose veins (which are a genetic trait passed down in my family, but which I think could be lessened if I wasn't so heavy).  I waddle when I walk.  I get out of breath quickly.  I DON"T want to get old before I'm old!

Looking at everyone else's successes actually makes me less motivated....if that makes any sense.  I see everyone tapping into something that finally clicked for them.  And, I've tried so. many. times.  Even when I think I've finally found my groove, I always, always, always fall back into my old ways.

Food in many ways is an addiction for me.  I hesitate to use that word, 'addiction' because I think it sometimes gets overused.  But, when I look back over my relationship with food I definitely see some addictive behavior patterns.  And, I know from my past and with other issues, it's very easy for me to fall into addictive behavior.

I'm frustrated.  I know it's going to take work.  And work is....hard.  It's so much easier just to not think about making healthy choices.  When I'm feeling discouraged & lethargic, where do I find that motivation to pull myself up by the bootstraps...especially when the boots feel so heavy?

I'm not sure what I'm looking for.  Not sympathy or pity.  I've written about this struggle often enough for it to sound like a broken record.  I guess I just needed to vent.  I needed to express what's on my heart and mind.  Sometimes, just writing it out...giving it a voice...helps bring me some relief and clarity.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Be Still

There has been a great heaviness on my heart.
I watch as this world spins out of control.
People consumed with a thirst for self-fulfillment and pleasure.
There is no room for authority.  No room for right or wrong.
Everything is relative.
They not only reject God, but scorn Him, spit upon Him, loathe Him.

And, it breaks my heart.
I've been saying that a lot lately.
But, it's true.  My heart is broken.
To know that so many refuse to see
There is more.
More than what running after their own passions can ever supply.

And, I feel helpless.
Any word I might speak in love
is misconstrued as hate, as intolerance, as oppression.
The blinders are on.
They can't see the chains binding them.
That God wants to free them.

I spent the afternoon listening to hymns, finding comfort there.
Be still, and know that I am God.
And in my stillness...a prayer, a word of faith rose up within me.....
Perhaps it will bring you the peace it brought me.


He is still sovereign  Isaiah 25:8

He is still sufficient  2 Corinthians 12:9

His great love & mercy endureth forever  Psalm 136:4

He is Alpha & Omega, beginning and the end  Revelation 21:6

He makes known from ancient times what is still to come  Isaiah 46:10

His compassions they fail not  Lamentations 3:22

Every knee shall bow & every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord  Phillipians 2:10

His mercies are new every morning.  Lamentations 3:23

He is my strength  Psalm 28:8

He is my righteousness  Isaiah 61:10

He is our fortress  2 Samuel 22:33

He is our refuge  Psalm 46:1

There is none like Him.  Isaiah 46:9

He is Holy.  Isaiah 6:3

His purposes stand.  Psalm 36:11


Do not listen to the roaring
   of the world
The wild clashing
   and angry refrains

It seeks to drown out
   His peaceful song
His sweet melody
   the world cannot endure

But Truth rings out
    soft and pure
In the hearts of men
    a remnant stands

Still yourself
     lest you cease to hear
the gentle leading
     in your soul

Thursday, June 18, 2015

To Soothe My Soul

To say that I've been feeling spiritually dry lately is an understatement.  I'm not even sure I can point to exactly why.  I know I haven't been spending time reading the Bible or praying like I should.  But, it's a vicious cycle you know.  Hitting a dry spell leads to less desire to read & pray.  Less reading and praying leads to more dryness.  And, so on.

I've been trying to force myself to read a quick passage here and there.  (That sounds terrible doesn't it?  Force myself?  But, being honest here).  Sometimes something speaks to me.  Sometimes I'm just checking it off.  Read my Bible today?  Check.

Well, today I was feeling like I wanted to listen to some music to feed me spiritually.  But (here I am being honest again) sometimes, modern worship music leaves me.....wanting more.

Don't get me wrong.  I do enjoy a lot of it.  And, some of it really speaks to me.  But, a lot of times?  A lot of times it's repetitive and not very...meaty.

One of the things that drives me absolutely batty at church or when listening to certain worship music is saying the same phrases over and over and over and over and over and over.

Sometimes I just want a SONG.  A song written with verses and a chorus and something really substantive to say.

I clicked on youtube.  At first I thought I'd look for the newer worship song 'It is well'...not to be confused by the hymn 'It is well'.  But, that's exactly what happened.  I actually ended up clicking on a Chris Rice version of the hymn 'It is Well'.  And, almost immediately  peace just washed over me.  I sang along. I cried.

Then, I saw that he had a whole bunch of hymns that he had covered.  And, by covered...I don't mean he mangled them & tried to 'modernize' them.  He just sang these hymns straightforward and the way I was used to hearing them....with ALL the verses!  Not just a couple of most well known verses mixed in with some new arrangement.  He sang the WHOLE HYMN.

I listened to Great Is Thy Faithfulness and Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing.  I wanted to listen to more.  But, then my husband came home from work and I turned it off so I could talk to him.


But, as I listened to those hymns, I listened as someone who was starving for the nourishment there.  The words are so rich, so meaningful, so poetic & beautiful yet powerful.  This verse from Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing spoke so deeply to me.

"O to grace how great a debtor 
daily I'm constrained to be! 
Let thy goodness, like a fetter, 
bind my wandering heart to thee. 
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, 
prone to leave the God I love; 
here's my heart, O take and seal it, 
seal it for thy courts above. "

I mean that song verse met me pretty much right where I am.

And, I don't want to sound mocking in any way.  But, that meant so much more to me than another song we sing in church that goes round my head so often (probably because it's so repetetive)..."Fill me up God, Fill me up God, Fill me up God.  Fill me up."  Yes, I want to be filled.  But singing those words over and over like a mantra doesn't really do it for me.

But after listening to these hymns today I felt like I had sat down to a MEAL.  In comparison, some modern worship songs are like soda....bubbly, light, and sweet - but not very nourishing.

If I had it my way, I'd love for our church to use a mixture of traditional hymns and modern worship.  But, it seems like so many churches today have abandoned the hymns that I grew up with. 


 I'm not sure what the solution is to this.  But today, I found soothing for my soul.

Monday, June 1, 2015

My Heart Is Breaking For Bruce Jenner

Ok.  Add another topic to 'Things I Wasn't Going To Blog About' that I ended up blogging about.

I know some people who will strongly disagree with me on this post.  I know some people who might even despise me for it...or at least have a lesser opinion of me.

The thing about controversial subjects is that they create such a huge emotional response in people.  And, it's hard to be heard...and not misunderstood...when emotions run high.  I usually try to avoid jumping in the fray.  Chances are people are firmly rooted in their beliefs about a subject and nothing I say will change their minds.  If anything, it will just create ill feelings.

But, there are also times when you have to speak up.  And, I feel like this is one of those times.

Facebook blew up today with the latest 'viral' news.  Bruce Jenner has officially introduced himself to the world as a woman on the cover of Vanity Fair magazine along with his new persona, 'Caitlyn'.  We knew it was coming.  This story has been in the news a lot recently.  But now it's 'official' with this unveiling.  He has become she.

Or has he?

The simple answer is 'no'.  Just as I can no sooner announce that I am now a different race, or that I'm a cat, or a rock, Bruce can't announce that he's now a woman.     I am still a Caucasian human being.  And, Bruce Jenner is still a man.  He can FEEL like he's something else. He can WANT to be something else.  But, it doesn't change who he IS.

For those people who would say that all that matters is how he feels inside, what he most identifies as, I have a few questions.  What is the new criteria for identifying gender?  Is it what someone FEELS?  If so, isn't that awfully subjective?  For a society that so loudly and frequently points to science as being the only measure by which we can determine reality, I thought something more objective (like DNA & chromosomes) would be required.  For a society that frequently bashes Christians for believing in 'fairy tales' that can't be scientifically supported (I disagree on the lack of evidence by the way), doesn't it seem disingenuous to now support this concept of an individual's reality being subjugated solely to that individual's feelings?

But people are loudly cheering him on and congratulating him and calling him a hero.

And, that really makes me sad.  I feel a huge burden for Bruce Jenner.  I am watching as an entire nation is enabling a man with a serious emotional problem. I agree that Bruce is suffering from gender dysphoria.  He feels a disconnect with his body. He truly believes that he will be happier as a woman...that at his core he is a woman.

And the people cheering him on really believe they are helping.  They believe that now Bruce can truly be free and happy.  I know that they believe they are truly showing compassion.  I don't doubt their sincerity.  And, I admire their hearts.  But, sadly, they've bought into the same destructive lie that Bruce has bought into.  That he was born a mistake of nature or creation.  His body failed him.  He was not who he was supposed to be.

That. Is. A. Lie.

Bruce might be happy for a time.  This initial rush of realizing something he's been longing for and all the accolades he's receiving will fill him for a while.  But, when that first euphoria and the media storm dies down, Bruce will still be left with the void and the emptiness that has been haunting him all along.

One day down the road he will wake up and realize that changing his appearance, altering and maiming his body, choosing a new name and 'choosing' a new gender hasn't really changed the pain in his heart.

There is only One who can do that.  One who doesn't make mistakes.  One who knows us even better than we know ourselves.  One who created us.  Each and every one of us with a plan and a purpose.

Only the healing and redemptive love of Jesus can ease the burden Bruce has been carrying.  Only Jesus can bring him peace and true joy.  Only Jesus can help Bruce finally feel like he is who he is meant to be.  Not surgery, not hormones, not make-up.  Jesus.

I know someone somewhere will somehow find my post 'hateful'.  I'm not sure how when I've tried to approach this from a place of grace & compassion.  Please hear me.  I don't hate Bruce Jenner.  I don't hate transgender people. I love them deeply.  And, because I love them...because I know God loves them, I want for people to speak truth and life into their lives.

 I see them as hurting and broken people in this hurting and broken world.  And, yes,  we are all hurt or broken in some way.

But, I can't keep silent when I know

There is a Healer!
There is a Redeemer!
There is Grace and true Peace available to us all.

I will agree with those with more liberal leanings on one point.  Yes, there is IS more to our identities than our physical makeup.  There IS our soul.  And as God knit us together, he formed in each of us a unique tapestry weaving together who we are.  And, at Bruce's core, he is masterfully created and deeply beloved by the one who commands the universe. What his SOUL...what all of our souls groan for is deep communion with God.  The peace and sense of belonging that Bruce seeks does not come from rejecting how he was created but by finding union with the one who created him.



Matthew 11:28 & 29  "  Come to me, all you who are weary & burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."

Isaiah 55: 2, 3  "Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy?  Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.  Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live.  I will make and everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David."

Psalm 42:  1, 2 "As the deer pants for streams of water. so my soul pants for you, O God.  My soul thirsts for God, for the living God."

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

It Hurts My Heart...But Not for the Reasons You Might Think

I cancelled our newspaper subscription a couple months ago.  I had a few reasons, but my main reason was that all too often I came away from reading the newspaper...specifically the editorial page & letters to the editor...feeling sad, disheartened, discouraged, or frustrated.

There's so much out there to make us feel overwhelmed...and not just in our newspapers.  It's in social media too.  So many opinions.  So many hurting or angry people who lash out at others whose opinions differ from theirs.

And, so many people who reject God.  And many of them seem to hate, or at the very least have serious disdain for those of us who believe in Him.

So, I canceled the paper because it seriously depressed me.  But, the last couple weeks it's been coming to our house again.  I can only guess that this is a marketing strategy by the newspaper to try to woo us back as customers.

I'll admit.  I've enjoyed getting the paper again.  For as much discouraging news & opinion there is, there are also interesting and joyful tidbits.

But, this morning I was reminded of what it was that made me cancel it in the first place.  I was reading the letters to the editor and there was one in there where the author was responding to some earlier letters written by people who were obviously Christians and expressing their Christian views.  This author wrote in to disparage the views he had read in those earlier letters.

His opening line included..." I would note that this country was not founded on religious principles but on the freedom to worship any manmade entity chosen".
Did you catch that?  Any 'manmade' entity.  It immediately clued me in to the direction and the tone that his letter would take.  But, I kept reading.  Here are some additional exerpts from his letter...

"the book of fairy tales known as the Bible."
"The women of this country and the world crack me up: They believe in a silly book that has held them as second-class citizens since fools started reading it."
"In 2007, a poll showed 78 percent of Americans considered themselves Christian. By 2015, such poll results were down to 70 percent. I take great comfort in seeing that the people of this country have gotten 8 percent smarter. I guess it is harder to get people to believe in silly stories when you can’t force them at the point of a sword or business end of a firearm.'

Actually, that was the majority of his letter.  There were only a few other sentences I didn't include.  I came away from reading that letter to the editor feeling like someone had punched me in the stomach.  And, I haven't been able to shake it from my thoughts all day.

The things written by the author of this letter were actually quite mild.  If you spend any time reading comment threads under posts or articles about controversial subjects that appear on the internet, you'll quickly notice the prevailing attitude toward people of faith....and there's a lot of anger and hatred.

I know some of that anger comes from the way that some Christians have abused the name of Christ.  Sometimes wounded people walk into the Church and walk away with deeper wounds than before.

I also know that the Bible tells us that we can expect to be hated, persecuted, and ridiculed.  I know that people will see the Cross as foolishness or a stumbling block.

I know this.  And, yet, it still hurts.

Here's the truth.   Part of why it hurts is because it hurts my pride.  It's no fun to hear people say that as a Christian I must be a fool or a bigot....lacking intelligence or any sense of reason.  It hurts my heart to hear people mock the Truths and the Faith I hold sacred and dear.  I cringe when they take the Name of the One who created our inmost beings in vain....flinging it about as just another cuss word.

But there's another reason it hurts my heart.  It is the reason that it follows me through my day....the reason that my heart is in inner turmoil.

You see, they can call me a fool.  They can call me deluded.

But, what really hurts is when I see how closed their hearts and minds are to God.  I CARE about these people.  I care deeply about those who have rejected God.  And, I don't know how to reach them.  I don't know how to change their minds.


I know that ultimately only the Holy Spirit can change a heart.  But, I so often pray for  or look for the words to say that might plant a seed...to begin to open their hearts and minds to the reality of God.

I've taken apologetics courses.  And, they have been great confirmations for me of what I already know in my heart.  There are so many logical, fact-based, science-based arguments for God.  But, I'm not good at recalling a specific argument during a discussion.  And, I'm certainly not as eloquent as some of our modern-day apologists like Mary Jo Sharp, Ray Ciervo, Norman Geisler, Ravi Zacharias, Lee Strobel, and many more.

I can hear and take in and understand the excellent points that they share.  But, I feel like a total dud when I try to incorporate those points into a conversation.  I'm not a great communicator.  And, I'm certainly not a great debater.  I'm too emotionally driven.  It's too easy for me to become emotional in the midst of a discussion.  And, someone who is truly effective in debate needs to be able to keep their emotions in check.  They need to maintain an attitude of compassion but also to have a clear mind and not allow themselves to become clouded with emotion.

So I think of the many people I know who are atheists or agnostics.  And, I think of those who have placed their hope in a false god.  I think of an entire world of lost people.  And, I don't know what to do.  I don't know how anything I can say or do can put a dent in their unbelief.



I feel helpless.

And, this is so critical.  This is a matter of eternal life and eternal death.

I know I can pray.  And, I do.  I frequently prayerfully intercede for those I know who don't believe.  I pray that God would work in their lives, would reveal Himself to them.

I recently had someone tell me that I am a burden-bearer.  I see the needs or hurts of other people and I feel it deeply in my own heart.  And, then someone else mentioned that burden bearers are also those who are often called to intercessory prayer.



This seems to fit me and my personality and the way I am wired.  But, then, I still question myself.  Am I using prayer as a cop out from actually DOING or SAYING anything?  But, then, I argue with myself again and say that kind of attitude reveals my true attitude about prayer...that it's a nice thing to do but doesn't hold the same power as physically doing or saying things.

And, round and round I go.  I get myself so turned upside down that I'm no longer effective at anything. 

And, so instead of taking the burdens of the world upon myself (only One can and DID do that), I need to keep it simple or I will analyze it to death.  What should my response be?

Pray:  Prayer IS powerful.  More powerful than we realize.  NEVER underestimate prayer.

Love:  Love whenever the opportunity presents itself....a kind word, encouragement, a good deed.  These all go further than we can know.

Speak:  Don't be afraid to speak the truth.  But choose your times to speak wisely and always with compassion.

Trust:  Trust that God's got this.  He knows the hearts of each and every man, woman, and child more intimately than we can know or they can know their own selves.  He is still sovereign.  He reigns.


"I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is none like me.
I make known the end from the beginning,
from ancient times, what is still to come.
I say:  My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please."
Isaiah 46: 9-10


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