(Not so) Whimsical Wednesday

Listened to this song for the first time today. Don’t know why I haven’t ever heard it before, but it speaks a message today. On this 18th anniversary of a horrific day in our history, I will remember. I will cherish, and I will never forget.

It’s not about a political party. It’s not about a race, a religion, or a heritage. It’s not even about a personal opinion or thought.

This was a day that radicalism thought it could rule. This was a day when hatred filled hearts surmised they could win. This was a day when evil consumed souls believed they had the upper hand and could bring down a powerful, mighty nation.

9/11 will forever be a day of remembered terrror, heartbreak and death. Yet, 9/12 will forever be a day remembered of a nation uniting to bring rescue, support, encouragement and comfort. The two days shall ever be etched in the memory blanks of my legacy.

This is a realization of what purpose can expose. This is a revelation of what a common bond can bring. This is a testament of what unity can do.

For evil and for good.

Never forget these days in your retelling of truth and of history. Share the brokenness, revel in the heroics and cherish the patriotism. Never forget, a people bound together in one cause, one focus, one goal can accomplish the unthinkable.

America, never forget.

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Friday Afternoon Serenade

I read a beautifully written piece the other day by a fellow blogging friend, Modern Serenade, and as I was standing on my back porch this afternoon I thought I’d take his idea and write about my own Friday afternoon serenade.

An airplane flew overhead as the neighbor’s air conditioning unit seemed to kick into overdrive. The wind begin rustling through the trees, and the crickets began their evening rhythms. The dogs across the ridge must have seen a stranger or a critter run by, because they started up in a bit of a panic only to subside after a few minutes. Maybe it was a squirrel that crossed their paths, but his squawking was a bit delayed as he gave a good fussing to some young creature or fellow walking by. The wind rustled through the trees again, as if to attempt to quiet his tirade. I believe it worked. Then, the dogs barked a few times again, and our cats came swirling around my feet with a meow or two just to get some attention. A mosquito buzzed by my ear and landed on my hand as I swatted him. “Smack!” That will be his last bite today; unfortunately, he got me twice. I hear a car driving through the culdesac, probably a neighbor coming home from a long day’s work. The wind rustles a bit stronger through the trees, it seems to be telling the weary soul, “Welcome Home.” My son just joined the chorus as I hear the bass through the subwoofers booming a bit through the walls of the house.

Whish-bark-meow-buzz-smack-vroom”

Another mosquito says goodbye to this life, and I grab the bug repellent; so, I might enjoy a few more moments of the evening serenade before turning in. Even the spray adds a swishing noise to the symphony. The temperatures tonight are quite delightful. … There goes the wind and the crickets again.

“Whish-boom-smack-swish-which-chirp-chirp-bark-boom”

Ahh, there’s the little bird to join in while another plane travels overhead to it’s unknown destination, and finally, the cicadas have come to add their part to the harmony. I was wondering what was taking them so long.

“Whish-boom-chirp-chirp-bark-vroom-whish-tweet-tweet-chirp-chirp-buzz-buzz-cacah”

…a crow couldn’t miss out while he was flying by. 😂

A beautiful symphony given to us by our amazing Creator God. Sitting here, listening and watching just brings a sweet peace to my mind and a gentleness to my heart. It causes me to breathe deeper and smile a little longer. I’m so thankful for my restful place of solitude. It truly brings healing to a weary soul.

I hope you will step outside and listen to the serenade around you, and if it’s just too noisy with human chaos and manmade distractions, take a little drive to a park, an open field, a hiking trail, a lake or a waterfall. Get off the asphalt, and see what you might bring into vision with, not only your eyes, but with your whole being.

Happy listening, and Happy Friday! 😊

Yeah, You be YOU!

There’s not a lot I need to add to that. You be you, because God didn’t make you to be someone else! If He wanted us to all be the same, He would have created us as clones with no individuality and no difference of personalities, and definitely no difference of backgrounds, families or even race. Yet, here we are, and not one of us is the same!

So, why do we have such a growing consensus that demands everyone to think, speak and act the same? STOP IT! Let us all demand individuality instead of demanding conformity. Let us all expect uniqueness of those we encounter in this world instead of uniformity.

If we will refuse the cultural agenda to make us all identical robotic minions, we can turn the tide back to originality.

Be original. Be unique. Be like no other.

You be You!

Is God Good?

Is God good, because of His own goodness, or is He good, because He does good things for us?

Many who are believers would automatically reply, “God is good simply because of His own goodness.” However, I’d question if you truly believe this truth. If this is your stance, let me challenge you with a question. “The last time a tragedy hit your family, did you say, ‘Praise God! He is so good!’ or did you rant and rage, wondering where God was in your hour of need? Did you rejoice and celebrate Him as the afflictions came into your life, or did you curse His name for ever tempting you with His promises of love and mercy?

Yet, for many nonbelievers, you might reply “God is good only when He proves He is good by bestowing blessings and goodness.” You might demand His eternal goodness for you to ever be obedient to His Word and submissive to His authority in your life. If this is your stance, let me challenge you with a question or two, “Why do you trust in all kinds of entities in this life that are proven to be untrustworthy; yet, to the one Deity that has been proven time and again (by scripture and by personal testimonies) to be trustworthy and faithful, you don’t hold the same standards?” You might wonder what I mean. Let me expound a bit…

So many, who question the integrity of God (because they feel “He has let them down” in one way or another) completely depend upon, and keep faithful, in entities of life which have proven to be faulty at one time or another. One example would be money. You hold onto that money, buying, selling, giving and receiving, as if it will last forever. You never question it’s worth. You never question it’s reliability. You never question if it will remain stable tomorrow, next week or even years from now, because you simply trust you will receive that paycheck, cash/deposit it, and withdraw it and use it at anytime you need. Yet, time has brilliantly proven the stock market can crash in a moment’s notice, and poverty can beset us all!

Another example would be government. (*Now, don’t get hostile on either side of the “party lines.” I’m not choosing sides here; I’ll hit you both. Lol.😂) You support that system; you trust that system; you invest in that system; you defend that system, and you live by whatever rules and regulations that system hands down to you or demands of you. Yet, time and again, through political scandals, bailouts, voter frauds, twisted officials and structural brokenness and gaps, that system had proven to be faulty and less than trustworthy.

There are so many examples to give, but I will give one final example here, and that would be simply the human condition. We all have people we have loved, people we have trusted, people we have leaned on, and people in whom we’ve confided our greatest fears and failures, our hopes and dreams. Yet, there have been people in each of our lives who have wounded us, damaged us or simply failed us in a multitude of ways (And if that’s not you, well, keep on livin’, my young friend). People have proven to just be people, with ups and downs, strengths and weaknesses, successes and failures, and so much more. Yet, we keep repeating this cycle of trust time and time again.

So, with all of this on both ends of the spectrum, let me repeat the question, just so we are still on the same page…

Is God good, because of His own goodness, or is He good, because He does good things for us?

God is good, because He, in and of Himself, is full of goodness. Nothing He does can have bearing on His deity or on His character as God, because He is consumed of goodness and everything good comes from Him. He cannot lie. He cannot be untrustworthy, and He cannot fail.

Our believing the sun isn’t hot simply because we can’t touch it or feel it on a rainy day doesn’t change the gastric heat it contains. Our believing the ocean is no longer wet, because we are in a desert land and can’t presently be immersed in that sea doesn’t change a bit of the moisture it holds. Just as our believing God is no longer good because of a tragedy or because He didn’t grant our every wish never changes the goodness He is nor the goodness He can give.

God is God, nothing more and nothing less. His promises are true, and His goodness flows like a river for all to receive. All we must do is have the right perspective. We have to see Him clearly, and we have to believe.

Burn That Bridge

Yeah, I’ll probably just leave that right there…

When you take care of you, and you remove toxic, dangerous or destructive people from your life, it’s okay to burn a few bridges. It’s not mean. It’s not hateful. It’s not even a spiteful act on your part (granted, you don’t add a lot of hatefulness in words or actions😉). Just burn that bridge and move beyond.

That girlfriend who chased you down, and then, went a bit psycho when you needed some space… yeah, burn that number.

That boyfriend who beat you to a pulp, and then, said he was sorry, wouldn’t do it again… yep, need to light a little fuse.

That childhood friendship whose crises-to-crises living is sucking the life from your veins… yes, close that door, burn that rope.

That old flame who wanted you to cheat on your spouse just so he/she could “make you feel alive” one more time… yeah, you better take that lighter fluid and pour the whole can out.

Walk away.

Light that match.

Burn that bridge.

You’re better than that. You deserve more.

And those who truly love you deserve more.

Do it now before you second guess yourself.

Just do it … and breathe.

Hidden Strength

Strength isn’t always what you might think…

Strength, especially when it comes to women, seems to be such a divergent scale. Some would say women of solid vocals and boisterous actions are strong. Yet, I’ve seen those of the meekest demeanor muster a measure of strength to fight that made these shutter.

Some would say women of fierce glare and untamed tongue are full of valor. Yet, I’ve watched those with a gentle glance and words like a lullaby slice fear like a knife.

Some would say women of intense stance and stubborn rebellion are destined for such greatness. Yet, I’ve witnessed those holding a stable foundation and a submissive heart to truth become more ferocious and full of purpose than the others could ever imagine.

Strength is not measured in the affluent or vociferous generation. It is not valued in the vivacious muscle of a class. It is not even symbolized in the insurgency of defiance and contempt of a race.

Strength is signified by honor, integrity and absolute truth. It is manifested in unity and compassion for life itself. It is evidenced in a life consumed by liberty for all not just for one. It is revealed by mercy, justice and grace all intertwined in a purity of hope and love.

Strength comes by laying down our wants and desires for a higher purpose. It blossoms by releasing our ambition and selfishness for a greater cause. It grows by realizing this is not about me but rather about us and what will become of tomorrow as a direct result of what we do with today.

Filling In The Gaps

It’s been amazing to me how God’s goodness has just followed me throughout my whole life. This doesn’t mean my life has been perfect, nor does it mean that it’s been devoid of pain and sorrow. That’s actually very far from the truth. However, looking back through the years, and even at the very beginning, His goodness was there, almost lurking in the shadows at times.

I can see His hand at work so many times, comforting me, shielding me, overshadowing me and even uplifting me to be encouraged and reminded of this. I hear often, from people who want to reject Him, ask the question, “If He’s so good, why do bad things happen? Why do people get hurt? Why doesn’t He rescue all from evil?” To completely, and theologically, try to explain the answers to these questions, it would take too long for this blog, and it might be too deep or too boring for some.

Yet, I will say this much, typically, these questions aren’t from true searchers who would actually accept God if they found Him. These questions are designed to set up rebellion in a heart and argument in a mind to the point of stubborn resolution that either there is no God or He’s just a deity that is too lofty for our minuscule life, and He never cared anyway. This couldn’t be further from the truth, and I’d have to contend that you are not a true seeker nor a very good reader. You don’t do any research or read anything to truly help you find the answers to the questions you ask. But I digress. That will be another post for another day.

We live in a fallen world, and just as a person being sick doesn’t make the doctor less of a doctor, dealing with the evil of a fallen world doesn’t make God any less God. Having bad things happen in my past doesn’t nullify the Sovereignty of my God nor does it mean He loves me any less. There are a ton of reasons bad things can happen, and I won’t try to pretend to have all the answers for the Whys. I will say, the more I focus on Him and on His goodness, I see more and more of Him intricately intertwined into every piece of my life’s tapestry, and for this, I am eternally grateful!

I see the godly men He brought into my life when my own father abandoned me time and again. I see the godly women He brought into my life when my own mother and I could never see eye to eye. I see the friends He brought in when another would wound and scar my tender heart. He has always filled in the gaps when the entities of this world left my soul wrenching in pain and agony.

God places specific people in your life to fill in those voids that others leave, those gaps where others have failed their purpose. Sometimes, we are too fixated on what was lost that we fail to see the refreshing fulfillment He places right before us. We have to get our eyes focused back on Him, and He will give us sight to see what we could never have imagined possible.

“Now the Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go; I am sending you to Jesse the Bethlehemite. For I have provided Myself a king among his sons.” 1 Samuel 16:1

Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him.” 1 Kings 19:11

To Steal One More Quote from LOTR

Everything we do impacts another. Everyday we impact someone.

Will you be ordinary?

Will your deeds be extraordinary?

For good or for evil, we all must live.

To Steal A Quote from LOTR

What will you do with the time given you??

Philippians 3:13-14, “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

It Is Time

I’d like to ask our modern culture and our “evolved” Christian believers, when did we get to the place where Truth cannot be spoken for fear of offenses and Sin cannot be confirmed for fear of judgement? If we are a follower of Christ, Truth is absolute and irrevocable, and sin is sin, not “grace-filled” or “judgement-filled.” It just is, because God deems it so.

When did we get to the point where we care more that we not offend someone than we do about their very souls? When did we get to the point where we work so hard to preach grace that we forsake the reality of sin, hell and an eternal death? If we read the Bible, from the front cover to the very last page, God is so very clear.

We’ve come to the place where we’d rather argue, too often quite hatefully, with our brothers and sisters in Christ over the possible offenses taken or not taken over an issue rather than the merits of truth. We’d rather drum up dissension over the intentions of someone’s words rather than seek His Word for His truth on the subject at hand. We’d rather slash the hearts of our fellow kinsmen, and in turn, wound those who are listening and trying to find their own answers, rather than speak with love AND truth and let the Holy Spirit bring forth His conviction and mercy.

It sounds too much like the arguments of old when men and women would argue over the color of the pews and the length of the choir robes while their babies were battling issues of sex, drugs and rock and roll. It smells too much like the wayward youth of decades past who fought so hard for their independence and their owns rights that they forsook the ancient boundaries set before them to show them the only way. It looks too much like the sly dealings of darkness who always brings forth confusion, contention and chaos in order to distract, disengage and devour those who are most vulnerable and afraid.

Wake up, Church. Lift up your eyes. Look upon the One whom we have pierced! Gaze upon His torn flesh, His stripes, His pierced hands and feet. He was wounded for OUR transgressions! He was bruised for OUR iniquities! It was not for someone else. It was for our own prideful stance. It was for our own arrogant words. Not a one of us is not guilty. Not a one of us is worthy of the mercy and grace He gives.

It is time for us to stop claiming our own opinions and laments as Gospel. It is time we stop doing what is right in our own eyes. Lives are at stake. The innocent lie within the balance.

It is time we all repent. Moses stood between the children of Israel and God’s burning wrath. Moses stood between the children of Israel and the armies of Pharaoh. Moses cried out to God for their lives to be saved. Moses was their hero. Yet, he could never have brought them to freedom had they not listen, followed and obeyed him! He was not God, but He did show them God, and they chose to receive.

Whose hero will we be?

Whom will we follow?