July 31, 2015
During my consultation with a nutritional/fitness professional she recommended I get a pedometer in order to understand and document my physical activity…or lack thereof. The goal she sets for her clients is to take 10,000 steps a day. I have to admit the pedometer is making me acutely aware of my sedentary life style. I can now, in a worldly sort of way, relate to the Jews who wear phylacteries strapped to the forehead and left arm as a reminder for them to keep the law. “Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. … Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads” (Deut 6:5-6; 8 NIV)
July 30, 2015
Yesterday at Walmart a man came up behind a woman and told her that he liked the Ephesians verse written on the back of her T-shirt and she said, “Thanks, I do too.” Assuming they were kindred spirits she then asked the man what church he attended. He shrugged his shoulders and with downcast eyes admitted he wasn’t attending anywhere at the moment. Immediately the woman went into outreach mode and told him where she worshiped. She not only invited him to church, but invited him to the Wednesday night Bible study that would be convening in a few hours. I find it fascinating that Scripture stenciled on the back of a T-shirt yields seeds for the sower. “As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it” (Isa 55:11 NIV).
July 29, 2015
In an article about a local man I wrote, “John has trophy room full of stuffed animals, accolades and organizational pins representing his endeavors and volunteerism.” John appreciated the article, however he emailed me with one minor error. John good naturedly wrote, “You “stuff” a turkey and “mount” a trophy.” I really do feel bad that I unintentionally demeaned John’s trophies by relegating them to teddy bear status. Spiritually speaking God does something similar to all of man’s trophies. “All who make idols are nothing, and the things they treasure are worthless. Those who would speak up for them are blind; they are ignorant, to their own shame” (Isa 44:9 NIV).
July 28, 2015
On a recent shopping trip to the metro area I was taken aback by so many young women sales clerks covered in tattoos, piercings and multicolored hair. If left unattended the piercings could eventually grow back together and the hair color grow out, but tattoos last a lifetime. I can’t help but wonder if heavily tattooed individuals won’t in some respects be trapped in an age-type time warp and mindset that they can never outgrow. Many of us like to reminisce with the music of our generation, but I can’t imagine being stuck in a certain generation with permanent clothing, hairstyles and social experimentations. “Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment” (Heb 6:1-2 NIV).
July 27, 2015
One afternoon last week my husband, Bill, received a phone call from a young man with a Hispanic accent who said, “Do you remember me, your grandson?” This faux grandson proceeded to say he’d been drinking beer in a bar, got into a fight and was now in jail … and of course needed money to get out of jail. Without missing a beat Bill played along and told the guy he thought it would be better for him to just stay in jail; that maybe some jail time would teach him a lesson about the perils of drinking beer and causing problems in a bar. Bill thoroughly enjoyed making sport of the caller; however, we know many elderly folks are falling victim to this same scam. These scammers seem oblivious to the fact that God does not look kindly on those who take advantage of defenseless people. “Do not take advantage of a widow or an orphan. If you do and they cry out to me, I will certainly hear their cry. My anger will be aroused, and I will kill you with the sword; your wives will become widows and your children fatherless” (Ex 22:22-24 NIV).
July 24, 2015
I wrote an article and the computer spell checker allowed sheriff to be spelled “Sherriff.” After publication a friend pointed out the error so I did an online search and found that the spelling Sherriff is old English. So even though the spelling was right, it was wrong. It was surprising to me that four different sets of eyes read and re-read the article and no one picked up on the spelling. Yet another reason to be impressed with the scribe’s efforts in transcribing God’s Word without error. Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished” (Matt 5:18 NIV).
July 23, 2015
The abortion issue is once again fanned into flame with the recent video release of a Planned Parenthood abortion doctor vividly describing destroying fetuses and selling the body parts. It is reported that since the legalization of a woman’s right to choose there has been over 55M abortions. Planned Parenthood may have convinced lawmakers to overlook murder, but that is not something God is willing to do. In a fit of anger Cain killed his brother Abel and when confronted by the Lord, Cain showed calloused indifference. The Lord said to Cain, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground” (Gen 4:10 NIV). I’m trying to imagine what it must be like for God to hear the blood of 55M babies crying out from Planned Parenthood abortion clinics.
July 22, 2015
On a social media site there are a couple of local men who, when they get upset, spew all manner of obscenities. Recently a woman let loose with an explicative and another man, who is a regular to the site, called her out for being uncouth. Although he went on to remind all writers they should watch their course language, I think it’s unfortunate that he didn’t immediately speak out against the men, but rather waited until he heard foul language from the mouth of a woman. “Listen, for I have worthy things to say; I open my lips to speak what is right. My mouth speaks what is true, for my lips detest wickedness” (Pr 8:6-7 NIV).
July 21, 2015
I’m frustrated about the weight I’ve gained so I scheduled a consultation with a physical fitness nutritionist. When we talked on the phone her question to me was, “What do you want to accomplish?” The only thing that came to mind was motivation. I already know how to diet and exercise…I think I was born dieting, but right now I have absolutely no motivation. Since the conversation however, I’ve continued to think about her question and I realize that what I’m really lacking is accountability. It wasn’t very long before the Spirit pricked my conscious with the thought that there probably isn’t any difference between avoiding the bathroom scales and dishonest scales. “The LORD abhors dishonest scales, but accurate weights are his delight” (Proverbs 11:1 NIV).
July 20, 2015
In 2007 county voters approved a narrowly written Public Safety Sales Tax. However, that hasn’t stopped people in the ensuing years to argue about the intent of the ballot measure and how the money can be sent. The Constitution is another example of lawyers trying to get in the heads of the founding fathers and coming up with interpretations beyond what was written. It should come as no surprise that Satan was the first one to use similar manipulation of God’s words and His intent. “Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die’” (Gen 3:1-3 NIV).
July 17, 2015
For a year I’ve been visiting local churches and writing articles about the experience. I have 18 more churches to go, so I’m close to finishing up the project. Recently I was entering a building as a woman was leaving and she stopped thinking she recognized me. She didn't look familiar, but when I introduced myself she said, “Oh, you’re the church lady!” I had to laugh at the name association, but decided that all things considered, it’s really not a bad name. “Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man” (Proverbs 3:3-4 NIV).
July 16, 2015
Currently there is a lot of political turmoil in the community as the city and county battle one another for funding, control, and public opinion. Those involved have stooped to ultimatums, innuendo, accusation and name calling. I visited with a man familiar with local politics who said, “In this community when you disagree with someone you become their enemy. We don’t work on issues, it’s about personalities.” Without being fully conscious of it, people of faith can fall into the same mind set when others disagree with us, particularly if it is a disagreement over Scripture. Paul instructs us, “If anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take special note of him. Do not associate with him, in order that he may feel ashamed. Yet do not regard him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother” (2 Thes 3:14-15 NIV).
July 15, 2015
I couldn’t find my coffee cup so I made multiple trips up and down the stairs retracing my steps. I finally found it right in front of my face on the kitchen counter. It’s no wonder it was so easily overlooked, I’d been looking for a black cup rather than the white cup I’d been drinking from. When Jesus was taken up to heaven in front of the disciples, it was right before their eyes and a cloud hid him from their sight. Two men (angels) who stood beside them and said, “Why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11 NIV). We know that Jesus will come back in the same way he left. However, many will be surprised when the Jesus they think they are looking for to return is not the same Jesus who is described in Revelation.
July 14, 2015
I’m noticing in charismatic churches there are different levels of enthusiasm depending on whether the church is located in a city, or a smaller town. They all have the same accompaniment — praise team, praise songs, overhead projectors, keyboards, drums and guitars. However, in smaller towns I’m finding the song services are more reflective, softer in tone and volume, and less demonstrative. In these smaller congregations there is a sense of waiting for the Spirit to lead people in worship, rather than the worship leader or the pastor trying to motivate people to show more outward signs of being spirit filled. I think Paul’s instruction on the discipline of waiting for one another when partaking of the Lord’s Supper is applicable to waiting for others in the worship service as well. “So then, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for each other. If anyone is hungry, he should eat at home, so that when you meet together it may not result in judgment” (1 Cor 11:33 NIV).
July 13, 2015
Suffering animal noises came from behind my neighbor’s six foot high solid wooden fence. My back deck overlooks their yard, but nothing was visible. The sounds went on for some time and when I could no longer contain my worry I caught the attention of one of the preteen boys who was on his way into the house. I asked if an animal was hurt and somewhat sheepishly he said, “Oh, it’s an elk call.” Just as I could not identify the elk call, there are people who will never identify the sound of the Gospel message. “He said, “Go and tell this people: “‘Be ever hearing, but never understanding; be ever seeing, but never perceiving”” (Isaiah 6:9 NIV).
July 10, 2015
In a side bar to his sermon the pastor said, “Some people think we can let God down … we can’t let God down because we were never holding Him up. He is holding us up.” I understand what the pastor was trying to say. However, there is an element of Christianity where we strive to please God and when we fall short we feel we have in some way let Him down. “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men” (Ro 14:17-18 NIV).
July 09, 2015
Occasionally we’ll hear the phrase “come just as you are” spoken or in a praise song, which implies that you don’t try to clean yourself up before you can come to the Lord. I recently had that “come just as you are” experience during communion. It was open communion, there were no membership restrictions, nor asking guests if they were in good standing in their home church. The pastor gave a brief explanation about what the emblems represent, said a quick prayer and then two men passed the bread and juice trays. However, no Scripture was quoted and nothing was said about examining yourself, or partaking in an unworthy manner. I’m wondering if some denominations haven’t so elevated the sanctity of communion that the invitation to come just as you are is lost.
July 08, 2015
During our Fourth of July parade the Democratic Party included a gay agenda flag resembling the American flag in their lineup. On a day when America’s independence unites us under one flag, the Dems chose to divide us with a rainbow stars and stripes. Armed with indignation and patriotism I fired off a letter-to-the-editor of the Montrose Mirror. The editor published the letter and a photo of the offense, and then she posted them on the Mirror Facebook page. In a little over 24 hours the letter generated over 25,000 views (and still counting), along with hundreds of colorful comments, likes and shares. My first thought was to credit the far reaching arm of social media with the explosion of interest. However, I’m reminded, “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails” (Pr 19:21 NIV).
July 07, 2015
I’m running into more than a few churches that have no listings in phonebooks or church directories; or when there is a listing, there is no physical address to locate the church. I’ve encountered incorrect phone numbers, listings that lack times of worship, and web sites carrying a pastor’s name who has been gone for two years. Certainly some of these are small congregations who may not have anyone capable of maintaining a web site. However, you can’t expect to have any visitors if they can’t find the church or make contact. It occurs to me that some churches may be happy with the status quo and they really don’t want visitors. Jesus told his disciples about a man who knocked on his friend’s door at midnight and asked for some food to serve to an unexpected guest. Jesus said, “Then the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children are with me in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ I tell you, though he will not get up and give him the bread because he is his friend, yet because of the man’s boldness he will get up and give him as much as he needs” (Luke 11:7-8 NIV).
July 06, 2015
The theme for our 2015 Independence Day Parade was, “Fourth of July Parade/patriotic.” It was astonishing then that the Democratic Party, on this of all days, mocked the American flag by combining it with the rainbow colors of the gay agenda. The American flag represents all Americans and to devalue it by subjugating it to anyone, or any organization, is an affront. Unfortunately, federal regulations that apply to the treatment of the American flag can’t always stop people from disrespecting the flag. In the same sense believers too can be guilty of disrespecting God. “And God spoke all these words: “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. “You shall have no other gods before me” (Ex 20:1-3 NIV).
July 03, 2015
The USS Constitution, named by President George Washington, is a wooden-hulled, three-masted heavy frigate of the US Navy. Affectionately nicknamed “Old Ironsides,” the frigate retired from active service in 1881. However, she sailed under her own power in 2012 and is the world’s oldest commissioned naval vessel afloat. The ambiance of war that surrounds USS Constitution includes the fact that she never lost a battle. As a believer I also sense an ambiance of war associated with Jesus Christ. He too has never lost a battle. The Lord said, “Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End” (Rev 22:12-13 NIV).
July 02, 2015
I’ve come to the conclusion I need to distance my emotional reaction when the homosexual agenda that is thrown in my face. While the gay community may think they are trying to make everyone bow to their perceived rights, in reality they are demanding that God subjugate himself to their agenda. Paul said, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers” (Gal 6: 7-10 NIV).
July 01, 2015
The Supreme Court decision to make gay marriage the law of the land has brought out all manner of flag-waver support. Many of us are now trying to mentally formulate a response to forceful people who are more emboldened to throw the gay lifestyle in our face. Recently an extended family relative, who is a very liberal thinker, posted a hooray on her Facebook and one of her former classmates wasted no time in posting a comment, “Bye.” I wish it were that simple for people of faith. “Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said: “Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you”” (Eph 5:11-14 NIV).