Playing with purpose

Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me.


Relatable

Because the awareness of GOD is relationship; believing in GOD or not believing in GOD does not establish nor disperse the relationship. Instead, it classifies the relationship. Sweet, great, good, bad, or ugly the relationship is undeniable. In that relationship GOD’s part remains obvious. GOD is faithful. Despite our choices, we are not immediately consumed. Despite our rejections we are still loved. The question that begs to be answered is not whether we can trust GOD, but whether GOD can trust us?


“A Workman that Needeth not be Ashamed”

It is beyond naivete to believe the devil will not quote scriptures, thump a Bible, or sing a hymn. He’s the dang-gum prince of the power of the air. Ephesians 2:2. You think he can’t be found in a church?

He can. Job 2:1. Humans are not a challenge. The only place you can find the fairytale that we are; is in the book of Hollywood, chapter one verse 1-indeterminately.

He can hide so well that he will declare his love for GOD using your mouth as his quotation marks!

“Rock of Ages cleft for me, let me hide myself in thee!” Augustus M. Toplady, 1740-1778.


The Dosie Doe of Grace

I awoke to find that my I-Phone’s battery had dropped too low to support its ‘hot spot’ function. There is a definite feel while you wait on your battery to charge. A sense of prioritizing that often eludes my day. I am struck at how uncoupled my goals become. How immediately what I love rises to the top of the pile. I guess I can safely say, when your battery needs recharging, it is easy to see what is really important. What is really necessary.

I was recently told that a Physician that had attended my case at the local hospital had been arrested five days later on charges of child pornography. I had only one question, “had he hurt any children?” There was no known physical abuse between the man and children. Thank goodness! It is difficult for me to pray for someone who even mistreats a child.

I did not have to face the challenge of seeing him as a non-human, I did not wrestle against the urge to end his life. And I wondered why? Why I did not lose sight of his humanity, and why I could pray for him? I think it is as simple as not being connected to popular opinion. Being unwilling to simmer in the cesspool of social thinking. I am constantly challenged to avoid group mentality. To avoid finding solace in believing and feeling as popular sentiment insist that I do.

I am no longer an avid consumer of news, local or otherwise. Not since the election in 2016 have I unconsciously committed my sentiments to information fed to me. By doing so, information is just that, information. How I feel about it, is not something the news media gets to decide for me.

So, whether it is a Black life taken, another woman declaring herself a sexual victim. Promises that the sitting President will bankrupt the medical treatment of Americans. Or build a wall at the expense of the Nation. Or whether that President is racist and Democrats are not. I ultimately remember all souls belong to GOD. That is a truth that remains firmly concluded. People belong to GOD. Even the child abuser.

That conclusion does not separate me from my acknowledgment of GOD. I fully understand ‘free will’. I own the ramifications that arise when I exercise that option for myself, you should do so for yourself as well. We are all dirt scratchers, we all need grace.

Sometimes people cause me to feel like I should avoid them. A putrid, nasty rag, to be held far from my person. Clenched between two fingertips. There are some things we find unforgivable. Some people we want destroyed.

But that rag when cleaned, scented, and pressed, with detergents, fabric softeners, and a hot iron; can reclaim its original purpose. The beauty that it possesses again evident in the fine linen quality and intricate designs its Designer had created. While the law is for the lawbreaker. The sentiment of grace is a GOD inspired state of thinking and feeling. When you emotionally step aside, it is possible to love others even when they seem unlovable.

We seem to understand that sentiment when we want to do what we want to do. Don’t judge me we screech. Even the Bible says don’t judge! First of all, no it does not! Read Matthew 7 again. It says don’t judge unless you are prepared to be judged by the same measure. We are living proof that happens all the time. We reserve certain condemnation for certain actions, crimes, and sins. Then we wonder why things happen as they do in our lives. Grace does not abide because we reserve judgment on the sins we enjoy. Grace is GOD’s domain, and we can only get as good as we are willing to give.

How revolutionary would the environment of the Earth become if we really treated one another with the grace we wanted for ourselves. Yes, he is a child pornographer, but what would I like people to conclude if I found myself in that dreadful and disgraceful position. I would hope that people would remember that I am human as well. I would hope somebody would pray for me.

The sin that is unredeemable too GOD is the only one that does not require grace. And there is only one. Matthew 12:31-32.


Un-Moored

Every day of my life GOD speaks. I don’t always hear, I am human and easily distracted. This morning I am hearing clearly something I think has been trying to push through all week. Maybe longer.

As clear as I can understand, it involves the courage to be disconnected. Or unmoored. It involves living beyond good words. It involves living the reality of our songs and reading the road markers that are defined by GOD.

When we declare. When I declare JESUS is all the World to me. I may not get beyond the benefit of the soothing tones and comforting thought. “Jesus is all the world to me, my life, my joy, my all; He is my strength from day to day, Without Him I would fall. When I am sad, to Him I go. No other one can cheer me so; When I am sad, He makes me glad, He’s my Friend.” Will L. Thompson 1904.

How can these words be my reality? Can JESUS be all the World to me? I believe it requires that I pull free from the dock. Minus qualified crew and sail away. It means I understand that the entire earth is landscape on GOD’s easel. Where I go, there GOD is. The comfort and promises of GOD are always there. Always available for me.

That GOD inhabits that song of prayer and promise is obvious. What is not obvious is whether I trust Him. Because my ability to trust GOD is where the hiccup hides.

I find that is essentially addressed when I allow GOD to define my joy, my success, my peace. That’s not easily employed. We have those definitions as defined by our society. So, we just know that we know when we have the “bling, bling!” We know when we have good marriages. We know when we are good parents. Those parameters are well established. We know when we are successful. Our society has told us so. We, therefore, know what if not always how, when something should be fixed.

In the limitations of being human, we are single-minded in our thinking and behavior. We identify the problem, lay out our plan of attack. Then by the grace of GOD we charge! But the imbalance reappears in a different place. So, by the grace of the Lord, we identify, prepare our battle plan, and charge!

To be unmoored is to understand that both comfortable or uncomfortable situations or people have no impact upon our ability to be victorious. When we sail under the wind of GOD’s intent for us, every bit of life is the gift that prepares our heart for more. When we can trust Him despite what our eyes see, our body feels, our ears hear. When we can trust Him ignoring how our lives are interpreted by others. When we trust Him, we can unmoore our boats and sail out into the unknown that is known by GOD.

So, as the sea raged, JESUS took a nap. This perplexed and disturbed His disciples. Wake up Lord, don’t you care that we might perish? I mean was He kidding? Boats about to capsize and dude is fast asleep. But the storm was not a disruption for JESUS. It did not represent separation from safety. The Earth is landscape on GOD’s canvas. There is no place that exists outside of GOD’s awareness.

To prove that, JESUS came to the front of the boat, talked to the sea and said, “Peace be still!” And just that quickly the sea settled. Mark 4:35-39. You know what JESUS asked next? Not, wow boys was that scary? I can’t believe I slept through that storm!” But rather, “Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?” Mark 4:40.

I suspect I will live out this life learning to take naps in the storms. Learning to be comfortable floating ‘unmoored’ from the social dock. But I want to live in preparation for what’s next! In this world and the life to come. I want to trust GOD without agenda.

Till then I am happy to know that as I grow, GOD is not disappointed by my humanness. “Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him. For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust. As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth. For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more. But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children’s children; To such as keep his covenant, and to those that remember his commandments to do them.” Psalms 103:13-18.


Canned Heat

I recently read a question on a website. The person asking the question posed the question as a source of aggravation. Something not hard to deduced by their use of the word ‘Canned’.

I chose not to offer any input. I think because the question itself had already assumed a misdeed. Instead, I thought about the reasons anyone desiring help, or rescue, or support would be comfortable deciding what that help would look and sound like? When do we decide the answer is ‘canned’ or unoriginal?

What is at play when you are selective about the rescue? If you are drowning, when is it okay to tell the lifeguard what and how you should be rescued? Is it possible you are not actually drowning? Just failing emotional limbs about, demanding attention. Or demanding ‘especial’ consideration? Because you are no doubt so different from everyone else. You are no doubt so ‘especial’ that your dying is more significant. So unique that if GOD expects to offer effective rescue, it must be different. It must feel a certain way.

Perhaps what it means is that you are focused on a feeling, not a rescue. Perhaps it sounds ‘canned’ because you have failed to accept the effort of rescue that has been repeatedly tossed in your direction. You think maybe now is a good time to stop lying when you declare, “I don’t know why I do it!”

The things that frighten us, our ‘bumps’ in the night are not what binds us to our despair. It is the besetting sin that slays us. It is the besetting sin that stops our progress and our blessings. It is our besetting sin that destroys us. And because the sin is besetting, then we are intimately aware of the problem. We are intimately aware of why we do the things we know not to do. We are sickly aware each time we submit ourselves to those individualized temptations.

If we ever hope to be free, we must be honest with ourselves and before GOD. I have discovered freedom from myself every time I admitted, I didn’t want to be good. I have owned that truth several times. “I don’t want to be good, I want to be bad,” says I to the Lord. “Help me!” And help the Lord does.

In varied and numerous, sometimes shocking ways. The Lord sends persuasion to my soul. When I find myself in the grips of persuasion I attempt to cry out, “why!” It is sobering to be reminded of my own heart’s cry for deliverance.

Canned? I think not! At all cost, I want to be saved. At all cost, I want to stand before GOD in peace. At all cost, I want to hear “well done thy good and faithful servant!”

Lord play that commercial over and over again. I will cling to the repetitiveness of your message to me. From what-so-ever source of rescue. Let the words of your heart be the meditation of my living. Lord, please don’t take your presence from me.


Technical Rage

I just watched a ‘Howlers’ clip of children reacting to loosing at video gaming. The worst was a kid who thought his brother had broken his new monitor. There is a happy point between using technology vs. being used by technology. It isn’t a refusal to be technically involved, but a point where balance must rule.

Resist the urge to be grateful for behavior that gaming seems to engage. There is a price to pay when that is the source of peace, quiet, and engagement in your home, in your life.

The same goes for excessive television watching. You don’t want technology to babysit your children or keep your companion out of your hair.

Even when the human body can sit stagnant for hours at a time; the human brain does not.

We should be ambassadors of balance. In my childcare home, we had a movie day every Friday. Sometimes I encouraged the children to come in their pajamas and with bedding turn my main room into a big slumber party with snacks. Our rule was if you knew how to load the DVD or VCR you could be the designated movie selector. But you picked from my selection.

One of my two-year-old learned the operation of technologies especially easy. For a while, he was the go-to guy for the other children. He liked “To Sir With Love.” As well as the movie “Secondhand Lions.” I can’t recall how many times we watched those movies!

He was the last child to leave one day, and during the third viewing of the movie “Secondhand Lions”, Dad arrived. He wept and lamented like someone had died. Even after his Dad explained that it was a VCR movie and they only had DVD players. That two-year-old insisted that I let him borrow the movie. He could not be comforted.

In empathy with his Dad, I let him take the VCR movie home. But can you really imagine someone with those types of attachment issues; one day having the power to vote? If that is the behavior I saw with just one day devoted to movie watching, why aren’t you fearful of the little zombies you are nurturing. Technical emotions, technically governed reasoning all via the behest of a technical nanny.

Its a mess! I know. But – then – there – is – GOD! We can find our way back to balance through the Balancer.

Its like that old song. “You’d better run on home to JESUS, you’d better run! “You’d better run on home to JESUS you’d better run. “Oh Mothers bring your daughters, Fathers bring your sons. “Run on home to JESUS, you’d better run!” (So sorry, did not locate the author of this old gospel hymn.)


Is it It or Is it Snot?

🤦‍♀️ This topic is in reference to the way my siblings and I would pray before going to bed.

Jubilantly we prayed, “And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. And lead us ‘snot’ into temptation. But deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory; forever. Amen! That was our version of Matthew 6:9-13 kjv.

We loved this prayer. Probably because it was a family moment. However, for a while, it was an opportunity for my sister’s and I to kneel between two of the beds. Drape the hanging cover of the bed behind us across our heads and whip our pretend hair back and forth as we prayed. Our little brother with his shaved haircut knelt in our midst. That little bald head was buffed like a shoe being shined. And he endured it like a good soldier. But fortunately, before fiction like sparks began to fly off his head, Dad realized this game and ended the pretend hair praying. It would be years before we stopped praying, “lead us ‘snot’ into temptation.

I was reminded of those days when reading in the Psalms today. Psalms 8:3-5 specifically. I have known times when I referenced the puzzlement of the Angels. GOD help me, I may have even written about it! But as I read, I realized this was not a psalm quoting the Angels. I have read that scripture many times before! Somehow, for some reason, I had concluded that Psalms 8 quoted the Angels in Heaven!

Perhaps it is true somewhere else in the scriptures, but I have not found it yet. I was immediately drawn back to the admonishment; “Study to shew thyself approved unto GOD, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15 kjv.

When I read above that verse and immediately below, the necessity of this practice was clearly identified. “Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers. But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some. 2 Timothy 2:14, 16-18 kjv.

If I may add to that cautionary note. It will also protect your little brother from bed cover fire damage.

There is a continuity and agelessness about the Word of GOD. I can’t make that claim. So, studying benefits me as well as the hearer. I will be sure to drop the bed covers from my head and stop “snoting’ the Word of GOD while misquoting the Angels. 😊