Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Truth Grit

  My, my, my, it seems that my husband and I can enjoy a movie together from time to time. His tastes are more action, aggressive movies and mine tend to lean heavily towards period pieces, you know like Pride and Prejudice. Bridging the Grand Canyon-like gap can be difficult but sometimes it happens.

My "Nest" Chair
 A new Netflix movie arrived this week and in the envelope was a little surprising nugget. The hubby had picked this western and I was not exactly thrilled. Loading "True Grit" into the DVD player, I hopped into my nest chair with my snuggly blanket and expected to entertain myself with Words with Friends. 

 Ohhh, I was so very wrong. "True Grit" has several versions and has been out for a long time so forgive me for being behind the times and culturally stunted.

 Pithy Mattie was a hoot and most of the dialog was packed with gems like, "You do not varnish your opinion." The older Mattie opened with, "You must pay for everything in this world, one way and another. There is nothing free, except the grace of God." Now, it did have a large amount of cursing and some gory parts so be warned if you think you want to check it out. The striking thing for me was that it put into my mind that the character Mattie is a bit like we should be when it comes to false teachers. She was wholeheartedly devoted to her mission.

 With all the ruckus about Beth Moore, Heaven is For Real, and many others, we need to know what we believe and why. We need to be able to show why a teaching is false and sometimes it will require bringing out the moxie. The true grit of a Christian is not their ability to be the toughest bulldog or to bring down the orneriest outlaw. True grit comes in not varnishing the truth.

 But, do not misunderstand the call of our role.

 Charles Spurgeon, if we put him in this theological version of True Grit, would coolly repeat this famous quote, "Defend the Bible? I would as soon defend a lion! Unchain it and it will defend itself." Our power is not in how much louder we can shout or if we bring a big enough posse to the showdown; our power is in being fully convinced that the God of the universe is who He says He is and His Word is enough. Ain't nothing bigger than that. 

 Once we understand grace, we comprehend that there is no reason to square up, shout down, or shoot down a dead man. Grace tells us that we are all dead unless we have been made alive by Christ and having been made alive, we should all the more realize the importance of spreading Truth. Our message is that although grace is free, it came at a great cost and we are the ones under the immense debt, yet we could never pay it, nor did we want to but Jesus paid it anyway. 

 That is the source of our true grit and it drives us to be unashamed, joyfully courageous, and doggedly grounded in Truth. The six-shooter in our holster is loaded with 66 books. The one who deputized us also defeated temptation of Satan with the Word so if it was sufficient for Him over such a great enemy it should be sufficient for us. 

 We should be as tenacious as Mattie, willing to grab firmly hold of our ponies of faith and stick to the trail of the one who leads us, bravely fording rapid rivers and steep canyons so when others encounter us they will proclaim as Mattie did to Rooster, "They tell me you are a man (or woman) of true grit." For it will be worse if you end up before Jesus as the hanged man in the movie who is cut down from the tree, landing at Rooster's feet and he proclaims, "I do not know this man (or woman)."
Defend the Bible? I would as soon defend a lion! Unchain it and it will defend itself. - See more at:
Defend the Bible? I would as soon defend a lion! Unchain it and it will defend itself. - See more at:

Monday, July 28, 2014

How to Fail at Blogging

   Blah, blah, blah...yada, yada, yada

 Sometimes I feel like this blog is like that or maybe something along the line of the adults in Charlie Brown cartoons. I know people, oh yes I do. I know people who have popular sites, pages, social networks. I even know some who specifically teach how to be successful on social media. Obviously, it has not rubbed off. Why I do mention it?

 Well, the other day as I was tinkering with the background and layout of this little piggy's blog, I came across an article on how to make your blog successful. Yes, I should have ignored it and went on blissfully staring at pretty backgrounds but no, I didn't. 

 I am neither a social nor social media butterfly. My official status is social porcupine. I even have a t-shirt to prove it. This apparently is one of the main causes of my blog's failures. How could I have known that my lack of tweeting and face-booking an announcement every time I posted a blog entry was as socially stifling as wearing a multi-patterned track suit with jelly shoes to a dinner party? I guess it would help if I had a facebook...ain't going to happen. So scratch that.

 Surely one can overcome social media failure. What else could be hindering this blog's success? 

 Oh...ow...this next item hurts as much as actually trying to shop at the mall for several hours in the aforementioned jelly shoes. 

 "Be sure that your writing is not boring and dry." If one could reach down into my deepest fears, this would be found as the area that has concerned me for years. But, it hasn't stopped me yet so why worry about it now. I mean the words just keep coming and coming and coming and I'm not bored one bit. Well, there was that batch of dark poetry that I burned, but I swore to never speak of it to anyone soooo moving right along.

 "The tone should not be too formal and you should write like you are in a conversation." Nailed this one! I write just like I am talking to myself like I do everyday. Wait, did I type that out loud???

Any waaaay...

Word to the words!
 "The subject of your blog should be interesting to your readers." Um, doesn't everyone care about my chicken crises and personal failures? Okay, if not that then how about standing firm biblically? Well...maybe I am out of sync with what all the hip kids are digging right now but I can be groovy, baby, so let's just check this box as a 'yes' and I'll add some flava flav to everything I slap on the page from now on.


 "A blog's popularity is clearly defined by reader comments on how the content has affected them." Ha! Rarely does someone ever comment therefore this does not apply to me, so take that! 
Waaaaait...that's not a good sign is it? Rats.

Just follow me kids and you too can have an unpopular blog! Shucks.

 So, yeh, I guess I should just go, um, do something besides blog now. I have noticed that pretending to teach from the Bible without really using it correctly is very en vogue right now. Or maybe I can write a book. It seems being a poor writer blasts you onto the best seller list so maybe there's hope. Sigh...

  Ha! You thought a little thing like no page views would stop me. NEVER!
Oh yeh baby! Now where did I put that 90s track suit? It's time to celebrate with a little dance I call "Successful Dork."

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Sadly Returning to Non-Sensical Things

 Months ago when I wrote the post "Are Unicorns Easily Domesticated & Other Non-Sensical Things," I had no idea how personal this subject would get. The effects of various forms of apostasy are spreading like kudzu it seems. Young people around me are taking bits of the Bible and intertwining it with New Age beliefs and other nonsense. It is devastating to see it firsthand. When confronted, they roll their eyes and make claims that they know better. They gnash their teeth when their idea of Jesus is shown to contradict God's Word. We become old, washed-up, out-of-date, unenlightened, irrelevant relics to them and so they poke their fingers in their ears, squeeze shut their eyes, and hum loudly to drown us out. 
Lalalala.. I don't wanna hear this!
Lalalala.. I don't wanna hear this!
(Photo credit: hebedesign)

 The arguments of these young people reminded me that there truly is nothing new under the sun. If one wants to believe that studying dreams is more important than studying Scripture or that you can harness power from nature, do not, not, not think that this is some new elevated idea. It is just the same song sung across the ages. There are plenty of examples of this kind of idolatry in ancient civilizations but go even farther back to Adam and Eve. Oh yes, they fell into this trap, too. They questioned if God's Word was enough, reached out, and took hold of a juicy lie. As the nectar rolled down their chins, they thought they could achieve some higher plane and be as God. It did not take them long to realize what they had swallowed was poison. 

 Boil down the thinking of opening your third eye (whatever that is) or harvesting nature's spirit (whatever that is) and what is left in the pot? Good old-fashioned, steaming hot pride. Trying to find a different, more "perfect" way is a human doubting God's Word and believing that they can become as God. 

  How this thinking is supposed to produce a better person boggles my mind because so far all I have seen it produce is arrogance, arguments, and disrespect. The product is someone who thinks he has achieved something more than everyone else. Instead of asking how one can align their aura with nature, I think the best question is, "Why isn't God enough?" Why must self be the all in all? What do you do when self fails?

Broken heart symbol  My heart mourns for these young people who were once in the church professing Christ. But, here is the saddest part, sometimes we, as Believers, just sit by and watch the progression. Are we crazy???

 If you are a Believer, as soon as you think you see or hear beliefs that run opposite of Truth, question it. Sit that person down with all patience and love and ask them about it. Speak Truth to them. Do not be guilty of indifference or apathy or just plain hate. Boldly share the Gospel. Care for their soul.

 Recently, I read an article about a man giving a Bible to atheistic illusionist Penn Jillette. When asked about it, Penn stated that he still did not believe in God but he also added this, "How much do you have to hate somebody to not proselytize? How much do you have to hate somebody to believe that everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?”

 Sobering thought, huh? Pour yourself out and elevate Jesus. Love Him above all else so that you can love enough to share Truth and pray for those without Jesus. 

- 1 Corinthians 9:16
"For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!"

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Isaiah 53: a Weapon of Mass Destruction or a Shelter

  After listening to a very thought-provoking sermon from another pastor on Isaiah 53, I began to wonder how those who only want to focus on God's love and grace and get upset if you talk about sin think they will stand. God's character and our nature are basic principles of Truth. Getting them wrong separates one from the wheat and defines one spiritually as a goat. 

KJV Bible
KJV Bible (Photo credit: knowhimonline)
 Maybe you think I am too harsh in my judgment but take a moment and read Isaiah 53. I'll wait...

 The pastor I listened to spoke of how this passage clearly defines what Christ was going to do and then answers over and over why He did it. So, why did God become man and suffer death on the cross to be raised again? Well, let's just look at the passage:

- Why? Isaiah 53:5a - he was pierced for our transgressions
- Why? Isaiah 53:5b - he was crushed for our iniquities
- Why? Isaiah 53:6a - All of us like sheep have gone astray 
- Why? Isaiah 53:6b - Each of us has turned to his own way
- Why?  Isaiah 53:8 - stricken for the transgression of my people
- Why? Isaiah 53:10 - his soul makes an offering for guilt
- Why? Isaiah 53:11 -make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities
-Why? Isaiah 53:12 - he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors

 Hmmm, seems that this short prophecy makes it very clear why the perfect sinless person of Christ died. It speaks of a well thought out plan that foreknew the cost. Obviously, it is rooted in love but the great cost came in part because God is holy, righteous, and just and to just let us slide after offending His very Word and nature would render Him none of those things. So Christ knowing that He would be despised and rejected (Is 53:3), came to take on our grief and sorrows (Is 53:4) and be stricken, smitten, afflicted (Is 53:4), pierced, crushed, chastised (Is 53:5), oppressed (53:7), judged (Is 53:8), put to grief (Is 53:10), anguished (Is 53:11), and poured out to death (Is 53:12) all for something that we should not talk about or focus on too much????

 How will a person stand if they discount sin? If you believe God is love (and He is), you can rest assured that He loves His Son. For all of us, who are enemies of God by nature, to shrug at sin and not take it seriously, not feel the heft of it, or understand the implications, we are rejecting the very work of His Son that reconciles us to God and piling up a condemnation of nuclear proportions. 

 Do you want to only focus on God's grace and love? Then I beg you to first rightly understand why you need grace at all and the great cost at which it comes. I beg you to be broken by Isaiah 53:7 and 11 knowing that God in the Father and the Son knew what it would take to be able to restore you and He suffered it all in spite of our rejection and mocking.  Any appeal to God's love is truly made through the work of His love. 

 Jesus as propitiation for our sin is the only shelter. 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Absconded Bees & Arrested Depression

 Running a small sort of farm type home is not always glamorous. Okay, it is never glamorous but I suppose one has romantic notions of a quiet little homestead with cheery chickens clucking happily along, delightful ducks waddling about as you harvest bountiful veggies from your quaint little garden. Where do those ideas come from? Probably flea market paintings. 

 The chickens usually peck my plants to death, squawk loudly, and bully chickens on the low end of the pecking order. The ducks have gone feral trying to protect their pond. I am sure the male duck was trying to drown the dog the other day. Yeh, this ain't no Pollyanna farm and wearing rubber boots ain't for fashion. We got zucchini by the truckloads though. 

Organic Zucchini
 Sadly, our adventure in beekeeping has ended for this year. After the colony lost their first queen, I quickly ordered another but the colony was weak. They did accept the new queen but wild bees started robbing the hive. Two days after moving the hive, the wild bees started robbing it more aggressively, this time killing the new queen. Wasps even got in on the action. After a week, they had won. Without the queen, no honey, and very few workers it was doomed. The lesson we learned is start with more than one hive. Poor bees.

 Along the lines of failing, I have a confession that is ironic since it comes after a post about not complaining. It is completely unpleasant but I am going to confess it because some believers think no one else struggles like they do and they try to hide issues. So, just so you know, some of us are super foolish in our discouragement but there is always hope.

 On Sunday last week, I was depressed. Really depressed. On the verge of tears, I dressed for church then I prayed but not a good prayer mind you; a desperate, wallowing one. It felt like everything was failing...oh yes, I went there. I begged and specifically asked, "God, will you just take me out of this world?" Then I put on my fake I'm-okay-face and went to church. 

Depressed In Paris....
 During the hour of sitting in the pew, God answered me from the pulpit and I snuffled and sobbed the whole time. At the end, I quickly packed my stuff so as to slide out the door but a friend popped into the seat next to me. When she saw my face, which probably looked like a rendition of Tammy Faye, she said, "Oh...I'm sorry. You probably wanted to get out of here quick.That was a good sermon." Sigh. She had no idea.

  Ephesians 6:12-13 really did a number reminding me that this world is not all there is affecting us. We are to be set on the eternal, not the temporal. We are to be set in the armor of God and resisting the enemy. 

 Oh, thank you pastor for expositing those verses and bringing to my mind the knowledge that my struggle is not against people or things in this world. Thank you for imploring me to ask myself if the spiritual world is seeing the manifold wisdom of God. My depression ceased right there and the day was much more focused on exalting Christ. 

  May Ephesians 6:12-13 ground you if you are feeling hopeless:
"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in highplacesWherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand."

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Down With Moaning, Up With Mocha

Our Green Dragon

  Complaining is of no real use. Some of my recent posts complained of all the rain we have experienced and I had to repent of those words. Literally, I get to eat those words. The biggest zucchini has popped up in my garden and we have had blueberries galore all because of that rain. And, in the weird category, a gigantic green dragon has grown up from our creek. The tropical-ness of this oddity is a great source of intrigue and it took a bit of internet sleuthing to determine its identity. It is about 5 feet tall and has a green cornlike fruit on it. Little surprises like this keep us amazed with our land and remind me how great is my God, creator of all things. 

 Being ever mindful of the importance of finding joy in ALL things is not a simple accomplishment. As you can tell, I get stuck in a cycle of whining occasionally...okay, a lot. Then God reminds me of His honor and glory and great love and mercy. It stops me in my tracks and I see the blessing of the rain in my life. The fruit that is brought forth from it never ceases to amaze me and it is then that I find myself not only cutting out the complaining but being thankful for the very thing I had found distressing. 

 This lesson should be in the forefront of my mind but I just got back from a trip that my husband lovingly encouraged pushed me to take with my daughter and two of her friends to the Gulf Coast. Driving 6-1/2 hours with a carload of teenage girls was not on my to-do list for the summer. I was hesistant to say the least. After 2 nights of lying (there was no sleeping) on a couch, preparing food, and basically being a taxi driver, I was weary and grumpy and, well, not very full of grace. But, I laughed and talked with the girls and we had the beach pretty much to ourselves. It was beautiful. Give Bay St. Louis, Mississippi and Pass Christian a visit. They are quiet, quaint little towns with cute local shops and delicious food. It was delightful.
Beach in Pass Christian

 But, upon returning home, I was hit with a load of classwork because my school started its first session. Now my days are spent cramming in housework so that I can cram in chapters on botany, anatomy and physiology, and basics of essential oils. Knowing that age brings more of a desire to be responsible is coupled with the realization that my now old brain is not the sponge it once used to be. My mind is trying to figure out what to delete so it can store information on cells, plant growth, homeostasis and such. In the process, I am pretty sure I have forgotten my middle name, how to tie my shoes, and the routine for grooming my hair. (scratch that last one, I forgot that long ago)

 The benefit born out of being a "student" again is that I have to have that late night cup of coffee or tea to push through the study sessions. One day I was just craving a Cafe Mocha but I couldn't go to the coffee shop, besides all that sugar is terrible for me, so I did the next best thing - I improvised and came up with a healthier version that is so so so so delicious! Now you get to share in the little blessings of a good Cafe Mocha. 

 Okay, I admit it. My purpose for blogging the recipe is actually because I am afraid that this knowledge will be replaced with information about ventral cavities but just go with it. Own it. Enjoy it. Thank me later. 

 Better than Starbucks Cafe Mocha (Dairy-free, Sugar-free, Soy-free)
1 Tbsp. Palm Sugar
2 tsp. raw cacao powder or cocoa powder
1/4 c. boiling water
2 Tbsp. coffee (I used a coffee, dandelion root, chicory root mix)
2/3 c. hot water
2/3 c. almond coconut milk, heated to almost boiling

 In a french press, put coffee and 2/3 c. hot water and let steep for 5-10 min. OR brew coffee in coffee maker. You want it strong. 

 Meanwhile, mix cacao or cocoa powder in a mug with palm sugar and boiling water until dissolved. 

 Once almond coconut milk is heated, pour into mug and stir. When coffee is brewed add to mug and revel in your delicious, inexpensive DYI beverage! You can add more palm sugar if this is not sweet enough for you. 

 As I enjoy my cup of mocha, I will focus on the fact that even the rain from God in my life is satisfying. A little from God is an abundance and when I do not see it that way, I need to set my cup down, get in the Word, and repent. 

- Exodus 16:12
“I have heard the grumbling of the people of Israel. Say to them, ‘At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall be filled with bread. Then you shall know that I am the LORD your God.’”

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Let Those who are Free of Triflin' Cast the First Stone

 This has been an extra busy week. Working with kids that have strong personalities...ok, disrespect and anger issues is a great way to thoroughly examine if your faith matches your talk or vice versa. You will definitely be squeezed and whatever is in there will come out. A little particle of hidden depravity can be exposed in a matter of seconds.

 After being shushed by a 13 year old and correcting him, I was left with the comment that all the volunteers were trippin'. Later as they listened to the verses about Jesus praying in the garden, the kids exclaimed that the disciples were triflin' because they ran off when Jesus was arrested. Earlier they had made this same exclamation when they heard that the crowd wanted Jesus to be crucified. It is easy to pass judgment on the folks in the Bible but don't we miss the point when we do this?

 All of us are triflin' and trippin' because we do the very same things that the people in the Bible did. Granted we are not literally screaming for Jesus to be crucified but ultimately that is what we do whenever we make choices between honoring Him or honoring self, when we choose to follow Him or give in to the world. Our choices are just as guilty of yelling for Jesus' death as any words. We are called to put to death our flesh, our personal Barrabas, and yet, many times, we choose to silence Christ in our life instead. 

 We should take the Bible and use it as tool to examine ourselves instead of a practice arena for judgment because had it literally been us back in the times of Christ, we probably would have been just as triflin'.