Often in life, it’s all about “who” you know.  Even if you’re in deep trouble and can’t escape it on your own, sometimes “who you know” can pull you right out of that mudslide.  Or cesspool.  That trap, that pit.

I’m not saying you should stop networking with friends, but sometimes even friends can’t pull off that big rescue.  They’ll throw out a rope for you to grab hold of, but what if you’re so deep into the impossible that the rope they throw doesn’t even reach you?  What do you do when it’s not enough?  What do you do when natural, regular help only fixes part of the problem?  What do you do when good intentions are not enough?  What if you don’t want your friends to know your situation?

Let’s look at Hebrews 4:16.  Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Here’s how I think people should read the Word.  Make a list of the word meanings so that you get the deepest understand of what’s being said, like this:

BOLDLY:  without a sense of fear

GRACE:  divine assistance; special favor

MERCY:  compassion; a blessing of divine favor; a fortunate or favorable circumstance

But before we jump into Hebrews 4:16, we notice that it includes the word “therefore.”  Anytime you see the word “therefore,” you should back up and see what it’s hooked up to.  Hebrews 4:15 says “We do NOT have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way just as we are—yet He did not sin.”

When you don’t know a person’s character, it’s hard to judge what they will do—or what they won’t do.  If they’re on your side or not on your side.  You simply don’t know them well enough.  But here, we see part of the character and heart of Jesus.  He never has to struggle to understand what we’re going through.  He understands our weaknesses.  Not for one moment is He scratching His head trying to understand us as individuals or the situation we’re facing.  On top of understanding, He empathizes with us!!

He’s sensitive to our feelings.  He understands how we are experiencing life and each of the circumstances that we encounter.  In other words, we can no longer say “You don’t understand,” because He does.

So now that we know who we’re dealing with, look again at Hebrews 4:16 and let’s read it this way:

  1. I need to go boldly to God’s throne without any sense of fear.
  2. God’s throne is a throne of divine assistance and special favor. God does special favors!
  3. I’m going there first to get mercy for my mistakes and for the situation I’ve found myself in. Mercy is compassion.  Compassion means He’s aware of my distress and has a desire to alleviate it and fix things for me.  This means He wants to make my circumstances favorable, better.
  4. At the throne, I’m going to find grace to help. Grace is divine assistance.  He’s going to do a special favor for me!

Now that you know Who you’re dealing with, you can relax.  If you’ve gotten yourself into a debacle but you’re genuinely sorry with no intent of going back in again, you can expect some expert help.  If you didn’t even create the mess but find yourself in one anyway, you can know that God’s loving nature wants to pull you to a place of victory.  He’s the Gracious One and a parent who wants to alleviate your distress.

If you didn’t know God understands and wants to help, now you do, but you have to do your part by going boldly to the throne to ask for help.  And don’t forget to believe that you receive from Him.

Network with The One who can bring you out!  Get the best help out there!


Disappointment Is Nothing But A Bully

You didn’t get the job.  You didn’t get the loan.  The relationship didn’t work out.  You don’t have enough money to buy the nicer item.  What feeling do all these things bring up inside?

The feeling of disappointment!

Disappointment is a nasty fake friend that we get used to.  “D” puts his arm around us and tells us that we KNEW what would happen.  It tells us not to get our hopes up.  It tells us not to expect anything in order to minimize the hurt.  Disappointment places limitations on us, making us stay in our comfort zones while we watch others soar.  And why do others soar?  Maybe because they’re not afraid of facing the fear.  Not afraid of banging into the wall even when a cruel audience is watching.

Maybe it was parents who warned us not to make a fool of ourselves and to only do what was considered “acceptable.”  Maybe the warning was to never embarrass them.  And because you were taught certain behaviors, pride put a chain lock on how far you were willing to go.

Disappointment is nothing but a bully!  Disappointment loves to mock you.

But fast forward to someone telling you about how faith works.  Faith means believing God will show up for you, that He’ll do a certain thing for you if you decide to believe Him for it.  But disappointment begins to whisper that you need to protect yourself because it may not turn out good for you.  Or pride warns you about taking risks.  Next thing you know, you fold up that adventure and decide to shield yourself from more disappointment and dissatisfaction.  You decide to walk away.

But God sees your heart.

He sees that you want to learn how to walk in faith.  He sees that you want to learn how to get just one thing accomplished by faith and get the outcome you need and hoped for.  He also sees your battle with disappointment and with self-protecting pride.

In Luke 4:18 Jesus says that the Spirit of the Lord is on Him to announce release to the captives, to deliver those who are oppressed, downtrodden, bruised, crushed and broken down by calamity.

Many of us are bruised and crushed by everyday life and the things that we have to deal with.  We’re secretly looking for a sure thing.  We keep thinking there has to be something better than what we’re enduring.

When you endure, it means you continue to exist in the same state or condition.  It also means to experience pain or suffering for a long time with no change.  And all the time, Jesus is there for you like a coach, waiting to help.

We don’t want to stay in the same pit, tolerating lack, stress or some bad situation.  If we knew a way out, we’d exit.  The Word of God is that way out, but you have to make a decision to learn how to work His Word until it works for you.

We’ve heard of people who have written “faith checks” because they believed they would have the money in the bank before the check was cashed.  We’ve also heard of being arrested for fraud, too!  Know that faith is not the same thing as mental hype.  It doesn’t work that way.  God NEVER asks you to commit fraud.  He uses His word to help you build your faith to the point where it produces for you.  He can help you change your words to His words until it starts building you up on the inside.  He can show you how to shove disappointment down the mountain because there’s only room for one king or queen on your mountain.

Holy Spirit can help you get rid of pride as you wait patiently knowing God has never lied.  He always performs His Word.  He loves you with a crazy love.  (You know God’s got that stalker love, right?)  He is a father first and foremost and wants to see His kids develop in faith.

That’s your development area–faith.  What is it?  How do I get it?  How do I work it?  How do I know it’s going to produce results?

So start believing Him for something small.  Find out what His Word promises you specifically regarding that need.  Then begin to speak it out until it gets down on the inside of you.  If it seems to be taking too long, ask Him what you need in order to keep going in faith.  But don’t let pride and disappointment keep you locked in prison.  It’s not as difficult as saying Wash Your Sister Sauce.  Thank God and believe you receive an answer from the hand of your very own Father.  He leads you every step of the way until your faith produces the desire of your heart.


Are You Positive You Are A Christian?

If you’re wondering why there’s so much preaching about Christianity and about receiving Jesus as your savior, or if you think you’re already a Christian, here is an excellent foundational teaching.  Clarity is always good, and these scriptures have not been shared with the majority of people, which leads many to think that if they believe there is a God, they’ll be accepted into heaven.  If these foundational scriptures have never been shared with you, let’s check them out.

  1.  THE NEED: Romans 5:12

Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned.

That one man who sinned was Adam.  He committed high treason against God, and when he sinned against God, death entered his spirit.  Sin produces many variations of death, and sin was the only thing Adam could pass on to his offspring versus the life that used to reside in him.  He didn’t have the ability to produce anything greater than what he had lowered himself to.

2.  THE SOLUTION: John 3:16

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

God didn’t take this turn of events sitting down.  If He had been a God of resentment, he could have snuffed Adam and Eve out and started over, but because He’s a God of love, He sent his own son to give his life and to introduce the plan of salvation.

3.  THE NAME OF THE SOLUTION: Acts 4:10-12

Let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by him, this man is standing before you well.  This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone.  And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.

Jesus is the solution to the sin problem.  He was born without sin, and He paid the price for all of mankind to be redeemed back into God’s family.

4.  SALVATION IS A GIFT: Ephesians 2:8-9

For by grace you have been saved through faith.  And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works so that no one may boast.

You cannot perform good works in order to be approved by God or become part of His family.  If it were by works, one person might out-do another, and then would one qualify to be accepted while the other did not?  No, your works are not good enough.  Salvation is a free gift.  It’s by grace—unmerited favor.


As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.

There are no limitations on who can receive Jesus.  Salvation is not limited to a select group.  It’s for everyone.  You can receive Him.

6.  HOW TO APPLY THE SOLUTION: Romans 10:8-10

But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim).  Because if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.

These scriptures in Romans let us know that the first step is believing that Jesus died for you.  God wants your heart—not a rote speech based on fear.  If you believe, you can receive the gift of salvation.  The second step is opening your mouth to tell God that you receive Jesus as your savior.

7.  YOUR PART – Open Your Mouth and Say This Prayer

“I believe that Jesus is the son of God.  I believe He died for me.  I quit the sin life and I receive Jesus as my Lord and Saviour, and right now, I am born again.  I belong to God.”


Bull Dog Overflow Faith!!!

Have you ever had an opportunity to be part of a wildly remarkable testimony that you would find hard to believe if you hadn’t participated in it?

Years ago, I was a Cell Group Leader at my church, and the administration decided that all Group Leaders should go through a retraining.  So all Group meetings were suspended for a few weeks in order for the Leaders to complete the retraining.

It was amazing how devoted the volunteers are at our church because every week, those cars would flood into the parking lot and the group leaders hurried from their cars into the sanctuary for the sessions.  They wanted to be on time.  At the time, I was an Executive Assistant at a foster care agency in the same city as the church, and when we had Board meetings, I had to stay longer and take the minutes of the meetings, which put me in danger of being late for the Cell Group training meetings.

At the agency, I was responsible for ordering the food for the Board meetings, and of course I would order from the gourmet places.  If you want someone to order regular sandwiches, you have to get someone else because that’s not what I do.  That’s not who I am (LOL).  I ordered the best!

So on that Board meeting night, I was using my faith believing that God would get me to the training on time.  I had to believe God that the Board meeting would be short enough for me to drive and still be on time.  The meeting ended, and instead of leaving quickly, I helped clean up.  Usually, I would take some leftover food home, but I knew the food would quickly ruin in the back of my SUV in the hot summer sun.  It absolutely DID NOT MAKE SENSE for me to take food that night.

I’m a logic based person, but for some reason, I kept packing food to take with me.  I kept trying to rationalize with myself, but I did not win.

I pulled into the church parking lot with time to spare.  People were filing in, parking and hurrying inside.  Instead of going inside, for some reason I waited by my truck.  A car rolled up, parked and about 4 young women got out.  I’m not one to call out to people, but for some reason I said to them, “Hey, are you guys hungry?”  (I did not ask any of the others who had parked and gone inside.)  The one girl said no; the second said no; the third one pointed to the fourth young lady and said “We wanted to get to the training on time, but we came direct from work because we wanted to be obedient.  We wanted to be on time, but ‘she’ believed God for food all the way here even though WE REFUSED TO STOP ON THE WAY.  She would not stop believing.”

I waved her over and she had an SUV full of gourmet food to choose from—entrée, side dish, plastic ware, napkins, desert and something to drink.

Every time I think about this testimony, I get moved by it because—and I don’t mean any disrespect to this young lady when I say she prayed a RIDICULOUS PRAYER in spite of the fact that she and her companions had agreed not to stop anywhere because being on time was their priority.  This clearly meant there was no way she was getting food at the church because the church wasn’t serving food.  But because of her BULLDOG FAITH, God poured out a BOUNTIFUL GOURMET MEAL in the back of my SUV.  He prepared a table before that young lady in the midst of impossibilities so that she could select what she wanted, and He made sure it was gourmet on top of all that!!!

Oh, that makes me double check my faith today when I remember that event.  It makes me think about the scripture that says “Without faith, it is impossible to please God.”  We can all build our faith up to that point (or build it back up) when we focus on His Word and His love for us.  It’s necessary to be able to receive from God on that level today.  It’s necessary to learn how to receive without any outwardly visible signs.  Are you building your faith?

By the way, I threw the remaining food out when I got home because ALL OF THAT was for her!

Ambushed By A Friend

You ever have that one friend, sibling or relative that has a different way of thinking and is fully willing to embarrass you in order to get you to do things their way?  They enjoy ambushing others to make sure things turn out their way.

Think Mary and Martha (Luke 10:38-42).  Here’s what we know.  Jesus entered into a certain village and Martha received him into her house.  Fact:  Martha was a property owner.  She had her own house.  She also had a sister named Mary, and we can tell that Mary was her opposite.  She was a little more laid back.  She was more flexible and willing to learn.

Another Fact:  Mary sat at Jesus’ feet and heard his teaching.  How did she get away with that in a male dominated society that was keen on separating the males from the females both physically as well as by assigned tasks?  Yet, there she sat.

Fact:  Martha was a champion worrier who was on the obsessive-compulsive side.  She didn’t have the proper appreciation for the fact that the Rabbi had come to town and had been gracious enough to choose her house and to spend time there.  Everyone knew that Jesus loved visiting Mary, Martha and Lazarus, but that day, Martha was hot about Mary sitting down while she was doing all the domestic work because she was certain that her performance would make her a star example.  She believed it so much that she made a scene by going up to the Messiah and asking, “Don’t you care that my sister has left me to serve alone?  Tell her to come help me and do her part.”

I’m sure her behavior caused silence throughout the whole house.  You could hear the bread baking.

Add to that the fact that Jesus traveled with a huge group of people, but Martha was willing to embarrass her sister point-blank in order to be seen as the authority and in order to get her way.  But obviously, she didn’t have the power to push Mary around.  She needed to strong-arm Jesus into being the muscle she needed, but she didn’t get the reaction she hoped for.

Jesus responded to her by saying, “You are anxious and troubled about many things.”  More silence in the house.

Come on, you know Martha had her own cooking show and homemakers magazine.  All the women in the village knew her need for perfection.  They secretly wanted to be more like her but didn’t have the energy to devote to it.  Putting that much meticulousness, time and energy into China patterns, perfect linens, stylish furniture, gourmet food and the whole pretty picture wouldn’t leave time for anything else.  It certainly wouldn’t leave time for cultivating good relationships with people.

Jesus showed her that he knew her core persona.  Your persona is the way you behave that causes other people to see you as a particular type of person.  Jesus knew her secret agenda, and he cold-busted on her.  In order to help her get an important life lesson out of her own ambush attempt and while she was still in shock about him not supporting her viewpoint, Jesus said, “Only one thing is needful.”

He explained that Mary had chosen the good portion.  He announced that only one thing was necessary. And Mary who was a little more laid back, more in need of peace and truth, more inclined to avoid a life of stress, and knew how to take time out to learn about spiritual matters  had chosen the one necessary thing.  He even went as far as to say it would NOT be taken from her.

We all have that one person in our lives who has strong ideas.  They think they’re in charge of the universe and will speak up loudly and demand an audience and a following.  But how much peace do they really have?  How much fear are they operating in?  How quickly does their anger rise up when they don’t get their way?  How willing are they to correct you publicly in order to appear to be the leading authority on every topic?

Once you make a firm, committed decision to sit at Jesus’ feet and be taught His Word, it brings about a certain type of peace inside.  It raises your expectation level.  It works your faith muscle.  Martha’s next significant encounter with Jesus was when her brother Lazarus became sick and died.  Jesus  was notified of his sickness, but he didn’t actually arrive until Lazarus had been dead for four whole days.  He had the capacity to come, but he didn’t.  When he was almost there, Martha heard about it and ran out to meet him outside of town.  She couldn’t wait any longer even though her brother was dead and everyone was going through the grieving process.  What was her rush?

When she reached him, she reacted with the more dominant part of herself.  She greeted Jesus with accusation.  “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”  But Martha also had that half yes/half no kind of faith.  You know what I mean.  Should I believe, or will I get embarrassed for believing too big?  We know this because the next thing she said was, “But I know that even now, whatever you ask of God, God will give it to you.”

Well, OK, Miss Martha!  Maybe you’ve been spending some time listening to Jesus, listening to the living, life-giving Word of God.  Maybe you put off baking that extra dish in order to have your faith built up.  Maybe the Word of God is beginning to transform you.  Maybe you’re beginning to hear the leading of God.  Maybe you’ve let the peace of God begin to take up residence in your heart, mind and emotions, pushing out anxiety, obsessions and bossiness and even the need to ambush others.

Keep spending time with Him.  Enjoy learning at His feet.  Your transformation is coming.


Gang Mentality Is Nothing New Babe

So I was reading Proverbs 1 a couple weeks ago and was ready to leave when I heard God say, “Gang mentality is nothing new.”  I frowned and said “What?” but rushed back to read it over again, and this is what I saw.  I saw what He meant when He said “Gang mentality is nothing new.”  I also saw that since God knew youth would encounter this, He put out a long-standing warning not to fall for the okedoke.

Here’s how we’d be able to understand what’s being said in today’s language.

Proverbs 1:10  My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not.

TRANSLATION:  They’re going to say to you man, come on over and smoke some weed, trees, purple, loud.  We gon’ have a good time.  (But, son, don’t fall for that.)

Proverbs 1:11  If they say come with us, let us lay wait for blood, let us lurk privately for the innocent without cause.

TRANSLATION:  We gon’ let you in the car so you can get in on a sweet plan, man.  We picked out a spot where we can hide out and people won’t be expecting this.  We’re gonna go where we know there’s some foot traffic, and this gon’ be easy!

Proverbs 1:12  Let us swallow them up alive as the grave and whole as those that go down into the pit.

TRANSLATION:  We’ll rob and rape, but make sure they don’t see our faces.  If things get out of hand, we’ll just take them out.  Better them than us.  They can just dance on the blacktop or go to hell.  We got biscuits, but watch out for the po-po.

Proverbs 1:13  We shall find all precious substance.  We shall fill our houses with spoil.

TRANSLATION:  This gon’ be a quick hit and a little bit of work, and we’ll be living large.  We’ll split the bling, but if you try to leave, there’s only one way out.  Ain’t no getting out of the gang.

Proverbs 1:14  Cast in your lot among us; let us all have one purse.

TRANSLATION:  We a family.  Even if you doing all day, you still part of us.  We take care of our own and we protect our territory.  Nobody in Grandma’s House snitches on anybody else!  So hold your mud.  Be prepared to live and die right here!

You’ll notice that before Proverbs described the gang mentality and their game plan, it warned young men against falling into a life of violence.  It said not to go that way and not to even listen to the enticing speech.  Why is it enticing?  Because the quick and dirty plan shows that everything was thought out in order to get some goods quickly and without putting a lot of work into it.  It encourages a young man to believe that because he’s young, clever and quick on his feet that other people’s property is there for the taking.

But there’s a backdraft to the gang mentality.  A backdraft happens in a fire or arson situation when a particular space has been deprived of oxygen.  When you reintroduce oxygen to that space, fire will burst out suddenly and violently, especially if there are gases present in that room.  Proverbs 1:18 says they lay wait for their OWN blood; they lurk privately for their OWN lives.  To make it plain, the Amplified says “When these men set a trap for others, they are laying in wait for their OWN blood.  They set an ambush for their own lives.”

Deprive your brain of good sense, start believing you can get away with crime, but oxygen will be reintroduced to you, and then BACKDRAFT!  Wise up, because gang mentality is nothing new, babe.  There’s an ugly payoff.


I Know Why You Do What You Do

Usually, we trust people who like us just the way we are without trying to change us.  They welcome us with open arms in the kind of way grandparents do.  It’s so much easier to spend time with someone like that.  Trust is a friendship factor.  When you find someone who is similar to you, loyalty grows and seems to come naturally.  You can support that friend in whatever they decide to do even if it means they have to move far away in order to achieve their goals.

They say that true friends can be separated for long periods of time, meet again and pick up right where they left off as if they’d never been separated at all.  That’s connectedness of the soul.  Connectedness is a friendship factor.  And when you start speaking and your friend finishes your sentence with exactly what you were going to say, that connection shows itself again.

We also like to think that friends are non-judgmental, and that’s true.  However, a true friend is often the only one who can get away with saying “That was dumb, Captain Crazy!” and still be a friend.  I mean, you can have a knock-down-drag-out fight with your best friend, then get a call the next day asking “What are we doing today?” and you make plans.

It’s comfortable to be with that person.  It’s fun, non-threatening.  You look forward to times together even when you know what they’re going to do next or how they’ll react to certain things.  You have someone who has spent time with you because they chose to.  They know you.  They think of you when they see something in a store that reminds them of you and they know you would love it.

If you had a “friend” who was ashamed to be seen with you in public, they wouldn’t be a friend long, would they?  You would feel that you didn’t measure up.  Others can be late meeting to go to the party and you’ll leave them, laughing that you taught them a lesson.  But if your best friend is late meeting up, you wait because there’s no real point in going without them.  It doesn’t even make sense.

This is one of the primary reasons why some of us don’t like going to events alone.  Many don’t like going into a huge meeting alone.  It’s because no one knows us.  That right-hand support person is not there to bounce thoughts off, to pick up on the things you usually miss.  You walk into an unfamiliar place and you feel like the invisible person.

A friend is a person who has spent time listening.  They care.  They know you.  In essence, your friend knows why you do what you do.  Even if what you’ve done is a little “off center,” they approach you with a sense of understanding.  They understand why you do what you do and may be the only one who can talk to you.  Talk you down off the ledge.  Make you feel like you’re capable of dealing with life in a better way.  They can remind you of who you are–your true self–so that you can get back on track.  That’s real love—no greeting card needed.

That’s how God loves us.  He’s trustworthy.  Loyal.  Supportive.  Fun.  Easy to be around.  Full of good ideas.  Non-judgmental.  Connected.  A great listener.  And did I say loyal?

He knows why you do what you do, and guess what?  He keeps on loving you.  He waits patiently for us to accept His friendship in return.  Who wouldn’t want a genius with a great sense of humor and loyalty as a friend?  He’s waiting for you with open arms.  Been waiting.  Let Him embrace you.  He can be trusted.


photo credit: Rod Waddington <a href=”″>Best Friends</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>


Are You An Emotional Sniper?

Are you an emotional sniper—shooting at others from a hidden place?

You’ve heard the saying “Hurting people hurt people,” and I’m sure you’ve been victim of a hurting person.  What’s it like when that happens?  You could walk into your house, workplace, lunchroom, etc. as happy as can be.  You say something nice to someone there, and they straight bite your face off.  It’s shocking when people react to goodwill with emotional acid and total disregard.

But that’s what snipers do.  Over time, they build up a case of unfair treatment in their minds and emotions.  They watch others be mistreated in a similar fashion, and it strengthens their case.  It starts to heat up in their thoughts, and then it boils over and scalds their normal rational thinking ability.  When situations don’t change in their favor, they begin to internalize how they’re being treated, how others see them and how no one cares enough to do right by them.  They feel like victims who have no power.  Next, they become convinced that they have to look out for Number One and they make the decision to proactively retaliate for perceived wrongs done to them.  They feel they now have the right to throw off restraints, and a sniper is born.

They become bold and they shoot at you from a hidden place of hurt, either real or imagined.  You don’t know what they’re thinking.  You don’t know what they’re feeling.  All you know is that you’ve been shot at.

Are you an emotional sniper, and what’s your hidden place?

Is it jealousy?  Fear?  Offense?  Lack of self-confidence?  Doubt?  Past hurts?  Confusion?  Feelings of superiority?  Love of your comfort zone?  Impatience?  Unwillingness to be kind?  Hatred?  Unhappiness?  Selfishness?  Lust for fame and attention?  Ignorance?  Are you a professional scorner?  A scorner has the feeling or belief that someone or something is worthless.  So they harbor contempt and use mockery at every opportunity.  Or maybe you’re disloyal, fickle and sometime-y?  Brash and entitled?  Hopelessness?  Outraged much? Or you’re the authority on every topic because you’re way smarter than most people.  Given to fashionable outbursts and cussing people out because you believe that’s the quickest way to personal justice?  What’s your hidden place?

Let me take a little sidebar so you can follow.  Do you know what your makeup is?  You are a spirit.  You have a soul (mind, will, emotions and intellect).  You live in a physical body.  You are spirit, soul and body.

Some of those hidden places just listed (jealousy, fear, lack of confidence, hatred, etc.) grow in the emotions.  Some take root and grow in the mind.  Some grow out of willfulness.  Some are even attitudes born from intellectualism.

You may never go as far as taking a high powered rifle, find a good hiding place and begin shooting people, but if you decide you’re hurt enough to retaliate, you could become an emotional sniper, shooting at the ones you love when you throw off all restraint.

Galatians chapter 5 verses 22 and 23 tell us that when we accept Jesus as savior, there are nine characteristics that take up residence in our reborn spirits and those characteristics can be developed to a greater degree to benefit not only ourselves but also those around us.

Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Those are your tools.  The more you use them, the more skillful you become.  But rather than use the tools in our reborn spirits, we often reach for what’s in the soulish realm to deal with life.  We’re more comfortable reaching for what our body, mind and emotions tell us to do rather than pulling a tool out of the toolbox.

Instead of using love, we choose hate or worse, indifference.  Instead of joy, we choose doom and gloom.  In place of peace, we choose an uproar or worry.  Instead of patience, we choose short-lived enthusiasm or uncontrolled appetites and lust.  Instead of kindness, we give way to being inconsiderate, ungrateful and dismissive.  We throw goodness off in favor of selfishness and immorality.  Faithfulness is traded in for fickleness, lack of devotion and a self-seeking mentality.  Instead of being gentle, we become abrasive, harsh and inclined to put others in their place.  We practice self-promotion and schmoozing so that we’ll be chosen over others who are equally as talented as we are.

When we give in to the opposing forces in life, they don’t help us get what we want.  They frustrate more, harden the heart and ruin relationships.  When you get born again and begin to develop the tools (those powerful forces that are in the reborn spirit), they help us achieve enough strength and peace that we’re no longer emotional snipers, taking people out from a hidden place.

Practice using your spiritual tools so that the world can be a less harsh place! Put the gun and bullets away, and you’ll end up having a great deal more peace.


Don’t Let Captain Crazy Be Your Life Coach

Hello, everyone!  I’m sorry I’m late with this blog post, but I wrote it a week ago and wasn’t pleased with it.  So, I thought I’d work it over and present it to you as a legal case where I let you decide the verdict.  But first of all, since the topic is peace, let’s define peace first.

Peace: (a) a state in which there is no war or fighting; (b) a state of tranquility or quiet; (c) freedom from alarming thoughts or emotions.  Now, keep those definitions in mind because you’ll need them for the Survey at the end.

We’ve all been in the valley of decision many times.  Every day, we’re faced with a myriad of decisions all day long.  Sometimes, we make good decisions and no one dies as a result.  Other times, our decisions clearly reflect the fact that we’ve allowed Captain Crazy to be our Life Coach.

With so many decisions to make in life and so many factors that demand consideration, how does one make the best decision for the long term?  Is there an app for that?  No.  The answer is simple.  You have to move to a different state.

You have to move to a state called Peace.

CASE STUDY:  Let’s examine a case study of a beautiful, intelligent young woman who thinks a great deal of herself and her physical attributes.  She knows that it’s within the realm of possibility for her to marry a man who is good at business, has status and wealth.  The man in question desires a wife who is beautiful and who can present well with influential people of achievement and status.  She passes his test.  He takes her to many events over a two-year time period and makes certain she has everything she needs to accompany him.  She doesn’t see him a great deal aside from their public appearances, which are many.  She assumes his business dealings leave him little time for leisure, but it’s the whirlwind of being with him that thrills her.  When she sees media coverage of him at events she wasn’t invited to, he makes it up to her with excuses about preserving her time and with expensive gifts.  He makes a point of having her meet his family, and they are polite to her.

Finally, he presents her with an unforgettable 8-karat, platinum Edwardian diamond in an old European cut accented by trios of marquise cut diamond leaves.  And guess what?  The wedding planning begins.

She makes it through his first marital affair with the help of a therapist but finds herself enraged and confused on discovering his other “activities,” and she asks herself where she went wrong.  Is it the nature of the beast?  Does she silo her thoughts by believing that all men cheat because if she believes that, then she doesn’t have a right to expect more?  Will that bring her any comfort?  Is it truly all his fault, or is she at fault, too?  She held up her end of the bargain and gave him  everything he required of her in the relationship.  How could she have any blame?

COURT:  Now, let’s go to Relationship Court.  Except we’re not taking him to court—THIS IS HER TRIAL!  Don’t be upset.  We’ll ask some questions and then we’ll cross examine.

Did he treat her well in the dating relationship?  Did he take her to all the finest places?  Did he introduce her to his colleagues and business associates and make her feel needed?  Did he introduce her to family members?  Did he buy her exceptionally nice things and make certain she had everything she wanted?  Was he respectful toward her at all times?

CROSS EXAMINATION:  Did he tell her all about his past?  Did they share more than surface desires?  Did he tell her the deepest thoughts of his heart?  Were there times when she did not hear from him for days?  Did media sources show him at events she didn’t have knowledge of—events where there were many beautiful females in the spotlight?  Did he always manage to explain it away as something of little importance?  Did he make things up to her with impressive gifts?  She received everything she thought she wanted, but did she reach for a higher life or a lower life?  Was the pain she endured worth it?  Or did it confuse her and vex her future decision making?  I’ll let you answer that.

So, when the an unforgettable 8-karat, platinum Edwardian diamond in an old European cut accented by trios of marquise cut diamond leaves was presented, what state was she in when the decision was made?  She was clearly excited because her goal was within reach.

But was she in a state called Peace?

Before I drop the survey on you, let me leave you with these thoughts.  Peace has to be practiced and cultivated like a skill.  When a decision is in front of you, all possible outcomes have to be weighed and considered.  All nagging questions must be answered.  Your subconscious has to be clear without you waking up in the night sweating.  “I’ll just have to deal with it,” can never be allowed to tip the scales in decision making.  That’s something Captain Crazy would say.

Maybe I’ll have to do a Part 2 on Peace so that you can see what a necessary skill it is?  Please answer the survey for your own cross examination.  Thank you!


The Devil Is Beating His Wife!

I was born in the South.  They have all kinds of strange and funny sayings in the South.  When I was a little girl, some days the sun would be shining brightly and then suddenly it would start to rain.  The first time I experienced this, an older kid said “The devil is beating his wife.”  My first reaction was to ask “How do you know that?”  And it was explained that the sun was shining brightly and suddenly it started to rain and that’s what that meant.  Oh.

Initially, I felt sorry for her—you know, the wife.  Then I wondered how he could be so mean.  After all, it was already hot where they lived and that was only making it worse.  As time went on, I remembered that saying and my thoughts shifted to, ”Who would be stupid enough to marry him?”

As we grow older and mature, we take in more information and learn more about the world around us.  Our thought processes develop, hopefully to the point where we don’t become victims of every scam that comes along.  However, the sun is shining brightly today and the rain starts in our lives seemingly from out of nowhere, but there’s always a cause.  I guarantee you somebody somewhere is being beaten by the devil.  We’ve gotten into a relationship with him or let him in through the back door, and he is beating our brains out in a hot situation—behind closed doors.

That whole scene may sound comical, but it’s true.  And it’s not limited to the typical domestic violence situation we hear so much about where a male (great physical strength) gets angry and takes his aggressions out on a vulnerable female (lesser physical strength).  It also happens when we as individuals give some part of our thoughts, behaviors, beliefs and decision making over to someone else.  We comply or submit to the ordinary rather than going on a journey to discover what else could be an option.

So many things have become ordinary that we believe that “everyone does it,” which makes us not feel so bad when we tell a white lie to get by.  Or practice drinking to forget a problem rather than dealing with it.  Or sleep around versus developing some relationship skills and respect for self and others.  Or give up on education and take the first available job, then remain the undeveloped person who secretly dreams about a better life.

Everyone does it, but guess what?  When you marry a lesser goal, the devil gets to beat his wife simply because that’s fun for him.

So, you tell the white lie and get away with it until the truth is discovered at some point in time, and payment comes, too.  The devil can now start beating his wife.  Drink to deal with life.  It will help make you feel comfortable and relaxed, but one day you’ll be in the wrong place at the right time, too relaxed to know that something beneficial has been offered to you.  The devil is beating his wife.  Sleep around under the belief that you’re not hurting anyone because it’s your body, until one day your own selfish pleasure backfires on you in some way.  The devil is beating his wife.  Remain fearful of learning a new skill, starting a business, developing a faith life, going to that seminar or getting that degree, but it will haunt you.  Years later when you NEED to be in a place of momentum, but you’re in a place of stagnation and you don’t have the finances you need or the contacts you need or the advanced know-how you need and you feel abandoned and without resources, guess what?  The devil is beating his wife.

There are consequences that go along with failure to decide in favor of yourself.  There are consequences to being double minded about what you want and need in life.  There are consequences to deciding that it’s too difficult to know God and to allow Him to help you.  Once we slide into certain behavioral patterns, we stick to them.  Sticking to something is like marriage, and marriage can be a comfort zone.  If your comfort zone is dictating what you’re married to, also examine if it’s beneficial for you, because the devil beats his wife!

God is handing out sweet truth, problem solving, answers, honor, and peace coming through relationship with Him.  Take the blessings, not the beating!