Takin’ Out the Paper and the Trash

When we take out the kitchen trash at our house we get the bathroom trash, John’s office, and anything else that needs taking out. I was thinking of that this morning as I had my Quiet Time.

If I forget Who loves me I will live in contact with the one who hates me–in the dumpster with the trash. If I focus on what’s wrong I will be blind to what’s real and right and true. If I harbor (shelter and hold in my arms and heart) unforgiveness I will have no peace. When, through disobedience and ignorance (“my people perish for lack of knowledge”) I go my own way, I fail. Every single time.

It’s all trash and I choose to take it out, all day every day. It’s not going to be in my house.

Money for Things We Don’t Need

In the life-enhancing, joy-bringing book, An Italian Journey by James Ernest Shaw is this truth: “Spending money for things we don’t need also makes us think we can’t afford to pay a fair price for things of precious value–like healthful food, great art, and inspired entertainment that celebrates mankind’s creative spirit.”

This can be seemingly insignifcant purchases, but oh, they are not! The curious thing is how we think we’re saving money at the big box store where tomatoes are half the price of those at the farm stand, not noticing that the big box tomatoes aren’t edible, while the farm stand tomatoes call our names with their scent before we can even see them. Everything about shopping at the farm stand satisfies. The price is only a part of good money management.

We think it’s good money management to choose the BOGO sale and yet wonder how we come home without what we need and after spending well beyond what we planned. We wrongly equate a full pantry with prosperity, even though it’s full of things we’d be better off without.

Things. Things can be groceries. Right now my pantry and freezers are each mixtures of things we’ll eat and things we’ll throw out. It is the old case of careless spending, rather than careful, focused, thoughtful purchasing of quality goods. It’s the rewarding of the bigger-but-not-better at the expense of the purveyors of quality, and at the expense of ourselves.

This is a big deal. I’m not at all talking about big business vs. small. I’m talking about quality vs. quantity, about the huge expense of going cheap, about cheating yourself and your family via spending your money on fluff.

And fluff makes us fluffy. Fluff is energy bars, instant oatmeal, dry cereal with cheap skim milk, microwave mac-n-cheese, corn syrup and sugar-filled drinks, 30-ingredient “snacks” and “treats” and other such fakiness. Expensive on every level. The richest people in the world can’t afford this.

If my husband reads this, he will likely hope I’m taking my own words to heart. Well, I am. This is a big deal.

P.S. For more on the subject of marriage and money, stay tuned (and buy!) The Maker’s Marriage, available October 12, 2021. Thanks!

Love is Success, Success is Love

I appreciate Grant Cardone because so much of what he wrote in The 10X Rule applies to success in the most important thing of all: family. “Pretend,” he writes, “you’re being recorded as a model by which your children and grandchildren will learn how to succeed in life.”

If you’ve read this blog for very long, you know I define success a little differently than most people–something like, “Success is being free from the approval of others, from the tyranny of selfishness. Success is being a homemaker.” It can also be being a butcher, baker, or candlestick maker, as long as in that role we are also the one who doesn’t pass by on the other side when we see the opportunity to give, the opportunity to sacrifice.

(I must pause here to say you don’t impress God when all your giving is done outside your family, and all you have left for them is impatience and unkindness. And judgment.)

Back to sacrifice–WE ARE MADE FOR IT! What story is better than that of the Good Samaritan who “took pity” on the half dead man? I’ll tell you one that is as good, but first a word about the Good Samaritan. He was on his way to somewhere and it was not in his plan, on his calendar, or convenient for him to stop. He was likely a man of affairs and means, as evidenced by his leaving the man at the inn, promising to be back, and promising to pay any and all costs. The innkeeper trusted him and I think that was because people who take the time to help others at great inconvenience to themselves–people who sacrifice–are trusted.

Now for another good story: Once upon a time there were scores and scores of women who “took pity” on their husbands and children, and cared for them, without access to success gurus, social media, nannies, new SUVs or throw-away diapers. They had to lean on the Helper, the One Who (if we will let Him) sticks closer than a brother.

In making such sacrifices they raised children also willing to sacrifice. They were rich inside.

We are created in the image of the God of Sacrifice, and apart from a life of sacrifice, we cannot ever be whole.

This is not a call to return to the “good old days” of twelve diapers and no washing machine, or of no central heating and running water, or having nowhere to go if married to a brute. In America, because of the sacrifices of those who came before us, we live in such a lovely world as regarding physical conveniences and social supports, but not one so lovely when it comes to sacrifice.

It’s time to not only be willing to sacrifice and give, but to be on the lookout for opportunities for doing so. And if you have the immeasurable privilege of having people living in your own house for whom you can sacrfice, it’s time to give thanks, not complaints. Just remember this when the doubts and self-pity come in like a flood: your reward is guaranteed, even if not immediately seen.

If you don’t believe me, read the New Testament. If you don’t believe that, you’re doomed–to the misery of a life without sacrifice.

How to be Weak

If Henri Nouwen is correct in today’s e-mailed deovtional, and he is when he states,”Joy and Resentment Cannot Coexist” and if it’s also true, and it is, that “the joy of the Lord” is our strength. then unforgivness (resentment) makes us weak.

In my current quest for positivity, my Zero For Six adventure against negativity, I am aiming for joy, for strengh. Indeed I am aiming for the acquisition of the very joy of the Lord God Himself!

How is this going? I’m stumbling here and there, and seeking my way in communicating with those who, it seems, would rather be weak. It also seems as though some people prefer resentment to joy. That is entirely their business, of course, but does that mean they have a right to inflict their negativity on me? No.

The trick is in rejecting the negative person’s negativity, but not rejecting the person. Negative people have already rejected themselves, the Word of God, perhaps even God, and they expect further rejection. This is where it is helpful to say something like, “I’m doing a Zero For Six adventure of no negativity for six months! Wanna join me?”

It is also helpful to saturate that person in prayer, whereby we get perspective on their preciousness to God. This helps counter our perspective on their aggravation to us. We need a change of heart, or at least I do. Otherwise, I will not overcome evil with good. Rather, bad company will corrupt me.

Negativity is contagious, but there is a vaccine, a sure innoculation. It’s the Mighty One–Jesus. The only time I feel those sick symptoms of negativity, that debilitating weakening of frustration, is when I hold on to an offense. I am actually choosing Death, rather than God’s mandated choice–Life. I am choosing to fearfully focus on and glorify what Satan’s crowd is up to.

We can be less than worms with fear and negativity, or more than conquerors in Christ Jesus.

“You show me the path of life. In your presence is fullness of joy…”
PSALM 16:11 (NRSV)

Dastardly Division

Yesterday my daughter and I went to Wyoming where there are fewer mask-querades than in Colorado, and while there joined a coffee shop meeting of Wyoming conservatives. These were fine folks, but there was no mention of God. These were, I thought beforehand, good, salty, no-nonsense Wyoming git-er-done types. Christians.

But, in fact, they are like so many of us, handicapped. In the parking lot I saw anti-Colorado bumper stickers. “Colorado is Wyoming’s Mexico” and a few other uncomplimentary offerings prepared me for the remarks of the man next to me. In a nutshell, he said, “We hate Colorado.”

There was a question about Mark Gaetz’s motives in coming to Wyoming’s “Impeach Liz Cheney” rally, as in, “Why did we get an outsider?” I thought we were all Americans. More division. How does the great evil of socialism win over freedom? With division.

(Socialist “intellectual” Bhaskar Sunkara praises Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn for promoting “a renewal of class antagonism” which is essential for the thriving of evil in society.)

Back to the meeting in Wyoming: One of the attendees belittled another conservative in attendance (better than behind his back, maybe?) in front of everyone; later the speaker said about Cheyenne (where we were), “I hate this city.” Could it be that in judging the bringers of division and crassness, we become divisive and crass? More divided?

I’m asking these questions in prayer this morning, along with the question, “What is the new song You want us to sing, Father?” I was reading and re-reading Psalm 96: “Sing unto the Lord a new song.” Certainly that precludes the same old, same old, melodies of anger and defensiveness. Of division.

So, let’s think a bit about this. How far have we gotten with division? More to the point, how far have we gotten with disobedience to God? Perhaps we should begin our song with words straight from His Word. Just like David, let us sing Psalms.

Pondering and praying a bit more, I asked, “Do we stop going to fear-filled churches as a means ofprotecting ourselves from fear, even as we stop going to division-filled political gatherings to protect ourselves from division?” Or are these examples of the classic throwing-the-baby-out-with-the-bathwater mistake?

“Father, You promise us wisdom for the asking, and I’m asking for wisdom. Surely there is no other source.”

Some things are so obvious we look right over them. We go to the TV for answers, and politcal gatherings for good company, and when it comes right down to it, if we’re not keeping company with Jesus, if we’re not doing the “Seek ye first” thing, we’re without a hope.

“My hope is in You, Lord. Amen.”

“Thank You for Not Yelling at Me!”

That was the response of the beautiful and unmasked woman I talked to today at Scheel’s. And I could so relate. I’ll return to this story, but first let’s talk about getting yelled at.

It was yesterday and along with a friend in a local grocery store, I was maskless. I was picking out mushrooms when I heard someone say, “Thank you, Ladies.” She was thanking us for joining her in resisting the evil, unlawful, useless, stupid, unhealthy, devisive edict (not a law) to wear masks in Colorado.

Now, before I go on with getting yelled at, let me give you some background. I had discussed my reasons for wearing masks in small businesses, with my friend, who never, no not ever, wears a mask. I explained to her that I know of busybodies who call the health department, whose little minions then come and exercise their newfound power by threatening small business owners over not policing their stores.

Since small businesses are falling like rain in our state (this before a possible Biden Admin $15.00 minimum wage, which will be, according the those I’ve talked to, the end) I don’t want to add to their problems, and therefore I wear the stupid, useless, stifling, germ-filled, unhealthy, unlawful, and did I mention stupid and useless masks (if you don’t believe me, stop listening to the establishment media and so some research, such as Dr. Lee Merritt’s findings-see the bottom of this post). My friend was swayed not at all, but did talk to the store owners, saying, “Do you want my business or not? I’ll shop without a mask, or I’ll not shop at all. It’s up to you.” They assured her they wanted her business and so I joined her in, gasp, showing my entire face.

Back to the lady who thanked us for daring to show our faces in public, our buddy-in-bravery, Sherry. We’re having a great time. Sherry explains that her son was just fired for not wearing his mask on a construction site, but that the day was still marvelous as she’d talked a 19-year-old out of an abortion earlier in the day. She talked about how she and her husband left their mega church due to its pitiful and pathetic and faithless reponse to our evil state government’s unlawful edicts, about treating COVID with Ivermectin, about this and that, and so much more.

And then. From across the produce section and over by the deli, we hear a shout, “Put on your masks!” Sherry says, “Are you protecting me with that mask? I Conceal Carry, and I’m protecting you.”

This is not the kind of person who approves of Conceal Carry. This is the type of jello person (and she looks the part) who will hide under the tomatoes and scream and cry and beg and plead with a shooter. And die. My buddy adds her two-cents about the masks being worthless, and our assailant is yet unmoved.

It’s my turn. “We’re not supposed to live in fear,” I call out.

“I’m not afraid,” she yells.

“Yes, you are. We’re commanded by Jesus not to fear.”

Game over. She’s gone.

The moral of this story: Whatever the problem, situation, or conversation–Jesus is the Answer.

_________________________

Back to Lady Beautiful in Scheels.

I’m standing next to John who is checking out and I notice this marvelous looking young woman on the other side of the checker. She has luxuriant black hair, down to her waist and curly. Her skin is flawless and her make-up perfect. Most of all, her face is compelling–intelligent and lovely. I step around in front of her (I’m maskless, by the way). “Thank you,” I say, “For not wearing your mask.” She looks wary, like she’s waiting for the “punch” line. I smile. “For showing your entire beautiful face.”

She relaxes visibly. “Thank you for not yelling at me.”

Ladies and Gentlemen, if you think that dog-training mask will save you, if it makes you feel (SO FALSELY) safe, then by all means wear it. But remember, if it’s really that almighty and powerful, you don’t need to worry about my not wearing one. Just be glad of my certain and emminent demise.

And just one more thing while we’re at it. Stop with the child abuse of making your kids wear masks. JUST SAY NO!

______________________________

Dr. Lee Merritt’s Impressive and Astouding Findings

I Know That I Know

And my experience or fear doesn’t negate the Truth. I know Whom I have believed. Any fear is a revelation of the filth in my heart that says Satan is greater than God.

Any fear. Even if the worst I can imagine happens, I and all my loved ones end up together with Jesus. Even if my beloved country becomes yet another communist hellhole, He will provide.

But let us return now to the idea that my or anyone else’s beliefs or experience should be given more attention than the Word. I picked up a book at our local library (steam always coming out my ears when I visit public libraries lately) and it was, at least in the part I read, about people being harmed by someone in church, and thereby a denunciation of all Christianity.

Perhaps I should have read on, certainly I should not have lost my joy over yet another book written by someone who doesn’t know that they know. They don’t know Jesus as Lord and Savior. They’ve never experienced the infilling of the Holy Spirit. They don’t know Love.

Why then, should I expect anything else? Why should I be impatient, upset, or concerned? Because . . . (oh, I really hate that this can still be so), because there is that inevitable result of not believing, not really and truly trusting, that like every other evil or ill, God has got this.

If that’s so, you may be thinking, why are we here? Because of pride (not because of dishonest politicians or rigged voting machines or China). If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and turn from their wicked ways . . . It’s in II Chronicles 7:14. Let’s look again–If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

I repent of fear, anger, unbelief. I repent of the pride that says I can do anything apart from Him. I repent of the pride that makes me forget that there but by the grace of God, go I. And I remember: I know that I know. I know Whom I have believed. I know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and He is my all in all.

II Timothy 1:12 – For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.

Thanks for your time, and Merry Christmas!

P.S. Some scriptures for your perusal–either as a reminder of what God has done, or what He’d so love to do for you, His beloved:

Romans 3:23–For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.

Romans 6:23–For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.;

Romans 5:8–But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.

Ephesians 2:8–For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; s, so that no one may boast.

Romans 10:9–that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.

New Sound

Day in and day out I am reading scriptures about praising God, about shouting, singing, going into battle prefaced and protected by songs of praise. Last night as I went to sleep I began singing snatches of a forgotten song, and as it began to come together I sang it over and over, knowing my sleep would be sound, my dreams beautiful.

Phil Driscoll’s New Sound was, I believe, a gift to my heart from the Holy Spirit. There’s a new sound in the earth, there’s a new voice to be heard.

Listen. Be blessed. Praise Him.

Casual Won’t Cut It

I was searching for a good word on YouTube and Richard Roberts’ Santa Claus face caught my eye–aren’t we all looking for a smile and some cheer? He spoke two things I’ve been saying: “The time for casual Christianity is over” was the concluding statement; the admonition was to join him as a “watchman on the wall.”

As Richard Roberts suggested, I read Isaiah 62:6, which says, “I have set watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem; they shall never hold their peace day or night. You who make mention of the Lord, do not keep silent.”

I believe God is calling us all to “strengthen the hands that hang down” (Hebrews 12:12) via prayer for each other and against the darkness, and that we are to never hold our peace.

Distractions abound, especially against time in the Word of God, but we don’t have to be distracted from praying. We must simply pray then and there, here and now, coming in and going out.

When my beautiful friend Pam told me how to pray about a personal issue (something in my heart that needed changing and healing) I prayed right then and there as she listened on the phone. Don’t wait for a “good time” to pray. Right now is a good time to pray!

About anything and everything.

And by the way, don’t pray like a heathen trying to appease an angry god: “Oh, God! Oh, God! Oh, oh, oh.” Along with sacking casual Christianity, it’s time to sack pathetic and pitiful Christianity. Pray the Word!

What does the Word say? “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5). You can’t do this when you’re listening to every other voice. Once again, the days when we could do that, when we could be casual about our Christianity, are over.

We’re it, Folks. God works through faith. I’ve heard it said that faith is God’s currency, and fear is Satan’s. So, let’s get faith via hearing the Word of God. Hearing. Romans 10:17 tells us how: “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.”

After I heard Richard Roberts reading Isaiah 62 last night, I heard it again this morning as I read it aloud. Faith comes, the Bible tells us. By hearing. If ever in my lifetime I needed faith to come, enduring and steadfast faith, it is now, in “such a time as this” (Esther 4:14).

It’s time to roll up our sleeves, and get to it. Faith, I mean. So repeat after me (remember you need to hear): “No fear here.”

He’s the Prince of (my) Peace

The great gift of Christ to me when I was first a believer was peace.  “I still have all my problems,” I told my mom, “but I’m not afraid any more.”  The peace that passes understanding.  This is a peace that can’t be explained.  It can’t be understood apart from experience.

But today, I am not often seeing that peace in others who say they are believers.  This disturbs my peace!  But note I did say “disturbs” not “steals”.  I guard my peace and when I feel its pending absence (no longer a feeling I am willing to live with) it’s time to go to The Prince of Peace.

Some people think that means God’s all about peace in the usual sense of the word.  But I know the truth is that He’s about the peace that only comes via fighting the good fight of faith.  And He’s about giving me peace right in the middle of the battle.

That’s where we are – in the middle of the battle.  I don’t think anyone would argue about that.  But there is mental wackiness going on because of fear.  Fear must be fought!  Fear must be defeated.  Faith, which the Word tells us “works” through love, is what connects us to God.  Not fear.

People are afraid of their own shadows, and teaching their kids fear as well.  I saw a toddler the other day with a mask on and it was unbearable.  Kids are being programmed to fear, to “all their lifetimes be subject to bondage through fear of death.”  But the good news is that Jesus came to “release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage” – Hebrews 2:15

I’ve been released from Fear’s tyranny more than once.  I didn’t hold on to that peace experienced when I was spirit-filled.  For years I struggled to walk in faith, and the biggest problem was that I was in unforgiveness.  Finally, I was finished with the torment of fear, but that’s another and lengthy story.

For now I urge you, I pray for you (for the entire world daily) to be free from the awful bondage of Fear.  Raise your head up and receive your freedom.  Remember Jesus came that we would be “free indeed.”

The physical mess we’re in is a result of the spiritual mess we’re in.  We will not have political freedom as long as we are spiritually bound.  So let’s look at the chaos in the world around us and see it as an opportunity to trust.  What else can we do?