Clanging Symbols

Sometimes we have to take a step back and ask, “What kind of sound are we making?” I have been sitting quietly as I watch my newsfeed on social media become filled with hate, accusation, pride, and darkness. All the darkness on social media is creating a sound…and not a pleasant one. Strife, competition, jealousy, slander, and gossip are at an all time high among people professing Christianity. As unfortunate as that is it is directed towards other believers and it is tearing the Body to shreds. At the same time people are building platforms around hate and calling it “taking a stand”. I want to make sure that I am clear. I am a Christian. I believe the Bible is TRUTH. I even believe in taking a stand. But what I am witnessing is people taking a stand for the stands sake. I see people bashing this group or that group. Everyday. I see hate disguised as righteousness. I often sit and think about how I would have felt if I had Facebook before I found Jesus and scrolled through my newsfeed that I have today and read the things posted from Christians. Again using my imagination and thinking back on what a mess I was (well I still am, I am a work in progress) and wondering would I have reached out to any of the people on my newsfeed for help in my darkest moments? When my sin was ruling my life and my bottom was rock hard? Would I have went to church for help only knowing them from my newsfeed? I know where I...

Forgiveness & Justice

We are raised in a world where justice is demanded.  Even the secular world quotes the Old Testament by saying “an eye for an eye” they believe that this is the definition of justice.” We have theologies, mindsets, and political views based on this “justice.” Jesus, His life, and His teachings show us a NEW way… Jesus IS justice. The Lord has spoken to me for years about the importance of forgiveness. But yet, I still had deep down in the core of my being, a desire for this justice. Not His justice but mine. My belief system, although not intentionally, had been formed on a very rigid religious system that very much believes “an eye for an eye.” I was completely absent of GRACE, LOVE, COMPASSION, and TRUE FORGIVENESS. Because I had formed my small minded views on forgiveness around what the world thinks and not what the Man… Jesus taught. A wrong requires justice, it requires someone to pay… Of course I didn’t realize I thought this way. We seldom do. Until our belief”s are confronted by this crazy thing called life. In a moment of darkness in my life, when I had been hurt more than I ever thought bearable, I picked up this book from Kris & Jason Vallotton, “The Supernatural Power of Forgiveness.”  There is a chapter titled “Justice Served.” This chapter… oh my… it was the thing The Lord used to confront the false belief system I had allowed to develop rooted in my need for justice! Here is a quote that rocked me… “The day that Jesus was crushed for our sins,...

Letting Go of “Stupid”

As I walked the other day, I thought about a decision I made that didn’t turn out so well. The term “stupid” came to mind. I realized I shouldn’t use that term for myself. Soon I was aware that the word had come to my mind three or four times in just a few minutes. I wondered if this word was part of my inner thoughts more often than I realized. As I was looking at God’s amazing creation, I considered how God might feel about my constant use of that word. Immediately, I felt Him say, “It makes me sad.” I heard Him say in my heart, “Don’t call what I made stupid. I love you.” I thought of all the wonderful truths in His word. I am “fearfully and wonderfully made.” Psalm 139:14 He says, “I have loved you with an everlasting love…” Jeremiah 31:3 Yet, I didn’t know what word to use instead of “stupid”. I felt…stupid. Should I say, I made a mistake? A poor decision? I pondered the truth that God never views me as stupid. I am 61 years old and I have always struggled with this name. Maybe it’s because I remember my dad calling my mom “stupid” on numerous occasions. Maybe because once in frustration he made a statement comparing me to a mentally challenged person we knew (Don’t misunderstand – I know my dad loved me wholeheartedly. It was just that one time, but I remember it.) Maybe because I struggled with math my entire life, which always made me feel…you know. Or maybe it is because we are all...

Spilling Out the Treasure

In the Old Testament era, the Israelite’s used clay jars and pots to hold just about everything around the house. Some held everyday necessities such as flour and grain, and in others they stored their cooking oil, which was an important staple in the pantry. Other bigger jars held utensils and tools. Some were for carrying water; but not all of them were always used for the most pleasant of tasks. There were the unmentionables too. Clay pots and jars were breakable, they were expendable and they were easily replaceable. They cracked, and they still used them. If they broke, they could still use the shards for writing utensils. Even the Dead Sea Scrolls were found stored in clay jars. The scribes that copied the scrolls were dedicated to such accuracy that even if there was one mistake the entire scroll was thrown into the fire. They could not allow for that manuscript to be found and read and compromise the Word of God to be copied incorrectly later. When a scribe had completed one accurately, they then stored it in a clay jar. So why did the Lord choose something that to us seems so cheap, fragile and crumbling to hold something so valuable? Because of exactly what it says in verse 7,  “We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.” If He had put it in a fancy treasure box overlaid with gold then the focus would have been on the vessel...

It’s Not Up to You

It was my first real, paid, speaking engagement. A church halfway across the country had invited me, Jennifer Slattery, Midwestern mom of one, to be their keynote speaker. I was more than intimidated. I was terrified, to the point my stomach felt as if army ants, butterflies, and nasty spiders had declared war within me. Not wanting to reveal the extent of my ignorance and ineptitude, I spent hours crafting and rehearsing my speech and fine-tuning my Power Point. Then the day came. I’d spent so much time preparing and rehearsing I could give my speech backwards. In my sleep. I’d become so confident in my abilities, in fact… God needed to do some confidence-stripping. It started with a casual conversation between me and the educational minister. “What do you plan to talk about?” This struck me as odd, for I’d already sent him my outline. But perhaps he’d forgotten, so I shared my main points, certain he’d be pleased. Turns out, he had a different vision for the presentation entirely. This meant I needed to prepare a completely different speech, and quickly. Those warring critters returned with a vengeance, and cold sweat broke out on my face. On my entire body, actually, only it wasn’t cold. It was insanely hot as we were in Texas at the peak of summer. Except I had little time for a shower. Twenty minutes later, with new Power Point slides and graphics in place, stopwatch in hand, I prepared to spend the next two hours practicing until I’d cemented each word permanently in my brain. Once again, God had other plans. “Come...