A Lie is Still a Lie

I’m not bragging when I talk about myself by any means. I use my experiences as examples of hurdles you can jump over too. I was fired from three jobs during the course of my years as a software consultant because I wouldn’t lie to clients. I know the look on my face the first time was priceless. The deer in the headlights thing comes to mind. But to ask someone to lie…how do you do that and expect them to actually do it? When I said “No” the look on his face was as though I had slapped him, so I’m sure I was the first “No”. When he stuttered the “W, W, W, Well, you’re fired” at me, I calmly stood up and walked out with my head held high.

The second time I said “No”, the man asked me “Why not?”. I was all too happy to tell him. I explained to him that my committment to God was greater than any amount of money and I had no intention of dishonoring God for any man. He sat there with a dumbfounded look on his face only because I’m sure he had no idea what I had just said. I struggled to contain my laughter at his reaction while holding back my anger all at the same time. Again I calmly walked out.

The third time I said “No”, went about the same way as the second only there were several people in the room. After I made my stand they all made snide comments as though I were not in the room at all. It was somewhat comical at first but as I thought about what they were asking me to do, I started to wonder why I was in this situation another time. I left the room watching them out of the corner of my eye as they clamored to figure out what went wrong. I sort of smiled as I left but not because I felt I had gotten something over on them, I was smiling because that is what God wanted me to do. I wanted to get mad and say things I knew I shouldn’t. But it wasn’t my reputation on the line here, it was theirs.

There are tons of liars in scripture. God never said the lies were OK but he still used the people who made them for His purposes. From the serpent who lied to Eve throughout time, liars will be a part of life. Lets look at a few from scripture.

Genesis 31:7 (NKJV) “Yet your father has deceived me and changed my wages ten times, but God did not allow him to hurt me.

1 Kings 21:1-16 NKJV) “She wrote letters, saying, Proclaim a fast, and seat Naboth with high honor among the people; and seat two men, scoundrels, before him to bear witness against him, saying, ‘You have blasphemed God and the king.’ Then take him out, and stone him, that he may die.”

Proverbs 11:1 (NKJV) “Dishonest scales are an abomination to the Lord, But a just weight is His delight.” and Micah 6:11 (NKJV) “Shall I count pure those with the wicked scales,
And with the bag of deceitful weights?

People lie for all sorts of reasons but the ones that have impacted me the most are the ones where people are attempting to profit from their lies. Back to the third time…See, they had invested about two months of 40-60 hour work weeks in me to get me ready for this client project not thinking that my lying would be a show stopper. Needless to say they were livid. One of them came after me crying his eyes out because he knew his failure to convince me to lie would be the lose of his job. Another was mad enough that I was ready to defend myself because his body posture was very aggressive. And from a woman who was fairly sweet the day before, came words I had never heard in my life.

I know it is human nature to lie in order to avoid difficulty we choose not to face, but I also know there are consequences. Whether we face them now, later or seem to get away with our lies, there is One who knows every word and every thought that we have ever had. While it is true that God is a forgiving God, I personally never want to do anything on purpose to disappoint Him.  Romans 3:4 (NKJV) “Certainly not! Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar. As it is written: “That You may be justified in Your words, And may overcome when You are judged.”

Stay safe and God bless.

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No Pain, No Gain

I use to hear that on the softball field or in the exercise room. Later in life I would hear doctors say that pain equals something bad and that it is a signal to back off. So what changed? Were the coaches wrong or misguided? Or were they just talking about a different kind of pain?

Listening to how everyone complains about how much they hurt is sometimes annoying for me. The other day I observed a woman holding her abdomen clearly in pain and wanting someone to acknowledge her for it. I didn’t because I didn’t want to have that conversation but why was she doing that? Was she looking for sympathy? Was she in real need? I’m not sure. She continued on so it must not have been that dire or did she just push through it?

Pain and suffering are a fact of life just like death and taxes as my dear departed grandmother used to say. But they too have a purpose. So instead of looking at this sometimes grim subject grimly, I decided to look at the positive things that can come from life’s pain and suffering.

Pain and Suffering has the ability reshape us. Isaiah 48:10 (NKJV) “Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.” God will purify and refine us. He can take our weaknesses and make them into strengths. We have to be willing to see them as weaknesses and be willing to turn them into something useful instead. If we continue to hide our candles (weaknesses) under a basket, our flames (growth) will be snuffed out.

Pain and Suffering has the ability to create spiritual maturity. James 1:2-4 (NKJV) “My  brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” The more we rely on God and allow Him to take care of us, the easier it becomes. It should be a natural thing when something goes wrong for us to look up and say to God, “You got this Father” and let Him have it.

Pain and Suffering has the ability to prepare us to comfort others. 2 Corinthians 1:3-5 (NKJV) “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ.” Think about it. Can someone who has not suffered offer you hope?

Pain and Suffering has the ability to bring us closer to God. Job 42:5 (NKJV) “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, But now my eye sees You.” Have you noticed that the more you talk to someone the closer you become to them? The relationships we have can truly be measured by the amount of interaction we have with each person. The true friendships are the unique ones. Like my friends in North Carolina I don’t talk to but once every few months or sometimes less. We are old friends and can pick up where we left off no matter how few times we speak to one another. But our regular relationships suffer if we don’t interact on a regular basis. Our relationship with God works the same way.

There have been times in my life when I stop and wonder to myself what could God be doing that He is so busy that we haven’t spoken much lately. Yes, I chuckle a little because I know it is me, then I cry a little because I know it is me. Then I apologize to Him and my prayer life gets back on track, for a while. But this is human nature. It is something we have to work hard at because life is hard.  

Pain and Suffering has the ability to mold us further into the image of God. Romans 8:28-29 (NKJV)  “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.  For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.”  God did not forsake Jesus, He raised Him three days later. It was His purpose and He knew it.

We will endure pain and suffering of various kinds.  Hopefully we will use our experiences to comfort and encourage others along the way. I know Jesus suffered unbearable pain but looking back I also have to believe he finds it was worth His inheritance. I would never compare my pain to what He felt but I can tell you, it will be worth it no matter how bad it gets.

Stay safe and God bless.

 

The Loss of Innocence

Imagine you are at a resort at a beautiful beach. You have a three-day weekend to enjoy the sun, the cooler weather and just be. You are watching your two sweet girls playing in the Lazy River. The cares you left at home are less stressful. No worries flood your mind as you watch your girls having fun. You don’t get to do this often and you enjoy treating your family to some much needed down time.

But then it happens…

The word “degenerate” was the first kind word that popped into my head.

  • The dictionary defines it as “to fall below a normal or desirable level in physical, mental, or moral qualities; deteriorate”.
  • I liked this one too, “to diminish in quality, especially from a former state of coherence, balance, integrity, etc.”
  • Or this one, “a person or thing that reverts to an earlier stage of culture, development, or evolution.”

I’m not sure why I kept reading down the list of meanings for this word but then I saw it. The last one and I’m not sure why I was surprised it was there.

The final meaning is “a sexual deviate”.

In contrast, I looked up the word “innocence”. The dictionary defines it as “freedom from sin or moral wrong.”

Remember the serenity that once existed as you relaxed next to the Lazy River…

The girls scurried over to their mom to tell her about a man. A man who was sitting in a tube floating in the Lazy River with his “business” out.

Before I grabbed my laptop to put this together, my mind was racing with anger. I wanted to put that anger on paper so you, too, could feel my pain and disgust. But a funny thing happened as I walked the 10 steps to my recliner, sat down and opened my computer. I felt God take away the anger. It’s not about me and what I want. Not that I can do anything from where I am but you know what I mean. I want…to do something. I want it to stop. I want to be mad. I want to be furious and I am that it happened. All children are precious and this creep is preying on them everyday. But God took away my anger and replaced it with pity.

As I write this I am still feeling what that feels like. I can feel Him removing the emotions He doesn’t want me to have and replacing them with emotions He wants me to have. I feel as sense of relief, a sense of calm, a sense of peace. I tell people about this kind of love all the time but I have never been able to write about it as it is happening.

I am overwhelmed.

I don’t feel the rage that would have allowed me to choke him had he been in front of me at the time. God has allowed me to see a small glimpse of this degenerate the way He does. Yes, I am still mad that it happened, but the emotional stress that anger causes is gone. I wish I had better words to share this with you. I sit here just shaking my head as I try to write.

All I feel now is pity…

which is a synonym for GRACE.

Stay safe and God bless

Which Mocker Are You?

It is easy to pass by someone and not realize who they are. You don’t recognize them from a photo or something. Their persona doesn’t strike you as a famous person or whatever. But if they tell you they are someone you don’t know they are, will you believe them? I met a famous actor many years ago who did not look like he did many years before and I have to tell you, it took me several minutes of staring to see it. He was bald and fat and did not look anything like he did before. I could have easily mocked him, but I didn’t. I think mostly because I was in shock.

As I read over Luke 23 at the different people who were present at the crucifixion of Christ, I can’t help but wonder what their motives were.  I get the passersby. They just happened to be there and were curious, although a grim curiosity. But what about the others?

The Chief Priests, Scribes and Elders were present mostly because they wanted to win their arguments. Whether or not they believed Jesus to be the Son of God or not shouldn’t have mattered. He was a man who had done nothing wrong. His only crime was that He disagreed with the “religious right”? And they had the audacity to mock Him on top of that? Why did they have to stand and watch Him die? Oh yea, they expected Him to come down from the cross. Such hypocrites!

Now the two Criminals. Well, one of them. They were close enough to talk (this is a naive concept since talking was extremely difficult to do considering how much stress the body is in, in that position) to Jesus or at least to see Him in a way that none of the others could. One thief did eventually “get it” and repent.  They were closer than anyone else and should have both been able to glean the awesomeness of Christ’s deity had the one not been so blind.

So…

Are you one of the Passersby who just so happens to be visiting the area that very weekend when the event is happening and you find yourself in the middle of the excitement so you get involved without knowing or caring about what is going on?

Are you one of the Denominations, Church Members, or Bible Students who disagrees with Jesus and sneers at Him because He challenges you?

Are you one of the Criminals who hung next to Jesus on the cross? They too joined in on the mockery at first, although one began to see something in Christ that all the others missed.

Christ’s death fulfilled an eternal purpose. We can analyze the events that lead up to and away from His death but the fact still remains…God has a plan. Everything happens for a reason and our understanding of it isn’t a requirement.

Stay safe and God bless.

 

Aggravation

I remember a game growing up as a kid called aggravation. I don’t think it was/is spelled the same way though. I never thought, back then, that life would be so much worse. I haven’t spoken much about my sister only because I don’t want to hurt her feelings when the subject is not on the bright side of life. She is sometimes high maintenance but that is her nature and that’s OK. As much as I would love to slap her into reality sometimes, I still love her to death…lol pun intended.

This morning brought on a little drama. She was running late, not a surprise lately. She told mom she would do something and mom was pressing her to take care of it but she was out the door because she was running late. Now the second phone line, which she runs her business off of isn’t working, and she doesn’t have time to call the company to have it checked. She just wants “someone else” to take their time to call and make an appointment to come look at it for her since she doesn’t have time to do it herself.

Yea, I get it. I should jump at the opportunity to help her out since she is so busy and needs my help but I have to tell you. When you watch someone who goes out of their way to get bogged down at what looks like on purpose, it is hard to jump in because you know they aren’t learning to plan better to do better, they are just learning to rely on you more. Wow, that was hard to write and harder to reread. You want to believe the best in people and I am usually the eternal optimist but this is really hard. I don’t think I can ever wish for her to be better and expect it to come true. I don’t think I can wish her into being a better planner. I don’t think I can wish her into being someone who doesn’t cuss and yell when she is overwhelmed. I don’t think I can wish her into being someone who is more responsible and gracious to the people around her. All I can do is hope and pray and even then God will be the one who decides when and if this comes about. This isn’t about me. I can’t make it about me.

So here I go again making a change to my mindset. That I can change.

Stay safe and God bless.

 

Are You Immune?

I got my flu shot the other day. Do you plan on getting yours? It really does help if you are exposed to the flu. I know, there are critics who say it is a waste of time but what if they are wrong? Do you want to go through that mess if they are? I don’t. Besides I get to visit my grandchildren in a month or so and I certainly don’t want to take any chances.

The professor in the news who is teaching her warped views to her college students is way out of line to me. She should be teaching only the curriculum and not her misguided views of anything. The school should not allow this let alone the parents. But they are another story.

So, my sister says, what does it matter. Well, in the grand scheme of things maybe it doesn’t if it is only one teacher. But consider two things. One, she is teaching two semesters a year, 30-50 (or more) students each semester. So that adds up. Now the scary part…two, what if she isn’t the only teacher? Which, I’m sure she isn’t. And other’s may be worse.

This means there is actually an epidemic going on behind our school walls. Too bad, the odds are, that mostly Christians saw the movie “God’s not dead”. I guarantee you that is not an isolated incident. I myself had two professors in college who had it out for redheads because of ex-wives. I had to work harder than everyone else because I was born with red hair. At first I was speechless but then it felt like a challenge which I rose to and conquered despite the obstacles.

Well, this epidemic now becomes a plague of biblical proportions. Like a snowball that never stops. All because no one thought it mattered. Just like no one thought it mattered when we allowed prayer to be taken out of school. What happened to accountability? Why do these professors go on “teaching” unchecked? Why are others afraid to speak up? Why do their jobs matter more than the children?

My friend Kim’s ex-daughter-in-law is an elementary school teacher. She is aware of a fellow teacher who is abusing her students but she refuses to say anything because she is afraid of losing her job. This appalls me as I’m sure it does you as well. How do these people sleep at night. I don’t understand.

Luke 21:36 (NKJV) “Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.”

We have redemption through His blood, Amen! That is our assurance, our immunity. It’s still frustrating but I know God’s got this too.

Stay safe and God bless…

 

Kimberly and Jesus

Kimberly is my eight year old granddaughter. Sarah is my daughter and has had her in church since she was a baby. She does well for the time she is in church and apparently listens very well too. It does disturb me a little that an eight year old can have this level of frustration though. But I am delighted at her understanding.

Kimberly: Momma, When is Jesus coming back?

Sarah: Honey, no one knows.

Kimberly: Well, He needs to hurry up.

Sarah: Why is that?

Kimberly: Well, I miss Uncle Bo. (She then proceeded to list other people she misses and people she never met. Then reasons the world is bad and He needs to come down and fix it all.)  He just needs to come on NOW.

Sitting on the Fence

My friend Kim believes you can lose your salvation even though scripture is clear that you can’t. While I feel in my heart you can’t lose your salvation, I still know people who have completely denied God and I believe it is possible. So I am still on the fence.

Romans 8:38-39  (NKJV)
For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

I was reading about salvation this morning and came across Romans 8:38-39. Of all the things mentioned in these verses that cannot separate us from God, the word “created” jumped out at me. I’ve been struggling with the salvation of others wondering if their salvation was real. Yea I know that is between them and God but I also feel a responsibility to act on their behalf if needed and possible, while there is time. So I’ve been doing research and having conversations on the subject.

It never occurred to me before but I am “created”. Not sure why that hit me this time. I know I have read those passages many times before. Everything and everyone is created, so why is this significant? Could it be telling me that no human has that power? The passage doesn’t mention mankind specifically so maybe that’s what I missed before. Could it be that simple?

John 10:29 (NKJV)
My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.

Since John 10:29 states no one is able to snatch them out of my Father’s hand, why would we think it is possible to lose your salvation? There are no stipulations attached to this passage. There are no “therefores” or “what ifs” or “conditions” of any kind whatsoever. It is a statement of fact. This passage removes the possibility of losing your salvation once attained. “Wahoo”!!! But the really really cool part of this passage is…the “no one” includes ME. I don’t know about you, but that is awesome! Not that I’d ever want to but it’s reassuring that I could never make that mistake.

Stay safe and God bless…

Silver Lining

When I sat down to write this post, I had several rants on my mind. But I decided not to give them life. Instead I am choosing to write about the opposite views. Please forgive the lies and look for the silver linings instead.

People are inherently wonderful!

Our kids have a wonderful world to grow up in!

Evil doesn’t exist any more!

No more bullies or sexual harasses anywhere!

Everyone speaks kind words and does good deeds for each other!

Stay safe and God bless…

 

Responding with Silence

I often write how people amaze me. With their actions and with their words. Lately, I’ve been noticing how people use profanity and mean talk like breathing air, yet are at church or doing church work. Can you be accused of judging if the subject is a truth?

I am real good at responding to insults and bad behavior in a way that makes people scratch their heads. I respond in a manner that is completely opposite to the action that is due back to them or expected. But as bad as it has gotten lately, I have decided to remain silent, at least for as long as I can. I could very easily fall into a baited hole and that would not be good for anyone.

In 1 Peter 2:23, Jesus remained silent when insults were hurled at him. He did not retaliate but instead entrusted Himself to Him who judges justly. I have made a committment to follow Jesus. Remaining silent goes against our nature but I am determined to do things His way, not mine.