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The Way Others See Me


***Disclaimer, this piece is several years old***

Sometimes I am amazed by the way other people see me. I have been called everything under the sun, really, everything and I probably deserved a lot of that. Now though, I feel certain that people think I am judgmental and legalistic. Let me tell you why: I am adamant about Scripture being taught accurately and in context. I cannot endure false teaching or misleading interpretations. I find great value in the research necessary to fully understand the Biblical writers’ meaning as many of our words have lost the definitions originally intended. Therefore, I employ the use of Strong’s Concordance whenever I endeavor to study His Word and I recommend that every true student of the Word do the same.

That all said, when I walk out of a Bible study it is because I feel that what is being taught is inaccurate. That does not mean I am pointing fingers at the teacher or judging the students in attendance. It simply means that I cannot sit through something false, plain and simple. The motive behind the false teaching is not for me to know, judge or attempt to ascertain in any way. I understand that God will enlighten people when He desires. I also get that I am supposed to bear with those who are immature in the faith. I see that immaturity when commentaries are the sole addition to Scripture rather than personal revelation and/or deeper word study.

IMG_6787When I interject definitions and Strong’s study numbers it is for deeper understanding for those in the room. Surely I can keep that all to myself, but I would be leaving others in the dark and supporting those things which are off course and I cannot do that, I just cannot. Sadly, my endeavors to bring light into the room are seen as attempts to overpower, be a know it all, or a naysayer. Contrary to some people’s beliefs, I do not look to point out the wrong but rather to illuminate the truth. The truth is what sets people free but unfortunately too many people are holding the keys and refusing to use them hoping that someone else’s set will fit their lock. It won’t. You must learn His Word for yourself. You must study to show yourself approved. You cannot depend on my education and study habits any more than you can rely on the driver next to you to fill up your car with gas. You must do it on your own.

I’ve been accused of being a bad “Christian” writer because I’ve told people to do what they will with what I write. Well, the truth is, I want my pieces to be moving, to be eye opening and ear unstopping but no matter how desperately I desire that effect from these few words, it truly is up to you what you do with what I say. God wants you to read His Word but it’s up to you what you do with His writing, there’s no difference here (aside from the fact that I’m just a sorry behind human and He’s God). I’ve also been accused of not loving people because I don’t run around hugging and kissing them. Honestly, I don’t see Jesus doing that. What I do see Him doing is telling people the truth whether they wanted to hear it or not. That to me is telling the truth in love, not nit-picking character traits but calling out those things in our siblings that are leading them into the pit. If I love you, I don’t want you to go to hell and therefore it is my desire to teach you His truth, to protect you from things that are not truth and shine a light on the things that are too dark within you.

Let’s get this very straight here, I am not judging you. I do not personally know a worse human being than myself. I know that Paul and I could have seen eye to eye on the “chief of sinners” label. I get my own filthy rag-ness and therefore would never tell you that you’re worse off than I am. However, I would tell you that if you are choosing deliberate sin while wearing His Name, you’ve got some serious problems. I would tell you that putting “God told me…”in front of something He didn’t tell you is very dangerous. And positioning yourself as a teacher is a greater responsibility than you understand. God doesn’t take His Word lightly and neither should you.

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Ugh, Ann Voskamp!


Yeah, that’s how I am feeling right now. I want to scream, “UGH, Ann Voskamp! Why did I have to land on your site?” But, I know why. I needed to land there because I needed to find out about her upside down blogger community. I needed to hear His words through her keyboard.

How many times have I sat on the other side of this screen and wondered why in the world I was even allowing my fingers to move? How many times have I turned up my nose at blogging here simply because the site meter wasn’t revealing anything of use? She’s dead on when she tells bloggers to quit writing for the site meter results and do it for the ONE. If we are claiming to serve Him then writing for Him, and Him alone, should be the ultimate goal and the peak of success.

I found myself reading more and more of her posts as His Spirit called out to me the truth I already knew. She said, in one of them, that she had been blogging for 6 years and I think I’ve got her beat. However, I haven’t been faithful here and if I am honest then, I haven’t been faithful to what I’ve been asked to do. He reminded me of that last night as I played over and over in my head just what the heck I was going to do about the utter disaster that is my life.

14772388353_8418a8d696_oHere’s the thing, Ann Voskamp, if I’m going to be real and honest and a bare breasted duck lining this nest with feathers ripped from my own soul, I told my husband (about two months ago) that I am leaving him. How’s that for a seemingly unChristian thing to do? My reasons for leaving him are valid (as worldly concerns go- certainly) and I feel that I understand the Scriptural repercussions of the decision: stay single or be reconciled to him.

I believe God can do miraculous things and He can move mountains to reconcile this marriage. However, I cannot continue in its midst. There are a number of things I could say about it, but I don’t see that it would be useful at this juncture.

I have cried so many tears prior to, and since, making this decision. I have wept face first on a dusty floor that I should have swept better. I’ve released torrents in the shower, in front of the mirror, on my pillow, and in a dark closet. I have anguished over this and prayed and prayed. Yet, I see no other alternative and am forced to continue this path.

God has opened doors, ways out that I am certain only He would provide. Then there are other options He has kept closed. What’s most frustrating is that sometimes His open doors seem like rabbit holes (and there’s a white rabbit in the lead).  They are scary and uncertain and yet I know if I just trust, His promised land (rather than a wonderland) is on the other side because He is there.

I’m probably not making as much sense here as I want to be, tears sometimes blur coherence. What I can say is that 6908558900_91c941bcdb_oHe always opens writing doors for me and I often chicken out because I don’t see how they will provide for my family (the three kids who will now be my sole responsibility). But, if I do truly trust God, then I’ll recognize He’s the provider not me. So, thanks again (sarcastically), Ann Voskamp, for reiterating what He said to my Spirit last night: “Write, it’s what I told you to do anyway.”


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I hope Jesus likes Mt. Dew


Don’t think me a heretic or sacrilegious because of the title of this piece. I truly do hope Jesus likes Mt. Dew. Let me tell you why…

You see, the Word tells us that whatever we do for the least of these we do unto Him (Matthew 25:40). So when I handed the man on the corner holding his homeless, anything helps sign, my unopened Mt. Dew, it hit me (today) that I just gave Jesus a Mt. Dew.

Follow me here, and don’t think I’m looking for accolades, for well I know we’re not to let one hand know what the other is doing (Matthew 6:3). When I realized that I essentially handed Jesus a Mt. Dew, I had to laugh, and then I instantly wondered if He liked ‘em. This led me to contemplate the way we engage in our doing for the least of these. 

I smiled when I thought about giving the Savior that bright green eye-opening jolt I have come to know and love. It sparked a sense of joy in me because Mt. Dew happens to be one of my favorite things and therefore, the fact that I got to share something I enjoy with Him, was pretty cool! It also made me smile to think I’d given Him something at all. I don’t think we look at those we provide for as if they are Jesus in disguise and so that was a wow moment for me.

So, I questioned myself, if I truly saw every person as He sees them, as a member of the least of these, and thereby endeavored to make contact with my Savior by reaching out to them, would I beIMG_2815 more inclined to give? Seriously, would there be more inspiration for me if I thought, “OOOOOO here’s a chance to give something to JESUS!”?

Then, in the midst of that joyous revelation, came the conviction. Would you only give Him a Mt. Dew? $7? A Taco Bell burrito? Start thinking about the size of the gifts you dole out to the least of these and realize that is the same minutia you’re giving to Christ and well, there might be a twinge of sorrow in your Mt. Dew glee.

Ok, so maybe this isn’t as cool a moment as I initially thought, maybe it’s more of a wake up call, which I guess can be pretty cool in itself, right?

I do believe this is worthy of deeper consideration. Will we start giving more freely and sacrificially when we start looking at those in need as Jesus in camouflage? And, will we begin to feel the weight of conviction when we ignore their pleas for assistance?

If Jesus was holding a sign asking you for anything because it’s helps, could you pass Him by, attaching judgments to His motives?   Guess what: the lost are the least!

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The Hand of Religion


My children are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Have you ever wondered how a believer could fall so deeply and obliviously into sin? Have you ever questioned another’s ability to be like the dog 13343199313_cbdb8d8e14_mreturning to its vomit, going back to its old ways, its familiar vileness? Herein is the answer: lack of knowledge.

Surely they’ve heard the Word of salvation, understood and believed the sacrifice, grabbed hold of the label and perhaps even taken the hand of religion. But if they haven’t ingested the desire for the pursuit of God, if they haven’t thrown themselves into seeking Him with a whole heart and life, knowledge has not come upon them and their resolve for holiness will wane.

Then they will be destroyed and bad company will corrupt good character. Their sins will try to creep in on you. Do not fall victim like the foolish do. Set your eyes on Jesus, run towards the prize. Dive deep into His Word, all the deeper when you’re surrounded by vomit eating dogs. Don’t let the detestable morph into dessert as they have. Be strong. Thrash alone in hope if you have to.

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Quit Winking at Sin


Read Galatians 1:10

Which is more important to you? Keeping people happy or serving God? Can you honestly say that you’d rather men hate you than to fail to speak the truth of God? Not many of us can, honestly. We’re all too concerned with what people think about us, how they look at us, etc. We’re wrapped up in job security and bucket lists. How stupid we truly are! Paul says he’s not here to convince God or pacify people (3982). He’s not here to excite emotion or seek to be agreeable (700) No, he’s here to preach the gospel to share the hope of salvation found in relationship with Jesus Christ, the Messiah. Listen, we’re even guilty of trying to please people at church! We nod at the woman sitting in the pew with the man (who is not her spouse) she woke up next to Sunday morning. We smile at the guy in the sports car who has the fat wallet and a cheating propensity. We go to celebrations at dealer’s houses and act like God’s cool with it all and frankly, He’s not! We’ve got to quit winking at sin. We’ve got to tell our congregants and supposed siblings that God will not be mocked. He will indeed close His gates and tell people to depart. Oh friends, if you’re playing with sin it’s a Russian Roulette game you’re not going to win, all the chambers are loaded, sin equals death and because I love you, I’m warning you.

Father, please make my words speak truth in love. You know the depths of my sin and how truly non-finger-pointing my heart is here. May Your truth shine in Jesus’ Name. Amen!

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Fire Extinguish Hell Bound Souls


Read Galatians 1:6

I’m going to ask you to read 6-10 here. Paul is astonished that the Galatians who heard the gospel of Christ from him, have begun to desert and turn away after “other” gospels of which he assures them there is no other good news than that which he shared. In the KJV it says they’ve removed themselves and that word (3346) mĕtatithēmi means, “to transfer, transport, exchange, change sides or pervert.” Change sides grips me because ultimately that’s what is occurring.  There are indeed only two sides on this planet, us and them. All that really matters as some like to say, is what you did with Jesus. Here’s the thing though… Jesus tells us, why call me Lord, Lord when you don’t do what I command you. People will say what they did with Jesus is love others. Great, but did you love them enough to fire extinguish their hell bound souls or did you just smile at the flames and tell them, “Jesus loves you”? We cannot exchange or pervert the Scriptures in any way. We cannot love people without caring about their eternity. That is a false gospel that will earn you the curses Paul’s declaring in verses 8 & 9. We’re not here to win friends and influence people, we’re here to save souls, extinguish hell’s fires, open eyes and ears, awaken the dead and cast out demons. So now what are you really doing with Jesus?

Father, people love games. They love feel good opportunities. Yet Your Word instructs us to embrace the troubles that we might win some for Your glory. Help us declare Jesus’ Name. Amen!

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The Wonder has Left us


Read Galatians 1:4

Go ahead and read 1-5. It’s real easy to breeze right on past that intro. Paul wishes grace and peace to almost everyone he writes a letter to (but that’s a study for another day). He ensures his readers that his position is not one established by men but by Christ, Himself. Then he tells you who Jesus is and what He did. No biggie, right? Jesus died for our sins to: rescue/deliver us from this evil world as it was God’s will and will bring Him glory. Again, no biggie, right? Except that word deliver has been lost on us in the midst of Christian-ese and failure to study. It’s the Greek (1807) ĕxairĕō meaning: “to tear out, to select, to release.” I read that and thought, wow! Jesus died to tear us out of satan’s hands, to rip us away from hell’s claws! He died to select us as His children. He died to release us from the bondage of sin and death. His death was powerful and its purpose was intense. We’ve become so jaded to the Scripture that the wonder has left us. Whenever I read a word I think I understand fully, I look it up (usually the verbs) and sometimes it means what I expect, but a lot of times they smack me in the face with new awe of what Jesus did for me and you. This was a covert operation, only God’s not trying to hide His involvement.

Father, thank You, thank You, for tearing me out of this world. Enable me to make You proud. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

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One Spot of Mold


Read Job 36:15

Take note that Elihu is speaking here and of the four people who confront Job, he’s the one I like best. He’s the youngest and waits his turn out of respect for his elders; you have to at least admire him for that! He seems to want Job to understand that there is indeed some fault within him that God’s trying to point out. He assures Job here that God does help the poor in times of trouble and enables them to hear Him in the midst of oppression. Surely troubles and afflictions fall upon us all, the righteous and the unrighteous. Yet, the one who’s truly seeking after the King will first ask if there be any wrong way within. I understand that people are uncomfortable with the idea that God lets bad things happen for purposes that will ultimately make us better servants of the King. There are things to be weeded out of our character, branches to be pruned, so that true fruit might grow. Sometimes it takes a fire to cleanse us. Job had begun to trust things, position, property, legacy, etc. He’d forgotten his first love. All had to be stripped from him to remind him Whose he was and where his provision and hope came from. We must be in constant contact with the King to stay clean, one spot of mold ruins the whole loaf. So one bad deed grows. He’ll save but you’ve got to obey.

Father, we don’t want any mold on us. We want to remain clean and fruitful in Your presence. Please help us, in Jesus’ Name we pray. Amen!

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Love Enough to…


Read Jeremiah 21:8

Please go to the beginning of this chapter to understand the severity of this verse. Jeremiah has just informed Zedekiah’s priests and do boys that God’s not with them and all hell’s about to break out on their city in the midst of this war with the Babylonians. Then we see He tells them, “…I set before you the way of life and the way of death.” (KJV). What He did for them then, He does for us now. Jesus is the way (John 14:6). Period. Today I saw a sticker on a car that had a cross, an equal sign and a heart. Beneath, it declared that the cross equals love and I thought yes, love enough to not want you to go to hell. Love enough to speak the truth even if society calls it judgmentalism and prejudice. Love enough to tell you things that hurt for the sake of opening your eyes and rescuing your eternity. The problem is, people see love equating with acceptance, tolerance, placations and appeasements. I love you enough to tell you that if you don’t flee your blatant sin and surrender your life to Christ you will certainly burn. He’s set before us the way to life and the way to death and we seem to think we can build our own bridges and steer our own ships, construct our own paths. No, friends, it doesn’t work that way. You do it God’s way or you weep and gnash teeth over your own. You can be Zedekiah (find out his story in Jeremiah 52:10-11 & 2 Kings 25:7) or you can submit your life to Christ. Your choice.

Father, help us take the path to life and let everyone else know how to get there too. Please and thank You. In Jesus’ Name. Amen!

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Ask Paul


Read Jeremiah 20:11

You kind of have to love Jeremiah here. Just read v. 7-18 and see if you haven’t been as wishy-washy a servant as he! First he’s complaining that God’s tricked him for the purpose of allowing him to be chided and hated. Then he’s admitting that God’s got his back and his enemies won’t prosper against him, and then he’s back to complaining. He wishes he’d never been born since his life is oh-so-miserable. Admit it, you’ve swung that emotional pendulum. Of course the truth is found in 11-13. God didn’t trick you into following Him, He warned you via His Son that in this world you’d have troubles (John 16:33) but that He’d already conquered the world so there’s nothing to worry about. He knit you together in your mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13) and therefore has specific plans for you regardless of the way things feel, or the way others treat you. We can’t be the kind of people who cower (Hebrews 10:39). God’s not down with wimps. His weakness is greater than man’s strength (1 Corinthians 1:25) remember. Listen, friends, you just do what He tells you and leave the results up to Him. He’s got this, I’m certain and so should you be too because you’re more than a conqueror (Romans 8:37). Ask Paul.

Father, give us Your strength in Jesus’ Name. Amen!