March 27, 2020


One of my favorite hymns is Loyalty to Christ
(but only when it is sung in a syncopated jubilee style - no judgments)

A person's behaviors in human to human relationships is a direct reflection of how one understands and perceives their personal relationship with God.

The past couple of weeks have been very different than normal. The Cover-19 has changed everything and every quickly. It has given me a lot of time for reflection.

Much of that reflection has been about my daddy and the ways he taught me to assess and respond to everyday life. I am a daddy's girl to the core. My father has been gone/transitioned out of his 'earth suit' as he called it,  for almost 6 years now, and the adjustment has been challenging, but I have done my best to continue, as we all do with the loss and grief that is a part of life.

The last week or so, I have thought long and hard about the concept of loyalty. It is one of the components of HESED. Often translated as 'lovingkindness', but is actually much more, more inclusive, and one of those inclusions is Loyalty. God is way more loyal to us than we are to God. But as Christians, we work towards being in a stable and consistent relationship with God.

This morning, I woke up to pray and memories of a situation came to mind:

Once upon a time, I used obedience train and show German Shepherd dogs (GSD) for show in the categories of obedience and confirmation. Much of the time spent with the dogs were to get them ready for their purpose, to win in dog shows.  All of our dogs were AKC registered for show and breeding........ But each was also the family companion pet.

What particularly came to my mind was this one dog. He was beautiful with great pedigree, had great potential to win every show that we entered him in. He had a beautiful gate and a wonderful coat of fur, his stature and stack were spectacular.  He was a champion in the making. We had every expectation of him winning national competitions. And of course, as his handler and trainer, it would have put my name on the map in the industry.  We put a lot of time and money into, not only the purchase of this puppy, but in raising him for his destiny. He was our family pet, but he was an investment in his own potential to be a winner. Together we could have conquered the dog show arena everywhere we entered competition.

The problem was that this dog did now see or value his potential the way that my daddy and I did, nor did he have any loyalty to being a member of our family. No matter the gifts that he was created with and the potential that he had been trained to reach, in his heart he saw himself as nothing more than a common stray.  Often he would dig his way out of the fence and be gone, some times for days. My daddy would say, just put his food out at dinner time and he will come home to eat. Most of the time, this was the case, like clock work, he would run back to the yard like nothing had happened. But he would be dirty and have all kinds of things stuck in his beautiful coat of fur. I would clean him up so that he could come in the house, and take his place as a member of the family.  Repeatedly he would run away while he was supposed to be outside in his fenced run (a fenced area specific to the need for exercise and muscle building common to large dogs, especially those who lived primarily inside). He would dig his way out, repeatedly we tried all kinds of ways to keep him from getting out of the fence, but where there was a will, there was a way.   We would worry about his safety and search for him, with no success most of the time. We had to just have the resolve to wait for him to return home.

Then, one night there was a bad thunderstorm, with lots of rain and hail. We got in my daddy's van and drove around searching for this dog.  We were worried that he would get hit by a car, or be shot by someone who was afraid of a dog who was simply taking shelter from the storm in their yard or on their porch.  After hours of searching with no success, my daddy said there was not point in us being in danger by being out in the storm looking for this dog. My daddy reassured me that the dog would find its way home, as always.  But what my daddy didn't tell me in that moment was that he was fed up with this stray mentality.

Just like my daddy had predicted, a few days later the dog showed back up, horribly dirty, but safe.  But this time would be different. My daddy was prepared to sell the dog to a kennel, that wanted him because of all of his potential. This way, my daddy didn't lose all of his financial investment, as he would have if the dog had gotten killed during one if its run away adventures, and now those straying behaviors could be someone else's concern and not ours. The dog stayed gone so much and became such a headache that he really wasn't missed as a family pet, so much as a relief to no longer have to deal with the mentality of a stray.

Soon my daddy and I would pick out a new dog. We would have a new show dog in the house, one that appreciated the love and care of our home. One that would be a great companion, loyal and with great features for dog show competition and pedigree. This dog wanted to be a winner, this dog wanted to be a member of our family. And this dog would go on to win competitions, but in truth did not have the potential that the previous dog had, but did what the previous dog could not stay put long enough to do = win.

I said all of that to say, that with people, their behavior is a direct reflection of their relationship and loyalty to their faith in God. A person can't behave in a way that is not established in their mindset and self perception.  Just like the dog that I once had, people can be spiritual strays and it will be manifested in the way they live their life, and the value that they place on the love and care that they receive from others.  This void in a person can only be filled and healed by God's redemptive work in the life of the individual.

While we have this time of social distancing, lets take the time to evaluate and re-evaluate where we are putting our time and energy, and pray for spiritual strays. Know that it is not your job to keep them on track spiritually, because salvation is personal and only Jesus Christ can be their Savior and LORD.

Whether anyone goes with you are not, 'press toward the mark of the high calling.' - Live and Love like a WINNER.  Keep the Romans 8 mentality.

February 25, 2020

Toxic Disobedience

One of the things that must happen for Christian salvation to take place is Surrender.  It is the realization that doing things your way, for your personal outcomes is not working and that you need the guidance of God and the Love of Jesus Christ to shift and change your life and your nature.  Salvation seems like an unsolvable math equation until you experience it and live it.

 But what happens when a Christian wants to debate God's Will with God?  What happens when a Christian wants to walk in stubbornness?  This is what the older generation would call a 'stubborn will', a place of not fully complete surrender.  It can be a hard road because it puts the individual in a place of negotiation with God and even explaining to God why thing need to be done differently. It is the ultimate in arrogance.  So how can arrogance truly serve God?

What has been on my mind for a few weeks now is the journey of Jonah.  Everything that Jonah went through before and after his doing what God has assigned him to due is shadowed by his attitude.  You would think that after all he went through over his assignment that his attitude would be one of surrender, but it seems that he had to keep dealing with the consequences of his stubbornness. But was it worth it?  Isnt that always the question of watching someone walk in disobedience?  Isnt that always the question that you want to ask someone who is determined to do things their way instead of walking in obedience to God's Will?

It is as if there is a doubt of God's ability. How else could you not fully trust what God is wanting to ask of you? How could you expect to come out with less by doing things God's way than trusting God's Plan?

So Jonah is stubborn to the point that everyone on the ship with him has to deal with the storm, until he is thrown off the ship.  Can you imagine the emotional distress of the others on the ship? Can you imagine how disheartening it is to watch a person face the waves and the sea, and pending death?  Is arguing with God worth it? 

God in his mercy, and in intent that what was assigned to Jonah was in fact his assignment, not to be given to another lets Jonah live.  Let's face it, God could have allowed Jonah to die in the sea and raise up another to fulfill the prophetic assignment, so why does God allow Jonah to live?

In saving Jonah's life, God puts him in a horrible situation - the stomach of a whale. Can you imagine the smell, the taste, the environmental hazards, etc?  The toxic feel of stomach acid meant to digest food on his skin had to be horrible. But this was the place that his stubbornness got him to experience. He was alive, but surrounded by toxic filth.  All at the price if disobedience and stubbornness.

Can you imagine being regurgitated by a whale? That has to be a hard life experience.  But Jonah's attitude is still not completely right about his assignment.  By this point, he is starting to have a better understanding of the seriousness that God has towards Jonah being obedient.  And even in Jonah doing what was such a simple assignment, he still wants to have an attitude about the whole matter.

So then we see Jonah go into a mode a pouting about not being able to do things his own way.  Still stubbornness, but from a different angle, but with the same argumentative spirit.  The journey towards Christian obedience is one that each individual must take alone. Even though other Christians are on the journey with you, and it is important to be a part of a community of faith, the journey towards the blessings or correction of God is individual.

Jonah was set up to receive a prophets reward. He is still know as being a prophet of God, but his disobedient attitude and the outcomes of that are what he is most remember for.  What more could Jonah's future had been besides sitting with his attitude, angry at God, not concerned about the souls of the people that he could have reached in Nineveh  and possibly beyond if he had only developed the right attitude for ministry and let go of his stubborn will.

It is hard to watch those who want to wrestle with God's Will waste precious time in toxic disobedience that could be spent going further into the BLESSINGS of  God's Will. Jonah did deliver the message to the city of Nineveh, but where does his life journey go after that? To take a spectator's seat to watch with attitude to see what will happen is not the ideal alternative to walking in one's calling to do great ministry where you have been assigned.  It is to settle for a lot of land, when God is offering an empire.

June 11, 2018

There Go I

One of the biggest reasons  that the prosperity gospel is flawed would be ‘the come up.’ Most people do not do well with a drastic and/sudden change in resources and lifestyle. There is something to be said for working and earning what one has over time.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting a more comfortable lifestyle. But the truth is that too many become ugly inside from how having money changes the individual.

If too much is given or obtained too quickly, there is a lack of appreciation for what one has and nothing is sufficient or enough. But there is also the lack of empathy for those around the one who feels that they are now removed from their previous situation. It manifest in many ways but in most cases it makes one a great consumer and not a producer.  The money is not the problem, the true refection of the heart is the problem.  I would even go so far as to say that money can have a negative affect on a person's prayer life. This is why Christians often times dont do well with wealth, the wealth comes at the cost of having a heart, toward God and others.

 Consumers are those who love to use their spending power on things that they didn’t have before. How one spends their resources is the easiest way to tell old money from new money. New money makes poor spending decisions on items that are mostly for bragging rights and with very little or no asset value, and most often to impress people who are not impressed anyway. It is the fear of depravity wearing a mask of abundance.  It is a facade.

The sudden ability to have what one never had before becomes overwhelming and even can lead to poor decision-making and gluttony.  Being a consumer becomes addictive..... it becomes the high of being able to obtain what one never had, therefore leading to overspending,  and poor decision making in purchasing more than what is needed. This is exactly why most professional athletes and lottery ticket winners, and drug dealers end up in the exact financial state with a few years.  There is little to no knowledge about saving, investing, sound purchasing, or philanthropy.

When fear controls the individual it will cause a level of selfishness that leaves no room for investing in vetted causes or charities, and definitely not becoming a resource by founding a charitable or philanthropic organization. When Christians forget to help others, they risk missing out in the greatest way to be like Christ, and that is to become a giver and a producer.   When Jesus fed the people, he did with no expectation of return or compensation.  As a matter of fact, most of the time, Jesus told those that he did something for not to tell others. This is because the nature of God is to give.  We learn to be like Christ in the way that we treat others. How we treat others is a direct  reflection of how we see our relationship with God.  When we have a positive outlook on our relationship with God, there is an openness to share not only the Good News of the Gospel, but to overall have a positive impact in the lives of others.  We can truly be living examples of Christ on earth.      

 It has been proven that giving and affinity go hand-in-hand. A person will invest in what they have some emotional attachment to. Therefore, it can be said that those who suddenly obtain too much too fast become detached and lose their ability to care or to love others.  Their affinity goes toward the obtained material wealth or objects obtained. This is why loving people,  those you can see, is essential because it is a reflection on one’s relationship to God. And it can only be faked or pretended for a short span of time. The state of one’s heart will eventually be shown for how it truly is.

 At the core, the basic need is a sense of  resolve that  comes only from right relationship with God. Therefore it can be said that the individual is seeking a form of peace that will never come from the material that is bought/purchased, but can only come from an internal peace. Like any other addiction the issue is not the outward manifestation,  but is in fact the internal turmoil that is causing the outward affect. A lack of peace and the inability to see what God has gifted the person with besides material objects and economic ability will always leave the person to rely on what they can grasp and that is material and superficial. This all leads to a person who is shallow and superficial. 

Money or material gain is not a guarantee of happiness.  The most current events of the past few years where more and more famous/rich individuals are committing suicide is proof that one's internal state of being is much more important than tangible material gain or wealth. There are some things that every human being needs that money can not buy.

 God wants us to have abundant life, including nice things, but as good stewards of that abundance, not wasteful and overindulged. Because we live in a culture that loves amenities and creature comforts, it’s hard to imagine living a life with less than the newest most fashionable and most desired objects. This is what capitalism is built on, the reliance on human beings to fulfill their depravity with objects instead of seeking internal peace.  People in sales love hurting people because they purchase, they become repeat spenders. As a matter of fact, if more people had the Peace of God, the spending patterns of our entire world would change.

 This is exactly what religious vows of poverty are about, not becoming consumed with being a consumer but actually becoming comfortable enough in the sufficiency of having basic needs met that one becomes productive both spiritually and naturally. Christians should be producers, should be people who seek out ways to help others find peace through sharing the gospel, the good news, but should also live a lifestyle  that reflects the internal peace and the strength to not always needing to follow the trends of obtaining the newest object.

 Let’s be honest money changes a person. There are very few people that are not affected by gaining wealth. or even a higher salary. But the important thing is to remember that the higher salary or the wealth is not the issue,  it is a matter of what this does to the internal workings of the individual. One of the most grounding things that a person can do to remember who they really are is to remain a giver.  Giving to others allows one to remain empathetic, if the individual allows their thought process to remain open and clear about the difference between self and the other person. Spending time around one's old neighborhood and staying connected to everyday life of everyday people can keep one open to receive the realization of how powerful God's sufficiency really is in keeping one resilient (Philippians 4:13).  This is how you learn to be content and remain grateful. One of the things that I heard quite often growing up was the saying “but for the grace of God, there go I.”

May 13, 2018


In the story of David and Bathsheba, we have a very interesting person who seems to get the short end of the situation.  But I often wonder if this is the only way to look at this portion of text.  I say that because Uriah the Hittite represents one of my greatest fears.

Before I explain my views on this portion of text, let me give just a bit of background information about myself. My father had 5 brothers. I lived in the house with my dad and my oldest male cousin who was 12 years older than myself. So you can say almost all of my childhood was one of feeling very protected, affirmed, and loved.  I was my dad's only child so I was destined to be treated a certain way, better known as spoiled. With this many men in my childhood I was destined to not only get most anything that I wanted, because if one uncle said no, another uncle would either say yes, or find some way to compensate by offering something else that I might want. For example, if one uncle would not give me ice cream from the gas station up the street, all I had to do was to come back and make an announcement that I didnt get any ice cream.  This would be followed by the men having conversation about why I was denied ice cream or what ever it was that I wanted.  And not much time would pass before another uncle would invite me to go for a ride with him, only to end up at Kay's Ice Cream shop which had a whole bunch of flavors on display for me to choose from.  This understanding of how men treat those they care for and love has framed my understanding of relationships in general.  It has also set the bar for how I measure the behavior of men as an adult.

Growing up in a small town, during a time when people actually sat around and communicated with each other gave me a lot of insight from the perspectives of my aunts while they were stringing and breaking green beans or something.  And many times, I got to hear the conversations (while I was supposed to be playing in the yard and not listening) of my dad and his brothers talking about community issues, political events, but also to hear a lot of conversation about women and relationships. By the time I got to be a teenager, my dad started to really talk to me about relationships directly. And those conversations helped me to understand how and why he treated some of the women that he dated differently from others.

Now back to Uriah, in 2 Samuel 11, we are told the events that lead to his death in the hottest battle. But before he died, he was given a chance to go home to his wife. Now upon reading the story, this was not as any favor to Uriah, but it was truly a set up to cover up what was going on with David and Bathsheba.  So this is where I am going to talk briefly about Bathsheba's perspective, and how it reflects one of my greatest fears.

We really dont know anything about  Bathsheba and Uriah's relationship. We have no idea what Bathsheba shared with King David about her relationship or home situation. We are not given any insight into the pillow talk that Bathsheba had with Uriah or with King David. So what we have to go on are just the facts that are presented in the text.   I have heard it preached from a lot of different angles, and most of the time those angles portray  Bathsheba as having negative behavior and motives, which I am not completely  sure are presented in the wording or the tone of the text. But I am not going to debate that at this time.  I want to really get to a woman's perspective of  Uriah's decision not to go home to his wife.

Human behavior is very telling. Regardless of what a person says, their behavior tells the much larger portion of the truth. This frame of logic is how we are going to view Uriah's decision to sleep outside and not go home to his wife.  I am going to simply say that he didnt want her, he didnt want to go home to her.  He was a soldier who knew that he could die in battle any day, and he is given a chance to go home for a few nights to his wife and he would rather not, and says that it is his loyalty to the other soldiers who are not able to have this same opportunity to visit home.

A man in love, doesnt usually, really doesnt operate like that because love makes a man want to take every opportunity to spend time with the woman that  he loves, even if it means returning to battle and his death the next day.....  That is even more justification for him to take the opportunity to spend the night with the woman he loves. A man in love is caring and attentive, and willing to do his best to make sure the woman that he loves is happy.  It was not as if  Uriah was sneaking away to visit home, but he told to go home.  Now we dont know if he suspected something, or even if he had heard gossip, because that is not given to us in the text, all we have is the excuse that he uses to not go into his home to his wife.

So can you imagine what that must have felt like for Bathsheba? Her husband is in town, but is sleeping outside with servants and refusing to come home to her.  This is rejection, neglect, and disregard. Those are the things that a woman will get from a man who does not love her.  So imagine Bathsheba being married to a man who has so little affinity or interest in being a husband to her.  You might ask, so does this validate the theories that she was intentionally trying to be seen bathing?  I dont know. But what we do see is a married man who declares more loyalty to the army and to the king, than to his wife, or even a desire for her.

To be in a relationship marriage with someone who does not love you and who does not want you is a miserable way to live out your days. Having to pretend to family and friends that everything is ok when there is no real love or passion is hurtful and draining.  God's plan for marriage is for it to be the most loving and nourishing experience that affirms both the man and woman, in such a way that their bond is both spiritually and naturally strong.  So when we see Bathsheba move on with her life after Uriah's death, I cant help but to think that she must have mourned his death, but that she must have also been relieved to not have to any longer pretend that she was loved and cared for my a man who really didnt want to come home to her.  With Uriah out of the way, Bathsheba was free to be loved and cherished.

May 1, 2018


Sin causes distortion, both in perspective and logic. This has been the case since the very beginning. From the 'you shall not surely die' to the present, the ways of distortion are the same, but the manifestations are every morphing.

In the Garden of Eden, when Adam and Eve did not drop dead at that exact moment, it began the distortion of timing and urgency. If one of them or both of them had died at that moment, it would have been the most clear message to them to obey, but it would have also been the end of their history. This is why these events were followed with some specific details as to what would happen for them in the rest of their lives as part of the consequences of their disobedience. But even those consequences did not change the outcome that was spoken to them, they would die.... not suddenly at that moment, but slowly aging and deteriorating. 

There has always been and will always be a price to be paid for sin. The pride of life makes each of us think that time is on our side, that we have plenty of time to worry later about living according to God's principles. But this distorted view also means that if we are not willing to live according to the plan of God for our lives, we forfeit the over arching truth of God's plan for our lives. Not just in the context of life or death, but everything in life before one dies. This can mean years and decades of living beneath what was God's plan to bless your life. The distortion of sin is to believe that you can get for yourself better than what God wants to give you. 

This makes some feel like the gamble is worth the risk to get what you can now and worry about the rest later.  In this way, sin has accomplished its purpose to distract and distort not only our perception of God, but of self.  Sin causes one to justify living in disregard to God's Biblical Principles. The distortion is manifested in the lack of urgency to do what it right, to work and strive toward doing what it right. Righteousness at its core is built around an internal desire to be as close to right as one possibly can in word and deed and intentions of heart.  The state of the heart is reflected in one's actions.

Therefore, the distortion of sin is actually a distortion of the state of one's own heart. To see one's ways without wanting to weigh it against God's truth is the internal struggle to justify what is in one's own heart.  The only way that the distortion can be removed so that one can truly see the truth of one's own heart is through God via the Holy Spirit to remove the distortion and giving the individual the opportunity to truly see one's self through the truth of God. What we see when we see our self through the truth of God can be hard to face, but necessary. We have to ask God to show us the ourselves as God sees us.   What will we really see when we become courageous enough to see what God sees? 

We all try to convince ourselves that our actions are justified and that our behavior is not that bad. But what is God really seeing?  What is really in our heart?  It takes the truth being clearly shown to the individual before the individual will realize there is a need for change toward doing what it right according to Biblical Principles. This is why the act of surrender is so important in the context of salvation. The ability to surrender to God and accept that Jesus Christ died for your sins, can have the most liberating effect.

Humbling is the reality that there are some things that one can not do for self. To realize that you can not change the condition of your own soul is humbling. It not only frees one from the bondage related to sinful habits and lifestyle choices, but it also frees one to be completely honest with God about areas of one's life that need to change for the better.  It is in this, that the heaviness of one's heart is no long a weight to carry, but is left at the foot of the Cross.

Surrendering to God means letting go of the facade that everything is alright and the spiritual heaviness of all of the distortion caused by sin. To need God, to seek after God means that you don't have to live outwardly appearing to be OK, but internally knowing you are a mess.  God is the mender of broken hearts.