The Really Bad Day and Sin’s Stench

 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.

Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God…

1 John 3:1, 21

I should have known it was going to be a bad day. 
You know the kind of day you get just after you are so 
tickled full of God moments 
that you  fail to see the writing on the wall… 
that Satan wrote that very morning because he was so annoyed with your joy. 
The plotting that took place while you were busy recording 
all of the awesomeness of God and then you figure
 there is enough grace to spill over from yesterday to today and
 the teeniest of sinful attitude sneaks right by without you even aware.
 It’s small. 
Sadly sublime.
 You move on through the day and feel one droplet of joy, less. 
But, it’s OK, because you had such an amazing day yesterday 
that you did not realize you left your Spiritual Armour 
by your bedside and overlooked clothing yourself in love.
 Because well, yesterday was so good, it will count into today. 
The enemy smirks as He knows he just might be able to rob you blind, 
before you realize your mistakes. 
Then the day carries you off on wheels and you are wondering if that brief prayer was really enough
because your joy hit the brakes just as your attitude took that sharp left turn…
and you start to look at those you love as enemies.
You ponder to yourself when they morphed.
Now you hold your tongue because you know it’s counted as wisdom.
But you’re dirty. 
It’s not even noon yet, and sin has soiled your day.
Confession takes a moment but your heart is hanging on to that
  One Thing
because it feels somehow good, even though you know deep down it’s wrong.
“You Know Who” is smiling,
and you are starting to feel
ever so less
Flesh is rank and its remnants surface… familiar.
The stench is bad but you are too busy justifying the whole stinkin’ business, now.
You are wondering where God is…because everything feels off.
Rationalization starts to get mentally creative as you are no longer present 
with your loved ones but standing at the edge of an abyss 
that beckons you come…
you look down peering long and hard and every dark thought
 that’s crossed your mind 
swims in the dismal sea bidding you to jump.
You look back, remembering His face-
grace holds you firm.
But you are walking a dangerous line.
Poison is running through your veins and
 the memory of His blood, 
is distant.
Sin’s venom can kill, or slowly deplete you of love, joy, peace.
Coldness seeps in where warmth lived. 
The angry words hit your face like a slap. 
You absorb them.
The lack of intimacy leads to disrespect and murder.
You die inside.
Every gesture a landmine.
Every response a loaded gun.
He makes everything new.
He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
Revelation 21:5
He forgives now.
“Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.”
Matthew 3:2
He is coming in the clouds.
Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him. So shall it be! Amen.
Revelation 1:7
The reason the Son of God appeared 
was to destroy the devil’s work.
1 John 3:8
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, 
hat whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, 
but to save the world through him. 
Whoever believes in him is not condemned, 
but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because 
he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
John 3:16-18
It takes one minute to turn back to the everlasting arms.
Be embraced by His grace.
He has promised.
“Never will I leave you;
    never will I forsake you.
Hebrews 13:5

Beholding Glory

The Dangers of Favoritism

My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don’t show favoritism.
James 2:1

I have seen again and again the damage done in Christian circles by those who call themselves followers but refuse to yield themselves to this verse. Parents, Teachers, Pastors, Youth Leaders and many others involved in ministry.
I have seen it in the church and outside of the church. Both believers and unbelievers are guilty of it.
Showing favoritism.
I have been guilty of it.
I have been the victim of it.
You have been. Your children have been.
Someone you love will be in the future.
We who claim the light must not walk in darkness but examine ourselves. 
I continue to seek God concerning this issue because it is such an insidious and offensive sin, 
especially within the Church. Now. 
Seems like a simple enough directive. But the heart is desperately wicked. We are so easily deceived. 
We are lured into comforts that God never desired for us with regard to our spiritual lives. If you think you do not show favoritism, then I want to ask you the last time you welcomed someone new into your life? Not just said “Hi”, in passing, but took a genuine interest in their lives. When was the last time you were inconvenienced by someone who didn’t meet up to your expectations of what a “Christian”, “good person”, “proper citizen”  should be? 
We want to abide in the Us and Them mentality that Christ himself condemns.
We want to talk about evangelism, study the Bible, 
argue theological points and give our testimonies on Sunday and Wednesday.
Instead of being a living testimony to the Truth every day.

Instead of letting grace ooze from our pores 24-7, we want to sit in small comfortable circles of like-minded individuals debating doctrine- instead of extending a courtesy to a newcomer or kindness to a stranger.
We want to see miracles and healing but not touch another’s leprosy.
We want to heap judgment on the nation, instead of prayers in a closet with tears
 for those who are blinded by lies.
How dare we.
How dare You.
How dare I.
Be outraged at the thought of favoritism. 
It is not Christlike.
It destroys testimony, it is Satan’s tool, it is ugly to a God who does NOT play favorites. 
Guard yourself wherever you with regard to this sin and watch how God 
opens your heart to those around you and blesses you.
Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. 
Mercy triumphs over judgment!

 My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back,  remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins.
James 5:19-20

Beholding Glory

Battling The Bathroom Bully {Spring In My Step Guest Post}

How is it that this one device should hold so much powerover us?
How could it be that we live in days where pride should be in a number 
on a scale instead of the integrity of the heart? 
I have asked these questions of myself as I have stood by the 
bully in the bathroom 
for decades with many people as a Personal Trainer and Fitness Consultant. 
I have watched this silent, but strong presence take hold of every shape, size and form and seize each equally with a fear which knows no prejudice. 
I have stood by women in tears as they attempt to approach that bully 
fearlessly and are brought to depths 
when they stand face to face with perceived uncooperative numbers…
to continue reading CLICK HERE
You can head over to my friend Barbie’s Place, where I weigh in with a few 
thoughts on dealing with the Bathroom Bully once and for all! 

The Dawning Of Grace

 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appearedhe saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior…
Titus 3:4-5
This morning I stepped out of my front door into the stream of sunlight that fell shadows across the frosty lawn. It made me think of His appearing and the verse that my Sunday School Boys are memorizing. 
But as I clicked away pictures of the sun peeking through the trees, I realized that I was most struck by the power of the shadows, long across the lawn. Then it dawned on me that I am most keenly aware of the power and presence of His light and presence when the shadows are stretching long in and around my life. 
Praise the appearance of His kindness and love in our Savoir Jesus Christ!
Have a Glorious Palm Sunday!
Barbie ‘s fresh brew of the day is served up HERE: 
I would love for you to join me for Fresh Brewed Sundays.  
This is where we share a scripture with just simple insight.  
No heavy words necessary.” 
Stop by and check out the variety of brews being served.

The ABC’s of Love (Part 3) The Long Shot

“Was that how it happened, hon?”
“Well, that’s how I remember it; do you remember it differently?”
“No, no. That’s not what I’m saying”
“Well, what are you saying? How do you remember it?”
How did we get here?

How did we get this far? 
Where did it begin, this never-ending story, that refuses to let go of me?
How did he and I become we?
How did we find each other, stay in each others lives;
never straying from the path of friendship?
And the most important question is when did it finally dawn on him and I 
that we could, should, would
 be more?
I confess marriage to me is an utterly horrifying prospect. Chalk that up to witnessing firsthand divorce up close and personal. I grew up watching a generation of divorcees find their way into the freedom that women’s liberation promised and a steady stream of the men who enjoyed the ride. Bottom line is I did not hold marriage in high regard. Nor men. Nor women, for that matter. I watched through the eyes of a child a masquerade of lies disguised as truth. I did not trust any of what I saw parade before my eyes. I did not want for it. The hope of it was crushed to me as a tender flower shooting up through a busy city sidewalk crack. 
Dramatic and tragic, I know. 
But God knows what He is doing. He allows nothing for nothing. He is not some “cosmic killjoy” who wants for us to suffer. But suffering is in the deck. In the end He uses every bit of our pain for His glory. And our good. This I know and believe. 
Now, how does a liberally raised, rebellious, outspoken, sarcastic wild child end up with a conservatively raised, soft-spoken, somewhat reserved, quiet young man?
That is the hilarity of God, my friends.
He has the most amazing sense of humor.
Sometimes I actually do not find it funny, but revealing.
Often I find it brings, light, laughter and healing;
as all good humor does.
If marriage were a race and I was a horse, I would say I was the Long Shot.
I wouldn’t bet on me.
I struggle. I fail. I don’t have it all down.
I am utterly helpless and not up to the task.
What seems small and incidental to you, makes me want to flee.
Run to the mountains, hard and fast.
Away from people.
Away from perceived cages I long to thrash out from,
 kicking down gates and running free. 
Our story is not perfect. 
Because I am not perfect.
It’s rough around the edges,
because I am rough around the edges.
The only thing I have going for me is a Faithful God who 
holds my reigns. One who smooths my edges, in His way and time.
And a patient husband.
My God is a redemptive God.
His ways are not my ways.
They are also not your ways.

One thing all I have seen has taught me is to be careful with conclusions.
Be gentle with others.
You never know what someone has seen, experienced, or been through.
There is always a part of the story you don’t have. 
Nobody gets a free ride in life.
We are not guaranteed the smooth course.
We all will face our share of challenges.

But before you place your bet or bank on the odds,
before you make a final judgement on the least likely;
before you draw that hasty conclusion, remember this:
The Long Shot belongs to God.
He knows the untold story. Every detail.
Each motive.
He knows all.
He is in it to win.
He gave it all for a love that would never lose.
You can bet on that sure thing.

I know I am.

One “very tough filly” : Ruffian – Her heart and spirit 
could not be contained. Still considered one of the greatest racehorses ever.
She stirred change for the better for her fellow Thoroughbreds.

Friends, I had not intended on writing these particular words, but there they are. 
God had other plans for my writing this day…
So if you will suffer me a little longer on this journey, I will share a bit more
of the “Love Story” in my next post. 

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