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Showing posts from 2021

Values as Pets

Everyone has a pet value. We feed it and fiercely protect it against other pet values, which often bark or sniff or growl. We take it around on a leash and hope others will admire it or pet it or appreciate it. And we believe that in a pet show, our value would win the others. There's the pet Goodness also known as glory. This pet demands that everything be done with excellence. No half-baked attempts. No sub-par achievements. Everything must be good or else prove they're progressing towards goodness. This pet usually barks at mistakes or anything that doesn't look perfect.  There's the pet Peace also known as inner equilibrium or contentment. This sort doesn't let circumstances or emotions disturb them. Nothing gets to them or moves them. This pet will run and hide from obligation or confrontations. Then there's Foresight also known as trust or loyalty. This pet maps out the daily route and considers every conceivable possibility. Their certainty and loyalty re

"I Can and I Will!"

I was rewatching the British Baking Show Season 3's final episode when Nadiya Hussain wins. She is holding her bouquet and cake-stand trophy, and in between tears she says, "I'm never ever going to put boundaries on myself ever again. I'm never going to say, I can't do it. I'm never going to say maybe. I'm never gonna say I don't think I can. I can and I will." Nadiya now has her own Netflix show called Nadiya Bakes.  I imagine winning the bake-off gave her lots of confidence. That prize in her hands, the judges' decision, and a host of spectators were witnesses to it. She won! I wonder. If I had someone declare I had won a writing contest, would I be more willing to put myself out there. If I won Mother-of-the-Year (hahahaha!), would I be a more confident mother? What if I won the Trophy of Selflessness, could I then love with no strings attached, give without running dry, listen without judging, care without worrying about myself? Could my lo

Answering the Lies II

You posted watchmen at every gate, determined to mark the enemy before he marked you. Those cinematic sins wouldn't get past your gates, not while your watchmen stoically stood by keeping out drug addiction and adultery, bigotry and sexism, wastefulness and homelessness. But the Devil is no amateur adversary. He brought no battering rams or siege towers. No, he knew your blind spots, and subterfuge was his game. With only the subtlest of suggestions, he means to collapse the whole city. But you are not without a helper. So to the one berating herself on her weak show of faith, who feels the strain of demanding more and more of herself. To the one who knows that serving Christ should bring her joy but feels nothing but drudgery. Who wants to enjoy a hobby or dessert or TV show, but who can't sit down for fear that she's acting selfishly. "You should be doing better," the lies say. "You should do more." Answer with truth. "You are a sheep. You are not

Silver Plating Our Motives

I know of no other sure-fire way of silver plating our motives than to attach the golden rule to them. You see, if I can show that what I want to do is for others and not myself, then certainly no one can find fault with me. In fact, I think we do all manner of mental gymnastics to convince ourselves that we're acting for other's good; therefore, we can proceed as passion desires. Unfortunately, or rather fortunately, God knows what is under that silver plating and is not fooled by our tomfoolery. He sees through us when we serve in the hopes of being repaid, quite literally doing to others in the hopes that others will return the favor. He's not taken in when we say we don't want to hurt our witness when in fact we're really managing our self image. He knows when we project ourselves onto others, believing them to be just like us and thus failing to actually see them or understand their pains. And God knows exactly what we're up to when we sacrifice ourselves f

The Many Faces of Facebook

Facebook is an invention. And like all inventions—such as the microscope, car or gun—it is not innately evil. It is the people that misuse Facebook who seem to make the invention evil. Sinners twist good things to make them serve themselves in ways they weren't meant to be used. This twisting can deform an invention so badly that some people feel they must stop using it altogether because it has become a vehicle for hurt or fear or anger. However, even if Facebook is predominately used by sinners, it can still be a great blessing to others. Here are some ways it can be used well.  Announcements : We just had a baby! We are grieved to say that my grandma passed away. We have moved. We are back from India! I will be off Facebook for a bit. I lost my cell phone; P.M. me your number. We're having a drive-by party tonight. Chickens for sale.  Proud Moments : Look how cute my baby is! I just won an award! My son is going to college! I just painted this room! Shared Delights:  Doesn&#

Are All Gifts Good?

About a year ago, I wanted to write a blog about how to give good gifts. It was going to explain how gift giving takes time and consideration. It probably would've been true, but the heart behind it was not right. The heart behind it was resentment at others for not giving me exactly what I wanted. I was convinced that gift giving was about considering the other person, namely, me!  I don't agree with myself anymore. Gift giving, just like communicating with words, spoken or written, is a two part interaction. There's the speaker and the listener. There's the writer and the reader. There's the giver and the receiver. Giving is equally about both parties. The giver gives to communicate delight in some form. People might give to bring another person delight. People might give because they're delighted in the abundance that they have. They might delight in the sheer act of giving or in a particular item. I've felt this way after reading a great book. I just hav

Sacrificing for Others

"Collie Knox (a British author during WWII) tells how once a well-loved chaplain said to him, 'Young Knox, don't make an agony of your religion.' It was said of Burns (Robert Burns, I assume) that he was haunted rather than helped by his religion. The Orthodox Jews had an idea—not altogether dead—that a man was not being religious unless he was being uncomfortable." (William Barclay,  The Daily Study Bible: The Gospel of Luke. ) Do you ever feel like you're not suffering enough to be considered a good Christian? Every once in awhile I start feeling guilty about having so many modern conveniences or being able to stay home with my children while Philip, my husband, works or for writing my fictitious novel instead of cleaning the house or for being too relaxed about COVID regulations or for not doing more things for/with my children. In response to the guilt, I often resolve to make more sacrifices to compensate for my "good times." It's a ridiculo

Words of Comfort For When I Get COVID or Am Afraid

“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert."  (Isaiah 43:18-19 ESV) “Be not afraid: for I have redeemed you; Be not afraid: I have called you by name. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; when you walk through the floods; they will not sweep o'er you; when you pass through the fire, you'll not be consumed; You are mine, you are precious in my sight."  (Craig Courtney  Be Not Afraid ) "Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you, I give men in return for you, peoples in exchange for your life."  (Isaiah 43:4 ESV) "Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.

Can Something be Finished Already?

Can something please be finished? Like the painting on my house? Or the 5 freeway? Or the reminders to hang up wet towels after baths? Hang up the dang towels! Why are we still having to review this? We've been here before, people. And, Lord, can people just stop doing the same stupid things? I feel like I'm on a nauseating merry-go-round. And while you're at it, can you be done with me too? Why do we have to keep visiting these places? More upsetting things! More offensive people!  More circumstances not quite in line with my ideals! More, more, more . . .  How about just completing one fruit of the Spirit in me? That'd be nice. And why does the style of pants have to change again? And my computer's operating system? And COVID regulations? And people's boundaries? And my children's needs? Can something please be unchangeable So I may rely on it for good? Don't say anything, Lord. I know what you're going to say. But why do you do this to us? Are you

Day of Solitude Testimony GHFC

I got out last January’s journal to see what I’d written for the day of solitude last year and found that all I wrote was “At home the noise in my head quiets in 5 minutes. Today at the day of solitude, it didn’t. Why?” Having a noisy mind is part of how I see sin’s curse played out in me. I mentally take apart and analyze everything into manageable bite-sized pieces so that I can safely decide how to act next. This comes from believing I’m solely responsible for protecting myself and understanding the world. And it makes for a lot of mental chatter. At the Day of Solitude I recall reporting this to, I think it was Anita Finely. And Anita replied that she thought this had happened because I wasn’t desperate for peace here like I usually am at home. At the day of Solitude I had 8 or so hours of uninterrupted time. At home I have 15 minutes, maybe an hour and a half of probably-interrupted alone time. At home I’m desperate for it. But coming to the Day of Solitude desperate for some ment