How long has it been since you prayed for your children? Your grandchildren? The children in your neighborhood? America’s children?
How long has it been since you’ve realized God answered your prayers?
How long has it been since you’ve prayed for God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven?
“So,” you ask, “…what’s the big deal about praying that old rote sentence about God’s will? That’s just rhetoric—right?
Well, millions of school children prayed that prayer every morning in public schools—for generations. And America prospered. While children were schooled in the Word and in the faith of their fathers. But that part of their schooling has been snatched away and we are reaping the consequences of mocking God.
Children now play act in public school about being a Muslim. And we allow them to be taught about Islam, but not Christianity. Can that in any way be construed as God’s will?
Several generations of public school children now suffer from a void of God’s Word and His name being totally removed from our educational system. And your tax dollars fund what has filled that void.
I wonder if the parents of the young lady who was gang raped on that Pensacola Beach during Spring Break 2015—that they paid for—are suffering from a massive attack of the if onlys this morning? Or how about those who suffered multiple gun shot wounds on that same beach? These parents don’t get a do-over and their kids’ lives are forever changed, perhaps forever ruined.
Drug dealers, thugs, and vermin of every nature and description weave themselves among our children, in public schools, and we sit—doing nothing! Folks, the foxes are in the school house gobbling up our little chickens. Do you think that’s God’s will?
1 Peter 4:1 tells us:
“…he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.”
There’s nothing like a huge dose of realities consequences to capture one’s attention. And that works if the kid, the parent, or responsible adult has any knowledge of Truth. But what if they don’t?
If we don’t stand up and speak the truth of God’s Word, we are as guilty as those who perpetrate evil.
I have prayed for the past number of years for God to raise up men of His own choosing. Godly men like the men of Issachar. Men “…who had an understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do” (1 Chronicles 12:32 NKJV). If we look at the nation of Ancient Israel we should feel a very close kindred ’cause we’re doing the same stupid, evil stuff they were doing.
Israel turned their backs to God’s instruction for them to be a holy nation. They determined to be like the world around them. For goodness sake, they even brought false gods into the temple and tried to blend these idols with their worship of Jehovah.
And here’s how it worked for them.
God sent sufferings on His people—floods, famine, disease, captivity—to turn their hearts back to Him. But, they were stubborn and stiff-necked—just like us. However, when they finally humbled themselves and cried to God—in His mercy, He delivered them.
As I prayed the other day, pleading for our children and our nation, it occurred to me God has answered my prayer. And in places of authority on the national scene, He has raised up godly men. Men unafraid to proclaim the truth of His name. Men who stand ready to lead this nation back from the brink of disaster, back to the foundations America was built upon. Just like those men of Issachar. Wise men. Courageous men. Godly men.
The question we must each ask ourselves is the same question Israel had to answer—do we really trust the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob? Or will we continue leaning to our own understanding?
I’ve heard comments like “He could never win. He’s too conservative.” Or “I don’t want to waste my vote on someone who can’t draw the independent or liberal voter.” “To have any chance of winning, we have to have a middle-of-the-road guy.” I’m sure you’ve either heard or maybe even said those words.
Yet, correct me if I’m wrong, “God + you = A majority.
In all but two elections in my lifetime, I’ve always voted against someone rather than vote for someone.
How long has it been since you’ve voted for a candidate?
God has provided several men Christians could vote for in 2016. But you and me, we get to choose. Like God waited for Israel, could He be waiting to see if Christians have had enough heartache and lies, enough corruption, enough lawlessness?
Are we ready, regardless what others say, to repent, return, and stand firm in God’s Truth?
Many good Christian people chose not to vote last time because of their limited choices. Do you realize when you refuse to vote you give the other party two votes—yours and theirs?
You may not like my words this morning, you may choose to punch delete and dismiss them from your mind. But I know, according to His Word and His character, if we hide in the shadows evil will overtake this land I love and God will judge America and just like Israel, we don’t get to choose His course of judgment.
I believe these men of godly principles have been led to sacrifice themselves to lead this nation. And they well may be our last hope. You hold America’s future in your hands.
Will you vote according to your faith or your skewed understanding? God moves when His people pray and determine to act with courage and stand firm in Him.
How long has it been since you prayed for your children? Your grandchildren? The children in your neighborhood? America’s children?
Which do you choose?
And where do these words come from?
And where do these conversations take place?
From you. Just you. In your mind and in your heart.
Yep, the person you converse with the most is you. And what you tell yourself is the prime suspect or super star of your day—your life.
Trust me, I’m not crazy nor did this statement originate with me. Think about what’s going on in your mind right this moment. From the moment your eyelids pop open in the morning. Every day. All day. For better. For worse. In sickness and in health. As long as you live.
What’s the tone of your internal conversations? Hammering, yammering words or comforting conversation? Probably words that run the gambit of emotions and topics and knowledge. And some of the stuff we tell ourselves is just plain wrong. Even stupid and pointless. Maybe even cruel. Right?
Is it any wonder God told us:
“…casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ…” (2 Corinthians 10:5 NKJV).
Ever argue with yourself? Sure you have. So have I. So has everyone else on the planet. Where do these thoughts, sometimes absurd thoughts, come from? Ah-ha, I’m glad you asked.
Only two sources—Either from the Lord God Almighty, through the power of His Spirit, or from the enemy of your soul, The devil himself. Lucifer. I heard Bill Gilham say: “Satan speaks to you in first person singular, with a southern accent.” Cute and catchy phrase, right? But, oh so true.
There is a battle raging inside, outside, upside down in this world and our hearts and souls are the prize.
Have you ever stood in front of the mirror and watched the internal script crawling across your neck line? “I’m so ugly. Inside and out. My nose is a pointed catastrophe. And my hair is stringy. Why would anybody want anything to do with me? How could God love me? I’m so hateful. That’s why I feel so bad—He doesn’t. Look at my life. If He loved me I’d be______________” You fill in the blank.
Would those thoughts come from The Lord God who created you and said you were very good? He made you in His image and fitted you together in your mother’s womb. Numbered your hairs and your days before you were born—and you think He’d put those thoughts in your mind? Of course not. He loves you and promises He will never leave you.
But God’s enemy is set on destroying everything God loves and you, beloved, are in the center of God’s love (whether you believe it or not) and consequently, in the middle of Satan’s bulls-eye. And those words are the first person singular, with a southern accent arsenal of fiery darts the serpent of old flings in a constant barrage against you and against me.
Our Father in heaven didn’t leave us defenseless, he instructed us to freeze-frame our every thought. Dissect those suckers. Determine their origin. Decide if they’re truth or lies. Then accept God’s truth and toss Satan’s lies on the garbage heap.
Of course, our mirror haranguing is a simple illustration, while other disturbing and dangerous thoughts march like assault soldiers through our minds each day. Some thoughts we pay no attention to ’til the path of their tracks is so embedded in our thought processes that depression or worse cloud our thinking.
But it’s never too late to chase ’em down and hogtie ’em. And that’s exactly what Jesus tells us to do isn’t it? Hogtie ’em! Disable them. Refuse to accept enemy lies. Kick ’em to the curb. Repair the deceived and desecrated terrain in your heart and mind with God’s truth. Then—guard your heart.
“My son, give attention to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your sight; keep them in the midst of your heart. For they are life to those who find them, and health to all their whole body. Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life” (Proverbs 4:20-23 NAS).
What yammering thoughts march machete style through your mind today? Advancing with steel blades drawn, stabbing pain in your heart, while other mind- marching-soldiers slice and dice those in your path. While a myriad of troublesome thoughts lodge and fester in those dark crevices, preventing you from experiencing the peace and comfort of our Lord Jesus.
“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds…” (2 Corinthians 10:3-4 NKJV).
Satan has no new tricks. Why should he bother? We keep falling for his old ones.
But Jesus promises His peace. However, we are housekeeping servants, responsible for keeping our minds from becoming garbage heaps, whether we’re suffering or smiling. And that means whatever our circumstances, we are to pull down the stinky stuff hanging in the closets of our life, toss out rotten leftovers, and refuse to live in a dumpster-diving mentality.
Jesus gives us the step-by-step remedy.
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say rejoice! Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worth of praise, let your mind dwell on these things” (Philippians 4:4-8 NAS).
What’s your mind dwelling on right this moment? Does it meet the Philippians 4:8 sniff test? If not, the Sword of the Spirit can change that you know—yammering words or continual comforting conversation with your Lord—your choice!
The past few weeks a battle raged in my mind and heart—God is either sovereign or He’s not. There’s no middle ground. His sovereignty doesn’t bend in light of my circumstances.
And the battle alarm sounded with Paul’s first troublesome words in Romans 13. Words that stormed the siege line I’d erected in my mind and heart concerning the state of America and the current administration.
God says: “Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore he who resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves”(Romans 13:1-2 NAS).
And I said, “Yeah, but God…” and during this three week battle I’ve come to understand when I say, “But God…,” I’m take-to-the-bank doubting Him and I’m wrong.
Those of you who follow my blog know I’ve been out-spoken at best and slanderous at worst, of this administration and all they have done in our country these past years. The Holy Spirit brought to mind God’s Words from Isaiah 45:5-7:
“I am the Lord, and there is no other; besides Me there is no God. I will gird you, though you have not known Me; that men may know from the rising to the setting of the sun that there is no one besides Me. I am the Lord, and there is no other, the One forming light and creating darkness, causing well-being and creating calamity; I am the Lord who does all these.”
And I heard, “Do you believe I’m in control?” “Yes God, I believe you. But America’s coming apart at the seams. The world is on fire with so many evils and they are spreading. Am I just supposed to sit here and do nothing?”
“Is it not I, the Lord? And there is no other God besides Me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none except Me. Turn to Me, and be saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other. I have sworn by Myself, the word has gone forth from My mouth in righteousness and will not turn back, that to Me every knee will bow, every tongue will swear allegiance. They will say of Me, ‘Only in the Lord are righteousness and strength’” (Isaiah 45:21-14 NAS).
“Yeah, but God, aren’t we supposed to stand against evil? Aren’t we supposed to point it out to the folks? Aren’t we supposed to fight?” And that voice in my heart led me to finally tear up my last tirade about the evils we’ve allowed to exist and I wrote the blog last week about what I am—what you are—called to do. Follow our Lord’s command to “Go and make disciples, teaching them to follow all things whatsoever I have commanded you and, lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
And we can’t and haven’t fulfilled that command if we’re “…not depending on Him who made it, nor did you(me) take into consideration Him who planned it long ago” (Isaiah 22:11b NAS). Especially when we abhor what’s going on.
So from Romans 13 are we to conclude God appointed Obama to be president of America? What do you think? If so, why? And so went the struggle ‘til I surrendered my need to fight—to control—to condemn, and I crowned the Lord God and His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, Sovereign King over all of my life.
“The Lord of hosts has sworn saying, “surely, just as I have intended so it has happened, and just as I have planned so it will stand…this is the plan devised against the whole earth; and this is the hand that is stretched out against all the nations. For the Lord of hosts has planned, and who can frustrate it? And as for His stretched-out hand, who can turn it back?” (Isaiah 14:24, 26-27 NAS).
When we look at the marvelous order in all of His creation, could we agree His decisions, actions, and judgments all have purpose, according to His plan?
“Remember this, and be assured; recall it to mind, you transgressors. Remember the former things long past, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things which have not been done, saying, ‘My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure’; calling a bird of prey from the east, the man of My purpose from a far country. Truly I have spoken; truly I will bring it to pass. I have planned it, surely I will do it.”
Did the Lord God give any clue why He sent Nebuchadnezzar to take Judah captive? Or Assyria to conquer Israel? Or why He created the calamities He spoke of in Isaiah, or the ones occurring today? Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel headlined those years—long before, during, and after the sieges and captivities. I’d like to hear your thoughts, in light of scripture, and we’ll talk more about this next week.
“The preparations of the heart belong to man. But the answer of the tongue is from the Lord. All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the Lord weights the spirits. Commit your works to the Lord, and your thoughts will be established. The Lord has made all for Himself. Yes, even the wicked for the day of doom. Everyone proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord; though they join forces, none will go unpunished. In mercy and truth atonement is provided for iniquity; and by the fear of the Lord one departs from evil. When a man’s ways please the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him” (Proverbs 16:1-7 NAS). Listen to Me, you stubborn-minded, who are far from righteousness. I bring near My righteousness, it is not far off; and My salvation will not delay. And I will grant salvation in Zion, and My glory for Israel” (Isaiah 46:8-13 NAS).
Left to ourselves, beginnings are reliable predictors of endings. But God is”… not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9b). He sends no one to hell. But we often forecast our own ending by our beginning. So be sure your directions come from someone who knows where they are going—lest you find yourself lost in the quagmire of a maze and cannot extract yourself.
GOD SAID: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth;… and the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said let there be light and God saw the light that it was good. And God divided the light from the darkness, and God called the light day and the darkness He called night. And evening and morning were the first day.” On the second day God said, “let there be a firmament, and He divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.” And for three more days He created the dry land, the Seas, grass, herb yielding seed, fruit trees yielding fruit, the sun, moon, and stars, birds, fish, living creatures…everything needed to sustain life on this earth. And God called all of it good. By the Word of His mouth, on the sixth day, God brought forth creatures after his kind, cattle and creeping things…and it was so. Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion…So God created male and female in His own image and He blessed them and told them to multiply and replenish the earth and subdue it.” And God saw all He had made and, behold, it was very good. And on the seventh day God ended his work and rested and He blessed the seventh day and sanctified it.
ENTER THE SERPENT WHO SAID: “ Yea, hath God said….?” And from that point on the serpent still asks every man, woman, boy and girl, “…hath God said…?”
EVE REPLIED: “We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.”
AND THE SERPENT COUNTERED: “Ye shall not surely die, for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods.”
EVE SAW: …that the tree was good for food, and pleasant to the eyes, and she did eat and gave some to her husband. And he gobbled what she gave him. In spite of God’s instructions.
AND WE SAY: God couldn’t have possibly created this whole earth and everything in it in a week. “Did God really say six days?” So in this age of enlightenment, scientists, preachers, educators and scholars have set out to prove God wrong. Many theories have been pursued over the centuries and in this 20th Century, those created beings have decided we weren’t created—we evolved. Really? Many have gone so far as to say, “God is dead.” Or there is no creator, we evolved from a tiny, single slush pool of slime that multiplied for billions of years. And many Christians, caught in the middle of this battle for the heart and mind—not willing to take God at His Word—choose to blend the truth with the lie and proclaim those six days of creation must have actually been the multiplied thousands and billions of years of evolution and, like Eve they believe Satan’s lie. Is it easier to believe a lie rather than believe the truth? Look around you—is it really easier? A lie + A lie + A lie = More lies. This equation always ends with the same answer—a lie. Same answer, just multiples of how many lies have built the foundation you’re hedging your bets on. But God’s Truth never changes. It is His yesterday, today, and forever Truth. Shame on us! We’ve allowed lies from that serpent of old and those who refuse God’s truth to smear and sear the hearts and minds of our children so they are taught and now believe there is no absolute Truth. But. No. More.
The God of all creation addresses that error in the first Chapter of Romans: “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath showed it unto them. For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse, because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful, but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened” (Romans 1:18-21 KJV). I live in the black land of east Texas, a geographical area where the ground heaves and splits, depending on conditions of heat and moisture in the soil. Imagine the ordeal of building a proper house with a solid foundation or roads on ground that always shifts. The only hope for a relatively stable foundation lies in the home owner’s ability to keep the soil around the foundation moist. Or just the right amount of rain. Not too wet, not too dry—just right—and that part of right is always a guessing game. The roads? Well, East Texans get used to bumps and potholes and road repair.
In the same way, we live in the black land of a pagan world, where life heaves and splits. If your house (your life) is built on the Truth of the Word of God, the moisture of the Holy Spirit’s continual conversation, between you, the Lord Jesus, and God the Father, holds your house (your life) firm in the rock solid power of God’s hand.
Remember the song we sang as children? “The wise man built his house upon the Rock, and the rains came tumbling down. The rains came down and the floods came up.” What happened to the wise man’s house? “The house on the Rock stood firm.” And folks, God’s Rock is Jesus! Albeit, the foolish man’s house—built on sand—in the midst of the storm, went SPLAT!
God’s Word is not a Sunday pick-and-choose buffet. It’s God’s forever Truth answering the who, what, when and whys of your life. Truth preserved from ancient times—eternal truth. Is it any wonder the world, perhaps even your family, and your life seem to be going splat? Perhaps you need to reassess what you are hanging your eternal destiny on and return to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, accepting the fact God doesn’t need to tell you everything—there are secret things belonging only to Him (Deuteronomy 29:29). And like Adam, Eve, Abraham, and everyone since that time, to be His adopted child, He requires you trust Him.
“For we are saved by hope; but, hope that is seen is not hope. For what a man seeth, whydoth he yet hope for?” (Romans 8:24 KJV). “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrew12:1 KJV). “And Abraham believed in the LORD, and He counted it to him for righteousness” (Genesis 15:6 KJV) “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he that cometh to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6 KJV).
“…His voice shook the earth then, but now He has promised, saying, ‘Yet once more I will shake not only the earth, but also the heavens.’ And this expression, ‘Yet once more,’ denotes the removing of those things which can be shaken, as of created things, in order that those things which cannot be shaken may remain” (Hebrews 12:26-27 NAS).
The alarm clock beeped and I rolled over, filled with good intentions to accomplish so many things this morning. Then the phone rang, my email inbox burped indigestion, and something on FaceBook caught my eye before I realized it was 10:45 a.m. I hadn’t eaten breakfast and was still in my jammies. And the morning was almost over.
My plans for the day shaken, but not lost. I could still catch up. Maybe. If I could just stay focused.
How many days do you struggle with this same jumble of junk? And the junk pile seems to grow babies every day.
Until I stopped reread Hebrews 12:1-2, that God brought to my attention yesterday.
“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith…”
Jesus knew He had a job to do. He would only be on this earth a short time. His assignment was clear and at the appointed time He would be reunited with His Father. So He kept His eyes on the goal and His assignment from God—not on the circumstances of His physical surroundings.
The clock ticked off each minute—the crowds, the miracles, those horrendous hours in the garden, Judas’ betraying kiss, standing before Pilate, before Herod—the stripping—the scourging—the mocking. The cries of the crowd who had praised Him, now eager to crucify Him. The weight of the cross. The piercing pain of the nails. Shredded skin, hemorrhaging blood, drowning in the shame and sins of the ages.
Yet Jesus looked beyond those hours to the joy God promised Him, before the foundation of the world, and He endured the cross, the separation, the fires of hell to lead captives free, and just as the Father promised, He heard His Father’s command Arise My Son! And Jesus sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Unshaken. Right now and for all eternity.
How about you and me? Do we stay focused on the mission God gave each one of us?
The writer of Hebrews tells us:
“…consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you may not grow weary and lose heart” (Hebrews 12:3 NAS).
And I must admit, I’ve grown weary this week. Weary and aggravated. I’ve struggled with writing this week’s blog in light of all that is going on in our nation and around the world. Until I opened my Bible and read this 12th Chapter of Hebrews.
“You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin; and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons, “My son do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor faint when you are reproved by Him; for those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, and He scourges every son whom He receives. It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline…then you are illegitimate children and not sons” (Hebrews 12:4-8 NAS).
And my whining and ranting over our trampled Constitution, the lawlessness all over the world and here at home faded—in light of the mission. My mission. Your mission.
Things were basically in the same shape we are in today when Hebrews was penned. Lawlessness, rogue governments, evil hearts—when God, at the appointed time, sent Jesus. But thank God, unlike us, Jesus stayed focused.
And with this week of war in my spirit, God’s discipline has reproved my heart, my mind, and my mouth. Oh that I would be quicker to listen, slower to speak, and always ready to surrender my will to His will.
How about you?
Read these final words of Hebrews 12.
“But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, to the general assembly and church of the first-born who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel. See to it that you do not refuse Him who is speaking. For if those did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less shall we escape who turn away from Him who warns from heaven.
Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:22-25; 28-29 NAS).
And like Jesus, for the joy set before us—focus on the mission. So when the shaking on earth really begins we will stand firm in the assembly of the first-born.
Come quickly, Lord Jesus!
I braked the car just shy of the entering lane of traffic, waiting for a lady to back out so I could park in her space. Another car turned into this entrance lane, so I pulled forward indicating I had been waiting for the space.
The young man in the flashy sports car entering Chick-Fil-A’s parking lot inched closer.
I inched closer.
He refused to glance my way and as the lady pulled away, this hip young man gave his car the gas and zipped into the space. Hanging in the air between us, his inference I am king—you are nothing.
His rudeness normally wouldn’t have gotten under my skin, but Texas weather had been less than pleasant the past few weeks. With ice and snow on the ground and a chilling wind blowing, this space was closest to the door of the restaurant.
I murmured, pulled around the building to another vacant spot, gathered my purse and coat, and groused all the way into the building.
But he was not inside.
I looked out the window to see he had vacated the sought after spot and was leaving the parking lot.
My brain shifted to mental lecture concerning his selfish lack of consideration for others. After all, I was his senior by many years.
And God’s Spirit whispered, How many times have you been so self-absorbed you didn’t pay any attention to those around you? How many times have you shoved your way to the front of the line to get the best spot?
“But God,” was out of my mind’s mouth, when the truth of the Spirit’s words convicted my heart.
Yes, we’ve all allowed ourselves to be anesthetized by a me first way of life, so caught up in our own plans we don’t stop to assess someone else’s turn. Someone else’s needs. Someone else’s plight.
Jesus instructed, “Love thy neighbor as thyself”(Matthew 5:43, 19:19, Mark 12:31 NKJV).
What does that kinda love look like to you?
When I’m hungry, I like to eat. When I’m tired, I relish the comfort of my bed. When I’m lonely, I need a friend who will listen and care. If I’m wounded or troubled, I need help. During a storm, I need shelter. And all of the time I need Jesus.
’Cause I’m guilty of neglect. Guilty of failing to exhibit love and concern for those about me. Guilty of disobeying our Lord by displaying a me first attitude.
You get the picture.
But these attitudes begin in the heart; and God’s goodness can’t be imitated without the presence of God’s indwelling Holy Spirit.
Always conscious of the needs of people around Him, when the woman with the issue of blood barely touched the hem of Jesus’ garment, He was aware she touched Him.
Think about the scene—crowds surrounded Him from morning ’til night. He had to have been jostled and bumped and tired. But The Spirit discerned this woman’s desperate need and Jesus stopped to focus on her needs, her separation from God, and He healed her.
“Yeah,” you say. “…but He’s God.” Scripture tells us we are to be conformed to His image. In simple English, we are to grow up and act like Him.
Is it any wonder folks are bailing out of churches? Why should people want to be associated with us? We’re just like ’em, only worse—because we purport to be Christ followers.
And therein lies the problem. Our priorities are out of order and many within the church are deceived and calloused to God’s absolute truth. Shouldn’t those of us who claim the name of Jesus be different?
The same afternoon of the Chick-Fil-A incident, I listened to a report on Fox News about a mother who it seems has murdered her baby. A liberal young woman reporter, discussing the matter with Sheppard Smith, uttered this anguishing cry, “How could a mother kill her own baby?”
We’ve allowed this generation to be taught It’s not a baby, it’s a blob. And with a swoop of the sword of their pens, federal judges have slashed and shredded what God’s truth told us from the beginning—Life begins before and during conception.
“Your eyes saw my substance being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written. The days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them” (Psalm 139:16 KJV).
Men and women have legally killed their babies since that fateful Rowe v. Wade decision and over 55 million babies have been murdered since 1973. And those who think they’re king have made abortion legal and normal in our generation.
Why should we be surprised when families rupture? When evil pervades this polluted nation. And when God’s word of judgment becomes our reality?
Now battles rage over another of God’s truths—Marriage is between a man and a woman. And federal judges stand with swords drawn and ready to continue slicing and dicing the Word of God and the fabric this nation was molded upon.
But again, these issues begin and end in our hearts.
And should Jesus tarry, I’m afraid the heart and mind of this period in history will best be remembered by the lie—I am king—you are nothing. Which retorts a truth many are too prideful to comprehend, but will spend eternity regretting—then you are king of nothing.
“And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing” (1 Corinthians 13:2-3 NKJV).
I pulled on my boots, checked my image in the mirror—White peasant blouse and skinny jeans. Lookin’ good, girl. Reached for my camera and was ready to Rodeo!
We arrived at the Rockdale Rodeo Arena, and I scanned the arena for a place to perch and shoot some great action shots of the TRA Championship Rodeo. Now these rodeos aren’t like the rodeos held in huge sports facilities. No, these rodeos allow a person to get up close and personal with the participants. And the stock.
No concrete walls, iron bars, or cushioned seats. Nope. It’s exciting. Tension thick enough to slice, and the aroma of everything fried saturates the air.
The cowboys and girls are stunning in their rhinestone-and-fringe-rodeo-finest while the music blares western.
On the other side of the arena, I spied an old field judge’s platform and seat on top of a chain link fence, next to an empty cow pen. My husband, Richard, walked over and helped me up into the ringside seat and I’m thrilled giddy with this unobstructed view of the action.
I pulled my camera out and tossed the case down to my husband, who patiently waited below me in the vacant pen. Now if Dick had to choose, Friday night rodeo would not be on his short list. Especially since cricket season was in full swing and they crawled and flew in and out of everything like a plague of locusts.
The grand entry paraded all the contestants and horses around the inside of the arena for cheers and pictures. Then we moved onto the serious stuff. With my camera focused and ready, I captured action shots of team roping and barrel racing.
“Just one more event, honey. Please?”
The P.A. system crackled and the voice announced, “Next up—bull ridin’.”
“Sure honey, but I’ll be fine up here. There’s a big puddle of water down in front of me and the bull can’t run through the chain link. Right?”
“Like it wasn’t even there.” He reached up to give me a hand down.
But I brushed off his request. “I’ll just get one or two shots, then I’ll come down. Okay?”
The announcer drowned Dick’s comment as he called the cowboy’s name, but the only name I remember to this day is Booger Daddy.
I focused on the chute where the cowboys had the rope taunt and ready to pull the gate open. The chute where all the clanging and banging racket originated. Booger Daddy obviously didn’t have the personality of his distant cousin, Ferdinand.
The gate swung open. Booger Daddy charged out, bucked and went into a full body spin. The cowboy left the bull’s back and the clowns went into action. And I snapped the shutter fast as my finger would click.
‘Til I blinked and realized as I looked through my lens, Booger Daddy was glaring right back at me. He pawed the ground with first one hoof, then the other. Snot poured from his nose like a busted fire hydrant. A ton of hamburger-on-the-hoof and a half-mile-wide.
Booger Daddy lowered his head and went from zero to sixty with me in his bulls-eye. The sound of his hooves pounding the ground echoed in my ears.
I jumped up and my mouth opened to scream. Nothing came out, but a zillion crickets flew in as a pick-up man wheeled his Paint into action and galloped to save this foolish photographer whose feet were planted like cement on this not-too-sturdy wooden platform just above the bulls’ horns.
And yes, your life does flash in front of you.
Booger Daddy and my cowboy prince arrived in orchestrated unison from opposite directions—the cowboy next to the fence galloping one way through the mud puddle, and the bull charging the other way, also through the puddle of liquid nasty.
And my pretty, white, peasant blouse, my magnificent camera, boots, and jeans were splatted, splattered, and coated with yucky Texas muck.
When reality struck I was still alive, unharmed, and standing, I heard Dick’s voice, “Are you ready to come down now?” Though the pitch of his tone said something entirely different.
Climbing down off an eight foot chain link fence with noodles for legs, feeling like a disobedient child was nothing short of a miracle.
Dick offered his hand to steady me and took my camera with his other one. “Well, did ya get a shot of Booger Daddy up close and personal?”
I looked at his face for any sign of snarky, but found nothing but concern. “I’m done for the night,” I whispered and headed for the car.
Now what do you suppose I learned from this sour pickle moment?
I should have listened to my husband? Right.
From the beginning God gave the line of authority to Adam. You see, Eve was deceived. But Adam disobeyed.
Contrary to those ‘60’s songs, I am woman hear me roar, roaring is not God’s plan for our lives, ladies. But we’ve been deceived and bought the lie. God’s plan is order in the home, in the church, and in our nation. And it’s take-to-the-bank-certain there will be order in heaven.
God set husbands as head of the home. No, it’s not the I am king you are nothing mantra, it’s a line of accountability. The chain of command. God is the head of the home. When He’s not—look around you to see what happens.
Our Lord God appointed our husbands to protect us, to shield us, to love us. When we refuse to listen, we remove ourselves from the protection of his care. And divorce courts are full of the wreckage of these chaotic families.
It’s been a hard lesson for me to learn, being that ‘60’s girl who knew God’s way is always best, but pride in me wanted control. And this was one of those p.j. moments, staring down the horns of a charging bull, knowing I was not in control of anything. Especially myself.
So yep, now when my husband tells me to do something, I do it!
Has your husband ever asked, demanded or suggested you abandon an activity and you refused? What was the outcome of your failure to heed his wisdom?
Well, I’ve learned the hard way—never, never, never sit on top of a chain link fence when Booger Daddy’s the first bull out the chute.
“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit. A broken and a contrite heart—These, O God, You will not despise” (Psalm 51:17 NKJV).
Photos of Texas Youth Rodeos by Nelda Blassingame