We all have a choice to believe in something, I choose to believe in God!

Friday, February 22, 2013


Religion finds people acting on their flesh when they allow themselves to read a passage and then act it out without the moving of the Holy Spirit. 

I give you this example: A man is lying in the gutters. You see him there and know that the Lord expects benevolence of you as well as it is in your heart to do. You've read the scriptures to love thy neighbor as thy self and not to send your neighbor away empty if you have it to give, and so you think on those verses. You decide you're going to give the man some money but something is tugging at you and you second guess the gesture. Without a whisper to the Lord or an inquiry to Him as to why you feel like you shouldn't give the man the money, you begin to reach for the $5 you have but then decide, "no..I'm giving him the $20." The tugging gets stronger and now you're sure there's something telling you not to give him that $20, just the $5. Nobody would ever second guess such a thing unless they're selfish or greedy, right? Only a good person would choose to give more instead of less, right? Did you ask God to just give you some clarity and guide you to what the right thing to do is? 

Let us hear the conclusion of the matter: You've decided to give the man the $20, despite the tugging at your heart and the strong feeling that you should only give him the $5. For a brief second you contemplate why you've brushed aside the feelings and you quickly rationalize it with these 3 words, "The Bible says..." and that's all the explanation you feel you need to give yourself. You then hand the man the $20, which he happily accepts, and you part ways. You continue on your journey feeling 50% right and somehow 50% wrong but you shrug it off. Within a span of time you have to return via the direction you came in and in so doing, hope to see the man gone because you happen to know that he can get a bed at the mission on the corner for $5. Instead, you approach the area where you left him to see an ambulance and officers and a crowd of people forming. You walk up to a bystander and inquire as to what the commotion is all about. "Some homeless man stumbled out of the bar across the street and fell into the path of a big truck," he says. Instantly your heart sinks. Without another word, you make your way closer to the accident scene and sure enough, it's him, the man you gave the $20 to.

Here's the lesson God taught me using this exact same story and scenario, which He wrote on my heart years ago. He has never allowed me to lose it's meaning: When the man chose the $20 over the $5 while snubbing the Holy Spirit's urging not to, he sealed the man's fate. What He didn't know about the man were the things God knew, and what God knew was that he would take the money given to him and drink it up. But if the man only had $5, he wouldn't have had enough to get as drunk as he prefers and so would have chosen to take the $5 and go find a bed for the night. Also, at the mission they serve a message of Christ with breakfast so the man would have heard a salvation message the next morning. All God needed from His servant here was that his act of benevolence not be based on scripture alone nor what the man's flesh wanted to do, but rather on a willing heart combined with the knowledge of scripture. Most importantly however is that the Holy Spirit was the power behind it all. He was the guiding force but the man shrugged Him off because his flesh and his belief in the scriptures assured him in his mind (not his heart) that he was doing the right thing. He had read it and he thought it and therefore, he did it. 

What's the moral of this story my friends?

Friday, February 15, 2013


Is His grace really sufficient? Well, I don't know..what is grace...what is His grace? I've always been taught that grace, in a nutshell, is God's favor for His children. So when I'm told that His grace is sufficient, then I'm being told that His favor towards me is sufficient for my life to be lived in a fine enough way that I'll make it...not without trials and tribulations, but that I'll make it.

It's a cold and rainy night...no that's not the first line of a new horror novel I'm writing. It's just cold and raining and gloomy and dark. I'm thinking about all the homeless people who are finding a mission, a cheap motel, a bridge, or a cardboard box to get in for the night. I look at myself and see that I have a brightly lit, warm, comfortable, "sufficient" home to be in on this cold and rainy night. 

Why do I have this home and how have I kept it for almost 9 years? Well, it's not by my strength...it's not even by my works. It's by God's grace. He is providing this home. He is providing the money for the rent and it's not much, but it's sufficient. I don't have a lot. I don't have a fine home or a fine car but I have what I need and it's sufficient. At the risk of saying the word too much, everything I have at my disposal is sufficient for me to live this life in a fine enough way to make it through.

Every time I go out to start that old jalopy in the driveway, it starts right up. The only times it hasn't (dead battery or such) was on a day that I really didn't need it to start. By God's grace that car has started every night of classes. The long treks to my neurologist in the next city over...I get there every single time. I've not missed one appointment in 4 years. I made it to all of my physical therapy appointments without delay (that car doesn't look like it should be going past my mailbox). God's grace is the reason for that.

I believe that God expects us to meet Him halfway. I don't take what He does for granted. I don't sit back eating bon bons and expect a miracle to fall in my lap, or groceries, or anything else that requires my attention. In so doing my part I find the Lord meeting me halfway. Oh how many times I've cried and wailed for thinking it was all about to crash down around me and suddenly everything "magically" falls into place. Not in any form that would be considered me having more than my share, but in a way that's fine enough for me to make it through. I just trust Him in my heart of hearts and His heart connects to that. He feels my faith like a ray of light reaching into the heavens where He waits with an open heart. When the ray of faith reaches God, a switch is flipped and all good things begin to flow from Him and into us.

I don't make the mistake of trying to be inhumanly perfect. I also believe that God can't stand a phony. He can't stand people who try to be pious and religiously perfect. He wants our genuine selves. He wants our flaws so He can polish us into a diamond. He wants us to stumble so we reach out to Him so that He can prove that He's the one that can steady us.

He's more than gracious with us. It's no different than when we love to give something of ourselves to another. You know how you purchase a gift and hand pick the wrapping, then run home and lovingly wrap that gift for your kin folk or friend? Remember the feeling that comes with knowing how much they'll love that gift? Remember how it feels knowing you're about to make their day? Now, remember how it feels when that gift is turned down because the person thinks "oh you shouldn't have...I can't accept this...I'm sorry but I can't accept this..it's just too much, take it back but thank you." Your heart is broke because you love that person and you want them to have that gift, no matter the cost. They just don't know how much you wanted to give them that gift. God is like that with us. He just wants to give us His gifts but He never spends more than He should and He never gives us things we can't use. He is thoughtful and gracious with each gift He bestows and all He wants is for us to trust that He knows which ones we'll need or want or love the most and those are the ones He's been waiting on the chance to give us. We just have to accept them. (sorry that sounds so corny).

I said all of that while thinking back to my 20s and early 30s, back to a time when I just wanted to take care of myself and be at peace, no more people telling me what to do in my own house, bullying me around, or holding me back from doing what I need or want to do, that which I know will help me as well as others. God has graciously and sufficiently given me that. I have a home, nothing big but comfortable for me. It is two baths and two bedroom even though I really only need one of each, but God in His wisdom and sufficient grace made that way early on so that I'd have a place to start storing baby stuff for my grandchildren. He's put me back in school, which was a dream I've always had. I used to drive past the college and look longingly at it, sigh deeply, and sadly think, "I wish I could go back to school." (The truth is that I wanted to do high school over but that's just not allowed, hahaha).

That's only the start of how sufficiently God has provided for me. Every day, in every area of my life where it's needed and reasonable. How has God blessed you and how do you see that it's actually quite sufficient?

Friday, February 1, 2013


I just had the wildest ride! I was sitting here minding my own business when I heard a vehicle in the driveway. I go to the door and see a Honda SUV and it's making some noise and smoking. The girl yells and asks if she can park it smack in the middle of my driveway. I should have known right then something was wrong.

I told her she couldn't block me in and to roll it into the driveway further and so she did. She shut it off, got out, popped the hood, and steam rolled. I told her she was overheated. She asked for cables and I said, "why, won't it start again?"She said, "nope, if I shut it off it never starts again." Now, I've seen vehicles that are all to hell but it really seemed she shouldn't be on the road in this one. I look under the hood and the housing for the oil dip stick is just a gaping hole and there's oil blown all over the motor housing. I thought, 'what could possibly be so important that you'd go this far in a vehicle like this one?' I can think of only one non-emergency situation, drugs. She was pregnant...I was hoping I was wrong.

She goes around and opens the door and out pops a little puppy, scared and thin. She then lights a cigarette, which I gasped at, even though I'm well aware that ladies smoke during pregnancy...ignorant fools!! She makes a phone call with me standing there and then I ask, "do you need a ride on up the mountain to your destination?" She says, "yes please." She puts the puppy back into the broken down vehicle and reassures me she just needs to go up a short distance and then she'll have achieved her goal and can come back down to the puppy. I drive her up to a house with two running vehicles waiting in the driveway, and many people running around. My first impression? Drug house.

True to her word, she is in and out and claiming to have retrieved a memory card for a camera. I'm sure she's lying, but rather has retrieved drugs...likely pills of some kind. We return to my house and I get the jumper cables out, fill her radiator with water, check her oil but have none to put in for her. She begins turning the motor over and water just blasts out from around the radiator cap. I'm yelling for her to, "Wait....wait...wait!!" but she's cranking it to death. She finally stops turning it over long enough to hear me explain that it's out of oil and we shouldn't continue to try running it for fear of it locking up. That's when she says,"my papaw is gonna kill me, he's just gonna kill me." I got the distinct impression she had done something wrong and it wasn't about the car breaking down.

We begin making plans to get her home as I offer to drive her to her house so she can find someone to retrieve the vehicle but I tell her it shouldn't be driven if she can't determine what's wrong with it. She makes another phone call and whoever she's talking to gets her wrath instead of her humility. She finally barks at the person on the other end of the line, "WHAT DO YOU WANT ME TO DO THEN!!" She establishes that she'll meet that person at the store at the base of the mountain and hangs up. She asks to use my restroom but I felt very unsure of letting her into my house. By this time, I'm sure she's not an honest person and is highly likely to be on drugs of some kind, despite the precious life she's carrying in her womb (and the puppy with her, which is still jumping from front seat to back seat of the broke down vehicle).

We come in and I'm thinking, 'she'll just pee and we'll go.' She was in there for so long that I finally came to the door and asked if she needed me to send in a rescue party. She chuckled from behind the door and said, "sorry honey, I'm pregnant and constipated." It was odd because she flushed the toilet twice. I have nothing in that bathroom to steal except perfumed soap and facial moisturizer so if she was pilfering, she was left disappointed. However, my medicine cabinet door was slid open when I went in behind her later. By now, I'm considering calling the police and having her searched for drugs. I'm also worried that perhaps she was shooting up in my bathroom.

We went out to leave and she got the puppy out of the car and slid him into a pillow case, which I handed her because his little feet were muddy. This took her an incredible amount of time. She seemed unable to focus on a task, unable to understand my words, and unable to complete a motion without something sidetracking her. I'm telling her in a rough tone that I have to go (I just wanted rid of her) and get back to my life. It's odd because she felt no indignation at being dismissed by someone nor was she in any way feeling urgency to get out of my life.

I drove her to the store to meet the person she called and they arrived as I did...good! I said my goodbyes, reminded her that my landlord would have the vehicle towed if it was left more than 24 hours on my property and she exited the vehicle with a sideways, "thanks for your help."

I made a bee line for my house and within minutes, she was again knocking on my door! "Can I use your cables again?" I got my jacket and keys and out the door with a sigh I went. I came outside to find an old lady, her hair flying all over the place and a gravely angry voice, yelling at the young lady about pills. She was yelling back, "Shut up mamma " the mother was yelling, "No! I will not shut up, Mariah!" The two were bickering incessantly while hooking the jumper cables from the mother's car to the broke down vehicle, which now had a kindly old gentlemen just sitting in it waiting patiently for the women to do the work. I wondered if he was hen pecked by this abrasive old woman, who took authority over both vehicles as well as both people.

The vehicle roared to life and the old woman started shouting orders, "I'll follow you Don because it's probably gonna break down....Mariah, get in the car and don't touch mine....if you tear my car up...you don't know what you're doing, don't touch those cables or you'll mess up my computer chip..." yackety yack and blahblahblah. I could only think of the unborn child which soon would be born into that family.  

I warned the mother that the vehicle was dry of oil but she wasn't concerned. She turned to me and said, "thanks for your help...she has no driver's license and stole this car out of our driveway knowing it wouldn't go far." I knew immediately that I had taken her to a drug house, for pills most likely.

This whirlwind of a story ends with them leaving in the vehicle as I and my new wolf dog friend (who showed up during the commotion and stayed faithfully at my side) watched them go (with a sigh of relief). I thought of the girl's mother yelling mercilessly at her and thought that her childhood must have been hell with that woman. I said a silent prayer for the baby she's carrying. The child will likely be born with drugs in his/her system and will be just another statistic. 

I did what I could for this young lady but for every second that passed with her in my presence, my level of disgust rose. I was disgusted by her smoking while pregnant, stealing that car from an old man, putting her mother through the hell she was going through, obviously doing drugs while pregnant, and just generally adding to this world's problems.

May we each be a part of the solutions and not a part of the problems!