2015 LOVE Series… His Love is Overwhelming

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On this blog, Thursdays are when we get AUTHENTIC around here  (hence, the previous “Authentic Thursday” posts).  And this week we’re doing a quick LOVE Series in light of Valentines Day.  So, this is a mash-up of sorts… and quite the doozy, I might add.

 

Here’s the mash-up… I’ve been on an emotional roller coaster.

Yesterday at work we learned of the passing of a colleague who lost his battle to prostate cancer this week.  And today I am overcome with proud emotion for friends who have worked HARD on their musical dream for the past 10+ years … and they just recently announced some MAJOR news on that front!!!

 

Sometimes the emotion of all that life entails gets the best of me…  the up and down of joy, pain, excitement, devastation of a life’s dream, hope, celebration, … and lastly, just waiting…

The past 6 months have been this way… quite the emotional roller coaster.

For my own benefit (to show  myself I was not just an emotional wreck without reason), I decided to write down some of those ups and downs.  And the list just kept growing.

To give you a glimpse of those ups and downs… here are some examples, but in no particular order…

  • Making Thanksgiving dinner with my Gramma Helen and being together with the Oregon family at Thanksgiving.  (So very meaningful to me.)
  • Walking alongside a friend who was going through a divorce.
  • Celebrating daily with a friend recovering from leukemia, on the fighting side of a bone marrow transplant.
  • Hearing from an old friend, as he was going through his Step 4 and needed to make amends.
  • Celebrating HUGE professional achievements with both friends and co-workers.
  • Reconnecting with a real life dream of my own.
  • Celebrating the reality of a long-time dream with a friend, walking shoulder to shoulder with her.
  • Questioning God when dealing with the life lessons He decided to send my way.
  • Following through on a journey of forgiveness which has given me so much freedom.
  • Saying unexpected goodbyes to family friends who left this earth at much too young of an age.
  • Followed by standing with our friends, relatives of those individuals, as they grieve.
  • Reconnecting with lifetime friends and surprisingly finding a new friendship through it.
  • Taking a ride down an unexpected path that has brought so much joy in my life.
  • Questioning why I am where I am when I am.
  • Dealing with questions and heartbreak as we walk side-by-side with a dear friend whose gut-wrenching pain is too much for him to be expected to carry on his own…

Sometimes it’s just all too much… and I stand in the shower and cry, the ugly cry that no one else gets to see… gasping for air and snorting up a lung.

And asking God WHY … and knowing that He’ll tell me when it’s the right time.  Knowing He’ll shine a light on the reason when the light is needed.  And still… knowing it’s ok to ask WHY just to ask.  Just to remind Him (like He needs reminding) that I’m still going to ask WHY, cry out WHY, even when He’s not ready to show me… even when His answer is, “Just wait… but don’t forget, I’m right here.  Call on me anytime you need.”  He hears us.  He shows us He loves us.

And I am reminded that He made the good along with the bad.  (Ecclesiastes 7:14a)

And I stand overwhelmed by His timing, His grace, His love, His care and every other tiny thing He gives.  He knows exactly what I need to get through … through each up and down.

Which brings me to why this fits into the 2015 LOVE Series…

My Heavenly Father loves me… His daughter… so much that He gives me exactly what I need to get through each day.  No more.  No less.  

And the cry-fest in the shower then takes a sharp turn… And I curl up stand there, hot steam filling the room and His love filling my heart and gasp for air because His love is so overwhelming

And I leave you with this, a song by Big Daddy Weave:  Overwhelmed

(Disclaimer:  Have the tissue handy.)

 

“Overwhelmed”

I see the work of Your Hands

Galaxies spin in a Heavenly dance oh God

All that You are is so overwhelming

I hear the sound of Your Voice

All at once it’s a gentle and thundering noise oh God

All that You are is so overwhelming

I delight myself in You

Captivated by Your beauty

I’m overwhelmed, I’m overwhelmed by You

God, I run into Your arms

Unashamed because of mercy

I’m overwhelmed, I’m overwhelmed by You

I know the power of Your Cross

Forgiven and free forever You’ll be my God

All that You’ve done is so overwhelming

I delight myself in You

In the Glory of Your Presence

I’m overwhelmed, I’m overwhelmed by You

 

God, I run into Your arms

Unashamed because of mercy

I’m overwhelmed, I’m overwhelmed by You

You are Beautiful, You are Beautiful

Oh God, there is no one more Beautiful

You are Beautiful, God you are the most Beautiful

You are Wonderful, You are Wonderful

Oh God, there is no one more Wonderful

You are Wonderful, God You are the most Wonderful

You are Glorious, You are Glorious

Oh God, there is no one more Glorious

You are Glorious, God you are the most Glorious

Authentic Thursday | Guest post by Sylvia Lange, “It’s not all about you!”

A note from Lori:  I’m honored to introduce you to a new friend of mine, Sylvia Lange.  I am honored to have her post here today as she authentically shares a painful moment and the lessons she took away from that moment.  I just love her perspective and willingness to share with others. For more info on Sylvia see below this post…

Sylvia, thank you for joining us today!    – Lori

 

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Years ago over coffee, a friend slapped me in the face.

In public.

I don’t remember exactly what we were talking about but it’s very likely the conversation had been dominated by some grandiose rendition of the latest drama in my life and I guess she had finally had enough. With a heavy sigh she quietly murmured “You know, it isn’t always about you” and stood up to leave.

No one had ever spoken to me like that before.

After we parted, and with her words still hanging in the air, my indignation was quickly eclipsed by embarrassment as I wondered who else might think the same thing?

A review of my roster of friends revealed that the majority of my social connections were actually pretty superficial.  With few exceptions, I had surrounded myself with people I could either control or from whom I could get something. There were very few equals in my circle and certainly, no true heart friend. I needed an overhaul.

FriendshipRightWrong

 

But where to start?

Someone once said that in order to have a good friend you must first be a good friend. I soon realized I really didn’t know how, so starting on that painful day, I got busy.

I began spending time with non-churchy folks who loved God and had the mindset of a servant. They helped me understand that I needed to adopt the perspective that although I am special and “made in the image of God”, I am no better than anyone else. In fact, I needed to just be a “worker among workers”.

I began to create some space between myself and people who didn’t share my core values.  I focused on the people who demonstrated a capacity for the kind of friendship I always longed for.

I zeroed in on those who love and believe in me without reservation, recognizing that anyone functions at their highest and best when they have their own private cheerleading squad.

I also started to closely watch people with strong friendships and tried to emulate what they did. Although it wasn’t easy to implement actions that didn’t come naturally to me, over time and with a lot of practice, behaviors that were once foreign became automatic and the impact on the quality of my relationships was immeasurable.

That was over twenty-five years ago. And although the learning will never be finished, I have picked up a few truths along the way:

Real friendship isn’t about you. 

Let’s face it: it is rarely convenient to really attend to someone else at their level of need… not on the level that’s well, convenient for us. True friendship that lasts and deepens requires intentional effort, can cramp our comfort, impinge on our time, and sometimes even cost money.  But the payoff is priceless.  Today, my friendship quiver is full:  one remembers and then acts on what matters to me, another can be counted on to just plain show up, even when it costs her deeply. Still another gets in my face, pulls my covers, and calls my life as she sees it… but with love that knows no bounds. And yet another loves by giving until her own gas tank is dry.

True Friend

Friendship plays to each other’s strengths and celebrates its differences. 

There are no two more different people walking the planet than me and my long time friend and ministry partner Billye.  We both agree that we have no natural chemistry and, without a doubt, our 26 year friendship has been the most challenging either of us has ever had. In our early years we often brought out the worst in each other as we’d try to change the other, creating needless division and stress.  But over time, we have learned to value those differences and even rely on them, recognizing that together, we’re stronger.

 

Friendship leaves its ego at the door.  

My ‘good intentions’ only go so far if I don’t notice how my friend needs to be communicated with, served, and loved, regardless of how I need to be communicated with, served, and loved.

 

Friendship is trustworthy. 

Beyond simply keeping a confidence, a trustworthy friend comes through. She keeps her promises, is reliable and would never do anything that would compromise the security of her friend, no matter how she might gain otherwise.

Anything that counts for something typically comes at a price.  But who wouldn’t pay dearly for something with such a great return on investment?

 

One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a sister.  Proverbs 18:24

 

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Sylvia Lange
Sylvia Lange

 

A gifted communicator, Sylvia Lange is a Christian women’s speaker and singer who has a special ability to get straight to the heart in everything she does and says. Her songs are powerful and her stunning voice impacts the listener on a soul level.  Also a blogger, Sylvia speaks from a voice not often heard in Christian circles.

Whether sharing within a church service, speaking at a women’s conference or recovery event, or if she is leading worship, Sylvia’s infectious passion is immediately evident. Whether she is teaching, telling her personal story, or sharing her beautiful music, it is her openness, and authentic candor that draws the listener into to wanting to know more about the God to Whom she owes her life.

to be continued…

 

Authentic Thursday | “On writing and being sensitive to others”, a guest post by debi Horton

Message from Lori:   it’s time for another Authentic Thursday!!!  And that means it’s guest blog time!   On Thursdays are joined by various blogging friends who are courageous enough to share authentically here, in big bad world of cyberspace.  I love that they love to simply be themselves!

Today we welcome back debi Horton! Yes, “debi” with a lowercase “d”.  My dear friend thinks and feels deeply, speaks truth in love and cares immensely for others.   And without further adieu…

 

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Just how much truth do you want?

I was reading a friends blog and she mentioned that she was curious if

her blogging style/content has changed since her family started following.

She is a such a great blogger to follow, she often makes me laugh out loud!

 

I had to ask myself,

‘Do you hold back saying or sharing certain things because of who may read it?’

I’m not going to deny, it crosses my mind.

When it does it’s a reminder to

give what I write careful thought.

 

Echo of My Heart

a blog that came to be

because my heart was hurting so deeply

after the loss of my sweet Dad.

I wanted to release

what was on my heart.

To be raw, it was an attempt to

put into words the magnitude of my loss.

The express the degree of pain that took residence in this heart of mine.

Of course, no amount of writing could really express the depth of that loss.

Still I wanted to vent, release some of it.

Writing helped me so much in doing that.

I think we need to accept a certain amount of responsibility

in terms of privacy, and content written in our blogs.

 

First and foremost 

I want readers to know, 

I am a flawed person

who loves a BIG God!

It is never my intent to judge another in what I write.

I am writing what has and hasn’t worked for me.

I am writing about that which I’m curious

and

that  in which I’m yet to understand.

I don’t ever want a reader to leave my blog

without sensing, or not knowing,

that I am a Christian.

I try very hard to not

 live a life that could be seen as hypocritical.

I have a responsibility to my faith to

walk the talk of that faith.

I can’t see sharing my faith

in one post and then writing

anything that may appear the opposite in the next.

I’m careful not to share anything personal that should
be only between my husband and myself.

I am careful to not share anything about my children that could

possibly upset them or be seen as an invasion of their privacy.

It is not a place for me to vent anger or disappointment,

in regard to naming an individual or group.

That would be between me and that person(s).

I may however,

 write  of ‘what I’ve learned’ through the experience

of feeling angry, disappointed or hurt..

I will share my feelings about life and its situations,

what my experience was from each.

Again, I am a flawed person,

so I’m not about to judge.

Speaking from my heart,

 is what this blog is about.

~

With that said, it pains my heart to read a post either

 on a blog or on Facebook of

a person who has shared about their faith

only to

  turn around and write a post that

does not reflect that they live their belief.

Nothing hurts the Christian faith more

than one claiming to be a Christian,

when

 the life led,

and

 the words shared

do not reflect the same.

 

He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: ” ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.  Mark 7:6

 

It is not required that you, the reader, agree.

 

My intent is not to offend anyone.

 Just sharing my thoughts

on thinking about what is to be written, before we write it.

That we are careful not to hurt or offend someone.

I believe we are to build each other up !

Therefore encourage one another with these words.  I Thessalonians 4:18

This is what echos from my heart today…….

—————————————–

debi Horton | echo of my heart
debi Horton | echo of my heart

BIO – debi Horton has a heart for people… blessed with the gifts of mercy and encouragement she is drawn to those who need someone to come alongside them or could benefit from a refilling of the heart.

debi loves family, authentic and transparent friendships and her faith. She  enjoys blogging especially about what echos from her heart; sharing what she’s learned in her life experience thus far, the good, the bad and the ugly; and especially her personal “ah ha” moments. debi enjoys her book club of nearly 16 years, random photography and road trips with her husband, but most of all being “Namaw” to their seven grandchildren.

Authentic Thursday | Taking a look at Bullying

introduction:  It’s Thursday … it’s an authentic Thursday… it’s just what we do around here.  Sometimes I invite guest bloggers… sometimes I just share from my heart.  Today I share about something that has been “brewing” in my heart for quite some time.  Some of this knowledge is from personal experience, some of the information is from my own research, some of it comes from talking with friends who have been bullied… bullying is everywhere my friends.  I would encourage you to watch for harmful behavior towards others and speak up for yourself or for others those who cannot or will not speak up for themselves… – Lori

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At a recent celebration with friends I witnessed what I believe was bullying between spouses.

Words were thrown like daggers to the soul.

 

The intense looks that were shared embarrassed me.  All over something that dropped under the table.  She leaned in and used words to demean and belittle her husband … and in front of family and friends.  My first thought?  If she belittles him like that in front of us, how much worse is it at home?  How does she treat him behind closed doors?

 

I admit it, I was quick to judge this woman… a friend of mine.  And I said nothing.  I mean, who am I to get in the middle of whatever is happening between the two of them?  And more importantly, do I have something so special to say that she’s actually going to correct her ways?  Then I remembered this is not the first time I’ve witnessed this sort of behavior from this individual, and towards her husband.

I just couldn’t help but hear how loudly her character was screaming that night.

You know what?  Looking back at it now… I still don’t know the answers to those questions.  What I can do is be a friend and try to find a time to talk to her about it, come to her like Christ came to his family and friends and held them accountable to right behavior.  (But I can’t help wonder if that’s even going to get through to her…)

 “Bullies are people who use conflict as a means for obtaining power.  Some young people grow out of this; others don’t and become old bullies.”  – Bob Goff

And for another example, Bullying in good ol’ Cyberspace.  Like just about everyone, I participate in various Facebook groups and it sickens me to watch people bully others with their words and attitudes via words on a screen.  The other day I watched as a lady who asked for recommendations on local kid-friendly restaurants was belittled by someone else in the group whom she has never even met.  The victim’s husband even got in on the conversation and tried to stand up for his wife… and in turn he received a lashing as well.  Turns out the woman bullying the other woman was a waitress who was sick and tired of parents allowing their kids to act like maniacs in restaurants.  (At first I thought it was a misunderstanding, but the whole string of comments got out of line and was eventually removed by the group admin.)

But if you’re wondering… yes, I felt the need to call the bully on her attitude.  I could have stayed out of it.  But I didn’t.  I posted a matter-of-fact statement to the bully saying “Hey Waitress – You’ve gone too far.  She asked for a restaurant recommendation, not parenting advice.  Leave it alone.”  (Paraphrased so as to protect the individuals involved.)

 

I could list other examples too… but I think we get the point…

 

 

Sadly, it happens everywhere.  We are full of a world of humans… humans who have emotions and motivations and desires and a sinful nature… and we often get off course.  For some people that behavior looks like manipulation and power and control over others. So… let’s take a look at bullying.

 

http://sdevries.edublogs.org/files/2013/02/What-is-Bullying-2fkg4jf.png
http://sdevries.edublogs.org/files/2013/02/What-is-Bullying-2fkg4jf.png

 

The American Psychological Association defines bullying as a form of aggressive behavior in which someone intentionally and repeatedly causes another person injury or discomfort.  Bullying can take the form of physical contact, words or more subtle actions.  The bullied individual typically has trouble defending him or herself and does nothing to “cause” the bullying.”

Dictionary.com reads “a blustering, quarrelsome, overbearing person who habitually badgers and intimidates smaller or weaker people”.

Granted, the Dictionary may not be the best place to go for a clinical explanation of this psychosomatic issue.  And that’s because I have personally not found this to be completely accurate.

However, I believe Wikipedia does a little bit better with the explanation.  Wikipedia starts with “Bullying is the use of force, threat, or coercion to abuse, intimidate, or aggressively impose domination over others. The behavior is often repeated and habitual.”

 

But in my experience and opinion, I think it looks a little more like this:  “a person who repeatedly uses controlling expectations through words and actions to make others feel small, stupid and/or irrelevant (intentionally or unintentionally) which in turn brings about feelings of inadequacy, anger and apathy in the recipient.”

 

What I KNOW about bullying:

–         A bully likes the feeling of power;

–          Most bullies would deny being one;

–          Bullying is often masked or excused away as ‘teasing’ or ‘joking’;

–          Bullying is motivated by selfishness;

–          Some victims of bullying may not recognize the behavior as such;

–          Most victims of bullying do not feel protected enough to speak up for themselves;

–          Bullying is everywhere.  It happens in our workplaces, schools, community, homes, in cyber space, in our work/sports teams, and the list goes on…

–          Bullying can occur in our marriages and families;

–          Bullying does not always involve physical violence

 

What bullying can LOOK like:

–          Belittling of other people

–          Controlling manipulation of other people’s time, resources, opportunities, team involvement, work advancements, etc

–          Passive-aggressive behavior towards others

–          Excessive teasing or joking

–          Sabotaging the success of others

–          Taking credit for others ideas

 

WHY do bullies do what they do?  In my opinion it boils down to one thing,, really… they do not have RESPECT for themselves or others.

 

WWJD – What Would Jesus Do?

Yeah, I went there.  I’m a Christian.  And I believe the Bible has some pretty straight-forward advice for us when it comes to how we speak to and of other people.

Scripture strongly urges us to watch our words and their impact  on others.

 

I won’t lie.  I am not always successful at this… but I’m cognizant of the fact that words can be used for edifying and for tearing down, for encouraging and for breaking people’s souls, for lifting up people and for tearing apart dreams, for holding people accountable and for blatantly stirring up dissension…

And since bullying occurs with more than words I would be remiss in not saying that when we also give up ownership of our spirit and our heart and motivations… and we instead allow God to use those things for His glory then we’re guaranteed to generally be more encouraging than bully-like.

And to speak up for ourselves, or those who can’t speak up for themselves, is where we will rely on God for confidence and wisdom and strength … and more than anything we will find the understanding that those words or actions don’t hurt me unless I give them power.

 

THINK
THINK

 

And if I realize that the problem with bullying is the person themselves, then we will learn to see the bullies through the eyes and the heart of our Heavenly Father.  And in that moment we will learn how to love like Christ does.  In that moment we will learn how to forgive and to pray for the bullying spouse, co-worker, boss, community leader or whomever it may be who uses their influence, words or false confidence to manipulate others.

Before I leave you with some of those scriptures, can I challenge you to consider speaking up for others who are being bullied?  Or, if you know the bully, have a heart-to-heart conversation about the impact of their actions.

 

Psalm 10:2, 7

In his arrogance the wicked man hunts down the weak, who are caught in the schemes he devises.”

His mouth is full of lies and threats; trouble and evil are under his tongue.”

 

Psalm 50:16-23

But to the wicked person, God says: “What right have you to recite my laws or take my covenant on your lips?  You hate my instruction and cast my words behind you. When you see a thief, you join with him; you throw in your lot with adulterers.  You use your mouth for evil and harness your tongue to deceit.  You sit and testify against your brother and slander your own mother’s son.  When you did these things and I kept silent, you thought I was exactly[c] like you.  But I now arraign you and set my accusations before you.  “Consider this, you who forget God, or I will tear you to pieces, with no one to rescue you:  Those who sacrifice thank offerings honor me, and to the blameless I will show my salvation.”

 

Proverbs 18: 21 (The Message) – “Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit — you choose.”

 

James 3:7-10 (NIV) – All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.”

 

Resources:

Is your Spouse a Bully?”, by Dr. David

“An Old Wife’s Tale”, by Jaimie Engle

American Psychological Association:  http://www.apa.org/topics/bullying/

BullyOnLine:  The world’s largest resource on workplace bullying and related issues

Bullying in the Workplace:  http://www.apa.org/monitor/julaug06/banishing.aspx

Bullies Among Us – What to do when Work’s No Fun, by Jean R. McFarland, Ph.D.

Surviving Bullies, Queen Bees and Psychopaths in the Workplace, by Patricia Barnes

No Room for Bullies: From the Classroom to Cyberspace Teaching, Respect, Stopping Abuse, and Rewarding Kindness, by Jose Bolton

Authentic Thursday | The thing with CONFLICT is…

introduction:  It’s Thursday … it’s an authentic Thursday… it’s just what we do around here.  Sometimes I invite guest bloggers… sometimes I just share from my heart.  Today is the latter…

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it’s unavoidable… plain and simple…

 

Recently the topic of “conflict” came up.  just “conflict”.  The Director of one of the teams I am on decided we would focus on the topic at an upcoming team building time.  And, as usual, I took some time to ponder the topic… various aspects of the topic.  What is it?  How is it defined?  What does it mean?  When does it occur?  Is conflict ok?  Should I avoid it?  If so, what is the best way to avoid it?  And since I’m a Christian, what does the Bible say about?

Come with me on this journey?

 

Dictionary.com:  con·flict

verb (used without object)

  1. to come into collision or disagreement; be contradictory, at variance, or in opposition; clash.
  2. to fight or contend; do battle.

noun

  1. a fight, battle, or struggle, especially a prolonged struggle; strife.
  2. controversy; quarrel: conflicts between parties.
  3. discord of action, feeling, or effect; antagonism or opposition, as of interests or principles: a conflict of ideas.
  4. a striking together; collision.
  5. incompatibility or interference, as of one idea, desire, event, or activity with another: a conflict in the schedule.

 

Wikipedia.org

“Conflict refers to some form of friction, disagreement, or discord arising within a group when the beliefs or actions of one or more members of the group are either resisted by or unacceptable to one or more members of another group. Conflict can arise between members of the same group, known as intragroup conflict, or it can occur between members of two or more groups, and involve violence, interpersonal discord, and psychological tension, known as intergroup conflict. Conflict in groups often follows a specific course. Routine group interaction is first disrupted by an initial conflict, often caused by differences of opinion, disagreements between members, or scarcity of resources. At this point, the group is no longer united, and may split into coalitions. This period of conflict escalation in some cases gives way to a conflict resolution stage, after which the group can eventually return to routine group interaction once again.”

 

BibleGateway.org

So, this search is a little narrow, but I searched on the word “conflict” on BibleGateway.com and here are the results:  http://www.biblegateway.com/quicksearch/?quicksearch=conflict&qs_version=NIV

 

Conflict is brought by:

– a person who plots deceit / Proverbs 6:14

– a false witness/liar / Proverbs 6:19

– haters / Proverbs 10:12

– hot-tempered person / Proverbs 15:18

– a perverse person / Proverbs 16:28

– the greedy / Proverbs 28:25

– an angry person / Proverbs 29:22

(and THIS is just the beginning of what the Bible says on the topic)

 

Quotes

 

“… we never allowed differences (of opinion) to become conflicts.  It is our conviction that the unity of the Church, the body of Christ, is of paramount importance.”  Walter Liefeld, Pastor

 

“Peace is not absence of conflict, it is the ability to handle conflict by peaceful means.” – Ronald Reagan

 

“One of the main tasks of theology is to find words that do not divide but unite, that do not create conflict but unity, that do not hurt but heal.”  – Henri Nouwen

 

And yet, the reality of life is that conflict will exist… in every relationship, on every team, in life and at work,  even in ministry and at church, in every aspect of our lives… there will be conflict.  It’s a fact.

Conflict is unavoidable.

 

At the recent team building event I attended we were given some resources and tools on how to better UNDERSTAND and PREVENT and RESOLVE conflict… and I really liked the knowledge we gained when it came to recognizing others respond when they are in a state of conflict.  Having these resources in my tool belt has now given me the knowledge and confidence to be ready for the inevitable…

 

It’s uncomfortable.  It can trigger emotions and hurtful words.  It causes some people to run.  But when handled the right way it can bring about healing and intimacy and be used for good.

I won’t lie to you… after learning about UNDERSTANDING and AVOIDING and RESOLVING conflict… we were faced with some conflict.  And we left most of our tools in the tool box.  This is going to take some practice.  But, hey… I’ve got the tools now and I learned a valuable lesson at the team building event… UTILIZE your tools wisely!

 

With that I challenge you to seek out how you respond in times of conflict… and healthy ways to face the inevitable.  It’ll be worth your efforts… I promise!

 

Additional resources on the topic:

Today’s Christian Woman article:  A Family Worth Fighting For

For a team environment:  Ministry Team Diagnostics

Responding in a God – honoring way:  Confront Conflict with Courage

How to Manage Conflict on the job:  5 ways to Avoid Losing your Cool with a Co-worker

Dr. John Townsend:  How Conflict Creates Connection for Couples

Authentic Thursday | “Humble Confidence”, guest post by Justin Grant

Personal message from Lori:   it’s Authentic Thursday time again! On Thursdays we are joined by various blogging/writing friends who have agreed to join forces with the purpose of simply being themselves.  I cannot take credit for their skill or gifts or natural abilities … but I am happy to say that I dig their style and friendship and authenticity!

Today we are joined again by my talented friend Justin Grant.  He’s a deep-thinker, a funny guy, an all-around fantastic family man!  Thank you, Justin, for sharing from your heart as you search out a topic that others are searching too…  – Lori

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Humble Confidence: Walking in the Light

2 Timothy 1:7
2 Timothy 1:7

It’s frustrating how lukewarm I can be sometimes. Of all the reasons I fail in my faith, perhaps the most thematic is fear.  Not really fear of what people will think of me if they know what I believe, but fear that I will fail it in some way.  I fear that I’m not good enough for my faith, and that if I assert it I’ll come across as thinking that I am, shining more of me than the Savior I rest my belief in. The problem with these fears is that they’re probably valid, but they don’t negate the calling to be a light to the world. I must not give my fear enough credence that it supersedes my submission to the Lord’s work in my heart and ministry to others.  Perhaps trying to remember the following truths will help hold me accountable to this.

I’m not good enough:

First of all, I’m definitely not good enough for my faith, but that’s basically the point.  I shouldn’t be good enough for it.  I should be resting and relying on the goodness of God, not the goodness of me.  My salvation is needed because I’m a sinner, tarnished and unable to shine on my own.  I need to be resting on the goodness of Christ to be the light in me that shines to the world and to my Father in heaven (2 Corinthians 5:21) as the evidence of His presence in me.

Investing in the Light of Christ:

Beyond resting on the goodness of Christ to shine through me, I must be dedicated to investing in that goodness. It’s not good enough for me to just know that Jesus is the good that makes me worthy, or rather reconciles me to Him.  I have to culture this relationship lest I become complacent in my faith. If I’m not invested in knowing Him more and more, I can’t know if it’s me that’s shining or Him. More importantly, I’ll easily lose sight of the assurance of my salvation. Not to say that the assurance isn’t there, but where’s the confidence, evidence, and familiarity that shows, at least to me, that I’m a member of God’s family (Galatians 3:26) and a citizen of heaven (Ephesians 2:19, Philippians 3:20)?  How will I know when times are tough, and I feel God’s work is missing from my circumstance that I’m still under His care? Unless I’ve tuned myself to His presence and workings in me, and I identify myself in Him, my assurance and light will depend on the external: the actions of others, worldly situation, successes, or failures.  If I only shine when my day is bright, my light will be dimmed by my success and potentially unnoticeable, even by myself.  If it is real, it won’t depend on the works of me or others, it will live on faith alone and shine brightest in my darkest moments.

Ensuring Christ shines and not me:  

One of my biggest struggles in this subject is the contrast between Matthew 5:14-16 and Matthew 6:1-8.  In the former, Jesus instructs, “let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds”, while in the same speech, He instructs, “Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them.”  It almost seems like Jesus is contradicting Himself, but when we read carefully, the difference is in our intention, not in the deed itself.  We need to consider if our deeds are an inevitable manifestation of the Spirit’s fruit, or a show by us for self-glorification.  To recognize the difference in our own situations we should question our personal motives and act accordingly.  Do we raise our hands during church worship solely as an impulse triggered by an overwhelming sense of God’s presence, or do we do so with consideration that someone might notice, and that perhaps we might appear more holy?  The act of worship is good, but its purpose is lost if there’s any thought to drawing any attention to ourselves.  We should prayerfully consider Christ’s reign in that area in our lives if it proves to be a temptation.

Our confidence:

No matter what, I can’t let my fears subdue my Light.  We’re still commanded to shine, to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15), and to be witnesses unto the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). We’re still human and living among the like.  We will receive praise and/or persecution when we don’t deserve either, but we must still take pride in our Christian identity; not in our own abilities, but in our definition in Him and His work in us (Galatians 2:20).  We can’t hide who we are, or run from it because it’s either unpopular or too popular.  People should know our names because they see Christ in us, not because they see an outstanding individual, whether they understand that fact or not.  We must continue to shine in humble confidence, and not be confident in our own humility or works.

And this light we shine isn’t just for the benefit of others; it’s evidence to us that we are His.

We should be so full of Him that our cups overflow into the lives of others (Psalm 23:5) regardless of our circumstance.  We won’t be able to help being a light if we are so dedicated to Him that we’re inexplicably driven to dedicate our self to others.

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Justin Grant
Justin Grant

My name is Justin Grant, and I’m a dedicated husband and a father.

By trade, I’m an engineer with most of my experience revolving around web technologies for “the internets”.  Spiritually, I’m a sinner with an acute awareness of my need for a savior and a strong desire and hope to do eternally significant things with my life.

As a hobbyist, I’m a bit of a hypocrite: I’m a musician that rarely plays, a poet that rarely writes, and a surfer that’s only surfed 1 year of my 40 here on earth many years ago.  My most consistent hobby is travelling and sightseeing, while many other hobbies I pursue are curious whims that usually prove fleeting.

I’m genealogically related to Ulysses S. Grant and spiritually related to everyone, with a particular kinship to Bono however delusional that might be.   I love movies, art, music, inspiration, playing video games, board games, giving gifts, and fishing.  I’m a great cook, but have little interest in cooking, and I desperately want to make my own board game, screenplay, and movie someday.

One of my greatest personal hopes in this earthly life is that I live long enough to see my daughter marry a good man, and to see her joy in raising my grandchildren.  I’m a huge C.S. Lewis fan, and I love to try new things, and I often wish I could show people my thoughts so they could see how much I care about them.

Authentic Thursday | I don’t sit still well…

Tomorrow at this time I start a well-deserved four-week PAID sabbatical.  (What a benefit!  Seriously – quite the benefit!  You don’t have to tell me!)  Here’s how it works… after every five years of service each employee earns a six-week paid sabbatical… and we have the option to take all six weeks at the same time or split it into two three-week increments.  Either way, you can add vacation time to the end of your sabbatical to make it even longer!!!  So, I have some free time in the very near future… and I could NOT be more elated!

 

But here’s the problem:  I don’t sit still well.  Any one surprised to read this?  { in the comments section below, feel free to chime in on my great sense of humor! }

I was sharing that thought with a friend recently and I think she was feeling a little jealous of my time off because she quickly and sarcastically quoted:  “Be still and know that I am God…”  (Psalm 46:10)  We all know the verse.  Right?  We’ve seen it engraved on signs, screen-printed on book bags, screaming from key chains and coffee mugs… and there are even Bible covers and bumper stickers that boast this verse… you’ll find it all over.

Be still... Psalm 46:10
Be still… Psalm 46:10

 

But does this verse really mean I need to sit still?  Because I’m going to have a hard time doing that for the next four weeks…

So …

I did what I usually do when I want to better comprehend the contextual background to a verse…  I set my heart to “study mode”, contemplated the verse with a prayerful spirit and then pulled up the verse on Bible Gateway.  Needless to say, I’ve been doing my homework.

Side note:  There are so many things I love about Bible Gateway (yes, this is a shameless plug – after all, I’m a part of their Blogger Grid)… one of those things being the easy access link to “Related Resources” where I can read the supplemental commentaries, look up items in the biblical dictionaries and encyclopedias, additional Study Bibles, etc.

To understand the Word, I read more of the Word.

 

And in this instance I find it interesting how differently the various translations express the meaning of this verse.  So before we go any further I would like to share some translations… between these translations and the various study commentaries I’m even more inclined to keep reading.  All of this information gives some interesting contextual background to the words.

 “Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.”  Psalm 46:10  (King James Version)

 

“Let go [of your concerns]! Then you will know that I am God. I rule the nations. I rule the earth.”  (God’s Word translation)

“Stop fighting,” he says, “and know that I am God, supreme among the nations, supreme over the world.”  (Good News Translation)

“Cease striving and know that I am God ; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”  (New American Standard version)

“God says, “Be quiet and know that I am God. I will be supreme over all the nations; I will be supreme in the earth.”  (New Century version)

“Step out of the traffic! Take a long, loving look at me, your High God, above politics, above everything.”  (The Message)

“Stand silent! Know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation in the world!”  (Living Bible translation)

“Be still.  In the true knowledge of God and His deliverance there is peace, in contract with the trouble ‘nation’.”  (Reformation Study Bible)

 

And I read the verses that precede verse 10…

Come and see what the Lord has done, the desolations he has brought on the earth.  He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth.  He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;  he burns the shields with fire.    Psalm 46:8-9

 

And what I’m learning today is that as Christians we are encouraged to rest IN Him.  Sometimes this is a physical rest.  But I think this verse is saying that most of the time we need not fight (internally… mentally wrestling) and just TRUST and have FAITH that He has it under control… because He does.  The entire earth.  He is all and is in all.

 

So as I prepare to walk away from the office… and my day-to-day tasks… and what so many of us consider our livelihood I promise all four of my faithful readers… that I will take a deep breath, I will “let be”… 

 

Feel free to check on me… if you feel the need…  let the rest of sabbatical begin…

{ok, I actually have to wait until tomorrow around 10 am Pacific Time… but I’m ready, REALLY ready…}

 

I will wrap it up with one final translation, from the Amplified Bible…

Let be and be still, and know (recognize and understand) that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations! I will be exalted in the earth!”

Authentic Thursday | “Being a Motherless Daughter”, by Lisa-Jo Baker

Personal message from Lori:   It’s Authentic Thursday time again!  On Thursdays we are joined by various blogging/writing friends who have agreed to join forces with the purpose of simply being themselves.  I cannot take credit for their skill or gifts or natural abilities … but I am happy to say that I dig their style and friendship and authenticity.

Today’s post carries a bit of a somber topic… but ends with a glimpse of hope and encouragment.  So, chin up!  With Mothers Day approaching I recognize it might be a painful time for some of you.  Some of you no longer have a mom (some of you never had a “mom”), for a number of reasons… and for that, I’m sorry.  I wish I could hug you right now.  I hope you have been able to find a stand-in or close friend who can fill that role in your life.

Today I have the distinct honor of introducing you to a friend from the blogging world whom I’ve grown to know and love, but only through the screen. I love participating in Lisa-Jo Baker’s Five Minute Friday blog challenge (where we silence the inner critic and just write, with help from a one word prompt, for 5 minutes).  Today we get to hear directly from her!

Lisa-Jo!  YOU!!!   Thank you!    – Lori

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DSC_57581

It takes missed birthdays and graduations and weddings and then your first baby is born and she isn’t there for it.

You can wake up one day and discover you’re 39 and all you want for your birthday is your mom. The person who’s obligated to love you. The person who has to care about your bad hair days and your worries about your son’s bowel movements. The person who must care about every particular detail about how your daughter ate the beans and rice and how you couldn’t believe it after how picky your sons were.

The one person in the world who cares about you more than you care about you.

That person has been missing from my life since one week after I turned 18.

But she was gone and in hospital from the time I was sixteen.

We never talked about sex or marriage or what love feels like. She never told me her childbirth stories or her secret dreams. I never got to see the inside version of her, only the parental perspective. She was the mom and I was the daughter. We were never just two women together talking about life.

And anyone who’s lost a mother – whether she was emotionally unavailable or left or died like mine did – they know that the ache never goes away. Some days it’s hardly noticeable and others it comes roaring back at the most unexpected moments.

Zoe lies in bed next to me and strokes my cheek with her tiny hand, three of the five fingernails painted bright purple. And she whispers, “I so glad you back, mama.” And the stab in my rib cage is so violent that I have to hold onto her tiny hand like a life preserver for all this homesick missing of my own mother.

Untitled

Untitled

Lots of those feelings are better tucked up neat and tidy into a box in the spare bedroom where they feel more distant and I feel more immune. And most days being a mother means you’re just hanging on for dear life as the ride bumps and batters you along. There’s hardly a moment for a hot meal, let alone deep introspection about what it’s like to mother without a mother.

But some days, when I want to make sense of my story and the story I’m writing for my kids I go and sit with that box.

I slowly peel back the tape and unfold the corners and look down into what I’ve lost. I let myself feel it. I just sit there and let myself feel my feelings. I might be alone and at home sometimes when it happens. But sometimes it’s when I’m in the car, other days I might just be hanging out at the Swiss Bakery tapping away at the computer when the box opens and all those big aches comes out into the open and I let them.

I let the sadness come because it’s part of the beauty. This legacy of a lost mother is part of what’s been crafted into my storyline and I wouldn’t unwrite the after just so I could fix the before.

The after is full of Peter and Michigan and family who’ve adopted me like their own into America and the Midwest and Thanksgiving. The after is blazing freaking gorgeous lit up by the lives of Jackson, Micah and Zoe and them I wouldn’t give back. Not for any kind of do-over.

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We all live in some version of the after, don’t we?

We all have grown up and become more chipped and cracked along the way. Bits of what we believed or loved cracked off rough shod and thoughtless. And there are holes that no person or putty or promise or chocolate cake can fill.  There are some holes that become part of us just like that cowlick that won’t ever lie down and behave or the scar on your left leg from the time you were tripped and fell at your best friend’s house right in front of the boy you were trying to impress.

 

I see your scars.

I see those hot throbbing lines you try to hide or disguise or ignore.

But they’re all part of you. It’s OK that they ache. It’s OK that they make you feel the feelings you wish you could box away. They are as much you as your eye color and I love looking right into your eyes.

Go ahead, tell me your story. Show me your box. I am not afraid of scars.

 

{To see the video reminder of why mothers are braver than they know, click here}.

surprisedbymotherhood-book-banner

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This guest post comes with love from Lisa-Jo Baker to our community in celebration of Mother’s Day. If you haven’t already – treat yourself, your mom, your sister, your BFF or your grandma to a copy of her new book, Surprised by Motherhood: Everything I Never Expected About Being a Mom.  No matter what stage you’re in when it comes to motherhood, we promise it will encourage. And remind you that you are braver than you think.

Authentic Thursday | “Embracing the Empty”, guest post by Heather Hilscher

Personal message from Lori:   it’s Authentic Thursday time again!

On Thursdays we are joined by various blogging/writing friends who have agreed to join forces with the purpose of simply being themselves.  I cannot take credit for their skill or gifts or natural abilities … but I am happy to say that I dig their style and friendship and authenticity!

Today I have the honor of introducing you to a friend I’ve known since junior high (and THAT is a long time).  Heather and I met at a conference our parents were attending and since then we have spent a good amount of time corresponding via snail mail and catching up at random coffee shops while we’re passing through each other’s town.  Heather and I have a quite a lot in common, but one of our most driving motivations is the desire to connect with others on a truly intimate and authentic level.  So it only seemed natural that she join us here…

I love you, Heather.  You’re like the sister I never had!  – Lori

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empty egg basket
empty egg basket

I have an egg basket on my kitchen counter.

It’s filled with some Easter-ish colored shredded paper and some plastic eggs.

Before that, it was collapsed down and hanging from one of my “command centers” by the kitchen.

 

hanging egg basket
hanging egg basket

 

Why an egg basket, you ask?

It’s a symbol of my dream.

About a year ago, my kids, my mom and I ventured out to a family-run farm for a home school field trip. This lovely family — with homeschooled children now grown and working on the farm — let my kids explore through the chicken coop, the goat pen, through the thicket of turkeys, the garden and even gave us a ride on a trailer through their vineyards.

We had a blast and my kids came alive crawling around hunting for eggs and filling wire baskets, trying to catch lizards and swinging from their tree swing.

collecting eggs
collecting eggs

 

As we sipped ice water, traded stories about our homeschooling journey, and enjoyed the cool breeze on their enclosed porch, I felt it…such a strong sense of contentment and tranquility.

I had kept a special eye on my second born child through it all– the one who had just been diagnosed with ADHD. The one who was struggling to find a new normal on her medication that often made her emotional and out of sorts.

She was having the time of her life.

I looked around me and breathed a prayer before I even realized I was doing it.

Please, Lord….can I have…this?”

family time
family time

 

I’m not sure at that point, I knew exactly what this was….of course, we were not in a position to buy a John Deere tractor and start making furrowed rows for crops. I didn’t feel ready to take on a gaggle of turkeys, or a bunch of goats.

But the wide open space…the lack of tall wooden fences to enforce boundaries…the quiet and absence of road noise and sirens…it was intoxicating.

My body relaxed and my shoulder muscles released and I felt….peace.

They sent us home full of that peace and a dozen eggs that my children had hunted down.

I went home and jumped on the internet in search of an egg basket like we had used that day. I found the perfect one, but my mouse hovered over the “Buy Now” button for a while. It seemed like a foolish purchase in our present situation.

 

A few months later, I decided to take a leap of faith and buy one. When it came, a few days later, I showed it to the kids and told them that it would remind us to pray for a peaceful bigger place of our own — whatever that would look like.

And yes, at that time, it was a wild and crazy dream. We would find out a few days later that our current house did not have enough equity to allow us to sell. In fact, we had negative equity. I looked with longing at that egg basket, but I left it hanging and we kept praying week after week and month after month.

 

Almost a year to the date, I felt like it was time to revisit that dream. Upon checking in with our realtor, we found that our house was not only on the positive equity side, we would be able to net enough for a down payment on something else.

I took down the egg basket in its collapsed state, and I set it up on the counter…and I filled it.

filled egg basket
filled egg basket

 

I put out a couple of other Spring/Easter decorations, and as people came and looked at our house, we waited. Realtors put their business cards next to the basket…one, three, seven, ten cards piled up. And then the one we had been waiting for…a full offer on our house — just what we needed and a smidgen more.

Easter came and went. The tomb was empty and then filled with the Son of God and Son of Man. Scripture and the prophecy was fulfilled.

The Easter decorations went away, but the basket remains. Open, filled with only a copy of the real thing. But I am believing that one day — not too far in the distance — it will be filled with real eggs that my children will wake up excited to hunt down.

At times, I have continued to feel a bit foolish — making that online purchase for something that had no purpose or use in our current situation. It was a fanciful dream. But, yet, I felt compelled to buy it. To display it. To meditate on it. To faith it into being.

You see…sometimes we have to be comfortable enough to sit with the emptiness and still believe.

The cradle that seems to mock us with its emptiness. The empty side of the couch and bed that has been anxiously waiting for the presence of the spouse for which we have longed and yearned. The passport that is devoid of visas and stamps and lays languishing in a drawer.

But these things must exist in emptiness before the miracle of the filling.

 

Before I was married, I enjoyed hearing a story about another single gal who bought a pair of men’s pants and laid them over the bottom of her bed — asking God to “fill those pants” with the mate He wanted for her. While it’s a cute and slightly comical story, I always liked the moxy of that act.

So often we don’t want to be reminded of that emptiness. We do everything we can to banish it from our thoughts. The idea of intentionally putting out something that would fall into our everyday line of sight is unthinkable.

 

Or is it?

 

Perhaps rather than stowing our greatest empty dream away into a journal, or even locked away in our drawer or hearts, we should find the courage to pull it out and display it. And pray over it. And weep over it. And share it with others. And hope-fully, one day, put our hands on that object, lift it up and rejoice over it.

I’m  learning not to fear the empty, but to be grateful that it allows for in filling.

Yes, I am still waiting my egg basket to be filled with the real deal. But until then I will see it every waking day and continue to pray.

Because we never know when the empty will be filled.

 

The iPad 2 case I felt compelled to buy in December which was on sale at my local grocery store…the one that I had no iPad 2 to put inside of….the one that I wrestled with taking back for a refund several times, but every time, put it away with other electronic items for a hoped for “one day.” The one I would see and think about how much my home-schooled children, my ADHD beauty, and my inner-writer would love to own…

iPad case, patiently waiting to be filled
iPad case, patiently waiting to be filled

Well, that iPad 2 case is in the process of being filled. It will arrive next week — secondhand in wonderful condition, with extra goodies from a friend who doesn’t need it any longer. Empty for almost six months, it’s merely days away from being filled.

And the truth is that every empty thing is only days away from being filled. Only One knows just how many.

 

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Heather Hilscher
Heather Hilscher

Bio:  Heather Hilscher is a wife and a mother of four gorgeous and extremely energetic children who keep her busy and on her toes. She loves to organize and create things. She’s a fair-weather runner with a passion for writing and sharing information. She enjoys singing a song or two. She’s a frugalista, so she likes saving a buck…or 20. And most recently, a home schooling mom. Coffee powers her days…and nights. She loves Jesus.

Blog:  Mosaic Momma

Authentic Thursday | “Divine Doctrine”, guest post by Justin Grant

Personal message from Lori:   it’s Authentic Thursday time again!

On Thursdays we are joined by various blogging/writing friends who have agreed to join forces with the purpose of simply being themselves.  I cannot take credit for their skill or gifts or natural abilities … but I am happy to say that I dig their style and friendship and authenticity!

Today I have the honor of introducing you to my friend Justin Grant.  He’s a deep-thinker, a funny guy, a fantastic father and husband… his wife Lisa and daughter Summer are very blessed to have this man in their lives!  Thank you, Justin, for your inspiring challenge today!  – Lori

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“Adjust your doctrine – or just minimize doctrine – to attract the world, and in the very process of attracting them, lose the radical truth that alone can set them free.” 

John Piper

“Lately I’ve been noticing a rapid increase of moral relativism in my immediate world.  Multiple first hand encounters are inspiring me to consider and account for the importance I see in keeping a fundamental belief in a divine doctrine.  Though many probably disagree with that idea, I think opposing faiths might find common ground in my reasoning.

 

Intelligent Design

Our own human creativity and parental intuition should suggest some principles behind having a creator.  It would be unlikely that a cognitive creative being would give so much attention to detail, emotion, diversity, and free will without possessing an intense creative investment and parental sense.  It would further be unlikely that such a being would do so without some form of lasting communication, something clearly set apart from the free will nature of man to serve as a catalyst in connecting what would prove to be an infinitely fallible mankind to an eternally indisputable and enigmatic God.  It would be logical to conclude that a divine doctrine would accomplish this goal, especially if the creator was so far beyond our intellectual capacity that we needed some form of help.

 

We are Imperfect

It’s obvious we’re fallible creatures, and many would use this point to argue against the reliability of any scripted account of divine doctrine, but it would make sense that a creator would communicate through some tangible medium; through human language, by common words, and by written script for the purpose of solidifying and sealing an intended message.  Not that we shouldn’t question the source, but for the sake of setting a foundation, man’s fallibility should manifest itself in translation rather than original script.  As imperfect beings we need something perfect and immutable to grasp onto if we want to be able to trust any of it at all.  Any decision to pick and choose something based on preference or feeling is flawed because our imperfect perception and misunderstandings will always fail us.  A foundation based on what our “hearts” tell us will be so variable and shallow, that eventually all confidence in any belief or concept of truth will vanish.  We must adopt something external to our human nature in order to have any hope in its validity.

 

Pride and Original Sin

Finally, let’s consider the story of Adam and Eve.  Many scholars have spent countless hours trying to decipher what the actual fruit was that Adam and Eve were forbidden to eat, but it actually doesn’t matter.  As with most sin, the problem wasn’t the act itself but the consequences the act would incur.  In the case of Adam and Eve, the long term consequence goes without saying, but the immediate consequence was the knowledge of good and evil, and a perception of equality with God (see footnote #1).  This original sin is the height of moral relativism!; the pride to perceive one’s self to have enough moral authority to determine one’s own right or wrong.  If you believe in a higher power, such authority cannot come from imperfect or cosmically naive created beings. It must come from the creator who made and understands them from an eternal perspective they aren’t capable of reaching themselves, just like the parent who knows what’s best for his/her child whom can’t possibly grasp the adult world and it’s responsibilities.

 

Our response is our Moral Compass

Considering these things, we owe it to ourselves to tune our moral compasses to some absolute truth. If our compass is misaligned, unused, or we’ve misidentified the stars we follow, we’ll get nowhere fast whether we’re moving or not. Our feelings will deceive us, and we’ll blind ourselves to what’s actually fair, just, or true.  We’ll be fooled by what we think in the moment feels fair, convenient, or protects someone’s feelings.  We need to learn to give feelings less credit and seek wisdom in their place. We need Divine Doctrine!  Otherwise, we’ll forever perpetuate our moral adolescence and history will forever repeat itself until God decides to intervene once and for all.

Personally, I can only see the Bible satisfying this requirement.  I see no other document having so many authors, split between hundreds of years in parts, while remaining so true to itself and sustaining predictions and prophecy so reliably along the way.  It so clearly defines the condition of man, and the loving arm of our Creator reaching down to help. It defies all human nature and proves too otherworldly to be contrived, and it defines too much of our world’s culture today to be dismissed as archaic dogma.”

Footnotes:  1. Genesis 3:4-5

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BIO

Justin Grant
Justin Grant

My name is Justin Grant, and I’m a dedicated husband and a father.

By trade, I’m an engineer with most of my experience revolving around web technologies for “the internets”.  Spiritually, I’m a sinner with an acute awareness of my need for a savior and a strong desire and hope to do eternally significant things with my life.

As a hobbyist, I’m a bit of a hypocrite: I’m a musician that rarely plays, a poet that rarely writes, and a surfer that’s only surfed 1 year of my 40 here on earth many years ago.  My most consistent hobby is travelling and sightseeing, while many other hobbies I pursue are curious whims that usually prove fleeting.

I’m genealogically related to Ulysses S. Grant and spiritually related to everyone, with a particular kinship to Bono however delusional that might be.   I love movies, art, music, inspiration, playing video games, board games, giving gifts, and fishing.  I’m a great cook, but have little interest in cooking, and I desperately want to make my own board game, screenplay, and movie someday.

One of my greatest personal hopes in this earthly life is that I live long enough to see my daughter marry a good man, and to see her joy in raising my grandchildren.  I’m a huge C.S. Lewis fan, and I love to try new things, and I often wish I could show people my thoughts so they could see how much I care about them.