WWJD? When A Stranger Told Me She Was Addicted To Sex and Other UpLyfting Tales From Inside My Camry

Papa and Hanah

If you have read my past posts, you know that on September 26, 2016 I had a stroke which has prevented me from driving school bus for an entire year.  For nine-months I had fun pretending to be retired until the school district I work for quit paying me.  I would not see another paycheck from June 1st until the end of October.  Eventually I’ll drive school bus again, but what could I do in the meantime to pay the bills?

My daughter, Jaymi suggested I go to work driving for Lyft.  What is Lyft you ask?  Just think of Uber without the scandals.  Still confused?  I use my own car to take strangers where they want to go.  It’s like taking a taxi only much less expensive and ,my riders could experience the privilege of having me as their driver.

The choice between driving around in my car listening to music and sports talk on the radio verses flipping burgers at MacDonald’s or break-dancing on the sidewalk, while flipping advertising signs around my chubby body, was a no-brainer.  Becoming a Lyft driver came with one big hurdle – I had to purchase a newer car.  Image is important, so Lyft requires their driver’s use vehicles no older than 2008.  Not only does Lyft want their cars young, they must be ravishing beauties free from blemishes both inside and out.   Karen and I had a 2004 Toyota Corolla and a 2003 Camry.  They were aging poorly.  The Camry’s bumper was held together with duct tape while the Corolla’s paint job revealed many unsightly age-spots.  Both were incontinent, leaking fluids to the point of me wishing Kimberly-Clark would produce a Depends product for the geriatric automobile.

We didn’t have thousands of dollars sitting in our bank account, just waiting to plunk down on a newer car.  Shoot – we just borrowed money to help Karen get the dental implants she most desperately needs. That $20,000 loan only covered half the procedure.  After much research into what I could realistically make with Lyft and then much prayer, we decided to pull the trigger and look for a newer car. We eventually bought a 2014 Camry Hybrid.  It was pricy, but the hybrid drinks less fuel than its gas guzzling older brother also named Camry but without a last name.  The hybrid was more spacious than most other hybrids.

I started driving for Lyft on June 4th and have never regretted it.  I enjoy talking to my customers.  Not all of them want to carry on a conversation, and that’s okay.  I can tell right away if someone wants to talk or not.  I always welcome my passenger and ask them a question like, “Tell me about your day?” or “Are you a long time Washington resident or just visiting?”  If they grunt a one word response or are hypnotized by their cell phone I know to shut up, turn on some music and enjoy the ride. 

Some of the conversations I’ve had with the ones who do want to talk have ranged anywhere from relatively mundane small talk about sports, the weather, traffic and their jobs to more spicy topics such a politics and religion and has at times even escalated to emotional exchanges of grief over lost loved ones and painful admissions of addictions.

One man shared how hard life had been the past few years while recovering from an automobile accident but shared how his life was now looking up after a victory in court.  While exiting my car, he thanked me for listening and handed me a $100 dollar bill. 

I asked a Chinese student who is getting her engineering degree at the University of Washington if she was going to stay in the United States after graduation or return to China.  She sat silently for a moment.  A melancholy smile appeared and she began to nod.  “After experiencing all the wonderful things your country has to offer, I very much would like to live here.  I come from a very rural and poor area in China which desperately needs the skills I am developing to make life easier for my community, so I must return home.”

A grieving middle-aged woman tearfully shared how the image which dominates her mind is of her holding her mother’s ashes.  In her mind she couldn’t see her mother’s face – only her ashes.”

And just the other day a conversation which began with a thirty-eight year old woman telling me she’s a sex addict, led to her admitting to being a drug addict yearning to turn her life around so she could be a better mother to her young daughter but isn’t sure she’s willing to take the steps necessary to make that a reality.

These are only a few of the many conversations I have with my passengers, many of whom allow me to pray for them.  God is amazing.  Before I leave my driveway each day, I pray God would bring people my way who I can encourage somehow. Almost every day He answers that prayer.  I don’t have all the answers to improve these stranger’s lives.  What I can do is listen intently, show empathy when needed, give my opinion, from a Christian point of view, when asked and offer prayer. 

Do you ask God for divine appointments?  If you don’t, I challenge you to give it a try.  I guarantee you won’t be disappointed or bored – only blessed.

DWELL, REST AND TRUST

Don’t you  love it when God’s Word or a certain scripture keeps showing up from different sources?   God always amazes me when His Spirit is faithful in getting my attention.

I’ve been dwelling and chewing on these three words for a little while now:  Dwell, Trust, & Rest.  I don’t know about you, but these three words makes me want to pause and take in a deep breath and say ahhhhhhhhhhh.

In Psalm 91: 1-2, He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust.”

My first thought was, what does it mean to dwell?  I looked it up in the dictionary and it says “to think, speak or write at length about.” Our minds are a battle field.   That’s why God tells us to renew our minds.   We do so when we memorize or familiarize ourselves with God’s Word.  His Word is Truth.

Colossians 2 says to “Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.

The Lord knows how easy it is for our minds to dwell on things that are negative and not true.  Especially when I’m extra tired and my pain is at it’s worst, I’m often tempted to become fearful or worry.  It becomes easier to dwell on the “what if’s”.  The “what if’s” rob me of my strength, peace, joy and my presence of today.

I’m learning, as it states in 2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV
“to demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ”.

How about you?  Does it come easy for you to Dwell, Rest, & Trust in God?

Hopefully, one of my songs, My God In Whom I Trust, will encourage you today.

IN WHOM I TRUST   (CCLI #3356416)  Copyright 1993

05 Track 5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Your Mind Demands An Audience….What Captivates Yours?

 

For Karen and I, it had become of habit to haul our evening dinner upstairs, sit in our mismatched recliners and turn on the TV.  On channels 4, 5, and 7 we could enjoy every movie genre combined into a one-and-a-half hour show predicated on bringing the events of our local communities into our homes.  We would watch drama, science-fiction, comedy, mystery, horror, sports and action adventure all under the format of reality TV.  For an extra half-hour commitment of our time, we could also enjoy bringing the whole world into our home.

Lately though, Karen and I have found it increasingly hard to watch the nightly news.  Maybe we were overly naïve before or are becoming more and more cynical but it seems that politics has weaved its way into every topic from the battle over health care reform to legally requiring to define who has access to public bathrooms.

Politics and specifically political agendas seem to be on everyone’s minds.  A wildfire of anger, fear and frustration is everywhere.  How can we ease our minds amidst all the turmoil?  What can we turn our focus to when seeking the truth?

My son, Michael, co-pastors a church in Mesa, Arizona.  He recently wrote an article for Missio Alliance, an organization whose mission is to: “Create space and opportunity for Christian leaders from across the spectrum of the evangelical family to connect with, learn from, and collaborate with one another.”  In his article he explores his own recent preoccupation with politics and puts his own thoughts into perspective.

 

Four Reasons Why Jesus Should Captivate Your Mind More Than the President

“For those of us who profess to be Christians, it is a good question to ask ourselves these days, “What are we thinking about?”
Over the past year-and-a-half, I have become increasingly interested in what’s going on in our nation. In addition to habitually perusing my news apps on my phone, I sense a mild excitement when watching the evening news and a subtle disappointment when I miss it. When my attention drifts away from current events, I’m left wondering what debate, controversy, or tweet is making the headlines. I want to be in the know.
The firestorm that was last year’s presidential election grabbed my attention more than any other. When the results came in many people were depressed, many were ecstatic, everyone was shocked. And now that the new administration is establishing itself, things are finally calming down. Except they’re not.

Every day there seems to be some new controversy, tweet, or headline pulling our eyes to our devices and our attention to the man whose name has become the most spoken, written, and tweeted name in our nation. Whatever else can be said about our president, the man is a master of attracting attention. His name has made it into our newspapers, Facebook posts, Twitter feeds, television news headlines, talk show rants, magazine covers, protest signs, and – if you’re like me – our thoughts as well.
However, I’ve recently been wondering: Does the president deserve the amount of attention my mind has been giving him? Given how often I read, see, or hear his name, the media would have me believe there is no one in our nation or the world who deserves the attention of my thoughts as much as the president. Many would agree.
I disagree. And so would the apostle Paul, who believed there is only one person for whom we should “take captive every thought.” Simply put, the words and actions of Jesus should occupy our minds more than the words and actions of the president.

The life of Jesus should occupy our minds more than the life of the president.

To be clear, I am not suggesting we should “opt out” of mental or practical concern for our president and his actions. Admittedly, as a white man who is becoming increasingly aware of my privileged status, it can be easy for me to mentally and emotionally disengage from the words and actions of our president – a luxury not shared by many of my brothers and sisters who have felt directly and personally threatened by him.

                                  Disengagement is not the answer.

Rather, I am suggesting that we should be so captivated by Jesus that His view of reality increasingly becomes our own. Letting Jesus captivate our minds more than the president does not mean mentally disengaging the latter; it means making Jesus and His vision of God’s Kingdom the comprehensive mental framework by which we judge everything that enters our minds, including the words and actions of our president.
That Jesus should captivate our minds more than the president may seem painfully obvious. But so is the fact that flossing is good for my teeth, yet I occasionally (okay, often) need reminders. Sometimes we need to be reminded of the most basic spiritual truths.
So here are four reasons why we should be more captivated by Jesus than the president:

                                       He Has More Authority

One could argue that the United States presidency is the most influential office in the world. As commander and chief, the president holds supreme operational command of the most powerful military on the planet. Even with checks and balances, that’s a lot of authority. That being said, Jesus is Lord. And when I say Jesus is Lord, I don’t mean that a segment of humanity tries their best to live according to His teachings. I mean He is the one to whom everyone (including the president of the United States of America) will one day bow in submission, whether that happens with joy now or in fright later. Jesus once said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” Then His followers bowed down and worshiped him. Having authority over the US military demands respect. Having authority over creation demands worship.

                              His Administration Will Last Longer

Unless something happens, our president will serve at least four years, maybe eight. This means one thing is for certain: the current administration won’t even last a decade. In stark contrast, the administration of Jesus (i.e. Kingdom of God) will last forever. Unlike the United States presidency, which is an elected office with term limits, we don’t elect Jesus to the office of Lord. We recognize and submit to His position. And there are no term limits. Jesus’ Kingdom will outlast the governments of China, Russia, Great Britain, and yes, even the United States of America. In the grand scheme of cosmic history, the current administration’s four-maybe-eight years is a tiny blip on the screen. Compare this to the eternal Kingdom of Jesus, and well … you get the point.

                                His Policies are More Controversial

We are all aware that our president has made some controversial statements on issues such as immigration, healthcare, and foreign relations. Yet it might be surprising to hear that Jesus’ public proclamations were way more controversial, way more radical. Anyone who tells you that Jesus was the meek and mild type who never rocked the boat either doesn’t know what he’s talking about or he’s lying. Imagine the president tweeting, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me” or “I have come here from God … God sent me.” What if the president’s first public statement directly following a domestic terrorist attack was, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” or the closing line to his first State of the Union address was, “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life”?
I’m not saying I completely understand or perfectly obey all of Jesus’ words. Far from it. But there’s something about them, something about Jesus, that makes me want to. Because of the beauty of Jesus’ life, I don’t hear His words as the cheap outbursts of a provocateur. I hear them as an invitation to trust and follow. The president’s controversial vision for our nation deserves thoughtful engagement. But Jesus’ breathtaking vision of God’s Kingdom deserves the furthest reaches of the imagination.

                                            He Knows Your Name

I’ve never met the president and I can guarantee he has no idea who I am. He has no reason to know my name or recognize my face (and I don’t plan to give him one). As the national leader of 321.4 million individuals, why would he? Jesus, on the other hand, does know my name. And He knows yours too.

We often emphasize the importance of knowing Jesus, but I wonder if the significance of our faith lies just as much in being known. In my marriage, for example, knowing my wife is essential for the flourishing of our relationship (especially when I’m shopping for her birthday gift). But the moments I feel most connected are when she does or says something that makes me feel like she knows me. And it’s not just that she knows me. It’s that she knows me and, for some reason, still wants to be with me. Being known authenticates the experience of being loved.

It’s the same with Jesus. How else could a murderous, gospel-denying, Jesus-hater like Saul of Tarsus become the gospel-proclaiming, Jesus-follower we know today as the apostle Paul? Jesus appeared and called his name. Before ever knowing who that blinding figure was, he realized he was known. You undoubtedly know the president’s name. Jesus knows yours.

The president deserves some of my thoughts. Jesus deserves the total preoccupation of my mind. I’m going to try to remember that the next time I read a tweet or skim a headline.
So what are you thinking about?”

Written by Michael Carlson
on June 13, 2017

 

Don’t Be Shy – Use Your Talents, Don’t Bury Them

This past Sunday in church,  our four-year old granddaughter, Brooklyn, walked in with her family wearing leopard print eye-glasses.  They were adorable on her but I didn’t know she was needing to wear glasses.  She proudly walked down the row of seats to where Karen and I were sitting and said, “Papa!  I now have glasses just like you!”  Throughout the worship time I couldn’t take my eyes off her.  She looked so darn cute in them.

Between songs Jaymi, Brooklyn’s mommy, leaned over to me and whispered in my ear.  “Dad, those aren’t real glasses.  This morning, Brooklyn told me she wanted to wear her pretend glasses to church.  I asked her why, and she said they were her singing glasses.”

I wish I had singing glasses that really work.  I don’t have confidence in my singing.  While trying to make a joyful noise during worship, I’m afraid others around me will mistake it for an awful noise.  My mother was sitting next to me in church and after the service complimented me on my singing.  But isn’t that what mother’s are supposed to do?  Aren’t they notorious for giving undeserved praise to their children?

Anyway, I know God didn’t bless me with an awesome singing voice.  Maybe I’ll get new vocal cords when I get to Heaven.  But until then, I’ll continue to sing the best I can and know God doesn’t mind.  To Him, I sound like Frank Sinatra.

God has blessed each of us though with certain gifts and abilities.  God gave me the gift of creativity.  I love to write, take pictures, draw and create.  I’ve even learned how to take these talents and use them to glorify God by helping others with my gifts.

Karen and I developed our ministry, Desire To Inspire, with 1 Peter 4:10 in mind. 

God has given each of you some special abilities; be sure to use them to help each other, passing on to others God’s many kinds of blessings.”

Our goal is to encourage people to use their God given gifts to glorify God.  We are not focusing on the spiritual gifts of speaking in tongues or Prophecy.  We want to focus on God given talents, such as hospitality, empathy, teaching, serving, giving, encouraging and so on.  In Matthew 25, Jesus gives the parable of the talents.  The talents Jesus uses as an example in this parable not only represents a denomination of currency but also the opportunity each servant had in using his God given talents to help his Master.  Two servants used the resourcefulness God had blessed them with, the 3rd did not.

Are you using your God given gifts to help others or do you have undeveloped talents and abilities just waiting for you to tap into?   Just like the three servants in the parable, God wants us to use our gifts and not bury them.  God can even use us when we don’t have confidence in our abilities.  Remember, Moses told God that he couldn’t speak well enough to confront Pharaoh and lead the Israelites out of Egypt.  God used a few fishermen, a tax collector, a doctor, a cupbearer, sheep herders, and others not educated in journalism or creative writing to author the sixty-six books of the Bible.

While borrowing Brooklyn’s “singing glasses” unfortunately won’t help me sing any better, seeing the world through God’s eyes will bring into sharp focus the need to use our special talents so we can be the image bearers of Jesus.

For The Moment All Discipline Seems Painful but later…

Do you enjoy change?  I don’t… I resist it.  I am very selective with what changes I commit to.  When I commit, I commit 110%.  One gift that comes from being in chronic pain is the discipline it’s teaching me.   My pain has been a teacher of discipline in many areas of my life.   I become frustrated, though,  if I don’t see instant results.  In a past blog post, I shared about my granddaughter, who also wants instant results.  She coined a new phrase when she doesn’t  want to wait until tonight or tomorrow…but wants it ToNow!!!  http://desiretoinspire.life/not-tonight-not-tomorrow-tonow/

Often the results we want require change on our part, which often takes time, but the results are our future reward.

I’ve been making “small” life style changes in my eating habits over many years now.  Sugar controlled my life….it was my drug of choice.  Before we had children, Terry and I attended Weight Watchers.  Sadly, the night we finally hit our goal and became lifetime members, we decided to go out and celebrate.  We went to Winchell’s Donuts and I bought four delicious donuts to eat on the way home.  If that wasn’t enough, we stopped at Albertson’s for a few groceries and I bought four more donuts for Moi!!!!  During the twenty-minute drive home, I consumed all eight donuts and didn’t even get sick.

A couple of years later, I attended a Bible study at our church called Joy In Discipline.  It was also a weight loss class and we would memorize Bible verses every week.   It was during this study, that my eyes were opened to the Truth of God’s Word.  God loved me just as I was.  He offered to come into my life to help me live by the power of His Holy Spirit.

After that study, I felt the Lord asking me to give up refined sugar….it controlled my life.  One night I asked Terry if he thought I could give up sugar, cold turkey.  (He was hopeful I could do it because when I baked cookies, I would eat most of them and only leave him two or three)

I prayerfully made a life style decision and chose to give up refined sugar.  It was hard at first, but then it became easier and easier.  I don’t even have the desire for cakes, cookies and donuts anymore.  I cook with agave, honey, coconut sugar or pure maple syrup.  I no longer crave sugar like I used to.  I am envious of people though, who can just eat one cookie or a piece of candy and be satisfied.  If I’m not careful, I can still go into PORK OUT MODE!!!

One of the verses I memorized in “Joy of Discipline” was Hebrews 12:11 “For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it!”  (Not necessarily instant results!)

Continuing to be frustrated with my weight, I went to my doctor a while back and asked what she would recommend to help me lose 20-30 pounds.  Her answer surprised me with its simplicity.   She said, “You need to exercise more and eat less.”  I laughed.   Why does it sound so simple, yet is so difficult?

Last winter, something needed to change if I was going to lose the 20 pounds I wanted to.  So on rainy days, instead of complaining about the weather, I pushed myself to get on my stationary bike to burn a few calories.  After a couple weeks, my jeans were looser.  I loved it!  Here I got the instant results I strive for but again I’m frustrated because riding the bike brought my chronic neck pain to a new level and I had to quit.  Now, summer is almost upon us and I’m right back where I started with another ten pounds on top of that.

Recently, Terry and I were getting a few groceries at Fred Meyers and making more intentional life changes with our eating.  A young mom was ahead of us in the grocery line.  While looking at our groceries, she smiled and commented, “Looks like a healthy lifestyle of eating to me”.

I smiled at her and said “Yes”.  And with God’s help, I’m excited to see the future results!

What areas of discipline do you struggle with?  Memorizing God’s Word helped me.

In The Game Of Life Do You Ever Want A Do Over?

Have you ever bitten off more than you can chew?  I mean that literally. From my years of dental procedures, I’m learning the importance of an aligned bite.  If the bite isn’t right, you are in pain.  The jaw bone is connected to the neck bone.  If the joints in the jaw aren’t happy, the neck isn’t happy.  If the neck isn’t happy, the brain isn’t happy.  When the brain isn’t happy you have major depressive disorder.  When you have major depressive disorder, you struggle to push through every day.  You wish you could get away from the pain and you try to not focus on yourself, but chronic pain is relentless, day in and day out.  Everything is an effort.  Comfort food is no longer a comfort.

When people ask how I’m doing, what should I say?  The polite but dishonest answer is, “Fine!”  Am I truthful and go into how badly I feel?  I guess it depends on who is asking the question.

Terry and I played The Game of Life with the grandkids one night.  Our grandson, Logan, chose to take the shorter route to begin the game and soon discovered that he should have taken the longer route to get his career.  His sister, Maya, took the long route and was rewarded with a higher income than Logan.  He wanted a do over.  He made us laugh and we gave him a do over.

I want a do over with my mouth.  I would have brushed my teeth three times a day and ate a lot less sugar.  Dental floss would have been my best friend.  This may have helped some, but inherently and genetically, bad teeth run in my family.

When Terry was a little boy, he wanted to be a dentist when he grew up.  I think God was trying to warn and prepare him for being married to me.  He should have listened.  I told him, he should have looked in my mouth and checked out my teeth before deciding to marry me.  His answer was very sweet!  He said, “You never look a gift horse in the mouth.  And you are a gift from God to me.”

I think if we are honest, we would all like a do over in one area or another in our lives.  We live in a broken world with frail human bodies that aren’t as perfect as we want them to be.  I think we all have an ideal picture of what our lives should be like…then real life happens.

For years I carried false guilt around I wasn’t meant to carry.   I used to believe God was mad at me for being undisciplined so He punished me with pain.  Oh I tried so hard to be disciplined enough to win back His favor so I could become healthy once more.  Even though discipline can be a good thing, it didn’t change my heart.  I continued to judge myself under my standard of thinking, believing they were God’s standards.

As a child, I perceived being weak as a bad thing.  I believed I had to be strong emotionally and physically to be loved.  I compared myself to others (it came as natural as breathing) and I always came up less than.  I played it well and appeared to lead a disciplined life.  On the outside everyone thought I was a good girl — but internally, I was as rebellious as they come.  I threw away the lock and key on the inside of my heart.  I couldn’t escape the shame and ugliness I felt, believing no one could understand, connect with, or love me if they really knew what was inside.  Over the course of many years, I discovered I could never be disciplined enough or do enough to win God’s favor.

For now, physical pain is my constant companion but false guilt doesn’t need to be.  Pain and suffering is a direct result of our fallen world.  I can’t control that.  False guilt is Satan’s way of distracting me from being all I can be in Christ.  I can control that by understanding and applying what God tells me through his Word.

                                             GOD SAYS TO US…

Therefore we do not lose heart.  Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.  for our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.  For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”   2 Corinthians 4: 16-18

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works, so that no one can boast.”   Ephesians 2: 8-9

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come.”  2 Corinthians 5: 17

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.”  Romans 8:1

 

Progressive Thinking, Alternative Facts and Fake News vs Godly Thinking, The Truth and Good News (The Gospel)

Karen and I at Tulip Fields

Bill Cosby hosted a television show in the late 1990’s called Kids Say The Darndest Things.  On the show, children are asked seemingly innocent questions which are often answered in off-the-wall, hilarious fashion.  When children give their opinions on a variety of adult topics, you expect to get a chuckle out of someone who forms their world view from watching Sesame Street and Nickelodeon.  It’s not quite as funny when the people who are elected to run our country, deliver the news we read, and preach God’s Word seem to form their world views by watching the same programs as our children.

Let me clarify my point.  Children will often say things that aren’t based on facts because they don’t know any better.  If they do know the facts and don’t tell the truth, well, we’ve just caught them in a lie haven’t we.  Adults, on the other hand, should know the difference between fact and fiction.  They should know better than to pretend to know the answer to a question when, in reality, they have no clue to what the correct answer is.  Adults should also know better than to mislead people with opinions they know to be false.

A grandfather once asked his granddaughter if she wanted world peace and she said, “No.”  He asked why and she said she hated peas.

On January 22, 2017, Kellyanne Conway used the phrase “alternative facts” to defend White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s false statement that the attendance at the inauguration of Donald Trump as President was the “largest audience to ever witness an inauguration -period – both in person and around the globe.”

I hope you can recognize the difference between the above two statements.  If not, you may be spending way too much time on the Nickelodeon channel.

People in the world today who find themselves in roles of leadership or in positions to sway public opinion have developed new definitions for describing truth.  They call the dispensing of truth either alternative facts, fake news or progressive thinking.  If you choose to stand these versions of the truth, you will find yourself on as much solid ground as the shifting sand, moved by the swirling winds of cultural change.

When I watch television, follow the news on the internet or read a newspaper, I expect to find journalism which is both factual and unbiased.  Unfortunately, what I read and hear is too often slanted so far to the left, I feel like I’m about to slide off my chair into a big pile of dog doo-doo.

Politics and journalism are not alone in playing a game of musical chairs with the truth.  While many politicians and journalists practice using alternative facts through fake news, false preachers practice alternative facts through fake “good” news.

One example of fake “good” news is what many have come to call the prosperity gospel.  This teaches that God wants all believers to live healthy, wealthy and happy lives.  If you want to live at this level of heaven on earth, all you have to do is ask God for it,  believe He will answer your prayers and voila`- you are now healthy, wealthy and happy.  Sounds too good to be true – right?  Well, if you believe in Santa Claus it isn’t.

Does God answer prayer?  Of course He does, but He also knows what is best for us.  Sometimes getting everything we ask for isn’t in our best interest.  Think of what would happen if we gave our children everything they want or let them do anything they want to do.   God uses suffering to teach us many things as long as we are open to His guidance.  Why God allows suffering is a hard topic to fully understand, but if you want to learn more about this, read my blog post at: http://desiretoinspire.life/dear-job-we-have-a-few-things-in-common-suffering/

Biblical truth is fast becoming obsolete.  God’s word is seen as narrow-minded, judgmental and regressive.  Many wonder how anyone with half-a-brain believe moral truth derived from man’s superstitious need for solving life’s mysteries of life and death – good vs evil.  To this I say  hogwash and poppycock.  God is the author of truth.  The only other original author out there regarding truth is Satan – and he is the father of lies.

In The Message Bible, Eugene Peterson does a remarkable job in the book of Romans paraphrasing what I’ve been talking about.  Listen to the Apostle Paul as he describes mankind’s pursuit of truth:

“But God’s angry displeasure erupts as acts of human mistrust and wrongdoing and lying accumulate, as people try to put a shroud over the truth….What happened was this:  People knew God perfectly well, but when thy didn’t treat him like God, refusing to worship Him, they trivialized themselves into silliness and confusion so that there was neither sense nor direction left in their lives.  They pretended to know it all, but were illiterate regarding life.  They traded the glory of God who holds the whole world in His hands for cheap figurines you can buy at any roadside stand.

“So God said, in effect, “If that’s what you want, that’s what you get.”  It wasn’t long before they were living in a pigpen, smeared with filth, filthy inside and out.  And all this because they traded the true God for a fake god, and worshiped the god they made instead of the God who made them – the God we bless, the God who blesses us.

“Since they didn’t bother to acknowledge God, God quit bothering them and let them run loose.  And then all hell broke loose: rampant evil, grabbing and grasping, vicious backstabbing.  they made life hell on earth with their envy, wanton killing, bickering, and cheating.  Look at them: mean-spirited venomous, fork-tongued God-bashers.  Bullies, swaggerers, insufferable windbags….And it’s not as if they don’t know better.  They know perfectly well they’re spitting in God’s face.  And they don’t care – worse, they hand out prizes to those who do the worst things best!

Those people are on a dark spiral downward.  But if you think that leaves you on the high ground where you can point your finger at others, think again.  Every time you criticize someone, you condemn yourself.  It takes one to know one.  Judgmental criticism of others is a well-known way of escaping detection in your own crimes and misdemeanors.  But God isn’t so easily diverted.  He sees right through all such smoke screens and holds you to what you’ve done.

You didn’t think, did you, that just by pointing your finger at others you would distract God from seeing all your misdoings and from coming down on you hard?  Or did you think that because He’s such a nice God, He’d let you off the hook?  Better think this one through from the beginning.  God is kind, but He’s not soft.  In kindness He takes us firmly by the hand and leads us into a radical life-change.”

Don’t be misled by people who call themselves “progressive thinkers”.  Just like alternative facts and fake news, progressive thinking is nothing new.  It has always been mankind’s way of ignoring the real truth, God’s Truth, so they can pursue what they want when they want it.  When children do this, they must answer to their parents.  When adults do this, they will someday answer to God.

 

 

 

 

WOW MOM –It’s Mother’s Day

Today our four year old granddaughter, Brooklyn, was over and we were coloring with markers.  She has been introduced to the alphabet by her older sister, Maya, and asked me to write the letter M.  I wrote MOM, turned it upside down, and showed her it said WOW.  Brooklyn was impressed.  Whatever season of life of motherhood you may be in, may you feel WOW–CELEBRATED and LOVED!!!

I didn’t appreciate my mom until I grew up and became one myself.  One Mother’s Day, when I was a child, I asked my mom, “Why is there a Mother’s Day and there isn’t a children’s day to celebrate me”?  I didn’t like her response then, but it makes me smile today…she said “Everyday is children’s day”.

WOW–what a privilege and responsibility it is to be a MOM.  God has entrusted and gifted you in such a way to love, nurture, and raise the children He has blessed you with.  Is being a mom easy?  Absolutely not.     Becoming a mom is a life changer…On the job training, requires multi tasking of various responsibilities which include managing a household, organizing a budget and show casing your culinary expertise (or lack there of).

Whatever season of life and MOM-hood you are in, take time to enjoy!  Being a mother is more like a marathon than a sprint!  I hope you realize how much God loves you this Mother’s Day.  If you are a mother of a preschooler and feel like you are in this season alone, get connected with a MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) Group.  http://www.mops.org/

WOW MOM!!!  To each of you Mom’s out there, Happy Mother’s Day or Happy “WOW MOM Day”!

After, I wrote this blog, I found this video clip which hopefully will encourage you and cheer you on.

[ninja_form id=4

 

 

 

 

To See or Not to See Through God’s Perspective

I went to the eye doctor this week for my annual exam.  I am legally blind without my contacts.  The doctor told me to let him know when I begin to see letters in a line.  I frantically thought, “there are letters in a line?”  All I could see was white fuzz.  Thank God for contacts and eye glasses to help me see.

I skimmed through facebook last night.  A video of a young boy who was colorblind, caught my attention.  He opened a gift of eye glasses that enabled him to see color for the first time.  As he put on the glasses, a huge smile spread across his face.  Tears of joy began flowing from eyes seeing color for the first time.  His world changed.

Today I was praying about a situation I was struggling with.  I thought I wish I had a pair of God glasses I could put on.  To be able to see things in His perspective on everything.  I realize that is why He gave us His WORD so we can, through the Holy Spirit, be learning His way in everything.  But I still would love a pair of God glasses!  My faith would be sight!

1 Cor. 13:1  Now we see things imperfectly like puzzling reflections in a mirror but then we will see everything with perfect clarity.  All I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.  NLT

Do you need to see things clearer, through God’s perspective?

 

 

 

WHAT ARE YOU HOPING FOR?

Have you ever thought about the word “Hope”?  I decided to look it up and get the dictionary’s meaning of Hope.  Hope is a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.  A feeling of trust.  Also as a verb it means to want something to happen.  We all need hope.

What are you hoping for?  For me, I’m hoping winter will soon be behind us and for a sunny spring to arrive “tonow” (My granddaughter Esther’s favorite saying when she wants something today, not tomorrow).  I am also hoping to have my chronic pain subside after my dental implants heal and I eventually will be able to chew with no pain.

We all have things we actively or passively hope for.  Some things are more important than others.  Hopeful for things to come; some things are short lived and temporal and truly aren’t too significant in the light of eternity.

Regardless of our circumstances now on earth, the Bible tells us where we can find eternal, CERTAIN HOPE.  Hope based on eternity, not on things of this world.   This world is temporal.  1 John 2:17 “The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.”

The Bible is clear in whom our hope needs to be placed.  Through faith in Jesus Christ, God’s one and only Son.  He is our Hope, not only on this earth but our hope, OUR CERTAIN HOPE, for eternity.