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Showing posts from February, 2012

Little pieces of broken glass, part one

I had the craziest fluke of an accident while traveling to teach. I stepped on something in my hotel room and it went through my "sleeper socks" and imbedded itself deep into the heel of my right foot! Now when you consider that some of the thickest skin on the human body is found on the hands and feet, it's not exactly an easy area to penetrate. The fact that I didn't see anything on the floor meant that I stepped down with full force, walking normally until I felt the sharp object penetrating my sock and my skin in one quick shot! "Aaaaeeeeeee!" I screamed at great-day-in-the morning! I felt sort of sorry for any floor mates on either side of my room, because my scream would have made a scary alarm clock! Skin has nerve endings that tell us when we've been touched. My skin had been more than touched; it had been pierced, and I found out that morning that a little invisible sharp object can really, really cause a lot of pain! Enter the tough girl:

What's Your Problem?

My husband Norman used to ask our children this question when they were acting grumpy or otherwise out of sorts: "What's your problem?" And he expected them to answer so that he could help them find a suitable solution. He was like Doctor Dad. Doctors begin the process of diagnosis by asking questions, often followed by ordering tests to examine things in greater detail. God's Word diagnoses, examines and provides remedies, if we'll be hearers and doers of the Word. It's very common today for people to complain to the Lord in prayer while never allowing Him to get to the bottom of their complaint. That’s like going to the doctor, listing your ailments, and then saying, “I don’t want you to help me. I just want you to listen to me whine.” What's your problem? Could it be one of these areas? 1. Are you spiritually stubborn? Are you crying and crying out to God in prayer, but claiming that He isn't hearing your prayers? Have you ever considered that

Who wants to be a lovely empty box?

"Beware of misapplying your energies; be careful to begin in the right place."--C.H. Spurgeon, from his sermon on "The Great Reservoir" of the heart (Prov. 4:23) If you are training your young people by hyper-focusing on the externals while neglecting the heart, you are "misapplying your energies," and you won't like the end result. A person who can put on a good public show while covering up a sin-filled private life is like my Grandma Bubbie used to say: "Pretty package; nothing inside." Obviously, we have to keep externals in line because man can only see the "outward appearance," but we need to give more effort and energy to the part that God can see: the heart. We who are parents will find ourselves in the prime of our Christian lives just in time to witness the slow decline in the lives of our young adults if we’re not more conscientious about matters of the heart. This is the "looks" generation. You can be

No wonder we have image issues

I was in the bookstore recently, and these were some actual cover lines on women's magazines: "Burn 300 Calories in 22 Minutes!" "Sexy Legs Now!" "How to Fake Perfect Skin!" (Oh, I already know this one. It's one of my mottos: "Little powder, little paint; make a woman what she ain't!" Duh!) "The Pill That Can Make You Look Younger!" "Great Hair Everyday!" An ad writer is sitting at a desk spinning these tall tales, hoping to make the cover of the next issue of "Selfish" magazine. I can just imagine the writer, sitting there in a cubicle with a few family pictures push-pinned to the fabric wall of his or her cube-office, writing empty, vacant, and delusional promises for you and me. Why do women buy these magazines? Is it because they're thinking that maybe "this time, it will really work"? Or is it because the increasingly clever marketing moguls have figured out how trick wom

February 21, 2012: Today is my birthday

It's my birthday, and I've given myself permission to start it totally in slow motion. So, first I shuffled into the bathroom, looked in the mirror, saw my hair standing up in the "touchdown!" position, looked up and said, "Thank you for my birthday, Lord." I don't think He minds the hair. Then I went to the kitchen and poured myself a good cup of decaf Mocha from Gevalia coffee. No Teeccino today. Teeccino is very good, but on a celebration day, I have to break out the decaf Mocha Java. Why decaf? Because the nutritionist said that it's better for my heart and my worn-out adrenal glands. That's another blog. Then I cut up a Granny Smith apple into some vanilla Greek yogurt, added a tablespoon of ground flax and two tablespoons of granola, stirred and put the whole feast on my breakfast tray. Headed to the den for my daily closed-door session with my Lord. After some prayer time, I opened His Word (I like to have my physical food with my sp

The Secret Life of Lust

People are doing lots of things behind our backs these days, but they aren't doing anything behind God's back. It's impossible to hide anything from God! We may be absolutely floored when we hear of some shockingly wicked event, terrible news or other catastrophe, but rest assured that God is not up in heaven saying, "Can you believe what they just did?" I've taught on this many times, but it bears repeating: The secret life is not so secret. Consider what the Lord says about this topic as proof: "The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good." (Prov. 15:3) God is everywhere and sees everything, so who are we kidding and what are we trying to hide? "For the ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord, and he pondereth all his goings." (Prov. 5:21) So here we have this all-knowing, all-seeing God, and we're still living every-which-way-but-loose? God even knows our motivation for what we do, which

The wrong kind of fear is such a drain

Consider this quote carefully: "God incarnate is the end of fear, and the heart that realizes that He is in the midst will be quiet in the middle of alarm"--F. B. Meyer Have you ever worn yourself out worrying about something? Worry is the gas in fear's tank. If you are worried, you are afraid of something. The wrong kind of fear can be so draining. One of the best things that happened to us was my husband's job loss in March of 2011. I was out in Santa Clara, CA guest-teaching at Golden State Baptist College. My Norman woke up that morning in MN and went to work like every other day for the past 21 years at the same company. This day would be different. He was called into a special meeting. Since he knew the meeting was coming, he had time to text me to pray for him: "Special meeting today. Pray." When I saw this message in my phone, I sat down right where I was and prayed. Then I went and taught my class. Of course, my mind started the fear game r

Drippy Harps, part three-The Angry Woman

Women have a tendency to be angry "around" an issue rather than getting to the heart of the matter. It's a lot like when  person is on a diet and she wants chocolate cake, but she eats carrots because she wants to "be good." When we allow unresolved conflicts to pile up in our lives, we're like that unsatisfied dieter; eventually, we're going to go crazy and eat the whole chocolate cake...or eat a person alive! "It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman." (Prov 21:19) Have you ever wondered what this woman was angry about? Could it be that she had a hurt from her past that never got handled correctly? Scripture doesn't tell us why she was angry, but an easy guess would tell you that it involved some offense committed by another person, and it probably happened a while ago. When we're miffed and steaming about something that happened to us way back in history, there is a risk that we may tak

I Witnessed a Robbery

I witnessed a real robbery yesterday while shopping at a department store (which shall remain nameless so that they won't come after me for telling on them). It happened right at the cash register! It wasn't the shoot-em-up-bang-bang kind of robbery; it was a verbal robbery, and it went like this: A young lady who appeared to be about in her twenties had a good sized pile of clothes at the checkout counter. Funny. She didn't look happy at all about all that loot she was purchasing; in fact, she looked a bit uncomfortable. I wonder if she was having second thoughts about buying so much stuff? Well, the cashier was one of these "Don't Worry, Be Happy" types who bounced to her own music in her head, and she zipped right into her prepared script: "Would you like to open a Dewey-Cheetum Charge card today? You'll save 15% off this purchase!" The young woman hesitated, and then asked, "How do I pay it back? All at once?" (I cringed. The

Have you hugged your Pastor today?

Our Pastor, Dr. David Clear has said publicly that he's not the "huggy type," so as a church family, we know not to run up on him to crush him in a big bear-hug. In fact, if we tried to engage him in a hug-fest, I think he'd run for his car, and then he'd be tempted step on the gas and aim the car at the huggers! (Pastor Clear, I'm just guessing here.) At any rate, there used to be a public service commercial on TV that said "Have you hugged your kid today? Did you send him on his way, with love-la-la-la-love..." and it repeated itself. So I'm hearing that jingle in my head as I write this post. Have you thanked your Pastor lately? (You don't have to hug him to thank him.) Norman and I have many Pastors as friends and have heard life-changing sermons all over the country.  Sitting under the sound of all this great preaching has allowed me to collect dozens of quotes that have left influential marks on my heart and mind. Even so, there's

Drippy Harps, part two

We're examining ourselves for the evidence of being "drippy harps," which is the term we're using to describe the contentious woman. Let's look at another way that we can stray into this zone and what to do about it: 2. Problems with children can make women very drippy and harpy. "A foolish son is the calamity of his father: and the contentions of a wife are a continual dropping." (Prov. 19:13) This verse can be taken two ways: as separate situations or as related. Whenever I read this verse, I see a woman who has had it with her foolish child, so she let's loose on her husband with a continual stream of complaints. The man knows that there's a problem, but the wife wants to make sure that he knows how this problem is making her life miserable, so she goes into a monologue with plenty of details! (Note to women: Men have an automatic fogging device in their brains that activates anytime a person goes on and on. If he's looking at

Drippy Harps, part one

Are you a drip? Do you harp a lot? I heard this rotten joke recently: "My wife is a perfect angel; she's always up in the air harping on something." Yikes! Is this me? Is this you? When we allow ourselves to become casual in our relationships with our husbands, we can easily slip into the role of the "drippy harp:" a contentious woman who nags and criticizes while convincing herself that she's just being honest and helpful. Deliver me from such help! We would never want to be treated in the way that we mistreat our spouses! We'll examine this one over several segments, but here's the first one: 1. If you won't let a matter drop, you're a drip. "A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike." (Prov. 27:15) You may not realize it, but your repeated "suggestions" translate into "criticims" over time. Bringing an issue to someone's attention once is reasonable; twice is remin

From 33,970 feet in the air

Back in 1992, Mrs. Ellie Johnson, wife of Dr. Ed Johnson asked me to teach a workshop for mothers of young children at the First Baptist Church Ladies' Extravaganza in Rosemount, MN. My children were still "under construction" at the time, so I didn't know what I was going to say, but I accepted the job. I had already been taught this much: If someone in the ministry asks you to do something and you can do it, do it. So, I started writing a workshop, using Titus 2:3-5 as my text. Since I had never done this before, I wrote WAY too much material for the 45-minute workshop, holding ladies hostage with my crazy war stories of motherhood as we laughed past the cutoff time. They had to send security (in the form of a hostess) to break up our wayward operation, and I gleeful walked down the hall with a clump of happy Moms to the auditorium. We were all late for the next session, it was my fault, and I didn't even have sense enough to be ashamed of myself. That day, a