Get out your favorite version of the Holy Scriptures and turn to 2 Chronicles 7:14

Monday, August 5, 2013

Why Do We Fight So Hard?

Have you ever wondered why Christians fight so hard to keep from going home? In prayer and in church, we express our deep need to see Jesus "face-to-face." Yet when the rubber meets the road and it looks like we might get our wish, we start furiously back-tracking.

"Years ago" I prayed a desperate prayer. (It's okay to talk about the outlandish things we've done in our lives, as long as we preface it with "years ago." Few of us would admit the outlandish things we did yesterday, or the day before.) Looking back, I'd say it was a foolish prayer, but at the time it seemed appropriate.

I told God "If this is the best it's ever going to be, I wish You'd call me home now." Within weeks I became desperately ill. Whether I was "sick unto death" or not, I'll never know. But I was scared. I was sure God was answering my prayer. And, of all things, I did an about-face. I asked Him to forgive me for uttering that prayer and heal me. More than anything in the world, I wanted more time on earth.

I was pretty young at the time. Whether or not God had allowed my illness to come on me, who knows. But I imagine He was smiling and shaking His head, saying "Make up your mind, child."

I know of a church-going man in his mid-90's who was hospitalized and near the end. He begged his children to do whatever was necessary . . . but to please not let him die. (As though they had the power to keep him alive.) In time he did, of course, die. With  his pastor at his side. I think he'd made a decision for Christ years earlier . . . so why the abject fear of death?

This man's experience made me think about the extremes we go to in order to spend another year, another month, another day in this place. A place that's becoming more and more intolerant of us and of our God.  Which begs the question . . . at what age, or at what point in our spiritual maturity do we finally fully grasp the scriptural truth that to live is Christ and to die is gain. GAIN . . . that means it's better there than it is here.

There is no existence that can transcend being in the presence of our Lord and Savior.

In case you think I'm sounding suicidal . . . may it never be. I would never rush God. But neither will I throw any roadblocks in His way if He decides it's my time, nor fight the inevitable in an attempt to keep this aging body reluctantly operating. If  Jesus doesn't come before, I may have another twenty years on this planet. But I will spend every minute of that time in sweet anticipation of what is to come.

Where do you stand on this subject?

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Just Passin' Through

This world is not my home. I'm just passing through. THANK GOD.

Jesus is my Security, my Resting Place, my Peace, and my Hope. When the things of this earth get too weird and unsafe for my mind to fathom . . . and they are indeed weird and unsafe, not the same world I grew up in . . . I turn to Him and He reminds me that He has everything under control.

Monday, July 22, 2013

The Good Potter

By guest author, Amber O'Fallon
Copyright 06/24/2013

With an almost reverent touch, the potter lifted the precious piece of clay and placed it firmly in the  middle of the wheel. He'd waited a long time for this very special clay. It would be molded into something  wonderful. The motor was purring as it waited, in neutral, for the master's  touch that would set it in motion. There's something approaching spirituality in the molding of a lump of clay into something beautiful.

After patting it with a small bit of water to keep the clay pliable as it was worked, the potter reached down, flipped the switch, and the wheel began to turn.

The potter turned and left to get a cup of coffee, calling over his shoulder as he left the room. "Make wise decisions."

As the speed of the wheel increased, watery bits of clay began to fly in all directions. The precious lump, so carefully placed in the middle of the wheel began to spread from the centrifugal force. Soon the main body of the lump dislodged and began to shift toward the outer perimeters of the wheel.

Splat! The clay flew from the wheel, hit the workbench, and plopped into the trashcan.


The potter, enjoying his coffee, heard a noise and rushed back into his workroom. Wet clay residue was still flying from the speeding wheel. The room was a mess.

How had this happened? Hadn't he done everything right? He used the best and most modern equipment. Bought the very best raw clay. He had great love and expectations for that lump of clay. Yet, instead of molding itself into something beautiful, it had fallen into ruin!

Pretty ridiculous, right? No one is that dumb.

So why would anyone expect a tender, pliable child to be able to mold itself into something wonderful? The potter must be present, and hands on for the end result to be a thing of beauty. There's a current trend to allow children to make their own decisions at a very early age,  so they'll be able to make wise decisions as they mature. But common sense tells us children don't make good decisions. It's a learned ability, like reading and writing. They have to have a pattern of wisdom to follow and lean on. If they're not carefully molded, they'll fly apart and fall into ruin . . . like that hapless lump of clay.

Children are facing bigger problems . . . fiercer enemies . . . than we did. More than ever, they need a potter.

A good potter. A present potter.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Boston Ferns

Every spring I buy at least one Boston Fern. And every summer (early in the summer) I throw it away because it has been scorched and dried out by the sun. In spite of frequent watering. Yet if you hang them where there is no sun, they wither.

This year I found the perfect setting. A part of my front porch gets a minimal amount of sun, but a good deal of daylight. Wow. I'd finally found the secret to a happy, healthy Boston Fern. It was  thriving, and I was proud. 

Then one day, I reached the spout of my little green watering can in and out flew a bird. I pulled up a chair, stood on it, and peered in. Right where I was getting ready to douse the plant there was a hole dug in the dirt, and a deep bird nest with two tiny eggs in it. To water the plant would be to soak the eggs. Now, if I understand correctly, bird eggs are porous, and if they're submerged in water, the egg can't "breathe."

What is more important, a Boston Fern, or  two potential baby birds? No contest. The plant is history!

We've been listening for a sign of life, and this morning, while having our coffee a mere three feet from the location of the nest, we saw the Mama drop into the plant with something in her mouth. Nano-seconds later, the sound of baby birds squealing for breakfast. I couldn't see them, but I knew their  little beaks were wide open to receive!

The plant is looking awful. But there's always next year.

Somehow I think I'm supposed to fit in the theme of this blog, "The Battle is Real."  Well, it is. And we must fight the good  fight without ceasing. But along the way, don't forget to appreciate the creation God has blessed us with. Like the sound of newly-hatched baby birds, squealing for their breakfast.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

No Condemnation

Romans 8:1, NAS: There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.


Are you aware, as I am, that a seemingly good message from the pulpit can mess up your relationship with the Lord? For years? I'm not saying "separate you from the Lord" . . . but simply put a crimp in what should be a wrinkle-free relationship?

Years ago . . . I'm guessing ten or fifteen . . . I listened to, and absorbed, a message from a young evangelist. After a vivid portrayal of exactly what our Lord went through the day he was crucified, down to the last horrid detail, this young man went on to the 'meat' of his message.

Now, I'm a firm believer everyone should be aware of exactly how much our Lord suffered in our stead. If you aren't up to speed on how great His sacrifice, you should make it a point to study up on it, and let it soak into your heart and soul. So this is not the part of the message from the pulpit that disturbed my spirit for years to come.

The evangelist went on to say; when a Christian sins (and we all do) we literally drag Jesus back to the cross to suffer again to pay for that sin. I may be oversimplifying, but this was the crux of his message.

I cry regularly when I think of what He suffered for me. But this revelation brought such sorrow to my heart I could barely endure it, thinking that I, personally, had caused Him to return to the cross . . . again and again. My pleas for forgiveness were overshadowed by the thought that I had no right to come to Him again. And I could never know the complete freedom of forgiveness because this shadow of guilt hovered over me.

I've been under the weather for about a month. I spent an inordinate amount of time in bed, unable to sleep. I spent a lot of time talking to the Lord. So it was just this past month He reminded me of this disturbing message. He brought it to my mind so that He might personally refute it!

"There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." No condemnation! He does not go back to the cross each time we sin. It was paid for . . . past, present, and future . . . when He went to the cross over two-thousand years ago. Because He knew, even then, that the flesh is weak. He knew that even those who'd given their hearts to Him would fail from time to time. He paid for ALL of our sins. Every last one. The black ones from our unsaved past, the ignorant ones we commit from day to day, and every other sin we might dream up in the future. He has saved us from them . . . just as long as we hold onto Him as our Lord and Savior.

He does not come back into the realm of time to suffer again. He is in eternity, sitting at the right hand of God the Father. Interceding for us. His family.

I have had a burden lifted from my heart with this word from the Lord. I would that every person who sat under that well-meaning, but mistaken young evangelist could read this message and be freed from a burden of guilt.

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus!

Live it. Believe it.

Remember, Satan doesn't want you to have a wrinkle-free relationship with Christ. 

Because . . . The Battle is Real.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


Grab a cup of coffee and get comfortable.

A few weeks ago I announced I had not been recognizant enough of the third commandment. I worked on Sundays just like any other day. I promised to change my ways and rest on the Sabbath as we’ve all been instructed to do by the Lord.

I’ve been true to my promise. What a blessing. Sunday morning, I awakened and thanked the Lord for another day. Then on my way to the coffee pot I was greeted by the mess on my desk and was immediately brought down by the pressures of always being behind in my work load. Until it dawned on me. It was Sunday! Yay!

A Lord-imposed day of rest. Yes, He knew what He was doing when he gave us the third commandment. I was able to close my eyes to the mess, ignore the nagging feeling I should be doing something, and simply enjoy the day.

One of the things that plagues me when I'm working to get caught up is my inability to stay current with this blog. So I decided to list my duties (and blessings) in this life, as I see them.

Here’s what I came up with. I am:
A child of God. Wife and mother. Grandmother and great-grandmother. Friend. Caretaker of God's creatures (animal lover and rehabber). Author. Editor. Publisher. And blog mistress.
Not surprisingly, the ”hats” I wear came to me in order of their importance in my life. The first four pertain to my relationship with God and man. The fifth is an undeniable, God-given facet of my personality that won’t allow me to pass up a creature in need. Six through ten are my “jobs” in this stage of my life.

I’ve been many things. A grocery-store clerk, secretary, office manager, bookkeeper, instructor, clocksmith, free-lance writer, church pianist, co-worship leader, and pastor’s wife (the hardest job of all). My latest (and probably final) career is that of a published author, with all the trimmings that come with the territory.

You may have noticed that “Blog Mistress” is the last item on my list of priorities.

My first publisher told me that joining FaceBook and writing a blog were part of the territory. She made participation in these things a part of my publishing contract. As for me, I’m not so sure of the value of Social Networking. But at the time, I had no choice. Keeping up with the postings of hundreds of people whom I hardly know and getting involved in threads of conversation that take on a life of their own were taking up a large portion of my busy day . . . until recently.

In addition to the actual time spent, research has shown that it takes 20-25 minutes for a writer to recapture his/her train of thought once interrupted. If that’s true (and I believe it), two interruptions an hour could render a writer practically useless. 

Remember—God, family, and animals were higher on my priority list than my “jobs.” But I do ask my family to not interrupt me when I’m writing, except for urgent matters . . . or the appearance of one of my rescue-squirrels.  And I have to make an exception when one of the grandkids has a question about God. (I think they’ve figured this out . . . so even a request for a cookie will in some manner relate to God.)

I feel called by God to write novels that wake people up to the wiles of Satan and his demons, while at the same time glorifying the Lord. Mortal love is to be the catalyst that brings it all together. I’m doing this to the best of my ability. But the other obligations set by my publisher had slowed me down considerably. Was I being true to my calling by putting precious time into FaceBook that could be devoted to writing?

Could addiction to Social Networking be just another way Satan detracts us from serving? Hmmm.

A close friend in the publishing industry, who does not belong to FaceBook and seldom posts in her blog, told me the way to become well-known as an author is not by Social Networking, but by writing really good novels, having them produced as professional-appearing books, and to keep them coming. I’m opting to try it her way.

I’ll stay in FaceBook, not as a means to sell books, but because I’ve made some really great friends that I don’t want to lose track of. And I’ll continue to maintain my blog, not in an attempt to collect “fans”, but because—from time to time—God gives me something important to say. And I need a soap box from which to shout it.

Who listens will be strictly up to God.

In the future my blogs posts will be infrequent. L.O.L. Come to think of it, they already are! But from now on, the infrequency will be intentional, and I won’t be stressed-out because of it. If any of you . . . my faithful readers . . . want to receive an email notice of a new blog post, leave a comment with your email address, and I’ll be sure you’re notified.

Are you doing your best in everything God has asked of you? If not, could it be because you have your  priorities mixed up? Take a minute to prioritize your “jobs.” Eliminate those which make you less effective for God. (The ones Satan would have you put first.)

Because the Battle is Real!




Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder

As a rule, I don't read the obituaries in the daily paper. Having pastored in East Texas many years -even before I knew him - my husband takes a moment each day to check them, hoping to not see a familiar name. But occasionally he learns of the death of an old friend that way.

However, one day recently, I was perusing the paper and a picture of a beautiful young girl caught my eye as the page turned. Her appearance radiated kindness, youth, energy, and love. I was drawn to read her obituary, hoping this was an old, old picture of a mature person who had lived a full life. That wish was not answered.

She was twenty-one years old when she died of a sudden illness. She was full of life, loved by everyone who met her, and always had a smile for everyone. She truly was what her picture portayed her to be. The article went on to say she was a dancer. Her life revolved around music and dancing. In my mind's eye I could see this lovely person dancing . . . her long blonde hair floating on the air currents, and I realized I was crying.

For whom? For her? Surely not. She is dancing with the Lord. What a beautiful sight that must be.

Then my eyes strayed to the picture next to her. It was an old woman. Eighty-eight years old. I've never met, nor seen, an eighty-eight year old woman whose beauty could compare to that of a twenty-one year old girl. At least not outwardly.

The old lady's family extolled her prowess in the kitchen. She could make the best rolls and the best desserts ever to touch your lips. She was a fun-loving wife, mother, and grandmother. And she would be missed very much.

My mind conjured up a picture of the beautiful young girl and the nice old lady approaching the gates of Heaven together. A tall willowy blonde standing beside a short, curly-headed, gray-haired granny. The blonde was twirling on her toes and smiling. The old lady shuffled along carrying a tray of cookies. Who was the most beautiful as they stood before the Lord?

Then I had an "I couldn't had a V-8!" moment.

It's a no-brainer. They both have new bodies. They're both filled with the Holy Spirit. As they stand before the Lord, His beauty is revealed in both of them. Two amazingly beautiful spirits have been added to the citizenry of Glory.

And it dawned on me, it doesn't matter how old, how fat, or how ugly we get . To Jesus, Who sees our hearts and not our earthly bodies . . . WE ARE BEAUTIFUL. 

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Grateful for God's Gift of Great Grandchildren

What's cuter than a 4-year old curly-headed youngster? Nothing!

My great-grandson, Coleman, (now five) had trouble pronoucing his "c's." They always came out sounding like "t's. I was trying to help him one evening. Their mother had left Coleman and his big sister, Hannah, with me when she went to work, and left some dinner for them . . . part of which was corn on the cob.

One of Coleman's favorite things in the whole world is cowboy movies. Or towboy movies, as he pronounced it.

"Say Cowboy, Coleman."


"No, baby. Cowboy!"


"C . . . C . . . C . . . Cowboy," I said.

"C . . . C . . . C . . .Towboy." He said.

Finally after many tries, Coleman said, "C . . .C . . . C. . . Cowboy."

I was estatic. "Yay! You've got it now. Say it again!"


"Oh, that's great, Coleman, you can say cowboy."

He grinned his beautiful dimpled grin. "Grandma, can I have my Torn on the Tob now?"

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Conflicting Resolutions!

If you read my post on New Year's resolutions, you know I've already broken one! Oh me.

I resolved to stay current with this blog.

And I resolved to be more cognizant of the third commandment. (No worky on the Sabbath) Conflicting resolutions!

So when last Sunday rolled around and I sat down to my computer to post in my blog, I realized I was getting ready to embark on WORK. Now some folks may not consider writing a blog work . . . but when you are a writer by profession, what else could you call it? It doesn't matter how much you enjoy it. It's still work.

So here I am, (a little late) on Wednesday morning. And I'm going to add to my resolution post . . . something that may get some reaction.(I certainly hope so. It's like pulling teeth to get any comments from you sweet folks. Do you agree with everything I say?)

The third commandment says:  Remember the Sabbath to keep it holy. It goes on to say: . . . you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant . . .


I made the statement in my last post I wasn't guilty of causing any others to do work on the Sabbath. I've since realized that's not really true. My male or female servant? Few of us have servants these days. But we all enjoy the labors of  "servers" from time to time. Is not a server in a restaurant your servant for the length of your stay?

Quite a few years ago I was convicted of this and stopped eating out after church on Sunday. But only on the grounds I was keeping the employees out of church. In time I was able to justify that by reasoning they could go to either early church or late church. I never made any connection with the ten commandments, which tell me clearly "THOU SHALL NOT" cause another to work on the Sabbath. 

But, you say, they will work on Sundays whether I go out to eat or not. Probably so. But would the restaurants do enough business to stay open on Sunday if every Christian observed the third commandment? It's the church crowd that makes Sunday a lucrative business day.

I think we should either have Sunday dinner prepared at home, or eat sandwiches. And if it's fellowship you're after, invite folks over . . . or have a pot luck every Sunday at the church. 

I'm aware that many, if not most, churches have a large group who go out to eat after the morning service. Quite often the pastor is a prominent member of this group. So I'm stepping on a lot of toes, here. 

But this is my conviction, and I'm sticking to it. Anybody care to join me?

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Is Going to Church enough?

I've belonged to the Lutheran church (my mother's preference), the Presbyterian church (my high school friends' church), the Baptist church (where I got saved), and, last but not least . . . the independent Charasmatic movement. I mention this to point out that I have beautiful, spiritual memories from every one of these churches.

Oh, I forgot to mention I was born in a Catholic hospital and almost died at birth. So I was baptised into the Catholic Church as well. But I don't remember much about it! :-)

Jesus moves in any congregation that lifts Him up, declares Him Lord and Savior, Creator, Son of God born of a virgin, King of kings, Lord or lords. But if you want to move forward in the Lord, you need to be in a place where you'll learn. The Scriptures state in Hosea 4:6, "My people are destroyed for the lack of knowledge."

I worked with a woman years ago - a nice, decent, upstanding lady - who attended church on a very regular basis. She was in the choir and served on numerous committees over the years.

Yet, one day she sat at her desk (next to mine) and grumbled about Jews. She had begun with one particular Jewish person whom she felt had crossed her and escalated to include the entire race. "Every one of them," she said, "is out to get what they can and it doesn't matter who they step on in the process."

I interrupted her little tirade as gently as possible, asking, "How can you talk about Jews like that? After all, our Jesus was a Jew."

Her next words floored me.

She looked at me, wide-eyed with amazement and exclaimed . . . "He was?"

This church she'd been attending most of her life had done many good things over their period of existance. Helping the poor. Benefit drives. Lots of fellowship dinners. But I had to wonder . . . did they ever read the Bible? How could you have read the Bible to any extent, and not know Jesus was a Jew?

Good works are to be commended. But they will always be second to knowing God (and that includes Jesus and the Holy Spirit), sharing Him, and worshipping Him. If you aren't learning about our Savior in your church . . . don't find another church. Help the one you're in to bring knowledge of Him to the forefront. He wants to have an intimate relationship with His people.

It's that intimacy with God that changes lives!