Archive for the ‘Religion’ Category


What in the world is “bug dope,” I asked my husband. He laughed aloud at my Midwestern ignorance of the far north. Apparently, bug dope is a real product, though most of you probably know it by its proper description – insect repellent. Bug dope seems a rather odd expression to me. Where I’m from, dope is a bad thing, and you certainly don’t blatantly ask others to pass it to you in public. But there we were, on the shores of Lake Huron, watching an awesome Fourth-of-July fireworks display, and bug dope was the preferred defense against the blanket of tank-sized mosquitoes that were as thick as the smoke trailing in the air.

Bug dope isn’t the only oddity of the north, though. For instance, Midwesterners don’t wear shoes with good “gription” or wear a chuke (touke) when it’s cold outside. Truthfully, I was rather entertained for the first few years of my marriage, learning the peculiar idioms and pronunciations of my “Yooper” husband. He probably felt the same. After all, I had picked up several backwoods phrases along the way, so he had to learn such colorful words as doo-jigger and thingamabob.

Many were the times when my beloved and I were essentially saying the same thing, but I didn’t realize it because of our different vernaculars. He, noting my frustration at not being able to clearly express myself, often reminded me, “It’s just semantics!” He was really big on semantics!

From the beginning, we’ve pretty much shared one brain between the two of us, but it has been a very long time since we’ve had any miscommunications due to language traits. That’s the beautiful thing about intimacy; you really get to know each other –your idiosyncrasies, your thought processes –everything.

And that, dear reader, brings me to our beloved family in Christ. There may be many denominations, but we are all one body: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. (Romans 12:5). That being the case, we should all be pretty much sharing the same brain, or in other words, we should be like-minded; relating to each other at an intimate enough level as to really understand each other.

During the past few weeks, I’ve read several online threads in which believers were arguing over a certain doctrinal issue –and when I say arguing, I mean just that. This should not be so! …there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. (1 Corinthians 12:25).

Firstly, healthy discussions and debates can be very enlightening, useful even; but arguing is very counter-productive and not at all indicative of the Holy Spirit dwelling within us. Secondly –and this is the part I find amusing –most of the folks on those threads were essentially saying the same thing; they were just saying it in different ways! But they, in their zeal to prove their own stance to be the correct one, couldn’t see that they were merely locked in a battle of semantics. Had they taken the time to really listen to each other, with loving hearts rather than defensive minds, they would have found that they were basically on the same page. Bug dope vs. insect repellent. Semantics!

My dear brethren, I am in no way suggesting that we succumb to compromise within the church. Nor am I suggesting that all religions, nor all denominations for that matter, are all one body. All roads do not “lead to Heaven!”

I do, however, advocate that we take the time to really listen to each other; knowing full well that we all start our journey of faith from different places. Thus, there may be some ‘language barriers’ to overcome in relating to each other. There may be some strange idiosyncrasies and oddities to overlook, but love and intimacy overcomes all obstacles.

In closing, may I remind us all, myself included, of Jesus’ answer as to which biblical commandment is the greatest:

Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
–Matthew 22:37-40

“Loving relationships, though necessary for life, health, and growth, are among the most complicated skills. Before we can be successful at achieving relationships, it is necessary that we broaden our understanding of how they work, what they mean and how what we do and believe can enhance or destroy them. We can accomplish this only if we are willing to put in the energy and take the time to study failed relationships as well as examine successful ones. Loving relationships cannot be taken lightly. Unless we are looking for pain, they must not be forever approached in a trial and error fashion. Too many of us have experienced the cost of these lackadaisical approaches in terms of tears, confusion and guilt.”

–Leo Buscaglia, Loving Each Other

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Cotton isn’t harvested in a nice shady lawn, but anything can happen at my home; and ‘anything’ usually does. Today’s little mishap involved one of those mattress toppers filled with a few inches of soft, fluffy cotton. I thought washing it in a gentle cycle of cold water, then drying it on the outside clothes line, would not only clean and sanitize it, but re-fluff it as well. Despite my good intentions, however, the underside of the topper ripped, spilling some of its contents. I knew something had gone awry as soon as I spied a handful of cotton in the washing machine, but I carried it outside regardless and gave it a shake. Let’s just say that the rip was bigger than I thought, and picking cotton fluff was my next task.

Though I was tempted to let the next big gust of wind carry the cotton away, I knew gathering it was the wisest thing to do. Dogs will eat anything, and I didn’t want my little Maltese thinking some yummy manna had fallen from heaven for her dining pleasure. Had she noshed on the cotton, her little tummy would have been stuffed with fluff, and the results could have been life-threatening. So there I was, already in a hurry, with one more cotton-picking thing to do.

It was then that I realized how truly grumbly I sometimes am. The weather was hot, but I  certainly wasn’t stooped low in sweltering southern fields, plucking cotton from plants that can slash and cut. No, I was outside gathering up handfuls of soft, fluffy cotton from the grass, and I was in the shade to boot. Even so, I didn’t like picking that cotton one little bit.

The Spirit of the LORD spoke to me during those moments. He reminded me of the blood, sweat and tears that soaked the fields of the cotton plantations during the evil days of slavery. From the very old to the very young, from sun-up to sun-down, gentle souls toiled, with a burden too great to bear, in slavery too inhuman. They had no choice.

Migrant workers have also toiled endlessly in those punishing cotton fields. They may have earned some money, but never enough. In some ways, these migrant workers must have felt just as enslaved.

No doubt, the drudgery of those hot cotton fields birthed many a dream of freedom for most of the folks who toiled there. But they birthed something else as well; praise and thanksgiving. Countless numbers of Negro Spirituals –songs of praise– were birthed right there in those fields, under the harshest of conditions, many of which are still sung today. And thanksgiving; the toil was long, hard and excruciatingly hot, but those migrant workers were very thankful to even  have work, something that too many of us take for granted.

In those few moments, I asked myself, was I thankful enough? Was I thankful that I had a nice shady yard to work in? Was I thankful to have a sweet little dog to care for and protect? Was I thankful for the nice house behind me; a house in which to escape the heat? And so on.

Those few short moments of frustration aside, my answer was yes. I had spent quite a bit of time earlier that day, and the one prior, thanking the LORD for all of the blessings He had bestowed upon me and my family. In fact, I have been replaying the hymn, Count Your Blessings¹, in my thoughts for quite some time now. Can you, dear reader, say the same? When was the last time you took the time to genuinely count yours?

Perhaps you often offer thanksgiving to the LORD for His many blessings, yet still feel enslaved by a heavy burden. I encourage you to remember afresh the following words, penned from this same hymn:

When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done…..

So, amid the conflict whether great or small,
Do not be disheartened, God is over all;
Count your many blessings, angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.

¹Count Your Blessings. Johnson Oatman, Jr. Chicago, Illinois: 1897.

If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy this archived post: Danged Ole Yankees

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Because I am a D.C.D (directionally challenged driver), I often jest that “North is the front of the car.” This means, of course, that I prefer that people direct me to turn left or right instead of north, south, east or west. This may seem odd to some of you but I grew up in Nowhere, U.S.A. There, our idea of a traffic jam was two cars stuck behind a slow-moving tractor. When my family did finally move to the big city, (population 4,000) we didn’t even have stop lights, let alone the nonsensical stuff like one-way streets –which, for the record, are not at all safe for D.C.D’s!

You would think that I, of all people, would have a GPS in my vehicle, but oddly I don’t. One of those gadgets would probably make me crazy anyway; I don’t think I’d like to hear some faceless voice assuring me that she is “recalculating” every time I miss a turn. I did try a dash-mounted compass once, but that only messed me up more –trust me, it’s possible.

Fortunately for me, God blessed me with a help-mate. He frequently prevents me from ending up in Timbuktku —which is in Africa I think— by making me a very detailed, step-by-step map every time I drive someplace new. Normally, I can’t find a lit candle in the dark, but I can follow my beloved’s instructions easily, even if north is the front of the car.

After I married, my husband and I did not just move to the city, we moved to another world (population far too many). To this country hick, everything was foreign and uncomfortable. But I can gladly say that after all these years I finally feel somewhat confident that I can find my way around the place. However, if it were up to me, I would rename this city “Road Construction Ahead.” We wouldn’t even have to spend money on new signs; there are plenty that have those very words on them everywhere you look. And you know what that means; detours. Yep, that’s just what a D.C.D needs.

Then there are the streets that are located in at least three different parts of the city, those nasty one-ways, traffic circles, and worst of all; rude drivers who don’t let you get over into the turn lane until it’s too late, forcing you to miss your turn. Recalculating.

Life can be like that too. We pretty much know where we are heading, but sometimes we simply get confused and don’t know which way to turn, or we get hit with unexpected detours. At times like that, we need a very detailed roadmap. Fortunately for us, God provided us with one —it’s called the Holy Bible. He loved us enough to give us step-by-step directions to help us travel through this life so that we can arrive at our destination (eternity) safe and sound.

Additionally, God knew that some of us would be a little directionally challenged so he gave us a Helper. Jesus promised:

…the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. (John 14:26 NKJV)

Dear reader, if you feel lost or frustrated in your life, I would like to encourage you get to know this helper by spending time reading the Bible. Its directions are clear and easy to follow. If you look on a map, north is ‘up.’ Scripture says to look up, for your redemption is near (Luke 21:28). In the vehicle of life, Jesus is north. That being the case, I am proud to say that north is the front of my car, and I plan to keep it that way.

“Sink the Bible to the bottom of the sea, and man’s obligation to God would be unchanged. He would have the same path to tread, only his lamp and his guide would be gone; he would have the same voyage to make, only his compass and chart would be overboard.”
~ Henry Ward Beecher

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inquisitive girl

The office was very small and plainly decorated; not much for a young child to amuse herself with. While her mother was preoccupied at the reception counter, she fidgeted with the few magazine offerings, but not for long. Obviously the child had a very short attention span; this was due in part, or so it seemed, from her insatiable desire to scrutinize every detail of the world around her.

She carefully inspected the carpet pattern, the two wall hangings and the plants. None of those things enthused her any, and who could blame her? But then, something intangible caught her attention.

Instrumental music began to play, filling the room with the symphonic melody of a classical composition. Wonder filled the young girl’s eyes as she searched the room for its source. Aside from one speaker in the ceiling, there was nothing visible to account for the music –no stereo, no wires, nothing.

“Mama, where is that coming from?” she asked while tugging at her mother’s shirttail. Her mother scarcely noticed. Agitated, the girl yanked harder. “Mama!”

Now her mother was the one who was agitated. “I don’t know, sweetie. There must be a stereo somewhere,” she answered, then quickly returned to the matter at hand.

“But where?” the girl implored. “Where does the music come FROM?”

My heart went out to the child. I really wanted to sit her down and explain things more clearly, to satisfy her curiosity, but being a total stranger, it wasn’t my place to do so. Besides, her mother whisked her away only a few moments later.

I think the main reason I was touched by the girl’s zeal for answers is that she reminded me of myself when I was a young girl. I too had a very inquisitive mind, and similarly, my questions were oft ignored or flippantly dismissed.

What about you dear reader? Have you ever had that experience? I hope not, especially when your questions were of a spiritual nature. I truly hope that every time you had a spiritual question, whether you are in relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, or not, that someone was willing to sit down with you, walk you through the pages of the Bible and answer your question thoroughly from Scripture.

To those of you who are more seasoned in your walk with the Lord, I hope that you are, likewise, ready, willing and able to do the same. Scripture admonishes us to: Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. And that with gentleness and respect (I Peter 3:15 NIV).

Let us remember, also, that after others do receive the gospel message of hope, and join the family of God, they will have many questions and will initially look to other believers for answers. Are we prepared to give them? Pastors are wonderful, but they cannot do all the work; nor should they. It is our responsibility, as believers, to be about the Father’s business as well.

Finally, I want to encourage every person reading these words, whether you have accepted Jesus into your life or not, to read the Bible daily. It does have the answers to all of life’s questions. There is no doubt, with all the chaos and confusion in this world in these troublesome times; we all need those answers now more than ever!

We also need peace, despite what is happening all around us. Those who know the Lord Jesus, and trust in Him, have true peace. And where did it come from? From God’s presence, and from His promises; those promises which are found in the Holy Bible. If you haven’t already done so, why not pick up a Bible and immerse yourself in it today.


p.s. As always, if you would like prayer for any reason, I would be honored to pray for you. There is a contact button at the top of this page.

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alone prayer

“What a lovely surprise to finally discover how unlonely being alone can be.”
 Ellen Burstyn

Normally, if someone told me to go away, I would be hurt and offended. But Jesus isn’t just anybody; when He tells me to “go away,” I am more than happy to do so. Then again, He never asks me to go away from His presence; quite the opposite in fact. He longs for us to get away from the cares of this world in order that we might spend time in His glorious presence.

Mother Teresa summarized this well when she stated: “We too are called to withdraw at certain intervals into deeper silence and aloneness with God, together as a community as well as personally; to be alone with Him — not with our books, thoughts, and memories but completely stripped of everything — to dwell lovingly in His presence, silent, empty, expectant, and motionless. We cannot find God in noise or agitation.” ¹

Although Jesus never had difficulty in finding God, the Father, even He felt the urgency of going away from the crowds and from the daily demands of life. We read many accounts in Scripture of Jesus doing just that.

For example, the apostle Mark recounts that Jesus, after what must have been a very demanding and exhausting time of ministry in Capernaum, “went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.” Mark 1:35

Mark also records another time that Jesus, after teaching for a long time, fed the multitudes, then:

… made His disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side to Bethsaida, while He Himself was sending the crowd away. After bidding them farewell, He left for the mountain to pray. (Mark 6:45-46).

Luke records that Jesus “withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed.” And that at another time He “he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.” 5:16, 6:12).

No doubt Jesus went to the wilderness or the mountain in order to secure His privacy, but it is possible that He also felt God’s presence more keenly in the beauty and solitude of nature. I know I do! The most intense encounters I have had with my LORD have been while I was alone in the mountains; alone here meaning without the company of another person, but engulfed in  God’s very real, nearly tangible, presence.

Wouldn’t it be nice, dear reader, if we could all just take some time to go away, for an extended period of time, to the mountains, or seashore to spend time with the LORD, and He only?

But let’s be practical; very few of us have the opportunity to do so. Nevertheless, it is crucial that we make time in whatever way possible, as Mother Teresa said, “to dwell lovingly in His presence, silent, empty, expectant, and motionless.”

It is equally as important to occasionally take a temporary furlough from certain activities, be they television, sports, blogging, or whatever particular that steals away your days and whittles away your hours. Actually, this is why you haven’t seen a new blog on this site for a while. I was being obedient to God’s instruction to “go away” for awhile and recharge my batteries, spiritually speaking. Now that I feel more energized, I plan to do more writing again, LORD willing.

In closing, I wish to reiterate that God longs for us to go away from the cares of this world in order that we might spend time in His glorious presence. And if we can do so in the beautiful and majestic cathedral of nature, that’s all the better.

Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul. ~John Muir

¹ Mother Teresa, In the Heart of the World: Thoughts, Stories and Prayers

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100 dollars

And the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous.
Proverbs 13:22b.

I’m pretty sure that the foolish blunder of a certain young man is not what the LORD had in mind when He inspired the psalmist to pen those words. Still, I can’t help but think of this verse every time I think about an incident that happened at my home one summer evening.

This is a true story –everything on this site is.

It so happened that my family and I, and a house full of guests, were wrapping-up a really awesome Bible study. Even the smallest of children were very much involved. Truthfully, I was always awed by the insight that small children have in spiritual matters, and even more awed by that simple, child-like faith that Scripture speaks of –-the kind of faith that would be put into action that night.

During prayer time, the men gathered around my husband and prayed for healing. He had injured his back and was hurting rather badly. Everyone in the study group knew that my beloved had already missed a great deal of work, and trusted that he would be healed and able to work again soon, but they didn’t realize that my husband’s employers don’t offer any paid sick days. Needless to say, we were really feeling the crunch of missing a few paychecks, but we didn’t mention it, knowing that some of those assembled would offer us money they could not afford to spare. None of our friends knew that there was no money for groceries that week.

Even so, one of the little girls, a precious three-year-old with the faith to move mountains, suddenly declared, in her cute little drawl, “Well, I’ll jus’ pray for Y’shua (Jesus) to give you some money.” And pray she did!

I’ve never seen the Lord answer prayer so fast. In no time at all, there was a commotion outside our house. Being closest to the door, I was the one to check it out. Without being too graphic, let me just say that a car full of drunken young men had parked out front and the driver, who was apparently afraid of having a potty accident in his car, decided to water our lawn instead. My timing was awful. Not only did I see what the young man was doing, my presence at the door gave him cause to behave even more indecently and obnoxious. Of course, I didn’t stick around for the show, so I didn’t see what happened next. Somehow, during all his stumbling, and fumbling with his clothes, he accidentally dropped a $100 bill.

After things quieted down, my boys went outside, which was highly unusual because we were getting ready to fellowship and nosh (snack). But my youngest son insisted that he needed a breath of fresh air and his brother wanted to join him. Normally, they would have gone out back, as we rarely use the front yard, but God had a plan, and we know that to them that love God all things work together for good, even to them that are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28).  Thus, the boys found the $100 bill almost immediately.

There is no doubt that the bill was dropped by the drunken young man; he came back to look for it later that night. Everyone had long since gone to bed when I heard the unfamiliar sound that caused me to look outside. The same young man, this time alone, had parked his car in the same spot as before, and was frantically searching for the money. However, before I could react, he staggered back to his car and drove away. I could not have returned the money even if I had wanted to.

I’m just guessing here, but once the young man realized what he had done, he probably regretted his lewd and irresponsible behavior. After all, $100 is a pretty big chunk of change to lose for such a foolish act. But this was a Proverbs 13: 22 moment; the young man was reaping from the seeds of iniquity he had sown, but my family, on the other hand, was able to go grocery shopping and pay a small bill.

Did I feel badly for the young man? Yes. But at the same time, I rejoiced in God’s provision. I would never have guessed in a million years that the LORD would have provided for my family in such a unique way, but perhaps God used that young man’s indecent behavior to provide for him as well. After all, valuable life-lessons, with their consequences, can be just as profitable to one man as a financial blessing is to another.

Dear reader, I pray that this will be a week of blessing for you as well, no matter your need, or how God chooses to get that blessing to you. May this be a week to expect the unexpected.

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Someday, Lord willing, I would love to visit Australia to experience first-hand her rich culture, rugged beauty and unique wildlife. Of course, one of the most pleasant rewards of a trip to the ‘land down under’ would certainly be the informative chats I would have with the folks living there. Meeting people of other cultures and learning of their rich heritage is, in my opinion, both fascinating and rewarding.

Too bad all Americans don’t feel the same way. Our country is so culturally diverse that we need never board an airplane to “travel” to nearly every country in the world. Yet, all too often, folks never venture too far from their own little circle of family, friends and social groups; especially when doing so would place them outside their own cultural comfort zone. If only people understood that embracing others, despite any differences they may have, is a true blessing.

Let me tell you, for example, about my most recent talk-about. If that phrase is not familiar, it is because it is one of my own. Borrowing from the Australian “Walkabout,” I dubbed one of my purposeful pastimes as a “talk-about.”

Before I explain what a talk-about is, let me assure you that I was extremely introverted in my youth. People that know me well have trouble believing this, as I am quite the talker now, but I can only attribute my affable nature to the Grace of God and the many challenges He has helped me to overcome in my life.

So what is a talk-about? It’s not a gossip session, I can tell you that. Ephesians 4:29 warns: Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths. But this Scripture goes on to explain that we should speak only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.  And thus, the idea for the talk-about was born.

Having noticed the obvious disregard people seem to have for each other these days, I purposed in my heart to make occasional trips to various stores in our area with no other intention than striking-up conversations, and letting others talk about whatever is on their mind. If the subject of God comes up, then all the better, but it is never my intention, on these quests to proselytize. Often times, a Christian can show the love of Jesus more by just listening, and showing concern for someone, than we can by thumping them over the head with our Bibles.

And now, back to my last talk-about. It so happened, I didn’t even feel like going; that was one of those times when the Lord was more interested in encouraging others than I was. Still I went, expecting to bless someone.

Truthfully, there have been days when people were very happy  that I conversed with them, but other days they reacted with anything from rudeness to contempt; or suspicion at the very least, as though I had an ulterior motive. My last talk-about was really a mixture of both.

The best of my encounters that evening was with a man I came upon in Aisle 7 that was loudly singing –yes singing right inside the store- “It’s a beautiful morning…” It did not matter to him that morning had long since passed, or that the remaining sunlight was obscured by dark rain clouds. And it didn’t matter that his wife, for whatever reason, looked mad as a hornet and glared at him with scrunched eyes, having her arms tightly folded, and lips pursed.

“Beautiful indeed!” I verbally agreed, “Even if it isn’t morning.”

At that he laughed, and we began to chat about nothing in particular. We enjoyed such a pleasant conversation that his wife soon joined in, having exchanged her frown for a beautiful smile. Whatever her previous concerns, they melted into peace. And finally, the two walked off, arm-in-arm.

This beautiful couple was as American as apple pie, but our lives were obviously as culturally contrasting as our skin colors. But that did not matter to any of us. We three stood there, in Aisle 7 just enjoying each other’s company, oblivious to the frigid indifference prevalent in today’s world.

Dear reader, should you ever decide to try a talk-about, it is not altogether different than the Australian “Walkabout.” Theirs “is not an aimless activity but a deliberate and focussed journey connecting Aboriginal people to their traditional lands and spiritual obligations.”¹

Similarly, the Christian walk is not aimless either. It too is a deliberate and focused journey striving to connect people –in this case, all people- to their traditional land (God’s kingdom) and spiritual obligations.

May I encourage you, therefore, to never let the opportunity to bless others with a kind word or two pass you by. You never know how a single, brief encounter might change a person’s mood, their day, or even their life. Remember, you are the only Bible that some folks will ever read.

Be blessed on your journey.

¹Tourism Australia 2013. http://www.media.australia.com/en-au/factsheets/default_1438.aspx

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Ghosts are real, but they are not the displaced spirits of those who died and cannot, for whatever reason, cross to the other side. They are something far more sinister than that! I know because I grew up in a home steeped in the occult –a place where things went “bump in the night” far too often.

So you know, even though today is October 31st, this is not some spooky Halloween story. If you are looking for that, you’ve come to the wrong place. In fact, I abhor Halloween –but no lectures, I promise. No, this is not a Halloween story; it is quite the opposite. You see, Halloween exalts all that is dark and evil, but today I want to share with you a very real story of light and of triumph over evil.

The particulars of my childhood are not important at the moment, but I assure you, they were, for the most part, dark and horrific. People have, on occasion, asked me to recount the gruesome details, and I have, but for today, I prefer to jump ahead in the narrative to the first several months after I encountered the Lord Jesus Christ, and the spiritual warfare that ensued.

(To read the condensed testimony of my miraculous encounter with Jesus Christ, click this link: His Invisible Hand)

I have no doubt that the forces of Heaven and hell were engaged in battle on the day that I offered my heart to Jesus Christ, my Savior, but I’ll leave it at that. Heaven won. And though my life was changed instantly, and profoundly, in so many ways, it would still take many years to heal some of the wounds. It would also take several months to conquer some of the demons that invaded my dreams night after night. I have never used the term demons in these pages before, but in this case, the term is very accurate.

You see, even after I accepted Jesus into my life, my dreams were frequently infested with demons. Sometimes they merely frightened me or chased me, at other times, I physically wrestled with them. At first, all of the dreams had two things in common, aside from the obvious warfare; they all started the same way, and they were very difficult to escape because I couldn’t manage to awaken fast enough.

However, something interesting happened early on. One night, in the middle of a particularly horrible dream, I managed to utter the name Jesus. It was barely a whisper, but it was a big accomplishment given the level of fear I experienced during those dreams. Nonetheless, the dream, and the battle within, continued for a little while longer. It’s not that the LORD failed to rescue me when I called upon His name; He was merely teaching me how to effectively combat my enemy and to trust in Him. Make no mistake, He was watching over me every second.

Over the course of time, as I grew stronger in my faith and knowledge of God’s holy Word, I found myself not only calling upon Jesus, but doing so sooner and sooner, until at  last I was able to call upon His name at the very beginning of any such dream so that it would end as quickly as it started.

There is power in the name of Jesus!

Allow me to digress for just a moment. I have many friends who prefer to call Jesus by His Hebrew birth name Yeshua. Our LORD was born a Hebrew, and this is His true birth name. For the record, I prefer to call Him Yeshua also, and usually do. Nevertheless, I know that my LORD speaks every language, and I know that there is power in His name no matter which language it is spoken in.

Oddly, after all these years I still have one of those awful dreams ever so often. Truthfully, I had one a few nights ago. This one was so intense I woke my husband with my thrashing and shouting, “Jesus!” As always, shouting “Jesus!” was all it took; even in my dreams, my enemies are vanquished by that name.

I am writing this today, dear reader, because Halloween is upon us again. Most adults assume that this is nothing more than a fun holiday for kids. I promised not to lecture, so I won’t get into the truth behind Halloween, nor what the Bible has to say about it. I will, however, remind you that Halloween can be a very scary time for kids, especially in today’s macabre culture. If your child should, therefore, become frightened, or someone you know finds himself in a spiritual battle, please remind them that they can freely ask Jesus for help. He is as close as the mention of His name, even to those who have never called upon Him before, and He longs to show them that He cares!

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Twinkle, twinkle little star –or was that a distant plane, or satellite? It’s hard to tell these days. Is it just me, or does it seem that this country’s skyscape has become as frenzied as a New York freeway?

Besides the thousands of commercial aircraft that rip through the visible sky daily, there are also a number of private planes, military craft and the occasional bundle of escaped party balloons, kites and more. It’s a wonder the birds don’t just hang out at the beach and avoid all the sky rush traffic.

Outer space is pretty cluttered these days as well. There are thousands of satellites currently in orbit, some functional and others long-since broken apart. Multiple collisions have left some of them orbiting as nothing more than innumerable fragments. Additionally, there is an unbelievable amount of “space junk” orbiting our Earth, which came from the various spacecraft that have been launched over the years. Of the many types of debris -some as small as a paint chip- NASA reports more than 21,000 large pieces, 500,000 smaller pieces, and more than 100 million miniscule pieces.¹

So far, this has not yet become a threat to public safety, but it is potentially dangerous. In fact, in September 2011, the Washington Post (KidsPost online) reported that an out of control satellite, the size of a school bus, was headed towards Earth. It broke into much smaller pieces as it entered the Earth’s atmosphere, and no one was injured, but I must admit, anything falling from the sky at more than 17,000 miles per hour is enough to unsettle one’s nerves, to say the least.

Space travel is pretty much the flip side of the coin; and it certainly is vulnerable to complication. Although humanity continues to pursue their lofty goals of space exploration, “Earth is now surrounded by so much space junk that a leading expert on the issue has declared that we are at a “tipping point” — it may soon become too dangerous to venture into low-Earth orbit (LEO) through fear of having a manned spaceship punctured or a communications satellite trashed.”²

I don’t know about you dear reader, but I have more than enough things to tend to on this planet to even contemplate space travel. As far as satellite communication goes, I think technology is great, but I already find it difficult in our hustle and bustle world to pray as much as I would like, and no communication is more important than that.

There are days when I wish I was more like one of those escaped party balloons (no hot air jokes please), my thoughts and desires drifting heavenward, my soul lighter than air because of a noticeable lack of anything to weigh me down, until I reached the throne of Glory. Of course, that wondrous experience is always available to me, but sadly I just don’t make the time as often as I should because I let other stuff get in my way.

You see, life has a way of bombarding my time with all those things that I consider important. True, many of them are vitally important, but honestly, some of those things are nothing more than space junk to my Creator. And in His great wisdom, He knows that many of those things which clutters my life will eventually, like satellites and space junk, collide to create even more “stuff” to deal with; more stuff to come between Him and me.

Alas, this world is just too busy! I am too busy.

Therefore, LORD, “Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word” (Psalm 119:37 NIV).

¹NASA Orbital Debris Program Office. FAQ 2012. Question #3: How many orbital debris are currently in Earth orbit? http://orbitaldebris.jsc.nasa.gov/faqs.html#3
²O’Niell, Ian. Discovery News. Space Junk Problem Reaches Tipping Point. September 2, 2011. http://news.discovery.com/space/could-space-junk-leave-us-stranded-on-earth-110902.html

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My parents were not religious people in the least, but there were certain odd rules they enforced religiously. Not surprisingly, cussing meant a swift trip to the execution chamber –that is to say, the bed chamber where my step-father would swiftly execute punishment. I doubt anyone would blame him for trying to teach his children impeccable manners, he was an ex-marine after all, but he was a bit over-the-top, as evidenced by his intolerance of even the slightest hint of slang.

Moreover, excessive no doubt, was his royal decree that no one in the house under five-feet tall was ever allowed to say the word but, and certainly not that loathsome four-letter word c-a-n’-t. A simple “Yeah, but …” was reason enough for a two-hour lecture at best, saying both but and can’t in the same sentence was a felony. That I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, would have been a handy thing to know back then (Phil 4:1).

In retrospect, I can’t help but see the irony in that (shhh, don’t tell him I just used both of those words in this sentence) given the defeatist attitude he adopted after signing-up for one of those multi-level home marketing businesses. If he made money his sponsor pulled in some cash as well, and so on, so naturally,  those above him in the enterprise tried very hard to teach him the techniques that were sure to bring about success, words that fell on deaf ears, skepticism and, you guessed it, a never-ending list of objections starting with the declaration, “Yeah, but….”

With puzzling contradiction, he uttered the words “Yeah, but…” so often, his business sponsor, making a guilted statement, gifted him with a brightly colored tee-shirt with those very words imprinted on the front, words that he took pride in, wearing them as a badge of honor.

Such an inconsistency brings to my mind James 1:5-7: If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.

Dear reader, I would very much like to offer you a profound explanation as to why our Heavenly Father is so emphatic about this matter, but I’m not even sure that I  have an answer to suffice. I am absolutely positive about this, though: faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17). We should all, therefore, when we sense those God-displeasing words, “Yeah but…” begin their journey from brain to tongue to express doubt or defiance, rather turn to the Word of God, the Holy Bible, and strengthen our faith within its pages.

I don’t know about you, but I know enough pessimistic naysayers to order some of those “Yeah, but” tee shirts in bulk and hand them out, thereby warning the optimistic to take cover. Problem is, there are days when I don the declaration myself, knowing full well that with God all things are possible, yet somehow doubting, wavering.

Perhaps you have, at one time or another, felt the same way. May I remind you– and me- that there are more than forty Scriptures in the Bible which counter frailty and defeat with two simple words: BUT GOD!

Perhaps I should have some tee shirts printed after all, the message being modified to three powerful words, “Yeah, but GOD!”

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