LESSONS I’M TRYING TO LEARN #1 in a series: IF WE HAVE A HEART FOR GOD


Nothing qualifies me to write this post other than the fact that I am a sinner. I do not have any theological education except for that gleaned from the pages of the bible, and various pulpits.  I realize I don’t know everything and am well aware that I lack understanding many, many things that concern the workings of the heart and soul of modern humanity with relation to God. This particular blog post is the first of a series I plan to write on lessons I’ve learned and is derived strictly from my own experiences and opinions. The subject is subjective.  So, proceed with caution. You may not agree with me. That’s your choice.  It’s ok.

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HIDDEN SIN AND THE NEED FOR CONFESSION

Nothing is more humbling than confession. I mean nothing. It borders on humiliation. I’m no expert but I know this to be true from personal experience. I am, however, an expert sinner. As I look back on my life, there are areas of sin in which I am truly ashamed. I won’t go into gory detail – that’s between God and me – but I’ve done things that would upset any mother if she heard such details about her child. The only redeeming part is that mothers are sinners too. We all are, of course. Unfortunately, escaping the desire to sin requires a strength that we, as mere humans, don’t possess. There is no human willpower greater than sin, only that given by the Divine. The catch is we have to ask for it. God gave us free will. He worked the desire to make choices into our DNA, so to speak. That part probably hurts Him but He has such innate love for us, His desire is to see us become whole in every sense of the word. And that includes our choices. It’s simple, really. One cannot consciously make horrible choices and expect to have a wonderful life. Can you identify? Geeez, I can. It’s a been there, done that, bought the t-shirt kind of thing.

Before I get into what I really want to talk about today, let me ask – why bother feeling bad about our actions? What is sin? And why is it so bad? I mean isn’t it simply normal to do the wrong thing sometimes? Well, yes. Yes it is. But when you weigh the difference between what hurts and what gives joy, it’s easy to understand. Do we want to always have a cloud of despair hanging over us, or do we want to enjoy breathing deeply of peace of mind and heart? If we have a heart for God and all things holy would we want to risk loosing them by following our own agenda for what we think brings happiness?  Could going against the word of God actually bring happiness?  That’s the definition of sin, that which goes against the law and teaching of God.  Sin clogs our proverbial arteries and keeps us from living life to the fullest. It’s like lung disease that keeps us from being able to breathe. Once it takes hold, we are forced to live with it but we can’t without coughing and spewing and gasping. It chokes the life right out of us. And that, my friends, is one reason why we bother worrying about our sins. We seek forgiveness of them because we can’t live a good life with them on board. God’s forgiveness is like a holy lavage washing away the obstructions and leaving behind clean, breathable airways. Holy forgiveness is like spiritually cleansing proverbial arteries and inserting stents to keep the life blood flowing.  Only it isn’t just a patch. It is healing.

Hidden sin. It’s a killer. It’s hard to see, hard to imagine, hard to find, hard to bear. It is just that, hidden. I’ll share a good example of that given to me not long ago. Let’s say a person decided to rob a store. He enlists the help of his good buddy to drive the getaway car. The poor buddy, suddenly excited about the worldly wealth coming his way, blindly follows the directions given him and the caper is pulled off. You know where this is going, right? Both are guilty, both have broken the commandment “Thou shall not steal”. Is one more sinful than the other? What if they both confess their sin and ask for forgiveness? Could there be hidden sin that needs confessing? There is in the fact that the first person enlisted the help of the second. He enticed his good buddy into sin. He essentially gave him a ticket on the train to ruin. Don’t think I don’t know that the second person did, in fact, accept the assignment. He did and that’s something he has to atone for. But what if the first person doesn’t confess the sin of dragging another down with him? The hidden sin becomes a thorn in his soul. It festers there and keeps him from complete healing. The first person needs to see what he has done in terms of leading another into sin. He gave the ‘ticket’ to his good buddy. It’s true the good buddy had it stamped, so to speak, and he is responsible for that, but the ticket (hidden sin) is what got him on the ride.
Now this is an extreme example, not one likely to be commonplace so lets think about something more relative. Let’s look at a scenario that is far too common – Let’s say a married man is attracted to a woman at work. She is vulnerable and desperately wants to be loved by someone, anyone. She says she draws the line at taking another woman’s husband but that doesn’t stop the man from pursuing her and trying to convince her that having an affair is a good idea. He comes onto her so strongly that finally she gives in and they have a full blown affair. They both come to regret it and seek forgiveness by confession. But let’s not forget this: her sin of adultery is strong enough to ruin lives. His sin of infidelity AND leading his co-worker into sin also has grave consequences. They both ‘bought the ticket’ but the hidden sin needs recognition and confession for a complete healing.

How many areas in our lives do we have hidden sin? Wow. Good question. And a good reason to seriously contemplate what we include in our confessions to God. Our desire, no, our need is for complete forgiveness and healing of our heart and soul.

Let me ask you this; have you seen a child learning to walk? Did you love to see him struggle to get to their feet and take their first steps only to fall to the floor and cry with a broken heart? Of course not. Well then, were you delighted when the child managed to get to his feet again and actually take those first steps with an ear-to-ear grin on his face, triumphantly clapping chubby hands and happily giggling? I like to think that this is how God feels when He sees His children get up off the floor and try again in terms of asking for healing and help to live a wonderful life in accordance with His will. The key to doing that is first carefully examining and then baring your soul to Him, hidden sins and all. Yes, I know He is all-knowing and already has seen what you are, much the same as you do with a child. But, oh how He loves when we learn to come to Him!

Think about it.

And by the way, please pray for peace.  Once again, let me say the world is depending on your prayers.  Please pray that mankind will wake up to the atrocities of war, famine, need.  It’s not too much to ask.  God surely has sent people with the skills and ability to do the right thing.  Please pray that people will wake up and finally do the right thing.

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My Three Life Rules (#9)


My three life rules are only second in line to our Father’s rules for life. The rules I list below are my own personal life rules. I find that they cover just about every imaginable situation and are pretty reasonable. See what you think:

Rule 1. I never go upside down. If I am upside down, something is wrong. I am either falling, on a circus ride, or drunk. In fact, this rule did originate during a time in my life when I found myself upside down a lot. Going upside down is against the laws of nature for human beings. If you are upside down because you’ve fallen, get thee to a hospital. If you are upside down because you’re on a circus ride, get thee off because you will puke and loose all the change in your pockets and whatever you have stuffed in your bra. If you are upside down because you are drunk, slap thyself until you come to your senses. Being upside down is dangerous.

Rule 2. I never get high. This rule is pretty self-explanatory. By sticking to this rule, I am staving off skyscrapers, parachutes, and drugs. Not to mention cliffs. Believe me, I’ve been on the edge a lot. That’s why I have this rule.

Rule 3. I don’t go fast. Going too fast is also dangerous. If you are going too fast, you might miss something important. Like your son’s childhood. Or the sunrise. Or you might crash into the side of a tree. Maybe if you go too fast, you will end up going overboard. It’s a relatively adaptive rule.

A combination of any or all of these rules when broken is a sure recipe for a disastrous life. In effect, they mean keep it simple, get your head straight, and just slow down. Sometimes they can be hard lessons to learn, but all of the time they are worth learning. I’ve had lots of practice but I’m still working on keeping them my ultimate deciding factor in many ways. I find that they are logical and can potentially keep me out of trouble. Most of the time.

What about you? Have you given any thought to what your life rules might be? Come on, share them here. Let me hear from you. It’s never too late to learn!

Glory be to the Father, to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. amen.

Just a reminder, pray for peace.

Lessons from a Hot Mustang Convertable


Honey, I’m ho-o-ome! I had a wonderful time on vacay but when my tires rolled onto the first strip of sacred Louisiana ground, I have to say my heart soared. Yum, it is delicious to be home again. I have lived here longer than I have ever lived anywhere. I grew up as an Air Force brat so I can safely say I’ve been around the world and back – all before I was 16 years old. I moved around a bit after I grew up too, successfully squelching future wanderlust. I love to travel but I like having my roots planted. There is a sign on my wall that says What I love Most about my Home is Who I share it with. That’s pretty much a blanket statement about how I feel, especially because my beloved stayed home while I fled the quiet life to search out family, friends, and fans. Sort of. Ok, the fan part? I said that because I had two book signings while on my trip; one in Heber Springs, Arkansas and the other in Warrensburg, Missouri. I had a blast, but I’ll go into that later. First I want to tell you about a lesson the Universe (read Higher Power, then translate that into God) threw at me via a black convertible.

Create a mental picture, if you will; me, driving on a four-lane just past Little Rock, Arkansas, going south. It’s early morning, traffic is practically non-existent, unbelievably. A blonde chick in a very impressive, shiny, muscular Mustang passes me going maybe five miles over the speed limit. Then she changes lanes in front of me. Then she slows down. Somehow, I think she made a mistake. So I change lanes because, after all, I am going the speed limit and if I stay behind her, she may find out the hard way that she is driving too slow. Can’t have that, can we? Don’t think about me being in my >ahem< late fifties with more grey than blonde hair, looking more frumpy than hot, driving a twelve-year-old car with two hundred and six thousand miles on it. Well, let’s say blonde chick didn’t read the signs because she passes me again and slows down directly in front of me. I rode it out for a few miles until Stupid Pride won a tug of war with Common Sense and I had to pass her again. This time I gun it and take off down the road. I’m pretty smug about it. I think to myself that’ll show her it’s not the ride, it’s experience that counts. She eats my dust for about twenty miles.

Yeah, experience. That’s what is important, right? Some things you just have to trust and experience is one of them. I am an experienced woman. Old enough to know better, wise enough to resist. Every wrinkle earned from life’s toughest times. A maturity that comes from working hard and solving the riddles of life. Yadda yadda yadda. So, I am full of myself, driving and passing, bobbing and weaving through traffic, feeling like an expert experienced driver-woman. I find myself in the left lane, traffic thickening, more cars in line going who-knows-where. The car in front of me doesn’t want to speed up even one mile over the limit and the camaraderie of cars surrounding it becomes impatient. Finally a break. The one in front pulls over and I speed past. But, picture this, traffic slows down and becomes slightly compressed around me. I notice blonde chick is behind me again. My ego deflates and I somehow feel less experienced and important because she has caught up with me. We travel along for a bit before I look to the right and see that there is room and all I have to do is change lanes and let the hot convertible whiz by but I hesitate. If I do it, I will lose.

Suddenly, I realize blonde chick doesn’t even know she’s in a race. And, by the way, where is the finish line? As I change lanes and she zooms past, it dawns on me….It’s not how fast you get to the finish line, it’s not even getting to the finish line, it’s who you help get there that is important.

It took a silly, pride-full, analogy of traffic and racing to get ahead to teach me this lesson. It’s not getting yourself there, it’s helping someone else get there. That is what we are called to do as a people of God. I know it sounds ridiculous, but you see, sometimes that is the only way He can get through to me. I am, at times, pretty silly. And maybe a little slow. Pun intended.

Let me take this one step further and share the scripture waiting for me on my calendar when I got home. A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. Proverbs 11:25
Now that can’t be a coincidence, can it? I don’t think so. I call it sweet confirmation, a Divine nod in the direction of ‘you got it, girl’.

Oh, you thought I was going to say I got a speeding ticket, didn’t you? Sorry. I think I was driving faster in your head than I actually was on the road.