What does it mean to think like a Christian, or not?

Who should I listen to?

Before becoming a Christian, our thoughts, attitudes, and behaviors were ruled by our personal desires. The aim of such desires is to fulfill thoughts centered on self, not God. Such thoughts and desires are heavily influenced by society. And if we allow today’s society to define what is good (instead of God’s word) then we enter a world darkened by the absence of God’s truth. As a result, our self-centered thinking sets the course of our lives, not God’s truth. So, if God’s truth is not our ‘go to’ authority on what is good for us, then what is?

The authority of inner feelings is now hailed as the authority of the day.(Back in the 60’s when the ideology of the day was “if it feels good do it” is nothing more than an update but with a wider following today on that same ideology) Better yet, if society endorses our feelings then we can feel free to express those feelings. And guess what, those thoughts will reinforce the idea that this is truly who we are! Back in the day, we called it rebellion. Today we call it expressive individualism.

The problem with this is that if an unchanging absolute authority does not define truth for us, then truth becomes something that is in a state of flux. What we determine as truth and what we reject as not being truth today, cannot be counted on to be the same tomorrow!

In contrast, upon becoming a Christian, our desire to please only ourselves, is put aside for the desire to please God. That voice inside our head telling us what is right and what is wrong, finds its source in the word of God. A Word that is absolute and unchanging.

Yet, as Christian we know that as long as we are alive, we now have two voices that compete for control of our thoughts. (Keep in mind that thoughts determines attitudes, and attitudes forms behavior.). Additionally, we know that the voice that speaks the loudest is the one we focus upon. Therefore, in order for God’s truths to speak the loudest we must be able to readily recognize it. If we do not consistently absorbs His truths, by spending time daily in God’s word and with God in prayer, then the voice of our flesh will take advantage of this lack of knowledge and drown out the Voice of truth.

Remember, to think like a Christian we need to have a sense of how God would want us to think. We aren’t going to know that unless we become familiar with what God thinks, right? And, the main place to find that out is in His Word. Otherwise, we will be allowing what we think to be determined by our self-centered nature.

What does it mean to show Christlike love to others who have rejected God and/or His ways?

Even as we lived a life of disobedience, even as we rebelled against God’s standards of living, even as we rejected the existence of God, even as we refused to take God and Christ’s death seriously, God allowed Christ to be sacrificed for us. He didn’t wait for His ways to make sense to us before He offered us a solution.

Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die.  But God proves His love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:7-8

Admittedly, it’s hard to have loving feelings toward those who boldly reject God and His ways. Our world is upside down these days. Right is wrong and wrong is right! And what is more alarming is this deception has seeped into some of our churches! We Christians struggle to figure out how to stand strong in our faith without alienating those who have rejected God’s ways.

This is a prime dilemma that Satan eagerly takes advantage of. Ever hear the silent voice that says, “If you are kind and accepting of this person who lives in a way that mocks God and His ways, then that’s the same as condoning their sin.” You see, Satan has us focus on this fiery dart in order to deter us from verses like Romans 5:7-8.

What we fail to understand is that we can be kind and forgiving towards those who have fallen prey to the enemy’s deception, without compromising our faith values. How can we be kind and forgiving? By understanding the complex truth of separating the person we have issues with from the sins they have embraced!

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’  But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,… Matthew 5:43-44

It’s a slippery path to find ways to separate the sinner from the sin, of course. And our upside down world has made it even harder. But acknowledging that God loved us while we were still living in our sin, should empower us to do the same for others living outside of God’s will. This will provide us with the motivation to care enough about that person to deliver God’s truth to them with kindness and compassion. (Perhaps, we have been guilty of delivering the truth without the compassion?)

While we may be rejected and even persecuted by those we have attempted, with loving kindness, to be honest with, we must be prepared for this. Courageous love demands that we be truthful, whether they reject us or not or whether they reject God’s truth or not.

Personally, I don’t think there’s ever been a time when God’s truth has been so distasteful to so many. And these days we must count the cost before delivering His truth, for we could be made to suffer for it. We must keep in mind this world is not permanent; eternity is. And where we spend eternity is determined by what we do about God’s truths while we live here on earth.

What does it mean to live like a Christian? Learn to tell the difference between what freedom is and what it is not…

By leaning upon God’s will, we are granted new and remarkable freedoms. The outside world sees us as chained. We go where they choose not, we see what they prefer to ignore, we dress in a manner they call severe. They hold up to us the so-called freedoms of this world and declare themselves happier for it. They live in blindness, both to the pains of others and the remorse and strife within their own souls.”

Quote by William Wilberforce, 1759-1833, A British politician and leader of the movement to abolish the slave trade

A venus flytrap (picture left)is like a spring-loaded trap that transforms into a ‘cage’ after responding to stimuli, such as when an unsuspecting insect contacts the surface.

Now you may be wondering what a carnivorous plant has to do with this post? Read on to discover the answer!

That fly was enticed by a sticky sweet juice emitted by the venus plant. This juice smells like a bouquet of fruit and plant flowers to the fly. Something quite familiar to the fly. Not realizing the danger it was in, it decided to check into what looked familiar to it. Thus it got mired down into the sticky substance and the teeth of the venus snapped shut and became a cage. Eventually the venus consumes the fly.

Christians who are not familiar with how the Bible defines truth are much like this fly. Their confusion about what is freedom and what is bondage leads to their entrapment.

A Christian whose search for freedom lies outside the boundaries of biblical truth, are venturing into a wilderness of deception. A wilderness where lies are disguised as truth and truth is disguised as lies. The side effects of living in this wilderness is blindness. A blindness that prevents them from seeing that the freedom and happiness they think they are experiencing is nothing more than license. And that happiness is nothing more than the thrill of getting their own way and getting pats on the back for it from others who wander about in the same wilderness.

But for a Christian, this fake freedom will eventually deteriorate. The Bible puts it rather succinctly.

 There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death. Proverbs 14:12 NIV

Christians who adopt the freedoms that run contrary to God’s word are entrapped just like the fly in a venus plant. Yet, unlike the fly there is a way to break free from such bondage before being consumed. By returning to God’s word, we will grow in wisdom and understanding as to the difference between true freedom and bondage. God’s light will illuminate the path of their escape. As the disciplining love of God turns them around and brings them to their senses, they will be restored to the fresh and cleansing winds of true freedom.

What does it mean To Live as a Christian? Be a map reader!

If we are traveling to an unfamiliar area, a GPS, or a map are excellent sources to turn to. Just think of the wrong turns that would be made, if we had little or no understanding of the direction we should take? Imagine the pitfalls we would avoid if we just read the map?

I think therein lies the problem for many Christians today.

For example, perhaps we attend church regularly, or even irregularly. But have we asked ourselves why we go to church? Is it because in our circles it’s the expected thing to do? Is it no more than a social event for us? I recall a question posed to me years ago that clarifies this question. “Would you go to church if no one saw you were there?” That’s a question that needs to be pondered, right?

Believe me, the enemy has no problem with our attending church! He can deceive us just as easily while we are sitting in a pew. How, we might ask? It’s quite simple actually. By averting our attention away from the counsel of God as to why we need to go to church.

Here’s what the Bible says about attending church,

25 Let us not neglect our church meetings, as some people do, but encourage and warn each other, especially now that the day of his coming back again is drawing near. Hebrews 10:25, TLB

Now that’s a motivation that will send us to church whether anybody sees or knows we are attending or not!

What’s the urgency here?

Satan, KNOWS that within the pages of our Bible, we possess all the guidance we need to live the Christian life successfully. He also KNOWS that if we delve into the Bible too much, we will discover not only who God is, we will also discover who Satan is. Satan’s schemes and game plans for our destruction will be exposed. Do we ever stop to think that a lack of interest in reading our Bible is a manipulative tactic of our enemy?

The Bible is our true North for direction. Depending on anything else for spiritual direction, to the exclusion of digging into God’s word and spending time with Him in prayer, will only lead us to a dead end, literally!

A Christian unfamiliar with the life map of God’s word, can easily lose their way. Without God’s unchangeable Truths laid out for us in Scripture, we have no true guidance.

Feel like you are loosing your way? I suggest reading the Map! There’s no other way, Christians!

What does it mean to be a Christian?

Because I believe we have become complacent about the answer to the above question, let’s start out with what a Christian is not:

We are not a Christian because we were born into a Christian family

We are not a Christian because we live in a Christian nation (you know, like America use to be called!)

We are not a Christian because our culture accepts Christian beliefs (up to a point).

We are not a Christian because we regularly or irregularly attend church.

We are not a Christian just because we call ourselves Christian.

We are not a Christian because we try to be a good person.

We are not a Christian just because we are religious.

And the clincher: We are not a Christian just because we believe in Jesus!

Therefore, if the above statements don’t describe who a Christian is, then what is a Christian?

A Christian believes Jesus is who He says He is.

First of all the Bible states it quite clearly several times throughout, Jesus is the Son of God (one such verse is Luke 22:70) (FYI Jesus is identified as God’s son, 23 times in the gospels and 18 times in the epistles)

Yes, a Christian believes in the existence of Jesus! AND also the existence of Satan 1 Peter 5:8

Here’s why:

God created man and planet Earth. (Check out Genesis 1)

Satan was a heavenly being initially. He was so taken with his own beauty and became obsessed with jealously toward God. The end result of this rebellion got him and his buddies cast out of heaven onto earth. (Eziekiel 28:15-17)

I insert references to Satan here BECAUSE he is the culprit that seeded our world with the concept of sin. And it is due to sin that God sent Jesus (God in bodily form) to provide a way for mankind to be rescued from suffering God’s wrath in payment of their sins. For you see, Jesus lived a perfect life. And since the debt of sin was death (remember God is love but He is also a God of wrath), God cannot leave sin unpunished).

And this is where Jesus enters the earthly narrative. Somebody had to pay the price for disobeying God! Because Jesus was innocent, and because He is God’s son, He could die in everyone’s place who confesses Him. Thus preventing us from paying for our own sin. (John 3:16)

Wrapping up, Jesus is God’s son, who came to earth as a human man, to pay the price for our sins, so we wouldn’t have to. Oh, and by the way, Jesus didn’t stay dead. Nope, He was resurrected (life was restored to Him). 1 Corinthians 15:17-21 He then went to heaven to get things ready for us to welcome those who accept His payment for their sins after their temporary life on earth comes to an end. For you see, eternal life or eternal death is permanent.

But heaven isn’t just for everybody. Please understand this. For those who reject Jesus, they are in effect saying, “I am paying for my own sins.” Meaning, they are heading to hell.

And this is where our lives depend upon being clear about fiery darts. Satan’s intent is to get us to not take seriously what the Bible says about Jesus. He will prevent us with distractions of all sorts. The main one being to keep us out of the Scriptures. He will tempt us to believe God isn’t who He says He is, nor is Jesus. As a matter of fact, he is most pleased when he can tempt us to deny God altogether. Or he will persuade us that the questions written at the beginning of my post define what it means to be a Christian. (Especially the clincher statement: (James 2:19’s purpose in highlighting the demons’ beliefs is to show that simple acknowledgement of God and His identity does not equal a saving faith.)

The Hay Cutting Dance; just what I needed…

Being closed in for several days, has given me pause to consider ways to ward off the temptation (fiery dart) of a depressed spirit. I was reading in Psalm 34 the other day. Verses about praising God and being delivered from all my fears touched a cord. The key to my deliverance required praising God.

Yet, being shut up in my house for days on end, left me feeling like anything but praiseful . But just as I was struggling with all of this, a scene outside my window began to unfold. It’s hay cutting time here on the farm where I live. As a matter of fact, my home is tucked way back into the far corner of a big ole hayfield. Much to my delight. For the cutting of hay is one of my favorite enjoyments. 

Over a period of several days, I watched what I have come to call a ‘hay dance’, performed outside my window. And as I watched, praises to God began surging through my thoughts. Yep, as you might guess, those praises foiled the enemy’s attack. My spirits lifted with every step of the dance. Therefore, I thought, “Why not share this with my readers!” 

Hay cutting is like a good ole fashioned square dance between the tractors and their chosen partners!

(Disclaimer: I had to research the details for this article. I am familiar with the bigger picture b/c I live on the farm, but those details, not so much)

Just like any dance, timing is the first consideration. This is reflected by making sure the equipment is prepared and ready. Then I’ve learned that haymaking needs to coincide with the right stage of plant growth and weather conditions. My brothers and nephews have been cutting hay for so long, they just seem to have a second sense about this timing thing. 

Whether they begin early in the morning or later in the day seems to be a matter of preference. Nevertheless, the determining factor for when to start the dance depends upon the maturity of the grass.

Next step, choose your partner. The dance begins with the tractor choosing a mower implement for its partner. My family uses a rotary disk mower. This type of mower cuts quickly through thick hay pretty well. They have three huge hayfields to cut so the quicker the better.

Again change partners by swapping out the mower for a tedding implement. This implement fluffs up the hay. That allows the air and sun to reach the undersurfaces to promote drying.

This unique dance requires a lot of partner changing. Therefore, the tedding implement must be exchanged for the rake. Raking turns the hay one more time to dry the bottom and forms it into what is referred to as a windrow. Then it’s ready to be baled.

Around here they opt for large circular bales, I remember the day when small rectangular shaped bales were scattered all over the field. But as acreage increased and technology advanced the circular bales became the modus operandi. And the bailer is called to the floor turning out bale after bale of hay.

Now comes the tricky step. So, one of those big ole tractors attaches what is called a bale spear to the front and rear of the tractor. In the photo below, you’ll see a round bale on the front and the back of the tractor. A maneuver that requires expert skill.

If a dancer gets in a hurry and find themselves in the habit of moving forward before raising the loader; they’ll be scraping that bale on the ground. This misstep can tear the bale wrap or bale twine, loosening the bale and lowering the quality of the hay.

 We are almost to the time to bow. One final turn requires the bales to be loaded onto a trailer and carried to the barn. Those gigantic bales can’t be just left lying on the dance floor. (The bales suffer matter loss if left in the fields) 

Now that I have described the hay dance, allow me to describe the setting. Hay cutting is a much looked forward to event, not for just us humans but for the birds and insects as well. Actually, the calls of the kites, swallows, and locusts blend with the hum of the tractor engines to provide the music for this dance. Taking the movements, music, and the fresh aroma of new mown hay, praising God became as natural as breathing. Just proving God supplies what we need, at the moment of our need. 

My Mother, a Centenarian, Wow!





Recently my mom celebrated her100th birthday. She is loved and admired by many, but especially her family. Often I remark about her being part of the greatest generation. So, I did some research on why this generation is so called. It seems Tom Brokaw, an NBC journalist, wrote a book entitled, The Greatest Generation (published in 1998), highlighting why he thought they were the greatest generation this society has ever produced. He mentioned how they had grown up during the Great Depression and went on to fight in World War II. It was the combined efforts of those who left home to fight the war and those who contributed to the war effort at home which molded the characteristics we read below. 

In reading over this list, I had in mind my mother and my mother in law (both widows), I can say it truly describes them. Not only them, but my father and my father in law, as well. While we still are reaping the blessings of the presence of my mother and mother in law, the impact of their husband’s legacy continues to be a guiding force in their family’s lives. 

Light and light substitutes

Our Past

Christians are struggling here in the United States. We knowingly choose lifestyles that run contrary to the Light of God’s word. We knowingly make choices the innocent are forced to pay for. As Christians, we possess the antidote for what ails our world. Yet, we suffer the same problems and grasp at the same solutions. So what happened?

We started out on a grand journey. Following the Light and listening to the Voice. These two forces were all we needed to live life successfully. However, after we had traveled on our grand journey for awhile, distractions invaded our peace. Without our noticing, the Light grew dim and the Voice faded.

Our Present Consequences

As the Light fades, our hearing is negatively affected. So much so, that we begin having trouble understanding who and where we are and how to move around. We know we need more light, but instead of seeking the original light, we chase after substitutes.

These are false lights. They seem like they will work. So we give them a try. But eventually they fade. These false lights lead us into all sorts of confusion. We aren’t able to see things as they really are. Things like love, hope, joy, wisdom slip out of our reach. Things like apathy, confusion, hopelessness, blindness, and doubt slowly replace them.

Eventually, we grow accustomed to the false light. Consequently, we loose sight of the true Light.

But deep within we can still hear the faint Voice calling to us from the original Light. We remember how strong that Voice use to be. In our despair, we yearn to hear that voice once more.

We desire to call out to the Voice within that Light. But the misguided quest for false light interferes with our reception. Nevertheless, the Light is still there. Now and then we are confident we hear that familiar Voice calling us back to the Light.

Finally, we grasp the key. If we desire more Light, then we must focus on the Voice. Consistent and deliberate focusing produces more Light and the Voice increases in volume.

What Could be Our Future!

Finally, our bondage designed by the false light and all that is ugly in our lives is exposed! As the Light sweeps away the darkness, we see stretching out before us, rich colors of hope, joy, love, and wisdom. In the real Light, we reconnect to the Voice.

Have we lost our way? Are the problems of life draining us? Perhaps we are following the wrong light and listening to the wrong voice.

And now, the departures…

A goodbye is just the beginning of a hello! Or so my 7 year old grandson says!

Now that Nammy Camp has faded into the sunset, what now?

The departures of each family group are accompanied by the waves, shouts of goodbyes and I love you’s by the remaining groups traditionally positioned on the front porch.

In past times, these farewell moments have been painted in gray. For letting go has been an all too familiar scene played out in my life. In spite of these colorless moments , there have been some revelations along the way which have served to paint these moments in a more colorful palette.

So how does this happen?

Referencing my last post, it’s an exercise in acceptance. Accepting that God is in control, and that His plans are always designed for our good.

Something else needs to be acknowledged here. My flesh, that part of me that always wants its own way, revolts when things don’t go the way I prefer. For I would prefer that all 4 of my children live nearby. Not in two other states, and another country!

Accepting God’s placement for my children and their families, can only be accomplished by preferring God’s will for their lives over my own will. This is no easy task, but through the years it has become doable. It takes time to grow in the knowledge of God’s truths. It takes a bolstering of trust to know that His ways are always better than mine. And as I exercise that trust, it grows stronger and more reliable.

Focusing on what I have and not what I don’t have, is another helpful exercise. This is where the fiery dart lessons come in real handy. It’s mighty tempting as I stand waving from my front porch to dwell on the sadness I feel as the final group departs. But it has been my realization that by overly focusing on the negative, I won’t notice the birds serenading me, feel the cool breezes brushing against my skin, or value the beauty of the quiet. For you see, I won’t be able to appreciate this different sort of quiet. A quiet that offers serenity, peacefulness, and consolation all at once.

I don’t want to miss out on the blessed gifts that accompany this season of my life because I am focusing on the negative. The reality is that time changes things. If I cooperate with God as He works His plan, I will discover the beauty, comfort, and purpose that He has prepared for me within those life changes.

I admit this is a God-size task. One that only can be managed successfully when I defer to God’s way of dealing with the departures that always follows Nammy Camp.

God’s Plan, the Smart Plan!

My post today is from a personal perspective. I share this perspective in the hopes that my readers will have the benefit of the lessons I’m learning.. For it’s all about taking to heart the Truths designed to smooth out the rough places along life’s path and in the process prove God’s ways work.

Coming up this week is what my family has come to call Nammy Camp. It’s an event for as many of the 20 of us who can attend. There are 20 of us in all. At present two families live out of state. In order to bunk all of us comfortably, a couple of outside tents are required to expand sleeping quarters. Of course, the adults claim the bedrooms (six in all) and the grans (7 years to 17 years) get to bunk out in the tents. Everyone is happy!

In the years past, my aim was to clean every nook and cranny. That meant windows (all 26 of them), the siding on a two story house, rugs cleaned & carpets shampooed, furniture dusted, bed linens washed and put on beds (all 6 of them) touch up painting in all the rooms, etc., etc. Then there was the outside. Pool needed to be all clean and clear (involving a lot of work), yard mowed (a rather large space which included weed eating and trimming with a push mower), spruce up the deck and front porch, etc., etc. Projects that fell to my strengths alone. Almost predictably by the time people family began arriving, I was drained. All I wanted to do was to sit down and stay that way. But there were expectations that since I was the hostess, there was meal planning, activity planning, etc., etc.

This year proved to be a game changer for me. Last fall my mother in law had to move in with us as the result of a stroke and for the last several years I have attended to my own mother’s care (she turns 100 in a few weeks). And over the past months, the realities of my limitations became glaringly clear. Since my energies have been sapped long before Nammy Camp arrived, there was simply no way I could take on Nammy Camp as I had in the past.

Slowly, perhaps too slowly, I have come to realize that all those things I did to prepare for Nammy Camp weren’t mandatory. My own decline in energy, being 74 myself, no longer was up to the preparations. While Nammy camp was looked forward to zeal and excitement, I can say that being drained as I was, it did dampen things for me personally. The negative, you know, fiery darts bombarded my thoughts. It was a constant struggle to keep them from distracting me from enjoying the sacred family moments that always came forth during this time.

Now this year NC has rolled around again. And I’ve long been praying for God to protect this time my family has together. In caring for both Mothers, I have learned more of how to take the days as they come. Do what you can and don’t worry about what you can’t do. Keep God’s plans as your primary perspective. He is in control and always works things out for what is best for us and proves to those around us that relying on God’s plans is the smart thing to do.