Slay On, My Friend

(Google)

The common slogan in our modern culture seems to be, “Make love not war.”

…No, maybe that was more of the 60s, but it is definitely a “Make peace, not war” desire.

Yet, peace is not always possible except on the other side of war.

Had we claimed peace on the day of Pearl Harbor, where would we be today?

Had we put down our weapons and declared all was well in the middle of Hitler’s regime, what would our nation look like in 2021?

Had we allowed the towers to fall with no retribution, would we really have a world of calm from chaos?

There will enter giants in this life that we must pursue as David pursued Goliath on the battlefield.

There will be lions that step out to devour, and we had best draw our swords first as Baniah did in that pit on the snowy day.

If we don’t, we will only be taunted, pursued and eaten viciously while we say, “We just want to live in harmony.”

Our enemy has no mercy for us.

He cares not for our troubles, pains or weakness.

Reality proves he seeks our demise and strategically plans for our destruction.

So, lest you become confused by the lull of the common welfare state.

Lest you become seduced by the brazen agenda of those who secretly desire you to fall,

Pick up your shield, dear one.

Not one moment for the drama.

None of it for a show.

Simply for survival and for life renewal.

Stand your ground and fight for what is rightfully yours.

Do not back up, hesitate or surrender.

Fight that giant and take him down.

Slice through that dragon and render him a heap.

Stomp that foe into the ground from which he came.

And slay on, my friend. Slay on.

Finding The Silver Lining

The moment I took this beautiful picture of the sunbeams bursting through the darkened sky, I was headed into the funeral home.

The other day, I posted a blog of finding fun and adventure in times when nothing seems to be going right and plans are tough.

After a day that refused to end, I had to drive 30 minutes, to meet up with my son because he was in need; so, we met at a new station for yummy coffee and snacks to make the drive a little less tedious along the way.

Sometimes, you just have to search for those silver linings in the midst of the hard.

Sometimes, those silver linings are what brings a glimmer of hope along the desperate path.

It seems as if life just closes in at times. Those difficult moments become strenuous and pressing, until they are like four walls of concrete that have been given permission to move to the center, all at the same time.

I believe I’m not the only one who can attest to this fact; the past two years have confirmed this reality.

It feels as if the days are getting longer, lingering beyond the set hour to make it seem those midnight bells will never ring.

Sometimes, that silver lining can be allusive, hidden, even to the point of appearing as a mirage on a desert floor.

Sometimes, you’re gonna have to squint your eyes and grit your teeth, maybe even tilt your head a bit to see past the darkened day to that silver lining just beyond the rain.

Yet, if you will seek, you will find.

If you will knock, the door will open.

If you will but thrust your grasp into the hand of the One who holds tomorrow,

You will find the silver lining.

For He will make sure of it.

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.

Matthew 7:7 & 8

Stop to Smell the Roses … and Count Them, Too.

I love roses. Really, I love flowers of almost any kind, but I’ve always been partial to roses, poppies and Gerber daisies.

Particularly, in red and hot pink… but these orange roses above are absolutely beautiful as well!!

And lately, I’ve been drawn to them more and more while being reminded of the phrase, “Stop to smell the roses.”

See, life has just been crazy busy lately. Busy in good ways, I suppose, but busy nonetheless. And I find my heart longing for a pause…

A pause for refreshment. A pause for reflection. A pause for renewal.

In everyday life, and especially, in the busy days of life, if you don’t have those pauses that bring refreshment, reflection and renewal, you might very well die. If you don’t die, you might drown in the heaviness around you. If you don’t drown, you might just grow resentful or depressed or burnt out.

You’ve got to pause. And you can’t pause with chaos in your head. You’ve got to pause away from the frantic. You’ve got to pause out of the panic. You’ve got to pause beyond the emotion and turmoil.

Get alone till you’re not alone anymore.

Sit still until you are still.

Breathe until you do breathe.

And then, inhale even deeper and smell those roses.

And then, take another minute to count them.

I promise you. If you’ll do this often, you’ll find you can face tomorrow a whole lot easier. … doesn’t mean tomorrow will be easier. It just means you’ll be a little stronger to face it.

I will meditate on the glorious splendor of Your majesty, and on Your wondrous works. Men shall speak of the might of Your awesome acts, and I will declare Your greatness. They shall utter the memory of Your great goodness, and shall sing of Your righteousness.

Psalm 145:5-7

Monday Musing on Tuesday

[*I do not own nor possess this pic.
Simple google search.]

Sometimes, you’re going to appear insane simply because you disagree… or at least, those in the River of conformity will say.

Sometimes, you’re going to sound crazy simply because you won’t comply… or at least, those in the push for an agenda will claim.

Sometimes, you’re going to wonder if you might be going nuts simply because you won’t say yes… or at least, those in the camp of trend, popularity and fame will declare.

Never allow those around you, and especially those against you, to convince you to jump off the cliff simply because every sheep on the planet has.

Make up your own mind.

Choose one Sovereign authority and follow Him.

His Truth is Absolute, and absolute Truth is, itself, exclusive.

Don’t lose it.

Don’t give it away.

And certainly, NEVER sell it to the highest bidder!

Truth is a precious gift. A precious commodity.

Hold on to it.

No matter the cost.

Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

John 8:31-32

Monday Musings: Lessons Learned from 2020 and COVID-19

This has been quite a year for so many, and some would say this has been the absolute worse year ever, others would just say it stinks. I’m not sure there’s many at all who would say it’s been the best year; yet, maybe a three year old could have this perspective.

I will say it’s not been an amazingly wonderful year; it’s certainly had it’s challenges. However, I’d have to admit, it’s not been the worst year I’ve ever experienced.

Some of the worst years of my life were the year after my grandfather passed away, or the year we lost our first child after trying to conceive for 13 months, or the year I battled depression for a good half of the year… yeah, perspective always brings sunlight into the day.

Yet, there are some things this year of 2020 has taught me, and I thought I’d add it to my previous lists written near the beginning of all this

1. No matter what comes into my life, with God, I can walk through fire and I can stand in the rain…even if I have to grab the fire extinguisher and maybe a boat paddle!

2. Regardless what the days bring, you still have a choice to take another breath and move forward or clamp down on oxygen and lie down to die…I choose to breathe.

3. Despite the ugly, the tornadic, the chaos or the devastation, there is always hope, you just have to search for it…often times, it will be buried deep within.

4. Although, there may be confusion and uncertainty, if you know the right source from which to draw strength, you will have an endless supply…the Source is your key.

5. Life brings with it all kinds of ups and downs, doubts and fears, turmoil and challenges, questions and very few answers; yet, when you have a firm foundation, those specific answers may not always become easier to find, but the principles to these will be as sure anchor doe your soul.

6. Everyone needs a friend. Choosing to live out your life in isolation and avoidance is just a waste of life! … choose friends carefully, but choose them.

7. Having the courage to call out when you’re in trouble can be scary, and it definitely will make you more vulnerable than many of us like to be, but honestly, having moments of vulnerability brings humility back into our prideful flesh…and the courage it takes to ask makes us all that stronger.

8. Life has been known to bring us lemons, and sometimes, they can be the sourest ever grown, but if you’ll add a little sugar, you’ll find that lemonade to be quite refreshing… mind you, sometimes, you better add a lot!

9. No matter the clouds that brew overhead, always remember, there is a sun still shining. You may not see it today or tomorrow, but keep looking up, and it’s bound to eventually burst forth and warm up your skin.

10. If you believe there is no hope to ever be found, just stop in your tracks, take a deep breath, and place your hand to your heart to feel that beat…if there is still a rhythm, then there is always a glimmer of hope.

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.

Hebrews 10:23

Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming.

1 Peter 1:13

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people…

Ephesians 1:18

Whimsical Wednesday

Sail on, son. Sail on.

Sail past those trials.

Sail past those pains.

Sail past those failures.

Sail past that shame and regret.

Embrace the sun and soak it in.

Soak it in deep, cuz you’re gonna need it to survive.

Not just to survive but to thrive.

Let the moon of His shadow light the way through the dark.

No matter the abyss of the unknown, the rays of His promise will chase away the haze.

The winds of this world blow hard, always wanting to knock you off course.

The waves of this culture devour fast, always seeking to destroy peace, joy, and clarity of mind.

Stay the course, son.

Never become distracted by what was, what is or what one day might be.

Keep Him at the helm, and you will find a steadier voyage.

Keep Him at the forefront of navigation, and you will find your destination not far ahead.

I may not always be present in form, but you can rest assured, I am always near your heart.

And you will always be held tenderly within mine.

“But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”

2 Corinthians 4:3-6

Whimsical Wednesday

Let me glide on the sea of glass…

Let the wind rustle my hair as it whizzes by…

Let the sun deepen the glow and bring strength to my soul…

My mind settles from all the distractions…

My eyes rest from all the blinding pain…

My ears relax from all the blasting rain…

Just breathe deep…

Exhale slowly…

And my focus can return…

My vision can reform…

My hearing can be revitalized…

Just another minute… and another…

Just a little while longer…

And my heart can begin to sing again…

“But now ask the beasts, and they will teach you; and the birds of the air, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you; and the fish of the sea will explain to you. Who among all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this, In whose hand is the life of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind?”

Job 12:7-10

Monday Musings

There is so much truth in this statement, it almost hurts to embrace it.

If you’ve never hiked a strenuous trail, this may not be a reality for you.

If you’ve not experienced the deep exhale of stiff action after a treacherous climb, you might not quite understand.

But if you’ve climbed Brasstown Bald in Georgia for the first time on a hot August afternoon…

If you’ve used your trekking poles to achieve the heights of The Chimney Tops in the Great Smokies…

If you’ve had to take a break as you traveled toward the top of Mount Mitchell in the Blue Ridge…

If you’ve had to slow to catch your breath as you stretched toward the heights of Pike’s Peak in the Rockies…

If you’ve questioned your abilities as you pushed toward the peaks of Mount Rainier in the Cascades…

And if you’ve ever struggled in life to achieve more than the day before… if you’ve stayed up all night and the next day just to get the job done… if you’ve beat your chest through the turmoil, the heartache and depression just to reach the other side of sanity…

Then, you might just understand and appreciate this statement.

Because if you’ve ever climbed the malicious mountain to experience the refreshing breeze and behold the overwhelming landscape of the summit , you’ll fight and claw to encounter the next ascension.

“Lord, by Your favor You have made my mountain stand strong…”

Psalm 30:7a

Friday Fun Day

I do not posses it own this pic. (Google search)

I know it’s a day late, but…

Sometimes, it just doesn’t seem like a Friday Fun Day.

As a family member, a great man who made you laugh till you cried, suddenly breathes his last…

As a hurricane, that’s not traumatic in size but traumatic in results, rips through your hometown wreaking havoc and demise…

As distant family members try to pick up the pieces of their lives and dreams…

As church family members die or become deathly sick, and all involved wonder if that precious saint will suddenly walk those streets of gold…

As calls of desperation filter in from various places, each needing help, restoration, healing in some form or fashion…

Sometimes, it just doesn’t feel much like a Friday Fun Day…

However, this is that thing we call living…

And you either put on your hat of perseverance and move forward with a strain and a push, or you’ll get trampled in the gate of ambition and determination…

Or worse, you’ll garnish that cloak of heaviness and despair and enter your grave while walking on your feet…

So, you look up and glimpse the sunlight peeking through the clouds…

You look beyond the debris and see the sunset light up that western seashore…

You look through the demise to find a hidden treasure, a cherished heirloom, a forgotten dream…

You look into the eyes of that neighbor, and despite the pain, you smile and embrace…

You remember the good times of friends, the memories of the fun, the love of family, and the sweet goodness of God…

You see the resilience to repair, the fortitude to rebuild, and the temerity to thrive again…

You watch the horizon of dreams as they creep over the surf as bright as the sun, brightening the path to another day, another aspiration, another hope…

And you smile…

For the Friday Fun Day will return…

If only for this moment held deep within your heart…

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.

He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name.

Great is our Lord and mighty in power; His understanding has no limit.”

Psalm 147:3-5

The Fight of Seduction

The sound of your voice still rattles in my head.

The effects are slowly but surely becoming dead.

The triggers you brought always through my heart were shot.

But now, your deceitful lies have all been quickly caught.

The murmur of your tongue is fading from my mind.

The impact of your facade dissipates like scattered grind.

One look, one word, no matter the hour, I’m still taken back.

Yet, I fight and I claw to resist the seducing hatred that only brings me lack.

Oh, how I wish to cry, to scream, to vent out to all the world.

I want to demand justice and deny your pleasantries that swirled.

I fight my own daggers, realizing bitterness is not the answer.

Gall cannot bring life, my bones it will eat like a cancer.

So, I walk away, never seeking retribution or the slightest reconstruction.

I will wait for time to tell and truth to shine before my souls gives to abduction.

I cannot be free from the memories that bring pain, but I can sing.

I can praise my God for His goodness and grace, for the life He will bring.

Penned – MG – 3/1/20