Thursday, March 27, 2014

Ode To Joy

I attended a graduate class last night at Belmont University. It was a blessing, to be among other adults who love words. I entered, not knowing what an "ode" was and left loving the "ode" so much that I wanted to try my hand at crafting one. I learned last night how every writer indeed has a voice and each has their own beauty that no one can copy. We are all unique, by creation and then by experience. Each voice has value for it speaks about a life lived --worthy to be heard. So here is my first ode:

(Unbelievable Joy by phantastes on deviant art)

Not happiness--
That charading counterfeit
Of pleasure, which we
Lust for.
Hypocritical and proud,
Aware only of yourself--
Subtly irritable, Fickle
Given over
To circumstances in sight.
This World

Oh, to joy!
Absolute surrender
Self-sacrificing offered
For the One,
Who sent Him to do.

Who for joy,
He endured the cross.
And we--you and me--
What can we do
Any less or more
If it is truly He
Whom we adore?

He delighted,
Do we?
To do God's will,
Oh my,
God's Joy!

He prayed,
That His Joy
Might Remain--in you and me,
That our joy
Might be full.
Do we
Have that Joy?

To Joy,
Living a full
Does not rest in circumstances,
Nor success, but
Understanding of God, and
Fellowship and
With Him, like Jesus Himself

Fellowship and Oneness--
A right relationship with God--
Out of it will flow
Rivers of living water--
A fountain through, you and me,
That Jesus can pour Himself

Joy--as natural as a breath,
A life hidden in Christ,
Blessing others, yet
A having been a blessing.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Tolerance and Truth

When can you agree to disagree? When can you tolerate a difference of opinion?

(by reoplusone by d4aygea on deviant art)

We can always agree to disagree with people, but when God reveals truth to us we must yield to Him.

It is stiff-necked and sinful to be shown truth by God, clearly in His Word, and for us to choose to believe differently. The Holy Spirit is an able teacher. God's Word illuminates Itself.

I can always agree to disagree with another person's opinion, but I should never agree to disagree with God. What right do I have? When I stand before the King of Kings and the Lord of Lord, my creator and the creator of the universe, what arrogance it would take to try to convince Him that He is "old fashion," not 21st Century, not relevant to the trends and times.

God does not ordain homosexuality, just as He does not condone adultery, pre-martial sex, or perverted participation in porn. More strongly than not ordaining or condoning, God commands his believers --his children-- to not participate in these activities and calls them sins. Therefore, it is right in the eyes of God for his children to take strong personal stands against these.

However, forcing the beliefs of God on another has never been God's desire. From the beginning of mankind, He wanted Adam and Eve to CHOOSE to love and obey Him. He gave them freewill. Actions have consequences. Choosing to sin results in great loss. Nevertheless, God still operates under the natural laws of human freewill and its resulting consequences of blessings or curses.

How is this practical in today's world?

Among large groups of people --like political parties, schools, communities, organizations -- individuals will never be in the same place of their knowledge of who God is and how yielded they are to His sovereignty in life. We can speak truth and pray for others to be revealed God's love, acceptance and will for them, but we cannot constrain another's heart.

Personal Experience

Conviction comes from the Holy Spirit; Condemnation comes from Satan. I think sometimes in meaning well by wanting someone to see God's truth, I can become condemning in my words. When someone insults my faith or twists the teachings of God's Words, I must exercise great caution and be exacting but loving in my response. Sometimes I will be asked by God to remain silent; other times I will be urged to speak the truth, but never should I use truth to destroy a person or beat them up.

These are very hard lessons to learn. And when I fail to speak the truth in love I cause hurt to others, which is damaging to their soul and unloving. Therefore, I am so grateful that God is forgiving, gracious, patient, long-suffering and merciful toward me. In repentance before God, I realize my absolutely helplessness to function apart from Him. I have to come to the end of myself, dragging the wrong I have done into the light, and asking for forgiveness. But, I must also ask the person I hurt to forgive me.

Let's Be Practical

It is very possible to agree to disagree on policy and political matters, when a consensus is not reached. This does not mean you are surrendering your beliefs. You are simply allowing another person to have their own beliefs and allowing them to respect yours that are different.

I am grateful to always be open to God to learn and grow.

Tolerance is touchy. Today, tolerance has pushed its way into being "a forced acceptance of opposing beliefs". That is not tolerance -- that is a demanding that one person give up their conscientious beliefs and be forced to swallow down and condone an opposing view -- that is oppression. When we agree to disagree we don't flaunt or shove our believes on others. We respect the fact that we have differences and honor one another enough to not force others to accept our opinions as facts.

We still have a lot of improvement to make on understanding how tolerance is being used as a tool to indoctrinate and how intolerant it is of any differing point of view. God created a man with the ability to reason. Topics should be able to be discussed widely and deeply, without penalty of condemnation if everyone does not come up with the same conclusions.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Fasting - An Ash Wednesday Experience

We have a lovely Anglican Liturgical Orthodox church in our town, St. Patrick's Anglican Church, which is a new growth out of a separation from an Episcopal congregation several years ago. Some of the members and leaders felt the Episcopal church in America had drifted too far from the Scriptures in their teachings. Out of a desire to cling wholly to God's Word several wonderful Anglican Churches have sprouted. St. Patrick Anglican in Smyna, TN is one of them.

Ash Wednesday art by Ladyofshadow at DeviantArt

This morning I attended the Ash Wednesday Lent Mass. It was a blessing.

Being raised a Roman Catholic, I remembered much of the symbolism but did not understand the meaning. Now, an evangelical Christian of 30 years, I understand the deep Biblical meaning and at the same time am endeared to the liturgical ceremony of the service.

I was brought to tears as I returned to my pew after being crossed on the forehead by the Priest with ashes as he spoke, "Remember that thou art dust, and to dust thou shalt return."

We recited the beautiful repentant Psalm 51 together, and then responded in a Litany of Penitence asking God to have corporate mercy upon us for many specific sins, such as:

  • sins by our own fault in thought, word, and deed; and what we have done and what we have left undone.
  • for not loving God with our whole heart, mind and strength; and not loving our neighbors as ourselves.
  • for not forgiving others as we have been forgiven.
  • for being deaf to God's calling to us to serve, for grieving the Holy Spirit.
  • for our self-indulgent appetites, 
  • for our negligence in prayer and worship for false judgements and uncharitable thoughts toward others.

You get the idea. Sincerely, it was a very meaningful and solemn mass.

I also loved the sermon. We were reminded that salvation is through faith and grace, and that works do not get us to heaven. Everyone chuckled when the Priest said if we gave up Starbucks for 40 days we did not get into heaven. I think we all got the point. He reminded us that Jesus first message was to repent and that talking about sin and repentance was not real popular in America today. He, also, told us to have an eternal focus and to see repentance as the way to life and love. We are to be led to more freedoms by giving up bad habits.

I headed home with a full intention of trying to fast today.

When I noticed my hunger about 10 am, I recalled that Jesus went through a lot more for me than a hunger pain.

Fasting is for a purpose, but it is not legalism. It does not earn us a closer relationship with God nor make us more righteous. Anyone who fasts need to be careful not to make it public and showy.

So, it was just a few minutes later that my college-aged son, who I have been praying will repent and turn to the Lord, calls me as I am writing this post and asks me to go to lunch with him. Do I break my fast? Do I tell him I am fasting for lent and just go sit with him and not eat or would that make him feel uncomfortable? Do I simply say yes? 

I must confess I did not ask the Lord. Truthfully, I forgot to ask God.

I simply, as most moms would do if a child calls to ask to go to lunch, especially one that she has not been alone with in several months, told him I will meet him. And we pick a place and time to go.

Thirty minutes later I am on the way to the restaurant (I am driving the old dump truck--all the other cars are taken already). Just a block before I turn for the restaurant blinking blue and white lights appear in my rearview mirror. I am in the far left lane two cars away from the light that is currently red. The turning lane is on my left in the middle of the road is empty, so I slide over into the turning lane. I simply don't know what I am suppose to do. His intercom starts to talk but it sounds like "blah blah blah" and I don't even have a radio on. I put my hands up in the air indicating I don't have a clue what to do. When the light changes green, I slowly turn left and find a place down the road to pull into -- another turning lane that enters into the medical complex and hospital.

The local sheriff says I have been texting and swaying. I am tell him I was not texting, which I was not. He said he was next to me and saw me on my phone. I tell him I was looking at the screen but I was not texting. He then tells me when his lights come on I should have went to the left, but I explain to him that the traffic lanes were full and we were at a red light. He says I should have waited  for the light to turn green and then made my way to the right and pulled over. I simply tell him I had no idea what to do.

In talking to me, he asks me where I am going. I tell him to meet my son for lunch. He indicates that I am driving like I am intoxicated. I tell him I have had nothing to drink, so he asks if I am on medication. I hesitate. Does he have the right to know if I am on medication? I say yes and he wants to know what for. Again what are my rights, do I have to answer? I wonder. 

He tells me to call me son and have him meet me where I am although I am only one block away from the restaurant. I am so embarrassed. I don't want to call my son.

He sees my hesitation and tells me that he can book me for DUI even if I am on medication prescribed to me by my doctor. I tell him I did not know that. I embarrassingly tell him I am on some psychiatric medications. He asks if I am diabetic or have low blood sugar. Then it dawns on me, I have been fasting.... it is possible that I am low in blood sugar.

In slight tears I explain that I went to Ash Wednesday Lent Service this morning and that I was trying to fast. He mumbles something about God; I think he says something about Him blessing me. He hands me back my license and lets me continue on to the restaurant to meet me son. Before I pull away I look into my side mirror, the sherrif honestly looks a little shook-up himself standing there besides his vehicle.

I manually move the broken flashers up and down to indicate I am turing right and move along. I am in tears, probably not seeing or driving better than before he pulled me over but trying to regain my composure. I don't want my son to know I have been crying. He is not the sensitive type and would probably make fun of me.

I feel so deflated, so humbled, so exhausted, but as a good mother I greet my son and go eat lunch without sharing my experience. Needless to say it was not easy. I ask lots of questions about his life; he sparingly gives me answers. God alone know how He will work through such flat encounters.

How frequent do we meet with people and never know what they have been through before we see them? Isn't it like a parent to pretend everything is alright and to simply make the best of the outing? God sees the whole picture but we simply see the part we are allowed. 

More happen today, but I have shared enough. Most of it bumpy and challenging. This didn't end up being the prefect "fasting-ash Wednesday" experience that I thought it would be... whatever that is... but as always, what I share about my life is real.



Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Secret Power of a Mother's Prayer - Spiritual Warfare

Let me get this out upfront - Jesus - His name and His blood is the power - of a mother's prayer! It is only a secret because we live in a world that is not a Christian's home. It is ruled by God's enemy, Satan and his demons, and this is the secret that so many people are not facing as truth.

Jesus prayed, should not we also pray. by Hongmin on DeviantART

I awoke this morning at 4:30. Like a bullet, I shot up sitting in bed. I have been awaking quickly like this for the past few weeks since I have been reading A Woman's Guide to Spiritual Warfare by Quin Sherrer and Ruthanne Garlock. What I study during the day, Satan tests in my life and God enforces in my dreams.

I had a powerful warfare dream last night. My husband and I were rescuing my brother who was morphing in age between under 18 and then 30's. You know how dreams have that morphing ability to alter any sense of reality. But one thing was real, I was praying in the power of Jesus in "His name and by His blood" to halt the physical world and alter the powers of the spiritual realm. The prayers of one righteous in Christ individual was able to shield and miraculously bend the normal inevitable outcomes of physical dynamics.

So when I awoke, I was stirred by noises from my living room and after beginning to pray in bed, I went into the living room and walked through my home praying in the power of spiritual warfare. I walked in faith, not fear--in His strength, not my weakness. And of course, I prayed for my son who is no longer living at home--he is the first person I prayed over when I sat up and I persisted in prayer for him this morning until I felt a sense of release.

I read yesterday about travailing in prayer. We mothers can understand this because we travailed in childbirth. The baby is not birthed immediately like so many things we get and expect in today's instantaneous world. A mother must persist. She must keep up the good fight. She must labor until the child is brought into this world. In the very same way, a mother can labor for her child spiritually. She can persist in prayer and never let up until her child is released from the clutches of the enemy and darkness-- until her child receives God's grace to be lifted from the miry pit he has dug for himself through sinful choices.

Satan hates the children of God - this is so evident! Infant sacrifice, abortion, child abuse, abduction... the destruction of children is his focus. He has a plan to tempt them, to confuse them, to lie to them, to "kill, steal and destroy" God's plan for their life. We mothers must resist the enemy for our children until they are able to maturely in spiritual warfare fight for themselves. Of course, I am not discounting the prayers of a father, not at all. But, we mothers must do our God given part. We are the nurturing heart of the home; we are, also, the spiritually sensitive warrior of our home.

Never underestimate the power of Jesus' name and the blood of Jesus. Never underestimate your ability to bind the enemy from talking, attacking and keeping a hold on your child.

Realize that spiritual warfare is not a one day's work but a walk of life on earth. We are prayer warriors for life.

I believe in God. I believe in His Word and His promises. Therefore, I will travail in prayer for my children, my family, my home and my own life all the days I breath air on this earth.

Ps 68:11 - The LORD gives the command (His Word of power); the women who proclaim the good tidings are of a great host.

Woman, for the Lord, are like a military company that through bearing and speaking His Word are able to be a powerful army of praise for the LORD. I want to be one of these woman. Do you?



a sister in the Lord

Friday, January 17, 2014

Gay-For-Pay, Straight Baiting and FratmenTV - A Mother's Point of View

artwork by billy2toes on deviantART
Gay-For-Pay, Straight-baiting and FratmenTV are some things in life I wish I knew nothing about.

As a Christian mother, I long ago determined in my heart that I would love my children unconditionally. I also recognize sexual immorality as sin and do consider the gay lifestyle to be a decision that is unBiblical. And, of course, I consider all porn as unBiblical.

Here is where the gay lifestyle and porn collide: Did you know that gay men enjoy luring straight guys into the gay lifestyle?

Well, I have heard of this but I honestly thought you had to be hanging around gay bars. Also, I had given gay people the benefit of the doubt that, as they claim, gay people believe that gay is not something you choose it is something you are, so if they really believe that it never crossed my mind that there could be an entire industry built around luring young STRAIGHT athletes into the gay lifestyle. But guess what? That would be a strong NO.

Facebook primarily, but Instagram also, have provided a source for the gay porn industry to comb the internet for fresh new bodies. They contact young men who are well built and offer them thousands of dollars to fly out for a photo shoot. They talk about how muscularly developed and ready they are for modeling; and if they get a slight interest, they will aggressively come after the person.

Of course, this is nothing new.

Over 30 years ago when I waited tables in a college town I was contacted by a wealthy client of the nice restaurant to have sex for pay. He offered me an amount and to a poor college student it is hard to say no to "easy" money, but I hesitated and said in my sassy response, "I am worth more than that." So he upped the amount and I said, "No you don't understand money can't buy me." The call ended quickly, and I was never contacted again.

In my life it was a defining moment, I proclaimed to myself, the world and satan that I was not prey for that type of sexual immorality. But I know that so many young people are not as strong and confident as I was in that moment of temptation.

My world has been rocked by all I have learned but I do not believe in being silent. I am a survivor of child abuse and too many people were silent. People need to know about this danger that is lurking about for young athletes who engage in social media. If they are any combination of these: gullible, non confident, have a financial need, not spiritually grounded, and probably already open to sexual immorality (being sexually active or wanting to be) -- taking the step to "gay-for-pay" is not that big of a leap.

I am angered by it, by the fact that gay men feel it is exciting to see a straight guy have gay sex for their enjoyment. It is sickening that they lure them by baby steps just as every porn industry does. Oh, take off your shirt... well, what about your shorts... etc.

Now, the person going for the shoot is not innocent. They are choosing to get thousands for posing for photos to show off their body and they are clearly told some will be nude, but Fratmen leave out the fact that they are a gay-for-pay company and that when the person comes for the photo shoot he will be enticed by followers and payers to strip. Once there they are encouraged that they will thrill their fan base if they begin down the "gay" sexual encounter path. This is something that a young man will have to choose for himself when he is alone with just the predators paying him for the photo shoot.

Like I said, young ladies have dealt with this since filming porn was started, now there is an industry to lure in young men.

Our world is a evil place.

As a Christian mother, I am battling in spiritual warfare. The enemy wants to kill, steal and destroy our children. He is always looking for a weakness, a sin, for a foothold. Once our children are old enough to make their own choices we can speak but really our advice is not our strongest action. Prayer is key, and for me, speaking out to shed light on this darkness is also one weapon I have against the evil one.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Simplicity Is Best

by Never Been Kissed at DeviantART

Discontented - I wanted more.
Each page I flipped,
Rubbed open envy's sore.
A fleeting happiness - in
Accumulating things to store.

Now boxes fill my cluttered house
And bring distress.
Since more is less
And less is more;
I long to simplify this mess.

by lindy abbott 2014

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Cruelty of Nature - Through Darwin's Eyes

Cruelty of Nature by Lordfartalot at Deviantart

Bewildered- he wrote atheistically
Not seeing so plainly as others do.
Even as he wished he could - the
Evidence of design was not -in view-
Beneficial on all sides of you and me.

To him, there seemed too much misery
That a cat should play with mice
Or a parasite feed within -another
Not persuading himself that it's nice
Or what a beneficent God would do.

Thus, he judged God to be derogatory--
In countless ways, nature cruelly turned
Upon itself - creeping worms and parasites
From the earliest dawn of life -spurned
All over land and depths of sea.

Adopting the concept of evolution, he thought
The only reasonable way to cease astonishment
That animals should live by, and more, delight,
In cruelty- led away by false instincts- bent
Toward such incalculable waste.

Supported and thought to be so very wise,
He forgot that he could not see - as God
Whose mind and ways are far higher
Than man's logic or imagination could
Conceive nor understand - His Ways.

lindy abbott 2014

Friday, November 15, 2013

"Love Me" Prayer

When we think of praying, we often think of going down a list of important concerns and covering loved ones with God's protection and provision for the day.

I want to recommend a simple beginning to your prayer time that you might find an amazing blessing and welcomed change to your prayer life. As you are focusing upon the Lord, ask Him to love you.

By AnnaZoey on deviantART

Asking God to love you is not a selfish thing. It opens us up to receive His love that is always being poured out toward us. God is love and He desires to love us completely, to fill us with His love.

In my years of prayer, I have asked for many things: a new fresh filling of the spirit, to see His glory, to be healed, to know Him; and each of these are appropriate prayers. But, nothing is so absorbing of His presence as to be loved by Him!

After I soak in His love, I can overflow His love to others. In being saturated by Him, I function out of security, acceptance and wholeness.

Does it matter what this day brings once I am loved fully by God? I can face whatever is placed in my path knowing I am His precious daughter whom He greatly loves.

Blessing to you today.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Greatest of These

I wrote this in 2010 as a guest blogger on a fellow-writer's website. I decided to share it with my blog readers today.

The Greatest of These

Enjoying a day with my husband of 26 years is something I don’t get enough of during this stage of life our raising teens, but yesterday I enjoying a small two day away trip with him. We drove for about five hours, and as usual I read almost the entire trip. When we arrived at the hotel poked fun at me being the only person in the world that would be as excited about reading a 1917 book I found in an antique store.
Original Documents
I unofficially call myself a historian, because I love to read real life accounts of people. I call them original documents. While they are not an escape or creatively written as fiction, they are true impressions of life as seen through the eyes of the person who lived it. Several of the books of the Bible are eye-witness accounts of life. The Bible is a very historical book.
To truly understand history, I know of no better way to experience history in its purest form. In turn, by reading these little gems I find, I gain a deeper understanding of what the world must have been like through an eye-witness account. While I know I am viewing through the interpretation of the writer, at least this writer was there. This is why I give them higher credibility than current day historians writing what they think happen in the past.
God Teaches Us In Words

Original Gems
Every now and then, a collector of antique books will find a gem. Well, to be honest, for someone like me I am very delighted by all the treasures I have found and plan to preserve in my home library. But the particular gem I was enthusiastically trying to share with my husband was a little book titled The Pentecost of Calamity by author, Owen Wister. The topic of his book was Germany before and right after World War I. The insight: hatred was the motivation.
 Let me jump right in and tell you about the creed of the German people. This was their declaration of faith, of decades to be only ratified by actions of destruction of human life…
            “The German claim must be: Educate to hate…. Organization of hatred…. Education to the desire for hatred. Let us abolish unripe and false shame…. To us is given faith, hope and hatred; but hatred is the greatest among them.”
          And it was there, at those last few words, that I paused, recognizing the words and hand of Satan, the destroyer of old, twisting what was pure, lovely, holy to a religion of destruction …. yes, a “religion” and a claim of “God” but not The GOD of the Bible… another “God” altogether different, that likes to masquerade about as Him, always wanting to be superior to Him.
Did you hear it, as you read those words? Faith, hope and … hatred. Could the Germans really have repeated this creed and not flinched, not wondered, not questioned the words they spoke.
           God – Jehovah God – the One True God of Jesus Christ our Lord, says in Scripture, 1 Corinthians 13:13 – “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
 Original Words
How often do we get duped because we don’t know God’s Word? How many times do we accept the creed of others, even unbiblical creeds, because we don’t identify it is contrary to Scripture? Germany was the very location the Bible was translated into the language of the people by Martin Luther and published in print in 1534. Tyndall followed Luther’s lead and so have all Bible Translators. Is it not ironic that from the birthplace of the Bible being translated, one of the wicked twists to Scripture was incorporated into a government sponsored national creed that led to Nazism?
Hatred was replaced with Love, and it was gone unnoticed by generations of people ignorant to essential truths of God’s Word. Does this make you want to be certain you read and rightly divide God’s Word for yourself. My husband is slowly learning to appreciate original documents and gems I find hidden among piles of discarded books in antique shops and thrift stores. The Word of God is a true gem to seek and hide in your heart.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Missing Message for Seekers on Sunday Mornings

"Lord, hear me, for You are gracious, and Jesus died; I cry to You as a condemned criminal who seeks a pardon. Deliver me from going down into the pit, that I may praise Your name." (Quote from Charles Spurgeon)
What would need to happen in Church on Sunday morning for a visitor to kneel down and confess such an argument before GOD?

Churches desire seekers to visit their church on Sunday morning.

BUT will seekers going to Churches all throughout America on a Sunday morning FIND what every seeker truly needs?

Why do churches want visitors? Each church, its leaders and members must ask this question; their answer will shape what they provide on Sunday in a service (or mass).

Seekers attend a church looking for something they feel they needs. Why do they go? What do they need?

What is a church? 
According to the Bible it is a called out body of believers, called out because they are "set apart" from all the other people living in the world at that time. 
The church is often thought of as a building on the corner or a congregation of particular believers, but the church is the people -- both a small group here or there and all believers as a whole. In the Bible a church was grouped by the city such as the Church in Antioch. All the believers in the city of Antioch were considered one church. 
This is all good, but what is a believer? Re-read the passage at the top of this post. A believer has cried out this heartfelt confession to God. So what is....

The Missing MESSAGE?

Seekers visiting churches need to hear that God is seeking to help sinners who are condemned. God loved them when they were sinners. God loved them knowing they would sin, sin and continue to sin. God does not help those who are fine with life, who are content with who they are, who have their needs already met and who are looking for a purpose to give their service.

Are you a mess? Is your life falling apart? Do you feel unsatisfied, unfulfilled, empty? Are you deep inside aware that you are hurting, barely hanging on, and causing pain in other's lives because you are weak and incapable of loving selflessly? Are you a sinner? Do you do evil, desire what you should not, live a secret hidden life?

God is ready to help you.

Deliverance - a pardon - is available.

A person who visits a church needs to know they are hurting because of sin, that their life is a mess because they are not living according to God's ways.

Unbelievers have no rights before God; they are not to address Him nor think they can approach Him because of anything they have accomplished. Our achievements are utterly worthless to God; He is not impressed.

God's grace, His unfailing love, is available for the asking.