“Walks like a duck, swims like a duck …” (a photo essay)


must be a duck … right?  What kind of  “duck” are you?

Camouflage duck...

Pretending to be a duck

Backsliding duck

Popular but hard to understand duck

Robot duck

Just along for the ride duck

[/captio]

Bound by circumstances duck

Hiding in plain sight

following the crowd, struggling duck

Duck reflection

Bound by circumstances duck


“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have

passed away, and look, new things have come.” 

2 Corinthians 5:17 (HCSB)

What kind of Christian are you?  Are you a new creation, or another version of the old you?  Who do you reflect?


Cookie cutter Christians


Everything in life molds us.  Our trials, our day-to-day life … our ups and downs.  As Christians what we learn as we go through life, and what we do with what we learn, is important.  Sometimes though, we take life and “cookie cut”, or stamp out the result instead of allowing God to work His truths out in our life.  We repeat “ism” statements without ever really thinking through what we are saying and fully understanding the application.

I know people who can quote whole sections of the Bible, but their lives are not evidence of the truths they quote.    Hitler was raised with the Bible and had portions memorized.  Even satan* knows the scriptures.  I also know people who can tell you that “Spurgeon says, Chambers says, Piper says, Warren says, Graham says …”.  But it should be all about what the Bible says to US and how we live according to His word.   There is nothing wrong with reading all the commentaries and books out there but when the bottom line is drawn are you somebody’s cookie cutter version of Christ, or are you a hand molded version He has made.

In the past five years my husband lost his job and was unemployed for over four years; my mother fell and broke her hip, had surgery and ultimately went home to be with her Lord; our daughter was buried in a building during an E4 tornado; I have injured my spine with two bulging discs; our home is in foreclosure and the bank is refusing to work with us (still); we had one wedding and two grandchildren born.  I am currently in a wrist/thumb brace from a fall last September.   It has been one  roller-coaster year after another.  Even my precious cat died.  Sometimes it seems like it never ends.  I can look further back in my life to when both my parents had open heart surgery four weeks apart, dad had a stroke on the operating table and was in the hospital  seven months prior to his death.  And to  when my oldest brother was in the car wreck that put him in the hospital for five months.  It is still affecting his life 2o+ years later.  His son died of a brain tumor a few years after his car wreck.   Why so much strife and tragedy?   Why did my middle brother have to be killed in a plane crash?  Why did we lose three children?  Why this, or that?  Why Lord?  Is all life to be bad?  No.  But, satan* would believe it’s because we are out of God’s care, that  He does not care.  The truth is, we have had so many blessings along the way as well.  Unfortunately, we get caught up in the bad and what it is suppose to mean in our lives.  (Odd how we never ask what a blessing is suppose to mean … like we were due one.)

It is easy to get off track.  People ask, “what have you learned?”   Or say things like, “maybe the Lord’s trying to teach you ….”.  So when we reflect it is easy to get our mind all muddled up in these questions.  If you look around at all your friends and what they are going through in their lives, you realize that, although many of your trials may be similar (economic, emotional, spiritual battles), each of us have very specific details to our lives.  Some have smooth sailing, but most of us have ups and downs.  Some have more downs and I wonder if some of that is because it is a harder lesson to be learned (or is it just that life is hard).  Whatever the case, we need to always seek His face and His peace over our life.  Life happens.  We live in a world governed by sin and evil man.  What they do creates a rippling effect that affects our lives, mostly for the bad.  God’s not sending us punishment every time something bad happens.  He allows life to happen, pure and simple and helps us get through it and grow.  Bad things are going to happen.

So as your life of dough is spread over the coming days are you going to let it get you down?  Are you going to let others tell you how to handle life?  Or  will you be hand rolled and shaped by Him instead of a cookie cutter shaped Christian with all the “right” answers?

Jeremiah 18:6 (HCSB)

6 “House of Israel, can I not treat you as this potter treats his clay?”—this is the LORD’s declaration. “Just like clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, house of Israel.

God allows everything that comes into your life and if you allow Him, He will use everything you face (good and bad) to shape you into the woman/man of God He wants you to be. That way He can use you in others’  lives.

James 1:2-4 (HCSB)

2 Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 But endurance must do its complete work,  so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.”

2 Corinthians 1:4 (HCSB)

“He comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kind of affliction, through the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”

*satan – I know people capitalize the “S” but, I don’t.  I refuse to give him any status of importance.  He’s a snake, so satan, devil, etc. are lower case, as he is one.

Thy Will Be Done


Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in Heaven.”  Matthew 6:10

We have all heard the Disciples Prayer from Matthew 6, The Sermon On the Mount.  Jesus teaches His disciples His model for prayer.  Unfortunately, I think many of us fail to  realize it is HIS will that needs to be done.  Not ours.

Webster defines Yield in the following ways:

: to give or render as fitting, rightfully owed, or required

: to give up possession of on claim or demand: as a : to give up (as one’s breath) and so die b : to surrender or relinquish to the physical control of another : hand over possession of c : to surrender or submit (oneself) to another

We get the concept of prayer.  We ask, and we expect to receive what we ask.  Do we yield to His will or are we upset when we have no answer by our deadline?  What if that is the answer?  What if it’s no?  People get angry with God when He does not answer the way they asked.

Through the years we have prayed for many situations and through many circumstances.  Sometimes, the answers were immediate … sometimes we felt we had no answer, we didn’t understand.  We were confused.  However,  God answers every prayer.  He does, He really does.  Prayers are answered according to His will.  Through cancer, surgery, plane crashes, tornadoes… every trial, He has answered. Is it not an answer to prayer when a loved one dies from an illness when you prayed they might be made whole?  Christians know that when they die they go to Heaven and are made whole.  No more suffering, no more pain.  The problem is not God not answering, it is in our praying.

So why pray if He’s going to do what He wants anyway?  Because in talking with God through prayer you learn the character of God, through Jesus by the Holy Spirit in you.  Prayer changes things … it changes you.  It makes you the Christian and the child of God He made you to be.  His will becomes yours.  Prayer is for molding you into Christ’s character.

Can you come to the point in your prayer life that you can truly pray and then honestly end with “Thy will be done”?  In one week we will go before foreclosure mediation.  God knows Phil needs a job.  He KNOWS we need a place to live.  We ask Him to give Phil a job and help us with finances, including our home.  We want to honor our debt.  God KNOWS  There is nothing wrong with the way we are praying, we are not praying amiss. So when we go (and we know God can give us that miracle we have been asking for), we will go asking His will be done, knowing it WILL.  His WILL. So if Phil does not have a job, and if we lose the house has God not answered our prayers?  NO, that is simply His answer.  His word says:

Jeremiah 29:11 (HCSB)

For I know the plans I have for you” —[this is] the LORD’s declaration—”plans for [your] welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

I truly believe God has a miracle for us and am waiting expectantly for Him to reveal His plan.  It may not be the plan and scenario I asked for, but I know that whatever it is, it is good because He says so. 

So I will pray as He leads me, asking that I might receive and always asking Him in Jesus’ name, “Thy Will Be Done”.

You a Talker or a Walker?


More and more I have people around me ‘talking’.

Talking or Walking?

Many are what I refer to as ‘surface thinkers’, looking for answers.  “Do you have a book on….?” Or, did such and such (their fav author) write on ….?”  Sometimes one person will start talking to another in the store about theology or a translation and others near by jump in …. everyone’s “talking” .  I wish they could stand back and see themselves as the world sees them and hear the comments I hear.

The young girl in her booty shorts, expensive designer top and purse … bare middle with ‘button ring’ dangling wants a book on finding a godly man.   The young mother asks for a parenting book for her younger sister who is expecting her first child,  while her own three children are running unattended in the store destroying merchandise.  The middle age guy who reeks of smoke, impatiently demands attention and wants help to select a Bible for his graduating high school son whom he fears is going down the wrong path … he utters an expletive over the price of a leather-bound.  One of my favorites was the grandmother who was in buying VBS materials because she was ‘in charge once again this year’.  She had two grandchildren with her she could not control and in a few weeks she would be in charge of 50?

God gave us His manual, His Word, the Holy Bible.   Everything that I write and all the books, Bible Studies and resources are tools He provides through His children to help.  Sometimes I just want to scream, “have you read the Manual first?”  Daily, if you read His word then your talk will become your walk.  If you are going to talk the talk, read the Manual first:

Isaiah 55:11(NASB)
“So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth;
It will not return to Me empty,
Without accomplishing what I desire,
And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.”
 

The world, your children, other Christians (weaker and stronger) see your walk which can negate your talk.  If you are not seeing the results you want in your job, your children, your friends … maybe your walk is not in alignment with your talk.  Go back to the Manual, searching out other tools is fine but, not if they replace the manual.  Take a serious look at yourself (maybe even in the mirror), what do others see … hear?   What is the reality of your talk?  If you dare, ask a close Christian friend, a spouse, a parent … does your walk match your talk?

Psalm 19:14(NASB)
“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my rock and my Redeemer.”
 
Philippians 4:8(ESV)
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
 
Matthew 9:16(KJV)                                                                                                                                                                            “No man putteth a piece of new cloth unto an old garment, for that which is put in to fill it up taketh from the garment, and the rent is made worse.”
 
Ephesians 4:22-24(HCSB)
“you took off your former way of life, the old man that is corrupted by deceitful desires; 23 you are being renewed in the spirit of your minds; 24 you put on the new man, the one created according to God’s [likeness] in righteousness and purity of the truth.”

 

If your walk is not matching your talk, then you are holding   the ‘old man’.

Walker or Talker?

R U A Fixer-Upper?


“I CAN’T FIX IT” … ever feel frustrated with your life … your family … your job?  Do you feel helpless to help? I hate that feeling.  I like to make things better.

Face it: You Can't Fix It

R. U. A Fixer-upper?  Do you try to solve all your own problems?  (Fix your children’s lives to make them smooth?)  Of course we are to be helpful, doing unto others as we would have them do unto us; loving and caring.  But, sometimes you can’t ‘fix it’, and you were not meant to fix people’s lives.

I admit that I have often said to the Lord in my prayer time, “Lord, if you’d let me I could” or “Lord, you know if this happened then …”.  I like to fix it.  Right now, if I could, I would give my husband his dream job, we would have all the money we need come in to fix our financial woes, I would save our house from the bank … I would fly to my daughter to help take care of my sick granddaughter.  Yet, as ‘noble’ as all those plans are, they are not God’s plan.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
What if we truly believed God’s word?  What if we fully understood that our soul is safe … that He is taking care of it and that our HOPE and FUTURE are in Him? Yes, sometimes we will not prosper and we will fall in harms way … but, that’s here … on earth.  And sometimes we will prosper and have everything going our way here on earth.  But God’s plan is that we all find His son and live with Him in prosperity in the future … in Heaven.  This life on earth is preparing us for that time.
So many times when we try to ‘fix’ things we break them … we make them worse.  God gives discernment to you through His Holy Spirit… if we would only listen.
God does not teach or guide you through doubt.  He gives HOPE.  HOPE is an action verb.  You stand before choices and ask God to guide you.  If you have doubts about a choice, you wait.  You make choices that He shows you.  When you read His word and pray each day, you are in tune with Him and the Holy Spirit.  As odd as it sounds, you have peace over even making a hard decision.
Why do we try to repair our broken lives when we not only know the best “fixer-upper”, but He is also the creator of what needs fixing?

Yield Your ALL to Him and He Will Direct Your Path