Coming About

I have been feeling and expressing all kinds of frustration and anger over the past few days because my Gmail accounts were hacked…as well as all of the accounts which my Google browser held passwords for.   I was not thinking about the truth of what I said in How to Win the War.  In fact, it took anger at my blessed neighbor to come to grips; she has been doing very poorly lately but got herself out of her chair to yell out her front door at me that my dog was “doing dookie” in the yard.  Really?

I struggled with my reaction to that…and everything else…last night.  (I have had 3 credit card companies reduce my credit limit to at or BELOW my credit balance because of a credit report pulled last December…when I couldn’t make house payments, moved here, and put the house up for sale.  One card had this month’s minimum payment set at $792.00…the minimum due… and reported my status as OVER LIMIT.  My credit score is now 551 primarily because of my credit allowance to credit balance ratio.)

Okay, I got that out.

Time for my sailing analogy.  It is time for me to make a course adjustment.  I have been sailing off-course for about a week.  I have been focusing on spiritual battles and race-war distractions.  (I am not implying that inequities in the laws governing the treatment of blacks is not an issue.  It is.  These laws must be changed…NOW.)  But, the REAL enemy is drawing us off course and is pitting blacks against whites and blacks against police and protesters against military and protesters against police and ….  We are distracted by these confrontations and the evil one and his minions and those who believe his propaganda are the ones perpetrating these evil deeds and as long as we don’t recognize this as a distraction from the real war, it appears to the world that they are winning…but they do not…have not…and won’t.  Remember who the enemy is.  Remember Who has won.

“Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.”  That is from Isaiah.

Back to my sailing analogy.  The appropriate action which one should take to make a course adjustment, depends on how far off-course you are.  Sometimes you just move the tiller a bit to the left or right.  The tiller (your mind or the thoughts you focus on) moves the rudder…which is underwater, therefore hidden.  The rudder would equate to your sub-conscious or perhaps your spirit or soul.  You can make subtle adjustments to your tiller (thoughts or focus) by reading scripture that refers to God’ goodness, Jesus’s commandments, and the strength and protection of the Holy Spirit.

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.”  That is from Philippians.

If it is not enough to just change your focus or thinking, then you may need to ‘come about.’  Tacking is another word for ‘coming about;’ what you must do is switch which side of the boat your sail is leaning toward.  It requires a major shift of the tiller (and, therefore, the rudder) and causes a change in how the wind affects the sail.  What may be required is a major change in what you are focusing on.

Think of the wind as everything that affects you emotionally or spiritually.  That would include the news, events around the world, what’s going on in your family, your city, your country.   That also includes the Holy Spirit, prayer, and scripture.

Your sail, responding to the wind, is what propels you and gets you where you are going.  If your sail is picking up ‘bad’ or ‘foul’ wind, which means it is wind influenced by something (like another boat or bad teaching that you are following or ‘bad’ news, or fear, or hate,….), then coming about and making a major course change can move you into better wind and will greatly improve your journey.  The best wind is the Holy Spirit.

To get out of a ‘foul’ wind,  pray:  present to Jesus all of those issues fouling your life (hates, grievances, injuries, resentments, abuses, fear, guilt, …) and ask to have your sails filled back up with the good pure wind of His Spirit.

(Aside on how to present those issues to Jesus:  imagine a hamper or a bucket….like one you would bail with.  Imagine or list all the crap that you can think of and a few you aren’t aware of …Jesus will know…imagine putting all that stuff in the hamper or bucket and laying it at the feet of Jesus.  Imagine putting it at the base of the tree from which He was crucified, if that helps.  Then back away.  Do Not pick it back up.  Then pray that the space opened up by the releasing all of that junk…that that space be filled up with good, clean, pure Spirit from God.)

When you are sailing under a good wind, you can make progress in your journey and do constructive things to improve the world, as well as your own life and your eternity.  Good wind comes from your own relationship with God…your creator.  Good wind does not come through your church membership.  Good wind does not come from just reading the Bible.  Good wind is the Spirit of the Lord which comes to you Directly…not filtered…not translated…not through association with others.  It is directly to you…directly from God.

If you are unable to connect directly with God, your creator, ask for His help.  He will give it.  He will bring to mind those things which are fouling your wind, and when He does, immediately put them at Jesus’ feet; do not dwell on them or relive old injuries.  Give them immediately to Jesus.  And when residual stuff comes up, and it will, give that to Him, too…over and over.

You are not fouled….your wind is.  You are a sturdy, well-built, little craft.  Get out of the foul wind and sail on.

I’m heading next door to apologize for my dog’s having gone “dookie” in my neighbor’s yard and to see how she is doing.

(Thank you, God, for this deliverance.  To You be the Glory.)

(Yes, that is a picture of me hoisting a sail …many years ago.  I have stopped stealing images from the internet and that photo is the only one of my own that I could find quickly that had anything to do with sailing, sails, and wind.)

 

 

An Enlightening Article

“the Nixon administration “had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people…We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black [sic], but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. ” – John Ehrlichman

Reading this Time magazine article made me uncomfortable but discomfort is often a good thing…a God thing; for me, it means I am disrupting my comfortable and familiar views and stretching my awareness.  I may not alter my course or I may have to make a mid-course correction.  I may accelerate my pace…or I may have to do an about face, altogether.  Opening one’s eyes is always good and one can discern truth from propaganda by asking for enlightenment from the Holy Spirit.

Confession:  I now know one meaning, the possible origin, of the term ‘institutionalized.’  I did not know about this history before and my previous post reflects that ignorance.

I strongly recommend this Time magazine article and allowing a little discomfort…

The GOP Can Lead on Criminal Justice Reform—If We Admit Inequality Exists

2 Commandments

For those not inclined to “Love Jesus” right off the bat (because of current beliefs, views, background, and/or upbringing), “Love God.” In time, you will be introduced to the person of Jesus and you will love His person, and love others through Him, as well.

filosopete

There are supposedly just ten commandments in the Bible.

Then, ten more, almost similar.

Plus five that fall in between.

Mosaic Law ends up with 613, in total.

New Testament, not really given as commandments, suggest 1050. A staggering number.

Jesus said we should keep these.

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An Appropriate and Powerful Response

Do you remember how you responded after the shock of 9/11 waned enough for you to stand up and walk again?  If you were like me, you went out and found an American flag and taped it to your car window.  I put a tiny flag on my desk and looked up the rules for the proper displaying of the flag.  I made sure the flag I flew in front of my house never got wet in the rain, was put up at sunrise and came down at sunset.

I was just like most Americans in that there was not much else I could do besides pray for our safety, to show the terrorists that we were not afraid and we would not give in to their threats and their show of hatred toward America.

But that was all I could do.

That was then.  THIS IS NOW.

We have a much more tangible way to respond to the displays of anger, hatred, and evil in the world around us.  And this is what I am going to do:

In response to racial anger and resentment, I will demonstrate to every person I meet, REGARDLESS OF THEIR RACE:

kindness,

patience,

concern,

charity,

and the Grace which I have received from God in abundance.

In response to stories and accusations of bias, injustice, unfair practices, hype, and propaganda, I will remind everyone who will listen, that we are all to blame and the only correct course of action is to STOP.  Stop, turn around, and do the opposite:  I will continue to be an ambassador for Christ and demonstrate 1) Love of God and 2) Love of Everyone.

An appropriate response to this assault on humanity is to show that WE WILL NOT DO LIKEWISE.

The buck stops here.  The hate stops at my door.  The attacks, accusations, lies, and slander stop at my mouth.

I will not spread or return anything but love, kindness, charity, compassion, understanding, and a whole shit-load of patience and forgiveness…so help me God.

(And I mean that, God…You’re going to have to help me.)

All Lives Matter

” Every life taken in anger… is simply because people’s pride and ego are too inflated, their greed and ambitions too important. Regardless of who they are.

” We all need to bow our heads in utter shame, we need to repent, we need to follow the Two Commandments of Jesus.”

It is no longer important who hit whom first.

It is no longer important why.

It is no longer important what has gone before.

Stop.

Stop hurting others.

Stop hating.

Stop killing.

Just Stop It.

Whose Lives Matter?

“It is a love of God and Christ that begins our journey to truly embracing our neighbors and loving them no matter who they are.”

You cannot legislate love. It must be lived and demonstrated.

You cannot force another to be different or to have a change of heart; You must be different, first…and have a change of heart, first. Then, you can show others how it is done.

PLEASE, look at each other and find the good in each other.”

Please.

Shadrach, Meshach, and whatshisname

I’m with them.

They had been thrown into a fiery furnace for not bowing to an image of  Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon.  Similarly, I am finding myself in a bit of a ‘warm environment’ which I believe is due to my not giving in to demons and other annoying influences.

Read what they said to Nebuchadnezzar:

our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.

But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.  (emphasis, mine)

I serve God, through Jesus, with strength and conviction from the Holy Spirit and in the Name of Jesus, saved by His blood by the Grace of God.  I look to Jesus, the Holy Spirit and the very Father God to protect and save me.  But if He does not, I will not turn from God nor will I stop drawing close to Jesus and neither will I stop turning to the Holy Spirit for guidance and protection.  I will not worship anything else.  Emphasis, MINE.

Are there any questions?

Learning to pick my battles…

…even if only after the fact.

I’m doing…okay.  I’ve been trying too hard for a while now…encouraging loved ones to leave a toxic boss (efforts wasted); helping my neighbors survive his 2.5 month hospital/rehab stay after what was supposed to be outpatient surgery and encouraging them to make better choices (efforts wasted); writing about fighting evil and being reconciled to God (efforts draw evil to me); water pipes splitting and soaking carpeted floor, sections of floor falling in, door falling off hinges; battling mosquitoes, heat, drought,  …are we having fun, yet?

It’s like single-parenting….you just don’t die from this….well. not yet, anyway

I am emotionally depleted and physically worn out from the heat.  My plants are heat stressed and turning yellow.  My dog has had intestinal issues for days (throughout the house) and is not eating (she just watches as the cat eats her food 8 inches away) and my neighbor insists on throwing chicken bones and pizza scraps in the yard for her to find.  Oh, and my cat apparently has cat-betes and is losing his eyesight.

But, I persevere.   Yesterday, I spent the Fourth watching the flag gently wave in the rippling heat and the Morning Glories slowly unfurl and re-furl…and not much else.

Besides, I am happier and more stable than I was in North Carolina.  I’m physically stronger and on less medication.  And I pick my battles…even if only after the fact.  (“Well, that was a pointless, losing battle.”)

Today’s Lament

I was in a bad place last night.  I had gotten whipped up emotionally in what I was wanting to pass on in my blogs, was frustrated because I struggled to convey clearly what I had received, and then had several interactions with people during the day that went sour.  Driving home last night with the top down on my car, I had to admit to Jesus that He is the only One for whom I don’t have to adjust my personality…the only One who appreciates me just the way I am and Who welcomes what I have to give.  I am too direct, intense, or ‘real’ for everyone else.  My brother is able to accept me but advises me to ‘turn it down’ for everyone else.  I have nearly ruined 2 of his business relationships recently because of my ‘corporate’ voice; I need to learn how to lighten up, joke, and say, “yeeeuuup.” like the locals..

The ‘being whipped up’ and then ‘feeling the down side of that’ dances way too close to bipolar mood swinging.  (Please God, don’t let me take that demon back.  I am doing so well without it.)

In all honesty, if it weren’t for my relationship with Jesus, I would be totally alone.  Please take this the right way but I am often having to adjust my sensibilities for people .  No one wants to hear what I know about anything:  God, talking to Jesus, science, quantum physics, the government, hate, racism, global warming, …even thunderstorm downbursts.  No one around me, family included, knows or even understands what I did when I worked for the government; none of my family and very few of my friends read my writing; people that I have offered paintings to don’t even care to see them and don’t even bother to respond and say “no, thank you,” much less “yes, thank you.”

Why did God give me intelligence, quick thinking, keen insight, and artistic talent if no one wants it?  Is it truly just for Him?  and me?  My paintings are stacked in storage and staged down my hall waiting to be bunched up on my walls.  My writings dry up on my hard drive or are sent out into the internet ether…received by 5 maybe 6 viewers; liked by 2 or 3.  I implore tech support ‘experts’ to help me with Trojans and malware only to discover they know a fraction of what I do about my computer and their software.  Half the time they hang up on me.  Why?

I ‘get’ why I have received the disappointments, neglect, and abuse in my life; I understand the wisdom of God developing ‘wounded healers.’  But what is the purpose of my having knowledge, wisdom, and talents that nobody wants?  God doesn’t need it; He invented it.  I don’t understand.  Somebody help me…what good can I glean from being totally useless to friends and family, irrelevant in conversation, and more than is necessary or wanted by the world?  I am sincere in my query.

And, yes, I realize this is  a demon which I must check at the door.

(BTW, I pulled this photo from a post I wrote over a year ago on my blog, Turning 60.  Most of that blog deals with identifying and getting rid of my life’s demons.  The blog starts with A Little Late Getting Started , goes through Forgiving my Childhood , A Reversal of Fortune, My Addictions, Starting Over , and I Have Exceeded My Welcome (which sounds remarkably like what I have just written.  I guess I have not travelled very far after all.) This picture comes from the one titled, Blessed Are the Poor in Spirit.)

Christ’s Embassy – some of the Best Practices

” We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.”

I am not implying that these are the best practices of these denominations or that these are the only good practices.  What I am implying is that these are practices that should be adopted by all of the other denominations…and any BiaFoC Collectives established from here, forward:

  • Spend some time on your knees.  (From the Episcopalians).  That is a good posture to get used to and familiar with.  It is difficult to cop an attitude while on your knees, except with God and He is the Only one Who will let you say everything you want to say without interrupting.
  • Silent prayer.  (The Presbyterians and, similarly, the Quakers). The more time you spend in silence, the better.  Try to spend half the time silently talking and the other half silently listening.  Consider a quiet bell to mark the dividing line…and to wake up the older men.
  • Confession.  (The Catholics).  I would suggest this twist on the conventional approach:  have slips of paper and pencils at the door.  BiaFoCs can write down their demons (illnesses, resentments, hates, fears, prides, addictions, vanities, generational abuses,…) as well as their gratitudes and intercessions.  The pieces of paper go in a bucket.  The bucket of confessions is prayed over then burned; the issues go up in smoke.  (More of an Episcopal thing.). You can call it “checking your demons at the door.”. Make it clear that you can not dig in the ashes to take your issues back home with you.
  • Stephen Ministry (multi-denominational, I think) where a seasoned with experience in adversity, spiritual warfare, personal demons, and faith walks beside a new BioFoC or a BiaFoC who is struggling.
  • Healing Ministry (the Order of St. Luke, which is multi-denominational.) with regular weekly ‘Soaking Prayer’ and “Generational Healing’ services.
  • Sponsors, ‘seasoned believers’ to walk along side of the new members to introduce them to the faith warriors in the Collective, the various services like the different ministries, and to help them find their best Collective Subset.  The sponsor should be confident enough to talk candidly about God, their relationship with God, and their faith.  I address how sponsors can help new believers in my article about the BiaFoCs Inverted U.  When someone who ‘gets it’ walks along beside someone who doesn’t yet, the connection to God is clarified and faith is strengthened…for both of them.
  • Prayer Ministers, Prayer Chains and Prayer Request boxes.  Many churches have these.  Many don’t.   In God Loves You. No Exceptions. I relate how street corner preachers were ‘augmented’ by an humble booth at a street fair which housed a table with a shoe box labelled “Prayer Requests”, scrap paper, and pencils.  Prayer Ministers were on hand for requests for immediate intervention and supplication.
  • Walk through Practicing the Presence of God during the service, and talk about it. (Nobody does this.)  Talk to God as if you really believe He really is there…and not with the “Apostle’s Creed” tone of voice.  Creeds are fine; Creeds are good. But demonstrate what Practicing the Presence looks like…what it sounds like.  Ask God a question and wait for an answer.  Someone may hear it.  If you, who believe, don’t act like you believe, how is anyone else going to believe?  Or believe that you believe.

If you are a pastor or church leader, look into adding these to your offerings at church.  If you are not a pastor or church leader, consider taking these ‘best practices’ to them.  Look into becoming trained as a Stephen Minister or joining the Order of St. Luke , if you feel led to.

If your faith could be stronger, try taking on more adversity; suggestion: help shoulder someone else’s.