Facing the Music

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Photo by Gabriel Santos Fotografia on Pexels.com

Every Saturday, I sit down and put all the debit slips from the week in my checkbook; I then balance the checkbook. The next week, same thing. Once a month, we get our bank statement in the mail and I have to “face the music.” Did I make any math mistakes…you know, add the two – carry the one? If so, when it is time to balance the statement, I must “face the music” and make the corrections. Sometimes, I do pretty good and I am about on track with the bank. Other times, I have made mistakes in our favor. That is always a good day when I can add money back into our account. There are other days however, when I have made mistakes that are not in our favor and I must subtract money from our available balance.

If the mistakes aren’t too big, I don’t mention it to my husband. My motto is: No harm, No foul,  but if the mistakes are over about $25.00, I feel I need to let him know. Not that he says anything, mind you. He just gives me that look that says, “Why don’t you use a calculator when figuring the balance?” The problem is: I do use my calculator now, but I can still make mistakes when entering the numbers.  No matter how hard I try, I still cannot do it perfectly.

Last evening, when I was out on my nightly walk, I began thinking about “facing the music” in terms of our trespasses. What if I didn’t confess them to the Lord as they happened, instead I waited until Saturdays to get things right? I would have to start writing them down in order to remember them all. You know how the list would go…I had a bad thought about someone, I had a bad attitude when I talked to my boss, etc… the list would continue on and on.

What if, rather than once a week, I waited until the end of my life to try and get things right with the Lord? What would that look like? I know one thing for sure; there is no way I could remember all of the wrong things I had done. And yet, some people saunter through life like that. They don’t even think about “facing the music” when they die. Surely, there must be a better way.

For daily debits, think in terms of 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” For those who are sauntering through life not thinking in terms of “facing the music,” Hebrews 9:27 should give them pause: “And it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment.” Let’s face it, there is not a notebook big enough to write down all the sins we each commit in our lifetimes. You see, that’s why Christ came. The next verse says, “so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many.” There is a “Get out of Hell” free card, we just have to be willing to take it. 

The Unwelcome Stranger

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Early in the Fourth Century A.D., it is a perilous time to be a Christian. Things are about to change as Constantine, the Caesar from the north, has invaded Italia and is about to march on Rome. Livia Arvum, a young grieving widow, is unaware of how these events will soon touch her life. Lucius Marius, a Senatorial Legate, is racing towards Rome with news of Constantine’s plans when he is knocked off his chariot because of the Arvum’s sheep. Recuperating in their home, he becomes infatuated with Livia and decides she is the recompense he wants for the injuries he has sustained.

Will Livia have to betray her beliefs and morals in order to protect her family? Is there any way out of the situation? Will she ever find love again? Come join Livia on her journey as she leaves her home and finds God’s unexpected provision for her.

Available on Amazon, print 12.95, kindle .99  and Lighthouse Christian Publishing 12.95 genre: historical fiction romance

First World Problems

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A few weeks ago my son came over to visit. We were talking and he began the next part of the conversation with, “Mom, I know this is a First World problem, but…” He then proceeded to talk about something he was thinking about purchasing. After he left, I thought about what he had said as far as First World problems went.

We know that in the Third World, many people suffer from a lack of basic necessities, i.e., sanitation, potable water, food, shelter, safety,  and access to basic medical care. Most people are just trying to survive in desperate circumstances. When we go to one of these countries, we are shocked by the conditions that people are living in; that’s what characterizes the Third World.

In the First World, the average citizen has most of his basic necessities. There are people without adequate health care and some live in areas where they are concerned about safety, but in general, most of us have our basic needs met. We then deal with First World problems such as: “Which house or car should I buy?” “Which doctor should I go to?” Which job should I take, the one I like or the one that pays more?” We can indeed be stressed when we are in the middle of these decisions, but if we ask ourselves the right question, we can lower our stress level. 

When we are stressing over consumer decisions, it would do us well to change our perspective and ask ourselves what kind of a problem are we dealing with…First World or Third World? If it is a First World problem, let’s take a few moments, breathe and take stock. Usually, we are not facing issues of survivability, we are facing issues of desirability. If that is the case, let’s lower the temperature in the room and get a grip.  Yes, we will have to make a decision but it will be one born of choice not of necessity. That knowledge alone should give us a sense of peace.

What kind of problems are you dealing with today…First World or Third World?

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

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When I think of change, David Bowie’s song “Changes “comes to mind. The chorus is especially catchy and is expressive of time and the changes we all experience. Which generation would you say has experienced the most technological change throughout history? When I think about it, I believe it is the generation that was born at the beginning of the twentieth century. 

Before the dawn of the twentieth century, men primarily travelled on horseback. They may or may have not had indoor plumbing and they had few machines to help them in their daily lives. Life was still very labor intensive, for both men and women, and their lifespan was considerably shorter than it is today. They were old by the time they reached sixty, if they made it that far at all.

Think about the changes the generation born around 1900 saw during their lifetimes: automobiles, airplanes, indoor plumbing, electricity, washing machines, dryers, dishwashers, the atomic bomb, telephones, jets, rockets, satellites, televisions, computers, the lunar landing, and list goes on. They spent their lives adapting to more and more change and by the time they shuffled off this mortal coil, they had adapted to several stages of the burgeoning technological revolution.

When they looked back to what life was like when they were children or even young adults, they must have shaken their heads at what they had seen and experienced. Little did they know that the time they were living in had been predicted in the Bible. The prophet Daniel had several visions and was given prophecies concerning the end times, but he was told by an angel to “shut up the words and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro and knowledge would increase.”

If that isn’t an apt description of the last one hundred and twenty years, I don’t know what is. The technological revolution has brought about an ability to travel to any part of the earth in a matter of hours. In 2017, there were 102,465 flights per day in the world; think about how many more there are today. Knowledge has increased and continues to increase at an exponential rate. What’s interesting about the knowledge explosion are the statistics. To quote David Russell Schilling, When “Buckminster Fuller created the Knowledge Doubling Curve; he noticed that until 1900 human knowledge doubled approximately every century. By the end of World War II, knowledge was doubling every 25 years. Today things are not as simple as different types of knowledge have different rates of growth. For example, nanotechnology knowledge is doubling every two years and clinical knowledge every 18 months. But on the average human knowledge is doubling every 13 months. According to IBM, the build out of the “internet of things” will lead to knowledge doubling every 12 hours.”

When I read the angel’s description of the time of the end, I would say we are definitely living in the end times. How does that strike you?

This Play Should Have Closed After Opening Night!

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For almost two and a half years, I have watched the political drama playing out in our nation’s capital. Instead of focusing on our country’s problems, our representatives in Washington have spent their time shooting volleys at each other across the aisle. Our elected officials should be trying to find solutions for the problems that plague us as a society but sadly they are not. These political players don’t seem to understand that Americans elected them with the hope that they would do something constructive while they are on the job, supposedly serving their constituents. If they worked in the private sector, they would all have been fired long ago for their ineptitude and inability to get anything accomplished.

The rent is paid on the theater and the actors in this drama continue to get their salaries whether anyone is sitting in the seats or not. Let’s hope they wake up and see that the only ones watching their spectacle are the stagehands and the media sycophants hanging around the dressing rooms. Sadly, the audience has long since left the building and is looking elsewhere for solutions. If this political production had opened on Broadway, it would have closed months ago and the actors would be looking for work elsewhere. If only…

The Blogger’s Bible

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I’ve noticed a few of my recent followers are newbies to the Blogging Community.  I could write a post and tell you what I have learned about blogging, but most of what I have learned, I learned from Kristen Lamb in her book “Rise of the Machines.” I highly recommend it to any blogger or author who is making their foray into the world of social media. It is a great resource, not only for blogging but also for publishing. 

This week, my blog hit 500 follows. I want to thank everyone for the follows. God Bless! I have so enjoyed meeting you and reading your posts!

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Exit Wounds

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When we think of exit wounds, we usually think of wounds created by projectiles, such as bullets. They go straight through the body creating an entrance wound, an internal wound and an exit wound. That’s how we view them in a physiological sense.

Have you ever suffered an exit wound in an emotional  sense? What is an emotional exit wound? It is the wound you suffer when you leave a person or group of people. Just as a projectile creates a wound to our bodies, an emotional projectile creates a wound to our souls. What might that look like?

You are hanging out with a group of people who are gossips in the break room and you decide you don’t want to anymore. You leave the group and hang out with others at break. Those you left will probably gossip and spread stories about you. Their words and actions create exit wounds. 

Have you ever had to leave a relationship with someone who was toxic for you? If you have, you have probably suffered many exit wounds. That person may have said and done many things to hurt you because of your choices.

Have you ever been in job or a class in school and for one reason or another you were promoted to a higher level? If you have, you know you have suffered exit wounds. You were probably made fun of and people said you thought you were better than they were. 

The verbal projectiles thrown at us hurt and cause emotional pain. Many times the stories told about us are not true but it is difficult to defend ourselves from them. These projectiles can come at us from many different directions but they are usually caused by one thing: Jealousy.

The people, groups or relationships we exited from are jealous of us. Our choices or the choices made for us have caused them to feel rejected and they choose to spew their projectiles of jealousy at us. Now, do you know what I am talking about? Can you think of a time when you have experienced exit wounds?

If so, you know that you didn’t choose to leave those relationships lightly. It takes courage to leave something that is negative, harmful or toxic for us because we know there will be an emotional cost or toll that we will have to pay. We know that we will experience exit wounds when we finally make those decisions and take action. In most cases, when the wounds heal, we will be glad we made the choice to exit that group of people or that relationship.

Exit wounds: they hurt, there is no doubt about it. Let us take courage and continue to make right choices for ourselves even if we will experience emotional pain and suffering caused by others. Just like our bodies, our souls will heal in time and we will be the better for it!