Did You Account for the Offending Tail?

My face was blank as I stared at him because I was not completely sure whether I should laugh or cry, and I felt too off-kilter to do either.

His promotional spiel was of the sort that inspires incredulity. Let’s face it, to stand before a congregation, seated in a church that has obvious infrastructural challenges, and make an appeal for contributions toward the building of a 30 million dollar edifice, not their own… well – that takes a ‘special’ kind of gumption.

How could a sane adult be so utterly oblivious?

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How To Stand Against Winds That Rage

It never fails.

Every year, in the midst of the wet season, the heavens open and torrential rains soak the earth through and through. Softened soil makes it treacherous to walk on surfaces unrelated to concrete or asphalt and, invariably, a few trees topple for want of vital support.

There is an object lesson there that speaks to the soul.

It is only when the rains descend and the floods come that differences in maturity and character become evident.

windy dogBoisterous winds and torrential downpours will always separate the men of the plant world from the boys. A tree with roots that grasp only softened clay will fare no better in a thunderstorm than the drowning man who clutches at a straw. They will both likewise perish.

As it is in the natural world, so it is in the spiritual – we have need of roots that grasp Solid Rock. Bombarded as we are by every wind of doctrine, we must lay hold on the Living Word of God as our only standard of righteousness.

If you have survived for years, though guilty of merely brushing up against the Rock, faulty human logic may dictate that: ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’. But failure to address serious character flaws will only reap dire consequences.

A mere brushing against Rock will not suffice when rains descend.

It is only by becoming ensconced within a cleft of the Rock – by feasting on the truths in God’s Word and learning total dependence on Him – that we build characters which can endure the storms ahead.

For the Christian, an understanding of doctrine is crucial to the work of character-building for, while we are saved by grace through faith in Christ, we are judged by our deeds (Ecclesiastes 12:14). If actions done repeatedly form habits that will inevitably determine the quality of one’s character, and character determines destiny– there is no way around it. The belief system that informs our choices lies at the core of the equation.

God desires that we should move beyond the basics:

Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts. (Isaiah 28:9)

Christ-followers must know why they believe what they believe, and that ‘why’ must be grounded firmly in the word of God. Precept upon precept, line upon line, here a little and there a little (Isaiah 28:10). To this end, Christ promised that the Holy Spirit – who will not speak contrary to the principles of God’s Kingdom – would be with His people to guide them into all truth (John 16:13).

The opinions of learned men, the deductions of science, the creeds or decisions of ecclesiastical councils, as numerous and discordant as are the churches which they represent, the voice of the majority,— not one or all of these should be regarded as evidence for or against any point of religious faith. Before accepting any doctrine or precept, we should demand a plain “Thus saith the Lord” in its support.” ~The Great Controversy, page 596 [emphasis mine]

In matters of faith, ‘Pastor says’ must never take precedence over ‘The Bible says’.

Human opinions may offer an illusion of stability, but when the rain descends, the floods come and the soil shifts beneath our feet, it is the characters built on the unchanging principles of God’s word that will endure.

Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. (1 Thessalonians 5:21)

Dig deep, my friend. Dig deep.

Though the heavens fall.


Images: Pixabay (CC0 Public Domain)

Anger Management 101 (Courtesy of a Wise Mother)

*Updated from journal entry dated February 3, 2014.*

The day I turned 13, she gave me a gift. It was a book entitled, Everything A Teenage Girl Should Know.

The hardback version. I have always been an avid reader, and this was the kind of book designed to survive numerous rounds of reading and re-reading. Perfect.

Mom and I never had the talk. That conversation which some refer to as being about ‘the birds and the bees’, although I still have no idea what birds and bees have to do with human sexuality – but, I digress.  This was Mom’s way of getting an uncomfortable conversation out of the way with as little discomfort as possible. I am sure she must have known  that I had covered most of that ground in the fifth grade and I was already into my third year of high school when I celebrated my thirteenth birthday.

As a seasoned educator, Mom would have had to know that much of the information in this new book was old news to me, so she must have had some other reason but I thought nothing more of it at that time.

More than 25 years later, it finally dawned on me that the answer had been staring me in the face the whole time.

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7 Tips For Survival: From the (Marriage) Trenches

Eighteen years.

That is how long I lived with my family of origin before striking out on my own. There were the odd ‘extended stays’ beyond that, but those were not solid, uninterrupted blocks of time since I resided elsewhere, so – for the purpose of this post – I will exclude them.

Eighteen years. One month. One day.


Source (CC0 Public Domain)

That is how long I have been married to my beloved… I have now lived with my husband longer than I did with my family of origin. This does not make me a marriage expert by a long stretch, so feel free to take anything I say with several grains of salt.

Or not.

J and I were probably the most unlikely candidates for long-term cohabitation. My family of origin looked reasonably sound from the outside but was seriously divisive on the inside, with divorced parents to boot. If a search was launched to find the least conspicuous whitewashed sepulchre, I am convinced that my family would have won the blue ribbon. Hands down. My beloved had parents who lived separate lives and his family life was colourful, to say the least.

No psychologist in their right mind would recommend such a union… but it was not up to a psychologist to decide.

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