Category Archives: “My Bad!

Confessions of a Bad Blogger


Wow!  I have been a bad blogger!  *Bad blogger*  I haven’t written a post since August of last year.    So much has changed since then.  After much prayer and deliberation, I decided to leave my job at Family First in Tampa to go back into the classroom.  I have been teaching German at Central High School in Brooksville, Florida as a long-term substitute since August 24th.  I applied to Asbury Seminary in the hopes of pursuing a Masters of Divinity, but have deferred that application while I wait to be hired full-time.

While I really miss working with all the great people at Family First, I have to say that I absolutely love being back in the classroom.  I love working so close to home…my commute went from over an hour to less than 15 minutes!  And most of all, I love that I’m able to spend so much more time with my niece and nephew.

I’ve continued to work on my weight-loss and I am currently at 306 pounds…about 75 pounds down from my highest weight.  I haven’t been as dedicated as I should or could have been, but I continue to make positive progress.  In fact, I have been in communication with the casting producers from The Biggest Loser and Extreme Makeover Weight Loss Edition regarding the next seasons of both shows.  I’m also joining a “competition” here locally in Hernando County with a couple of girlfriends.  On top of that, another girlfriend and I are walking together twice a week at one of our local walking parks.  I’m highly motivated and committed to making all the changes I need to in order to reach my ultimate goal of 120-135 pounds and being the most fit of my life.

So, I am sorry for being gone so long.  I won’t make any promises I can’t keep, but I will say that it won’t be so long between my next post.  Also, if you’ve been following my Weight Loss Wednesdays, I’ll be back in the swing next week.

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The Best Question Ever


The Best Question Ever
You are about to be introduced to a single question that will revolutionize the way you make decisions.

I was recently reminded of a sermon I heard by Pastor Andy Stanley of North Point Community Church in Atlanta.  I thought I might share my recollections…

Every one of us have done some things in the course of our life that we look back on and say, “What was I thinking?” We look back and we wish that we could rewrite the story. We look back now and we see clearly that we were headed down the wrong path, but in the midst of it we were “following our heart.” The passage of time allows us to see things a little more clearly, but wouldn’t it be great if we could have avoided those bad decisions in the first place? What if you could foolproof your marriage, your finances, your relationships, your life? Is there something that can help us to weigh every decision, or invitation, or business opportunity that will protect us from disaster and poor choices? YES. The human condition is such that we are always pushing the boundaries…how close can I go without breaking the rules? Is it legal? If it’s not illegal, it must be ok. Is it acceptable? There’s no law against it, so it must be acceptable. Is it immoral? Is it right? These are great questions, but they are not what we really need to know. Each of these questions can be easily justified and bent to our will at the moment. What we need to ask is “What is the wise thing to do?” Wisdom is the knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgment which leads to action; discernment, or insight. So now that we have the question, there are three levels through which you should filter your decision. Each one of us has a unique past. Nobody has your history, but you. These are the experiences that make us who we are . . . The good choices, the not so good choices that mix together to make us into the person that we are today. And our past history predisposed us to certain things. So, when you are faced with a decision, the first thing you should consider is your past. “In light of your past experience, what is the wise thing to do?” If we have struggled with internet pornography should we not have internet access at home? If we struggle with debt in the past should we get rid of our credit cards? Is it wrong to have a credit card? No. Is it wrong to have internet access? No, but if these things are in your past then it potentially is not wise for you. So be courageous and ask that question first. In light of my past experience, what is the wise thing for me to do? The second level is this, “In light of my current circumstances, what is the wise thing to do?” In light of what has just happened in your life. In light of where you are emotionally, financially, relationally. There are decisions that you could make five years down the road that will be just fine, but for right now… it would not be good. When we fail to assess our current situation in our decision making, we can very easily fall into regret later on. So consider your current circumstances when you are making your decisions. The last level or filter in our decision making is our future. Like our past, the future is unique to us. We may have specific goals in mind that we want to achieve – or avoid. So when you are faced with a choice, you should ask, “In light of my future hopes and dreams, what is the wise thing to do.” Decisions you make today will affect your future…and you need to make that decision in light of that reality. What may be wise for someone else, and perfectly acceptable, may be catastrophic in light of YOUR future. Think of what you want your marriage to be in the future, what’s the wise thing to do now? In light of where you want to be in the future financially, what’s the wise choice now? What about your relationships with your children, and your children with you? Our unwise decisions in our past have robbed us of a portion of our future. Where you are today is a direct result of decisions you made in the past. So the next decision you make, ask this question. What is the wise thing to do. In light of your past experience, your current circumstances and your future hopes and dreams. This question works with every situation. No one ever plans to make bad decisions. No one plans to mess up their life. But we don’t plan no to, either. So, the way you plan not to fail is to ask yourself today – What is the wise thing to do? It is the single, best question ever.

A New Look at an Old Book: Amos 6-9


Reading through Amos is a difficult venture. There is so much forboding, judgement and most of all SIN. Sin from the people that God has set aside. The very people for whom God had designed the richest of blessings, whom He had saved from destruction repeatedly…these same holders of promise who willingly slaked their bonds with God in favor of idolatry. They chose immorality over righteousness, depravity in favor of the sacred, and essentially spat in the face of the gifts and calling of the Creator. Oh, it’s easy to see how God could be so mad. It’s easy, from our lofty perches, to look down on the Israelites in this story. How could they possibly be so stupid? They deserve to be smote! Right?

Oh, how quick we are to judge. How conveniently we forget our similarities to the gross injustices perpetrated by these smote-worthy individuals. Oh, we NEVER seek to serve ourselves, right? We couldn’t possibly be consumed with immediate gratification, could we? Certainly we don’t put anything ahead of our relationship with God…not our romances, nor our jobs or our leisure time. No! Not us!!!

The more I read, the more I find that I am woefully similar to the poor saps in this story. I willfully choose to behave sinfully. I have become adept at ignoring His voice. I can turn a blind eye to his leading…all in favor of my own wants, my own “needs” and desires.

So God is understandably miffed. I get it. I would be, too. He uses the prophet, Amos, to bring his message that He has had just about enough!! After years and years, no generations – of His people turning their backs on Him, he was putting His foot down.

And even then…

In the midst of reading them the riot act.

Barely a hiccup happens between His promise of retribution and punishment and His overwhelming mercy again. He loves so much, that even when He’s forced to bring us about to justice, He’s offering yet another reprieve to those who will just turn away from wrong – and turn back toward Him. How many times will He soften?

When I read this I am convicted. I’ve made some really poor choices of late. Choices that were self-serving and ultimately detrimental not only to me, but to others I care about. As I immerse myself into the words of Amos, I see all too clearly a mirror held up to my own life…and I don’t like the reflection. But as I peer inside, over my shoulder I see the open arms of my Father, God who loves me so much that He is willing to offer me His embrace and His forgiveness – AGAIN.

And suddenly, I know the depth of His love for me.

Things I Take for Granted


I’ve had a pretty crappy couple of days.  My car is in another money-sucking crisis and I’m in a sucked out of money state.  Meanwhile I am generally ticked off with anyone and anything having to do with my car, so needless to say my attitude, like my days has been pretty crappy.  Herein lies my predicament.  I am a card-carrying, extremely vocal Christian.  So when I’m having a crappy day compounded by a crappy attitude, I’m really giving Christianity a bad name.  Some times it’s easy to feel justified in the crapitude, but the reality of the situation is that no matter what – IT AIN’T THAT BAD!

You know it’s bad when you’re so foul that you start to smell your own funk – emotionally speaking.  Well that’s where I was.  Everyone is entitiled experience a bad feeling, a disappointment, sadness and even anger, but wallowing in the mire of negativity is counterproductive.  So I did a word search on giving thanks in www.biblegateway.org.  I was looking for James 1:3, but I wanted to make sure I quoted it perfectly…instead, I found this: 

My counsel for you is simple and straightforward: Just go ahead with what you’ve been given. You received Christ Jesus, the Master; now live him. You’re deeply rooted in him. You’re well constructed upon him. You know your way around the faith. Now do what you’ve been taught. School’s out; quit studying the subject and start living it! And let your living spill over into thanksgiving.
Colossians 2:5-7

And this:

Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.
Colossians 3:14-16

and this:

Do you see what we’ve got? An unshakable kingdom! And do you see how thankful we must be? Not only thankful, but brimming with worship, deeply reverent before God.   Hebrews 12:27

and if that weren’t enough, there’s this:

I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I’ve found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.  Philippians 4:10

You get the idea.  I could go on, but I think I’ll stop and take a minute to share what I take for granted:

That I’ll wake up in the morning.

That I’ll have running water and indoor plumbing

That I’ll have electricity

That I have a family who genuinely loves and cares for me

That I have friends who are concerned and praying for me

That I am able to work in a job that brings me joy and allows me to exercise the gifts that God has called and gifted me to use.

That I have beautiful neices and nephews who show me unconditional, unbounding love and acceptance.

That I am healthy.

That I am a child of Christ and as such, He wants what’s best for me.  He doesn’t want me to suffer any more than you want your child to suffer, but sometimes the only way to learn that something is hot and will hurt you is to let you find out for yourself.  That’s what God’s letting me do right now.  I can have the attitude of “poor me,” but the reality is that I’ve known there was a problem with my car since June.  I could have been putting money away to take care of it, but I didn’t.  I could have had the air suspension converted to a conventional shock system, but I didn’t want to do that – I wanted the BEST.  So now I’m suffering.  Not because God wanted me to suffer, but I needed to learn that the fire was hot.  I’m stubborn.  I can’t take your word for it that I’m gonna get burned, I’ve got to prove the point myself. 

That brings me to another thing that I take for granted – God’s patience with my insolence.  So today, I am feeling thankful.  My car is still broken.  I’ve been inconvenienced in my daily activities and in my pocketbook.  I’ve been an inconvenience to my friends and family, yet still – I am thankful.  I am thankful that God loves me enough to allow me to learn from my mistakes.  I am thankful that my family and friends are there for me to help out even when my problems are of my own making.  I am thankful for my sister, who loves me enough to kick me in the rear – and rightfully so, while at the same time being compassionate and helpful.

I love having a car.  I love the independence it provides me.  But that’s another thing I take for granted.  I don’t need a car, really.  What I NEED is to remember the blessings that God pours out over me regardless of my perception of them.  What I NEED is to be thankful for all the things and people that I HAVE in my life.  What I NEED is a good swift kick in the glutteal region.  What I NEED is to be thankful that I have people who love me enough to strap on their boots and prepare to pugilize my posterior.  The funny thing is, for all that I NEED, I really lack nothing.  God is good.  His love is complete and fulfilling.  That’s something I don’t want to take for granted.

“You’re Not the Boss of Me!”


This used to be one of my favorite sayings.  If I wasn’t saying it, I was probably thinking it!  One of the main themes in my life, sadly, has been that I didn’t like to be told what to do by pretty-much anybody.  God has been dealing with me on this specific issue for most of my life, but particularly since I moved to Dade City in late July of 2004.

 

This past Thursday night, at the Singles Bible Study where I share Praise and Worship, the topic of the study was Romans 13.  Specifically, Romans 13:1-2 which says:  “Everyone must submit himself (or herself) to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established.  The authorities that exist have been established by God.  Consequently, he (or she) who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.”  New International Version, emphasis mine.

 

Ouch, those are my toes you’re stomping all over, God!

 

So what does this mean for me?  Well, as I have already shamefully admitted, I didn’t like it when ANYONE told me what to do, but especially if I thought I knew more than the person giving the orders (and I must regrettably admit again that that meant just about everyone {I am being painfully, embarrassingly honest to make a point}) So for me, this is a huge revelation.  I had the meaning down as far as the government, the law and people like that were concerned, but I was lacking in the “ALL” authority portion of the verse.  I conveniently chose to ignore the fact that “ALL” includes people like my Mom, My Pastoral co-workers, even my Senior Pastor at times.  I wasn’t overt in my disobedience (for the most part), I have learned the ability of skillfully avoiding what I don’t agree with by a variety of devices.  But that doesn’t make me any less WRONG.

 

Ouch!  Again with the feet, God!

 

OK, so now what.  I’ve seen this command from an entirely different perspective.  What am I supposed to do now?  Well, for me it means that I have to strap on a napkin, sidle up to the table and prepare for a big meal of CROW.  I have to confess my sin to all my coworkers and ask for their forgiveness.  I have to daily remind myself that “when someone tells me what to do, the question is not ‘what’ but ‘who'”.  Who’s doing the asking?  Has God placed them in a position of authority over me?  Do they merit my honor?  Does it matter whether I agree with them or not??  NO!  Does it matter if I think the thing they’re asking me to do is asinine or redundant?  NO!!  In fact, does it really matter what I think, period?  Ouch – No, not really.  In Joshua, God says “to obey is better than sacrifice”.  That’s a hard pill to swallow, even for someone with a mouth as big as mine.

 

I truly believe that one of the things that has been holding me back from being everything God wants me to be has been this lifelong struggle with authority.  After all, if I can’t be submissive to the authorities that God has placed over me like my Mom, my bosses and the speed limit, how can He expect me to be submissive to Him and His leadership?

Well, I may be stubborn, and I hate to admit I am wrong about anything, but my Mama didn’t raise no fool.  When I finally understand something, I stick with it.  It’s not going to be easy to change my attitude toward authority; after all, I’ve been successfully disobedient for 41 years.  But I know one thing for sure – I have a new attitude about those God has placed over me and why.  I am going to do what is right, even when it’s hard.

 

Does this mean that I’m going to be a mindless doormat, now?  One who blindly obeys without question?  Hardly – Have you met me???  God doesn’t say that I have to agree with what I’m asked to do.  He even gives me the option of removing myself out from under the authority of some.  But what I’m learning most of all from these verses is that my first response to direction shouldn’t be contradiction.  Hey, maybe I’ll have to change my favorite saying.  How does “Yes, right away.” sound?  Yeah, I’ll keep working on it!