From escape artist to protector
This children’s book for grades 1 – 3 charmed me. It’s the perfect book for an adult to read to or with children. The story opens on Farmer White’s woodsy little farm, a place where animals with frazzled nerves to come and heal. On this farm, the animals seem almost human.
Miss Merino, a wise sheep, tells stories that have lessons for the young barnyard animals. These stories explore values and give lessons about fences, boundaries, and rules. And so she begins telling a story about Sassy Pants, who was once a young rebellious piggy.
Sassy Pants begins life as a teeny piglet in Farmer White’s and Mrs. White’s big house where she has a great feeling of belonging. When she gets old enough, she’s brought to the pig pen on the farm where her mother and her father Boss Hog live. She’s intimidated by Boss Hog’s scary looking tusks and his mean sounding deep voice. Sassy Pants wants to go back to the big house and becomes a little escape artist…unaware there are wild predatory animals beyond the fence in the nearby forest who would love to eat a little piggy.
In addition, she becomes a bully to other animals at the farm and is rude and disrespectful to Boss Hog (her dad). In the section titled “The Last Amend” Sassy Pants apologizes to Boss Hog and they forge a new father-daughter relationship. She also begins doing helpful deeds for other animals at the farm. Her dad has been walking the fence for years and telling Farmer White if there are any weakness that would allow wild predators inside. One day he takes her with him to walk the fence because he feels her former fence escape artist tactics (skills) would make her the perfect one to take over for him in walking the fence as he is getting older.
My favorite part of the story is when her dad wants to change her name to Petra, the rock. She no longer feels like the escape artist, disrespectful little piggy. She feels transformed into a new creature, so she agrees to the name change.
I’m a huge Genesis lover
8 And the Lord God planted a garden toward the east, Eden, and there He placed the man whom He had formed. 9 Out of the ground the Lord God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowldge of good and evil. 10 Now a reiver flowed out of Eden to water the garden; and from there it devided and became four rivers. Genesis 2:8-10 [New American Standard Bible, NASB]
I believe the Lord God planted a gorgeous garden for Adam and Eve, a garden so luscious in its magnificent beauty we can’t even imagine it. This proves to me that God loves beauty. Beauty and goodness, and kindness, and love was His original idea. And that was also His original idea when He planted each of us in our mother’s womb. He had not changed his mind about us. In His sight we are fearfully and wonderfully made.
The thing is, He gave humans free will. He did not want to be loved by a bunch of robots. He did not desire to be loved and obeyed by billions of ‘stepford people’. He wanted us to chose to love Him. He wanted us to see that His way for us is best. It leads to peace, oh and how humans need peace, God’s peace, the real peace…it leads to kindness…to love, the real love (not Hollywood transient romance, not fair-weather friends), God’s deep and abiding love.
It’s through God’s perfect love that we see how beautiful we are. As believers we are called to know how eternally beautiful we are.
O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth Psalm 96:6. [King James Version, KJV]
The beauty of holiness is a different kind of beauty than the world offers. It’s an inside beauty. It start with one’s character, a loving nature, and one with kindness, but also with a sense of self-worth. I want to point out that “fear before Him” means to have deep and awesome reverence for Him.
We, believers, are children of the Most High God, and that’s something very big indeed. The beauty of holiness shines through our eyes and a genuine, caring smile. It’s transformative. When your eyes shine with warmth and your smile is the real deal, people see you as beautiful. And you yourself feel your genuine worth and you take better care of your body, and your health, and your presentation. You are presenting as a child of the most High now. Not any old thing will do, not any old sloppy way of going into the world is right anymore because truly…YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL
Brookyn PI Veronica “Ronnie” Ingles has beauty and self-worth issues and it doesn’t get better when he husband leaves her for another woman. In HARMFUL INTENT, Ronnie finds herself in Texas (what’s a Brooklyn girl doing in Texas?) where her husband is murdered and the stalwart, coffee loving sheriff’s deputy has her as his prime suspect.
Shutting Up and Calming Down wasn’t the easiest thing to do at that point.
At 8:30 this morning, I had to calm down before phoning my doctor. I also had to put a watch on my mouth…as in pretty much shut it…or communicate only essentials.
Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth;
Keep watch over the door of my lips. ~ Psalm 141:3 [New American Standard Bible, NASB]
After my chemo treatment yesterday which not only kills cancer, it kills white blood cells, they gave me an ‘onbody’ cartridge that will later give me an injection to rebuild those white blood cells. The nurse didn’t put the adhesive cover on it. After sitting in a chemo chair for nearly two hours, I had to badly use the restroom and wasn’t paying attention. When she said, “You’re all set. You can do home,” I made a beeline for the women’s room.
When I got home I was caught in a typical Florida northeastern coastal downpour and when I got into my condo unit dripping wet, the cartridge (without the cover) fell off my arm and onto the floor. It was unusable at that point, and I had white blood cells rapidly dying and was super susceptible to infection. Not good in the era of Covid 19. So, what did my lightning fast mind do? It started obsessing.
Thankfully I was able to sleep last night, but in the morning I was obsessing again. I knew I couldn’t call my doctor in that state. My solution to my mind problem was to begin hunting on YouTube for a Joyce Meyer video with a title something like “Calm Down and Shut Up.” I didn’t find one by that title. But I did find “The Disappointment of Unrealistic Expectations, Part I” which dealt mostly with our unrealistic expectations of others…such as that they should never make a mistake, or their should never be a miscommunication. After I listened to the sermon I was able to rationally phone my doctor’s office and get an appointment for that day to go to the treatment center and get an injection of the same medicine. I was right to be very concerned. I absolutely had to go get the injection, but obsessing wasn’t the right way to approach it. Now I have to point out the hospital that treats the rare cancer I have is an 80 mile drive from my house. So, it’s a big deal for me to drive, especially when I drove there yesterday for treatment and had planned to rest today.
But God had a divine appointment for me. I was bringing trash to the dumpster early this morning when a woman who lives on the other side of my condo complex stopped and asked how I was doing. She knew I was in treatment. I told her the story and immediately she said, “I’ll drive you.” And she did. We had a wonderful drive talking about church and the Bible…telling funny stories and laughing. All’s well that ends well, as the old saying goes.
God is always moving forward, not back!
You can’t go back and change what they did to you!
- They didn’t treat you the way you should’ve been treated.
- They didn’t love you in your family of origin.
- They betrayed you.
- They didn’t give you the promotion you worked so hard for.
- They lied and gossiped about you.
My father and mother walked out and left me,
but God took me in. ~ Psalms 27:10, The Message Bible [MSG]
You can’t go back and change what you did to others!
- You lived with bitterness, and it spilled over onto others.
- You weren’t responsible, and it harmed others.
- You weren’t a loyal person, and you ruined past relationships.
- You were lazy, and others had to do more than their share of duties/work.
For I will demonstrate my mercy to them and will forgive their evil deeds, and never remember again their sins. ~ Hebrews 8:12 [The Passion Translation, TPT]
As believers, we don’t need a PhD in theology to notice in the Bible God used a lot of highly imperfect people. They made mistakes and treated people badly, and/or others had treated them badly. In fact, it might be easier for God to use flawed people because, they’re not so ‘holier than thou’, that they can’t be used at all. It seems God picks people with a bit of humility who have been through some life battles who He can equip for His purposes. So, no matter what kind of a mess we’ve made, He can still use us for good. In the process, He can also bring peace and joy to our lives.
So what is it that is torking us off and twisting us up inside? Did we come from an abusive background, then married and divorced an abusive spouse, and we’re just mad, mad, mad? We can be blood bought and know we’re going to heaven and still have this low-level, simmering anger on the back burner. Our spirit was saved when we accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior. The Holy Spirit came to dwell in our human spirits. But our souls (mind, will, and emotions) and flesh were not saved. Our souls and flesh have to be renewed and regenerated and this is a for the rest of our life journey.
There is a simple Biblical tool we can use to help us forget past hurts and to have more peace and joy in our lives. It’s the law of sewing and reaping. First of all, we’re to sew into good ground, not cast our seed toward someone or something we know is a poor prospect. For example if we were rejected by our parents as a child, then felt rejection since, and now feel lonely, we can sew friendliness. We don’t have to give money to someone, deep down, we know is a user. Remember…good ground. We don’t have to give money at all, or loan our car. Just friendliness.
Friendliness is of our inner self. Give a smile. Open and hold a door for someone. Say hello to people at church and remember their names, so you can use their name the next time. Introduce yourself to the pastor. Tell him/her what a good sermon it was. When their faces light up and they smile back, receive it and in that moment let it warm you. Let the experience go both ways. Ah, but you’ve always been reserved, an introvert. Receive it for what it is and feel good about it. It’s just a smile, a simple smile. It’s not a lifelong commitment. It’s not even an invitation to brunch, but it’s a start. Enjoy the moment, and resolve to move forward from there.
I have to keep telling myself these very things. I came from a reclusive family. We were definitely not movers and shakers in the local social scene. I had to learn how to make friends as an adult. ~~ Don’t keep looking back at past hurts. Test the friendship water. Yes, test. Test! That’s using wisdom. Some people will not be up your alley. That doesn’t make them bad people. They’re just not your cup of tea. Smile and keep on going. Put your little toe into the shallow end of the people-pool. Keep engaging , keep smiling, laugh a little. It feels good.
If you like to read murder mystery fiction having intense and difficult relationships between the characters, check out HARMFUL INTENT. Brooklyn (NYC) private investigator Veronica “Ronnie” Ingels has been betrayed. She rushes to visit a best friend in Abilene, Texas where deputy sheriff Dawson Hughes puts her at the top of his suspect list for a murder. ~ inspirational, clean reads.
Rests upon peace with yourself and forgiveness.
Love and forgiveness, first of ourselves, is the foundation of soul healing and also physical healing. So many of us are fearful of contracting Corona Virus. Some have chronic diseases that make them vulnerable to C19. Others have already contracted the virus and are fighting it.
As believers, we fight more effectively when we are free of self-condemnation. Don’t let self-anger, self-loathing, self-pity, or any of the other selfies get in the way of healing.
Make a list. Make it as an act of prayer, submitting to Him. If there is anything we hold against ourselves, let’s write it down on paper, in detail, all of it. Be honest, what is that ‘thing/s’ we seldom talk about? If writing this thing/s is extremely hard, make a cup of tea, put on some soft worship music, and then write…but write! As believers, we know God has not only forgiven us, He doesn’t hold that/those sin/s against us, and in fact He remembers it/them no more.
I, even am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake, And I will not remember your sins. ~ Isaiah 43: 25 9 [New American Standard Bible, NASB]
If God doesn’t want to be weighted down with our sins, it might be a good and healthy idea if we let go of them too. There is a spiritual principal here for health and healing. How can we fully come before the throne and worship God when we secretly harbor these self-condemning feelings? Let them go, For His own sake.
Make a prayerful, quality decision to let the self-condemnation go. A firm decision. Take communion over it. If we’re used to carrying this self-condemning burden, we might have to let it go more than once…in fact, numerous times if we’ve carried it for years. That’s okay. God’s not counting. He doesn’t even remember the sin/s.
Since God doesn’t even remember the sin/s, destroy the list. Rip it up with bare handed, or shred it. Remember, if feelings of self-condemnation for sin God has already forgiven come back…banish them, again and again until they cease and desist.
When we have let go of this burden, we can come before the throne of God refreshed, more joyous as we ask for continued renewing of our mind, healing of our soul (mind, will, and emotions), and physical healing.
10 ‘Do not fear, for I am with you;
Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you, surely I will help you,
Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’ ~ Isaiah 41:10 [New American Standard Bible, NASB]
If you enjoy realistic contemporary detective and murder mystery stories, you might want to check out COURTING DANGER. Newly installed Pelican Beach, Florida Det. Katerina “Kat” Andruko can’t forgive her former faithless fiance and is having trouble giving the city’s handsome profiler a chance. In fact, she’s got him as her prime murder suspect. ~ inspirational, clean reads.
Entire cultures have fallen under the power of the devil
In this day of intellectualism many feel they are much too learned to believe in demonic activity in human affairs. But as we watch, via television and video, horror has been unfolding first in the streets of Europe, Australia, and now in the United States. Many of us can see actual demonic activity. We can see with our own eyes there is a supernatural level of evil running rampant in the earth that has gripped individuals, and they are acting it out. This evil is not hiding. It has become brazen.
Your hand-to-hand combat is not with human beings, but with the highest principalities and authorities operating in rebellion under the heavenly realms. For they are a powerful class of demon-gods and evil spirits that hold this dark world in bondage. ~ Ephesians 6:12, The Passion Translation [TPT]
In my humble opinion, and I sincerely mean humble, as only an insane person would not be humble when speaking of and dealing with demonic oppression. So in my humble opinion, I believe blood bought, Bible believers (and include me) should do a lot less wringing of hands when they watch cities burn during a news broadcast. We should boldly talk back to the demonic spirits behind what is going on. Point at the TV, laptop screen and cast those demons out (where you have Biblical authority) in the name of Jesus. We certainly have Biblical authority in our own state, city/town where we are legal citizens. We have Biblical legal authority to cast the devil out of our own country…in the name of Jesus. And vote in November…or whatever date your country’s elections are on.
Even before you do that. Cast demonic activity out of your home, especially if you are head-of-household. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you to any darkness lurking in your own home, your own life and cast it out. Do NOT do this under a spirit of condemnation. Self-condemnation is mini-self-murder. You are not fighting yourself or anyone else. You are wrestling with the powers of darkness…and you can win.
First – Thanksgiving. Thank the Father for all the blessings in your life. The people who love you. Go ahead and include your pets, for they are surely blessings. Your friends, job, the list goes on and on. It’s much more difficult for demonic attacks to take place in a house full of thanksgiving, joy, and laughter. If your are going through hell, keep on going, and going praising God and giving thanks.
Second – Forgive anyone for whom you hold a grudge, resentment, or malice. That doesn’t mean you turn you back on a dangerous person and go skipping through the tulips. Email and phone your elected officials, especially your local ones. Forgive them their mistakes but keep after them to do right. Assail them while maintaining your dignity. As stated above, first forgive yourself. If you are a believer, God has forgiven and forgotten your messes. So, why do you remember, rehearse the mistakes over and over? Let your negative past go. And then do as Jesus commanded. Forgive others as you forgive yourself.
Third – Get rid of any toxic possessions, objects, trinkets…the red toaster up on a shelf someone gave you as a housewarming gift even though they knew you had a brand new one, and your kitchen is white. The lovely gift that every time you look at it reminds you the giver thinks little of you. All believers should get rid of any object that is an occult symbol, or that you know was a possession of someone involved in occult practices.
Four – Any time you feel down, downtrodden, self-deprecating, hostile toward another, helpless about what is happening to your country. Turn on worship music, a video/audio of your favorite preacher, a Christian movie…or something that will make you smile, laugh out loud, and/or dance right there in your house. Don’t worry. Remember, your kids think your crazy anyhow.