Roman 12:1-2

"Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect." Romans 12:1-2

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


My Tuesday morning Bible study group has been doing a video series called "Soul Shift." I highly recommend it. We are doing the video, as I said, but here is a link to get the book:

Today Steve talked about changing our mindset from consumer to steward. He opened with a story of kayaking down the Colorado River with some friends. The guides told them if they flip, don't try to get back in, just float. Steve, of course, flipped and had the time of his life navigating the rapids on his back, feet first. Some of his friends made it successfully from start to finish in their kayaks. But whether in the kayak or in the water, he said, they were all going the same direction. No one was fighting the current. His point: even when we think we are in control, our culture is taking us for a ride down the river of consumerism. (That's my paraphrase.) 

He said, the problem isn't spending, it's wanting. We have to change our desires. He used Jesus' words in Mark 10:17 ff: 

17 As He was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to Him and knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 18 And Jesus said to him,“Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone. 19 You know the commandments, ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’” 20 And he said to Him, “Teacher, I have keptall these things from my youth up.” 21 Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him and said to him, “One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” 22 But at these words [g]he was saddened, and he went away grieving, for he was one who owned much property.

(Side note: I am struck by the words in verse 21: Jesus felt a love for him.)

Jesus focuses on our relationship to other people. The five commandments He quotes here are from the second tablet, the six commandments that deal with our relationship with others. (The first tablet have the four commandments dealing with our relationship with God.) This is significant because it is not about POSSESSIONS but about FOLLOWING JESUS WITH OUR POSSESSIONS.

Steve used an illustration of a triangle. On the three corners: God, my possessions, and the state of my soul. Steve said, if you bump one corner, the other two will move. 


Lately I have been researching the Indians of Pennsylvania. Ask me sometime; I could go on for hours. For now, suffice to say, Native Americans have a different way of looking at possessions. They don't have any. Or, at least, they don't own land. They use it. They take what they need from it, always leaving some in reserve so the land can refresh itself, and then move on. Because they know it does not belong to them. The food they eat does not belong to them; always they said a prayer and offered gifts to the hunted animal so the animal would give its life so that the Indian might eat it and live. In terms of home: shared with extended family and easily dismantled or not (in which case it was left behind and a new one built somewhere else). In terms of farming tools and other objects: a man owned his hunting gear, a woman owned the farming equipment and household goods. 

As I was listening/watching the video this morning, I was struck by the contrast. The Delawares, Shawnees, and Susquehannocks (among other Pennsylvania Indians) had little, but they had enough. When Europeans arrived, the Natives they met were "giants" because they ate better than "civilized" man! Several sources I have read say that there was no envy among the Indians -- if one saw something he wanted, the other gave it to him without question, even to their last piece of meat or the clothes off their backs. 

They had little.

But they had enough.

And this reflects what Steve said in episode 5 of "Soul Shift": A steward is generous and content

It's not about what you have or don't have.  (It's not about what I have or don't have!) It's about learning to be content. And that is when we shift from being a consumer, to being a steward.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

geography lesson

My last post was honest. I hope it was also encouraging to someone who continues to struggle with addiction.

I hope today's post is more encouraging still




Today's geography lesson has nothing to do with names of states and capitals. It has nothing to do with reading a map. It has nothing to do with rivers and mountain ranges. Today's lesson is all about direction.

What direction are you headed? Only two choices: toward God or away from God. 

If you are going the wrong direction, how to do you change that? Turn around.

If you are turned around, facing the other direction but you have yet to move, how far are you from the spot you were standing in a minute ago?

As far as the east is from the west.

Two days ago I was willfully and determinedly running in the wrong direction. Yesterday I stopped and turned around. In that moment, I was as far from my sin as east is from west. You can never be in west if you are standing in east. Can't do it. They are polar opposites. Or, rather, directional opposites. 

I still have a road to walk, but I am walking in the right direction, and before I even took that first step: as far as east is from west.

Today's geography lesson. Class dismissed.

Psalm 103

Of David.

Praise the Lord, my soul;
    all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins
    and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
    and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
The Lord works righteousness
    and justice for all the oppressed.
He made known his ways to Moses,
    his deeds to the people of Israel:
The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
    slow to anger, abounding in love.
He will not always accuse,
    nor will he harbor his anger forever;
10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve
    or repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
    so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
    so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
13 As a father has compassion on his children,
    so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
14 for he knows how we are formed,
    he remembers that we are dust.
15 The life of mortals is like grass,
    they flourish like a flower of the field;
16 the wind blows over it and it is gone,
    and its place remembers it no more.
17 But from everlasting to everlasting
    the Lord’s love is with those who fear him,
    and his righteousness with their children’s children
18 with those who keep his covenant
    and remember to obey his precepts.
19 The Lord has established his throne in heaven,
    and his kingdom rules over all.
20 Praise the Lord, you his angels,
    you mighty ones who do his bidding,
    who obey his word.
21 Praise the Lord, all his heavenly hosts,
    you his servants who do his will.
22 Praise the Lord, all his works
    everywhere in his dominion.
Praise the Lord, my soul.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Dirty floors

Have you ever mopped the floor, stood back to mop your brow and examine your handy-work, only to have spouse or children or dog run all over it with dirty feet? How did you react? How did you WANT to react?

I have neither spouse nor children. Nor pet, for that matter.

And I am not writing from the exalted position of floor mopper.

I am the dog with dirty paws.




For several years now I have struggled with sexual addiction. For three years now, I have had moments of victory. Some of those moments even extended into months. 

This is not one of those months. Or even one of those moments.

For the past five weeks, I have jumped feet first into the mire of living in a fantasy world, and all that entails. I won't go into detail. Suffice to say, I am at a low point with myself and with God. As I talked with a dear friend about it, she encouraged me to pray, "God, make me willing." Because at this point, I don't want to turn away from what feels good (in the moment).  I am not willing.

I have been putting on a front, and as a Bible college graduate, I know all the expected answers. I go to church and Bible study. I teach children on Sunday mornings. I encourage others with what I know is True from God's word. Even though I haven't opened my Bible in weeks. But it is all fake.

This past week at Bible study, one of the ladies was talking about the throne room of God, and the confidence we have to approach God.

All I could think was, "But I'll get the floor dirty."

I know what the Bible says: I am forgiven, redeemed, washed and clean. I DO have the confidence to approach the throne of GRACE.

But, honestly, this week I'm not feeling it.