Lifestyles Not My Kind

working on laptop in coffee shop

I know this guy. He hunts and fishes and celebrates his bounty with boisterous excitement to all within his vocal aim. His lifestyle is not my lifestyle. When I see him, I tell him in some way, “I love you, man.” And I do. With Christ as my example.

I know this woman. Hard-working mother and wife. Except for her smoking habit, she’s in great health. She likes to talk about what she watches on television (usually reality TV) or how she did at the bingo games. Her lifestyle is not my lifestyle. When I see her, I find a way to let her know, “I love you, friend.” And I do. With Christ as my example.

I know this young guy. He has a giving heart and a contagious laugh. His tattoos are colorful and abundant. His partner doesn’t have tattoos (that I’ve seen), but he’s probably thinking about it because he’s often bragging about the other guy. He has smiling eyes. Their lifestyle is not my lifestyle. When I see them together, we laugh and smile. I want to show them, “I love you guys.” And I do. With Christ as my example.

There are many people who do things differently, living lifestyles that are not my kind of lifestyle. I want to love them. I find ways to love them. When I look for ways to love, it’s easy to find. And I do.

With Christ as my example.

Photo from DollarPhotoClub

Among the “Whosever”

Open Bible

I went to support a friend.

An Amway meeting. Not some gathering in a living room or even a hotel conference room. This was a large, 4-day weekend event at a national arena. A convention filling the arena. And I found a seat in the rafters.

Open-minded, I could see my friend’s enthusiasm and focus on his new promise for success. I also knew I was missing something, though I wasn’t sure this kind of thing was my cup of tea.

I went each day and found my nosebleed seat. I brought reading material. I did some writing. Supportive.

On Sunday morning, a star performer in the region began talking about how his front lawn had become his monument, his idol. He worked hard on his job every day, then came home and worked hard on his home and family every day. Every day. And then he found out something.

Here it comes, right? The big fireworks finale about this wonderful company on the last day of the convention, right? Nope. That’s not what he found (though he did eventually find the company).

The last two words I heard him say: Jesus Christ. I don’t know or don’t remember anything else he said, though he talked for another 20 minutes.

It was as if someone had grabbed my guts, heart, and brain and began wringing me out like a saturated sponge. I did hear the altar call and made it downstairs in the midst of my tears and spittle. They handed me a small New Testament and a sheet of paper listing a few verses I should read. Included in those verses was John 3:15 and the word: Whosoever.

That whosever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

Whosever includes me (and you).

I took the next day off and was at the Christian bookstore early. I listened to every preacher on the radio and found some good old Southern Gospel music to calm my fears and imaginations. On fire to make up for lost time (I was 34 years old), I devoured everything I could get my hands, eyes, and ears on.

The friend who invited me to the convention may have no idea what has transpired since that day. The service I’ve been privileged to do, the preaching I’ve been honored to give, or the years of struggle and trial for His name sake. While I’ve made plenty of mistakes and errors that didn’t glorify God, I strive to learn and apply His word in my heart and my life.

Thank you Jesus, for salvation. And thank you, Ted, for that invite almost 20 years ago.

Tame Wild Imaginations with Captivating Music

empty bench dark night

Wild imaginations. How do they take hold so fast? Past pitfalls. Present problems. Perceiving possibilities. It’s almost like the devil has a joystick controlling my thoughts.

But he doesn’t.

In 2 Cor 10:5, I am reminded:

Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

As best as I can, as early as I can, I grab hold of Scripture, a verse or from a song. Music becomes a way to tame the wild imaginations of past and present and help bring focus back to those things that are good (Phl 4:8).

Here are three songs that help me most often:

More Than Ever – Gaither Vocal Band

Only a Shadow – Misty Edwards

Take My Hand, Precious Lord – Tennessee Ernie Ford

What music or verse tames your wild imaginations?

Photo on Pixabay by Desertrose7

A Virtuous Woman

Angela Sansone Proverbs 31

A Virtuous Woman. One of noble character.

The Bible points out in Prov 31:10 that such a woman is more valuable than rare gems, and must be hard to find:

Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.

We hear about “strong” women and “hard-working” women. I’m not sure I agree with the labels in blanket form. A woman is a woman. Is someone who is not a “strong” woman the opposite of such?

Much of what is written in Proverbs 31 lists some of these better traits and behaviors. Maybe the verses in this chapter are the resume of a virtuous woman. Or maybe …

After all those listed, in Prov 31:30 we read, in part:

 …but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.

I believe a Proverbs 31 woman (or man) is sold out, given up, and surrendered to God. Not just waiting on God with patience, but waiting on God in service.

The things a virtuous woman does, what she believes, how she behaves, what she says – are because of and in hopes to please God.

It is a blessing to be married to such a woman. She is pictured here. Praying on a rooftop, on foreign soil.

Living a life in faith and of obedience – to God. Virtuously. Victoriously.

Just Enough

Daily Bread

Just Enough.

In my life, there have been times when I’ve had plenty and others that I’ve been penniless. Through both kinds of seasons and all of the in-betweens, I’ve come to realize a most powerful, freeing prayer in Scripture.

Proverbs 30:7-9, which reads:

Two things have I required of thee; deny me them not before I die: Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the LORD? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.

See that second one? Give me neither poverty nor riches. Feed me with food convenient for me. Not more, not less. Just enough.

Too many times in life, our thinking (worrying?) might extend beyond tomorrow into months in advance.

When we learn to pray in Luke 11:3, we ask for daily bread, not an annual supply.

Just Enough.

Note: For more reading on this, I highly recommend Will Davis‘ book, Enough: Finding More by Living With Less. A humbling and freeing read.