Each to His Own Way


I read in Isaiah 53 today, verse 6, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.”

I understand from this verse that going our own way is the iniquity, the sin.

It calls to mind Judges 17.6, “In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” The surrounding passages make clear that this was not a good / Godly time in Israel’s history.

It also calls to mind John 15.5, “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.”

Everything we do outside of God is nothing (“rubbish,” as Paul calls it in Philippians 3.8). Not only nothing, but what we do – all our works, our “nice guy” mentality, “my good outweighs my bad” mindset – is sin. It’s what cuts us off from God.

Thanks be to God, He forgives our sin: daily, moment-by-moment, even.

But it is yet another reminder that I must keep God and His Word in the forefront of my mind and heart. What I do and say matters. One way or another, I will glorify God or churn out rubbish.

I purpose to glorify God.

Funny Thing

somethingFunnyImage clipartguide.com

I just got back from a walk. You know how things happen, and they just make you think/wonder?

A car full of high school kids passed me (school was just letting out). A boy, hanging out the back window, said hi to me, and waved.

I gave him a big wave back.

He yelled, “I love you!”

I put my hands in a yell position around my mouth and bellowed a kiss at him.

“Thank you!” I heard as the car rounded a corner.

So, what was that about?

{A note on perspective: For those of you who follow me, you know I’m old now (social security old). I don’t think it was meant for me, personally.}

Was it an affirmation need of teenage angst?

Was it a dare?

Kids just messing around?

As my cousin-in-law, Paul says, “People are funny.”

So there’s a person God put in my path today. He made me think. Maybe he’s thinking, too.

I’m Not Less Than…

Sue has some Biblical words of wisdom here:

Sue's Pen2PaperBlog

In every home there is usually some sort of do’s and do not’s lain down for the children. Don’t run in the street, don’t touch the stove fire, take the garbage out, make your bed, don’t hit your sister/brother. Each child is taught what they should and should not do.

But what about healthy boundaries? What is a boundary? It is a line drawn in the sand, so to speak, that another can not cross. “You will not hit my sister, you will not use bad language in my presence, you will not break the vows of our marriage.” These are just a few of what is called healthy boundaries.

When a family has abuse; be it physical, emotional, or sexual within a family, boundaries are ignored. Its okay for Dad to sneak into his daughters room at night, its okay for Mom to get beat up by dad, its…

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What God Does Not Command / Ask / Suggest

God does not tell us to do these things; therefore, He will not help us or give us the resources to do them:

WhatGodDoesNotCommandAskSuggest 1

God designed us to do these things, and gives us (abundantly) His Word, Himself, and His people to accomplish them:

WhatGodDoesNOtCommandAskSuggest 2

We are not designed to love ourselves. Because of our sin nature, however, we do. Yes, in our flesh, ALL of us love ourselves more than anyone else (“Love your neighbor as yourself” assumes you love yourself – it is not telling you to love yourself. Ephesians 5.29 reminds us, Indeed, no one ever hated his own body, but he nourishes and cherishes it…). If we truly love someone else more than ourselves, it is by God’s grace. Even those who believe they are wretched, undesirable, and unlovable are putting themselves first, simply by the fact that they are considering their own opinion of themselves. Those who know they are wretched are actually blessed to be given eyes to see their true nature (and repent).

What to do about it?

The answer is, we are designed to love God above all else, to glorify Him. Everything we do in this life is to be for the purpose of glorifying God. Even Jesus came to glorify His Father (John 17.1: Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you.) When Jesus glorified His Father, that meant joy for Him (Hebrews 12.2: Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God).

God’s Word never tells us to get ahead in this life, to get all you can, to value man’s opinion (or your own opinion) of you. God is the ONLY ONE Who matters. Colossians 3.3: For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. THAT’S where your joy and peace come in: when you die to yourself / to your flesh, and live to glorify God.

The Good News is that, through glorifying and loving God, we achieve our true joy. That’s how God designed us.

How to do this? Read God’s Word. A LOT! Study God. Get with others who also love and study God. Obey God’s teaching and His Holy Spirit.

It seems an oxymoron to pursue happiness by spending all our time for the glory of Someone Else, and to forget our own selves. But God says, For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts (Isaiah 55.9); and …hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? (1 Corinthians 1.20).

Set your minds on the things above, not the things on the earth.  For you have died, and your life has been hidden with Christ in God. (Colossians 3.2, 3)

Tears of Gold


There was once a poor man who cried and cried because he did not have enough money.  He cried in the morning because he had no fresh butter to put on his bread.  He cried in the afternoon because he had no horse on which to ride into town.  He cried at night because he had no hired servant to prepare his dinner.

Every day the man toiled at his house, alone but for the stray dog he’d adopted some months ago.  Every day he went through the motions of caring for his needs:  cooking his food, washing his clothes, tending his garden, caring for his cow and chickens.  And every day the man dreamed of having more money.

“Oh, for a fine carriage, with four graceful steeds to dance ahead of it.”  The man sighed and looked at his dog.  “Then I would not have to stay at this house all day.  Oh, for a stately mansion in which to live, instead of this hovel.”  On and on the man would dream, crying all the while for that which he did not have.

One day the man heard of an old witch who lived in a cave some distance from his home.  “I will visit this witch,” said the old man.  “Surely she will see that I must have more money.  Perhaps she can cast a spell to make my poor life more bearable.”

So the man and his dog took a journey to that cave.  The old witch stood near the opening, leaning upon a stick.  She fixed a shrewd eye upon the man.  “Hah,” she cackled, “you want money.”

The poor man looked up, astonished.  “Truly, she is a wise woman,” thought he.  He began to cry.  “Take pity on me, kind lady,” he said.  “I have never had enough money and have lived a hard life.  Can you help me?”

“Are you starving?” asked the witch.

The man stopped crying, shocked.  “Of course not.  I work hard to provide myself with something to fill my belly.”

“And your dog?”

“He gets the scraps from my table.”

“What kind of work do you do?”

The tears began to flow again.  “Every day I must get up, milk my cow, feed my chickens, tend my garden, cook my own meals, and keep my house clean.  When finally I tumble into bed at night, I scarce have time to enjoy a good book before I am fast asleep, so tired am I after the day’s exertions.”

“What do you need money for?”

The poor man mopped his eyes and blew his nose, to no avail.  The tears flowed faster than ever as he described to the witch what he could do with some money.  “Alas, I am able to enjoy only the barest of life’s necessities.  With more money I could buy a horse to travel to town.  I could buy some of the delicacies sold there, to embellish my dinner table.  I could hire someone to help me with my huge workload at home.  Ah, woman, the things I could do with a little money.”

The witch was silent.  She looked at the man as she chewed her lip with toothless gums.  She spoke.  “I have good news for you, Friend.  You will be a rich man, indeed.  Go home now.  I must work my spell.  When you wake up in the morning, you will see the magic I weave for you.”

The tears dried up.  “I’m going to be rich?” the man asked delightedly.  “How much will I get?”

“I said go home!” The witch answered fiercely.  “But leave the dog here.”

“What?”  the man asked, blankly.

“I said, the dog stays.”

The man shrugged.  “Do I need to do anything else?”

“Nothing.  Go home.”  She spun around and disappeared into her cave with the dog.

“Hee, hee!”  The man danced all the way back to his house.

Early the next morning, he awoke, eager to find his riches.  Without stopping to get dressed, he raced about his house, looking for the money.  Not on the table.  Hurry.  Not under the bed.  Hurry, hurry.  Not in the closet.  Where could it be?  He flung open the front door.  Not in his garden.  Run, run.  Not in his shed.  Maybe in the barn?  No!  He ran back into the house and began tearing the place apart.  Everything out of the dresser.  Everything out of the cupboards.  Nothing!

Finally, the man sat down at his table, panting.  That witch!  Nothing.  Nothing!  He began to cry.  He wept and wept that the witch had tricked him so.

Suddenly the man opened his eyes.   Something was happening.  Gold!  There was gold on the table, gold on the floor, gold in his lap!  From where had it come?  He reached up to wipe a tear from his cheek and drew his hand away.  There on his finger was a teardrop of gold.  His eyes darted to the other gold pieces.  They were all shaped like teardrops.

“Why, this is too fantastic,” exclaimed the man!  “Surely… Surely… But it is true!  I am a rich man!”  He pranced about in his nightshirt with glee, tossing golden teardrops into the air.  He listened to their tinkling music as they danced with him on the cobblestone floor.

Now the man’s dreams began to become reality.  He spent his gold with a flourish.  Ah, what fineries he enjoyed.  First, a fine white horse and a small carriage.  New pieces of furniture for his house, and new clothes cut in the latest fashions were fast to follow.  He ordered the tastiest delicacies from the baker and butcher.

The man threw away his old clothing, threw away his gardening tools.  He burned his rickety old furniture.  Soon all the gold he had cried that first morning was gone.

“Oh, my!” he wailed.  “I have not bought nearly all the things I most desperately need.”  The tears flowed again.  He opened his eyes, hoping.  He was ecstatic to see that his tears were still of gold.  He would be the richest man in the world!  He would never run out of gold!

Immediately, he started planning how he would spend his fortune.  Why spend so much trying to fix up this old hut?  Why not buy a new house?  And, he would certainly be very busy with his money; far too busy to worry about mundane household chores.  Servants!  He would need an army of servants to staff his new mansion.  And more horses and carriages.  He would need more and finer clothing: he was a man of import now.

And so it went.  The man spent his gold, and then cried more.  Soon he was having a hard time thinking of reasons to cry.  He couldn’t cry because of lack of money – he knew he could produce more any time he needed it.  He tried crying for other people’s problems, things he’d heard about in the town, but those were hard tears to squeeze out.  He had a hard time feeling sorrow for that which did not touch his own life.

One time he tried rubbing onions in, but the tears that came to his stinging eyes were only wet.  No, to produce gold, his tears had to be those of true sorrow.

“Wretched, wretched life!”  The man screamed.  “How am I to cry if I cannot feel sorry for myself?”  Tears began to flow again before he realized it, and quite a pile of gold was all about him before he stopped to wipe his eyes.

He used this tactic again and again, but soon found himself walking always in sorrow, trying to eke out a few more bits of gold.  He would stroll aimlessly about the echoing halls of his mansion, take excursions in his fine carriage pulled by six graceful steeds, spend hours in his counting house, sifting through his gold.  All this he did with dry-eyed sadness.

He found he did not want to cry again.  How did he no longer enjoy his mansion, his horses and servants?  Why did he always feel he had to cry, had to have more gold?  What was to become of him?

The man went for a walk one day.  He found himself at the cave of the old witch.

She hobbled out and leaned on a rock, her gnarled hands gripping her stick.

“So,” she said slowly, “you return.”

The man kicked the dirt with his tooled leather boot and hung his head.  “I have everything I need now,” he said, “everything I’ve always wanted.”  He shrugged.

“Yet you still are not happy.”

The man sighed.  “I thought if only I could buy whatever I wanted, then I would be happy.”

“And you aren’t’?”

The man was silent.

“You must be very careful what you wish for.  Sometimes it’s not something you truly want.”  She gave her toothless smile.  “But sometimes it is.  You are a rich man.”  She turned and went back into her cave.

The man left and wandered through the fields.  He stopped by a tree and sank to the ground.  “Money!” he spat out.  “How could I have thought it would make me happy?  This is not what I had in mind.”

Money and sorrow were now forever linked as one in his soul.  Perhaps he could go back to his garden, his cow and chickens.  At least work could take his mind off his sorrows, off his money.   Where was happiness?  Joy was not to be found in money; he had at least learned that.  Contentment, maybe, could be found in the work of his hands.

He was just starting to rise when he heard rustling behind him.  He looked around, and there was his dog, tail wagging.  His dog!  A friend!  The man felt instantly guilty, knowing he had not given the dog a second thought after leaving him with the witch.  Yet, here was this dog, a gift sticking its nose under his arm.  Maybe this is what the witch had meant, a gift to make him rich.  He pulled the dog to him, hugged him and nuzzled his head against the dog’s.  The touch, the willingness of the dog to come close to him, suddenly overwhelmed the man, and he began to shake deep inside.

He felt tears welling up in his eyes.  “No!  No more gold!”  He pushed his hands against his eyes.  Try as he might, he could not stop the tears.  He sobbed and sobbed with grief, rocking back and forth as he held his dog.

Suddenly he stopped.  He rubbed his eyes.  His hands came away wet.  Wet!  Wet tears!  The words of the old witch rang in his ears, and he smiled.  “I am a rich man, indeed.”  He laughed and laughed as the tears of joy ran down his cheeks.  They rolled onto his fingers and he held them up.  Truly, these were tears of gold.

Poor Little Me

Poor little ol’ “me” has been relegated to the geeky and uncool clique. You just never hear it any more. Poor me.

“Me” has long been used as the predicate form of self (that’s how it was invented, and is its purpose). Nowadays, most folks think it’s always appropriate to refer to themselves as “I,” even when it’s not grammatically correct. Maybe it’s the, “When in doubt, use ‘I’” syndrome.

Consider the following:

Standing under the bronze statue, Melissa waited patiently for Sue and me to show up.

Gasp! Did you see that? I’ll repeat it: Standing under the bronze statue, Melissa waited patiently for Sue and me to show up.

Yes, that’s right, I wrote “Sue and me.”

Somewhere in my DNA, combined with my upbringing and education, I became one of those persons to whom grammar and spelling mismanagement are a source of irritation. One of my particular peeves is the misuse of “I” and “me.” I am frankly surprised at the number of people who believe that, when referencing another person and themselves, it is always proper to use “I.” Not so, I tell you.

So here’s the general rule: If you are putting yourself into the subject of the sentence, use “I;” if in the predicate, then use “me.” It is always proper to use “me” at the end of a prepositional phrase, as it is the object of the preposition, and those are always in the predicate.

An easy way to remember this is to leave out the person or persons with whom you’re pairing yourself and say the sentence without them. Here are some examples:

A predicate example: Melissa waited patiently for Sue and me to show up. Take Sue out of the sentence. “Melissa waited for me” sounds right. “Melissa waited for I” does not sound right (and that would be because it isn’t correct). “For me” is a prepositional phrase, and it’s in the predicate, so “me” is the correct word.

Another predicate example: They presented a beautiful bouquet to my husband and me. (…presented a bouquet to “me,” not to “I.”)

One more predicate example: The fire truck raced past my friend and me. (…raced past “me,” not …raced past “I.”)

A subject example: My dog and I splashed around the lakeshore. “I splashed” sounds right. “Me splashed” doesn’t sound right. My dog and I are the subjects of the sentence. It is we who are performing the action, so “I” is the correct word.

I confess, I am unloading here. It has been cathartic, and I thank you for your time.