#Addiction and #Family

The worst thing about #addiction is not a wasted life, nor the collateral damage inflicted upon those around addicts. To be sure, those things are absolutely horrible but they are not the worst. No, the worst thing about addiction is the inability to process a right relationship with God and pass on a chance to go from abandoned by family to belonging in His family.

Addiction of any kind messes with brain function. Since that is the case, no addiction is harmless.

I can remember a conversation with a friend of mine back when my children were very small. I was talking about the things that take time away from our children… necessary time they need from their parents. Her response cut through the noise in my brain to shock me into alternate thinking.

Christine”, she said, “It can be loosing yourself in a book too.”

Somehow I had become addicted to reading.

Yes. Books can be addictive, page turning, time consuming, relationship robbers.

Abandoning my children? …for a book? That was just not gonna happen. I wouldn’t let it.

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For a while I tried to manage my reading time to fill evening hours when the kids were in bed. What I found was that my body needed that sleep time too and a sleep deprived mommy is not a happy, loving mommy.

Coffee was no longer an apt solution either because it too was addictive and draining the net result of which was the softening of my baby’s tooth formation in utero, a leaching of calcium into my blood that was not rightly allocated and serious adrenal crash. Out of necessity, my book reading pretty much stopped even though my love of story still lived…somewhere…deep in my subconscious buried under mountains of laundry.

The pleasure of reading and the savor of caffeine were forced to take a back seat. This is how I fought for my children and expressed love to them though they had no idea what battles waged within my soul.

Here is an excerpt or two from an article in Harvard’s help guide that explains how the brain processes pleasure and what that means in terms of addictive issues. Take special notice of references to reward.

Pleasure principle

The brain registers all pleasures in the same way, whether they originate with a psychoactive drug, a monetary reward, a sexual encounter, or a satisfying meal. In the brain, pleasure has a distinct signature: the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the nucleus accumbens, a cluster of nerve cells lying underneath the cerebral cortex (see illustration). Dopamine release in the nucleus accumbens is so consistently tied with pleasure that neuroscientists refer to the region as the brain’s pleasure center.

All drugs of abuse, from nicotine to heroin, cause a particularly powerful surge of dopamine in the nucleus accumbens. The likelihood that the use of a drug or participation in a rewarding activity will lead to addiction is directly linked to the speed with which it promotes dopamine release, the intensity of that release, and the reliability of that release.

Even taking the same drug through different methods of administration can influence how likely it is to lead to addiction. Smoking a drug or injecting it intravenously, as opposed to swallowing it as a pill, for example, generally produces a faster, stronger dopamine signal and is more likely to lead to drug misuse.

Brain’s Reward Center


Today we recognize addiction as a chronic disease that changes both brain structure and function. Just as cardiovascular disease damages the heart and diabetes impairs the pancreas, addiction hijacks the brain. This happens as the brain goes through a series of changes, beginning with recognition of pleasure and ending with a drive toward compulsive behavior.

Addictive drugs provide a shortcut to the brain’s reward system by flooding the nucleus accumbens with dopamine. The hippocampus lays down memories of this rapid sense of satisfaction, and the amygdala creates a conditioned response to certain stimuli.

According to the current theory about addiction, dopamine interacts with another neurotransmitter, glutamate, to take over the brain’s system of reward-related learning.


Having landed on this page because of a new interest in brain mapping and the effect of stroke on the elderly, my thoughts went in an entirely different direction. Conviction.  I am pretty well convinced that addiction plays a role in childhood abandonment and that I had carried this evil into the parenting of my own children. Silently at times as it operated in my day-to-day choices but also overtly as I tried to teach them the values of things and train them through various reward systems.

God spoke passages of Scripture into my mind that I had not previously associated with addiction. 

The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination and intention of all human thinking was only evil continually.

And the Lord regretted that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved at heart. Genesis 6:5-6 (AMPC)


This talks about addiction because the intention of human thought was only evil continually. Addiction is defined as – a habitual craving despite adverse effects. Consider that addiction used to be associated with alcohol and hard drugs like heroin and cocaine. Now, it is associated with much more:

  • sex
  • too much food
  • too little food
  • self concept
  • video gaming
  • bet oriented gaming
  • accumulation of resources
  • gaining power
  • _______________ insert your own habitual craving here

In the Genesis account, sex, violence, and self governance were the addictions of the day. Today, money, success and power seem to be the addictions of choice. To which God says,

13 No servant is able to serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will stand by and be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon (riches, or[a]anything in which you trust and on which you rely). Luke 16:13 (AMPC)

It appears that you cannot serve God and be devoted to an addictive substance, thing or behavior.

Here in Romans and Thessalonians, Paul describes the “series of changes” associated with addiction based living as well as its source.

  28 And so, since they did not see fit to acknowledge God or approve of Him or consider Him worth the knowing, God gave them over to a base and condemned mind to do things not proper or decent but loathsome,

29 Until they were filled (permeated and saturated) with every kind of unrighteousness, iniquity, grasping and covetous greed, and malice. [They were] full of envy and jealousy, murder, strife, deceit and treachery, ill will and cruel ways. [They were] secret backbiters and gossipers,

30 Slanderers, hateful to and hating God, full of insolence, arrogance, [and] boasting; inventors of new forms of evil, disobedient and  undutiful to parents.

31 [They were] without understanding, conscienceless and faithless, heartless and loveless [and] merciless.

32 Though they are fully aware of God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve to die, they not only do them themselves but approve and applaud others who practice them. Romans 1:28-32 (AMPC)


  11 Therefore God sends upon them a misleading influence, a working of error and a strong delusion to make them believe what is false,

12 In order that all may be judged and condemned who did not believe in [who refused to adhere to, trust in, and rely on] the Truth, but [instead] took pleasure in unrighteousness.

13 But we, brethren beloved by the Lord, ought and are obligated [as those who are in debt] to give thanks always to God for you, because God chose you from the beginning [a]as His firstfruits (first converts) for salvation through the sanctifying work of the [Holy] Spirit and [your] belief in (adherence to, trust in, and reliance on) the Truth. 2 Thessalonians 2:11-13 (AMPC)

Addictions hijack the the brain’s reward process as it was made to function and deceives humanity into thinking that they have rebuilt the rewards system to their own best interests. Hidden within the man-made construct is the voracious, destructive power of addiction. What we accepted as good morphs into the most vile of evils and the person we knew ourselves to be disappears. It is a heartless way to live.

Addictions can render similar damage to brain tissues that strokes do in the areas of memory, motivation, and the reward process. While strokes silently kill brain tissue by cutting off blood supply overtly or covertly, addictions kill off brain function by the loud or silent choices we make based on the rewards we desire and the dopamine we get from them.

Rewards are important. They are useful in parenting successfully so we want our children to establish a good understanding of cause and effect; a love for effort and reward. The reward concept is also pivotal in our relationship to God.

Because of faith Enoch was caught up and transferred to heaven, so that he did not have a glimpse of death; and he was not found, because God had translated him. For even before he was taken to heaven, he received testimony [still on record] that he had pleased and been satisfactory to God.

But without faith it is impossible to please and be satisfactory to Him. For whoever would come near to God must [necessarily] believe that God exists and that He is the rewarder of those who earnestly and diligently seek Him [out]. Hebrews 11:5-6 (AMPC)

Listen, Friends. YOU MUST believe that God is a rewarder of those who earnestly seek Him. Proper functioning of the reward center in our brains is essential to living the life Jesus died and conquered death to give us … a life full of joy in God’s presence.

Harvard says recovery from addiction is possible. So does God. Let’s take a look at what each has to say.

“It is not enough to “just say no”—as the 1980s slogan suggested. Instead, you can protect (and heal) yourself from addiction by saying “yes” to other things. Cultivate diverse interests that provide meaning to your life. Understand that your problems usually are transient, and perhaps most importantly, acknowledge that life is not always supposed to be pleasurable.”

Adapted with permission from the Harvard Mental Health Letter and Overcoming Addiction: Paths toward recovery, a special health report published by Harvard Health Publications.

And God says…

1. Cultivate diverse interests:

  Do nothing from factional motives [through contentiousness, strife, selfishness, or for unworthy ends] or prompted by conceit and empty arrogance. Instead, in the true spirit of humility (lowliness of mind) let each regard the others as better than and superior to himself [thinking more highly of one another than you do of yourselves].

Let each of you esteem and look upon and be concerned for not [merely] his own interests, but also each for the interests of others.

Let this same attitude and purpose and [humble] mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus: [Let Him be your example in humility:] Philippians 2:3-5 (AMPC)


11 Cast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days.

Give a portion to seven, yes, even [divide it] to eight, for you know not what evil may come upon the earth. //In the morning sow your seed, and in the evening withhold not your hands, for you know not which shall prosper, whether this or that, or whether both alike will be good. Ecclesiastes 11:1-2,6(AMPC)

2.Understand that your problems are usually transient

16 Therefore we do not become discouraged (utterly spiritless, exhausted, and wearied out through fear). Though our outer man is [progressively] decaying and wasting away, yet our inner self is being [progressively] renewed day after day.

17 For our light, momentary affliction (this slight distress of the passing hour) is ever more and more abundantly preparing and producing and achieving for us an everlasting weight of glory [beyond all measure, excessively surpassing all comparisons and all calculations, a vast and transcendent glory and blessedness never to cease!],

18 Since we consider and look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen; for the things that are visible are temporal (brief and fleeting), but the things that are invisible are deathless and everlasting. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (AMPC)

3. Acknowledge that life is not always supposed to be pleasurable

 37 He who loves [and [a]takes more pleasure in] father or mother more than [in] Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves [and takes more pleasure in] son or daughter more than [in] Me is not worthy of Me; Matthew 10:37(AMPC)


22 As for what was sown among thorns, this is he who hears the Word, but the cares of the world and the pleasure and delight and glamour and deceitfulness of riches choke and suffocate the Word, and it yields no fruit. Matthew 13:22 (AMPC)


10 So for the sake of Christ, I am well pleased and take pleasure in infirmities, insults, hardships, persecutions, perplexities and distresses; for when I am weak [[a]in human strength], then am I [truly] strong (able, powerful [b]in divine strength). 2 Corinthians 12:10 (AMPC)

So let’s consider the rewards of the LORD and fight for better brain function. Here is one that addresses the issue of being abandoned:

  God places the solitary in families and gives the desolate a home in which to dwell; He leads the prisoners out to prosperity; but the rebellious dwell in a parched land. Psalm 68:6(AMPC)


I am forever grateful that my family’s addictions and the resulting abandonment that invaded my life and that of my own children’s lives is not the end of our story. Recovery IS possible.

God makes addiction recovery possible.

The best thing about addiction recovery is the ability to process a right relationship with God and the joy that sprouts from belonging to His family.

Got Storms? Consider the LORD.


















Advance without warning











Waves Rage

The Rock




Our Rock

Most High

All Powerful






Works Wonders



The Lord Delivers Men from Manifold Troubles.

107 Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good,
For His loving kindness is everlasting.
Let the redeemed of the Lord say so,
Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the adversary
And gathered from the lands,
From the east and from the west,
From the north and from the [

They wandered in the wilderness in a [b]desert region;
They did not find a way to [
c]an inhabited city.
They were hungry [d]and thirsty;
Their soul fainted within them.
Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble;
He delivered them out of their distresses.
He led them also by a [e]straight way,
To go to [
f]an inhabited city.
Let them give thanks to the Lord for His loving kindness,
And for His [
g]wonders to the sons of men!
For He has satisfied the [h]thirsty soul,
And the hungry soul He has filled with what is good.

10 There were those who dwelt in darkness and in the shadow of death,
Prisoners in [
i]misery and [j]chains,
11 Because they had rebelled against the words of God
And spurned the counsel of the Most High.
12 Therefore He humbled their heart with labor;
They stumbled and there was none to help.
13 Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble;
He saved them out of their distresses.
14 He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death
And broke their bands apart.
15 Let them give thanks to the Lord for His loving kindness,
And for His [
k]wonders to the sons of men!
16 For He has shattered gates of bronze
And cut bars of iron asunder.

17 Fools, because of [l]their rebellious way,
And because of their iniquities, were afflicted.
18 Their soul abhorred all kinds of food,
And they drew near to the gates of death.
19 Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble;
He saved them out of their distresses.
20 He sent His word and healed them,
And delivered 
them from their [m] destructions.
21 Let them give thanks to the Lord for His loving kindness,
And for His [
n]wonders to the sons of men!
22 Let them also offer sacrifices of thanksgiving,
And tell of His works with joyful singing.


23 Those who go down to the sea in ships,
Who do business on great waters;
24 They have seen the works of the Lord,
And His [
o]wonders in the deep.
25 For He spoke and raised up a stormy wind,
Which lifted up the waves [
p]of the sea.
26 They rose up to the heavens, they went down to the depths;
Their soul melted away in 
their misery.
27 They reeled and staggered like a drunken man,
And [
q]were at their wits’ end.
28 Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
And He brought them out of their distresses.

29 He caused the storm to be still,
So that the waves [
r]of the sea were hushed.
30 Then they were glad because they were quiet,
So He guided them to their desired haven.
31 Let them give thanks to the Lord for His loving kindness,
And for His [
s]wonders to the sons of men!
32 Let them extol Him also in the congregation of the people,
And praise Him at the seat of the elders.

33 He [t]changes rivers into a [u]wilderness
And springs of water into a thirsty ground;
34 A fruitful land into a salt waste,
Because of the wickedness of those who dwell in it.
35 He [v]changes a [w]wilderness into a pool of water
And a dry land into springs of water;
36 And there He makes the hungry to dwell,
So that they may establish [
x]an inhabited city,
37 And sow fields and plant vineyards,
And [
y]gather a fruitful harvest.
38 Also He blesses them and they multiply greatly,
And He does not let their cattle decrease.

39 When they are diminished and bowed down
Through oppression, misery and sorrow,
40 He pours contempt upon [z]princes
And makes them wander in a pathless waste.
41 But He sets the needy [aa]securely on high away from affliction,
And makes 
his families like a flock.
42 The upright see it and are glad;
But all unrighteousness shuts its mouth.
43 Who is wise? Let him give heed to these things,
And consider the loving kindnesses of the Lord. Psalm 107 (NASB)

Compassionately Challenged

Compassion challenged? Me too.

One of the consequences of emotional abandonment during childhood is perpetually sorting out things like compassion. You know…that trait all of humanity is called upon to express during global catastrophe – hurricane damage, or famine,  for example- or national traditions like Thanksgiving ripe with donation campaigns, or whatever the latest do-gooder trend happens to be.

I have found that I care, I just don’t care like I’m expected to. Sorting out an intangible word like compassion can be difficult. The concept of being mindful of someone else’s needs requires huge amounts of attention and energy… energy I don’t always have available.

This is true for the abandoned person because compassion has not been modelled nor encouraged. Self preservation emotionally and sometimes physically has been the primary focus for a very long time.

Though compassion can be a learned skill set, even a practiced skill, the abandoned person who suffered this neglect in childhood will …this side of heaven…need repeat mentoring  and encouragement in the area of compassion. One day we wake up and discover that we want to employ compassionate actions ( like have children of our own) and we fumble miserably through our attempts to express compassion appropriately when left to our own devices.

Some well meaning person may call us out for apparent neglect of our community. Then BAM! Suddenly this compassion thing has a value we never knew existed and we have no clue how to accomplish what is required.

Because a new skill set has precious value, efforts are made to gain mastery and to continue on in this new adventure. To the now grown person previously abandoned – currently in healthy relationships or not- these efforts that seem like a “well, DUH!” situation to everyone else are in reality a huge and embarrassing , “I don’t get it.”

Every effort at compassion is fought for; fought for like the Revolutionary War. Little by little small skirmishes strategically converge and we pray to God for a battle victory and ground we can hold onto.

Though compassion is a big deal to me, it is not a big deal to God. Read that slowly. Compassion is not a big deal to God. Compassion is mentioned 41 times in all of Scripture. Charity a mere 28 times. Compare this with the word “mercy” that gets a whopping 276 mentions. So which concept do you think God wants to be sure we understand? If you said “mercy”, we are agreed.

When it comes to the word “compassion”, it’s like God said, “This is compassion. This is how you work it. Do it. I’m done talking about it.”

Wordpress banner compassCOMPASSION:

H2550-chamal:- to commiserate;by implication, to spare ( This is the same compassion the princess of Egypt had on Moses when she drew him up out if the water.)

H7355-  raw-kham  :- to fondle; by implication, to love, to have compassion on

H7356- Racham:- compassion in the plural; by extension, the womb ( as cherishing the unborn baby)

H7349- Racham:- full of compassion, merciful

Greek 4697- splagchnizomai:- to have the bowels yearn;  to have sympathy or pity

G1653- eleeo:- to be compassionate ( by word or deed, specifically by Divine grace)

G3356- metriopatheo -to be moderate in passion; gentle, to treat indulgently

G4834- sympathetic:- to feel sympathy for; to commiserate

G4835- sumpathes:-having a fellow feeling; mutually commiserate

So here’s a few things God’s word tells me about compassion that I can use in realigning my relationships from unhealthy to healthy:

  • The birth of the Hebrew Nation through Abraham and the promise of a homeland began with an abandoned child upon whom God poured out His compassion — Ezekiel 16:5 and the same is true of Moses in Exodus 2:6
  • Anger does not allow compassion — Deuteronomy 13:17
  • Loving (holding onto) what God condemns prevents Him from showing compassion to us — Deuteronomy
  • When you and your children return to God and obey Him with your whole heart THEN God will show His compassion to His people
  • Acts of compassion are evidence of God’s blessing — 1Samuel 23:21
  • Compassion is shown by outsiders (Captors) to God’s people by God’s answer to pleading prayers simply because those pleading belong to Him. –2 Chronicles 30:9
  • God’s compassion is motivated by covenant relationship — 2 Kings 13:23
  • God sends His Word to His people because He is compassionate — 2Chronicles 36:15-19
  • The result of compassion is the active remembrance of God’s wonders — Psalm 111:4
  • The “light” of the people of God in the darkness is composed of 1) grace, 2) compassion, & 3)righteousness — Psalm 112:4
  • Compassion is made up of 1) being slow to anger, 2) exercising great mercy — Psalm 145:8
  • A mother can forget compassion but God does not — Isaiah 49:15
  • The compassion of God brings people from the yucky places they are to the wonderful places they should be — Jeremiah 12:15
  • God can cause grief and yet have compassion — Lamentations 3:32
  • God’s compassion conquers our iniquities and casts our sins into the sea — Micah 7:19

These are amazing truths of the old Testament that are just as true today. Compassion is not as daunting as I thought. How can it be when , by definition, God does all the hard stuff?

Live blessed dear children of abandonment. God does not abandon children or the adults they grow up to be. His words and deeds prove that we are cherished beyond all the pain and struggles we experience.

Compassion challenged? Maybe. But God is not…ever. We are so blessed that we don’t have to be compassionate on our own. God helps us whenever we ask Him to be compassionate in word and deed according to His will, His covenant, and His Great mercy. Compassion challenged? Maybe. But God is not…ever.

Routine Brings a Harvest of Joy

Bible reading brings joy to our Sabbath morning routine… after waking, we greet the world that God made, change diapers, get dressed, read the Bible, then have breakfast. One grandchild or both get to pick a passage to read. Little Myla chose Psalm 67 this morning.

For the choir director; with stringed instruments. A Psalm. A Song.

67 God be gracious to us and bless us,
And cause His face to shine [a]upon us— [b]Selah.
That Your way may be known on the earth,
Your salvation among all nations.
Let the peoples praise You, O God;
Let all the peoples praise You.
Let the nations be glad and sing for joy;
For You will judge the peoples with uprightness
And guide the nations on the earth. Selah.
Let the peoples praise You, O God;
Let all the peoples praise You.
The earth has yielded its produce;
God, our God, blesses us.
God blesses us,
c]That all the ends of the earth may fear Him. Psalm 67 (NASB)

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I reflected on how the LORD has blessed me as I read God’s Word to my granddaughter.


One blessing is our grape harvest. Our family can relate to that bit about harvest; The waiting, the hoping, the fulfillment, the processing, and finally the lasting results.

I was struck by the fact that blessing happens for a reason… several actually

  • that God’s ways would be known on earth and
  • that God’s salvation would be known among all nations
  • that all the ends of the earth would fear (reverence) Him
After harvest, we thank the vines by giving nutrients back...things that get depleted fast.
After harvest, we thank the vines by giving nutrients back…things that get depleted fast here in the Pacific Northwest.

If our little vineyard and its equally small harvest could bring to God more people who know him and more people who know his salvation that would be awesome. I am currently learning about viticultural practices and wine making so that I can write well about these truly amazing things and share with others the truths we all can learn from them. Please do pray for that writing effort… but I’m getting lost in thought about only one blessing – harvest. There is another.



Correction. There are many blessings. However, there is one other blessing that my thoughts wandered to today…my birth and my family.

God sent me to live with a mother who disowned me several times and treated me like I was never her child for reasons that defy logic. My daddy left when I was five and never returned. Rejected and abandoned as far as primary earthly relationships are concerned, I am happy to report that my other blessing is the exact opposite. Though I was abandoned emotionally and physically, God said yes to being my friend. Not only did He become my closest friend, He calls me His precious daughter and set me in a family that loves me too. That is a HUGE praise. (Praise is another reason God pours out His blessing on us.)

In a couple weeks I will attend a Ladies Tea. Requested of each attendee is the sharing of a favorite verse, one that has meant a lot to the person sharing. Since I love so much of Scripture I was having difficulty deciding which passage to choose.

Today my decision is final. This is the one I will take with me:

The Privileges of Citizenship in Zion.

A Psalm of the sons of Korah. A Song.

87 His foundation is in the holy mountains.
The Lord loves the gates of Zion
More than all the 
other dwelling places of Jacob.
Glorious things are spoken of you,
O city of God. [
“I shall mention [b]Rahab and Babylon [c]among those who know Me;
Behold, Philistia and Tyre with [
‘This one was born there.’”
5 But of Zion it shall be said, “This one and that one were born in her”;
And the Most High Himself will establish her.

The Lord will count when He registers the peoples,
“This one was born there.” Selah.
Then those who sing as well as those who [e]play the flutes shall say,
“All my springs of joy are in you.”  Psalm 87(NASB)

That is me to a T.  All my joy sprouts from God’s claiming me as His own. My birth into God’s family is precious and lasting. My citizenship is in the city of God that is above whose gates the LORD loves. With Abraham I am looking forward to going home and being welcomed by the LORD Himself. By faith abandonment will no longer have power over me.

Bible reading is so much more than routine. It is a blessing. Lord willing, it will result in a great harvest for you and for me. Happy Sabbath!




Forgive Him?

(This post is re-published from  Brought About  July 28, 2013. #Forgiveness is a skill set worth training ourselves to master because real healing is worth it.)

Jesus teaches we should forgive anyone, forgive them anything, even forgive them for the same offense as many times as they ask for it (Matthew 18: 21,22).

There is a human teaching that says we (the Christian community anyway) are supposed to forgive anyone, anything, any time, even if they are not there and do not ask. I most certainly and with much intensity of heart do not agree. Before you blow off that thought please consider that to do so degrades everyone and relegates attempts at justice to the level of a bad joke. Rather, the Word of God, the Truth, teaches us to love justice, to walk tall before, during, and after an offense.The Lord’s solutions take into consideration every contingency.

I think God created his creatures to deal with a ‘right’ and a ‘wrong’ no mater what culture one comes from, generation one belongs to, or which community one lives in.

My own dilemma: Should I forgive Dad for leaving and then abandoning me when I was little. He wasn’t around. Should I hate him for the rest of my life?

Image result for law clipart

As I watch people, I see the burden and twisting of life that can occur when humans set themselves up as judge, jury, bailiff, and armed guard simultaneously, ready to escort the wrongdoer to experience the justice they so deserve. I see those who long for justice and get nothing except a toxic bitterness where healing balm should be.

It is important to note that forgiveness can and cannot do certain things. Forgiveness does not equal: making justice disappear, does not dissolve consequences, does not forget events or the pain received from them, nor abandon the truth.  Forgiveness does accept the reality of each event, cleans and refreshes my heart, converts my attitude from hostile to friendly, and sets my own heart free.

How do I forgive without making justice a joke?

Let God be God and leave room for his loving me, His clear view of the whole picture, and His administration of any punishment that needs to occur.

Then wait in a way that is active. Declare indictments. Be honest. Point out to certain persons the truth of a situation. Warn them concerning a particular error. Listen well. Adjust my own perspective if needed.

Do I? Not half so much as I would like or think is necessary but the point is that I can declare these things out loud and still be right with God.

God does not teach us to be doormats. There are right ways and wrong ways to do this, however, and distorting proper procedure here is often the cause of a sullied relationship with God, even with people.

Here is Biblical guidance on the subject:

Romans 12:17-21 (AMP)

17 Repay no one evil for evil, but take thought for what is honest and proper and noble [aiming to be above reproach] in the sight of everyone.

18 If possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave the way open for [God’s] wrath; for it is written, Vengeance is Mine, I will repay (requite), says the Lord.

20 But if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals upon his head.

21 Do not let yourself be overcome by evil, but overcome (master) evil with good.

Wordpress banner compassShall I pardon or acquit? Will it help if I bang the gavel and pronounce the punishment? These tasks belong to the True Judge. When I train myself to appeal to God for his judgment on the matter at hand, the people involved, and the impact of decisions, I experience peace … with myself and with God. How often? As often as these come to mind.

Incidentally, Dad called one afternoon when I was all grown up and had children of my own. His heart, choked with emotion, spoke, “Honey, I’m sorry for our un-family.”

My first reaction was That’s all I get!?! but training in forgiveness was applied. “Dad, I forgive you.” With this reply our relationship healed in both directions. Real healing is the best kind of healing and worth the wait.

Deeds Digested and Dealt With

What we do…our daily deeds…  go through an intake and outlet process much like the complete process of digestion. Waste is dealt with in such a fashion as to be totally rid of it and ready for the rest of life. Have you potty trained your deeds?

Some  deeds going in can be worthless though. I am learning that one can still engage in good deeds from a genuine, heart-felt intention (eat spiritual food), complete the deed as it goes through the gut (doing what we hear God telling us to do in His Word) and explode on the other end (excrete spiritual things not useful for the buillding up the body) without assimilating the benficial nutrients Galatians 5:222 Peter 1:5-9 ). Think underweight. Think malnourished…Christianity.

My first and incredibly despairing thought:  There goes a life of doing good and desiring to live righteously…right down the toilet! There is no benefit to anyone in that.

Nutrition (the wonders of God in every time and person)should stick — redeemed, delivered, forgiven, blessed — but sometimes it doesn’t.  And it is what we do in relation to who God is that impacts that. Matthew 18:5; Mark 9:37, Mark 16:17; John 5:43, John 14:11-14.

We cannot gain salvation by what we do BUT what we do does matter. We show our faith by what we do. We even proclaim our friendship with God by what we do every day — that mundane spiritual maintenance eating (hearing the Word), excreting(confessing and getting rid of sin) , and cleansing (renewing our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus) stuff that is common to us all).

15 To the pure [in heart and conscience] all things are pure, but to the defiled and corrupt and unbelieving nothing is pure; their very minds and consciences are defiled and polluted.

16 They profess to know God [to recognize, perceive, and be acquainted with Him], but deny and disown and renounce Him by what they do; they are detestable and loathsome, unbelieving and disobedient and disloyal and rebellious, and [they are] unfit and worthless for good work (deed or enterprise) of any kind. Titus 1:15-16 (AMP)


 How do we distinguish the real sons of God from those who only talk as if they are? By examining what people do and specifically by evaluating who they align with…who they give credit to for good things accomplished.  Think about the stool sample the doctor requires annually… excrement is examined to determine health. As gross as that is, It is a wonderful part of science.

10 For we are God’s [own] handiwork (His workmanship), [a]recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us [taking paths which He prepared ahead of time], that we should walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live].  Ephesians 2:10 (AMP)

 This is the truth: the wonderful things we think we think up and accomplish happen only because God makes them happen. God went ahead of each person, got everything ready, led us all to the perfect situation, the right moment, then helped each one to get their work done.

So you finish this wonderful, kind thing and feel good about who you are as a person. When you get thanked by the object of your efforts you feel even better. Now what do you say? You have an opportunity to give attribution.  Do you?

I could be wrong, but I would make a guess that whatever you choose to say totally ignores how involved in every detail the LORD of all was from that  first moment to the last.

Why? Well, that would just be awkward. It sounds weird… fanatical, self-righteous and if kept up, may repel people. In my experience, previous attempts have not been received well so I gave it up altogether.

Then I heard this…

“They don’t walk the talk.”  It’s a Churchy phrase that generally means someone is not acting on what they say they believe. Paul advises Titus to silence these posers and all say-one-thing-do-another kind of people adding that in order to effect a positive change he must, “rebuke them sharply.” 

 At this point  an urge was felt , conviction made my body ache and I found myself thinking,  O CRAP! I hardly ever give God the credit he deserves in my life. 

Like a little child potty training on the pot for the first time trying to make my body function on command, I think, “What if I tried really hard to do good , wouldn’t that extra push be good enough?” Nope. The grunt matters too. What we say when we do what we are supposed to do matters quite a bit actually. The deed by itself is simply normal function. No big deal.

What’s the difference between a kind deed that counts and a kind deed that doesn’t? To be clear, both situations occur.

God has set up good deeds for me to do. When I don’t acknowledge him in those deeds, don’t thank him for them or both, I deny/disown him. God’s proper decisive judgment is to reject my deed. It effectively becomes a dead work … excrement from which I must be cleansed  in order to move on in the freedom and blessing he longs to give me.  I set myself up for a Divine purge. Who wants a non-nutritional spirit suffering the effects of deed diarrhea?Think about the way a detox protocol cleans the gut. The toilet gets more than you do.

Nobody wants to be stuck in the bathroom of life. We want to be doing stuff, having fun, and going places. We also want to be affirmed, needed, and enjoy  our rightful place in a peaceful, loving community. One solution is to be mindful of proper attribution but along with that to actually be vocal about giving God glory for each act.

17 For in the Gospel a righteousness which God ascribes is revealed, both springing from faith and leading to faith [disclosed through the way of faith that arouses to more faith]. As it is written, The man who through faith is just and upright shall live and shall live by faith. Romans 1:17 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC)

Faith to faith . Potty stop to potty stop.

It may be awkward, but I’m going to try something. I want to find ways to respond to the grateful, to those who work with me to help accomplish tasks made ready for us, and those to whom my efforts are directed, in a way that owns up to the reality of God who actually did the work…and do it in a way that makes everyone smile…even my Heavenly Father  who is active in my deed training.

 Daddy, I’m all done! Pooped.  Wiped clean. Flushed. Got off the pot.  Hands washed, dried  and ready to play. 

Just a Thought: Who Measures Out Forgiveness?

Just a thought about forgiveness. Have you ever considered that it’s not our place at all to measure out forgiveness? Is that too contrary a thought for you to consider?

I hear many things about forgiveness. Each declaration made as if it were from the mouth of God, fitting for all who would listen. That deserves a challenge. Indeed it’s begging for one.

Blind forgiveness tramples on the hearts of the hurting and the justice of an Almighty God. It is a reckless and unloving way of living which gives birth to more wrong-doing. Whereas properly executed forgiveness is a life-giving treasure.

32 Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving [5483] each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven [a]you. Ephesians 4:32 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

What does forgiveness mean?

There is more than one word for it. Even in the same passage, concordances disagree. ( I hate it when that happens!!) One says it is to grant a pardon. Another says it is to hand over into custody. Who is right? I will go with the latter because it fits with what the rest of Scripture says about God and people. On the desk today is “the Strongest Strong’s” published by Zondervan and I really like its computer generated content.

Ephesians 4:32 uses Strong’s number 5483 – charizomai:- to give grace; to forgive, cancel (a debt); to hand over into custody.

Forgiveness and judgment walk together. In order to forgive one must decide not only the details of the offense (a debt being a legal, contractual matter) but also how to respond to that offense appropriately for all concerned. Judgment comes into play. Paul cautions us not to judge anything before the appointed time –

I am not conscious of anything against myself, and I feel blameless; but I am not vindicated and acquitted before God on that account. It is the Lord [Himself] Who examines and judges me.

So do not make any hasty or premature judgments before the time when the Lord comes [again], for He will both bring to light the secret things that are [now hidden] in darkness and disclose and expose the [secret] aims (motives and purposes) of hearts. Then every man will receive his [due] commendation from God.

Now I have applied all this [about parties and factions] to myself and Apollos for your sakes, brethren, so that from what I have said of us [as illustrations], you may learn [to think of men in accordance with Scripture and] not to go beyond that which is written, that none of you may be puffed up and inflated with pride and boast in favor of one [minister and teacher] against another. 1 Corinthians 4:4-6 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC)

So what do we do?Wordpress banner compass

Only God is the judge. Although humanity loves to judge things and people, when it comes to details, the whole story and the secret matters of the soul, only God can judge and He does. Humans do not, nor have they ever had, the authority to grant a pardon. Jesus does. God does. We do not.

Properly speaking, we pray (talk to God about the whole thing), handing the offender over to the custody of God for His decision in the matter. God decides what happens in the Spiritual realm and makes it so in the earthly realm.

Paul handed one sex offender and two blasphemers over to Satan in the presence of God. I can just imagine the earthly view of  this spiritual war veteran on his knees in a small gathering of close knit ministers of the Gospel taking care of business. The heavenly view of the same moment includes this band of earthly prayer warriors bowing down before God’s throne speaking in turn about the people of Corinth, begging for the Kingdom of God to be upheld and advanced. When God speaks they rise and are filled with the boldness only He can give.

In the name of our Lord Jesus, when you are assembled, and [a]I with you in spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus, I have decided to deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord [b]Jesus.

Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough? 1 Corinthians 5:4-6 New American Standard Bible (NASB)


18 This command I entrust to you, Timothy, my [a]son, in accordance with the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you fight the good fight, 19 keeping faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and suffered shipwreck in regard to [b]their faith. 20 [c]Among these are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan, so that they will be taught not to blaspheme. 1 Timothy 1:18-20 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

I hear all kinds of things about forgiveness that impart the flavor of bland mush to the Christian life. In reality it is anything but bland. It’s not blind either. True forgiveness is totally in the service of God, for the working out of His purposes, according to His will.

Unfortunately, forgiveness is the go-to word when a wrong committed is shared within a Christian community. “oh,but you have to forgive ….” Oh no I don’t. God can forgive them if He wants to after I completely lay out my case before His throne…just like Paul did. As I make the effort to release them into God’s custody (sometimes moment by moment as often as the heavy, angry, energy draining thoughts come ) I am in effect leaving room for God’s wrath. When I take matters into my own hands and deliver my own judgment, I am actually getting in the way of God’s effective handling of the situation. Paul would not consider the custody of a soul, any soul, a trivial matter to be handled by men alone. No, he made sure he was in the presence of God Himself acting and choosing according to His master’s will.

“But doesn’t the Bible say you have to forgive? Shouldn’t I forgive 70 times 7 times?” Yes.

That word “forgive” in Matthew 18 is a different word. Strong’s number 863 – aphiēmi:- to forgive, pardon, remit, cancel; to leave, abandon; to allow, permit, tolerate

Note that both words contain the idea of dealing with a debt, payment of something owed. It is interesting that the definition of “remit” is to cancel or refrain from exacting or inflicting (a debt or punishment). When I refrain, God steps in. That’s how it should work. That’s how it DOES work.

The idea here in Matthew is to leave the situation and the people in such a way as to abandon the debt in terms of your heart (Matthew 18:35). Your heart is to be free, totally free of everything ugly regarding the wrong committed against you. We accomplish that by handing both the situation and the people involved over to the custody of the One True Judge. It is then that we can live in fullness of life even though things around us are still difficult.

In my own life, this practice of forgiveness has at one time produced immediate freedom. And in another instance I remained under a cloud of distress for a long time until God pointed out certain truths about the people involved. I felt so free. It was awesome!

So, have you considered who should measure out forgiveness? What have you decided?

’Tis the Season for Glory

Tis the Season. Halloween costumes and Fall decorations compete for retail space. School buses have joined the morning commute. Clubs in every age group are settling into their routines and recruitment strategies. Golf and baseball are being replaced by football. Vacation plans are giving way to weekend parties and considerations for the holidays soon upon us all.

Here on the Key, dragon flies swoop upon plentiful mosquito prey at twilight like iridescent aerial acrobats. They are in competition with our spidy friends who have taken to draping their almost invisible webs from one summer lawn chair to the next. Termites dance through changing air temperatures only to shed their wings and reduce stacked wood to a maze of sawdust tunnels.

Tis the season. Survey companies desperate to ask questions and and gear up for holiday marketing compete for your listening ear with those pleading for donations to their own precious and absolutely necessary causes. Politics are winding up for their last ditch media blitzes and phone campaigns, not just to get your vote, but to persuade anyone who will listen that they and their party have what it takes to solve all your educational, economic, social and health care problems.

People are moving. Technology is advancing. Income is shrinking. Working is hard. Life is changing.

Or is it?

In the micro sense it is but in the larger sense there is nothing new under the sun … or under the clouds that hide the sun from view.

The purpose of every God-fearing person on our planet since day six is the praise of God’s glory. Naming the critters, tending the garden, marriage relationships, the process of atonement, all these need to bring God praise to be of any value. My life would include everything to do with my husband, my children, my social gatherings, my vineyard tending and wine making, my yarn crafting, my wood burning, my income raisers, giving to those in need, my grocery shopping…my writing; Each moment of each activity I engage in has the goal of praising God’s glory.

Wordpress banner compass 11 In Him also we have [a]received an inheritance [a destiny—we were claimed by God as His own], having been predestined (chosen, appointed beforehand) according to the purpose of Him who works everything in agreement with the counsel and design of His will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ [who first put our confidence in Him as our Lord and Savior] would exist to the praise of His glory.13 In Him, you also, when you heard the word of truth, the good news of your salvation, and [as a result] believed in Him, were stamped with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit [the One promised by Christ] as owned and protected [by God]. 14 The Spirit is the [b]guarantee [the first installment, the pledge, a foretaste] of our inheritance until the redemption of God’s own [purchased] possession [His believers], to the praise of His glory. Ephesians 1:11-14 Amplified Bible (AMP)

This passages explains the why (received an inheritance, claimed by God as His own, especially chosen according to God’s will and purpose) and how (heard the word of truth, believed, appointed, stamped and sealed, owned and protected) of our existence. Let’s talk about the what. What were we created for? What purpose does mankind have in this infinitely more powerful universe?

Exist to the praise …

Strong’s number 1868 – epainos:- praise, commendation ( from 1909 + 136 – on, over when; on, at, while; across, over, on, to, for, while + praise ~speaking of the excellence of someone or something From 1866, 1867, 1868 – commend in the past or in the current moment, and together with 3867 – to warn, urge)

…of His glory

Strong’s number 1391 – doxa:- glory, splendor, brilliance, from the base meaning of the awesome light that radiates from God’s presence and is associated with His acts of power; honor, praise, speaking of words of excellence and assigning highest status to God.

Ahhh… speaking of the excellence of words, I looked up the excellent word, “commend” at dictionary.com. Here is the notation:




verb (used with object)

1. to present, mention, or praise as worthy of confidence, notice, kindness, etc; recommend: to commend a friend to another; to commend an applicant for employment

2. to entrust; give in charge; deliver with confidence: I commend my child to your care.

3. to cite or name with approval or special praise: to commend a soldier for bravery.

4. Feudal law. To place (oneself or one’s land) under another’s protection so as to become his vassal.

5. Archaic. To recommend (a person) to the kind remembrance of another.

The art of commending belongs in relationships. In relationships, I can bring praise to God’s glory by

  • Acknowledging that his ways are the best ways (Conflict Management)
  • Allowing Him to create in me a clean heart (Setting priorities of change)
  • Being impartial in my judgments towards myself and others (Keeping it real)
  • Using the tools He has provided (mouth, hands eyes, ears) to obey His words (physical self-control)
  • Seeking out and utilizing opportunities to talk about things He’s done (Conversational self-control)
    • Creation
    • Deliverance
    • Provision
    • Guidance
  • Expressing my pleasure in belonging to Him (Personal confidence)
  • Expressing my pleasure in who He made me to be (Loving myself)
  • Expressing my pleasure in who He made others to be ( Loving my neighbors)
  • Practicing thankfulness for everything, great and small (Attitude management)
  • Reminding myself that I am weak but He is strong ( Proper Perspective)
  • Reminding myself who The Lord is (Proper Attribution)

It’s always the season to bring glory to the LORD and yet bringing Him praise changes just as much as the garden evidences changes every so often in our little corner of the world. We simply bring about a change on purpose in whatever we say or do to commend excellence in ourselves and others but most of all in the mighty power of a mighty God who loves us so very much.  Sometimes I find that I need to gear up for words that bring praise to God’s glory just like I gear up for each season.


Tis the season. The season for glory.

Father God, help us to gear up. Amen

Power: It’s a God thing


Power. It’s a crazy thing. Everyone wants a piece of that alluring pie. We are trained to value leaders and that climbing the ladder is what we should be aiming for; Less grunt work and more of the CEO paycheck. But God has given us the power to be his servants. Matthew 20:24-26, Mark 10:41-43  , Luke 22:24-26

We don’t say we want power we say something more like …

Who Is Greatest?

24 Now a dispute also arose among them as to which of them was regarded to be the greatest. 25 Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles have absolute power and lord it over them; and those in authority over them are called ‘Benefactors.’ 26 But it is not to be this way with you; on the contrary, the one who is the greatest among you must become like the youngest [and least privileged], and the [one who is the] leader, like the servant. Luke 22:24-26 Amplified Bible (AMP)

What?! Aren’t servants powerless? Emphasis on the “less” part?

Not in God’s view of our tiny lives and minuscule existence. Power doesn’t come from the servant who is just clay to begin with, it is imparted from the master to the servant. The servant uses power that is not his own to do the master’s bidding.

What is a servant? Strong’s # 1401 – doulos:- servant, slave; In the NT a person owned as a possession for various lengths of time ( Hebrew slaves no more than seven years, Gentile slaves without time limit) of lower social status than free persons or masters; slaves could earn or purchase their freedom.

I lived as a servant for awhile. Servitude required a change of mindset and that took more oomph than I possessed. I absolutely had to ask God for His power to accomplish tasks in my day and to arrive at the end of the day with smiles. He granted me the power and I arrived back home safe and sane. Praise God!

What has God given the apostles power to do?

What has God given elders the power to do?

  • Direct the affairs of the church,
  • preach and
  • teach 1 Timothy 5:17 
      • However this comes with a warning. Elders are not perfect leaders:

19 Do not accept an accusation against an elder unless it is based on [the testimony of at least] two or three witnesses. 20 As for those [elders] who continue in sin, reprimand them in the presence of all [the congregation], so that the rest will be warned. 21 I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of His chosen angels that you guard and keep these rules without bias, doing nothing out of favoritism. 1 Timothy 5:19-21 Amplified Bible (AMP)

  • To serve GOD

5 Therefore, I strongly urge the elders among you [pastors, spiritual leaders of the church], as a fellow elder and as an eyewitness [called to testify] of the sufferings of Christ, as well as one who shares in the glory that is to be revealed: shepherd and guide and protect the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not [motivated] for shameful gain, but with wholehearted enthusiasm; 3 not lording it over those assigned to your care [do not be arrogant or overbearing], but be examples [of Christian living] to the flock [set a pattern of integrity for your congregation]. And when the Chief Shepherd (Christ) appears, you will receive the [conqueror’s] unfading crown of glory. 1 Peter 5:1-4 Amplified Bible (AMP)

Being lords over God’s heritage as the KJV puts it. The word is – 2634 – katakyrieuō – to lord it over, gain dominion over, subdue; in some contexts there is an implication that this exercise of authority is harsh

Political “power” plays are out of place in God’s church but they seem to thrive there never the less (and several humanly minded, manipulating folk thrive on them) in our modern churches…even the little local independent ones.

Wordpress banner compassSo I had this question, about power because governance usually involves some sort of power over people. Governing is not evil. Is lording it over someone separate from governance? God surely sounds as though He wants Christian leaders not to lord it over His people. What DOES God say?


Matthew 23:8-12Amplified Bible (AMP)

But do not be called Rabbi (Teacher); for One is your Teacher, and you are all [equally] brothers. Do not call anyone on earth [who guides you spiritually] your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven.10 Do not let yourselves be called leaders or teachers; for One is your Leader (Teacher), the Christ. 11 But the greatest among you will be your servant. 12 Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be raised to honor.


Be Subject to Government

13 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God [granted by His permission and sanction], and those which exist have been put in place by God. Therefore whoever [a]resists [governmental] authority resists the ordinance of God. And those who have resisted it will bring judgment (civil penalty) on themselves. For [civil] authorities are not a source of fear for [people of] good behavior, but for [those who do] evil. Do you want to be unafraid of authority? Do what is good and you will receive approval and commendation. For he is God’s servant to you for good. But if you do wrong, [you should] be afraid; for he does not carry the [executioner’s] sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an avenger who brings punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be subject [to civil authorities], not only to escape the punishment [that comes with wrongdoing], but also as a matter of principle [knowing what is right before God]. For this same reason you pay taxes, for civil authorities are God’s servants, devoting themselves to governance. Pay to all what is due: tax to whom tax is due, customs to whom customs, respect to whom respect, honor to whom honor. Romans 13:1-7 Amplified Bible (AMP)

That should have answered my question but I got curious about power and investigated further. I remember twice being accused of having too much power while in service to God at a local church. “She has too much power.” said the one. (Boy did that change my life! … and diminished my ability to serve with excellence because some influential people listened to him) “My husband likes what you do. That’s power.” said the second. (That one was just annoying.) A third complained to me that I was not exercising enough power. “Woman up! My word, Christine. Get with it.” To which I calmly replied, “That policy should come from the pastor.” that one was not a happy camper either.

My response then was quietness and rest in God’s Sovereign power. My response now is the same except that I have become more articulate and bold about sharing the truth; Power belongs to God. He grants it to whom He wills and portions it out according to His own purposes. I have not ever craved power nor do I. That may seem odd to most people but who craves what they already have been given by the LORD of all the earth? I will always have as much as God wants me to have in order to do what He wants me to do. Sometimes my brain misfires and for a second or two I stop believing that. Those are the times when everything goes south and I need His Help once again for I am nothing without Him

So what is this power thing anyway? Let’s look again at definitions.

Power (as used in the New Testament)

*1411 dynamis:- power, ability; ruler, as an extended meaning of a person or supernatural being who has administrative power

(The power ascribed to God in Mt. 6:13, Mt. 22:29 God’s power over the family position of a woman; The power whereby Jesus returns to earth on the clouds Mt. 24:30 and sits at the right hand of God Mt. 26:64; the kingdom of God comes with this power In Mark 9; the power that created Jesus in the womb of Mary In Luke 1:35)

*1849 exousia:- authority, power; the right to control or govern; dominion, the area or sphere of jurisdiction; a ruler, human or supernatural

(the power by which Jesus forgives sin Mt. 9:6;The power God gives to men in Mt. 9:8; All of this power is given to Jesus Christ in Mt:28:18; this power heals sickness, and is over unclean spirits; This is the power Satan tempted Jesus with in return for changing the object of Jesus’ worship; Jesus’ word came with this power in Luke 4:32; this is the power by which God casts souls into hell Luke 12:5; The enemy uses this power in Luke10:19 and Luke 22:53; this is the power by which we become the sons of God in John 1:12 and the power by which Jesus laid down his life and took it up again in John 10:18; Jesus corrected Pilate during his interview by saying that only GOD had this power over Him in John 19:10-11.)

There is so much more but as I read these I am beginning to understand that jurisdiction has a great and meaningful part in this definition. Power – the right to control – has circles, it has boundaries, it has specific leadership.

It is particularly mind blowing to realize that both sides, spiritually speaking, make use of the same power.

Wordpress banner compassThis has a profound application to those who have been abandoned.

We choose which sphere we operate within. We choose our master. We can stand our ground when power over us becomes a battle ground.


3168 – megaleiotēs:- majesty, greatness, grandeur/ mighty power, magnificence

(Luke 9:43 Jesus casts out unclean spirit when no one else can. Based on this, the people are amazed at the majesty of Jesus.)

746- archē:- beginning, origin, first; ; ruler, power, authority; position of authority, domain

(Luke 20:20 – offended Jews looked for a way to trap Jesus in his words so they might hand him over to Pilate the governor)

1410- dynamai:- to be able, have ability, to have the power to accomplish an action; humans have various limited abilities, God is unlimited

(Romans 16:25 (!- v. 17-20) God is able to establish and strengthen your faith)

1415- dynatos:- possible (based on power); powerful, able, the Mighty One

(Romans 9:22 God makes the noble and the menial out of the same lump of clay. God can be willing to show his wrath and at the same time bear with great patience the objects of his wrath because they will experience his wrath later.)

1850- exousiazō:- to have power over; (pass.) to be mastered

(1 Corinthian 6:12 the good habit of not allowing anything to enslave you or to bring you under its power; 1 Corinthians 7:4-5 the shared spousal authority over each other’s bodies.)

2479-ischys:- strength, power

(Ephesians 1:19 Paul prays that the Ephesians will know the unlimited power of God at work in those who believe; 2 Thessalonians 1:9 vengeance handed out to those who do not seek to know God, refuse to obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus choosing not to respond to Him, they will be banished from the glory of His power when He comes to be glorified; 2 Peter 2:11 even angels– of greater power than humanity – do not dare to bring accusations against celestial beings before the LORD, but false teachers do.)

2904- kratos:- power, strength

(Ephesians 6:10 – Be strong in the LORD and the power of His might; Colossians 1:11 Paul prays that the Colossians would be empowered by God to attain every kind of endurance and patience with joy; 1 timothy 6:16 – to God alone belong eternal power and dominion; Hebrews 2:14 The devil who had the power of death was made powerless by Christ Jesus; Revelation 5:13 honor, power and glory belong to Jesus, the Lamb of God who sits on the throne)

1325- didōmi:- to give / grant, shew, bestow, had power, make, suffer, brought forth, committed, deliver, minister, stroke with the palm of the hand

(Revelation 13:14 The lamb who speaks like a dragon had the power to deceive the people of earth by performing miracles in the presence of the beast)

So this is the conclusion of the matter;

17 Show respect for all people [treat them honorably], love the brotherhood [of believers], fear God, honor the king. 1 Peter 2:17 Amplified Bible (AMP)

God has given us the power to be his servants. …To love the unlovely, to respect each other, to fear God (hate evil), to honor human government as set up by God Himself….to love and be aligned with the Way, the Truth and the Life

Power. It’s a crazy thing. But its God’s thing.

Mothers and Daughters: History Lessons in DNA

There is a teaching that says, “You are your mother’s daughter” meaning that mother and daughter act alike, respond to people just like each other and thus history repeats itself through them from one generation to the next. It’s like your blood is teaching you at a cellular level. Behavioral patterns are reproduced by virtue of generational DNA memory quite like the exercise of typing becomes a muscle memory activity.

I like that a lot when I think of my two girls out roaming around living life. I enjoy that I am “a vine in their blood” so they take me with them everywhere. In fact, as long as we’re talking about all my good qualities and all the good things I want for them, I love it! On the flip side, I really don’t want them to carry around all – or any of – of my negative traits.

The curious truth is that they get some of both, those I am proud of and those I’m not so proud of. Even the quirky ones play out before my eyes like a tragic comedy on the operatic stage of an amphitheater with incredible acoustics. For better or worse that’s just the plain truth. It’s how things work.

For example, I have a tendency not to ask the right questions at the right time. My husband is frequently saying, “But did you ask about ….?” “You never ask the questions I would ask”, he says. I find myself need his help in this area.  Not asking questions is something that my mother did that damaged her life and mine. And I still struggle with the timing and phrasing of questions!!! This struggle has impacted my work life, family life and church life. I super duper appreciate those times when I am allowed to think for myself but am helped to verbally phrase things like questions appropriately.

Praise be to God who is merciful beyond measure, I also do things my daddy did. The traits I acquired from him work to balance out a few of my mother’s negative traits. For example, Daddy was a thinker who took time away from everything and everyone to process life and ponder questions or find solutions.

Not everyone saw this as a positive trait during his lifetime but I for one am very grateful now that he possessed it and that I am like him in this way. I may not ask the right questions either correctly or immediately but I will process what I hear, see and experience. By the grace of God, that processing shapes my choices instead of the turbulent waves and sub-currents of reactionary, misinformed, conjecture making, silent mistakes. I can boast in my weaknesses and praise God for His help.

Now regarding the womanly inheritance I received, when my thoughts go backward in time one generation, I don’t like inheriting family traits so much. Even three generations back on my mother’s side there are some traits in our family line I want absolutely nothing to do with, some that are annoying but other traits that are good things. For all the wanting in the world, for all the hardest, deepest, longest wishing that the women in my family were different, simple childlike wanting will not change them nor will it change the truth of inherited behaviors.

An old Cherokee told his grandson, My son, there is a battle between two wolves inside us all.

One is evil. It is anger, jealousy, greed, resentment, inferiority, lies and ego. The other is good. It is joy peace, love, hope humility, kindness, empathy, and truth.

The boy thought about it and asked, “ Which wolf wins?”

The old man quietly replied, “The one you feed.”

The Cherokee people have a good proverb. In my own culture, this proverb imagery is all about the vine.


Thy mother is like a vine in thy blood, planted by the waters: she was fruitful and full of branches by reason of many waters. Ezekiel 19:10 (KJV)

While this verse may be a positive picture of growth, reading through to verse 14 the story is not a happy one. A transplant situation nearly killed her. While she was watered she was strong. When she lived without water she was weak. So in Ezekiel, we see the same concept as the Cherokee teaching. The wolf you feed is victorious; the vine you water thrives.

Wordpress banner compassInheritance and choice collide in the totality of who we are. I inherited both the vigorous vine and the weak one, a mixture of traits that God aligned as he knit me together in the womb. But I am offered a choice. A Redeemer who loves me has given me everything I need. He allows me to do whatever I want with his provision for me. There is no better picture of such a relationship than in Ezekiel 16. 

Ezekiel 16:44 (KJV)

Behold, everyone that useth proverbs shall use this proverb against thee, saying, As is the mother, so is her daughter.

This chapter is an epic tale of love and “loathing”.

The daughter had an opportunity to be better than her mother because of the loving actions and rescue efforts of one who cared. Instead of appreciating her new situation in life, she showed contempt for her benefactor and his gifts. Her deeds canceled the offer; she reverted back to her mother’s nasty ways. He was angry in a devastated kind of way but called her to face the truth.

Even though the daughter acted like the mother, the daughter bore the shame of her own choices not those of any of her female family members.

With a great intensity I do not want to end up like that woman in Ezekiel. So I look at what mattered to her Prince Charming with the goal of realigning my personal choices to become a better version of myself:

  • remember my beginnings honestly,
  • love my husband,
  • love, nurture and claim my children,
  • extend my hand to the poor and needy,
  • don’t use my fame to worship anyone other than the LORD
  • don’t trust in my own beauty
  • Be choosy about who I lavish favor on
  • do not comfort those that act on their evil inclinations nor make them appear righteous simply because they are “less evil” than I am.
  • worship the LORD and no other

Truth does not change because I want it to. Yes daughters do what their mothers do. And when some people hear my story they might quote this proverb against me. God knows.

Personal choices are personal choices. Each choice comes with its own consequence. (In this chapter of Ezekiel the consequence was bearing the shame and disgrace even though the rest of life was restored.)

Abandoned women rescued to a better situation, a caring situation, have a choice to behave differently. By the love and power of God we can walk away from the circumstances of our abandonment to be a better version of ourselves. Though the scars of the past remain etched in our memory, we can teach the reality of our history without repeating it in our own lives nor causing our daughters to repeat it.

Thank you God!