Sunday, April 24, 2016


I have a way of asking let me say right at the start that what I am about to discuss actually baffles me. I am not mocking or judging any leader whose heart is in the right place when he or she says to the congregation, "Every head bowed and every eye closed."

And like dutiful sheep we bow our heads and we close our eyes.. BECAUSE.. the preacher is about to make a salvation appeal.  And I don't want to be the one who is looking around - because - maybe that person who is at the moment weighing the eternal destiny of his soul - will see me seeing him and decide to go to hell for all eternity because someone saw him admit he needed forgiveness.   So I bow my head. And I close my eyes. But something about that seems wrong to me.  Something about telling someone they can be a Secret Christian is not the Gospel I read about.

I get it that we are so desperate for any soul to be changed from Darkness to Light, from Death to Life... that we want them to know that NO ONE IS LOOKING if they should decide to "accept Jesus."


 Let me save you some time:  it is not in the Bible 

AND IN ADDITION... Isn't telling someone, "Look, just get right with God,o.k.?  No one will know because they've all got their heads bowed and their eyes closed"  putting someone on a non-Scriptural and sure-to-fail pathway from the first step they take toward God?  They get up, go home, and live life as a SECRET CHRISTIAN.  Never telling a soul. Shhhhhhhh....

How does that privacy policy play out in the rest of their lives?  

If you saw someone drowning in the ocean... and you were in a boat filled with people who had been rescued... would you tell the already-rescued people in the boat 
"Everyone bow your heads now and close your eyes.. because we don't want that desperate, dying person to be embarrassed that he finds himself desperate, lonely and dying. He might be embarrassed if we - The Formerly Desperate Lonely And Dying" - discovered that he also  cannot save himself and needs the Lifeline Savior we are offering him"???????  

That's a ridiculous scenario... being played out in thousands and thousand of churches on this Sunday morning. 
Where is the "SHHhhhhhh... No One Has To Know That You Have Come To Realize You Need To Be Reconciled to God Through The Sacrifice of His Only Son, Jesus" Policy in the Bible?
 Oh... wait. It isn't in the Bible.  It's something we've created.
Just because something is a tradition doesn't mean something is Truth.

Jesus taught just the opposite approach to being His follower.  Jesus wanted people who would count the cost before making the decision. The cost? Everything.  All the time. For the rest of our lives. Jesus idea of a Follower is someone who would go in to all the world with the main purpose of preaching the Gospel and making disciples of the people who receive it. And then those people would do the same... and many would come to LIFE instead of death.  

But.. how can a person preach the Gospel if he was encouraged that no one needs to see or know that he received it?

Jesus never BEGGED someone to be His follower.   He let them walk away.  He offered a NARROW path to being reconciled to God -  "It's going to cost you everything. You will be mocked, hated and despised. You may have to choose to walk away from family, friends and possibly a comfortable life. You will continue to have trouble, but I have overcome it all for you. Yes, count the cost.  It will cost your LIFE.....BUT YOU WILL BE RECONCILED TO GOD. YOU WILL HAVE PEACE WITH GOD. YOUR SIN - ALL OF IT - WILL BE FULLY PAID FOR.  YOU WILL BE PERFECT IN GOD'S SIGHT... because of Me. You will be filled with My Spirit.  You will be ONE with your Father in Heaven.  You will be given My peace, and My joy. So... decide."

IF EVERY HEAD NEEDS TO BE BOWED, AND EVERY EYE NEEDS TO BE CLOSED in order for someone to be willing to humbly bow at the feet of the King Of Kings...
maybe we need to reevaluate the message we are preaching to them.... and maybe they need to wait until they are willing to give whatever they have to receive everything He offers.

Just sayin'.  Just asking. 

"Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels."
JESUS - Luke 9:26

Wednesday, April 20, 2016


It was a saying my mother used to repeat to me all the time.  She said it in Italian, like she'd heard her mother say it to her.  When my mother spoke to me in Italian, I could understand it as fluently as if she was speaking English.... but... I could not speak Italian back to her.. Go figure... Anyway... I don't know how to type the Italian words, but the translation of this saying was something like:

"Only the spoon that's in the pot really knows all the ingredients in the soup."  She wasn't talking cooking, or soup, or food.  It was her way of reminding me to remind myself that no one really ever knows what's going on in someone's life, or marriage, or family, or spirit, or heart... except for the person that is IN the situation.  She wanted me to understand that people misjudge other people.  People THINK they know the whole story about something, but they rarely do.  So she encouraged me to brush it off if someone thought something about me that wasn't truth.  And she encouraged me to remember how it feels to be misjudged.  You never know the whole story.  Accept that. Move on. And "mind your own business" was her lesson to me.

It doesn't matter how someone's life appears, you can't judge a life by it's cover.  You know what I mean, don't you.  You know about the "cover" we often put on to hide what we are really going through from anyone who glances at us?

So then, have mercy on everyone. 

Because everyone has had heartbreak.
Everyone has had disappointment.
Everyone has been deeply discouraged at some point in the past.
Everyone has had moments of fear for the future and guilt from the past.

Don't assume that the reason some people are filled with JOY is because they have NEVER shed a tear. Maybe the reason some people seem to have had a cushy life isn't about their lack of trouble but their abundance of faith.

Some people just choose to believe what Jesus said.  And that's that. 

"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart. I HAVE OVERCOME THE WORLD."  - Jesus, (John 16:33)

Wednesday, April 13, 2016


Sometimes my husband, Phil, goes out-of-town because he is involved in a church choir recording event.  He takes his recording equipment and microphones and pre-amps and sub something or others... and lots of other recording gear with names I cannot remember... and travels to a church somewhere, sets it all up, records the choir, the soloists, mixes and masters it... and then the church goes through the process of choosing a CD cover and in just a few weeks they have a church choir CD to bless and encourage others with.  He loves doing it.  He loves the music. He loves the people.  He just loves being there.

Usually, I stay here while he is there (where ever "there" happens to be).

Truth is, though, that I don't like to be here while Phil is there.   

He's my buddy.  We've been together since we were both teenagers. We are one. On the day he returns from one of his recordings, and we are together, the Universe is as it should be.

Nice.  Good for you.  So what?

Well.... I have observed... that not caring about the "Here and There" situation of being a Christian is one of the reasons so many followers of

"The One Who Is There And Seated At The Right Hand Of The Father"

get tripped up and discouraged.   Every sin, bad attitude, unforgiving heart, idolatry, envy, discouragement, anger, disillusionment, resentment and failure comes because of my (our) focus on HERE. What we have HERE, what we don't have HERE.  What we want HERE, what we aren't getting HERE.  What is working out the way we planned HERE what is not working out the way we planned HERE.  HERE.. HERE... HERE... The focus that is the root of all the discontentment in so many disciples.

"HERE not THERE" is our focus if we would be honest.  

The "HERE NOT THERE" focus we followers insist on is the reason so many of us keep stepping on the faith destroying land mines that are continuallly blowing us off the straight and narrow.  When we do have "Thoughts Of There"  it's usually only because we want Him to change things Here. And, often He does. Because He is loving and merciful and He cares for us. But

The honest-to-God Truth is that while we are Here, our focus should be There. 

True, it isn't easy.  But...this isn't something I'm making up just to have something to blog about.

Oh, no, the "THERE not HERE" Concept is ALL THROUGH THE NEW TESTAMENT.   We have to make the choice about how we are going to walk through life.  It's easier to choose "HERE not THERE" until we are reminded that God has spoken that our endurance will come through a "THERE not HERE" focus.

We just mostly ignore it.

Like for example here:
That's what the "ancients were commended for."  (Heb. 11:2).

To make things even more wonderful.. we are reminded that Christians are the only group of people on earth who are "Here" and "There"  at the present time.  
We are now seated with Christ (Eph. 2:6).
We are now the Royal Priesthood (1 Peter 2:9)

We are encouraged to remember that "our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."  (2 Corinthians 4:17-18)


Try reminding a Christian who hates his job that what he is enduring is a LIGHT and MOMENTARY trouble.. and that he should be thankful that God is using it to achieve an ETERNAL GLORY for him.  Eternal glory? Who cares about eternal glory? I want a promotion.  I need a raise. I hate my boss. I imagine he'd be offended and stop speaking to you.

Or.. try telling someone that whatever is SEEN isn't worth worrying about because it's purely TEMPORARY.  And that the focus of life should be on unseen things that are ETERNAL.  You will seem heartless and unfeeling.
That's why, I will confess,  I often belong to the "HERE NOT THERE" Club.

I want HERE to be perfect. 
I don't care about THERE.

However, the promise from God is that THERE will be perfect.
And HERE we will have trouble that Jesus has overcome for us.

HOWEVER....I want my focus to be where God wants it to be.
Because it's what brings peace. It's how I will OVERCOME and ENDURE.
So I ask the Holy Spirit to change my focus.
I admit I cannot do it without His help.
And He helps me.

While I am HERE, my focus should SO be on the reality of THERE that my heart is in tune with the heart of God --

"The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9) 

God has me HERE so that my family, my friends, my neighbors, my co-workers are reminded that what happens HERE is what will determine how we will live forever THERE.   It's true that some of them think I'm too heavenly minded. I find it so interesting that it's often the people who are too "earthly minded" who freely attach that label to others.

When Phil is finally HERE at home with me instead of THERE without me... I am one with the one I married.  The Universe is as it should be.

When I am finally THERE  in the Presence of the Lord instead of HERE on this decaying planet...  I will be finally be home and together forever with the Love Of My Life.  And the Universe will be as it should have been from the beginning.

"Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory."

Colossians 3:1-4 
(New Living Translation) 

Wednesday, April 6, 2016


Her email account wasn't working so my friend asked me to send the VERY IMPORTANT email to her husband's email account.  He runs a business and a ministry and I assumed he got many emails every day.  So in the subject line I wrote, "This is Marie" so he would know it was coming from me and perhaps... ???? ... take the time to open it?

His wife called me after a day or two of waiting for my email to say her husband had not received it.  

"Really? O.K. I will resend it."

An hour later.  She called, "Did you send the email? He didn't get it."

"Really?  What could be wrong? I will send it again."

I started to think, "What is WRONG with this guy and his email account?  What is his problem?"
As I prepared to send the email for the fifth time, I put my glasses on for the first time. 

And I noticed something I hadn't noticed before: In the subject line where I THOUGHT I had written "This is Marie" I saw the words "This is Matte"...

Matte?  Who is Matte?  Not me for sure... 

I'd sent the email from my iPhone and wasn't able to clearly SEE what I had written.  
I knew what I INTENDED to write.  But I didn't write that.  

So... my friend's husband... not interested in knowing anything about MATTE.. had identified my email as spam.. and so that's where it kept going.. in to his Spam box. 

I wrote a new email - with my glasses on - and this time wrote in the subject line "This is Marie"... and the email arrived. 

Once again, I am reminded that when there is a breakdown in communication between me and someone else, it isn't wise to assume the glitch is on their end.

"Let your conversation be gracious as well as sensible."

Colossians 4:6

Sunday, April 3, 2016


While Moses watched, God wrote on stone with His finger  "The Ten Most Important Ways People On Planet Earth Should Live While They Live On Planet Earth" - commonly referred to as "The Ten Commandments" He chose to limit Himself to only Ten.  Ten things for His People to know.  Me?  I would have needed Ten Thousand Things.  I could never have picked JUST TEN. But God did. 

And one of the things God decided was a BIG BIG BIG DEAL... is the way we speak about others. We remember it as being told we should not "bear false witness" against our neighbor.  Well, the term "neighbor" is a very broad term when you investigate it further. It means everyone - family, friends, neighbors, acquaintances. It DOESN'T mean false witness as in the case of being on a witness stand in a courtroom. What it means is.. "Whatever you say about somebody better be the TRUTH about that person."   Christians are admonished:

"Stop lying to each other; tell the truth, for we are parts of each other and when we lie to each other we are hurting ourselves."  
Ephesians 4:25

WOW.  That verse is a two-edged sword. 
We have to STOP lying and START telling the truth.
Those Christians, in the church in Ephesus, were LYING to each other...  WHAT???? WHAT????  CHRISTIANS?  Lying to each other????

Evidently... it happens.

Two things we must do:

STOP. Lying.
START. Telling the truth.
 What a concept.

That church at Ephesus.  What a disgrace.  To LIE to each other. To NOT tell the TRUTH?
I wonder if they were silly enough to IGNORE the basic commandments as they focused on more "important" things like church growth plans and budget meetings and nineteen meetings to decide the color of the paint for the Children's Ministry wing? 

Maybe those Ephesians thought God cared about other stuff instead of the stuff He actually said.  I wonder if they thought He would just overlook them being false with one another because they had raised three million dollars to build a new church?

What WERE THEY thinking???

What would happen if our pants would IMMEDIATELY catch on fire if we lied to - or ABOUT - each other?

Uhhh.... our church buildings would have burned to the ground decades ago. 

Can the Holy Spirit - The Spirit of Truth - be in control of a person -or persons -  who don't love, embrace and speak the Truth?

Just sayin'
Just askin'