The Sin of Worrying

Late August I went to the doctor because I have been aching all over and wanted to find out why. I mentioned that I had a sore spot in my groin on the left side and my doctor determined one of my lymph nodes was enlarged. So she sent me for an ultrasound and referred me to a surgeon because she expected a biopsy of some sort would be needed.

After some tests, the surgeon was concerned because the ultrasound showed a lymph node of 5 cm. Normal is between 1 and 1.5 cm. He sent me for a CT scan, but the soonest it could be done was a week later (which was last Friday). I really struggled with fear, because I lost my mom to cancer last year and I kept thinking about all the artificial sweetener I’d consumed in 44 oz Sonic and Bucees diet sodas over the years. (Probably a tanker full, at least.)

This morning I began a Bible study that my daughter has been encouraging me to do. In the course of reading the lesson, I flipped open my Bible to a scripture, but along the way (and only one page over) I saw a sidebar with a topical commentary on “worry” and I read it, because I have been worrying greatly over all this.

Worry is paralyzed faith. Worry is telling God he can’t handle things, that I have to take care of them. Worry is a sin.

Needless to say, I felt conviction immediately. I asked the Lord to forgive me for worrying, because no matter what happened — I belong to him and I trust him with my life, however much of it may remain.

Five minutes later the surgeon’s office called to say the results were in and could I be there at 2:45 pm to discuss them?

For a split second I felt that fear, that worry try to creep back up, but I resisted, reminding myself of what I’d read and how God has me in the palm of his hand. I told them I’d be there, and then I called my guy and asked him to meet me there after his workout.

And here’s the good news: the lymph node has shrunk. It has gone from 5 cm down to 2 cm! Almost normal. My surgeon believes it was responding to a small spot I had on my calf (that was removed by the dermatologist and came back non-cancerous from pathology) that had become inflamed, and most likely infected.

I am so grateful to the Lord for such good news. In addition, the CT scan revealed that all other organs (liver, pancreas, all that good stuff) is fine — no weird things to be concerned about. Praise the Lord!  

It’s Gonna’ Be A Little Tough…

to live up to my tagline up there ^^^

The “persistently choosing joy” effort…

I read recently that Philippians 4:13, the scripture that says “13 For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.,” is not a pep talk to encourage us that we can accomplish all our dreams and wishes. If you look back a couple of verses, you’ll read this:

11 Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. 12 I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little.

It’s funny, because so many people pull that single scripture out when they are trying to do something they want to do — the guy that wants to run a marathon, or the gal that wants to achieve a sales goal, or whatever. “I can do this thing because I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me…” Reading the full text tells me that it doesn’t have a thing to do with those kind of goals. What it does mean is that no matter what happens in this world, I can get through it because I have Jesus Christ to give me strength. 

I’ll be leaning heavily on that portion of scripture in the days to come, because I don’t see things improving for followers of Christ, or Americans in general, any time soon. I may need to revise my tagline to read

Persistently Choosing Joy and Contentment, No Matter What

 (Scriptures quoted from the New Living Translation.)

What I Hope for in November?

A question was posed on Facebook earlier — “what do you hope for in November?” I didn’t know the person asking the question personally to know what his endgame was, but it got me to thinking about how this day has gone since Cruz and Kasich both suspended their campaigns.

I’ve seen terrible debates, vitriolic anger even. People able to look past the litany of his questionable behaviors (or sins for those of us who are more faith minded) are passionately entreating others to vote for Trump so Hillary won’t win. Guilt is used as a weapon — if those who take moral issue with Trump don’t vote, it will be their fault that Hillary wins.

It’s this high-pressured, anger driven demand for my vote that made me really examine the fact that it’s my vote to do with as I will. To use on Election Day, or to “throw away” as the Trump supporters would claim. Somehow in the examination of my vote, I started to think about what I would do in other high-pressured “my way or the highway” situations. Situations like this one:

In the last days, we will be forced to choose. Choose the way of man (the antichrist), or fidelity to Christ. Fidelity to Christ will not be a popular choice for those who don’t truly forsake all others, including themselves. Fidelity to Christ will mean suffering, persecution, even death. Most likely death. DEATH. And yet, I have people yelling that I must choose Trump. If I don’t, terrible things are going to happen. My taxes may go up (again). My guns may be taken away. I may not be able to speak freely and they may even tell me I can’t go to church. The truth is, these things may still happen, even with Trump. His claim to Christianity is thin and as the man who wrote The Art of the Deal, I’m pretty sure Trump says whatever Trump thinks he needs to say at that moment to gain his objective, which is the presidency.

Ultimately, whatever may happen to me under a Trump or Hillary presidency, it can’t be as bad or worse as the consequences for compromising my faith.

Unless I get some clear sense of peace about voting for Trump, I won’t be able to do so. A man who says he sees no need to ask forgiveness from Christ is full of pride which, if you’ll remember, is the same sin that led to Lucifer’s fall from the angels. Of course, I did read the article below earlier, which gives a more positive, although painful spin on what a Trump presidency might do for America. If my vote will help bring this about, hopefully the Lord will give me peace about voting for Trump. Of course, I don’t think this is what the Trump supporters have in mind when they say he’s going to “make American great again.”

7 Reasons Why a Trump Administration Might be a Good Thing


At the moment, this blog seems to be an almost “stream of consciousness” kind of thing.  I’m not sure that I’ve found my “voice” yet, in that I’ve written about a variety of things that are not necessarily related.  At some point in time, a theme may develop.  Then again, maybe not.  I do know that it’s a grand place for me to share whatever may happen to be on my mind.  Hopefully, you’ll find it interesting enough to come back for more.

Today’s topic has to do with thoughts that were running through my head before leaving for church.  And how those thoughts showed up in the guest speaker’s sermon.  I remember when I was a kid, I heard someone use the phrase “you’ve been reading my mail” in reference to a sermon that was spot on for the situation they were going through personally.  That’s how today’s sermon was — I have only heard Ed Bess preach two or three times in the almost three years that we’ve been attending our church, and it amazed me how closely his message followed the thoughts I’d been pondering before I’d even taken my seat in the sanctuary.

Before the praise & worship part of our service had ended, I’d written the following in a little notebook I brought “just in case”:

Even if He never did anything else for us, what He has done is enough.  But He blesses us over and above, in His time.

I’d been thinking about how so often my prayers are focused on “God, please do this for me.  God, please help me.  God, I need…”  Me. Me. Me.  Oh, sometimes my prayers are for others, too, but the recurring theme is one of want…  I struggled to remember the last time I simply prayed, “Thank you, God, for all you have done already.”   Namely, sending His Son to save me from my sin.  It made me feel petty and small to be so centered on what more I could ask of Him, rather than being grateful for what He has already done.

So when Ed said, “Don’t make your prayers “drive thru” prayers, where all you’re doing is asking for stuff,” it hit me square between the eyes, because while I’m not one of those “name it, claim it” folk, I have been pretty “needy” of late.  Thinking more of my immediate situation, than the needs of others around me.  One of Ed’s comments really rang true:

Prayer is COMMUNICATION, and communication is TWO-WAY.  

Sometimes we need to stop talking to God and LISTEN to Him.  We’re so busy asking Him to fix our problems, we don’t hear the part where He tells us what we need to do for that to happen.  I want to HEAR His voice in my spirit, guiding me to live in a way that honors Him.

He is enough for me.

Who is like You Lord in all the earth?
Matchless love and beauty, endless worth
Nothing in this world can satisfy
‘Cause Jesus You’re the cup that won’t run dry

Your presence is heaven to me
Your presence is heaven to me

Treasure of my heart and of my soul
In my weakness you are merciful
Redeemer of my past and present wrongs
Holder of my future days to come

Your presence is heaven to me
Your presence is heaven to me

All my days on earth I will await
The moment that I see You face to face
Nothing in this world can satisfy
‘Cause Jesus You’re the cup that won’t run dry

Your presence is heaven to me
Your presence is heaven to me

Oh Jesus, Oh Jesus
Your presence is heaven to me
Oh Jesus, Oh Jesus
Your presence is heaven to me

by Israel


Fighting back tears while I try to understand how certain theological doctrines become such divisive issues between people who’ve  been friends…

How is it that the “iron that sharpens iron” often does not sharpen, but cuts to the quick?

How I wish I’d never responded to an invitation to comment on a friend’s blog!  I thought I formulated my comments with care and with love.  The discussion began regarding the doctrine of election … that some are chosen to spend eternity with God and others have no hope.

Frankly, when I read John 3:16 in my Bible, it plainly says “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that WHOSOEVER believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.”

WHOSOEVER … not “those over there, but not these over here” … it is a scripture FULL of hope for all who believe in Him.  For this same reason, I do not believe that one denomination has a corner market on eternity.  I believe that there are Christ-followers in every denomination – people who have been convicted of their need for a savior and have trusted God with their confession and desire to follow Him.

I know that there are scriptures that seem to contradict each other.  I know that there are scriptures that refer to God’s chosen.  I can’t help but interpret that to mean those who come to God are chosen by Him because they are obedient in their repentance.

Maybe I am wrong and someday God will tell me that I didn’t quite understand that the way He meant it.  But I don’t think it’s a “deal breaker” for my salvation.  I said as much in my comments, that it would be wonderful to some day sit together at the foot of His throne and learn the intricacies of the Word with a renewed mind that can grasp Truth without the mind fog that we’re saddled with here on this earth.

Sadly, my friend sternly rebuked me with such harshness that I do not feel the freedom to offer my thoughts any longer.  I mourn the loss of a friendship without ties that bind the exchange of honest, heartfelt though.

My heart aches.