Saturday, February 6, 2016

Saturday Special: How to Make Pecan Butter

Last night, I planned to serve banana spring rolls to my guests. Unfortunately, I made two terrible mistakes. I made them ahead and baked them (instead of frying them). I'm not sure which of those dealt the fatal blow, but baked banana spring rolls is not something I will serve again. 

As a topper, I toasted some pecans. That didn't go well either. 

Stirring pecans in a hot skillet, talking, and texting don't mix. Enough said. 

This morning, I was determined to have a little more success, so I retrieved a bag of pecans from the freezer. I melted 4 tablespoons of butter in the microwave, added three cups of pecan pieces, and cooked them for 8 1/2 minutes. (Time would vary if they hadn't been frozen)

While the pecans were cooking, I smeared some peanut butter on a granola bar for breakfast and bemoaned the fact that the jar was almost empty. Suddenly, a fabulous idea burst into my brain. 

Pecan butter. 

I found a recipe at Cookie and Katie's blog. (No relation to my sister and niece of the same names.) I didn't use the recipe, but I did use their concepts. The pecan butter I've made in the past has been a little dry and crumbly. Still delicious, but lacking the smooth texture of peanut butter. 

Keep processing, they suggested. So I did. Wow. Smooth. Thick. Pourable. Delicious. 

No added oil. (Except the butter I used to toast the pecans.) 

No added sugar. 

No added salt. 

Just creamy, roasted pecan deliciousness. 

Here's my recipe:

3 Tbsp melted butter
3 cups pecan pieces

Toss together, then spread pecans on a microwaveable plate. Cook in microwave for 6-8 minutes. Watch it. Don't cook too long. If they aren't ready, cook a little longer. 

(Yes. That's how I cook.)

When the pecans are toasted, process them until they become beautifully smooth, creamy butter. They start out as pecan pieces, then crumbles, then a thick paste. Finally, creamy butter. 

I didn't time it. I just kept going for the goal. Don't settle for crumbles or graininess. Wait for the best. It's sure to come. 

That's a good lesson for life, too. 

Wait for the best. 

Judging by my pecan butter, it's definitely worth it in the end.

#pecanbutter #waitforthebest #recipe #pecanbutterrecipe #howtomakepecanbutter

The Temperament Test and Married Oneness

It was a crazy idea, but I was desperate. 

The characters in my fiction needed greater depth, and my editor had assigned me a variety of books to help. One of those books suggested a Temperament Test to help me get to know my characters. Give yourself the test first, it suggested.

I took the test. My temperament is present in only 1% of the population. Readers will never be able to identify with a character who has my temperament, because so few people do. 

It was a dilemma. 

Each of my characters took the test (well, I answered the questions using their supposed mindset) to learn their category of personality. As you might imagine, this has been a peculiar process. I could understand their general category, but still couldn't visualize how it would play out in their lives.

At last, I had a brainstorm. 

Admittedly, it was a crazy idea, but I thought it might work. I would recruit my friends, give them the test, find someone with the same categories as each of the people in my novel, and use their personalities to help me craft my characters.

It seemed sensible at the time.

I have the greatest friends in the world. Eight of my friends joined me last night for a "test party". We had a blast. As each one arrived, I gave them the "Love Language" questionnaire. When they finished the Love Test, they moved to the Temperament Test. 

I had to beg people to leave their tests and eat dinner. Everyone wanted to help, but, I think, they also wanted to see their "category".

I still can't believe this, but none of the eight people had the same temperament as the doctor, the shooting victim, or the FBI agent. 

I learned something interesting, though. One of the couples had exactly the same love language and exactly the same temperament score. No, they didn't cheat.

"What's up with that?" I asked.

"We've been married so long, we've changed to be just alike." 

In fact, the two have become one. 

I should have anticipated it. These two people have overcome tremendous odds to have a marriage that glorifies God in every way. They laugh together, love together, and serve God together. Their marriage is a rare and beautiful example of the grace and power of God.

I didn't gain what I expected from the test party, but I did gain a glimpse into the plans God has for His children. 

When He first joined husband and wife, He meant for them to become one. When they do, it is a beautiful testimony to the God we serve.

After everyone left last night, I pondered the improbability of two people becoming so "one", and realized that this joining of hearts and minds is a miracle only God can do. 

If you're married, you, too, can have this kind of "oneness" by the power of God, so dedicate yourself to becoming all God meant you to be. (No. Not everyone will demonstrate unity by having the same temperament test scores and the same love language, but unity will be evident to those who know you.)

If you're not married, take heart. Before God knit my friends together, He drew each of them to Himself, and that's the biggest miracle of all. It's a miracle you can experience, even if you are never joined to a spouse.

"For this cause a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they shall become one flesh." 
                                                         Genesis 2:24 nasb

"In Him was life, and the life was the light of men... But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name."
                       John 1: 4, 12 nasb

Kathy McKinsey wrote a beautiful article for Friday Night with Friends, New Beginning. If you haven't read it yet, you can click here. You can read more by Kathy at her blog

In case you missed one of this week's posts, here are the links:  The Tree That Preached a SermonThe Wounded Deer and the Unsaid WordsBeing Angry Without SinStarting Over: It's Not as Easy as It SeemsBehavior That Demonstrates BeliefAnswered Prayer: The Bulletproof Vest, Bringing Good from Tragedy: Wives of Warriors Make a Difference, and Friday Night with Friends: New Beginning

#marriage #twobecomeone #temperamenttest #lovelanguage #unity #JesusChrist

Friday Night With Friends: A New Beginning

Our Friday Night with Friends guest blogger is Kathy McKinsey. She's a fellow writer with a remarkable story of perseverance and grace. You will be so blessed by her story. Be sure and give her some encouragement, too. Enjoy!
I am almost fifty-five years old, and I believe God has given me a new beginning.

Three years ago, an accident left me with a brain injury. I had to quit work, and since then I’ve often felt unneeded. Always a busy person, I suddenly did not know what I could do of any use to anyone else.

For the last month or more, I have a new spring in my step.

I have been blind my entire life. I never considered myself special, but I believed I lived an energetic, independent, constructive life. After my accident, I suddenly had more disabilities to deal with. I became angry and hurt, and believed other people saw me as disabled far more than when I was “only visually impaired.”

I’ve discovered who dropped this heavy weight of “disability” around me.

It was me.

I decided to give in to all the multiple disabilities. Even as I struggled to find new ways to use my life, I kept reminding myself to allow for what I couldn’t do anymore.

I have much less energy, and I have difficulty with balance. So I let my family do many things for me which I could do myself. I didn’t pick up much work around the house. I worked on my writing and on my certification as a braille transcriber and proofreader, but I told myself it was okay if I didn’t feel like doing much of those things with any strong or regular effort.

I have hearing loss, trouble with memory, and difficulty completing sentences and finding the right word. So I allowed myself not to be n many groups outside the home, not to try to carry on conversations.

All of these difficulties are true, but I decided I could use them to settle back and not be much of a participant in life. I was basically a sit in my easy chair kind of retired lady.

What changed a month or so ago? We bought a dishwasher, and I decided to start doing the laundry again. Seriously. I know it’s more than that, but it’s amazed me how doing these household chores has renewed my sense of being useful.

And my writing.

When I was a teenager, my dream was to be a writer. I sold a few short stories and poems to magazines. I was an author.

Then for more than thirty years, I allowed school, raising a family, and work to convince me I didn’t have much time for writing. I told myself that I’d take it up again when I retired.

I’ve always heard that God may not answer our prayers as soon as we want, and maybe not in the way we think he should. I don’t remember if I prayed much about writing when I was a teenager, but God has certainly made my dream come true much later and in a much different way than I imagined.

When I couldn’t go back to work, I realized that now is my time to write.

For the last three years, I’ve worked on short stories, articles, and started a couple books. I’ve joined a critique group, and I take classes online and read books about writing. Over the past year, I’ve had three articles accepted by a magazine. Again, being disabled, I figured this was good enough. I didn’t need to put any more effort into it than I felt like. Relax and take it slow.

A couple months ago, a publisher asked to see a children’s book I sent them a query for.

This sparked some motivation in me to work more seriously and diligently as a writer. Stretch my limits, work more hours, take some risks, boldly ask God to bless my writing career.

I may never publish a book. My writing may be only for me, my family and friends, and my critique partners. But I’m going to put a new effort into it. It’s going to be a job that I put energy, time, and effort into.

Before my accident, I wasn’t conquered by disability because, with much support, I didn’t let it keep me from doing the things I wanted to do. I wanted to show my children that a person with a disability could be successful. Now I want to show them that disabled person doesn’t have to give up when confronted with new obstacles.

At some points of the day, my mind races—with things I have to do around the house, writing projects I want to work on, research I need to do, critiques I need to finish for others. I’m not retired anymore.

Another result of my accident. Because of nerve damage, one eye needed to be sewed almost entirely closed, and one side of my mouth doesn’t lift. Vainly, I’ve worried that my face doesn’t look very appealing. But today, I was able to laugh about it with my husband Murray. “A wink and a crooked smile. Most people have to work at that, but I can do it without even trying.”

I know I’ll probably still have times when I’m discouraged and don’t feel useful. But one thing I know for sure, and thank God for. I can still be productive, happy, and I don’t plan to retire for a long time.

James 1:16-17:  Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

Psalms 73:26: My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever.
Read more by Kathy at her blog:

#persevere #adversity #writerslife #powerofGod #JesusChrist

Friday, February 5, 2016

Bringing Good from Tragedy: Wives of Warriors Make a Difference

It was December 23, 2013. A news alert popped up on my phone. There had been a bank robbery in Tupelo and two policemen had been shot point-blank. Sargent Stauffer was dead.

Murdered? Someone had murdered a policeman?

The image of our policeman in Blue Springs came to mind and I suddenly understood how fragile life can be for the men, and the families, behind the badge. 

I hit my knees, wept, and prayed for those who had been shot and for their families. I begged God to protect the officers in our area. 

Like I always do when I'm upset, I wrote about it. Tragedy in Tupelo is my most-read blog post of all time. Today might be a good day to read it again. 

When given the chance, our Lord always brings good from evil.

 It should be no surprise that He brought good from the terrible evil that marred the Christmas season that year, as well.

Kim Rushing is the wife of a policeman. As you might expect, the shootings were terrifying to her. When she attended Sargent Stauffer's funeral and looked at the faces of the other officers wives, it was clear they were just as scared and sad as she was. 

It was a seemingly small thing that triggered her next action, but the shift wives had ridden together on the bus over to the funeral. Kim said, "I want a wives' bus. I want to be on it." In that moment, Wives of Warriors began. It didn't have a name. It wasn't even a clear picture in her head, but Kim texted her friend, Darla. "Do you think we could start a wives group?"

Darla replied. "We can try!"

They didn't expect what happened next. 

What they expected is that the wives would get together and complain about life as an officer's wife. What happened was more than 200 women signed up. They meet regularly, averaging 25-60 women per meeting. 

They don't waste time complaining.

The Wives of Warriors are committed to bringing good from the evil that was done, and they aren't fooling around about it. 

They assist when there is an officer in need, when there is sickness or tragedy in the ranks. They love each other. They help each other. They demonstrate support to all law enforcement, throughout this nation.

They aren't alone, and they know that now. 

They play together and they work together. They've made pottery angels and sold them to raise money for a home for high functioning autistic and traumatic brain injury adults.

Together, they have begun an annual Blessed are the Peacemakers Law enforcement Appreciation and Remembrance 5K race. They raised $16,000 at the event this past September. There were lots of ideas about ways to use the money, but the Wives decided to buy bullet proof vests for area officers. 

Every officer needs a bullet proof vest, and they want to help provide them. 

Bullet proof vests aren't cheap. The ones they have provided are custom-made and can cost as much as $1000 apiece. They've provided sixteen for area officers.

My friend, Annette, is married to Brandon. He's the young officer in Blue Springs who received a bullet proof vest because of the generosity of the Wives of Warriors organization. 

I can't imagine the fear Annette must feel when Brandon dons his uniform, straps on his gun, and goes to work. Life, as she and their boys know it, is on the line every single day, just as it is for all the officers and families in our area.

Brandon does it because he feels called to it. Annette does it because she loves and honors her husband. 

It's hard, but the bullet proof vest, I would imagine, has made it a little easier.

When tragedy comes, we can react in a variety of ways, many of them destructive and non-productive.

Two women faced tragedy head-on and chose to make a difference because of it. More than 200 women choose to join the effort.

This week, the families, friends, and coworkers of sixteen men will breathe a little easier because of the good that came from the shootings that cold December day.

Kim and Darla made a choice to make a difference, and we can, too. It started with a simple text message and grew into something that will bless families for years to come. 

Just one person like you. Like me. One person is enough. 

We can make a difference, if we will.

"And as for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive." Genesis 50:20 nasb

In case you missed one of this week's posts, here are the links:  Cutting Down a Tree and Praying for Miracles, and The Tree That Preached a SermonThe Wounded Deer and the Unsaid WordsBeing Angry Without SinStarting Over: It's Not as Easy as It SeemsBehavior That Demonstrates Belief, and Answered Prayer: The Bulletproof Vest.

#makeadifference #WivesofWarriors #policeshootings #JesusChrist #Christian

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Answered Prayer: The Bullet Proof Vest

Yesterday was an exciting day. Because our Mayor is recuperating from surgery, I (as Vice-Mayor) had the great honor of attending the press conference hosted by Wives of Warriors in her place. 

The organization had raised enough money to purchase sixteen bullet-proof vests. One of our officers here in Blue Springs (Brandon Clayton) was selected to receive a custom-fitted vest.

I know Brandon. He's a fine young man who loves Jesus and loves his family. He also loves law enforcement. I wanted him to be one of our policemen because I trust him to help keep our citizens safe. On the other hand, I feared for him to be one of our policemen, because I didn't want him to be in harm's way, even to keep us safe.

The first time I saw him in uniform, my heart swelled with pride and sank with fear. "Keep him safe, Lord," has been my prayer every time he works.

When Brandon was selected to receive a bullet-proof vest, I felt like my prayers had been answered. The vest Brandon receives will be custom-made to fit him. He's worn protective gear before, of course, but this is the first time he's had a vest made especially for him. It covers his vital organs. It's snug around him. 

It will keep a bullet from getting through.

I am immensely grateful for the gift of the vest and the protection it will provide. 

As disciples of Christ, we, too, are in need of protection. 

The gift we need has already been given. Ephesians 6 describes the full armor of God. We are to put it on, Paul wrote, so that we can stand firm against the temptations the evil one sends our way.  The belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, and the shield of faith are all available to protect our most vital organ, our hearts. The helmet of salvation is given to protect our minds.

There is one big problem that's common to both bullet-proof vests and the armor of God. They only work if we put them on. 

If an officer leaves his bullet-proof vest on the shelf, it is no surprise when a bullet finds it mark.

If, as believers, we choose not to don our protective gear, we should not be surprised when the enemy's flaming darts of temptation find their mark.

Temptation will come. It's part of the life of a disciple. Falling to temptation is optional, because we have protective gear to keep us safe. If we will wear it.

Today, the enemy will sling flaming darts of temptation your way, so be sure to put on your armor. It's the only way to be sure you finish the day as safe as you began it.

"Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day,
and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm, therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one." 
Ephesians 6:13-16 nasb

In case you missed one of this week's posts, here are the links:  Things I've Learned: There is a God and I'm Not ItCutting Down a Tree and Praying for Miracles, and The Tree That Preached a SermonThe Wounded Deer and the Unsaid WordsBeing Angry Without SinStarting Over: It's Not as Easy as It Seems, and Behavior That Demonstrates Belief

#wivesofwarriors #bulletproofvest #protectivegear #armorofGod #shieldoffaith #disciple #JesusChrist

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Behavior that Demonstrates Belief

The weather forecast yesterday was a confusing one for me. "We're gonna have a huge storm," people told me. "It's a bad sign when the weather channel sends a reporter to our town."

I head the reports, but I also looked at the weather maps. There was going to be a storm, but it appeared that it would miss my little town. I moved my car away from the trees, just in case, because I have a little experience with weather predictions coming true. 

My behavior demonstrated my belief.

Weather reports seem an iffy thing to me. They are based on predictions and directions of wind and air movement, and they're constantly in flux. What we think is coming here goes somewhere else. What we worry about dissipates. We never really know.

When Moses gave a weather report, though, you could count on it. 

If he said hail was coming, Pharaoh knew, without a single doubt, that it was.

That's the difference between man's wisdom and God's wisdom. 

I noticed today, for the first time, that some of the Egyptians believed Moses. When he said a bad hailstorm was coming and every living creature that was outside would be killed, a few Egyptians gathered their people and all their animals in the house and waited for the storm Moses predicted. (Exodus 9:20)

Most did not. They scoffed at Moses, left their animals outside, and lost every single one of them due to the hail.

We are so much like those foolish Egyptians, aren't we? 

People today still pick and choose what they want to believe. We still want to believe things will stay the same, that we will be safe. 

The Bible, however, paints a different picture. Suffering will come to us all. A great tribulation will come. 

One day, Jesus will come back for his church and we need to be ready.

We can tell what we believe by how we behave. Do we live as those who expect our Savior to return or not? 

One day, Jesus will return. One day His church will rise and meet Him in the sky. It's going to be an exciting day, but on that day, it will be too late to change our minds. We must prepare now for our journey heavenward.

If our behavior demonstrates what we believe, and it does, what does our behavior say about our faith in a Risen, Returning Savior?

Live like you believe.

In case you missed one of this week's posts, here are the links:  A Little Good News: Working Together,  Things I've Learned: There is a God and I'm Not ItCutting Down a Tree and Praying for Miracles, and The Tree That Preached a SermonThe Wounded Deer and the Unsaid WordsBeing Angry Without Sin, and Starting Over: It's Not as Easy as It Seems.

#chronologicalBible #livelikeyoubelieve #JesusChrist #disciple #secondcoming #weather #Moses

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Starting Over: It's Not as Easy as It Seems

I don't know if you've ever stepped away from the life and work with which you were comfortable to do an entirely new thing, but I have. 

It's not as easy as it looks. 

This morning, I read in Exodus about Moses' return to Egypt after forty years in his personal wilderness. He had been comfortable shepherding Jethro's flocks. He knew how to do what must be done, and he was skilled at it. 

I know about being skilled and comfortable in your work. It's hard to give up the sense of security it gives.

Shepherding people was an entirely different matter. Demanding their release from Pharaoh was a task that seemed doomed from the start, and Moses felt unqualified. He didn't want the job and he repeatedly asked God to get someone else.

I know about being uncomfortable in the new work God has planned. I've said, more than once, "I can't do this. You should call someone else."

From the beginning at the burning bush, God told Moses it would be hard. Pharaoh would not want to let the people go and God would have to force their release. 

"I'll do miracles that convince everyone. The Egyptians will give you their treasures to get you to leave. This will work out." (Leanna Paraphrase) 

I've heard "this will work out", too. It not much comfort when you're desperately trying to find your way.

No matter what God said, one thing was clear. Moses didn't want the job. The obedience he offered was half-hearted because he felt so unqualified. In the end, God sent Aaron to do much of the work He had called Moses to do.

What Moses couldn't see was that God had prepared him to the do the work. Moses had spent his first forty years living in the Egyptian court as the grandson of Pharaoh. He was familiar with the court and its ways. More important, he had been trained in leadership. 

Moses had spent another forty years in the wilderness. He knew how to manage livestock and how to survive in the wilderness. 

It's easy to forget that our journey through life is part of God's plan. Nothing is ever wasted. We serve a God who is more than able to accomplish what He intends. Even with us.

Moses, at the age of eighty years, returned to Egypt with every skill he needed to accomplish the work God had given him, but he refused to believe it. God could take the skills He had already placed in Moses to accomplish exactly what He intended. All Moses had to do was obey each step of the way.

When we, like Moses, move out of our comfort zone, we tend to see the uncomfortable, but we fail to see the detailed way God has equipped us in advance. 

We see the monumental task but we fail to realize the smaller steps along the way that will get us there. 

Like Moses, I'm in a new place. Writing fiction was not what I had planned to do with my life, but here I am. Struggling to make sense of point of view and character development. Agonizing over balancing emotion with story, depth with detail. It's harder than I thought. I know I'm not qualified. I'm pretty sure I can't do it.

But God. 

Our Lord reminded me again today that He released the children of Israel with one miracle at a time. It took one act of obedience after another to accomplish their deliverance. 

In that same way, this job is a series of tasks that, when completed, will make a whole. My job is to develop one character at a time. One scene at a time. In the end, the parts will make the whole.

Perhaps you, too, are called to a task that feels overwhelming. Maybe the job God has given is far too big for you. 

He has called you to a God-sized task.

Take heart. Our God is in the business of preparation. He will equip you to do that to which He has called you. All you have to do is obey, one step at a time. It may take longer than you'd like, but He will accomplish that which He has planned.
In case you missed one of this week's posts, here are the links:    The Importance of LightA Little Good News: Working Together,  Things I've Learned: There is a God and I'm Not ItCutting Down a Tree and Praying for Miracles, and The Tree That Preached a SermonThe Wounded Deer and the Unsaid Words, and Being Angry Without Sin.

#chronologicalBible #obedience #JesusChrist #authorlife #iamwriting #preparation

Monday, February 1, 2016

Being Angry Without Sin

It was quiet last evening at my house. The rustle of leaves from visiting deer was sadly absent. Life has changed. I miss my nightly visitation already.

Yesterday, I wrote about the death of "my" deer and my decision not to seek or confront the ones responsible. (This will make better sense if you've read that post first, so click on the link if you missed it.) I was hurt and grieved and, to a degree, angry. 

A friend of mine asked a very sensible question. "Isn't anger justified in this situation?" 

My answer is "Maybe." I don't know all the circumstances. I don't know what happened to cause such a poor shot, such a disabling shot. I don't know who shot my deer, nor the motive behind the shooting. 

Perhaps a child was hunting with his father for the first time. Maybe the child, excited and a little scared, fired his gun, but with poor aim. Or his aim was good but his hands were shaking. Or the shotgun was heavy and he couldn't keep it aimed at the target. 

Any number of scenarios are possible, and I have no way of knowing which was true.

Being angry over a misdeed is not wrong. Sinning because of that anger is wrong. 

If I had gone with my neighbor up the side road, anger beginning to boil, I might have found hunters in the area. If I had found the hunter who shot "Buck", that anger could have easily boiled over into hasty, harsh words that, once said, could not be recalled. 

If my goal is to honor Christ in all I do, I cannot give vent to passions in a way that dishonors Him.

Angry words might have made me "feel better" for a few minutes, but those angry words would have lodged in the neurons of the listener's brain and stayed there forever. When the object of my anger recalled my name, the words I'd spoken would be his first thought, not the Jesus in me.  

As an Ambassador for Christ, I must represent Christ well at all times. Even when I'm angry. Especially when I'm angry.

The question, then, becomes one of priority. What is most important to me? Proving my point, or proving the power of God in me? 

I choose to demonstrate the power of God in me, but it's not always easy. Words flitting through my brain (even unkind ones) are not sin. Letting harsh, unkind words flow like lava over unsuspecting listeners would be, even if I justified myself by saying I was "teaching" him to do better next time.

We are called to take every thought captive, including the thoughts that come with anger. If my thoughts are "captive", they are no longer free to fly out my mouth. 

Captured thoughts can best be dealt with in one way. Stop rehearsing them and give them to Jesus. 

Difficult situations will come our way, as will anger and frustration. Hurtful words may come to mind, but we don't have to speak them. Let's be sure we tame our tongue and capture our thoughts. 

We can show the world the Prince of Peace by our response to difficult times. If we will.

Be anger and sin not. Ephesians 4:26

"So speak and so act as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty. James 2:12 nasb

See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity... But no one came tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God, from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be... James 3:5,68-10 nasb

In case you missed one of this week's posts, here are the links:   Truth That Matters: God Sees The Importance of LightA Little Good News: Working Together,  Things I've Learned: There is a God and I'm Not ItCutting Down a Tree and Praying for Miracles, and The Tree That Preached a Sermon, and The Wounded Deer and the Unsaid Words
#anger #beangrybutsinnot #JesusChrist #Christian #disciple #tamethetongue

Sunday, January 31, 2016

The Wounded Deer and the Unsaid Words

The dogs were barking like crazy, all facing the same direction. A buzzard or a goose. That was the crazy thought that came to me. After fifteen minutes of non-stop barking, I went to see. No buzzard. No goose. 

They were barking at my favorite deer. He was a four-point buck who roamed through my yard like it was his home.  I guess it was. Every evening, he and the three little does that traveled with him toured my backyard. He sometimes ate with my horses. Occasionally, he came alone, just to say hi.

I was attached to this little deer.

Yesterday, he was at the edge of the water. It looked as if he were caught in the mud and struggling to get out. Then, I got closer. 

His hind legs were both broken at the knee. Not in the way of the blunt force trauma of a car. This was a gunshot wound. He'd been "kneecapped" in such a way that the lower portion of both his legs was half-attached and dangling behind him like a train. He was trying to walk on the bloody stumps of fractured femurs.

I wasn't sure my little 22 rifle would do the job, so I called my friend, The Preacher. I'm sure his wife had other plans for their Saturday, but he and his son dropped everything, grabbed a gun, and headed my way. They spent hours looking for my deer.

My neighbor came over, too. He was as hurt as I by the meaningless injury to "our" deer. 

"I'm going up the side road and see if any hunters are hanging out, looking for the deer they shot. You want to go?'

Anger blazed for a brief moment and I opened the door. "Yes, I do, but we better not find them."

Before I climbed inside, however, my good sense (and the conviction of the Holy Spirit) overwhelmed me. I closed the door. "No. I'm not sure I can act like Jesus right now if I find whoever shot my deer. I better stay here."

"Well, I'm going."

"If you can't act like Jesus, you better stay here, too."

"I don't know if I can or I can't, but I'm going."

It was a long time before he returned. I was glad he didn't find the hunters and, in a way, he was, too. 

I've grieved for the suffering of the poor wounded deer and for our inability to find him and end his misery, but I haven't wasted time being angry at the ones who shot him. Incredulous, yes. Fury? No. I've chosen to view this as a poor shot by an excited hunter who tried to find his victim and was as unsuccessful as we were.

I'm grateful I didn't go hunting for hunters, too. The problem wouldn't have been with the hunting It would've been with the finding.

The wounded deer had a high priority for me, but my witness for Jesus is a higher priority. No matter the emotion of the moment, it's important that I make every effort to demonstrate Christ to those around me in a way that shows the grace and mercy of God. What good would it have done to find the hunter and drive them away from Jesus by my behavior? None at all.

Even in the most trying times, as disciples of Christ, we must act like Him. When we don't want to. When we don't feel like it. When we feel justified in doing and saying what we want. 

We are bondservants, bound to a Master who has given us a higher calling. We are His, so let's be sure those who see us can know, by our words and our behavior, that He is ours, as well.

"Act as free men, but do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, 
but use it as bondslaves of God." 
                    1 Peter 2:16 nasb

In case you missed one of this week's posts, here are the links:  The Truth That Matters Most: My Redeemer Lives, Truth That Matters: God Sees The Importance of LightA Little Good News: Working Together,  Things I've Learned: There is a God and I'm Not ItCutting Down a Tree and Praying for Miracles, and The Tree That Preached a Sermon.

#woundeddeer #holdyourtongue #bondslave #JesusChrist