Freedom to read—anything

Today, I’m celebrating being able to read anything I want from the Banned Book List in honor of Banned Book Week at my local library. Why don’t you do the same.

I checked out "Nickel and Dimed" by Barbara Ehrenreich. One of my all time favorites, and one that usually makes most every list, however, is "To Kill a Mockingbird."

The other, that made the 1000 most frequently challenged list, is one I read every day—my Bible.

What’s yours?

1 And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. 2 He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. 3 He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time.

4 I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years.

5 (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.

7 When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison 8 and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth—Gog and Magog—and to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore. 9 They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God’s people, the city he loves. But fire came down from heaven and devoured them.

10 And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

Revelation Chapter 20

The battle has already been won…God is just waiting for people to make their choice. The truly horrific thing is the age of some of the martyrs for our Lord. He knows the name of all “the souls of those who [have] been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God.”

"Blessed and holy are those who [will] share in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years."

Amen.

letsgoforahike:

Let’s Go For A Hike
WALLS
Walls are interesting things. They serve multiple purposes. They can keep things in or out. They can hold things up or simply divide some things from other things. They can give actual privacy or only the illusion of it.
There are the walls that people put up when they don’t want us to see who they really are and the ones that tumble down when they let us in. The walls we erect to protect ourselves from hurt, yet again; and the ones we seem to keep beating our heads against for whatever reason seems appropriate.
Walls are interesting. They can truly be literal or abstract in the extreme.
Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about ‘next steps’ in my spiritual journey because we talk a great deal about that at our church. ‘Everyone has a next step.’ ‘What IS your next step.’ ‘You can’t take your NEXT step until you take the one Jesus has ALREADY told you to take.’
What do next steps and walls have to do with each other?, you might ask. Well, let’s just suppose for a moment that I want to take a next step and there is a wall in front of me. What might I do?
I could sit in front of it and whine about the fact that it was there.
I could try to walk along it to find a way around it.
I could try to find a way over it.
i could try to knock it down, I suppose.
Of course, I could just ignore the wall and stay content where I am.
But what if I decided to ask myself who put it there? Is it really a wall, or do I just think it’s a wall? Am I better off or worse off if there’s a wall blocking my spiritual growth? Who benefits if there’s a wall there? Who is better off if I don’t proceed on my spiritual journey—if I just remain the same?
As I’ve thought about these things over the last few weeks, I’ve decided that there’s a pretty good reason that the illusion, the illusion, of a wall came to my mind. My husband and I HAVE talked with each other a lot—and we have both felt stirrings that Jesus wants something MORE of us than what is happening right now. We don’t know yet what that might be, but we have taken some steps to make room in our lives for what it could be.
But we haven’t prayed together very much about it. It’s no wonder I’ve  felt ‘walled off’ from direction and purpose. I wonder who might have put that wall of distraction and thought distortion before me?
People, in case there is any doubt in your minds, spiritual attack by the father of lies can sometimes simply be a few bricks piled up that cause us to trip up in our daily routine. Rocks, stacked just high enough across that the path we walk each day that we barely notice we’ve veered off a degree to the left or right—not noticing we’re are no longer in direct communion with our Lord.
"Turn your eyes upon Jesus.
Look full in His wonderful face.
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace.”
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil. Proverbs 3-5-7
Turn your eyes on Jesus and keep them there—so you won’t see Satan’s Walls.

WALLS

Walls are interesting things. They serve multiple purposes. They can keep things in or out. They can hold things up or simply divide some things from other things. They can give actual privacy or only the illusion of it.

There are the walls that people put up when they don’t want us to see who they really are and the ones that tumble down when they let us in. The walls we erect to protect ourselves from hurt, yet again; and the ones we seem to keep beating our heads against for whatever reason seems appropriate.

Walls are interesting. They can truly be literal or abstract in the extreme.

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about ‘next steps’ in my spiritual journey because we talk a great deal about that at our church. ‘Everyone has a next step.’ ‘What IS your next step.’ ‘You can’t take your NEXT step until you take the one Jesus has ALREADY told you to take.’

What do next steps and walls have to do with each other?, you might ask. Well, let’s just suppose for a moment that I want to take a next step and there is a wall in front of me. What might I do?

I could sit in front of it and whine about the fact that it was there.

I could try to walk along it to find a way around it.

I could try to find a way over it.

i could try to knock it down, I suppose.

Of course, I could just ignore the wall and stay content where I am.

But what if I decided to ask myself who put it there? Is it really a wall, or do I just think it’s a wall? Am I better off or worse off if there’s a wall blocking my spiritual growth? Who benefits if there’s a wall there? Who is better off if I don’t proceed on my spiritual journey—if I just remain the same?

As I’ve thought about these things over the last few weeks, I’ve decided that there’s a pretty good reason that the illusion, the illusion, of a wall came to my mind. My husband and I HAVE talked with each other a lot—and we have both felt stirrings that Jesus wants something MORE of us than what is happening right now. We don’t know yet what that might be, but we have taken some steps to make room in our lives for what it could be.

But we haven’t prayed together very much about it. It’s no wonder I’ve  felt ‘walled off’ from direction and purpose. I wonder who might have put that wall of distraction and thought distortion before me?

People, in case there is any doubt in your minds, spiritual attack by the father of lies can sometimes simply be a few bricks piled up that cause us to trip up in our daily routine. Rocks, stacked just high enough across that the path we walk each day that we barely notice we’ve veered off a degree to the left or right—not noticing we’re are no longer in direct communion with our Lord.

"Turn your eyes upon Jesus.

Look full in His wonderful face.

And the things of earth will grow strangely dim

In the light of His glory and grace.”

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil. Proverbs 3-5-7

Turn your eyes on Jesus and keep them there—so you won’t see Satan’s Walls.

“If we don’t leave it all at the altar, we can’t be altered at all.”

Dalton Blankenship

(from our home group lesson tonight)

I thought this was worthy of repeating. We have to submit our entire selves, holding nothing back, or Jesus can’t heal us. It’s that simple, really.

If I am delighting myself in the Lord, it means the desires of my heart will align with His—not that I will get everything I want. Simple really. 

If I am delighting myself in the Lord, it means the desires of my heart will align with His—not that I will get everything I want. Simple really. 

YOU TOOK MY BREATH AWAY! GOOD JOB!

Just when I’m not expecting it, just when I’m not even thinking of you, you choose to remind me who you are by taking my breath away! What an incredible Creator you are! You not only MADE this world, but you create it new each. and. every. day! No other god has ever done or will ever do that!! It’s one of the reasons I love you so much. You use the WHOLE box of crayons….

And in the midst of it all you choose to remind me what you did for me in such a subtle but profound way….

Please, Jesus—all I ask is that I never take for granted the sacrifice you made and that I never for one moment take for granted the beauty you place before us each moment.

'Let the name of the Lord be praised, from the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the Lord is to be praised.” Psalm 113:2-3

NOT A LAUGHING MATTER
If you have been in any large city and driven through the less stellar portions of it, you have probably seen the homeless folks that gather there. Or perhaps you have had someone bump into you along your walk in the park and been a bit off put by the confused mumbling, the incoherent speech and frightened look given you, when it was actually you who were frightened. Some of these folks may have had schizophrenia, a mental illness.
Or perhaps you have been one of the endless folks who have Tweeted, blogged or at parties been the one said you were ‘beside yourself’ (wink, wink), told the tiresome jokes: ‘I may be schizophrenic but at least I have each other.’ Or this one:
Doctor,” the worried exec told the psychiatrist, “I’m afraid I’m schizophrenic.” 
"Well," replied the doctor, "that makes four of us."
Schizophrenia is a mental illness. Having it is not something to make fun of. Generally, it is not something to be afraid of—unless you are the one that has it. Then, it is simply terrifying.
Schizophrenia is the most serious of all the mental illnesses because one of its main characteristics is often an inability to recognize the real from the unreal. Those that are so diagnosed may have beliefs that are false, very disordered thinking and memory processing. There can be auditory hallucinations that can be simple sounds or voices that torture the sufferer with vile curses, threats, horrid and demeaning comments about their appearance or character or even vocal commands for the sufferer to do harm to themselves or others. Those with schizophrenia tend to withdraw because they realize they just can’t trust what they see and hear. 
Can you even begin to imagine trying to exist in this kind of world where nothing is what you think it even might be? Where those you once called family can no longer be trusted? Where strangers who offer a kind word or food just might be trying to cause you harm?
What we see in a person who is schizophrenic is someone who is no longer able to function in society. They may be hostile, or simply withdrawn. Their speech may be rapid, so rapid as to not be understandable, or, it may be garbled or made up of nonsense words strung together in no pattern whatsoever. They may be always fearful and cling to odd things like many layers of clothing refusing to remove them for washing or healthcare needs. They may become hoarders, fearful to leave items alone for even a moment.
Symptoms can generally be treated with medications. But very often, once those symptoms are stabilized, the person begins to believe the medications are no longer needed, they are stopped, the symptoms return and the cycle of illness repeats itself. 
Schizophrenia was named from two Greek words meaning to split the mind NOT the personality. It was so named because of the inability of those suffering from the illness to control the disordered thinking that assails them—to do away with the sounds, voices, and sensitivities that preclude functioning in social situations. It has nothing whatever to do with split personality disorders. 
Should you desire a reasonably good explanation and representation of what schizophrenia looks like, the movie, A Beautiful Mind is quite good at showing how ordinary and extraordinary it can appear to both the outside world and the one suffering from its effects. 

Schizophrenia is a horrible, debilitating disease, which, at best, requires a lifetime of constant supervision, medication adjustment, readjustment, trial and error and further readjustment to find an appropriate combination of medications that suit a particular set of symptoms for a particular individual. Then and only then is a person who has been diagnosed with this mental illness likely to have the opportunity to live a life free of the majority of symptoms that disrupt the ability to live a life of purpose.
What schizophrenia is is NOT a joke.

NOT A LAUGHING MATTER

If you have been in any large city and driven through the less stellar portions of it, you have probably seen the homeless folks that gather there. Or perhaps you have had someone bump into you along your walk in the park and been a bit off put by the confused mumbling, the incoherent speech and frightened look given you, when it was actually you who were frightened. Some of these folks may have had schizophrenia, a mental illness.

Or perhaps you have been one of the endless folks who have Tweeted, blogged or at parties been the one said you were ‘beside yourself’ (wink, wink), told the tiresome jokes: ‘I may be schizophrenic but at least I have each other.’ Or this one:

Doctor,” the worried exec told the psychiatrist, “I’m afraid I’m schizophrenic.”

"Well," replied the doctor, "that makes four of us."

Schizophrenia is a mental illness. Having it is not something to make fun of. Generally, it is not something to be afraid of—unless you are the one that has it. Then, it is simply terrifying.

Schizophrenia is the most serious of all the mental illnesses because one of its main characteristics is often an inability to recognize the real from the unreal. Those that are so diagnosed may have beliefs that are false, very disordered thinking and memory processing. There can be auditory hallucinations that can be simple sounds or voices that torture the sufferer with vile curses, threats, horrid and demeaning comments about their appearance or character or even vocal commands for the sufferer to do harm to themselves or others. Those with schizophrenia tend to withdraw because they realize they just can’t trust what they see and hear. 

Can you even begin to imagine trying to exist in this kind of world where nothing is what you think it even might be? Where those you once called family can no longer be trusted? Where strangers who offer a kind word or food just might be trying to cause you harm?

What we see in a person who is schizophrenic is someone who is no longer able to function in society. They may be hostile, or simply withdrawn. Their speech may be rapid, so rapid as to not be understandable, or, it may be garbled or made up of nonsense words strung together in no pattern whatsoever. They may be always fearful and cling to odd things like many layers of clothing refusing to remove them for washing or healthcare needs. They may become hoarders, fearful to leave items alone for even a moment.

Symptoms can generally be treated with medications. But very often, once those symptoms are stabilized, the person begins to believe the medications are no longer needed, they are stopped, the symptoms return and the cycle of illness repeats itself. 

Schizophrenia was named from two Greek words meaning to split the mind NOT the personality. It was so named because of the inability of those suffering from the illness to control the disordered thinking that assails them—to do away with the sounds, voices, and sensitivities that preclude functioning in social situations. It has nothing whatever to do with split personality disorders.

Should you desire a reasonably good explanation and representation of what schizophrenia looks like, the movie, A Beautiful Mind is quite good at showing how ordinary and extraordinary it can appear to both the outside world and the one suffering from its effects.

Schizophrenia is a horrible, debilitating disease, which, at best, requires a lifetime of constant supervision, medication adjustment, readjustment, trial and error and further readjustment to find an appropriate combination of medications that suit a particular set of symptoms for a particular individual. Then and only then is a person who has been diagnosed with this mental illness likely to have the opportunity to live a life free of the majority of symptoms that disrupt the ability to live a life of purpose.

What schizophrenia is is NOT a joke.

"In this world you WILL have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world!" John 16:33

"In this world you WILL have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world!" John 16:33

I AM PRIVILEGED
It has been a long time coming, but I have finally come to the conclusion that I am privileged. I don’t mean I am rich. There is a difference in the way I mean that I am a woman of privilege.
I do not come from a family of means. As a married wife and mother, at one time in our lives we declared bankruptcy, had the church bring us food and even sold some of our belongings to put food on the table. In point of fact, even now, years later, we live on a fixed income. My husband and I have just barely enough in the bank at the end of the month to stay in the black. Now, for a lot of folks over the world, that is, of course very rich—to have enough to pay bills and have anything left over. But this post is not about money. So, for the sake of argument, just accept that I’m not wealthy by any definition.
Should I want to, however, I can do a great many things that don’t really have much to do with being wealthy and that I think very little about each day.
I can apply to any school in this nation and should I desire to attend, with my grades and previous degree and educational experience, I’m rather certain I could get in. 
I can move into most any neighborhood should I desire to do so.
I can wander into any department store in the world, dressed as I usually am for church, nice jeans, T-shirt, probably a nice jacket, because I’m always cold and I would be reasonably guaranteed service with a smile.
After all, I am privileged. 
I can be pulled over by a police officer on the highway and because I believed everything I was ever taught in driver education class, I can be reasonably assured that there is something wrong with my vehicle, not the way I’m driving it. 
I can walk up to you as you walk in our downtown in the evening, even though you don’t know me and strike up a conversation about your adorable three-year old without any problem. 
I could even snatch your purse while doing it and probably have an attorney get it thrown out of court saying I was just a bit confused—perhaps after taking the wrong anti-depressant that afternoon.
And I can walk anywhere I want to for the most part and no one will wonder why I am where I am, doing what I’m doing.
After all, I am privileged. And I am white. 
I have grown up the majority of my life believing, honestly believing, that I was not racist, that I was not even prejudiced. But I was wrong in my belief. I will tell you when I first realized this and how horrified I was at that realization.
We had just heard a stirring sermon at our church on love, actually. And I don’t mean the film by that title. Our pastor was trying to communicate the biblical perspective that there was no place for belief that one race was superior to or more blessed than another—specifically that color was not an issue with God. And I believed this! I did! (I’m not sure why we think God can use His entire box of crayons on the world He created but not use the same box on the people He put in it!)
Anyway, I don’t remember all the scripture that was quoted that day. But I have done quite a lot of reading since then; because I was so appalled at what happened later that afternoon. 
My husband and I had gone to a local park to spend some time resting between services. As we sat enjoying the peaceful surroundings, I noticed a young couple walking hand in hand by the small pond. One was white, the other black. As I looked at them, even after having heard such a convicting sermon only hours before, my first thought formed: Why can’t they find friends of the same…. My thought remained unfinished. “The same what?” my Savior said.
I never thought I was a racist. I didn’t! I had welcomed many people of different races into my life. But apparently, I had never welcomed them into my heart. And I didn’t even know that! I was crushed to find out in such a visceral way—and to hear my Jesus call me on it. This young couple had perhaps already found what Martin Luther King longed for on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963 and were able to look past the “color of their skin to the content of their character.” I had not. 
There is no biblical support to divide us by race. On the contrary, there is ample support to ignore race all together, as if it did not exist. In our sin, it is we who continue to make it an issue of separation. Fortunately, for my own spiritual journey, Jesus saw fit to convict me of this, hear my cry of repentance and shower me with the grace he does each time I realize my imperfections and come to him (figuratively) on my knees in regret and humbly ask for forgiveness.
Racism in all its forms and ugliness is wrong. If we are whose we say we are, children of God—the God who made us ALL in His image—then we must believe that ALL people were created in His image. (Genesis 1:27) When we say ‘Yes’ to the unspeakable gift of salvation, we become adopted sons and daughters of Almighty God—brothers and sisters in faith of Jesus Christ. “There is no Jew, or Greek, slave or free, male or female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galations 3:28). 
There is no doubt in my mind that I am saved, a new creation, belonging to Christ and when I die, I will step into eternity to live with him forever. There is also no doubt in my mind that when I do, I will see people of every tribe, tongue, nation AND COLOR there to greet me. 
And I will be so privileged to see every. single. one!!
“They will come from East and West, from North and South, and recline at the table in the Kingdom of God.” (Luke 13:29)

 
 
 

 

I AM PRIVILEGED

It has been a long time coming, but I have finally come to the conclusion that I am privileged. I don’t mean I am rich. There is a difference in the way I mean that I am a woman of privilege.

I do not come from a family of means. As a married wife and mother, at one time in our lives we declared bankruptcy, had the church bring us food and even sold some of our belongings to put food on the table. In point of fact, even now, years later, we live on a fixed income. My husband and I have just barely enough in the bank at the end of the month to stay in the black. Now, for a lot of folks over the world, that is, of course very rich—to have enough to pay bills and have anything left over. But this post is not about money. So, for the sake of argument, just accept that I’m not wealthy by any definition.

Should I want to, however, I can do a great many things that don’t really have much to do with being wealthy and that I think very little about each day.

I can apply to any school in this nation and should I desire to attend, with my grades and previous degree and educational experience, I’m rather certain I could get in. 

I can move into most any neighborhood should I desire to do so.

I can wander into any department store in the world, dressed as I usually am for church, nice jeans, T-shirt, probably a nice jacket, because I’m always cold and I would be reasonably guaranteed service with a smile.

After all, I am privileged. 

I can be pulled over by a police officer on the highway and because I believed everything I was ever taught in driver education class, I can be reasonably assured that there is something wrong with my vehicle, not the way I’m driving it. 

I can walk up to you as you walk in our downtown in the evening, even though you don’t know me and strike up a conversation about your adorable three-year old without any problem. 

I could even snatch your purse while doing it and probably have an attorney get it thrown out of court saying I was just a bit confused—perhaps after taking the wrong anti-depressant that afternoon.

And I can walk anywhere I want to for the most part and no one will wonder why I am where I am, doing what I’m doing.

After all, I am privileged. And I am white. 

I have grown up the majority of my life believing, honestly believing, that I was not racist, that I was not even prejudiced. But I was wrong in my belief. I will tell you when I first realized this and how horrified I was at that realization.

We had just heard a stirring sermon at our church on love, actually. And I don’t mean the film by that title. Our pastor was trying to communicate the biblical perspective that there was no place for belief that one race was superior to or more blessed than another—specifically that color was not an issue with God. And I believed this! I did! (I’m not sure why we think God can use His entire box of crayons on the world He created but not use the same box on the people He put in it!)

Anyway, I don’t remember all the scripture that was quoted that day. But I have done quite a lot of reading since then; because I was so appalled at what happened later that afternoon. 

My husband and I had gone to a local park to spend some time resting between services. As we sat enjoying the peaceful surroundings, I noticed a young couple walking hand in hand by the small pond. One was white, the other black. As I looked at them, even after having heard such a convicting sermon only hours before, my first thought formed: Why can’t they find friends of the same…. My thought remained unfinished. “The same what?” my Savior said.

I never thought I was a racist. I didn’t! I had welcomed many people of different races into my life. But apparently, I had never welcomed them into my heart. And I didn’t even know that! I was crushed to find out in such a visceral way—and to hear my Jesus call me on it. This young couple had perhaps already found what Martin Luther King longed for on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963 and were able to look past the “color of their skin to the content of their character.” I had not. 

There is no biblical support to divide us by race. On the contrary, there is ample support to ignore race all together, as if it did not exist. In our sin, it is we who continue to make it an issue of separation. Fortunately, for my own spiritual journey, Jesus saw fit to convict me of this, hear my cry of repentance and shower me with the grace he does each time I realize my imperfections and come to him (figuratively) on my knees in regret and humbly ask for forgiveness.

Racism in all its forms and ugliness is wrong. If we are whose we say we are, children of God—the God who made us ALL in His image—then we must believe that ALL people were created in His image. (Genesis 1:27) When we say ‘Yes’ to the unspeakable gift of salvation, we become adopted sons and daughters of Almighty God—brothers and sisters in faith of Jesus Christ. “There is no Jew, or Greek, slave or free, male or female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galations 3:28). 

There is no doubt in my mind that I am saved, a new creation, belonging to Christ and when I die, I will step into eternity to live with him forever. There is also no doubt in my mind that when I do, I will see people of every tribe, tongue, nation AND COLOR there to greet me. 

And I will be so privileged to see every. single. one!!

“They will come from East and West, from North and South, and recline at the table in the Kingdom of God.” (Luke 13:29)

 

 

 

 

ourpresidents:

Today is the anniversary of the 1964 Nurse Training Act — There was a severe shortage of nurses in the early 1960s, and the Act created new training and financial aid opportunities for nursing students. 
To commemorate the anniversary, the LBJ Presidential Library is offering free admission all month for nurses and nursing students.
-from the LBJ Library

Actually, it was yesterday, as I am late posting this. I find it interesting that this picture was chosen for the FB post. These happen to be three US Army Nurse Corps RNs. I suspect that there really wasn’t a shortage of RNs in the Army at the time. I’m not sure, of course.
However, I remain grateful that financial aid was available to nursing students. Shortages remained as I entered nursing school in 1974. I received one $600 scholarship. The rest of my 33 month tuition was paid by my husband and myself. It wasn’t easy with a child. But we did it. It took us several years to pay off what I owed.
But I am very proud to have become an RN. It was a lifelong dream and I do not regret much of what it cost—financially or emotionally.

ourpresidents:

Today is the anniversary of the 1964 Nurse Training Act — There was a severe shortage of nurses in the early 1960s, and the Act created new training and financial aid opportunities for nursing students.

To commemorate the anniversary, the LBJ Presidential Library is offering free admission all month for nurses and nursing students.

-from the LBJ Library

Actually, it was yesterday, as I am late posting this. I find it interesting that this picture was chosen for the FB post. These happen to be three US Army Nurse Corps RNs. I suspect that there really wasn’t a shortage of RNs in the Army at the time. I’m not sure, of course.

However, I remain grateful that financial aid was available to nursing students. Shortages remained as I entered nursing school in 1974. I received one $600 scholarship. The rest of my 33 month tuition was paid by my husband and myself. It wasn’t easy with a child. But we did it. It took us several years to pay off what I owed.

But I am very proud to have become an RN. It was a lifelong dream and I do not regret much of what it cost—financially or emotionally.

This always. Holy Spirit, make me brave! Amen

This always. Holy Spirit, make me brave! Amen

“His purpose is to make a man exactly like Himself, and the characteristic of the Son of God is self-expenditure. If we believe in Jesus, it is not what we gain, but what He pours through us that counts. It is not that God makes us beautifully rounded grapes, but that He squeezes the sweetness out of us. Spiritually, we cannot measure our life by success, but only by what God pours through us, and we cannot measure that at all.”

Oswald Chambers

To know that our ultimate purpose is so simple and yet so profound—to be Holy—to be like Christ—to be poured out for Him as he was for us—so simple—and yet we have to agree to be such. That would be the difficult part. And yet again, if we are whose we say we are—have we any choice in the matter?