Our Spiritual Accent

While attending the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference, I discovered the more time I spent time with a friend from the same area of Eastern Kentucky where my dad grew up, the more my accent became like his.

Although I never lived in Kentucky, I started speaking with an Eastern Kentucky accent.

As Carlton and I discussed this phenomenon the last day of the conference, he laughed and said, “It’s your Kentucky roots coming out.”

I’m thinking me dropping my Rs and Gs has something to do with his distinctive Appalachian accent drawing out my Kentucky roots. But maybe not.

Pondering this I wondered, do our accents, attitudes, and words take on the environment around us, or do they remain consistent with who we are as children of God regardless of our surroundings?

Just as being around Carlton increased the chances my Kentucky accent came out, shouldn’t spending time with God increase the chances our spiritual accent comes out?

I never thought I had an accent. I definitely don’t have a Texas accent. At least I don’t think I do. I grew up in Maryland. Marylanders don’t have accents. At least we don’t think we do.

Unless you count us dropping the Y and maybe the D when we pronounce the name of the state. And maybe we drop a couple letters when we say, Baltimore. And a couple more when we say, Orioles.

As a collective of Christ followers, you and I may not think our spiritual accent changes depending on our surroundings, but what if we see patterns that indicate it does?

What if we see patterns that show we pick up the world’s accent in certain situations? What then?

Maybe returning to our spiritual roots will help us find our spiritual accent of the Fruit of the Spirit living in us.

I always enjoy spending time talking with Carlton, especially when my Kentucky roots start to show.

Does your accent change depending on who you’re around?

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Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:4-5 (NIV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Moving Mountains

Today’s post, Moving Mountains, is written by my writer-friend, Phyllis Farringer.

I usually try to avoid asking God, “Why?” Not because I don’t want to know, but because I have learned He usually doesn’t answer such inquiries, at least not directly. He is God. He doesn’t owe us explanations. But sometimes the question looms large, and I just want answers. In one such instance, after wrestling with a broken friendship for what seemed like a very long time, I hit my knees and asked Him bluntly, “Why doesn’t this mountain move?” I don’t know what I expected, exactly, but I sought relief from the hurt I felt.

I don’t claim to hear an audible voice when the Lord speaks to me. Most often, He speaks to me through Scripture. He also speaks thoughts into my spirit. Usually just a few words, but they are clearly thoughts I know didn’t originate with me. That day, as I prayed, a thought jolted me. “You are trying to move the wrong mountain.” I had come to expect Him to speak with a sentence or two. That day He spoke in paragraphs. “This thing you are praying about is not the problem. Your attitude about it is the real problem. It is consuming all of your energy. It is overtaking your prayer life. There are other things in your life that demand your attention, but you are ignoring them because your emotions are so distracted by this.”

Wow! As I saw with clarity how problematic my own thoughts and feelings were, concerning the situation at hand, I asked His forgiveness, and I asked Him to do something about the heart problem.

He did. I began to accept my inability to change the situation. Whether or not it ever changed, I needed to get on with my life. I paid more attention to the other things I needed to care about. I stopped demanding the answer I wanted.

As I let Him deal with the mountain in my own heart, I began to notice the other mountain moving also. It didn’t happen all at once, but a few rocks and shovelfuls at a time. The landscape never looked as I originally envisioned it, but in the end, the Lord created a thing of beauty.

That is His way. We want Him to change something external to us. To move a mountain, to heal an illness, to change someone’s heart. We want miracles. We want them now. He provides them, but in His time. And in His way. He is all powerful. There is nothing He can’t do. But often the real miracle is the change He brings about in us, so we learn to trust Him when His answer is not the one for which we were looking.

Phyllis Farringer delights in proclaiming God’s goodness. Her work has appeared in various periodicals including Decision Magazine, Focus on the Family publications, and Christianity Today Bible Studies. She has also written for several compilations including Cup of Comfort for Moms and God Allows U-Turns. She and her husband live in North Carolina. They have two married children and seven grandchildren.

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. . . I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you. Matthew 17:20

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Lessons Learned From Axe Throwing

Lessons learned from axe throwing. Is there such a thing? If this past Father’s Day is any indicator, I’d have to say, “Yes!”

For Father’s Day this year, Pilot and I went to a local axe throwing establishment with Pie and Explorer. Pilot and Pie threw axes once before, but this was Explorer and my first time.

Right off, let me say, I loved it. Two hours of hurling axes at a wooden target and scoring multiple bulls eyes? What’s not to love?

Being Father’s Day, there were many family groups along with the bearded Viking-hair-styled kilt wearers. Multigenerational, father-daughter, father-son … it was great.

So, what are the lessons?

  • If we’re gonna hit the target, we’ve gotta grab an axe, step up to the line and hurl the axe toward the target in front of us.
  • If the axe doesn’t stick the first, second, third time, we keep trying.
  • Just because we hit a bulls eye once, twice, three times, doesn’t mean we’ll hit another one the next go round. Don’t give up.
  • Don’t discount the 1s, 2s, and 3s we hit. All points big and small add up.
  • Age, gender, ethnicity, nor attire are qualifiers for hitting the target.

That said, how do we apply these lessons to our life?

  • If there’s something we want to accomplish whether it’s a life goal, spiritual goal, work goal, relationship goal, we’ve got to grab that axe, step up to the line, and throw.
  • If our first attempts hit the wall, bounce off, and land with a solid thud to the ground for all the world to hear, we pick up that axe and throw it again.
  • We may score one bulls eye, then miss the next. When that happens, we keep throwing. Keep trying.
  • Each step forward is important, no matter how small. We don’t dismiss those which seem insignificant in comparison to our overall goal.
  • What truly matters is a willingness to grab that axe, step up to the line, and give it our best shot. Repeatedly.

Have you ever gone axe throwing? What’d you think about it? Personally, I can’t wait to go again!

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I don’t mean to say I am perfect. I haven’t learned all I should even yet, but I keep working toward that day when I will finally be all that Christ saved me for and wants me to be. No, dear brothers, I am still not all I should be, but I am bringing all my energies to bear on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God is calling us up to heaven because of what Christ Jesus did for us. Philippians 3:12-14 (TLB)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Pause for Poetry Faithfully

Welcome to Pause for Poetry, featuring a poem, Faithfully, written by my writer-friend, Frances Gregory Pasch.

Faithfully

Lord, help me

to never compromise

the Gospel.

Remove my desire

to please everyone

at the expense

of displeasing You.

Imprint your Word

so deeply in my heart

that I will faithfully

proclaim the Good News

with Holy Ghost boldness.

©Frances Gregory Pasch

Frances Gregory Pasch’s devotions and poems have been published hundreds of times in devotional booklets, magazines, and Sunday school papers since 1985. Her writing has also appeared in several dozen compilations. Her book, Double Vision: Seeing God in Everyday Life Through Devotions and Poetry is available on Amazon. Frances has been leading a women’s Christian writers group since 1991 and makes her own holiday greeting cards incorporating her poetry. She and her husband, Jim, have been married since 1958. They have five sons and nine grandchildren. Contact her at http://www.francesgregorypasch.com.

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I wish you well.

Sandy

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Give Dad Some P.E.A.R.L.S.

With Sunday being Father’s Day I thought about something each of us could give those in our lives who are either our fathers, have been like a father to us, or are the father of our children.

P.E.A.R.L.S. for dad. That’s it. And the best part is they won’t cost us a thing.

P.E.A.R.L.S.

Pray. We know how effective prayer is. Mountains are moved. Burdens are lifted. Peace is restored. The dads in our lives need prayer on a daily basis, just like everyone else. Let’s commit to praying for them.

Encourage. We all need encouragement when the going gets tough. And even when it’s smooth sailing. We need reassurance what we do is important. That we matter. That someone’s in our corner cheering us on. Let’s commit to encouraging.

Appreciate. This is a biggie. Everyone likes to know someone appreciates the effort they put into what they do. How difficult is it to tell someone you appreciate them? It isn’t difficult at all. Just do it. Say thank you.

Respect. No rolling our eyes. No muttering under our breath. No snide remarks. Respect. That’s what I’m talking about. Yes. Aretha Franklin’s song is humming through my brain. R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Find out what it means to me. R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Take care, TCB. Show them respect.

Love. Okay. There are a lot of songs running through my brain on this one, but how about we go with a song from my church camp days. Love, love, love, love. The gospel in a word is love. Love thy neighbor as thy brother. Love, love, love. When was the last time we said, “I love you” and really meant it? Or better yet, let’s show our love by doing something we know dad would like without being asked.

Support. It may appear our big strong dads don’t need our support, but I believe that would be a false assumption. They’ve started a DIY project … support their effort, help if you can.  If you can’t be an active participant in something they are interested in, at the very least support them in it. Are they facing a tough place? Stand by them.

Although these P.E.A.R.L.S. today are directed to dads on Father’s Day, if you think about it, they apply to each and every one of us. Dad. Or not.

What pearls would you add to the string?

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Honor (respect, obey, care for) your father and your mother, so that your days may be prolonged in the land the Lord your God gives you. Exodus 20:12 (AMP)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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