Since the sun is hiding but I need some sunlight . . .

I took these pictures on a recent pumpkin patch outing with my boys. It was a beautiful day — crisp air, cool temperatures — and a day outside is always a blessing.

Do you see the honeybee on the flower?

Grandmother loved sunflowers. I thought of her the whole time.

Who can I be a sunflower for today?
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One of my heroes

Growing up in the shadows of Harding University was an interesting experience. In addition to reading Searcy’s Daily Citizen paper to find typos and grammatical errors, I often read the campus paper, The Bison, to learn more about what was happening on campus.

When I was in junior high, Boo Mitchell was a prominent writer for The Bison. His “Fifth Column” took a satirical eye to what was happening on campus. You don’t like the cafeteria food? Let Boo write about it and challenge the faculty to eat there for a week. The menu will change. I enjoyed seeing what he would share from week to week. Boo had a head full of curly red hair, wore suspenders a lot and was just plain funny. When he was featured in the yearbook and asked about his future plans he replied, “With my speech major, I plan on being unemployed.”

In high school, I sang in our school chorus. We took weekend trips in the fall and week-long trips in the spring. One year, I stayed with Boo’s parents at an overnight stop. Mrs. Jane Mitchell was a kind and gracious hostess who had attended Harding with my parents in the late 50’s and early 60’s. She told me that Boo now went by Jerry and was a reporter for a paper in Jackson, Mississippi.

Fast forward a few years. This is what he’s doing now.

I love being a southerner, but the atrocities of the racism of our past haunt me. I applaud Jerry Mitchell for seeking truth and justice. He is a real hero, unlike the celebrities that get lots of face time on every one of the 100+ channels on our televisions.

Thank you, Jerry Wayne “Boo” Mitchell, for being a man of faith who puts that faith into action.

Hard questions: Beginning with God 8 response


Do you define yourself as a sinner or a saint? Do you define yourself “in Christ” or “in Adam”? Which is the true narrative? Why is the false narrative so alluring?

Finding the balance between sainthood and sinner status is the key to an appropriate self-concept. The Old Testament is full of admonishments from God: “Remember where you were before I rescued you,” or “Remember what it was like to be a slave in Egypt.”

I remember what it was like to be a slave to sin. I know the struggle against desires for this world. I have friends who are recovering alcoholics and everyday they must remember what the downside of alcohol brought to them. Every day they must choose to remain sober.

It may not seem like as big of a deal, but I have been been addicted to food for as long as I can remember. As a young girl, I planned refrigerator raids when I knew my parents would not be at home. What I ate at meal time came under tough scrutiny, so I ate away from home as much as possible. I’ve had times in my life when I dealt with this well and food didn’t attract me. If you’ve seen me in the last few years, you know full well that food became my drug of choice again a few years ago.

I hate it. I hate that I think of food when I’m stressed out or when I’m tired. I hate that I can’t get a grasp on this. I hate that I can’t just walk away and say, “I will never eat again.” Ha. I’m not saying that food issues are harder than alcoholism or drug addiction, but I am saying that they’re just as tough, both spiritually and emotionally.

See, what I want to be is a person who turns to God when I’m stressed. I want to be a person who craves spiritual food — not physical food — when I’m overwhelmed by life. It’s not about weight for me. If I were motivated by what I weigh, I would’ve done this a LONG time ago.

So . . . yeah . . .I know all too well what it’s like to see myself as a struggling sinner.

But God (don’t you love those words?) doesn’t see me this way, and I know that. Sometime in my mid-twenties, I really GOT IT. I GOT that my salvation doesn’t depend on what I do; it depends on what Jesus did over 2000 years ago. I don’t have to do all the things or understand theology or have every Bible story tucked away in my memory banks. I can forget the occasional book, chapter, and verse and God will still see me as his child and will still love me.

And he’ll forgive me. I need that forgiveness so very much. See, it’s not just that I eat too much. I lose my temper. I hold grudges. Sometimes I’m snappy and impatient with my children and I complain about my job. None of that is OK, but all of it is forgiven.

All. Of. It.

What can we do to help us live our “sainthood” instead of our “sinner-hood”?

I don’t know the answer to this. I gained such incredible peace of mind when I realized that God really and truly had forgiven me –and would continue to forgive me. I’m sure that’s why I’m sane, but I’d like to move beyond sanity. I’d like to move forward into a place where I truly do see myself as God sees me. A beloved bride, unstained by the world. A beautiful child. A saint, and not a sinner. How do we go about doing this when we are surrounded by the world each day?

Any ideas?

Almost done: Beginning with God 8

Spend some time thinking about it . . . we’ll discuss in a couple of days.

Beginning with God 8

Worship.jpgIt all begins with God — what we think about God shapes what we think about ourselves and those around us and our world. It begins with God. What is our “narrative” of God? What are the narratives that hinder our perception and life in God?

James Bryan Smith, in The Good and Beautiful God: Falling in Love With the God Jesus Knows (The Apprentice Series) , has a chapter called…

“God Transforms.”

The false narrative is this: “I am a sinner.”

Yes, Smith’s argument is that because we tell ourselves that “we are sinners” we both sin and inculcate a tolerance for sin. What then is the Jesus narrative?

Do you define yourself as a sinner or a saint? Do you define yourself “in Christ” or “in Adam”? Which is the true narrative? Why is the false narrative so alluring?

That Jesus is risen from the grave and God’s grace is here to transform us into saints. The narrative of Jesus is “I am a saint. Sin has been defeated. I have been reconciled. I am in Christ.” So Romans 6:6: flesh and the body of death have been destroyed.

Smith: “Christians are not merely forgiven sinners but a new species: persons indwelt by Jesus, possessing the same eternal life that he has” (154). Analogy of butterfly: why would a butterfly want to live like a worm?

How can we live as a saint? Abide in Christ (John 15:4-5). Our brokenness — cracked Eikon — does not define us; what defines us now is Christ.

What can we do to help us live our “sainthood” instead of our “sinner-hood”?