Winter in Roanoke

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Moving Forward While Looking Back

It’s hard to move forward when I’m clinging to the past.  It’s hard to look the future with hope when I’m focused on what’s behind me.  It’s hard to be present, in the present, and respond rightly when I’m still wrestling with demons I refuse to let go of.  It’s hard to trust God when all I’m thinking about is what went wrong, what was lost or what’s missing.

Surely, I wouldn’t try to drive my car forward while I was focused on what was behind me.  Why would I try to live my life like that?

May I lay it all down at the foot of the cross.  May the Jesus Christ show me how to forgive and be free.

So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.  – John 8:36 NASB

Downton Abbey…What’s up?

One of my guilty pleasures is watching Downton Abbey.  Last night I was having trouble staying focused because of some glaring changes I noticed in series 5, episode 7.

So what’s up?

Well…it sure seems like they were not filming that episode at Highclere Castle.  My guess it was filmed on a set, not on site.  The rooms were much smaller and not as grand.

Also…did anyone else notice a difference in the quality of the sound and picture.  It seems like they went from film to video.

From the beginning Downton Abbey has been grand and beautiful.  Last night…I found the changes, whatever they are, very distracting.  Things weren’t looking so grand.  What makes it more distracting is the change was in the middle of series 5, not at the beginning of the season.

I’ve done a Google search, but not seen anything mentioned about changes.  If you have any insights…please let me know.

Fear is a Bully

Have you ever noticed what a bully fear is?  It keeps me from stepping out in faith and trying something new.  It makes me doubt my experience and abilities.  It reminds me that “I’m not good enough” and never will be.  It keeps my focus on the past and not the present, much less looking with hope toward the future.  It make me doubt my ability to learn, grow and improve.  It makes me hesitant to take a risk because I might fail and look really stupid.  An unhealthy fear makes me doubt God.

Fear keeps the focus on me, not God.  Seeing fear at work in a loved one is painful.  The encouraging words I try to speak are not heard, they are drowned out by fear.

So how can I combat that bully fear?  Beat down with the truth from God’s word.  Truth about who God is and what He has promised in the Bible.  Truth about who I am in Christ.

Defeating a bully make take time.  Defeating fear is worth all the hard work and effort.

The fear that we should retain is a holy reverence and fear of God.  That is a wise and prudent fear I want to retain.

What would life without being bullied by fear look like?

The Destruction of a Gossiping Tongue

Woe is the destruction that comes
From a gossiping tongue

Like the devastation wrought
By an out of control wildfire

So too when the gossip’s tongue speaks
A match is lit and many will be burned

Like the person who rolls down the window
Carelessly tosses out a lit cigarette

It will ignite flames of fire
And quickly be driven by the wind

Nary is a thought given
To the damage that will ensue

Wounds inflicted
Burns and scars that may take a lifetime to heal

What pride and arrogance
When words of judgment and condemnation are spoken

The unbeliever hears and declares “hypocrite”
I don’t want to be like that Christian

It breeds mistrust, anger and bitterness
The wounded soul struggles to forgive

Souls for whom Christ died are hurt
The body is divided

God dishonored
Reproach brought upon the body of Christ

Remove the log from your own eye
Be broken over sin and seek forgiveness

Instead may you use your tongue
To praise and worship God, bring Him honor and glory

Now may you pray for the brethren
Speak words of encouragement, life and truth

Susan Wachtel
February 5, 2015