Mud spreading? Positive thoughts on negativity

Tired of negativity?

I am.

Maybe I’m overly sensitive, but I’m noticing an awful lot of mudslinging by Christians. Not all of them actually throw mud bombs. Some of them quote others and post links about mud—sharing it secondhand.

Secondhand mud is slime.

I don’t want slime, either.

We all have our own views on politics, religion, race relations, and various and sundries. I think it’s okay to differ on these to some extent. Each person is entitled to his opinion.

I’m not sure, though, that Christians realize how they affect others when they freely share dirt.

Aren’t we supposed to think on things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, good, virtuous, and praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8)? That’s what the Bible says. We also combat sinful stuff with thankfulness and praise (Ephesians 5:4).

The psalmist said he was actually thinking about God, and it produced joy in his life. My meditation of him shall be sweet: I will be glad in the LORD (Psalm 104:34).

This is why, when I see Christians spreading mud all over a grassy field, it grieves my heart.

What can we share instead? Let me suggest a few ideas:

  • beauty and good design
  • fun
  • Bible verses—Truth
  • praises to God
  • good news stories—dog, cat or child found; someone did something wonderful for someone else; success, achievement; kindness; good testimonies, etc.
  • nice photography
  • tributes
  • happy faces
  • beautiful music
  • artwork

Surely, you’ve thought of something else that reflects Christ, brings happiness to others, and actually points people to the Lord.

Quoting the old Mission Impossible opening, “Your mission, should you choose to accept it,” is to spread good stuff.

Not mud.

Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31).

Fiction review: No Filter

No Filter is Book 1 in the The Barks and Beans Café Mystery Series, by Heather Day Gilbert.

Macy is a recently divorced young woman who goes back home to Lewisburg, WV to undertake a new business venture with her brother, Bo. It’s a novel idea—pun totally intended—mixing dog petting with a coffee shop. Bo’s former career had made him perfect for the coffee part, and the brother and sister think, if people get attached to the shelter dogs, some of them will get adopted into good homes. The Barks and Beans Café is a brand new start for two young adults who need it. Macy says yes.

She soon moves into her deceased aunt’s house, and she and Bo go into business. The Barks and Beans appeals to the up and comings as well as the established people in town, and the mysteries begin.

The golf instructor is dead, “whacked in the head with a golf club and found face down in a shallow pond.”

Macy soon adopts a gorgeous black Great Dane, and he happens to have belonged to the murdered man.

The more Macy gets involved, the more danger she’s in. The suspect list gets longer and longer. Something just doesn’t add up.

Soon, Macy’s dog is missing.

Despite her brother’s protective warnings, Macy goes out on her own. Not only is she looking for the dog, she’s looking for the killer.

Poor Alice never gets to taste the eclairs.

This book is a page-turner, for sure. Twists, turns, and as many suspects as an Agatha Christie novel. There are lots of quirky people from all walks of life. You won’t be disappointed.

I was thoroughly entertained, on the edge of my seat, and loving every minute of this novel. The end partially wraps things up, leaving plenty of room for a sequel—which is already written. (Iced Over is Book 2. Fair Trade is Book 3.)

Mrs. Gilbert’s writing is excellent. This book is squeaky clean in every way—except for murder, of course. She doesn’t even leave out tea drinkers and cat people. Do you enjoy art? There’s some of that, too.

You will love it. Easily five stars.

Guest post: Plucker Behaviors 2

Not long ago, I published the first three “plucker” behaviors. (You may access that first installment, here.) I’m sure you enjoyed them. The word plucker was inspired by Proverbs 14:1: Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands. Of course, no one wants to be a plucker.

Thank you, Charity Woon, for sharing these thoughtful ideas with my readers.

Plucker Behavior #4: Having a chihuahua attitude

When I was younger, we had two chihuahuas. One was black and one was white. The black one was grouchy and easily set off. Even the smallest things made her snarl and growl. The white one wasn’t quite as moody, but she was an ankle biter. When someone was walking, she would sneak up behind them and nip at their heels.

Proverbs 21:9 says, It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman in a wide house. A brawling woman is contentious, moody, angry, ankle-biting, nagging, and demanding.

Some people hated coming to our house because of our “brawling” dogs. They didn’t like our ankle-biter following them down the sidewalk.

Imagine being a husband who has to come home to a wife who is easily stirred up and set off. Imagine living with an ankle-biting nag. It’s enough to make a husband dread going home after work.

I must admit there have been times when my temper flared up. Sometimes, I am easily set off. Ugh.

Builder wives have gentle natures and aren’t easily stirred up. They handle frustration and disagreements in a more constructive manner. They have learned to communicate in a healthy way.

1 Peter 3:4, But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.

***

Plucker Behavior #5: Giving him a heart attack


Proverbs 31:11 says, The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.

Our husbands should be able to trust us better than any other person. They should be able to come to us with their deepest secrets without fear of judgment, ridicule, or gossip. Those are plucker behaviors that attack his heart.

My husband sometimes comes to me expressing a weakness. He makes himself vulnerable. He feels free to do that because I’ve gained his trust and have his heart. The worst thing I could do is damage that trust by making myself his judge.

How do I build his trust? It’s little decisions every day. I keep our discussions private. I decide to encourage him and lift him up when he trips. I decide to forgive him. I focus and brag on his strengths instead of his weaknesses. I decide to make myself open and vulnerable to him, too.

***

To be honest, I don’t struggle with some plucker behaviors. Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands (Proverbs 14:1). But, there are others I seem to master.

Plucker Behavior #6: Being in it to win it

A wise woman once told me, “If you fight to win, your husband will walk away injured and bruised. Is that really what you want?”

All marriages have their arguments, and if you are in it to win it in those arguments, both of you lose. If your goal is to understand each other, to listen to each other and come to a compromise, you both walk away blessed. You draw closer together even through disagreements. You try to see things from the other person’s perspective. You respect his thoughts and opinions. That will make you guard your tongue. That will keep you from attacking with name-calling, sarcasm, and hurtful words.

Proverbs 31:26 says, She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.

The glory of gray hair

I love gray hair. It’s so pretty.

Now, it’s even in style for young people—which cracks me up. We were in a public place a couple of years ago. One of the workers, probably in his early twenties, was sporting the new silver gray color in kind of a spikey, streaky style, along with gauge earrings. He certainly caught my attention.

On an elderly person, silver hair makes him glow. In Spanish, we say an elderly man with gray or white hair looks “interesting.” In English, “distinguished.” Things are changing a little, but in Spain it used to be not at all acceptable for a woman to show any gray. Everyone colored their hair. I am glad attitudes are changing, because I enjoy seeing a beautiful white head of hair, male or female.

Plus, I don’t feel so bad sporting my own natural highlights.

Please understand, I am not against hair color. Especially when a woman has little kids and a lot of gray, I don’t blame her at all for not wanting to look like her children’s grandmother.

In my own family, there’s a tendency towards “skunk streaks”—white streaks front to back, somewhere on the top of the head and very dark or black hair on either side. Blame the genes. I always understood my relatives covering that up. Once the rest of the hair turned white, they have let it all go white—and the result is beautiful.

Did you know the Bible loves gray hair?

It is a sign of wisdom and honor. The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness (Proverbs 16:31). Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honour the face of the old man, and fear thy God: I am the LORD (Leviticus 19:32).

God promises to take care of us, even in our latter years. And even to your old age I am he; and even to hoar hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you (Isaiah 46.4).

Several prophets saw God in visions. The Daniel passage talks about God the Father, and the verse in Revelation refers to Jesus. I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire (Daniel 7:9). His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire (Revelation 1:14).

I am not sure anyone can accurately describe God. The humans who actually saw Him describe Him with terms like: light, glory, rainbows, thrones, and pure, dazzling white.

Many gray-haired people have a lifetime of experiences collected under their silvery manes. Have you ever asked them to tell you about their lives? A few years ago, my mother mentioned, “You never really know a person’s life story until their funeral. I think that’s sad.” I do too.

There’s a lot to be learned from an older person. A godly elder has much wisdom to offer his younger friends.

The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness.

Women of the Bible 17: Who are we?

Our father reared our family in a heathen city. One day, a couple of visitors came to our door. Father graciously opened our home to the two men, giving them gracious hospitality and lodging.

In the evening, all the men of our city encircled our house, as if they were rioting against us. They knocked at the door, insisting that my father hand our visitors over to them—to do shameful acts with them. We were terrified.

What did Father do? He stepped outside and closed the door behind him. Then, he offered to give us to those nasty people—his own virgin daughters. Behind the door and behind the visitors, we listened. How horrible! He cared more about being a good host than loving and protecting his own flesh and blood.

That evening, we lost all respect for him.

Our guests opened the door and pulled my father back into the house.

All the men outside became blind. They kept feeling for the door, creeping us out.

The visitors told Father to run and save our family from destruction, but when our father urged them to flee, our brothers and brothers-in-law just laughed at him. They thought he must be kidding.

During the night, the two visitors took our hands: my mother, father, and us two sisters, and led us out of the city. One of them said, Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed.

Would you believe my father argued with him? Father asked to go to another small city. The visitor agreed and waited for us to arrive at the little town. Again, he urged us to hurry.

We ran, and as we entered the town, judgment rained down on the cities behind us. Our mother looked back. Immediately, she was destroyed.

Mourning our mother and having no respect for our father, we lived with him in a cave. We left a beautiful house and ended up with our dad in a cave. He was rendered useless. Sadness overcame him, and he didn’t have work or flocks or riches.

Neither did we.

My elder sister came up with a plan, as it was obvious no one was going to want poor girls as brides. We would get Dad drunk and have children by him.

He was so drunk he never knew what happened. We got our wish, and both of us had sons fathered by their grandfather.

The children of our wombs and their progeny gave the nation of Israel grief from that time forward.

Who are we?

Who is our father?

For bragging rights, what are our sons’ names, and which nations came from them?

A question for consider: when in the Bible was incest forbidden? So … did we do wrong?