Fake News

Fake news, we have all heard the term. It is everywhere.The trouble is that when you hear something often enough, it becomes gospel truth. I love the quote “A lie can fly half way around the world while the truth is still putting on its boots.”Lies certainly do fly quickly in the modern world of the internet and social media. The trouble is that fake news spreads like a contagious illness regardless of the truthfulness of the content.

I think that Christians are just a susceptible to fake news as anyone else. There are many false doctrines out there that are taken as gospel truth. This can get dangerous very quickly as it is a proven fact that we tend to pay attention to beliefs that we already hold. We seek people who hold like minded beliefs. Even when new information is presented that contradicts the beliefs that we are holding, we resist that information and double down on proving we are right instead of searching for the real truth.

This should concern us for a couple of reasons. People usually practice resistance to anything that goes against what they currently believe are much less likely to listen to what we have to share. Realize that those we are to share with are often taking in what we are sharing with a doubting heart.

 Second, we have to make darn sure that the news we are sharing is not fake news.

When it comes to fake news versus the truth of God, we have an enemy that is a master deceiver. Satan is the ultimate liar and the father of all lies. Make no mistake, every false religion, every cult, every misguided philosophy and every thought that is opposed to God, is authored by Satan himself.

 Satan has but one goal, to destroy that which is of God..

 

Our message should be about the faith and hope we have in Jesus Christ. Our message should proclaim the great love our Savior has for us.

Just as we are working to share the good news of what Jesus did for us, Satan is working to spread fake news.

We must become unstoppable crusaders for the truth. God is the source of all truth. God is our foundation in a world run afoul with the lies of Satan.

This means we go the extra mile and we must spent as much time communing with God and in the Word of God as it takes to make sure we know the news we are championing is based on true Godly foundations.

The real truth, the absolute truth of God must be boldly proclaimed and preached by us, His crusaders.

 Lets get out there and spread some Good News!


Dottie

Renew your mind, avoid the hole

“I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in
I am lost……..I am helpless
It isn’t my fault
It takes forever to find a way out.

I walk down the same street
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk
I pretend I don’t see it
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in the same place
But, it isn’t my fault
It still takes me a long time to get out.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in. It is a habit.
My eyes are open. I know where I am.
It is my own fault. I get out immediately.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

I walk down another street.

Portia Nelson

 

I love this poem. Read the poem carefully. Read it as it was written, five different chapters of your life. It is the story of your life, it is the story of my life.

In life chapter 1 we are wandering, lost, alone and helpless. There is a hole we have fallen into through no particular fault of our own. It may be a death, a job loss, a betrayal, any one of a number of unexpected pitfalls that life throws our way. We fall into the hole and there is nothing we can do about it. Our particular hole represents anger, anxiety, worry, grief, etc. It is the darkest hole you have ever experienced, you see no way out and you are there through no fault of your own. This sucks.

You climb out the same way, on your own, with your own sweat and tears. It takes you forever. You are cussing yourself and hitting yourself with negative, critical and judgmental thoughts right and left. You are thinking to yourself how stupid you are and therefore you are right where you deserve to be.

You quickly learn that doing the climbing on your own is hard work and affords little upward motion. Day after day you toil but you stay in the hole much longer than you anticipated. It occurs to you (barely) that God may be able to help you climb a little faster but the job of climbing out takes precedence over anything else and soon the thought of God evaporates in your sweat.
In life chapter 2 you find yourself on the same street with the same hole. You are fully aware the hole is there yet you walk straight towards it. Before long you drop right back into where you were not so long ago. The hole is still deep, dark and scary, it hasn’t changed a bit it is exactly the way you left it. It is becoming familiar.
You are living the same story you always have, you are expecting different results but because your pattern is the same, the results are the same. You fall in the hole yet again. You are thinking to yourself if the other people in your life would grow up and learn to act right your life would go a whole lot better. So now you draw up a plan to fix those around you. It could be that you even enlist God’s help. If God can’t fix your husband, your family, your boss, your friends, (you know, those people who make you fall into the hole) then who can. When God fixes all those people, you can avoid the hole. It really is as simple as that. You are convinced that someone else pushed you over the edge to the hole.

Life chapter 3 finds you on the same familiar street and the deep, scary hole is still where it has always been. It is almost a weird sort of comfort to see it because you count on it to always be where you left it. Yet once again, even though you know the hole intimately, you know if you take the next step you will tumble downward, you do it anyway.

You know you did it and you know you are totally responsible but because of your past experience with your hole, you climb out immediately. Having fallen into this same hole so many times you are awakening to the source of the problem. Maybe it’s time to find a different route, after all it is your fault you are there. Repeating the same mistakes over and over will have the same results over and over. Having come to this conclusion you can begin to change. God is reminding you that He is there to help you with your “hole” problem. There is a nagging in the back of your mind that if you seek Him before you begin your trip down the street with the hole, maybe He will come up with a different answer to the same problem that has always plagued you? As you are jumping (literally) out of the hole this time, you are coming up with a goal to include Him in your “hole” plan. You come to the realization that every trip into the hole has increased your need to ask for God’s help. Yes it was in slow increments because you have always been a slow learner. However, every time you asked Him, He helped you. When you asked Him for little He helped a little. What would happen if you asked Him for a complete solution to this nagging “hole” problem? After emerging from the brief stint in the hole, you head home to open that Bible that is……….somewhere in your house.

Life chapter 4 Is walking down the same street, coming upon the same hole but avoiding the hole. It is a whole new exhilarating experience. You saw it coming, knew what to anticipate from past experiences and you simply walked around it. A talk with God has given you a change of course which gives you a whole new set of possibilities. There really is something to this God thing. He is here to help you dig out of the hole, you are now beginning to have experience of that. But the amazing thing you are learning, is He is here to help you not only climb out of the hole, but to conquer the hole. God has shown you alternate routes and He has given you the gift of the knowledge that you are free to take them.
Life chapter 5 is your new day. It is the day you finally change streets. Life chapter 5 is the marvelous renewing of your mind. It is the time you realize that there will be holes in the street but you now have the courage to walk a different path, around the hole. You know you can because you trust He will do as He promised and give you exactly what you need to take the detour.
Renewing of the mind is happening. When you mind is changed by God, your life changes and the hole no longer consumers you. So when someone asks you to help them climb out of their hole, say, here, let me show you what worked for me!

Dottie
…………and so I rideimage

Prayer of Restoration

This is a hard conversation to have. Bad things do happen to good people. When things happen that scar the soul and deplete hope, we turn to coping mechanisms just to get through the day. Those actions may be misunderstood and cruelly criticized. I guess what I am trying to say is we don’t know what anyone else has or is walking through. We don’t know from where a person is coming. Remember that there is usually a rational reason somewhere in the picture for that irrational action. These kinds of things can cause insecurities, a feeling of unworthiness, self-doubt and self-hatred. Be kind at all times because a person may be struggling with something that you know nothing about and the behaviors you see being displayed are the only way that person has to get through life.
For those who struggle silently, I offer the following.

Prayer of Restoration

Lord God, I tried to play the game of life by the rules life demands, but I was soundly defeated. I am tired, I have come to the conclusion that I cannot win. Lord I want to be delivered from the stress and strife of playing the game by others rules and not those you set forth. I want to be free. Help me to be free.
While trying to make it from point A to point B in life, you come to think that you are alone and if you want something done, it has to be you that does it. When you try to get through life in a manner that you believe is necessary to you at that moment, it seems to upset someone because you didn’t do it their way or it was taken differently than you intended. Father help me quench the desire for any game playing and manipulation without resigning myself to a life of misuse. Help me to allow you Father, to do for me what I cannot do for myself. Help me to look to you for my answers and not to man.

You formed my inward parts and knitted me together in my mothers womb. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. You saw me before I was formed, my days were written in your book. Your breathe gave me life. I am your workmanship, created in your image. Help me to hold fast to who you created me to be and to realize that you have given me a spirit of power, love and self-discipline. Help me to realize that I no longer have to surrender to fears and insecurities, instead I can give them to you. Help me to quit using other people as mirrors and let me see myself as you see me. Engrave upon my heart that you knew what you were doing when you formed me and you are still working for me and in me. Write upon my heart the fact that you love me for who I am not in spite of who I am.

Remind me Lord that the timing of all things belongs solely to you. Help me to remember that the worlds ideal time table for the healing of emotional scars is not the timetable you are giving me. You will help me heal the scars burned deep in my soul in your time and your way. It may not make sense to one single person on this earth,but keep reminding me that for me, the timing and method is perfect. Deliver me from caring that others do not understand where you are leading me and help me to ignore the scalding criticism of others and listen solely to what you are telling me to do. Give me the courage to stay the course with you. You are the only one with the map to the destination where we are heading.

Deliver me Father from thinking that I am the only one who can solve my problems. Help me to come to you with the things that are dragging me down. Remind me that there is nothing I can ask from you that you cannot give me. Deliver me from making an idol of myself and remind me to keep my eyes on you and look to you before I look to the world.
You long for me to live free from any ambitions that prove unhealthy. Supply me the courage Father to live a life filled with worthy ambitions, the ones that draw me closer to you. Help me to eliminate my need to hide from you and give me the courage to come before you with total transparency. Give me the kind of courage that propels me to you just as I am. Help me to forgive those who don’t understand my world. Remind me that you love me even though you know every single stupid and ridiculous thing I have said or done. You don’t look at my failures, you look at my needy heart. Help me to remember that the world does not.

Father not only do I ask you to reveal yourself to me clearly and consistently, but I ask you to reveal to me all the parts that make me, uniquely and totally me. Give to me eyes to see the areas I need to work on and where I have created my own insecurities and troubles. Turn me from any pursuit of self worship and control. Let me see the world as an opportunity to show others who you are and not as an arena of competition. Forgive me Father when I fail to appreciate the person who you have made me to be.

Free me from the chains of self protection that I have clung to but have only proved to keep me tightly bound.. Show me when the insecurity and fear I am feeling are of my own making. Show me Father the rational beginnings to my irrational fears so that together we can conquer them.

Help me to avoid believing in any man more than I believe in you. If I have been hurt, let down , failed in any way, help me to see them who have injured me as you see them, as broken and needy people who need you as much as I do.
Help me to realize Lord that Satan will keep me in bondage by convincing me that I will never be ok I am not and can never be worthy and that there is no hope. Help me to see Satan’s true colors. Make a miracle of me. Show Satan to be the liar he is.

Deliver me oh God, make a miracle of me. When I feel the panic rising in my soul, empower me to trust you. Help me to see that just because my circumstances have changed and I feel the sand shifting beneath my feet, I have not lost you, you do not change, you are forever there for me.
Restore to me Lord, all that my insecurities have stolen from me. Cover me with Your strength and allow me to show the world I am firmly grounded in and clothed with your dignity. Help me to quit surrendering my strength, dignity, passion and worthiness. Let me live solely for you and follow your path in my healing. .

Dottie

Let’s play a little game.
I have a puzzle for you. If you are playing a game and you move ahead 4 spaces, then next turn you have to go back 3 spaces, next turn you move ahead 6 spaces and your final turn you have to move back 4 spaces. Are you still ahead of where you started?

It appears that yes indeed you are still 3 spaces ahead of where you started. You are advancing, you are on the way to someplace different than where you started. Right?

Now, let’s look at life.

We start something, a diet, a project, a new job, a debt reduction plan, our Christian walk, it could be one of a million different things. Then when we get half way through it we get discouraged and frustrated because what we think progress is not happening fast enough.

Just because you are not seeing progress does not mean it is not being made. If we would take a moment to think about it, and be honest with ourselves, we are clearly ahead of where we started at.
We are an impatient lot aren’t we? A little arrogant too. The prevailing attitude is that if it can’t be done in MY time, I am not going to do it at all. Why do we tend to think that slow progress is no progress? A little or a lot, progress in progress.

A lot of the time, a little more effort and consistent effort and our goals will be met. However, discouragement grabs us and we throw what progress we have made away instead of plodding along and slowly moving forward. We don’t see that six steps forward and three steps backwards is still ending up ahead of where we started. I am willing to bet that in those backwards steps we learned some valuable lessons.

I think that our Christian walk is often like that. We have to slowly and sometimes painfully make our way to the Kingdom. It can take years, decades or a lifetime filled with ups and downs. A winding path can be enough to cause us to take our eyes off the prize. If we are no longer focusing on our destination you can bet we are focusing on the wrong things.
It is frustrating and hard. We have to remember that forward progress is forward progress. It is a good finish that we are after, the journey is not always going to be easy or pretty.

It is tempting to give up on living the Christian life because we are impatient and don’t see any progress, or not enough progress. Let Hebrews 12:1 be our motto, “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.
Our Christian walk is intentionally meant to be an endurance event. It is an event that shapes us and makes us into what God means us to be.

Sure our Christian walk with have lots of meaningful and uplifting spiritual moments, but it will not be comprised entirely of good things. Neither will the times be all bad. Mostly it is about the everyday things, it is about each little step that we consistently take in faith no matter the circumstances.

Dottie
…………….and so I ride

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Forgiveness, even I deserve it.

Yesterday I decided to take the bull by the proverbial horns and finally get control of an eating disorder that has plagued me my whole life. There are no shortcuts. There is only a desire to gain control of my life.

I would need to start with forgiveness, of myself. To believe that I am worthy of an enjoyable life with people who love me, I first have to get to the place where I believe it also. I also agree that one forgives to the degree that one loves. That says something doesn’t it?

I have told countless people that they deserve better than they are letting themselves have. I always believe that others deserve the happiness that is right there waiting for them. Why do I stand in the shadows watching as the happiness skips on by me. The feeling of worthiness, if felt at all, is a remote hazy cloud that dances around me. It dares me to try to catch it but when I do, it slips through my fingers like I never possessed it at all.

It occurs to me that unforgiveness really is a sickness that slowly seeps into all areas of a life. It skews your perception of everything. I deserve no less favor than those to whom I offer unconditional forgiveness. I have forgiven the unthinkable on more than one occasion and yet I cannot extend myself the same courtesy. I can find no justification, or so I tell myself. After all to forget, I must let go of the life long penance that I am intent on paying.
God is telling me He has a better way and He will be there to make sure I get the job done.
There is but one place to start the forgiveness process. To ask God to help me choose to forgive myself.

God does not choose to forgive one person and not another, He forgives us all if we ask and believe in Jesus Christ. Can I do any less?

I believe it is a process and at least for awhile will be a daily struggle. It has become a comfortable place. I can always use my past to explain away the not so good parts of my “now”. That is a cop out, plain and simple.

I know that to forgive myself is to let go of the past baggage (weight issues) so that I can move closer to God.
To dwell on the perceived darkness of the past is diametrically opposed to dwelling on whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely and admirable.
Do I feel I am unworthy and unlovable because of extra pounds? Oh yes I do but that is simply emotional drivel and needs to be cast aside. Am I worthy of God’s love even overweight? Oh yes I am for He looks at the heart. Can I trust God enough to believe and count of this truth. With His help I can.
To live in unforgiveness, whether it is of yourself or others, is a prideful act that God does not condone.

Forgiving myself will change the direction of my life. It can change yours also. With your help Father, I am ready to move forward and find a positive difference that only you can make.

Dottie
……….and so I ride

 

Getting Real

Things are going to get real for me today. I am going to venture off the path I usually take in my writing and cautiously step out of my self imposed box. It is scary for me. Laying a soul open is never easy but often necessary. Getting to the bare truth of a situation means venturing uncomfortable places and even places that are muddy. To get to the absolute bare truth one must shine the light of brutal honesty. Leaving oneself vulnerable can be brutal but beneficial. It is only then that we can start to live with honesty and start the journey that God has long ago assigned to us.

To coin an old and often used phrase, today, I will start the first truly honest day of the rest of my life.

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Weight has been an issue for me my whole life. I was not overweight in grade school or in high school but I can remember many diets. I was trying to get weight off that was only in my imagination. My Mom (who was overweight) even took me to Weight Watchers with her when I was in grade school. They refused to let me join because in their words, I was not overweight. That did not deter my Mom or myself, it was still diet after diet to get to a weight that was acceptable. I suppose this was my Mom’s way to make sure I always stayed at a “normal” weight and would never have to deal with the weight issues she did. It backfired, big time. Diets, binges, diets, binges and over the years my weight went nowhere except up. Oh there were times that I lost weight and felt wonderful. However, there was never a time that the weight did not return and along with the original pounds came a few extra.
Fast forward to my late forties and I finally found the solution. Barbaric surgery, in my case, Lap Band. Starting at a high weight of 236 I lost about a hundred pounds. I looked great, felt great and basked in the attention. Then life did what it always does. Times got hard, really hard and I went scampering back to the only thing that I could ever count on for comfort, food. Eight years post surgery I find myself having regained 50 of my 100 pounds.

My relationship with food was what gave me a weight problem. The surgeon had fixed my stomach. He did not fix my head. Actually, the surgeon did his job. My band worked well and did its job. It was my self image,emotions and erroneous thinking that failed me. I was looking to a diet and a surgeon for something that was life-changing. I was looking in the wrong place.

I have always hated myself for being heavy and have never forgiven myself for my sinful relationship with food. However, nothing is as bad as regaining weight after bariatric surgery. That holds a special kind of shame.

I have been trying to figure out why I am getting no-where in my efforts to lose the extra weight. I can not keep motivation, food literally speaks to me, it just doesn’t seem worth the effort and it seems easier to live life as a plus size woman. Except and this is a big except, I feel tired, my muscles hurt, my knees and feet kill me, I waddle like a duck and feel like I need a crane as am unfolding myself from a sitting position. Getting out of a low vehicle probably looks comical but is anything but. I am on a fast road to diabetes and many other diseases related to obesity. However, the biggest thing is that I know that God wants me to come to Him for all the things I think I receive from food. I know this with a certainty that comes from deep inside me and that I can actually feel burning. My relationship with food is a sin I need to repent of.

I have felt like a failure my whole life and I have a deep seated hatred for the weakness inside me that makes me seek food for comfort. I have never forgiven myself for being weak, self destructive and selfish.I have never forgiven myself for finding a remedy to obesity then blowing that opportunity and regaining weight.

There is only one solution to this problem and it starts today.

It starts with this verse.
Isaiah 43: 25 “I, even I, am he who blots out
your transgressions, for my own sake,
and remembers your sins no more.

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Can you feel the hope and cleansing whiteness in that verse?

I CHOOSE to hate myself and live in self-condemnation. God does exactly the opposite. My unforgiveness only hinders my efforts to become healthy. How can I be healthy when the cancer of unforgiveness festers in my soul and poisons everything around me?

Today is a new day and I am a new being in Christ. I will CHOOSE to wear that robe proudly. God CHOOSES to forgive me, forget my sin and the gloriously wipes the slate clean. This is a very important piece of the puzzle. I need to choose to forgive myself for the weight gain and then forget it and move on………. from this day forward.

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I am no longer who I once was. I will walk forth as the wonderful women of God I am. I am clean and pure and will start living that way from today. I truly believe that only when we have forgiven and forgotten our past transgressions can we give ourselves the best chance for success in our walk to health and in our role as children of a FORGIVING God.
I will take my cues on behavior from Him.
From this day forward my relationship with food will be replaced with a hunger for God. How I fill my soul is up to me. I will make wise choices.

Dottie
……………and so I ride

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Campfire Thoughts

 

We camped this weekend. It was incredible to meet the campers around us. There were retired couples who have loads of time to travel from place to place. They had very interesting and unique stories. There were working people who were taking advantage of a long weekend away and who were often seeking a safe outlet for the frustrations or joys of their lives. There were families who were vacationing with their kids. Kids being kids they were more than happy to regale us with lots of family history!

We all happened to converge on one particular campground at the same time. We will probably never see these people again, but for one night we occupied the same space in the world.

We speak with our new friends of our adventures, the good, bad and ugly. We introduce our families and meet theirs. We sit around a campfire and share whatever version of S’mores is popular at the moment. We gladly and enthusiastically talk of our “toys” that are along with us, whether they be Harley’s or side by side’s or horses or of course, our faithful dog companions. You name it, we love to share those stories. It is humans connecting in a comfortable, enjoyable and un-encumbered environment.

How often does that happen?

As we talk with these kindred campers, we have the perfect opportunity to share exactly where our hope lies and why it lies there. Do we do it? It is hard to step over that line sometimes because you know that there is a very real possibility that the conversation will not be welcome, and that would be, well uncomfortable.

However, is it worth being uncomfortable to plant a seed of gospel in a life that might be devoid of that? Or maybe the seed has already been planted and you will be the water and sunshine that makes that seed sprout, is it worth it then?
Maybe the reward we are seeking with a weekend away should not lie so much in the fact that we get to light a campfire, as it should be we get to light a fire for Jesus. The true joy lies in watching that fire take off and burn!

Dottie
…………..and so I ride