And It’s Not by Boat (an allegory loosely based on a dream)

Emily stood on the shore with her eyes searching the sea. Somewhere on the other side, a place she had heard about but never seen, existed. In between her and that new land was a vast sea.

Her heart felt drawn to that land. There was something special there. Something that would fill her with peace and joy like nothing she had ever experienced on this side. She had read that there was no evil there, no pain, no tears, no torment, no depression, no loneliness, no fear… it went on and on. And this place, too wonderous to describe fully, would last forever.

Even more important, there was a someone there. A king. She had read about him, too, and longed to be with him. In her heart, against all common sense, she knew he loved her and invited her to be his wife. She didn’t know how she knew, but she did as firmly as she believed the land existed. And she wanted that with all her heart.

But between him and her was the sea.

There was no way she could swim across its vastness. She had tried. The gentle rolling waves hadn’t been a problem, but they didn’t stay that way. Sometimes storms had exploded around her, enclosing her in the turmoil of crashing waves before casting her back on shore. Each time as she lay in the wet sand gasping for air, she had vowed she wouldn’t try again. But then would come that sweet call.

Even if the storms hadn’t been there, she’d have had to face the life-threatening dangers that lurked beneath the surface. And without a doubt, she wouldn’t have had the stamina to make it all the way. She thought of herself as a good swimmer, but no one could swim across an ocean.

No, she needed another method to cross the barrier between her and her betrothed.

She noticed other people on the shore looking in the same direction. And moving through this crowd were people handing out differently colored brochures. Curious, she reached for a blue one when it got close enough.

Want to cross the sea? We can help. We have the largest boat with the longest history of success. Come join us. We can get you there. Contact RCC at RCC.org.

Hope rose in her. A boat! And a big one at that, which meant many people believed this boat could do what it promised. Joining her faith with theirs, she took out her phone. But before she could open her browser, someone handed her a pink flyer.

Come check out our newly updated speedboat. Built for travel, this baby can get you all the way across the sea before the other boats leave shore. Smaller means more personal attention as you travel to your dream destination. Call 1-800-WOF-GMYM to reserve your spot today.

Oooo, that sounded even better. A fast trip would mean facing less storms. She began dialing the number but stopped when she was handed yet another piece of paper, this one yellow.

Forget the rest, sail with the best! Why chance fuel shortage or motor problems on your way to your future? We have the biggest, sturdiest sails ever made. Let us help you get where you want to go. Send a message to us at TT@OTR.com for more information.

Beginning to get confused, she looked at the three papers in her hand. Were they all right? Could they all get her there and it was just a matter of which made her feel the most comfortable? She almost didn’t want to take the green one being offered to her now.

Solar powered is the way to go! No chance of running out of fuel when you travel by the power of the sun. We have state of the art panels in sufficient number to make us the fastest, more reliable way to take you wherever you want to go. Contact us at mibto.com.

Which to choose? After considering the pros and cons of each, she decided to go with the speed boat. The faster she got there, the longer she would have to enjoy the presence of the one she longed for. She made the call.

A week after setting out, she was beginning to wonder if she had made the right choice. With no covering, everyone was sunburned and wet. The wind blew forcibly, drenching them with the spray created by the front of the boat as it cut through waves. And the worst thing was – no matter how fast they went, they never seem to put distance between themselves and the other boats she could see scattered across the sea. Could she change boats?

Shading her eyes from both sun and spray, she scanned the sea for a likely candidate. She immediately spotted the large one that had been featured on the blue paper. The more she thought about it, the more she wanted to get on that boat. It had a large passenger section below deck. No sunburn. No wet clothes. It might be slower, but it would be more comfortable.

“Captain, is it possible to change boats?”

“Sure, which one do you want to get one?”

“The big one over there,” she pointed.

“Are you sure? It’s big and clumsy and moves very slowly.”

“It seems to be going as fast as you. I’m sure.”

The captain wasn’t thrilled, but motored up next to the big boat. A plank was lowered to help her cross and within minutes she was waving goodbye to the speedboat.

The relief of the shade was delicious. She sat on one of the benches, closed her eyes, and savored the dark coolness. Yes, this was much better.

But a month later, she decided it wasn’t. She didn’t like being kept in the dark, and whenever she surfaced to ask the sailors about their expected arrival time, they always answered the same way. “We don’t know, but we’re moving so we should get there eventually.” She could see the same boats each time she looked out across the sea, and the horizon never seemed to be getting any closer. At this rate, she would never get there. Time to jump ships again.

As time went on, she continued to jump from ship to ship, but no matter which one she was on, even though it appeared to be moving, never seemed to get her closer to her destination. She did notice that some of the other boats seemed to be going in circles before disappearing behind her. Other boats zipped and zapped from one direction to another as they avoided the larger waves. And still others were stranded as their power failed them. At least one ship had overturned. Good thing she had left that one before it sunk.

Discouraged that she would never get there, she sat with her head down, careful to keep lower than the sail when it swung by her. As bad as it was sitting out in the sun again, getting knocked overboard would be worse. Suddenly she heard a sound coming from the sky. Looking up, she spotted a helicopter heading for a distant boat. She watched as it lowered itself for a few minutes, and then headed for another boat. No one she asked knew what it was doing, and most didn’t care.

She continued watching the helicopter as it flew ever closer to her boat. Finally, it hovered over her boat as it had done with the others.

“Anyone want to go to the land across the sea?” a friendly man’s voice boomed over the splash of the waves. “If so, come on up.”

“We’re already heading there,” one person said.

“So you think,” the man’s voice answered. “But you won’t get there by boat. You need me.”

“Why?” another person asked. “What’s so special about your way?”

“It’s the only way to cross the chasm between the sea and the land.”

Everyone looked at each other, Chasm? It didn’t make sense. There was no chasm between the sea and where they had come from. How could there be one between the sea and where they were going? The people began to discuss the idea.

“I don’t believe it,”

“I’m fine where I am.”

“But what if he’s right?”

“There’s no proof that he’s telling the truth.”

“This boat has gotten us this far; it will get us the rest of the way.”

“He’s up there while we’re down here. We can’t see what he can.”

“That doesn’t mean anything. He just wants all the attention.”

“Well, anyone taking me up on my invitation?” the man in the helicopter called, breaking up the discussion.

Most people shook their heads, but a few stood up. “I want to,” they said. “What do I have to do?”

“Reach up,” the man answered. “I’ll take it from there.”

Emily didn’t know who to believe. The people who seemed so sure of themselves, or the man she had heard but not seen? She looked at the ones with their arms raised, standing firmly in their decision in spite of the laughter and ridicule being directed at them. She felt the urge to raise her arms, too. Should she give in to it or ignore it?

While trying to decide she watched as the helicopter lowered even more, and a strong arm reached down and grasped the uplifted hands. She watched as people were pulled up and into the helicopter.

“Anyone else?” said the man. “You may not get another chance.”

Not being able to make a decision, Emily did nothing. She was surprised at the regret she felt as she watched the helicopter rise and turn towards the elusive land. On its back was written two words: The Way.

One day not long after the helicopter had left, she heard the captain yell, “We made it!”

Emily stood up and looked in the direction he was pointing. A golden glow rose in the horizon, promising the fulfillment of their efforts. Relieved, she sat back down. It had been a long journey, but they had been right. They had made it on their own.

Suddenly the captain cried out, “What in the world is that?”

Jumping up, she stared where he was pointing. Instead of seeing endless hills of waves, the sea had flattened out. It was as if the waves had just ended. And between the flatness and the golden glow was a wide line of darkness, as if there was nothing there. No water, no shore. Just emptiness.

With a sinking heart, Emily knew by not making a decision, she had made the wrong one. She along with everyone else now faced the consequence of rejecting the only way to the shore that they each desperately wanted. It was too late.

Or was it? What if the helicopter came back one more time? Maybe if she waved her arms and called out, the helicopter man would notice and come back to rescue her.

It was worth a try.


What do you think? Was she rescued – or was it too late? Is it ever too late to be saved? Let me know what you think in the comments below.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6

This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:11-12

For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:13

Halos in the Night Are Not Good

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Anxiety filled me as the road ahead disappeared in the glare of approaching lights. It was bad enough that halos danced on the top of light posts, each one merging with the lights of nearby restaurant signs, but to lose sight of everything each time a car approached kept my hands clenched on the steering wheel. It wasn’t that my presence on the road was a danger to others. Driving on high alert made sure of that. But I kept thinking I should have waited until morning to make this trip. My vision is better in the light of day and I usually did most of my driving during those hours. Tonight, however, the anticipation of starting a new journal made the thought of waiting worse than the stressful drive.

Finally, the turn lane to Walmart came into sight. Sighing with relief, I exited the highway and drove across the parking lot, inched into a space, and cut the motor. A few deep breaths relaxed my muscles enough to loosen my grip on the steering wheel. I got out and headed inside for the notebook, pens, and colored pencils I needed to start my inspired journal. I couldn’t fully relax yet, though. I still had to drive back home.

 “What can I do about it?” I asked my family and friends over the next few weeks. “It’s bad enough the street signs are too blurry to read, but the halos are downright scary.”

“Squint,” said one.

“Don’t drive at night,” suggested another.

“Nothing,” warned a third. “Astigmatism can’t be cured.”

I knew deep down that I probably needed to see my eye doctor, but to avoid the inconvenience I kept asking people, and the advice kept coming.

“Keep your eyes away from the lights.”

“Wear sunglasses.”

“Get your eyes checked.”

Following these suggestions helped a little and I was able to manage the short, familiar roads on the few nights I needed to shop. But then came my son’s wedding announcement. Driving across seven states in three days meant not only night driving but also navigating unfamiliar roads. I knew it was time to go see the doctor.

After examining my eyes, my eye doctor told me I had only slight astigmatism and adjusted my contact lens prescription. “Try these,” he told me, handing me a sample set of contacts. If you like them, you can order them. There might even be some in stock.”

As I walked out of the office, I stared with amazement at the details I could see from a distance. Now I would be able to read road signs before I got to them which would definitely help me find the right way. But I had to wait a few hours to find out how they would work at night.

When the sun went down, I took a quick five-mile drive. Things weren’t crystal clear, but I could read most signs without problems. And best of all, there were no halos!

                                                                      ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

As we travel through life, we may begin to rely more on the familiarity of our steps than on the clarity of our vision. We get used to doing the same things and no longer notice, or care, that our vision isn’t what it was. If we do, we brush off the loss of clarity. We don’t need it.

Until we do.

When life takes a turn and we find ourselves in unchartered territory, we discover that we actually, and often desperately, need clear vision. The glaring lights that overshadow the need to see the road become more than a nuisance. They become dangerous. That’s when we find ourselves sitting in a chair while an ophthalmologist shines a light into our eyes.

Our spiritual walk is much like our physical one. We can find ourselves doing the same things, singing the same songs, going to the same church week after week, year after year. This can result in a familiarity that prevents us from recognizing the decline in our spiritual vision. We lose our ability focus, relying on what we’re accustomed to do rather than on following God’s signs as He calls us to new places. Without clear sight, we are vulnerable to transitory bright lights that overshadow and distract us from the more important things. We can miss what God has for us or get lost on the way.

We usually know deep down that we need to go to God, but find it much easier to get advice from other people. We ask for prayers, listen to sermons, and read books. What we hear ranges from good to bad, effective to worthless. And many times, one person’s advice conflicts with another’s, leaving us confused. However, even with good advice, no matter how helpful, none of it competes with what we’ll get from the only One who can truly correct our vision and provide the clarity we need to get us through challenging times or to new places. That person is Jesus. His Word – the Bible – helps us see clearly. It helps correct any shortcomings in our faith and realign our beliefs. It helps us recognize and see through the halos that blind us. Knowing what we need, Jesus prescribes the perfect scriptures for us to wear. With His Word, we can stay on His path with confidence no matter which way it might turn.

We shouldn’t wait until we find ourselves in the midst of a new adventure before seeking help from Jesus. Even in our routine, everyday lives, sometimes we miss what God wants us to see because it’s been too long since we’ve taken the time to let the light of the Word shine into us.

So, sit down, open your eyes, and let Jesus examine – and correct – your spiritual eyes. You’ll love your new contacts.

How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping watch [on himself] according to Your word [conforming his life to Your precepts]. Ps 119:9 AMP

Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Psalm 119:105

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17

“What do you want me to do for you?” He said, “Lord, let me recover my sight.” And Jesus said to him, “Recover your sight; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him, glorifying God. And all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God.  Luke 18:41-43

Don’t Judge a Plant by Its Leaves (An Allegory Based on a Dream, March 4, 2022)

She watched through the passenger window as the trees and bushes rushed past. Everything was so brown. She felt herself grieving for what she had left behind. Her home, her garden, her pets. “It’s only temporary,” she reminded herself. “I will be going back there later today.” But that didn’t change her feelings. What she saw at the moment completely dominated her thoughts, overriding the hope of what she’d see in the future.

When they arrived at the church, everyone got out of the car and went inside. Her eyes, however, were distracted by the brown bushes at the edge of the parking lot. There was something different about these bushes than the ones she had seen on the side of the road.

She walked over to it for a closer look. The bushes were actually individual plants growing in clumps. The leaves of each plant grew from the base and were tightly compacted around the center. All she could see were the tips of the inner leaves surrounded by the long narrow outer leaves. They were all brown.

Thinking it was dead, she grabbed one stalk near its base and with a quick stroke of the small machete she carried, she severed it from its roots. Still holding it at its base, she absentmindedly began chopping off the tight brown leaves near the top. As she meandered across the parking lot, she looked at the trees in the distance. Their leaves were also brown. The amount of deadness that seemed to surround her contributed to her feelings of melancholy.

She thought about her garden at home. Some of the leaves on her evergreen trees and bushes had also become brown from the cold winter. She would have to trim those when she got home.

She glanced back at the plant in her hand as she continued to cut off the tops of the outer leaves and was startled to sees a tiny bit of green peeking out from the center. With slower, more precise chops, she cut off more of the brown, being careful not to touch the green. Soon she had cleared enough of the dead, brown leaves to reveal the tender green of new leaves growing in the center. This plant was not dead.

“I’ve got to get it back in the ground so it can continue to grow” she thought as she walked briskly back to where she had found it. “But how? I have no shovel with me.”

But then she saw that the place where she had cut the plant. Instead of the leftover root base, she found a fresh hole as if she had pulled the plant up by its roots instead of chopping it at its base. Quickly she set the plant into the hole and spread the loose dirt around it, patting it down firmly.

Feeling encouraged, and leaving the plant alone as she should have done from the beginning, she went into the church.


So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond comparison as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. 2 Cor 4”16-18

… The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7b

These Bible verses talk about the hearts of individual people. But I think we can also apply them to our country. When all we can see around us is “brown” – crime, inflation, deception, greed, etc. – we can quickly grow depressed. How much better to focus on what we can’t see – God’s involvement in our lives as well as the lives of others around us and on our future with Him in heaven – than on the temporary conditions of our present world. Learning to see as God sees can make a huge difference in our lives, both in how we feel and in how we act.

Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation. 1 Peter 2:10-12

And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:30-32

The Drive (An Allegory)

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She woke up, not knowing she had been asleep. Watching the trees flying past her window, she heard the soft regular clicks of the turn signal and felt a slight pull to the right as the car changed lanes. Not shifting her gaze, she asked quietly, “You doing okay”?

“I’m fine,” her husband answered.

Reassured, she settled back on the soft, spongy pillow wedged between her seat back and the door frame, lulled back to a dreamy state by the hum of the car tires on the road. It seemed they had been traveling forever on this highway, passing and being passed by impersonal vehicles of all kinds, each rushing to get somewhere. Everyone was alert to the presence of the other vehicles, but no one sought to look past the outside metal structures – to see those who inhabited the inside. She and her husband were no different.

The blank, silver side of a large truck slowly filled her vision as her husband leisurely passed it. Without anything more interesting to watch, she closed her eyes and waited for her window to clear.

Once again, she awoke, surprised that she had fallen asleep so easily. Slowly she opened her eyes. As she watched the scenery march past, confusion slowly replaced her comfortable drowsiness. Something was different. She couldn’t tell what it was, but something had definitely changed.

And then she knew. The landscape was different. Instead of the lush evergreen-filled woods, some of the branches of these trees were bare. There were still some pine trees interspersed between the skeletal trees, but not quite enough to create the deep forests that had surrounded them at the beginning of their journey.

“Where are we?” she asked her husband. “Where did the evergreens go? I don’t think it’s supposed to be like this.”

“Oh, we’ve traveled quite a way since you fell asleep. This is what the landscape looks like now. Don’t worry about it. You might even come to like it.”

“I doubt it. Are you sure we’re going the right way?”

“Sure. This is still the same road the GPS said to take. Until it tells me differently, this is the way I’m going to keep driving. Relax. We’re fine.”

She wasn’t so sure, but took his word for it and went back to staring out the window. She watched as the evergreen trees became even sparser until the entire forest looked dead. And then even the forests thinned out revealing large barren fields of brown grass. This couldn’t be the right way. The directions they had been given had promised to lead them to life, not take them away from it.

Looking back at her husband, she noticed his dreamy expression and languid movements, as if he was daydreaming his way along the highway. Concern spurred her to sit up and cry, “Hey, wake up!”

“I am awake,” he mumbled in response. “Calm down.”

“You don’t look awake. And this definitely doesn’t look like the right way. Where’s your phone? I want to check the navigation system.”

“Oh, I shut it off a long time ago. This road is easy enough to follow. We don’t need it.”

Her heart froze. “Don’t need it? Of course we need it! How do you know that you’re still going in the right direction?”

He shrugged. “I haven’t seen any other roads. Besides, with so many others going this way, it has to be right. I’m just following them.”

She reached for her phone. “I’m going to check anyway.” Quickly she opened the Maps program and entered their destination. She watched as the map zoomed in and out until it settled on the quickest road. She hit ‘Start’ and listened for the directions, but stopped when she heard the word ‘U-turn’. “I knew it! We’re heading in the wrong direction!”

“How could that be?” He drew up his shoulders and let out a noisy breath as he squinted through the windshield. “I’m following the road like I was told to do.”

She held up the phone. “But you quit listening for directions. You missed the narrow side road that we were supposed to take!”

She watched as understanding slowly dawned in his eyes. “Um, maybe I should have stayed more alert.”

She knew he wasn’t the only one to blame. Softly touching her husband’s shoulder, she said, “And I shouldn’t have fallen asleep. We need to turn around. But this time, let’s stay connected to the navigation system.”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Moral of the story: Don’t sleep your way through life, following the crowd heading where you don’t want to go. Stay alert and connected to the Navigator who alone will show you the right way to go.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6

“But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Matthew 7:14

“You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.” Acts 2:28

“This is why it is said: “Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Eph 5:14-17

There’s a New God in Town.

There’s a new god in town.

Many people quickly began to bow down to this god. At first they did so out of hope that it could save them from consequences of their actions. They grasped at the promise of its prophets that if they obeyed completely, they would be saved.

As time went on, things seemed to get worse instead of better. So they turned to their new god for answers. But instead of explanations, they received more, and sometimes, conflicting commands. Believing the god was smarter than they were, they continued to obey. They were sure this god knew better than they did how to get them out of the mess they were in. They repeated the god’s words daily, reinforcing each other’s belief, and inviting those who not yet believed to join them in following this god.

But things still didn’t improve. The new god’s prophets announced the problem lay in the numbers. Not enough people obeyed, which negated the efforts of those who did.

“What else can we do?” the people cried out. “We’ve already shared what you said and invited everyone to join us.”

“Force them,” the prophets answered. “It’s for their own good as well as the good of the whole town.”

So, to the fear and guilt they were already using, they added ridicule and condemnation. And it worked. More people joined their worship of this god, which emboldened them to use even stronger tactics. Even though they were now in the great majority, it wasn’t enough. Each one of the remaining minority was seen as a personal threat so when someone suggested punishing those who still wouldn’t join them, everyone jumped at the idea. Of course. There really was only one option, one god. It would be for their own benefit to lay down their own ignorant beliefs for the benefit of the majority, even if they did so under duress. According to the prophets, if everyone became obedient to the new god, there would be no more problems. This was a classic case where the end justified the means.  Their god was on their side, at least that’s what the prophets said, and the people constantly pointed that out to each other as justification for their choices.

And yet, even that didn’t work. The faithful minority held to their own beliefs regardless of what the majority did or said, giving a variety of reasons for their resistance.

“Your god is not what you make it out to be.”

“If your god was really a god, things would be a lot better by now regardless of what I do.”

“There are too many contradictions and hypocritical commands coming from your god’s prophets.”

“My god disagrees with your god.”

“People should be able to choose who they want to obey.”

Their continual rejection of the new god enraged the majority. How dare they not obey, and thus jeopardize the whole town? How could they hear the words of the new god and dismiss them, holding on to their erroneous belief? Didn’t they know that the majority is always right?

Anger overcame reason, and soon they became a mob with a common purpose: either convert the stubborn minority, or get rid of them. Either option was appropriate because it would be done in the name of this new god and for the common good.

And the name of this new god?

Science.


Daniel 3:4-6 And the left-leaning media proclaimed aloud,” You are commanded, O liberals, conservatives, men, women, and children, that when you hear the sound of government leaders, the CDC, Fauci, Big Pharma, and every carefully selected expert speaking for science, you are to fall down and accept the golden syringes that President Biden has set up. And whoever does not fall down and take the shots shall immediately be cast out of society.

Oh wait.. that’s not actually in the Bible. Here is what the Scripture says:

And the herald proclaimed aloud, “You are commanded, O peoples, nations, and languages, that when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, you are to fall down and worship the golden image that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up. And whoever does not fall down and worship shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace.” Daniel 3:4-6

And the devil took him up and sowed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, and said to him, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.'” Luke 4:5-8

Don’t Attack the Lawn Mower

Pushing the lawn mower across the tall weeds, she watched wasps and dragonflies rise up from the ground. She had not noticed anything in the grass, but the vibration of the mower, the disturbance of the area, or a combination of both were enough to disturb them into flying out in every direction. As they circled her and the mower, she wondered if they would attack. The dragonflies darted back and forth for a few minutes, and then flew away. However, the wasps took usually took a swipe or two at the mower before flying away. Relieved that they weren’t going after her, she continued mowing, observing the same behavior from other wasps all across the yard.

A thought gradually formed in her head. They were attacking the mower instead of the one pushing the mower. No matter how hard they hit the plastic-covered engine, the mower never even slowed down. Yet if just one of them came at her, the mower would have stopped in its tracks as she ran away in panic.

And then she had another thought. People are just like those wasps. So often we attack the people we feel are disrupting our lives, but ignore the power that moves those people to do so.

There are many mowers moving across America today. People doing and saying things that are being pushed by powers we may not see or acknowledge. What would happen in our towns, states, and nation if we became courageous enough to quit attacking the mowers and went after the larger powers behind those mowers instead?

Just a thought.


Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in heavenly places. Ephesians 6:10-12

The River

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See how the river meanders through the trees. It’s not concerned about how it moves, just that it is moving. Your life is like that river. It twists and turns around circumstances and events. Sometimes it moves quickly, like when there are rapids, and other times it seems to swirl in a corner not going anywhere for a while. Sometimes the flow is peaceful, other times chaotic and confusing. Sometimes it flows over great depths, other times dances over the rocks in shallow areas. But regardless of the movements, the river keeps flowing until it achieves its goal – to get to the sea where it can become one with something much greater than itself.

What is your river like right now? Wherever you are, know two things.

One, it will change sooner or later. You never know what’s around the next bend. That may not seem like a good thing when you’re flowing gently and light is dancing along your surface, but it’s an awesome promise when strong currents are hurtling you along, drenching you as you crash into and over all kinds of obstacles.

Two, know that God is there with you every inch of the way.

And because He is, you can have peace no matter where you are, as long as you keep your eyes on Him.


Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring. Proverbs 27:1

And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age. Matthew 28:20b

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Isaiah 26:3

Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:11-13

The Bear At the Door (An Allegory Based on a Somewhat Real Event)

Photo by Alex Dugquem on Pexels.com

The sounds coming from the door indicated that it was back. She hadn’t heard it the first time it had come, nor had she been prepared. Maybe she should have been since she had known it was around, but who would have thought it would be able to do what it did? But this time she was ready. Hopefully her extra precaution was adequate to thwart its plan, and it would soon leave.

She remembered when the bear had come just a few days ago. It’s ingenuity in gaining access to her half-basement had taken her by surprise. Bears are not supposed to be able to open closed doors but this one had. She had thought, as many people do, that keeping the door closed made her home safe from dangers on the outside. Finding evidence of the bear’s entry into her home proved that idea wrong. Only a flight of steps stood between the bear and the heart of her home. It could have made its way up those stairs and through that door, putting her entire family in danger. Or she could have gone down those stairs thinking everything was normal only to run into the bear face to face.

She had heard the stories. She knew the danger. It had only been by the grace of God that she hadn’t been in the basement when the bear opened that door. If she had had her head deep inside a washing machine, stretching to reach some wet clothing, or if she had been making noise tossing toys into a plastic bin in the back corner, she might not have seen or heard its approach. She could have been trapped and the result could have been deadly. She had to take a stronger stance. She had to find a way to secure that door.

So, she had made a plan. It was a simple plan, yet logical.  She locked it. The bear might know how to twist door handles, but there was no way it could get past the dead bolt.

The beast did not come back the next night, nor the night after that. Days turned into weeks, and still no sign of the bear. Was it coming back? Maybe she was safe. But just in case, she continued to lock the door every night.

Now, on this night, she was glad for her diligence. Again she hadn’t heard the stealthy approach of the bear, but she heard the door rattle. Quietly she went out onto the top floor balcony and looked down. The bear was there, pawing at the door handle and looking around. As she watched from this height, she noticed with surprise how small it appeared. It was almost like she could reach down, turn it around, and send it on its way. It didn’t look nearly as lethal as it would have if she had been standing in front of it. Keeping a safe distance from it while staying as high as possible was the safest way to avoid the danger it brought with it.

The thought occurred to her that, from where she stood, she might even be able to control the bear. She could shout at it and make it go away with nothing but her voice. But she knew it was better to ignore it than to start a battle she might not win. Sooner or later it would go away, but only after it had discovered that the way in of yesterday was no longer a way in today. She would still need to stay alert, always searching for and securing vulnerable areas, for she had no doubt that it or others like it would be back. But on this day, she could smile.

On this day, this bear was not coming in.


Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.  1 Peter 5:8

Little By Little: A Warning, Part 4 of 4 (Based on a Dream, June 25, 2021)

Mallory sat at the kitchen table, chin resting on her hands. Glumly she thought about her house, or what her house had become. She no longer recognized it. Over the last six months, Jag had made his mark in every room, and was beginning to hint that he needed her bedroom to house the rest of his family when they arrived.  She knew she had to make Jag and his siblings leave. But there were too many of them to physically force them out.

Mallory had gone to the police only to be told there was nothing they could do. She was the one who had invited him to move in and to make himself at home without any sort of lease. Once his mailing address had been established at her house – done when his siblings had written to him – he was in effect a tenant. And tenants had to be evicted. That required a lengthy process involving formal notices and court hearings. In the meantime, as long as he didn’t damage the property, Jag had the right to privacy and the freedom to do what he wanted, including letting family members move in. When she had complained that he had sold her personal items and kept the money, she had not been able to prove it so the police could do nothing about that either.

Sighing, Mallory got up and looked around. How did she end up where she was? Living in a house that seemed like it was no longer hers, at the mercy of strangers and helpless to change it? Regrets filled her with cold despair. So many things she should have done.

She should have made Jag sign a lease when he first moved in.

She should have limited the rooms he had access to.

She should have stopped him the first time he overstepped his boundaries.

She should have involved the law as soon as he messed with her personal property.

She should have made his sister leave instead of leaving the door open for more siblings to join them.

She should have been more assertive and less understanding.

But how was she supposed to know how far he would go? She would never have done to anyone what he had to her. Now it was too late. All she could do was accept the reality of what her home had become, and hope someday, after a long, difficult battle, to get it back.

Matthew 7:15

 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.

Little By Little: A Warning, Part 3 of 4 (Based on a Dream, June 25, 2021)

Mallory stood at the entrance to her living room, stunned. Her furniture was gone. All of it. From the softly padded recliner couch and elegant glass-topped coffee table to the six-foot wooden bookcase and large wall painting – everything had been replaced with cheap thrift store pieces. A long piece of driftwood stood where her grandfather clock had been. In place of her thick floral area rug lay a threadbare remnant. The walls were bare except for a curling poster of a band she had never heard of.

Anger built in her as the shock wore off. Jag! It had to be him. Who else had the lack of respect for her things as he did? Ever since he had tossed her boxes of memories into the dump a few months ago, she had been watching him closely but he had shown no signs of removing anything else. Other than giving her excuse after excuse for not moving out, and constantly forgetting to clean up behind himself, he had been a decent guest. Until today.

“Jag!”  she called down the hallway. “Jag! We need to talk!”

The door to the guest room opened and Jag stepped out, closing the door behind him. “You’re back?”

“Yes, I’m back.” Mallory motioned to the living room. “Did you do this?”

“You’re back early,” he said as he sauntered towards the kitchen. “I wasn’t expecting you until tomorrow.”

“Come back here. We need to talk.”

Jag continued walking. “Sure, but first I need a drink.”

“No! Now.” Mallory’s voice shook with tension. She didn’t like confrontations, and she had overlooked some of his behavior to avoid them, but this was too big to ignore. “What did you do to my living room?”

“Our living room.” Jag said as he disappeared around the corner.

Our living room? Mallory stood facing the kitchen, indecisive. Should she follow him and force the discussion? Wouldn’t that send the message that he was in charge? She didn’t want that, but waiting meekly for him could also send the same message. The sound of a hallway door opening interrupted her thoughts. With heart racing, she whirled around.  If Codee was at work, and Jag was in the kitchen, who was in the hallway?

She didn’t have to wait long to find out. A head covered with dark brown curls peeked out around the corner and called out softly, “Jag?” When she caught sight of Mallory, she gasped and withdrew back into the bedroom.

A woman? Jag had a woman in his bedroom?

Seething now, Mallory started for the kitchen but was met by Jag carrying two bottles of water.

“Jag –“ she started, but he cut her off.

“Just a minute. I’ll be right back.”

Mallory watched him walk to his room, hand one bottle through the doorway, and then walk back to her, all with a smug smile on his nonchalant face.

“Yes? Is something wrong?” he asked as he continued past her into the living room. Sitting on the worn out couch, he put his feet up on the battered coffee table, leaned back, and clasped his hands behind his head. “What do you need to talk about?”

“What… where… how…” Mallory sputtered, not knowing where to start. She raised her hands in an all-encompassing gesture. “This!”

“Do you like it? It was all free.” Jag continued smiling.

“But what did you do with the furniture that was already here?” Mallory stopped. No! He couldn’t have! Not wanting to know but having to, she asked “You didn’t dump it, did you?”

“Of course not. That stuff was worth some money.”

“So where is it?”

“I sold it.”

Mouth open, Mallory stared at him. He stared back, unfazed.

Closing her eyes, she tried to control her anger. “Why?” she finally managed to squeeze through clenched teeth.

“I needed the money.”

“But it wasn’t yours to sell.” Loss filled her as she opened her eyes and looked around.

“Sure it was. I live here, too. Besides, you have so much, I figured you wouldn’t miss a few pieces.”

“You’re wrong on both accounts. You may live here, but it’s my house. MY house. You’re just a guest. And I do miss my “few pieces”. It took me years to save up to buy that furniture. And for you just to sell it while I’m out of town for a few days, how dare you?”

“Calm down. It’s just furniture. It’s not like I sold your dog. If you’re not happy, you can just buy more.”

“That’s not the point. You sold what wasn’t yours. Where’s the money? That’s not yours either.”

“I gave it to my family. Things are really hard for them right now. I figured they needed it more than we do.”

“Didn’t you think you should have at least asked first? I might have been able to loan…” Mallory stopped as a crash came from Jag’s bedroom. Pointing towards the hallway, she demanded, “Who is in your room?”

“My sister. She lost her house and I told her she could live with me.”

“But…”

“Don’t worry. I got her a separate bed.” Jag got up. “I’ll go see what happened. I told her not to try moving the TV by herself.”

Mallory sank on a nearby tattered armchair. She wished she had never invited Jag to stay with her. Even though he had had a good reason for what he had done, it didn’t justify his actions. She wanted him – and his sister – to leave. But with nowhere else to go, they would end up on the street, and she couldn’t force herself to do that. She had to find another way. Maybe his sister would be more cooperative, and then, in turn, influence him to show more respect.

Mallory got up and headed for Jag’s room. It was worth a shot.

Matthew 7:15

 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.