March 20 – Inebriated

It is not for kings, Lemuel— it is not for kings to drink wine, not for rulers to crave beer,  lest they drink and forget what has been decreed, and deprive all the oppressed of their rights. Proverbs 31:4-5 NIV

People have been abusing “strong drink” forever…that’s no new thing. And many a mother has begged her son not to fall prey to the sway of the bubbly brew or the obnoxious concoctions of the bar tender.

Not because they want to steal their fun and prohibit a good time. On the contrary. They have witnessed firsthand how one beer turns into twelve and one margarita lands daddy in jail. It happens.

And although this proverb is written from the perspective of a king leading a nation, my take on it today is every parent, every brother or sister out there is potentially leading their own nation. Whether we like it or not, we are making an impact on those who come after us.

In moderation is the motto of most sound wisdom. But let someone besides yourself make that call for you if you are serious about not falling victim to an alcoholic addiction. Unless mom or wife is struggling with strong drink themselves, they will be your best bet for the brutal truth. Because they want you well and here for the duration.

You and I have an important part to play in this story. But under the influence, we can’t and won’t play to our highest potential.

Lorenzo

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February 24 – A Fine Line

The accomplice of a thief is his own enemy; he is put under oath and dare not testify. Proverbs 29:24 NIV

Helping one another is basic, biblical, and benevolent. But many times there is an invisible line that separates actions that hinder and those that truly help.

Handouts feel good…initially. Yet, when the recipient begins to make preferential demands, kindhearted notions sour and the desire to “help” can grow cold.

Hand-ups, on the other hand, protect the intent of the giver and the integrity of the receiver. Often, patience, persistence and practicality are mainstays in this approach. And many times, those preferring a “quick fix” bail out of the race. But those who are truly wanting to progress, excel.

You do me no favors helping me “not help” myself. Give me tough love if I am taking the easy way out. But when you see me giving it my all, a helping hand goes a long, long way!

Pray to define that line. And when you do, it will all go just fine.

Lorenzo

December 6 – Glass Extraction

The right word at the right time is like a custom-made piece of jewelry, and a wise friend’s timely reprimand is like a gold ring slipped on your finger. Proverbs 25:11-12

Pain tolerance is a funny thing, to some degree, and a high threshold can be a good thing. But there are areas in life that being “numb” to the natural feelings of discomfort can be detrimental to your health and wholeness.

Most of my life, I’ve carried scars of some dysfunctional events from my childhood. When I was young, I remember hurting, and I would cry. But as time progressed and I got bigger, I quit crying and grew cold.

In an effort to live a “normal” life, I chose to move beyond the trauma and those who had parts to play in it…”just forget about it.”

But no matter how hard you try to forget about a tiny sliver of broken glass lodged in your finger, time and test will cause it to surface. And you will grab ahold of something and suddenly writhe with sharp pain.

And that’s when a timely friend with a timely word can be invaluable. Not everybody in your life is there to agree and get along. God loves you and I enough to provide what we need as well as some of what we want.

I’m blessed today and healing nicely from “a sliver of the past” extraction instigated by a good friend with pin-point accuracy at just the right moment.

If you have a wound buried so deep you don’t even feel it anymore and yet you know it’s there, I pray for you. May the right person be used at just the right time to relieve your burden. Because when you hurt or aren’t healthy, there are a host of others that love you who can feel it!

December 24 – Then He Parted the Sea

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26

We live in a world that denies miracles and begs for evidence and facts. Commitment is no longer a covenant if it’s not convenient.  But God’s light of truth continues through the ages to shine in the darkness, changing hearts from the inside out, whether the darkness likes it or not.  For this Christmas season and the end of an often tumultuous 2014, we had to share this true story of a couple we know and love dearly.  Please feel free to share as you might need to.  And may it make your resolve in an Almighty God solidify into an unwavering confidence that cannot be shaken. 

Merry Christmas!

Lorenzo and Jennifer 🙂

This is a very special anniversary for us and Cindy let me share this because we know someone out there may need it……

In high school I met this cute little cheerleader they called Pigeon. I took her away from a good, safe home and stole 18 years of her life. I didn’t set out to do this, but that’s what happened. We don’t live in a world that tolerates her kind of commitment. We don’t understand it and it makes us angry. When I look back my heart is so broken for her, but she knew about things that I didn’t understand yet. She talked to the sky and I didn’t understand that either, but I was glad she did because she found peace there. I would try to do better, but failed every time.

18 years later we were broke and homeless. I was shattered and I deserved it, she was gone and the only thing I knew to do was talk to the sky. I did and she was right, even without a promise that anything would get fixed, I had peace.

She didn’t know where her prayers would take her, but she always knew they were heard. Maybe for the first time ever, I wanted more for her than myself. I hoped her prayers would take her somewhere safe. They brought her back to me and I have had the most unbelievable, undeserved 18 years humanly imaginable.
Thank you so much God. Thank you so much Cindy for 36 years.
18~18~36

Exodus14:14 God will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” ….Then he parted the sea.

December 23 – Bottle of Insanity

Do not look on the wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it swirls around smoothly; at the last it bites like a serpent and stings like a viper. Proverbs 23:31-32 NKJV

Addiction is nothing new, but anymore, more common than not. And of all the forms of addiction, the gateway for most is alcohol. Each week, some of the dearest men and women I know gather together as a unified force against this monster that has stolen so much of their lives.

Today’s proverb is profound and needs to be absorbed with very little “exposition.” Here is a version that I like that puts a bit of modern color on the subject:

Who are the people who are always crying the blues? Who do you know who reeks of self-pity? Who keeps getting beat up for no reason at all? Whose eyes are bleary and bloodshot? It’s those who spend the night with a bottle, for whom drinking is serious business. Don’t judge wine by its label, or its bouquet, or its full-bodied flavor. Judge it rather by the hangover it leaves you with- the splitting headache, the queasy stomach. Do you really prefer seeing double, with your speech all slurred, reeling and seasick, drunk as a sailor? “They hit me,” you’ll say, “but it didn’t hurt; they beat on me, but I didn’t feel a thing. When I’m sober enough to manage it, bring me another drink!” Proverbs 23:29-35 MSG

Insanity! And so many of us have been there…are there. If you consume alcohol, you must know it cannot be trusted. If you find yourself making excuses for it, chances are there’s a problem. When you look around and your life reflects brokenness and loss in the area of dear loved ones and good relationships, ask this question: Could it be the alcohol? Better yet, call up one of those people and ask them point blank, “Did my drinking have anything to do with what happened with us?”

Life is too short to live a lie. The fruit of the vine can serve a wonderful purpose, but man’s historical temptation toward abuse of its properties warrants extreme caution. Faith, family and friends are not worth the bottle of insanity.