March 10 – Just Can’t Handle It

For three things the earth is perturbed, yes, for four it cannot bear up: for a servant when he reigns, a fool when he is filled with food, a hateful woman when she is married, and a maidservant who succeeds her mistress. Proverbs 30:21-23 NKJV

SAUL THE LESSER BECOMES KING OF ISRAEL! NABAL THE FOOL PICKS A FIGHT WITH DAVID THE GIANT SLAYER! THE EVIL JEZEBEL MARRIES KING AHAB OF ISRAEL! SERVANT GIRL HAGAR HAS A BABY BY HER MISTRESS SARAH’S HUSBAND ABRAHAM!

Sounds like the National Enquirer to me. But the truth of the matter is every one of these statements are biblical history. And though they happened at very different times and under very different conditions, they bear a strange resemblance to one another.

Each ended poorly for the individual and many of those involved. Each left an unerasable mark for those who came later to see what “not to do”! And as sad as it sounds, each one reminds us of persons and places we know of that are far too reminiscent of these “not so” heroes.

Boy, have I felt the rub of the “Barney Fife” boss who wants everybody to know he’s the man!

And I have indeed watched my fair share of inebriated crazies get their clocks cleaned by some really tough guys.

No matter how you slice it, difficult people are just that…difficult. And they will forever make for awkward, bizarre and game-changing realities.

Lorenzo

February 26 – Mutual Admiration Society

The godly despise the wicked; the wicked despise the godly. Proverbs 29:27 NLT

When I was up to no good, the last thing I wanted around was some “goody two-shoes.” My sister fit the bill most of the time.

I couldn’t stand her! She was always in the right place at the wrong time for me. I never got away with anything.

Examples are abundant, but not necessary…I’m sure I share company with some whose past attitudes and behaviors are just as well forgotten and forgiven.

The other side of that coin, however is the frustration felt by the likes of my sister who are simply abiding by the rules prescribed by those in authority so it might go well with them.

As an adult, with a family…children and a wife, I admit my struggle. Sometimes it’s hard to see beyond the madness when another with ill motives seeks to impose “unjust” demands on the innocent.

What I have learned thus far from living on both sides of that coin is…no matter what side you are on, you think you are right and the other is wrong. And fuss as you may, until they are ready, you, nor they, will change sides.

Lorenzo

January 12 – Not Without Nelly

Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth. Proverbs 26:20

My sis and I grew up watching Michael Landon’s Little House on the Prairie. I loved the show but almost every episode I’d get ticked at Nelly Olson. That chick was always stirring up some kind of mess, but nobody seemed to want to put her in her place because her Mama was ten times worse.

Part of my extreme frustration with the “Nelly” character stemmed from having my very own at school. I had a classmate in those days who could have taught little Miss Olson a thing or two about the art of “busybody-ness and tattle-telling.”

Every single day of fifth and sixth grade she seemed to torment me. Anything I said got misconstrued and all that I did, she had something to say about it. And because I wasn’t good at arguing diplomatically back when, I would just get mad, then get in trouble, and she come away looking squeaky clean.

One day, however, that all changed. She crossed the line and stirred up a hornet’s nest that just about shut the school down. Police were called and potential criminal charges were being discussed. Several little boys narrowly avoided unjustified consequences.

So it was then when I learned one of the wisest strategies in dealing with a “Nelly.” First, I have to be willing to recognize what is happening. Then, I have to prevent myself from taking his or her accusations personally (no emotional response.) Then I make myself speak well of them, no matter what. Why, you say? In doing so, I give them absolutely no “wood to burn!”

That’s been over thirty years ago and I still struggle with a Nelly from time to time. But in that time frame, I have worked to build some healthy relationships and even call some “friend.”

“Nelly’s” are here to stay, so get a game plan. Underneath all of that “persnickety” you might find a really cool person!

January 7 – Drip, Drip, GUSH!

By long forbearance and calmness of spirit a judge or ruler is persuaded, and soft speech breaks down the most bonelike resistance. Proverbs 25:15 AMP

We got off on the wrong foot. I didn’t know him and he didn’t know me. I was given a job to do and that’s all I was doing. I never meant to tick him off.

I was once hired to motivate a group of leaders and maneuver them into key and vital roles necessary for increased productivity and heightened morale. These were volunteer leaders, so I scheduled what I felt was a business-friendly meeting.

Nothing had been done like it before and many of the people were alarmed at my enthusiasm and watched me closely. But after we met, and I shared, most of them were at ease and on board…except him.

He ran his own business and was quite successful in his own right. Who did I think I was calling meetings and issuing “ultimatums” to a bunch of good-hearted volunteers?

Needless to say, my boss had a few words with me and assured me, I was doing the right thing, but I better figure out a strategy real quick to deal with the hornet’s nest I had just knocked over.

Truthfully, in part, I was a little ticked myself. I, mean, one of the main reasons I was hired was to “fix” this problem. And now, it seemed I would be hung out to dry because somebody got their feelings hurt. But I also wanted what was best for all parties involved. So I reached out to him.

I called, he wouldn’t answer. When I would see him, from time to time in the building, I would speak and he would just nod at me with a semi-menacing look. He wouldn’t acknowledge me or my meetings. He wasn’t budging and he made it clear.

Then one day, unannounced, he showed up at my office. “You hungry?” Totally “bumfuzzelled,” I stammered, “I could eat a bite.”

For the next three years, we rarely missed a week for lunch. To date, some of my fondest memories happened around somebody being obstinately opposed to me.

In life, the hard people, places and things make you better. God uses them to prove you and teach you what’s on the inside. And, the truth be told, those moments make for the best stories!

Patient persistence pierces through indifference; gentle speech breaks down rigid defenses. MSG

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.