Archive - June 2016

Spiritual Dementia
The Summer of No Regrets!

Spiritual Dementia

Today I’m waiting for a thunderstorm to come while sitting on the back porch of Rocky Top.  I hear claps of thunder and lightning is striking in the distance. The clouds are quickly rolling in over the lake.   The impending storm is reflective of my mood.

My heart is heavy because some things just didn’t happen the way they were supposed to. Life didn’t go as I planned. Life didn’t happen like lots of people planned in this situation.   People I love dearly are hurting and the world just seems to continue to spin out of control. Judges in Washington are telling us how to live. Floods are ravaging states. Children are missing. Godly people are dying too young.  And political candidates are making way too many promises in loud voices.

And I am fighting spiritual dementia. I just keep forgetting a very important truth.

My mom, who does have Alzheimer’s, tends to ask me the same question over and over. I calmly will answer her. Yet, after about the sixth time she repeats the same question I want to just say, “Mom, I have answered you! You know the answer to that question!”

Sadly, I am afraid the Lord is sitting up in heaven saying, “Really, Donna? I have answered that question for you before. You know the answer.”

In I Timothy, Paul is writing to a young pastor named Timothy. Timothy does not have an easy job. He is pastoring a church in Ephesus during the reign of Nero. Christians are being persecuted. Many of the people in Timothy’s church are immature believers……lovers of self, lovers of money, lovers of having things their own way.

At the beginning of this letter, Paul reminds Timothy of a very important truth (the one I keep forgetting). Paul knows that in order to lead this church in Ephesus, Timothy can’t afford to have spiritual dementia. Timothy will need to keep this truth in front of him at all times.

“Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory for ever and ever Amen.” I Timothy 1:17

Paul reminds Timothy of who God is. He reminds of him of God’s character.

My God is King! Nero is not King. No president is King! No Supreme Court Justice is King.

My God is eternal!   He has always been and will always be! He never ceases to be!

My God is immortal! The Greek word “immortal” here means incorruptible. My God has no corruption in Him! He is without flaw. People will fail me. God will not.

My God is invisible. My God is in all and through all. He is not limited by a physical body.

My God is the only wise God. The Greek word for “wise” means “watchman”. My God sits on top of the mountain and can see all around. Nothing catches Him by surprise. My God is Sovereign.

Today if you are struggling with life not going as planned, take I Timothy 1:17 and put it where you can see it on a regular basis. I have it written on my office wall and on my desk.

It is a truth that must be kept in front of me at all times. When life doesn’t go as planned and I begin to question life and just who God is, I return to this passage. When I do ask God this question over and over, He gently reminds me of just who He is. His character is steadfast.

The storm is upon me and I must leave my rocking chair on the back porch.

Just like life, the storms will come and go but………….

“Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory for ever and ever Amen.” I Timothy 1:17


The Summer of No Regrets!

It is summer up here on Rocky Top!  For many families that means VACATION!!!

Our family is no exception to that!  We just returned from our first extended family vacation in four years!  Between a move from the Bayou state, two grandbabies being born, a wedding, graduations, unexpected deaths, elderly parents, new jobs and just life, it has just been hard to get away.  We have gotten together several times a year up here on Rocky Top, but it is different when four separate families choose to take off work and drive and/or fly to a separate location to spend a week together.  Coordinating everyone’s schedule is almost an impossible task.

As I sat under a canopy on a beautiful white sandy beach watching my two adorable grandchildren creating sand castles, my son attempting paddle boarding, my husband casting his rod in hopes of a fish, I realized  all the work to get here was worth it.  However, it wasn’t just about having fun together as a family, there were some other lessons the Lord taught me this past week about the importance of a family vacation.

  1.  Laughter……..nothing like laughing together and sometimes even at the expense of one another to bond you together as a family.  Most nights after small children were in bed we played games.  We won’t talk about the night we played Catch Phrase and my job was to describe “Skip to My Lou”.   I jumped up from my chair to act out skipping.  Bad idea.  My knee decided not to cooperate and I almost fell on the floor.    My mind and body were in two different places.      We all laughed until we cried.           Proverbs 17:22
  2. Memories……..things happen on these trips that are forever etched in our minds and bind us together.  One night a storm was raging at 5 am.  I  looked out the window to see our rented tandem kayak floating in the ocean.  I ran up and down the hall screaming “Wake up!  Everyone go help dad rescue the kayak.”  The son and  the son-in-loves all threw on clothes and rushed out to the beach while lightening was striking the shore to rescue the kayak and whatever could be salvaged.  Of course the night before, it was “the mom” who suggested a storm was coming and it might be best to take down the canopy and move the kayak up even closer to the house.  But who is remembering???  Philippians 1:3
  3. Grace……….spending a week together with four families at various stages of life, various personalities, various strengths and weaknesses gives us all a chance to give grace to one another.  Some of us are neat freaks; some leave all their belongings everywhere; some drink coconut water; some eat one gallon of ice cream daily; some take long walks; some like to just sit and read; some are competitive and some just don’t care about winning or losing.  Many people want their vacations to just be all about themselves.  Yet, what better way to learn grace than by practicing it by accepting each other’s differences.  Taking a multi-generation vacation is  such a great way to not only build bonds but to learn how to extend grace to one another.  II Timothy 2:1
  4. Prayer.……..of course there was prayer at every meal together.  BUT this is not what I am referring to.  Toward the end of our time together, we gathered in the big family room after the children were put to bed.  John (Preacher), Dad, or Papa John as those in our family call him,  asked all of us to be prepared to share toward the end of the week the answers to the following questions:  What is your family thankful for this year?  What in the coming year will require your dependence on the Lord?  How can we as a family pray for your family?  As we shared the answers to these questions, some of us were a bit emotional (me, in particular).  Doing family this way was foreign to me growing up.  This time of family prayer was so special to me personally.    James 5:13-16
  5. Intentionality…………none of the above just happened, the week didn’t just happen, our family didn’t just happen.  It was all “intentional”!   Many years ago, an older women challenged me to live my life without regrets.  Don’t just live your life.  Live your life on purpose.  Decide what is important to you, to your family and do “it”!  Whatever “it” is,  do it!  Preacher and I decided years ago when the children were young that we might not drive fancy cars, own a fancy house, jewelry or the latest designer clothes, but we wanted to use what money we did have to build our family by taking vacations.  In the early years, it was simply driving 20+ hours to spend time with his family at the beach.  One year we had a garage sale to raise funds to go to Disney world together.  A vacation for your family might be a few days in the mountains or exploring a new city.  The point is to get away from your normal routine and spend uninterrupted time together as a family!    This trip happened by our family sitting together over a year ago talking about how we  all needed to get away to a beach house.  Dates seemed to elude us.   However, my precious daughter-in-love worked on dates until we could see a possible window.  It took persistent intentionality!   Galatians 2:20, I Timothy 6:11-12

Sitting on the back porch of Rocky Top today soaking in the sun of the summer, my prayer for your family is to live this summer INTENTIONALLY  as you laugh together, make memories together, give one another grace and pray together as a family.

May the Summer of 2016 be the Summer of NO REGRETS!




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