QTMs for 11/6/17: BUT YOU AIN’T GOT JACK

You’ve heard it:  “If I could buy you for what you’re worth, then sell you for what you think you’re worth . . .”
Image result for coffee and social cliques
Paul says in 1 Cor. 15:9, “I am the least…  I am not worthy…”  It does NOT mean you’re worthless in the eyes of others, but being honest in seeing yourself through God’s eyes.  It’s knowing that who, what, and how He’s building you up to be now in your journey is because of His grace, not your popularity or talent.  It’s not about you at all.  It’s all about God working His grace through you.
 
Yesterday in class, we discussed the fallacy of an “US vs. THOSE PEOPLE” mentality, even while claiming we’re representing Jesus to our world.  You know.  Always sitting with the same ones.  Always picking from the same insular group for just about anything.  After all, unless Jack’s in that class, or seated at that table, or a member of that group, it has no merit.  See, Jack’s popular and fun.  Jack is in EVERYTHING.  I mean, thanks for the offer, but if you ain’t got JACK . . .
With respect, we’re not here to learn about and worship Jack.  According to Paul, Jack’s true value is only in how he uses his gifts and personality – and character – to point other men to Jesus.
We all do it, if we’re not careful.
“I do not!”  Hey.  Social media tell the story.  What else is everyone supposed to think when they keep seeing the exact same faces proudly displayed at any social gathering you host?  And haven’t you occasionally looked at a Facebook picture and thought, “Sure wish they’d invite me sometime.”?
And what if they did?  Would you then become a cliquey snob, secretly gloating over all the little people not allowed to know the clubhouse secret code?

It’s not about you at all.  It’s all about God working His grace through you.


It’s natural to have some friends closer than others, some with whom we always have the most fun. 
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But if that’s the sum of your social interaction–hanging with the same people, only doing things with the same select group–according to Jesus’s examples, you’ve not yet begun to represent Him in His world.  Calling that ‘evangelism’ and ‘discipleship’ is kidding yourself.  And it’s shortchanging those you could be impacting by your witness.
Ever heard somebody say in shock, “Why, I had no idea __________ was so much fun!” or “Wow, I didn’t know they were that good.”  What chance did you give them?  Most people do not wade into the middle of things, demanding to be included.
 
One in four personalities is always up for a good party.  The other three either have no time for foolish goofing off by people who don’t have time for them; are more bothered by the cost of the party than that they weren’t invited; or are talented and would love to be included once in awhile, but aren’t the kind to push themselves into a setting where they’re not wanted.
 
It hurts to be routinely excluded unless nobody else is around willing to step up.  Good, qualified, able people have quietly left churches because, “We couldn’t get in.  Everyone had their clique, their family gatherings.  They come in talking and laughing with the same people, they leave the same way.  It’s like we were somehow lower on the register or something.  Nobody’d let us in, and we got tired of feeling like second- or third-tier Christians.” 

The Path of Least Discomfort is not an effective outreach program.


How many times should they keep trying before getting discouraged and quitting?  More to the point, when that happens, how long does it take for the clique or family or social group to realize they’ve gone?

 

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Either way, The Path of Least Discomfort is not an effective outreach program.  It’s not enough to just not be conformed to the world.  Sometimes it’s necessary to resist being conformed to The Church. 
Paul goes on in 1 Cor. 15-16 to talk about Christ’s return.  When He raptures His Church, it won’t be by parties, church organizations, family affiliation, social clubs or the most popular Sunday School classes. 
 
We’ll each rise to meet Him because we’ve individually served Him in this life. 
Or, as Paul puts it, “Be strong and steady, always enthusiastic about the Lord’s work, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless” (15:58).
Exactly.  God sees results in a different way than we all do.
© D. Dean Boone, November 2017
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A Granger Encounter, 11/4/17: THE RITES OF WRITING RIGHT

“Your regular?”  Rizzo’s voice always seemed to smile.  She topped off his coffee as she waited to take his order.  Granger hesitated, then told her what he wanted to eat.

 

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“Seriously?  You want—”  Nodding, he repeated his order.  Shaking her head, she repeated it back: “Six eggs, basted over hard, shredded cheddar on them after cooked.  Wheat toast with jay-lih.”  She grinned as she jotted on her order pad; she’d been trying for a year or more to learn the Southern way to pronounce ‘jelly’.

“Sure you don’t want some home fries and hollandaise with that?”  He absentmindedly shook his head, attention already refocused on Middle Space.  He seemed to be observing the others in Jimmie’s Diner more in his mind than with his eyes.

He was musing like that, the usual writing pad laying on the table before him, when Sparks came in the door.  Standing two inches over six feet, the seasoned deputy sheriff paused just inside the door, thumbs hooked casually over his duty belt, and habitually scanned the room before walking on in.  Granger, amused, caught the reactions of several other early-morning diners, even while his mind was fussing around the edges of the ideas he’d been sorting through.

“You saw it, too, huh?”  He removed his service cap and laid it on the booth seat next to him.  Granger’s eyes refocused as he grinned.  “Guilty consciences or knee-jerk reactions, I guess.  I’ve already ordered, so go ahead.”

Sparks sat gratefully sipping the hot coffee Rizzo’d poured.  They exchanged greetings and she showed him the latest pictures of her impossibly-cute 1-year-old.  Making the usual remarks about the little girl’s beauty, the deputy glanced over at his friend and mentor as Rizzo hustled off to take care of other patrons.

Granger had that spacey look in his eyes again.

“You amaze me, man.  Don’t you ever run dry of ideas to write about?  I mean, it’s like Life has to take second or third chair.”  His radio went “kisht” and he reached back to turn the gain down a little.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      http://www.cuppaonline.com 

Granger took his question to be rhetorical, but answered anyway.  “There’s always something fresh or different because life keeps happening.  Do you ever run out of calls?”  Sparks bobbed his head off to the left, silently acknowledging the truth.

“How’d you get started at this?  You write, and speak, and it seems that, even on Facebook, you use it to chide or counsel or encourage others.  And you sit and listen to people by the hour!  What triggered that?”  He watched as Granger went absolutely still as he thought about how to respond, not even acknowledging with his usual gratitude as Rizzo refilled his coffee cup.

Used to sizing up strangers, the cop in him watched Granger’s eyes, the play of emotion and memories as they flickered across his face.  Wow, he’s taking this seriously.  He’s got a great sense of humor and loves to laugh and have fun.  But this is like watching a computer do a search.

“I think I’ve always wanted to matter, to be relevant in others’ lives.  I don’t believe I did that very well prior to my health issues.  Like everyone else, I was pretty focused on my own life, interests, family, etc.  When God got me through that first few years, I was literally a different man.”

“Say more.”  Startled, Granger raised his eyebrows at Sparks.  “You been listenin’ to me?”  Just as quickly, he zeroed back in on his thoughts as he sipped the good coffee Jimmie’s was known for.

“It isn’t that I didn’t care before.  I did.  If anything, I care too much, taking others’ burdens on as my own.  So it wasn’t a lack of compassion or sympathy.  But coming so close to dying a few times was like God grabbing me by the ears, staring in my eyes and saying, “Do I have your attention?”

Chuckling as he tried to slurp a mouthful of coffee, Sparks choked.  He snickered wryly at himself, reaching for a napkin.  “I take it He did?”

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“Oh, yeah!  Like the old Carman song says, “When GOD speaks, everybody listens, even E. F. Hutton!”

Noticing Sparks picking up his cap, ear cocked down toward his epaulet-mounted radio, Granger nodded.  “It’s good; I got breakfast.”

“A-ight, thanks.  But, listen, I’d like you to finish your thoughts, ’cause I wanna know more.”  With that, he was gone out the door.  As Granger watched his friend’s back disappear, he breathed a quick prayer for his safety and God’s intervention in whatever the call was about.  At the same time, he noticed an old man who’d just come in the door and was standing uncertainly, looking for a place to sit.

Though stoop-shouldered, the old man stared from clear blue eyes from under a ball cap identifying him as a World War II veteran.  He wore an old medium-tan jacket, and a dark-blue ranch handkerchief peeked from one pocket.

Granger went over to him, identified himself as another veteran, and asked for the favor of buying a brother some breakfast.  As they sat down, Granger heard Spark’s powerful cruiser surge out of the Jimmie’s parking lot, tires squealing and siren warning everyone away.

http://toprightnews.com/92-year-old-wwii-vet

“Thank you for this privilege, my friend and brother.  Let me introduce you to Rizzo . . .”

© D. Dean Boone, November 2017

 

 

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2nd Cup of Coffee, Nov. 1, 2017: MERE COINCIDENCE? NOPE.

The longer I walk with God, the less I believe in coincidence.

Image result for coffee and truthThere was yet another misguided jihadist’s attack in New York yesterday.  This devotional from FiveStarMan was in this morning’s mail.  I found it solid, timely counsel and pass it along.

Don’t Curse God When Tragedy Strikes

PROVERBS 1:27

When your panic comes as a storm and desolation and your calamity comes on as a whirlwind, when distress and anguish come upon you.  28 Then will they call upon me [Wisdom] but I will not answer; they will seek me early and diligently but they will not find me.

PRINCIPLE

All tragedy is a result of the fallen world.

Have you noticed that when people are experiencing good times they party – celebrate – and take credit for their good fortunes; but when things go bad they curse and blame God?

I can’t tell you how many times people have cried and complained to me, “Why did God allow this to happen?” They spew out their anger as if they are something special and do not deserve their calamity.

 

How do you respond to tragedy?

Jesus’ response to tragedy can serve as a lesson.

“Those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.” Luke 13:4

Jesus is teaching that if we are not careful, we can think a tragedy is a targeted judgment of sin, when in fact; ALL tragedy is a result of the fallen world. The earth is groaning as in birth pains awaiting the redemptive work of God (Romans 8:18).

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Jesus warns those judging the tragedy of the fallen tower of Siloam that the eighteen who died were not more sinful than anyone else; they were simply the result of the tragedy of death (that derives from sin in our world).

In the face of tragedy, these are comments you should NOT make:

• This happened because they are cursed.

               REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

• God is teaching them something.

• All things work together for the good. (This is taking a scripture completely out of the context and applying all acts as good.  Obviously, this is not true.)

• They lacked faith.

• Hopefully, this will turn them to God.

• Well, I am just glad it didn’t happen to us.

• They deserved it.

• God did this. (Be careful of this one. Do not sin with your lips by accusing God of a tragedy.)

These are responses we SHOULD have:

• What can I do to help?

• Who is responding and how can I help them?

• How can I pray?

• I am humbled by this tragedy and I want to invest in helping in every way that I can.

REMEMBER: Don’t curse God when trouble strikes.  *** FIVESTARMAN, The Daily Champion.

Friends, by now only fools or those intentionally trying to mislead, for whatever reason, lay these worldwide attacks at the feet of anyone but Islamist radicals.  No matter who taught them, where they came from, or how they got here, they all have their roots in this hateful, spite-filled brand of Islam.

Equally, only fools or those intentionally trying to incite believe all Muslims are hardened Islamist radicals.  However, until the Muslim world comes clean and repudiates Islamist terrorism wherever it appears – and joins the rest of us in both condemning and acting to stamp it out – the sad truth is that the Muslim world must be held complicit.  Many of them are suffering from this same sick belief, too.  One would think they’d do whatever it takes to help get rid of it.

No one has given God, His Church or His people a pass because of the horrendous acts of a few zealots saying they were acting in His name.  Islam needs to be held just as accountable.  It’s time Islam’s Allah and those who follow those teachings take responsibility for what’s being done in their name.

It’s also time we stop this foolishness of siding with the Cross’s enemies in blaming God and His Church every time something like what happened yesterday in New York City occurs.  Some men and women do what they do because they are evil, having handed their soul to the Adversary.  No one has to incite them.

The Sovereign Creator is just as saddened by the effects of sin in His world as are the rest of  us.

Join with me in praying for all those whose lives have been irreversibly touched by this disgusting act.  Surviving this attack was not what the perpetrator had in mind.  Something tells me he won’t enjoy what follows.

© D. Dean Boone, November 2017

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2nd Cup of Coffee for 10/27/17: PASTURIZING PASTORS

DAY OF RENEWAL by Shepherd’s Fold Ministries is now finished for 2017.

You’re still stuck on the title.  You’ll get it.

Where do pastors go to get that ‘Psalm-23′ feelin’?  The green pastures bit?  Even when ‘off’ they’re not.  Church members who by now should be using their chompers instead of still nursing have The Rev’s cell number on speed-dial.

“Hangnail!”  “Car won’t start!”  “Crabgrass!”  “Cat peed on my carpet!”  “Cable coax is kinked again!”

DOR exists to pasturize pastors.  We provide an oasis in the median of ministry’s crazy paced expressway as our way of loving on them for a change.  Listening to them.  Observing them.  Putting faces on the praying we do over them.

Praying is our prep.  For months leading up to this day, everyone on the DOR team begins interceding, praying it forward for every pastor and wife who’ll attend.  We’re smart enough to know all our organizing–and plenty of it–is nothing without the Divine Spark that lights off the ion engines keeping our pastors going.

During Day of Renewal, a team of warriors spends the entire day praying in a separate War Room, shielding these amazing men and women from the Adversary’s attempts to distract and interfere.  We don’t publicize who they are.  We know them, know they’re not here for glory or church props.  It’s on the soaring updrafts of their fiercely-focused praying the real energy of DOR happens.

This is not about us.  Any of us.  Some of us have been or are presently pastoring; we know.  Some of us never have been and won’t ever be.  We learn.  After 20 years of making this happen?  We know how to care for the men and women who invest so much of themselves in shepherding us all year.

We know a little about pasturizing pastors.  We do our best to make it as green and lush as we can.  It’s a pleasure to watch them come through the doors in casual duds, almost visibly shedding the ‘Rev-armor’ and relaxing a wary watchfulness earned the hard way out in the Combat Zone.

This is not about us.

DOR is about, and for, pastors and their wives.

And when thanked, every one of us quotes a favorite reply of one of our many splendid corporate sponsors:

“My privilege.”

Because it is.

© D. Dean Boone, October 2017

 

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100-Word Stroll, 10/21/17: WHAT IS IT ABOUT “BY FAITH” YOU DON’T GET?

Naturalist and author Edward Abbey wrote, “Belief in the supernatural reflects a failure of the imagination.”

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No, it doesn’t.  It confirms it!

Reformation Day this year is Tuesday, October 31st.  What sparked the fire in Martin Luther’s soul, back in 1517, was when he read the prophet Habakkuk’s statement:  “The righteous will live by his faith” (2:4).

To accomplish anything in this life requires belief that ranges out ahead of what you can now see.  Yeah.  Faith!  Believing in what hasn’t yet happened requires imagination.  That’s why God issued it to you.  Image result for imagination gifs

You’ve heard without faith it’s impossible to please God.  Right?

Without faith – focused use of your God-created imagination – it’s impossible to even please yourself.

Don’t trash your imagination just because some guy sneered at it.  God gave it to you for a reason.

Think about it.

Use it.

© D. Dean Boone, October 2017     

 

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2nd Cup of Coffee for 10/19/17: 4 WAYS TO PUT SOME PUNCH IN YOUR LOVE LIFE

Readers make the best writers.  I’ve read that.

Image result for coffee and readingWhen you read a lot of the good, challenging, uplifting kind of stuff, you can’t help being helped by it.

I read this morning:

“Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly.” ~ 1 Corinthians 13:13, The Message

“In the end, only three things matter:  how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you” ~ Unknown

“Conviction and Comfort don’t even live on the same block.” ~ a very wise grandmother

Nope.  This post isn’t salacious.  It’s to help you lift the bar high – way high – on this matter of love.  Loving extravagantly never has meant excusing Wrong, liking everything and everyone, and tolerating Evil.  Nor has it meant not supporting what’s right.  “Love” never has meant “You agree with everything I do, say, or believe”.

I promised you 4 WAYS TO PUT SOME PUNCH IN YOUR LOVE LIFE.

  1. Image result for coffee and readingEXAMINE how much you love.  Your pattern is Jesus.  Quit getting sidetracked by looking around you; no matter how much you like them, no human will ever love in sufficient power, reach, and beauty as Jesus does.  You want love defined?  Read the Bible cover to cover.  Yeah, all of it.
  2. EXPLORE how gently you’re living.  Again, your pattern is Jesus.  Spend time in the Gospels and the first few verses of Acts 1.  Jesus was never mean, nor mean-spirited.  Never afraid to confront Evil and evil persons, Jesus was nevertheless a gentle man in the way he lived.  He respected and listened to his dad and mom.  Though fearless in pointing out religious and political hypocrisy, Jesus showed and taught respect and appreciation for both the Church of His day and the few political leaders who were true statesmen.  He also showed the gentlest of love for all He met.  Again, go back and study the true definition of ‘gentle’.  Some of the fiercest warriors I know are some of the gentlest-living people I’ve ever met.Image result for one man's journey
  3. EMBRACE who and where God’s shown you you’re supposed to be, and what He needs for you to be doing.  Even though it put Him out on the edge of Reason, Jesus looked God in the eye and said, “Your plan, Your will.”  The only people who say walking with God is simple, or, even sillier, a weakling’s way out, are those who either have never done it at all, or tried it and suddenly realized they’d rather see what’s behind Door #2.  To grudgingly let go of something God says isn’t good for you isn’t letting go, is it?  To step through and beyond God’s open door for you with grace shows spiritual maturity, and it will just keep growing.  It’s not just God’s grace that’s amazing.  He means for yours to be as well.

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  4. EXERCISE your conviction.  Think, speak, and walk daily in the core beliefs God revealed to you.  Nobody else’s convictions fit you.  That’s why trying to preach yours to them doesn’t set well.  That’s why listening to theirs and deciding, “Oh, well, those sound more palatable than mine” is lethal to your own faith.  Trying to enjoy comfort and exercise conviction at the same time are nigh onto impossible, unless you know for sure what the latter are, and know when the former are pushing you to ignore the latter.

4 WAYS TO PUT SOME PUNCH IN YOUR LOVE LIFE aren’t glitzy, entertaining or fashionable.  Shoot, sometimes they’re just flat a lot of work.

But they pay off.

Think of people within your orbit whose lives solidly impact yours and impress you.  Ask yourself why.  Then mentally hold them up against these four things.  You’ll find they’re at work doing some or all of them.

Your challenge is to be that kind of person for somebody else around you.

Time’s wastin’.  And they’re watchin’.

© D. Dean Boone, October 2017

 

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QTMs for 10/18/17: LOVERS MAKE THE BEST LEADERS

Read early this morning in a daily devotional:

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“You are able to grow a greater love when you lay down your agenda in prayer and pick it up by faith and in love. Beware of ignoring thoughtful questions from the wise and becoming a fool by thinking you have all the answers. A greater love gives up control for the greater good of faithful friends.”

Don’t kid yourself.  We’ve all made pleasant with serene, gracious smiles while privately believing ourselves to be brighter and sharper and more talented than anyone around us.

You’ve looked around, seeing the same people being picked and pressed into multiple roles.  You’ve thought, “No way can they be the best we have at that many things.  And who’s going unused in all of it?  Why are gifts and talents being wasted?”  Good men and women get tired.  Disappointed.  Discouraged.

I get it.  Good leaders size up their available team and quickly decide who’ll step up.  Having set that mental template, it’s just easier to

 

  • go with the flow
  • not rock the boat
  • dance with who ya brung

People are sharper than you think.  They know when they’re being overlooked.

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Leaders have their agendas, too.  They’re no easier to lay down than yours or mine.  It’s just simpler to recycle the same people than be on the hunt for new talent and develop it.  And yet Jesus said there’s no higher indication of His love than to lay ‘me’ and ‘my’ down in favor of others.

Laying down your agenda, spreading it out before God’s perfect Timeless eye, is humbling.  There’s a big difference between, “Now, God, here’s my plan . . .” and “Okay, Lord–what’s YOUR plan, what part do you want me to play, and who else do You want on this team?”                                                                                                                              https://teamgantt.com

And the waiting?  Oh, the waiting . . .

“Oh, oKAY-uh!  My agenda.  Right there.  On the floor!  Okay?”

Right.  But that’s only half the equation.  There’s the follow-through of picking it up, by faith and in love toward all concerned, after God’s finished reworking it.

It really is a matter of control.

And God’s the only one who ought to be getting His way in everything we’re doing.

© D. Dean Boone, October 2017

 

 

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2nd Cup of Coffee, 10/17/17: IT MEMES TO ME

This is a popular message, yet it doesn’t go quite far enough.  This well-meant, focused relationship only keeps working if that level of concern is received.  A gift is meaningless if the one honored won’t open it.
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Can half a relationship survive?  Yes, because God’s been modeling that before us our entire lives.  Two things accrue, however.
 
First, you and I are human.  Our love, unselfishly poured out again and again with little or no return interest, may remain by sheer will and dogged grit, but it is a weak shadow of what would happen if the one being made to smile, being often checked up on, received that care and chose to return it. 
Next, it is a rare human love and friendship that endures indefinitely while being shunned.  Eventually, even the most determined love will accept it’s really not wanted and will go away.  The body will remain, but the spirit will have flown.   Some will do so in drama and maxed volume so the entire neighborhood knows it, while others quietly recede and move on.  Either way, you can feel it.  Something’s changed.  As an old evangelist used to say, “It’s gone, and it won’t be back.”
 
Should you be so blessed to be the recipient of this meme’s level of devotion and esteem, do as directed.  Hold on.  It’s a rare thing to find in this life, and another may not come along.

There’ll be an emotional moat there you’ll never be able to cross.


If you have for whatever reason discouraged that person ?  Know this.  That individual may choose to continue exercising your relationship, but it will never again be the fun, hopeful, devoted thing you were used to seeing and sensing from them.  They’ll be proper, even solicitous, around you, but there’ll be an emotional moat there you’ll never be able to cross.  They’ll always be guarding who they really are around you.  Where once you were welcomed, you’ll now stand knocking.
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Those scars take a long time to heal, and never do completely go away.  The ‘exercising’ will exist, but will be forced–as in the difference between , “I get to go to the gym!” and, “I gotta go to the gym . . .”  Something else to consider:  like the cat taught to never sit on a hot stove again, that person won’t bug you any more with such close care and concern–but the chances are better than good they’ll not ever offer it or themselves to anyone else, either.
 
As the meme puts it, “Don’t take them for granted.  People like them are hard to find.” 
© D. Dean Boone, October 2017
Categories: Common Sense, Encouragement, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Granger: 2nd Cup for 10/16/17 – HE CAN BE A REAL CHARACTER

Good morning, 2nd Cup friend.  I’m Granger.  Dan’s my best and closest friend, my, ah, alter-ego; and there’s a good reason for that.

Image result for coffee and writingI’m his principal character about and through whom he often writes.  No one knows me like him.  No one knows him like me.  It’s because of this uncanny symbiosis between us that you know me so well:  what I wear, the things I like to eat, places I go and how I get there, even my thought processes–how I reflect on and process things.

It’s this shared love and respect between writer and character that makes me step out of the screen, set down my black-and-green oversized “Coffee made me do it” mug full of fresh mocha caramel java, hold out my big, work-hardened, scarred hand, and shake yours.  It’s what lets my green eyes look into yours, seeing the complex dance of emotions there, and letting you sense my own.

It – he – is the force which makes me come alive, and invite you into my world.  It doesn’t happen by chance.  Dan’s been at this awhile.  He’s an avid reader, like most excellent writers; he’s been studying different styles all that time, choosing the ones he’s felt best fit what is flowing through his mind and spirit.

When you read a short paragraph and catch yourself sitting, staring into middle space and thinking, “I feel like I’m right there”?  He’s put hours into it.  Sometimes even I get bored and play WordSearch or something until he thinks he’s getting it right.  Dan puts a lot into making you feel what I’m feeling, making you see what I see.  He wants you to be welcome here, so that whenever you see my name, connected with his byline, you kind of settle in with your coffee, thinking, “Oh, I like this guy.  I know where he lives and I enjoy visiting there.”

Others share our imaginary locale.  Arlough, the laser-minded MENSA dropout whose engineer’s mind is often funny bordering on crazed, yet rarely in neutral.  Occasionally you’ll encounter Raven Wing, American Indian MSW whose keen analytical, intuition ghosts through Granger’s world, leaving in her wake dry, sarcastic wisdom and an intense loathing of hypocrisy.  Often you’ll find Deputy Sheriff ‘Sparks’ Dickerson helping himself to Granger’s coffee.  The young decorated warfighter is a recent Christ-follower whose clear sense of justice causes him to struggle with how to confront Evil while growing in his faith.

“So, Granger–your experiences, your thoughts seem to have a weird spiritual connection.  You draw me into your world, make me see through your eyes, and feel the way you do.  They keep me coming back, looking for more.  I’d love to read more about you, get to know you better.  You and your world fascinate me.”

You’ll have to take that up with Dan.  He’s the author, remember.  I exist only in his mind, heart and spirit.  Though I and my Granger cohorts are based on very real people, situations, life experiences and journeys, we are all fictional.

Much of what Dan writes is non-fiction, meant to lift, encour—well, you know.  If you appreciate his fiction and his uncommon writing style, tell him.  Let him know, and spread the word to others you know would like his work.Image result for fictional character gifs

I can’t.

I’m a fictional character.

© D. Dean Boone, October 2017

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QTMs for 10/14/17: THROUGH = HUMBLE

Given a choice?  I’ll take OVER OR AROUND for $400, Alex.

Image result for The Struggle Is Real but So Is God Coffee Cup

I’ve been through.

I know the wisdom of acceding to God’s timing and will in leading me through things in this life.  I’ve lived long enough I do NOT go hunting for more through.  If it’s all the same to the Lord, I’m through with through.

Last Monday evening, we finished up a five week small-group study on Isaiah 6.  While that passage is most known for the prophet’s experience of ‘seeing’ God and living to report it to NewsMax, we were focusing on Isaiah’s ‘through’.

It was not going to be pretty.  Nothing about Isaiah’s preaching ministry would make Osteen glance over the fence.

“Okay, wait.  You want me to preach WHAT?  For HOW LONG?  And what’s this about them being blindfolded blockheads?”

Image result for horshackNyuh-uh.  No multi-thousand seat stunning design from Ecclesiastical Digest.  Christianity Today never called for an interview.  No talented staff to assist.  For Isaiah, the picture wasn’t looking real good.  Our consensus was that, maybe, Isaiah might’ve been wondering if his Horshack imitation was a tad premature.

Saying, “Pick me!  Pick me, God!” meant long decades of slogging service, telling people stuff guaranteed to put their skivvies in a knot.

It also paved the way for God to transmit through Isaiah’s stolid faithfulness the most potent, majestic prophetic words ever recorded about Jesus, Israel’s Messiah.

If THROUGH = HUMBLE, then THROUGH leads UPWARD in ways OVER OR AROUND never will.


If THROUGH = HUMBLE, then THROUGH leads UPWARD in ways OVER OR AROUND never will. 


Takeaways from this 5 weeks?

  • Living an authentic life before God is the way to see Him.  We don’t know how long Isaiah preached whatever God told him to preach, but he’d been at it awhile – five chapters worth – before God ever personally appeared to his man. 
  • When God has something for you to be doing, trust His timing; do not mis-spend time over past failures.  I just read that phrase during quiet time this week.  It’s easy to grieve over pile-ups in the past to the degree God can’t get you focused on what He needs you doing from here on.  God won’t quip; He equips.  Isaiah was seriously distraught at the close encounter of the God kind.  He’d been taught to look at God was to die,  so different is our level of existence from His.  It’s like that old G.I. Joe cartoon always said:  “Now you know–and” (say it with me…) “knowing is half the battle!” 

Image result for Gibbs DiNozzo

  • Everything happening that day was specifically for Isaiah’s benefit.  Think about it:  one of the immense, brilliant spirit beings who lives right next to God Himself took a break from Heaven’s 24/7 P & W jam session just for Isaiah.  He’s part of God’s personal praise team.  Did he NEED to use tongs to take a live coal from the altar?  Why was the altar even in the picture?  Considering who and what he is, this celestial messenger could’ve just approached Isaiah like they do everyone else:  “NO-NO-NO.  Settle down.  DON’T be afraid.”  Touch Isaiah’s lips, give him a DiNozzo on the back of the head, and give him his mission brief.  Why all the imagery?  FOR ISAIAH’S BENEFIT. 
  • God knew what Isaiah’s THROUGH was going to look like, so He offered his man the sparkling gem of HOPE.  Israel’s future looked grim because it was.  God had put up with His people’s willful impudence until He knew it was time to step in.  He also knew the mission He was giving to Isaiah would get him beaten, cussed at and have vile, smelly stuff thrown at him.  God told Isaiah several times what the longsuffering prophet then told verbatim to Israel:  “I WILL BE WITH YOU.”  And He was, both with Isaiah and Israel.  And God told Isaiah:  “DO NOT BE AFRAID, FOR I HAVE RANSOMED YOU.  I HAVE CALLED YOU BY NAME; YOU ARE MINE.  WHEN YOU GO THROUGH DEEP WATERS AND GREAT TROUBLE, I WILL BE WITH YOU.  WHEN YOU GO THROUGH RIVERS OF GREAT DIFFICULTY, YOU WILL NOT DROWN!  WHEN YOU WALK THROUGH THE FIRE OF DEPRESSION, YOU WILL NOT BE BURNED UP; THE FLAMES WILL NOT CONSUME YOU.  FOR I AM THE LORD, YOUR GOD, THE HOLY ONE OF ISRAEL, YOUR SAVIOR.” (Chapter 43)

I know our picture of grizzled old prophet Isaiah is of a John Wayne-type of character.  He’d just about have to be.

It’s also one of a humble-spirited man who knows – knows – none of it has been of his own volition or intellect.  While accepting thanks for his faithful service and long ministry, Isaiah in deep humility immediately swings around, pointing with both hands Heavenward and saying, “GOD, IT’S ALL YOU!”

There’s a lesson there.  THROUGH is the way to HUMILITY and continuing usefulness to the Master.

© D. Dean Boone, October 2017

Categories: Encouragement, Inspirational, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment