PRAYER WARRIOR: SPIRITUAL STRENGTH TRAINING ~ 2nd Cup of Coffee, 8/6/22

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Claiming The Trauma Plate of Righteousness

In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, I put on the trauma plate of Righteousness — right standing with God. In this moment, I repudiate any dependence I may have on my own goodness. I see the fallacy of claiming any righteousness in and of myself, and I embrace the righteousness that is mine through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

I look to You, Holy Spirit, to instill and encourage righteous actions, pure thoughts, and holy attitudes in my life today. I hold up as my guidon and banner the righteous life of my Savior to defeat Satan and his kingdom. I affirm that my victory was won and lived out by Jesus Christ, and I eagerly ask and expect that Jesus will live His righteousness through me today.

Holy Spirit, keep me sensitive today to all that is in and around me, for I desire to walk with You this day in right standing with God and man. Help me walk in a holy and clean manner that honors God and defeats the flesh and the Adversary, the devil. I pray this through Jesus Christ, my Lord.

AMEN.

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PRAYER WARRIOR: SPIRITUAL STRENGTH TRAINING ~ 2nd Cup of Coffee, 8/6/22

– 5 –

Putting On The Belt of Truth

In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ I claim the protection of the belt of Truth, having buckled it securely around my waist. I pray the protection of this Truth over my personal life, my home and family, the plan God has appointed for me today, and for the future. I use the belt of Truth directly against Satan and his kingdom of darkness. I aggressively embrace Him who is the Truth — the Lord Jesus Christ — as my strength and protection from all of Satan’s deceptions. I desire that the truth of God’s Word shall constantly gain a deeper place in my life. I pray that the truth of the Word of God will be my heart’s delight to study and memorize.

I wish to speak and live in Truth today. I firmly reject deception, half-truths, misleading statements and actions, and rumors. Holy Spirit, I ask You today to help me live in honesty and transparency before God, with myself, and all those around me.

Show me any way in which I am being deceived and deliver me from its effects. Holy Spirit, open the Scriptures more and more to my understanding and guide me into the practical application of God’s Truth. Warn me before I unwittingly deceive anyone, and protect me from believing Satan’s lies about me or anyone else, no matter who speaks them. Thank you, Lord, for making my local worshiping fellowship a foundation for Your truth in my life. Help me to relate to my church, and to give the protection of Your truth to my brothers and sisters in Christ, as well as to receive it myself.

I see more and more, Lord Jesus Christ, that my ability to be invincibly strong and able to do Your will despite Satan’s subtle and deceitful ways requires the stabilizing power of the belt of Truth. Thank you for providing this part of my spiritual armor. I take it gratefully, and desire to have an ever-deepening understanding of its protection through Your power.

I ask all this, Lord, in Your name. AMEN.

  

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PRAYER WARRIOR: SPIRITUAL STRENGTH TRAINING ~ 2nd Cup of Coffee, 7/20/22 –

A Prayer For The Holy Spirit’s Daily Presence

Loving Heavenly Father, I approach You through the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. I desire to obey Your will by being invincibly strong through Your Holy Spirit’s enabling and energizing power. I praise You for your goodness in providing the Holy Spirit for my benefit and strengthening. Thank you for the day when the Holy Spirit convicted me of my need of Your salvation; I praise You that He enabled me to open my heart to the Lordship of Jesus and Your saving grace.

Holy Spirit, I acknowledge You directly as God, the third person of the Trinity, and I welcome Your presence in my heart and life right now. It is with expectancy that today I receive Your peace, comfort, and illumination of my mind, enabling me to understand the Holy Scriptures You inspired men to write. I greatly rejoice in Your identifying work, by which You show in my life the unmistakable marks of a follower of Jesus Christ. I confidently rest in the assurance that You are always by my side as I walk by faith in God and obey His Word. I praise You, Holy Spirit, that You have brought me to spiritual life, and that one day Your power will raise me, just as it did my Master, the Lord Jesus Christ.

As I pray, Holy Spirit of Heaven, I am increasingly aware of my need of Your intercession in me, through me, and for me. I thank You for the privilege of interceding with You for others in accordance with your direction [Romans 8:26-27]. Instruct me as I practice Your personal presence. May my thoughts and words be directed by You. Holy Spirit, carry my needs into the presence of the Father, because You have perfect understanding of my real needs, and of God’s will for me.

I acknowledge Your plan and desire to fill and direct me daily, Holy Spirit. Help me develop an increasing sensitivity to Your voice. I desire never to grieve You. Enable me to receive more perfectly the victory You have provided for me to walk above sin, spiritual failure, and defeat. Should I foolishly or unwittingly allow spiritual weakness to the point of sin, Holy Spirit, bring me quickly to an awareness of that sin. Help me see it for what it is, admit it, and immediately repent of it, so God through Christ can forgive and cleanse me [1 John 1:5-9]. I do not want to quench You or your work in me by any reluctance to submit fully to Your working in my life. Holy Spirit, it’s my constant desire to walk in Your presence and live according to Your guidance. Help me walk in Your purity and holiness today.

Though it may hurt and embarrass me, expose to me my tendency to rationalize or justify my habits, stubborn attitudes, and secret, selfish desires that wage constant war against my spirit [1 Peter 2:11]. I ask You, Holy Spirit, to answer my deepest needs right now with Your holy refining fire. I seek deliverance from anything You want to remove You know isn’t good for me whether it makes sense to me or not, and I submit to Your purifying search to expose and convict of that which is displeasing to God. I ask You now, Holy Spirit, to fill me with Your energizing power that You might be glorified in me today. When others look at me, I want them to sense Your personal Presence in me. In the name of Jesus, AMEN.

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PRAYER WARRIOR: SPIRITUAL STRENGTH TRAINING ~ 2nd Cup of Coffee, 7/8/22

Claiming My Position With Christ

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Loving Heavenly Father, I’ve come to see that it is Your will that I be invincibly strong in spiritual warfare. I praise You that You have placed me “in Christ” [Eph. 1:3]. By faith I express my desire to abide in the protection and blessing of the mighty name of the Lord Jesus Christ [Psa. 91:1]. I pray the omnipotence of His name over my family and the plan You have for my life. I pray the name of the Lord Jesus against Satan and all that his kingdom wants to do to hinder Your plan for my life.

I focus my prayer on my union with Christ in His physical appearing. I joyfully confess Jesus Christ has come in human flesh to win my victory for me. I pray all the triumphs the Lord Jesus achieved in His humanity against all Satan’s subtle tricks and deceit. I pray the victories of His physical appearing over all areas of my life today.

I praise You, O God, for the cross and death of my Lord Jesus Christ, desiring all the benefits of His death and resurrection to focus on my life, my family, and His working through me. I affirm that my death with Christ can defeat the control and rule of sin, of death, and of Satan [Rom. 6:8-11]. I desire the shed blood of Jesus Christ to be against all that Satan is doing to hinder me.

I hunger to learn more deeply what it means to experience the power of His resurrection [Phil. 3:10-11]. Just as I desire to be dead to sin’s reign, so I long to live with the truth that I am alive unto God through the power of Jesus’s resurrection. In that limitless power that raised up Christ from death, enable me to walk in the newness of life available to me.

Heavenly Father, it will always remain a marvel to me that You have seated me with Christ in the Heavenly realm, far above ALL spiritual powers [Eph. 1:18-21, 2:6]. I use the authority of my union with Christ to pull down all of Satan’s plans formed against me, against my family, and against all his evil schemes formed to oppose Your appointed plan for my life.

Thank You, Lord Jesus Christ, that in Your glorified position at God’s right hand, You are leading Your church and shepherding Your sheep. I deliberately submit to Your Lordship over my life. I acknowledge that everything that is good about my life, my home, and my relationships is because of Your Lordship and gracious blessing. By faith I claim my right to be invincibly strong and victorious in Your complete salvation [Rom. 8:31-39]. I refuse to be discouraged any longer than it takes for You through Your Holy Spirit to remind of Who You are, and who I am in You. I reject all emotions that make me feel defeated. I choose to live as one who is more than a conqueror through Jesus Christ my Lord.

In His name I pray these things with thanksgiving. AMEN.

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PRAYER WARRIOR: SPIRITUAL STRENGTH TRAINING ~ 2nd Cup of Coffee, 6/24/22

Focused On God

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Loving Heavenly Father, enable me to keep all things within the perspective of Your Sovereignty. Grant to me the wisdom to know the fierceness of the battle is NOT evidence of defeat. Help me to thank and praise You for Your purpose in every phase of the battle. Use all of it to refine me, strengthen me, and to build my faith in You.

Grant to me the insight and understanding to know my victory. I desire that the roots of my assurance of victory would go down deeply into the essential, great doctrines of Your Word. I want to see myself as being invincibly strong through my union with Jesus Christ, through the Person, work, and total effectiveness of Your Holy Spirit, through the total effectiveness of Your provided armor, and through the equally limitless potency of believing prayer. Teach me how to take for myself MY victory in a practical, daily manner.

These things I ask in the name of my Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

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THE AYES OF MARCH: An Easter 2nd Cup of Coffee, 3/31/2022

We were singing, “And on the third at break of dawn the Son of Heaven rose again. O trampled death, where is your sting? The angels roar for Christ the King! O PRAISE THE NAME OF THE LORD OUR GOD! O PRAISE HIS NAME FOREVERMORE! FOR ENDLESS DAYS WE WILL SING YOUR PRAISE . . .” (O Praise The Name (Anastasis) lyrics © Hillsong Music Publishing Australia) – Source: Musixmatch

Considering the power and capability of one angel according to Bible accounts, what must it be like to hear them all roaring in praise of their risen King of kings?

Considering the power and capability of one angel according to Bible accounts, what must it be like to hear them all roaring in praise of their risen King of kings? Their Commander-in-chief?

Would it compare to the perfect harmonies of the sky-cramming millions in Heaven’s choir when Jesus first came to Earth? Luke tells us it was a HUGE angelic choir, complete with Universe-filling sound and a light show that would induce stunned awe to any tech team on Earth.

Remember the last time you watched a video of an online megachurch’s worship? Did you notice how, as cameras panned across the congregation, some would be actively engaged in worship, while those around them were spectators until they realized they were on TV? The reactions were varied, yet it seemed plain: those men and women had allowed something to impede their connection with what they were singing and why – or more correctly, to and for Whom.

We’ve all caught ourselves doing that. Life has always had its quirks and challenges, and that’s never been truer than right here on April’s front porch in 2022. This isn’t meant to poke at or shame anyone, for the Church has found itself hard pressed to minister during the last two years of all sorts of conflicting information, edicts, and demands from every direction. Pastors and people alike have been working to keep up with ways to promote Christ’s Gospel and keep getting The Word out where it’s needed.

My purpose for posting these thoughts is simple. From week to week as we gather to worship – especially during this Lenten season – remember why you’re there. It shouldn’t take the baleful, impersonal stare of a videocamera to pull a response from you. And if it did, it wouldn’t be real, would it?

And no–most of us don’t have cameras positioned to pan across the seats of our churches to live-stream ‘out there’. Nor in my opinion should we. It’s one thing to have them showing the backs of those attending. It’s quite another to have them set to be recording from the front. To me, that smacks of nothing more than what we’d experience at ball games.

That doesn’t mean somebody’s not observing us as we gather and worship.

First, your pastoral team who has put in long hours praying over and preparing that week’s services is paying attention. Whether being prayed, preached, sung, or taught, your ministry team notices a lot more than you think they do.

It is of greatest importance that God is also right there with you each week. Remember? He said it only takes two or three. But He captures it ALL: your words, the thoughts and impressions behind them, your heart’s needs, your attitudes, and where your attention is focused.

So maybe this will encourage you: get involved each week as you join with your worshiping family to celebrate what being a Christian is all about. Remind yourself every week – and powerfully so as we move toward Easter’s worship events – that it’s not supposed to be entertainment or a mere spectator sport. That’s not a microwave or a TV up there. Those are real people giving of God’s call and their abilities to help you mature in spirit and beckon you closer to God.

Let them see and hear you appreciate those efforts. After all, what we’re doing here each week is just a warm-up for what awaits us when we’re all Home together!

It’s okay to raise the roof once in awhile!

© D. Dean Boone, March 2022

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From 2014 . . .

Original story posted by 2nd Cup of Coffee on February 14, 2014

A Valentine’s Day 2nd Cup Story: I MISS THE YOU I NEVER HAD

“More coffee?”

He looked up from his reading.  “Sure.  Yes, please.  Your coffee is always so good.  And the second cup’s always better than the first.”  He smiled as he spoke, sliding the now-empty aging green-stripe mug closer.

Image result for Old-Fashioned Diner Brown Stripe Mugs

Meg had watched generations come and go from Reggie’s Diner.  It was the only job she’d ever held since high school; she loved the contact with people, enjoyed serving good food to appreciative patrons of the restaurant.  Reggie and his family were accomplished chefs, offering anything from burger favorites to fine cuisine.  Meg knew they saw her as family, and returned that love for them.

Edging toward 65, Meg was comfortable in her running shoes and scrubs she bought at a local outdoor and professional outlet.  Today was Valentine’s Day so she was wearing her Minion top with Carl holding a huge, red heart upside-down that read, “I Love You” on it.

As she made the rounds, automatically registering whose coffee cups and water glasses needed filling, she thought of him.  She’d noticed again those killer dimples and the way laugh lines suddenly appeared.  He has a smiler’s face; it’s just at home there.  Wonder why he doesn’t do more of it?  

As she passed his table, she topped off his cup.  “Thanks, Meg.”  She smiled at him just to draw his own in return.  As she turned to take a newcomer’s order, she noticed how quickly that great smile disappeared again.  Having caught up with refills and orders, she stood leaning against the kitchen doorway, studying him.  He’s some kind of professional.  He’s always well-spoken, courteous and seems to appreciate company.  Yet there’s a quiet assurance about him that makes solitude a friend.  He’s comfortable with himself.  Yeah.  That’s it.  He’s okay with who he is.  He’s not a loner; he’s an individual among. . .  what?  Clones?  Parrots?  

Meg Brannon took care of herself.  Aging was a fact, but she didn’t think ‘old’.  She accepted the aches and wrinkles as the campaign ribbons of her life journey that they were.  She just never let them dictate terms or use them as excuses.  Few women half her age were able to keep up with her and fewer bothered trying.  Meg was an icon at Reggie’s.

As she welcomed another couple and seated them, she thought back on the few times she’d engaged him in conversation.  No, he is his own man.  He’s no pushover.  He’s sometimes here with his wife and one or the other of his adult son or daughters.  But he’s just as often here alone, only he never seems lonely.  Huh…

Anna had just clocked in and Meg stepped in the back, clocking out.  Musing, instead of turning left toward the door leading to the parking lot, Meg turned back into the warmth and great smells of the restaurant’s interior.  She was hoping he was—-

Still there.  Head down, either studying or thinking about something.  His face in repose seemed almost melancholy, a pensive sadness there as noticeable as it was odd.  This guy’s working through some serious stuff, here.  Maybe he doesn’t need—

His eyes were on her.  “Meg?”

“I don’t mean to bother you, Joe.  It is Joe, right?”

“It is.”

There.  There’s that smile.  “Meg, you’re no bother.  Do you have time to sit down and share some of this great coffee?” He stood and held her chair, helping her scoot closer to the table before being seated again.  Whoa.  Who does that any more?  An honest-to-John gentleman?  

Suddenly self-conscious, Meg was only too aware of her tired feet, wrinkled face and unruly hair.  She knew she smelled like the kitchen.  At least I remembered the mint.  I wouldn’t inflict buzzard breath on my worst—- 

She felt his gaze again, this time quizzical.  “You seem to have something on your mind.  I don’t know you at all, but I’ve been coming into Reggie’s for over a year, now.  And I’m a good listener.”

She sat for a few seconds.  “Yes, I think you would be.  Joe, I couldn’t help but notice that all the time you’ve been here today, you’ve been very serious, even sad about something.  I mean, you’re normally quiet and usually reading or writing while you eat and– here she chuckled–drink gallons of our coffee.  Today seems different.  Not trying to pry, here, but I’ve been known to do a mean listen, myself.”

“Yeah, I’ve watched you, Meg.  You’ve got a way with the folks who come in here.  You really seem to care about them all.”

Embarrassed, Meg huffed through her nose.  “Aw, g’wan.  So–what’s up?”

Wordlessly, he slid a pale pink envelope across the table that had a card sticking out.  She raised an eyebrow, looking at the card, then at him.  “Why, Joe–you shouldn’t have.”  They both knew she was trying to ease  the sudden tension.

“Please.  Read what’s inside.”  His face had become utterly still, an unfathomable depth in his eyes signaling a private door was being ever-so-slightly opened.  She’d never seen a man usually so self-assured so vulnerable.

Out of habit she flipped the envelope over.  No return address.  Just “To Joe” written in a feminine hand.  Meg paused again…  This is a big deal to him.  Why me?  He was so quiet, so still she unconsciously glanced up to be sure he hadn’t vaporized or been transported to Detroit.

Slowly turning the envelope back over, she slid the card out.  It was a generic-seeming Valentine’s Day card.  Opening it, she saw a folded piece of stationery.  Unfolding it, she saw the same handwriting  as she’d noticed on the envelope.

Joe, I should have written this a long time ago.  I knew you were serious about me back when.  Real serious. I was just so young and so—I don’t know.  I didn’t know what I wanted out of life, but I did know I wanted out of that little town.  I wanted to see the world, have fun, be my own person.  And I did.  I won’t bore you with messy facts.  

I read something you wrote one time, “We are all the sum of our own choices.”  That’s me.  The sum of a few lousy choices that seem to have overshadowed the good ones.  I didn’t know I cared so much about you until I saw where you’d written your first book.  I read it and suddenly realized how close  you’d come to leaving us.  

The words were small but neatly legible as if written by a strong, take-no-prisoners personality.  Meg read on:

It was a shock when I realized I didn’t want you to leave me.  Not ‘us’, but me.  Fast forward to Reality, huh? Like they say, Life is what happens while you’re making other plans.  It sure happened to me.  Anyway, Joe, just want you to know I think I messed up when I decided you were too boring, too nice, too–whatever.  I’m sending this anonymously because I know you have a great life, a good wife and family.  I’m not here to get in your way.  I just wanted to let you know I’m out here, I admire who you’ve become, and I miss the you I never had.

Love, Diane. 

As she slowly refolded the paper, Meg glanced at the right side of the card where people usually add last-minute remarks.  There it was again, this time in all caps:

I MISS THE YOU I NEVER HAD.

Meg quietly slid the card back in its envelope.  Tears were coursing down her lined cheeks and as she raised her brimming eyes she saw that Joe had quietly been crying as men do:  gritting his teeth,  looking down and doing his best to not show the keenness of emotion he surely felt.

Taking a sip of coffee, she made a face.  Cold coffee does not go with old friends. . .  She’d retrieved the coffee carafe, refilled it with hot coffee and brought it back to Joe’s table, refilling their cups before it caught up with her:  Joe and I aren’t old friends. . .  Her brow wrinkled as it hit her.

No.  Joe and I aren’t.  But he reminds me of Alan. . .

Blowing her nose rather undaintily into a napkin, she wadded it up and stuck it in the pocket of her scrubs.  It looked like Carl was munching on it.

“Joe, you gonna be okay, here?  I got somethin’ I gotta go do.” He nodded, a knowing expression on his face.

Off her feet, shoes and socks tossed aside, Meg opened the Valentine’s Day card she’d bought from Walgreens on the way home.  She’d even bought a stupid pink pen.  WHAT is WRONG with me?  

Concentrating and trying to remember what she’d read that so gripped her, she began to write.

Alan, I should have written this a long time ago. . .

As she wrote, trying to compress 40-some years of living into a few pink-tinged paragraphs, her tears flowed freely again.  She recalled something she’d recently read:  Remembering can be its own private hell. It had been in a lesson at church about that rich guy and Lazarus. . .

Meg was as honest as the phantom Diane had been.  When she finished, she signed off with the same stunning words:

I’m out here, I admire who you’ve become, and I miss the you I never had.

Love, Meg

As she folded the cut-down piece of stationery, she paused, looking at the right side of the card.  Picking up the pink pen once more, she struggled with the capital letters she’d never been able to write:

I REALLY DO MISS THE YOU I NEVER HAD.

Our world is so fractured in its assessment of what is love, especially in a time of contrived viruses and forgotten interpersonal relationships.  Far too often, good people go to their graves never knowing any resolution to a love spanning almost all their lives.

“Well, I don’t know how they’ll take it.”  

How would you receive such a compliment?

Take the chance to tell people who matter to you that you love them; that you care about them and are glad you have known them.  It may or may not make any difference now.  But it might just give them some closure to the sense of loss they felt at one time, and has left barely-healed emotional, even spiritual wounds.  

Years’ passage add experiences to everyone’s story none but their closest family and/or friends may know. It’s not our place to nose around, to poke and prod. True friends don’t need to do that. Yet it may be a paragraph of encouragement, of caring might be just the thing. It might sustain and encourage them as they face something now they’d never dreamed of then.  It might even begin a cycle of forgiveness sought and granted, and restore a friendship the likes of which far too many never know:  a treasured old one.

2nd Cup friend – may your Valentine’s Day of 2022 be memorable.  Use it to reach out and bless somebody else.  They’ll remember you for it.

Original story written in February, 2012

© D. Dean Boone, edited for February, 2022.

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2nd Cup of Coffee for 12/20/21: WHEN GOD’S HAD ENOUGH

It happened in Israel sometime before 561 B.C., but it could be happening here, reported on Newsmax or Epoch News at any moment.

The nation’s people had again turned their backs on God. They had all the historical reports of the early prophets and knew better. They didn’t want to do better. As always happens, their daily living habits had drifted, what personal convictions they had were conveniently left in the dresser drawer, and they declared themselves free to be and do whatever they wanted – all the while ignoring what of their conscience remained by indulging themselves in what passed socially for ‘worship’. It was hedonistic, sensual. But, hey, everybody was doing it . . .

Everyone was comfortable in their exterior religion. Except not everyone was.

Israel had a real prophet in those days. Being by himself, though, it was easy to sneer and ridicule him; to shrug off his strong preaching and teaching against their personal and national sin; and to wink at each other and settle back into their familiar, fun, feel-good worship.

“Who? Ol’ Elijah? Get real! All he does is condemn us and badmouth our prophets. Doesn’t have one good thing to say about us or them. Far as I’m concerned, that ought to be classified as hate speech! I mean, seriously, dude – does that sound like the God who loved us enough to give us our own nation? He’s the one who oughta be locked up!”

Sound familiar? The ones in political power had been busily corrupting all Israel’s personal and corporate life, ignoring the needs of the people while enriching themselves in every possible way. Right was now wrong. There were no longer boundaries of decency or moral guidance. Any worship of the true God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob was closely monitored to the point the First Lady had put a hit on Elijah because his preaching was revealing her own depraved lifestyle.

That’s the ticket, right? Don’t stop the corruption and vile, disgusting practices you know God’s clearly said He will not tolerate. Change the narrative. Make it woke, even classy to defy God and the Bible. Accuse and make life miserable for anyone claiming Jesus as Lord. If anything, accelerate the destruction. Criminalize Good. Praise Evil and make the compromise as permanent as possible before the people rise up under good leadership and restore their nation.

All ten of God’s original directions – okay, His commands – are casually broken from the highest offices in our land down to your neighbors; it’s looking like all bets are off, and in many ways we have a free-range “Church” in modern America.

If anything, accelerate the destruction. Criminalize Good. Praise Evil and make the compromise as permanent as possible before the people rise up under good leadership and restore their nation. And when God’s had enough and steps in? Bluster on through by blaming His people for being too straight-laced, too good, too ‘holy’.

Maintain the lying, even using God’s name and Word to twist, manipulate, and distort His Truth into proof-texted messages saying the exact opposite of what God inspired the Bible’s authors to write. Make plausible, great-sounding excuses but never clean up the act. Don’t for a minute admit wrong. Instead, go after those shining Light – or, in the case of Elijah and historic Israelites, calling down purifying fire – on the whole mess.

You’ll find the account of what happened back then in 1 Kings 18-19. Many accounts entitle it, Elijah on Mt. Carmel, or Elijah and the 450 Prophets of Baal. Though popular, there were eight hundred and fifty ‘prophets’ on the mountain that day. The popular god Baal’s prophets were officially responsible for what passed for Israel’s spiritual oversight.

Yet there were another 400 ‘spirit guides’ or religious luminaries representing Asherah, whom elitist scholars say was God’s wife and became the goddess of motherhood and fertility. The chief object of her worship? huge poles carved or fashioned like giant phallic symbols and sunk in the ground. The creation and sale of smaller local and home Asherah symbols was big business. And you thought adult gift stores were a recent thing . . .

My friends, the Internet and social media long ago lost its ability to blush. It takes little imagination to understand the nature of how Israelites ‘worshiped’ her.

Most of you know the account of what happened that day on Mt. Carmel:

“Then the fire of the Lord fell…” You’re getting that, right?

“Then the fire of the Lord fell.”

The 450 official Baal prophets/preachers/holy men tried to get away but didn’t make it. The fickle crowd was stunned by what just happened: used to the elaborate ‘prayers’ that were little more than entertaining theater, they’d just seen this crusty, rough-edged prophet of Jehovah God pray a short, powerful prayer He INSTANTLY answered right before their eyes! I imagine they were looking at each other and saying things like, “Hey–isn’t that the way the rabbi used to tell us Jehovah answered in the old days? Maybe, uh—” When Elijah whirled around and yelled, “Don’t you DARE let even one of those imposters get away!”, they obeyed and grabbed them all.

The other 400 Asherah types had somehow lost their appetite for a confrontation with the Living God and had managed to melt back through the crowd and disappear. I’m sure as the day wore on and the Ba’al clergy were bloody and sweaty from hours of screaming for their play god to answer, they decided to retire “to spend more time with their families”, or whatever other convenient excuse they gave. Whatever the case, when it looked like Ol’ Lije and God were going to be publicly humiliated and the busybody prophet killed, the Asherah purveyors were right out there in their finery, lookin’ good, smellin’ good, and struttin’ their stuff.

When it was time to face the music? They weren’t even man eno– woman eno– whatever enough to at least take the stand the Baal guys did. The minute things started going south, the Asherah types began quietly heading for the exits. When the false prophet roundup started, the Asherah brand was nowhere to be found.

Again, looking at current events, doesn’t this sound familiar? Use political influence and ill-gotten wealth to insulate oneself from notice and prosecution? Disappear, keep quiet, and hunker down when the hammer drops?

The point of all this? I’ve held up writing this for several days, waiting on God for direction, and His message seems stark: His fire is going to fall again.

As God’s men and women pray, God’s fire is going to fall again. By what means, or in what amount, or even when? I don’t know. I do know these two things.

If you are a contemporary of ancient Israel’s Asherahites? God will not be mocked. I pray there’s somewhere deep inside where you know that. No matter who you are or what your position, your time of influence is limited. If you retain a spiritual component to your daily life, it is immaterial how popular or socially acceptable it is. The measure by which you will be held accountable is the same one by which we all will be: God’s Word as revealed in the Person and earthly ministry of Jesus, the risen Christ.

If you are a man or woman of prayer, be bold and persistent – and keep praying. I don’t care how desperate the American situation seems, God is God, and He rules the entire created order through the risen Christ. When He knows the time is right, His cleansing, revealing, verifying, purifying, forever-altering fire will fall. God will always honor your prayers. God will always honor His Word.

“Oh, you Bible-thumpers all come off sounding so righteous! You forget we know a lot of you! We know your backgrounds, and you’ve got skeletons in your own closets! Where do you get off trying to—”

With respect, the verse reads that ALL have sinned and fall short of God’s desires for us. Yep – including ol’ Elijah. The thing that makes Christian men and women so passionate about praying for, praying over, our children, our extended family, our cities, states, and nation is because we know what it’s like to be lost and without God in this world.

Every one of us made the choice to confess our sin to God, receive His gift of forgiveness through Jesus’s death and Resurrection, and accept Jesus as our personal Savior. When that happens, God instantly removes the guilt of past living and establishes a personal relationship with Him. As the Bible puts it, we’re a new creation!

Sure, we all have a past. ALL. Being saved doesn’t mean we no longer face tough life experiences and heartache. It doesn’t mean we no longer think, do, or say the wrong things. It means when corrected by God’s Spirit, we do our best to make those things right, clean up our mess, and keep growing.

Oh, yeah, babe. We’re not saying we’re better than anyone else. As the Scripture says, each day has its own share of trouble; we’ve the scars of all sorts to prove it. I’m convinced they’re there to remind us how far God brings us from the lives we once led. Perfection? HERE? Hardly. It took Adam and Eve no time at all to put that accusation to rest. Yet none – no person who has made Jesus Lord of his or her life – has any business trying to use our lack of Earthly perfection as an excuse to not make the daily mission to live every moment for God, to honor His Word by our thoughts, words, and actions.

Well. This is a lot to consider. I don’t know who God will use as the Elijah of Now to help create the tipping point, and that doesn’t matter. What matters is that God is faithful to honor His Word, His Son, and His people. As a mentor of mine often said, we don’t break God’s law; we only break ourselves on it. That Law is found in the Bible.

Keep that in mind. Keep your devotional life fresh, and your personal relationship with God vibrant. Something is coming, and I’ve a sense it won’t be long.

© D. Dean Boone, December 2021

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Quiet Time Musings: 2nd Cup of Coffee for 12/14/21

Christ! No more, no less.”


“This mystery has been kept in the dark for a long time, but now it’s out in the open. God wanted everyone, not just Jews, to know this rich and glorious secret inside and out, regardless of their background, regardless of their religious standing. The mystery in a nutshell is just this: Christ is in you, so therefore you can look forward to sharing in God’s glory. It’s that simple. That is the substance of our Message. We preach *Christ*, warning people not to add to the Message. We teach in a spirit of profound common sense so that we can bring each person to maturity. To be mature is to be basic. Christ! No more, no less.” ~ Colossians 1:25-29, MSG


Anyone who’s ever been caught in a dust devil will understand: the swirling miasma of religious opinions *about* God, Jesus, and the Bible gets more murky and confusing with each new variant. The whirling mix only serves to confuse those honestly seeking God’s truth; and equally serves to solidify the objectives, and harden the attitudes and manipulative intent of those who are not.


As a kid growing up in McNary, Oregon, I lived right across from our townsite playground. I was over there as often as allowed; as soon as chow and chores were done, I was begging.


In addition to the tennis/basketball court and obligatory industrial-strength metal-bottom slides, swings, teeter-totters and weather-worn merry-go-round, there was plenty of vacant field area that became every historical military battlefield on Earth. I’ve no idea how often we re-won the West, but it seemed there was an endless supply of Comanches who never did prevail against our tumbleweed forts.


Well, until one of them got the bright idea of sneaking their dad’s lighter out . . . That day was, ah, invigorating . . .


There were few things that would distract us from fighting history’s battles or flying fighters and bombers. Watching Henry Shippentower sink baskets, seeing Ben Bearchum’s older sister Sophia walk past – or a dust devil heading our way. We’d drop whatever we were doing and sort of surround it, since we never knew exactly where it would go next, or how long it would last.


Dust devils – little mini-tornadoes – show up out of nowhere, skim along the ground seemingly in every direction at once, siphoning up dust and dirt, candy wrappers, and whatever else is light enough to be easily pulled into their vacuum. They spin and twist for awhile, this way and that, until they don’t. Then they just disappear, leaving those they’ve visited coated with all the junk they brought with them, and needing a bath or shower.


Paul wrote, “We teach in a spirit of profound common sense so that we can bring each person to maturity . . . . Christ! No more, no less.” That’s as plain and basic as it can be – unless your design is to kick up SO much of this or that belief or opinion that people are nothing so much as irritated, confused, and ultimately reject it all.


Yeah. Just like those McNary dust devils.


I’m suggesting, friend, you stick with God’s common sense as outlined in your Bible. It may not be flashy and you’ll catch grief from cultural *elites*, along with too many in The Church, whose main stock in trade is to pooh-pooh how you live and ridicule what you believe.


Let me encourage you: you don’t answer to them; you never will.

Stick with the Word’s ‘profound common sense’ and spiritual maturity. It’ll get you through when all the fun, ease, and popularity of cultural dust devil “religion” will eventually recede and disappear into nothing.

© d. dean boone, December 2021

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A Short 2nd Cup: MAKE IT LAST, LORD. 12/9/2021

The phrase from Psalm 90:17 put a hand on my arm and stopped me: “Establish the work of our hands . . .”

There’s always a reason for that, so I laid everything else aside, refilled my cup, and settled down to learn whatever God wanted me to grab onto.

“Establish the work of our hands…” What’s that in Dan-ese? I tried a few different ways of saying it until this shook out.

“Help us (me) be doing what’s going to go on doing good for others long after we’re (I’m) gone.” Okay. A-ight. I’ll say it to you like I said it to myself. In other words, separate “wheat” from “chaff” in your personal life; things that between you and God, you know work for you need to be nurtured. Things that only irritate and hold you back need to be left alone–no matter how pleasant they may seem at the moment nor how wonderful they may seem to others.

You’re not here primarily to please others; you’re here to please and honor God. You’re responsible for YOU and nobody else. What they want of you, what works for them doesn’t ultimately matter.

With God’s help and direction, pursue what works with and for YOU.

Run away from what doesn’t.

© D. Dean Boone, December 2021

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2nd Cup Lives Again! 11/21/2021

Good Sunday morning to you, my friends. This site, along with virtually everything else on the planet, has been violated, turned upside-down, and otherwise bothered and bewildered until my hosting entity, SiteGround, was forced to sideline it until we could ferret out the issues.

The great news is that this blogsite is back, and unless WordPress keeps acting up, I’ll plan to be back with you each Monday morning. I have MISSED being with you.

There is nothing more unstable nor frightful than a writer whose ability to connect with readers has been compromised.

Now, I need to focus on this morning’s worship set and participate in the experience with my great extended family in Christ at Wichita’s Woodland Lakes Community Church. Until then? I’ll be working on yet more articles, and more stories of Granger and friends that, perhaps, you’ll be able to wrap yourself up in. Getting lost in a story that speaks to you, even for a few minutes, is a good thing.

I may not always give you exactly what you’re looking for. I will always give you my best.

(c) D. Dean Boone, 11/21/21

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A 2020 Christmas 2nd Cup of Coffee: THERE’S THAT STAR AGAIN!

“Hey, check this out. Now they’re calling us Magi.” Balthazar looked amused.

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“Get outta town.” The others exaggerated a visual sweep of their tented camp situated among seemingly endless dunes of desert sand, then glanced over at Melchior. Artemis, their chief of security, chuckled politely. Unabashed, Mel said, “Well, yeah, point taken. But you know what I mean.”

Nodding, Bal sighed. “I know. That last bazaar where we replenished? They were spreading around we’re kings from, I don’t know, somewhere they’ve never heard of.” Shaking his head, he sipped some thick, rich chocolate-infused coffee one of Mel’s companies marketed he’d taken a liking to, then leaned back on the cushions.

He went on. “You’d think everyone with any intelligence would want to be learning, seeking, researching, applying, and adding to what they know. I mean, the gods have blessed me with the understanding of numbers and the ability to acquire gold and precious gems, to trade in oils and other goods, and guide others in doing the same. That gives me the time and freedom to do what we’re doing right now: to search known texts and seek to verify what they contain.”

Gaspar sat quietly listening. Each of the wise men joining this mission from the gods through ancient writings, studying the stars, and guidance of dreams were sensitive to spiritual leadings. Each, through different means, had done much the same. Yet of them all, they acknowledged Gaspar as the true old soul, the mystic among them, a man of solitude and thought. He was a writer of poems and mysteries, the philosopher-counselor of the team whose ear and spirit seemed most attuned to the frequencies of the heavens.

My Experience Glamping at a Morocco Desert Camp

Melchior was the most practical Type A business head of the group, building up his pharmacy into several adjoining city states. He got along best with Chun because of the former’s understanding of herbs and healing arts, a mutual business arrangement turning out to be a lucrative collaboration for them both.

Balthazar spaced out for a few seconds, watching the lamp flames and the fire guttering softly in the night breezes that always moved like desert wraiths among them as they gathered around a firepit following each day’s travel. “By the way, where’s Doc? He usually has his ear to the ground.”

Artemis perked up. “Oh, he turned in already. You know how it is with codgers; they—” From a nearby tent came a reedy, strangely-accented voice: “Have you not heard that one’s honorable ears are last thing to fall asleep? And this codger capable of pulling your nostrils inside-out and making macrame knot.”

Snickering, Bal glanced quickly up at Artemis, then around the circle. It seemed everyone’s eyes were studiously averted, except for Gaspar. He sat as quietly as ever, yet with a sardonic humor in his gaze. No one gathered around the central fire doubted Chun could do it. Easily the oldest of the wise men and the one having traveled the farthest in pursuit of the strange star, even Artemis knew the seemingly ageless, mostly kind, soft-spoken Oriental physician was a good man to leave alone.

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After a few seconds of that kind of silence, Bal cleared his throat after another sip of the private-reserve mocha. “So, how much farther d’you suppose is the place where this child-king was born? This is turning out to be quite the trip. I’m guesstimating at least another full moon or more.”

Gaspar: “I, too, estimate another month. According to the ancient scrolls of the Habiru, we are close.” Melchior nodded. “I’m figuring the same, though we might need to do a little sleuthing to find out exactly where he and his parents are right now.”

Gaspar’s eyes lifted and he gazed directly into the three other mens’ eyes in turn. “Herod?” Melchior silently agreed, and Artemis got a bleak look in his eyes. “Yeah, there was something hinky about that dude. While you guys were dining with ‘im at the front table, I slipped out to visit with some of Kingy’s troops . . .”

Mel raised his chin toward the veteran security man. “And?”

Herod and the Wise Men

“And they can’t stand ‘im. They say they can’t trust–here he made air quotes–“HAY-rod”, that he’s a pathological liar and we shouldn’t believe he’ll do anything other than what he thinks is best for him. He’s power-mad and has anyone killed who he thinks threatens his reign. Including his troops”

Melchior bobbed his head once. “I got the same vibes. You guys?” All in the circle agreed. “Okay, then – that star will have left the bazaar after we’ve delivered our gifts to the little King’s family.”

The men reclined quietly for a few seconds. The rusking of the desert wind across ageless sand, the tinkling of tiny bells on camel halters, the singing, weird whine of the wind across taut rope tie-downs, and the myriad small mutterings and groans of all the beasts as they slept, combined to produce a comforting background of dune music to which the travelers had all become accustomed.

Balchior roused himself. “Hey, Mel, you got any more of that whatchacallit chocolate coffee mixed up?”

“It’s Arabian Mocha Hanani. You bet. How about the rest of you?” As he poured out the savory drink into four of the hammered copper cups he’d brought along from one of his suppliers, Gaspar quietly rose and began serving his fellow travelers, holding the filigreed tray carefully so no one spilled. Sensing eyes on him, he scanned around him and found Artemis observing his actions.

As he bent and offered the hard-bitten veteran security chief his cup of the fragrant, hot coffee, he hesitated, his raised eyebrows asking the silent question. Embarrassed, Artemis gruffly said, “I oughta be serving you, Sir.”

Squatting and adjusting his beautiful robes, Gaspar addressed Artemis as his equal: “The gods have said that he who would be first among you must be your servant.” His statement seemed to ring in the night air. All the others in the circle stared at him.

Melchior quietly remarked, “I’m not real good at that. Where’d you hear that?” Bal agreed: “Yeah. That’s like, deep stuff. C’mon, give.”

Gaspar raised his eyes to look at the starry ceiling, then turned his head to focus on The Star that had led each of these men, first separately, then together, to embark on this journey that was already changing their lives.

He dropped his gaze back to look Artemis in the eye, then rose and returned to where his pillows were stacked. Once again reclining and carefully picking up his cup of Mel’s great brew, he scanned the others, then looked again up at the Star. “Funny you should ask. It was one evening as we were resting from the day’s travel. I was . . . exhausted and, I’m afraid, a bit surly with the camel drivers. I spoke loudly and harshly to them for what I perceived as them being lazy and inattentive.”

Was the Star of Bethlehem Actually Venus? | Live Science

Gaspar hesitated, and his voice thickened. “It seemed to me a voice of the gods resonated within me and caused me to look up at the Star. It looked to me as if that Star flickered in even greater brightness as I heard those words — ‘He who would be first among you must be your servant.”

Once again, this proud, wise, knowledgeable man on whose words and counsel so many others depended was quiet, and tears rolled silently as he again spoke. “I got up, walked back to where the camel drivers and tenders were watering their herd and starting to prepare their evening meal. Expecting to be chastened again, they stared as I removed my fine outer robes, laid them aside, and picked up a watering bucket to begin giving both them and their animals a drink.”

The guttering of the fire was all anyone nearby could have heard, for the rest of the stunned circle was silent. Finally, Bal couldn’t stand it any longer.
“What’d they say?”

“Nothing. Neither did I, for I was deeply embarrassed, yet purposed I would be the servant which the Star had directed me to become.” Here, Gaspar’s gaze took on the strange, penetrating gleam the others had by now learned to respect. “And, the gods helping me, I shall never again treat any fellow man as one beneath me, nor ever again take advantage of another’s kindness. That Star, my friends, has forever changed me.”

The group sat in empowered silence then, each considering the potent wisdom they’d just shared. They each were thinking of the hundreds of pounds of gifts they’d been carrying with them to offer to the little King and his parents . . .

Balthazar, the Arabian money guy, brought to them gold and precious gems, understanding this young displaced family would need funds to live on until Joseph could return to Nazareth Furniture, Inc. and begin working full time again . . .

Gaspar, the Indian mystic and spiritual guru, brought to them many pounds of his own collected private blend of powdered spices he labeled ‘incense’, which he burned daily in the morning stillness as he sought the wisdom and truth of the gods . . .

Melchior, the Persian businessman, a rich pharmacist brought to them a precious mix of topical ingredients marketed as ‘Myrrh’. Also fragrant, its primary use was to treat wounds, delay sepsis, and as an ointment to prepare the deceased for burial. Considered by some as the merthiolate of its day, it was perhaps the most needful of all the gifts for a young boy growing up around his father’s tools. Oh, yeah, Mary was going to need Mel’s first-aid kit. And Joe, who’d hired on at Bethlehem Furniture? Yep.

And Chun, the mysterious Oriental doctor who knew how to mix all the others’ gifts in the correct proportions and patiently teach young Mary how to do likewise.

The Star of Bethlehem can be seen in the sky after 800 years

It was as if they all knew the Star was guiding them toward a future none of them would ever see, but which would be forever altered because each of them dared to step out of their familiar lives and embark on a journey for all Time and Eternity.

© D. Dean Boone, December 2020

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Q(uiet) T(ime) M(usings)s for 9/21/2020: I THINK YOU THINK YOU KNOW WHAT YOU THOUGHT I SAID…

“I don’t think the way you think. The way you work isn’t the way I work.” God’s Decree. “For as the sky soars high above earth, so the way I work surpasses the way you work, and the way I think is beyond the way you think. Just as rain and snow descend from the skies and don’t go back until they’ve watered the earth, doing their work of making things grow and blossom, producing seed for farmers and food for the hungry, so will the words that come out of My mouth not come back empty-handed. They’ll do the work I sent them to do, they’ll complete the assignment I gave them. (Isaiah 55:8-11, MSG)

I sat here, brow furrowed, right eyebrow cocked slightly above the left, hesitating. At 67, I’m learning still to pause when God speaks, making sure I’m listening with the right ears. It’s possible to be hearing spirit words with fleshly ears, assigning human meaning to divine intent.

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In the ’70s, almost everyone had CB radios, and it was fun to listen to all the interesting citizen band invites to talk: “How ’bout that one Boogie Fever Man – are ya by? ‘Aye-mmm-Bravo-Foxtrot-Mike, come on back to the Retread King.”

God’s had His own call for millenia: “Let anyone who has ears to hear listen.”

So, yeah. I paused. I sipped some piping-hot, fresh-ground organic Guatemala joe. I munched on a sugary, gooey bite of BC’s monkey bread. I wanted to have the right ears on. I sipped and munched a little more, then went back and reread that Isaiah bit. “Okay, God. Where are you going with this first thing this Monday morning?” It didn’t take long.

It’s possible to be hearing spirit words with fleshly ears, assigning human meaning to divine intent.

I got directed to Paul’s counsel about our flesh interacting with God’s Otherness . . .

“Although we live in the flesh, we do not wage war according to the flesh, since the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but are powerful through God for the demolition of strongholds. We demolish arguments and every proud thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God, and we take every thought captive to obey Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5, CST)

I sat pondering again. Part of my daily morning ritual is to use waking- and cleaning-up time along with light exercise and workouts to pray my way around my family. My remaining elder siblings are not close to Kansas, so the easiest way to love them is to assign them and their loved ones to God’s care and protection.

Then I add my own family – BC, our kids, grandkids, and great-grands, along with their loved ones. And next come close friends whom God often puts on my heart. The result is a sizeable group of folks into whose lives and experiences it’s my privilege and mission to direct God’s grace, supply, and oversight.

2020 The Year is proving to be the weirdest of most of our lifetimes. Much of what’s been happening physically, spiritually, psychologically, even illegally, is unlike anything in so many of our experiences thus far.

We’ve all paced, ground teeth, shaken heads, and thrown hands up in disgust and unbelief at what’s been happening. More than one of us – maybe all – have said something like, “God, WHAT is going ON? Why aren’t You DOING something about this mess? Surely YOU can see what’s going on, and what to do about it!”

Of course He does. Isaiah the wizened old Hebrew prophet said it. Scroll up and read it again. “I don’t think the way you think. The way you work isn’t the way I work.”

Yeah, okay, but—-

~ Sovereign and Providential God knows exactly what He’s ...

When the Holy Spirit gives you that LOOK, you feel it. So God’s not only saying, “Listen up.” He’s also penetrating your whirling thoughts, opinions, and righteous pronouncements, bringing it all to a burnt-rubber-stinky halt by saying, “You FEEL Me?”

Friend, the real battles aren’t being waged on physical war grounds. They’re spiritual battles. If you once were allowed to set eyes on the true spiritual wars being waged above and surrounding all the lying, deceitful, crazed, sick, killing, destructive stuff being done in our nation and world, you’d be bleach-white and terrified!

It’s why Paul reminds us: we’re not to be pulled into the mindless grinder of souls Hell wants us to believe is too strong for us to resist. Go check in Ephesians 6 what each of us as Christians have as our load-out of weaponry that doesn’t just repel the forces of wrong and Evil arrayed against God, His church, and His people: they’re designed specifically to DEMOLISH any weapon Hell raises against you – including every one of their high-sounding arguments, along with every proud thing and person who tirelessly raises them.

Nope. It won’t happen as you and I think it should. Won’t happen anywhere near as soon, either. We’re all going to have to remember God doesn’t operate according to Time; He always acts according to what I call His perfect Now. We all are just going to have to accept that part.

In the meantime, you keep those daily prayers for YOUR loved ones and others close to you going out to where God is. Yes, He’s paying attention; He’s keeping perfect records of all of it, and as He knows it’s the right time to act, you can trust Him to make it all happen exactly as it should.

Remember: with God, there’s NO such thing as impossible.

God’s got this.

© D. Dean Boone, September 2020

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2nd Cup of Coffee, 7/27/2020: HAVING DONE ALL, TO STAND…

I saw it in passing, like road signs that are already past before it registers what you just read. Uncharacteristically nimble, my mind yanked up on the emergency brake. I stopped and reread the phrase.

“Ephesians 6 streaking”.

Nope. I had not misread it. I sat quietly for ten or fifteen seconds, the burnt-rubber odor of the sudden mental stop wafting through the intersection of my thoughts.

I know Ephesians 6 is about practical Christian living. I also know it’s about living in a world not just alien to Biblical Christianity, but actively opposed to it.

I’m a veteran. I’ve trained with weapons, became skilled in their use, and was in qualification at one time to earn an expert rating. The concept of streaking in connection with warfare was as dissonant as trying to teach love to a colony of fire ants.

This called for coffee. As I sat and sipped, the Bible’s ultimate Author began drawing me pictures.

“It reads, ‘Put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” (I’ve never gotten in too much trouble by being quiet; I did that.)

God: “You got the streaking part, right? And I know you’ve been wondering at the sanity of all the ‘peaceful demonstrators’ in Portland, half naked, handling things that either slash, crush, explode, stab, or incinerate.” (I nodded. If the quiet thing worked before, why mess with success?)

Right about here is where the little bell went ‘ding’. Ephesians 6 is not a Christian boutique where you pick and choose which items you think will complement your style or color scheme of the day. “Oh, naw, that whole trauma plate thing just doesn’t do it for me, but get a load of those sandals!

‘Full armor’ means business. It means you’re outfitted for all-out war, and leaving ANY piece of that equipment behind, no matter the reason, could mean your death, as well as someone else’s whose life and witness you could have saved.

Along about verse 17, The Message adds: “God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.”

By now you’re with me. Sometimes the battle calls for aggressive, in-your-face attacks. Other times, the command comes down to hold your position at all costs. Right. As in, “having done ALL, to stand.”

This image caught my eye earlier this morning. Last Thursday I underwent an invasive procedure to remove a few inches of my colon, which was home to a thus-far benign lesion. Considering my medical history and God’s miraculous intervention in my life, it was no big deal; I’m up and around again, with little adverse effects beyond the normal fatigue from general anesthetic.

I’m not whiny, puny, nor lazy. If the weather cooperates, after I’ve rested some today, I’ll do a light workout with weights later today or tomorrow. I believe in keeping myself in the best shape I can, being a good steward of the health and life remaining to me.

This image resembles my mental, spiritual, and physical philosophy as no other I’ve seen. I’ll leave it to you to discern how and why.

I’m wrapping up this post with a few strong words of encouragement.

  • Matthew 16:27 and Hebrews 11:6 say our rewards come later, because of our firm faith in God and His ability to work in and through us.
  • What makes you unique is what puts you ahead of the game.
  • When you upgrade your mindset, people closest to you will either elevate along with you, or disappear. Let them choose which. Your mission is to follow where God is leading you.
  • Hard days and nights don’t just count — they count double! It’s the struggle that makes you stronger and tougher and better. Make it count — for His Kingdom.

© D. Dean Boone, July 2020

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Granger: 2nd Cup Saturday, 4/11/2020: THE VETERAN OF 1,003 MELODIES

The man’s steps slowed, and he hesitated at the unknown road leading off to the right.

Silver-haired and of normal build, he wore casual, comfortable, neutral-colored clothes, for  he usually walked as weather and schedule permitted.  He stood for a moment, eyeing the safe, regular, normal route leading straight ahead.

That was his usual route.

Musing, he sipped steaming coffee from the travel mug he always filled before leaving his house.  Thoughtfully interested in this lane he’d never before noticed, he chose adventure and discovery over normalcy.

Wonder where this goes?  I never noti–I mean, how many times have I walked this road?  Might as well check it out.  Might be interesting.

Unbidden and subvocally the whisper of Grace said deep within him, “You have no idea . . .”  He heard nothing.  His subconscious did.  His eyebrows briefly met as he hesitated just for a few seconds, slanting  his eyes leftward at the road he regularly walked.  Shrugging off the strange feeling that washed over him, his left hand lightly brushed the Benchmade folding knife he never went anywhere without as he turned to his right and started along the unknown road.

On the breeze, he thought he heard, faintly, ‘Blessed Assurance’ being played on a piano. “M-kay, that’s weird.” Shrugging, he stepped off to the right.

As he walked, jumbled thought-fragments and memory-Post-Its piled haphazardly in Granger’s mind like a miscellaneous load of laundry waiting to come out of the dryer.

The whisking of weeds and the occasional small tree branch against his faded, broken-in cargo pants reminded him of boyhood explorations. 

Flickriver: Photoset 'Western grasshoppers outtakes (good ...

His muscles tensed as a wheat-colored grasshopper approximately big enough for a collar broke cover from the grass and weeds growing between the twin dirt tracks.  The bright yellow of its wings reminded him of the big, black, red-winged ones he remembered from childhood – the ones that sounded too much like an irate rattlesnake for comfort.

As he strolled along the dusty road, his mind paralleled its gentle winding contours.  His thoughts alternately ambled and gamboled like a curious pup, some–There’s that piano music again . . . “Lookin’ for fun, and feelin’ groo-vy”– specifically pointed and others softly shaded, just as the budding trees dappled his form with sunlight and shadows while he casually watched and walked.

The sight of a half-fallen, rusted barbed-wire fence reminded him of the weathered, broken sections of fence he and his father had taken down, saving the staples in an old Folgers coffee can, and cutting up the greyed, splintered posts for firewood . . .  “When It’s Spri—ngtime In— The Rockies”

Old Train Tracks by landajc on DeviantArt

He glimpsed the remnants of an old railroad track, weed-overgrown and rust-dulled, which brought memories of the girl for whom he’d registered his heart in Heaven as they one day walked together along the tracks on the way to school . . .  “You ask me if there’ll come a time I won’t require you–“

An ancient, cracked bit of pavement staggered off to a diagonal left, generating fond memories of him and his boyhood pals riding their bikes to new adventures wherever unexplored roads led them . . .

The William Tell Overture? Someone is playing a piano out here somewhere.  Shaking his head, he walked on.

A huge old weeping willow tree caused a wide grin of recollection as he remembered him and his chums playing for hours in just such a tree (or B-17 bomber or USS Nautilus or Fort Apache or–) in one of their yards . . . There it is again.  Seriously? That’s . . . that’s the theme from “12-O’Clock High”!

He saw off in the distance through the trees what looked to be a rambling old barn, weathered and warped, board-bare and leaning to the left.  A long-seeing stare settled in his face as he recalled the equally-weathered, massive old wooden church camp tabernacle where he’d driven down some spiritual surveyor’s stakes as he and God came to terms – and where he’d met his lifelong companion.  

Speaking of campmeeting, there’s that piano again. That’s–that’s “TOTAL PRAISE!” That hadn’t even been written back then! I’m sure I heard it, but there’s nothing, no one out here. Granger remembered as a teenager, sitting and plunking on that old, rough upright grand piano that seemed to have grown into the wooden platform . . .

He was so pleasantly rapt in the richness, the reliving color and vibrancy of his memories that he didn’t at first notice the dual symmetry and wide opening of the overgrown gate.  Eyebrows arched, he gave his head a quick shake and stood for a minute, looking at the brickwork.  Someone who was very good at it laid these bricks. 

“They sure did.”  It took a split second for him to realize he’d answered himself and spoken out loud, which made him chuff softly through his nose.  Those who spend long hours in solitude often find themselves speaking inner thoughts aloud.  He grinned at the idea of him vocally agreeing with his usual quiet self. 

His eyes swept the inlaid metal embellishments, hinges, and imposing gates, equally overgrown with weeds and vines, yawning open.  Their weathered gray-green patina and vacant openness was an eloquent shrug.  “Come in if you wish.”

He grinned again at his immediate response when he looked up beyond the gate and saw the old house.  “Oh, I wish!”   —And a little clearer now, he heard “Come On In, There’s Still Room In The Family” by Gold City.  He thought again, Okay, somebody can really play the piano! Where in the world there’d be one out here, though . . .

He walked slowly along a winding lane. His steps automatically faltered as he took in what was once a lovely two-plus-storied home with an imposing tower on its right side, emerging from the shrubs and decorative trees that had shielded it from view. 

OldHouses.com - 1893 Victorian - James W. Coleman House in ...

Granger’s imagination began to unconsciously list scenarios, poignant vignettes of who once lived there, what they were like, what they did.  In his high school days, he’d taken architectural drafting, so he admired the lines, the enriching detail that spoke of a loving, exacting hand.

The colors of sidings, shingles, and beautifully-mitered and trimmed window frames had faded across time into a gentle soft-edged camouflage that shifted as he walked closer. This was one gorgeous house in its day. Once again, the subvocal words of Grace quietly purred: “I was more than a beautiful house; I was home to some truly amazing people.”

Granger stood still, listening with spirit ears. There were no further words, no sound at all — except for what sounded like a little child playing Chopsticks on a piano. Yet how can that be?  Then there was nothing more, yet the silence was comfortable, companionable – as if the stillness was a lovingly-woven welcome mat.

Stepping carefully up the four risers to an expansive veranda, he probed cautiously for loose or rotten boards, dodging around a hole and ducking the magnificent web of a beautifully-made-up garden spider.  Admiring her, he said, “Enjoy your breakfast, old girl.  You’ve worked hard and earned the meal.”

Granger stood at the threshold, looking through the door into the dust-carpeted entryway.  Other than the slender legs of a broken chair over in a corner, and wind-swept leaves and assorted plant life, the rooms he could see from the doorway were bare.  Glancing to his left, he admired the beautifully-faceted glass panes of the sagging door. He stepped inside, once again sensing a thrill, an unsettled yet warm feeling.  Old buildings have stories . . .

Standing quietly just inside the wide, carved front door, Granger let his mind and spirit do a scan, sweeping slowly through what was once such a  lovely home. By habit, he silently thought, “Lord, what joys and laughter lived here? What enriching relationships happened in these rooms? Who were the amazing men and women who made this stunning building their home?”

Curious, he walked quietly on into what must have been a welcoming room, for an even larger room opened off to the left, beneath one side of a sweeping staircase. To the right, a doorway led to what must have been for it’s day a gourmet kitchen. He started to step inside when he heard Claire de Lune being softly played on a piano.

I knew I heard a piano!  But how— Where?  I’ve never seen this place before, never knew it existed, and it’s obvious nobody’s lived here for—well, ever.

Backing out of the kitchen, he stepped across into what he figured was once the formal living room. His eyes swept the room, seeing large multi-paned casement windows, mostly unbroken, that flooded the huge room with light. Again, Granger mused at the social events that once made this place ring with laughter and excited talk and—

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 2nd-Cup-Veteran-of-1003-Melodies-e1553952515221.jpg

There it was.  Toward the back of the immense room, standing alone, was a exquisitely carved old grand piano. It was hard to tell what its original color was under all the accumulated dust and debris, but it seemed to have been a rich chocolate color. Dust, dirt, and assorted wind-borne stuff covered the keys. There was no bench.

Granger stood reverently.  He remembered every time in his life when God seamlessly wove Time and Timelessness into an unforgettable encounter, either by himself, or through him to someone else. Every time one of those strange melds happened, he felt his faith surge. He felt his will to live on as God’s man more empowered.

There hasn’t been any water or electricity to this place for at least, I don’t know, forty years? Fifty? A hundred? And there’s nothing else out here that could explain the piano music I heard on my way here. As unlikely – okay, impossible – as it seems, the music I heard, both sacred and secular, came from . . . 

Granger looked around to his left, refocusing his eyes on the dirty, scuffed, dinged old piano.

. . . That.

Turning to check the rest of the old house, he glanced at his watch. He’d spent almost four hours immersing himself in what he was sure was a piece of history; it was past time for him to be getting back to his office.

Outside again, he turned once he was out in the lane far enough, took his phone out, and got a couple of pictures of the house. He figured he could get pics of the interior – and especially the piano – when he came back. And, oh yes, he was definitely coming back.

Once seated in his chair, Granger decided to ask Sparks, his cop friend, about the property where the old house stood. Firing up his laptop, he pulled up his phone’s picture gallery to transfer the two pictures of the house onto his compu—

Okay, that’s odd. Where are those two pictures? Weird. 

He called Sparks and asked him about the property. The deputy was silent for a few seconds, then asked, “Property? That’s county land as far as I know. And I’ve never heard of the road you’re talking about. Tell ya what, I’m just getting off shift, so why don’t I swing by and pick you up, and you can show me where you were.”

Sparks drove them out to where Granger usually walked, and they stopped and got out.  Granger said, “See, right over there is that road I—”  Baffled, he cast his eyes all around, seeing nothing but weeds and rotten fenceposts. 

Sparks stood watching. He’d been with Granger a time or two when things nobody could rationally explain had happened; he knew better than to rib his older friend. The deputy understood: Granger had some very close, unusual ties with God – and when things like this happened, there was always a reason, even when the explanation was delayed.

On the way back to Granger’s office, Sparks respected his mentor’s silence as he processed the day’s events. Pulling his patrol Charger up in front of Granger’s building, he sat and waited. Granger soon looked up.

“People of every era believe theirs to be both the best and worst. In both ways, they’re right. What distinguishes them during their own lifetimes is which outlook occupies most of their thoughts.  Those who see nothing but life’s worst only build temporary things, hold temporary jobs, leave nothing of value in their wake, and generally die unhappy.”

He waited to see if Sparks was following, then continued.

“It’s the others who build houses like the one I saw, who live and love and laugh in those amazing rooms I was admiring – and who make majestic instruments like that stunning grand piano. They always leave things that outlive them, and their lives while here are full of music, of creativity, and packed with blessings – because they choose to look for those values.”

Sparks sat there, absorbing Granger’s analysis.  “Okay. That’s some heavy stuff, there, pardner. But how do you explain all the piano music you heard?”

Granger looked into his friend’s eyes, then his expanded into Middle Space as he half smiled, slowly shook his head, and answered,” I haven’t a clue. Some things God holds close to His chest.”

Long after Granger went inside and closed the door, the young deputy sheriff sat there thinking. After ten minutes had passed, he was no closer to figuring it out than before. Still quiet, he shifted his ride into “D” and headed into what was turning out to be one of the most lovely sunsets he’d ever noticed.

© D. Dean Boone, April 2020

 

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A 2nd Cup for Valentines Day ’20: THE FIRST TIME I HELD HER HEART

My Valentine and I have been holding hearts for over 45 years, and we’ve managed it in the same way any of us walk with Jesus: by grace and through faith.

It has been neither simple nor easy. We’ve literally known each other all our lives, so we sort of knew what we were getting.

She’s the one whose sentences I can usually finish . . .

She often as not mirrors my thoughts . . .

We could likely keep a doctor’s appointment for each other . . .

AND—

We’re able to enjoy our separate pastimes, either in the same room or in the same house, without bugging the other.

Exactly alike? Nope. In some ways, we’re complete opposites.

She’s numbers — rational, logical, blunt, undemonstrative, and explosive.

I’m words — creative, thoughtful, intuitive, diplomatic, passionate, and smoldering.

Babycakes is an instinctive, terrific cook; I survive. She’s Math and facts; I’m creativity and ideas. She’s into love stories; I prefer history, war, crime drama, or action movies. She stays inside, despising housework; I do all the outside work, loving the fresh air, greenery, and plants.

We have two different offices for a reason. Mine is zen shades of green, including mood lighting, with aircraft pictures on the wall and coffeemaker and several roasts of whole bean coffee bagged up on a shelf.

Hers is in shades of lavender and light grape, with accounting books and office stuff. We respect the other’s privacy, always waiting and knocking, even if the door is open. Well, except for Ray. If our doors are even the slightest crack open, he lowers his head, does the linebacker’s deal, and invites himself in.

We’ve managed to keep holding hearts for all these years because we hold a mutual respect toward each other; we are true friends beyond all else. Sharing a fierce love that bears the scars of long decades of assaults that would have lacerated most marriages, we choose to recognize our differences, and celebrate them.

Perfect couple? Not hardly. I’m an Intuitive introvert, and she’s NOT. We have spirited discussions about our opinions, yet we’ve both learned – again, by grace and through faith – to make time to understand the other’s point of view. It enables us to realize and even come to appreciate our separate likes and dislikes.

So, yeah–I’ve been holding hearts with Babycakes for a whole lot of years. During that time, we’ve both kept learning to ask that time-honored 4th grade question: “Will you still be my Valentine?”

And every time I think of where we’ve been, the lyric plays again in my mind . . .

On my own I’m only
Half of what I could be
I can’t do without you
We are stitched together
And what love has tethered
I pray we never undo

‘Cause God gave me you for the ups and downs
God gave me you for the days of doubt
And for when I think I lost my way
There are no words here left to say,
It’s true
God gave me you, gave me you
He gave me you

~~~from album Red River Blue, written by Dave Barnes, sung by Blake Shelton

lyrics separate copyright

© D. Dean Boone, 14 February 2020

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2nd Cup of Coffee, 1/29/2020: WHAT’S THE STORY ON LOVE?

Coffee - Valentines2

I originally came across this great little story in August of 2007.  Approaching Valentines Day, it seems to me with the national psyche and popular culture at its current state, it’s time to revisit the subject. I want to share it and some time-modified comments with you as Valentine’s Day 2020 approaches.  Please–read on. . .

Once upon a time, there was an island where all the feelings lived:  Happiness, Sadness, Knowledge, and all of the others–including Love.  One day it was announced to the feelings that the island would sink, so all repaired their boats and left.

Love wanted to persevere until the last possible moment. When the island was almost sinking, Love decided to ask for help. Richness was passing by Love in History Supreme, the most expensive yacht on Earth.  Love said, “Richness, can you take me with you?”  Richness answered, “Oh, no, I’m sorry, but I can’t. I’ve got a bunch of silver and gold and goodies aboard, and… well, I know you understand. I just don’t have any room for you.”

Love decided to ask Vanity who was also passing by in Earth’s biggest yacht, Azzam “Vanity, may I ride with you?”

“I can’t help you, Love. You are all wet, and this IS a Leoni interior.”  Vanity answered.

Sadness was close by so Love asked for help: Sadness, I know you’ll let me go with you, right?”

“Oh, dear…. Love, I—You’ve been there so often for me; but right now, I’m so sad that I just really need to be by myself!”

boat miami

Happiness passed by too on a party yacht, but she was so giddy and preoccupied with the party, and the music was so loud that she didn’t even hear when Love called her.

Suddenly, there was a calm voice:  “Come, Love, I will take you.” It was an elder.  Love felt so blessed and overjoyed that he forgot to ask the elder his name. The craft in which they rode together was plain and nondescript among the opulence of all whom Love had always thought were his friends, yet it was strongly built and had seen much good use. When they arrived at dry land, the elder quietly went his own way.

Love realized how much he owed the elder and asked another elder, Knowledge, who was unloading belongings and supplies:  “Who was that who helped me?”

Slavery GIF - Find on GIFER

“That was Time,” Knowledge answered. Time? asked Love“But why did Time help me when no one else would?” Knowledge stopped working, straightened, smiled, and with deep wisdom answered, “Because only Time is capable of understanding how great Love is.”

___________

You’ve read it before: Unless they know you real well, people will forget a lot of what you say; and people will forget most of what you do—but people won’t forget how you made them feel. And therein lies the magic of this 2nd Cup I originally shared in February of 2007.

Thirteen years have passed since then . . . Thirteen.

Love takes time to mature.  Think of Knowledge’s potent words:  “. . . only Time is capable of understanding how great Love is.”  If over the passage of years what you feel towards another has shifted from Gotta-Be-Around-Em-24/7 to Hide-Me-It’s-Him/Her-Again, that might not be Love, love.  It’s entirely possible that’s just gas. 

Around 7 minutes is the average time between TV commercials, even the ones about love and marriage. We know 7 minutes does not a marriage make; and 7 years is just getting started. 

You may have grown up believing it normal to dissolve any non-thriving relationship.  Guess what?  All relationships occasionally hit a patch of maintenance and coasting.  It’s normal to the ebb and flow of any human interaction.  Nevertheless, quitting isn’t the norm.  Perseverance is. 

Love takes time to mature.  If over the passage of years what you feel towards another has shifted from mild appreciation to a dawning awareness that to lose personal contact with that person would carve a huge hole in your heart–well, now that there’s LUV, love.  It’s the real deal,  on-purpose, Time-proven; the stuff of great friendships and terrific marriages.

“. . . only Time is capable of understanding how great Love is.”

put love in your work [gif] by henrique barone | Dribbble ...

I wonder how long it took Love, standing there with eyes unfocused, to understand what a huge compliment the brilliantly-influential Time had paid him?  Do you understand?  Given the choice to be Love or Time, most would choose Love.  What’s not to love about Love?  Everybody loves to be loved.  “How sweet it is to be loved by you…  “I need your love— I need your love— God speed your love to me.”  Less by far are those who choose over time to create Lovers in their wake. . . 

That’s what Time was doing.

Time isn’t an elder by virtue of age.  Time’s an elder because he has established his own niche:  Time is a creator of champion lovers.  Wherever Time goes and whatever else may be his task, he is forever and always alert, watching for those into whose lives he can pour some of himself and his own ever-widening dimensions of love for others.

And Time’s focus is precise.  His intent is to create an extension of himself within the hearts of any who will pay attention to who and what he is .

How often do you need to hear someone tell you they believe in you before you begin believing in yourself again?  There is no easy answer, for some never do believe in themselves to the point they climb above where they’ve been and begin moving toward personal and spiritual excellence.

And how often do you need to hear “I love you” before you start loving yourself again?  Once more, not an easy thing.  Some never do escape their own loveless gravity and allow the love of someone else in until they can shock their own into beating again.

No guarantees accrue.  You are the sum of your own choices.  It can be disarmingly easy to bury landmines, calibrate laser tripwires, install infrared sensors and keep everyone at attitude’s-length.  It is possible to live an entire lifetime convinced that your perpetual loneliness and surface-deep friendships comprise the way you always intended to live.  It also will eventually push away the very ones that Time will reveal were your best allies.

Time is a creator of champion lovers.  Time softens locked jaws and impacted notions.  Time reveals that things are rarely what they seem.  Like a laser, it will soon sear straight through nonsense and popular opinion.  Time is a creator of champion lovers, because “only Time is capable of understanding how great Love is.” 

If you’re like me, this will take awhile to soak down into the richness of the kind of Love for ourselves and for others that far too many have given up ever experiencing again. 

Seek Wisdom as you let that happen.  Loving people who are not always lovely is no simple task.  It can be overdone or underdone, and often both.  Sometimes your best won’t work and your worst will,  and only Time and prayer will ever make a difference. 

The DAWSON’S CREEK Rewatch Project: A Beautiful Goodbye ...

And sometimes people choose to walk away from God, and your best isn’t enough, and “Good-bye” is forever.  That doesn’t mean loving others doesn’t work.  Sometimes the most loving thing you’ll ever do is to watch them go and never call them back.

I encourage you to love anyway.  Become a creator of champion lovers–men and women who dare to run counter to the vapid, lip-deep, politically-advantageous and cynical “love” tossed around by the world and way too much of the Church.

How?  Ask God to help you love others more like He does. 

I did that. I asked Him to help me with that.  Oh, boy. . . 

To do that, He began revealing things about others to me, little by little, which made me at times back away–and every time He gently said, “Remember?  You want to love others more like I do.  I remind you:  I know EVERYTHING about you and I love you with everything there is in Me.”  Well, there is that.  God brought to mind this verse:

  Oh, how can I give you up …?  How can I let you go?  How can I destroy you … My heart is torn within me, and my compassion overflows… for I am God and not a mere mortal.

(Hosea 11:8-9 NLT)

Valentine’s Day, huh?  I’d rather love those who love me back.  I, like most people, heartily dislike rejection.  It is way too easy to mentally write off those who cut-and-slash.  But if I am serious about loving like God does, I can’t do that.  Neither can you.

Valentines Day Messages For Friends

So, I challenge you–work to become a creator of champion lovers by being one yourself, patterned after the greatest Lover of all eternity.  And while there’s Time?  Well. . .

“Only Time is capable of understanding how great Love is.”

© D. Dean Boone, 1/29/2020

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A Sunday 2nd Cup for 1/26/2020: THE WONDERFUL LAND OF WILLBE

What you’re experiencing right now is the residual effect of your past thinking. Memories, past events, old relationships, and especially your own thoughts regarding them all? They’re influencing where you are right here, right now, today.

It’s not the things. It’s your thoughts about them that are driving you.

Or holding you back.

What determines who and what you become is the difference between your hopes and your fears. Everything in your life revolves around whether you focus on what you want and like, or what you don’t want and don’t like.

You’ve encountered hardships and rotten treatment in life. You’ve been used and taken advantage of. Had your heart broken and figured you needed your head examined.

Big deal. So has everyone else. You can focus on all that, wanting to be exonerated and setting everything right.

Or you can shrug it off and let it all go, and focus instead on what you really want throughout the remainder of this life.

It’s your choice. Yet you must choose; you cannot do both. As I once read, retribution and self-fulfillment are rarely served on the same plate.

© from my 2nd Cup files ~ D. Dean Boone, January 2020

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2nd Cup of Coffee, 1/24/2020: THE ME I NEED TO BE TODAY

Recurring things get my attention.

I often have Pandora’s ‘Relaxation Radio’ playing softly in the background while working here at my desk. One piece I always enjoy is a smooth, thoughtful accoustic guitar styling of ‘Let It Be Me’. At some point I must’ve hit the ‘thumbs-up’ icon, because it’s a rare week I don’t hear it at least once.

Half-listening to it yesterday, some new thoughts began emerging. “I bless the day I found You, I want to stay around You . . .” The other half of my brain kicked in about then, remembering “I Miss My Time With You” . . . “I need to be with you each day, and it hurts Me when you say you’re too busy–busy tryin’ to serve Me! But how can you serve Me, when your spirit’s empty? There’s a longing in My heart, wanting just to be a part of you, it’s true—– I miss My time with you.”

Needless to say, I got a little quiet for a minute or two.

“Lord, if there’s someone You can use to lift and encourage another today?

Let it be me.

Let me be that one . . .

—who cares when others don’t or won’t.

—who prays, then in a few days follows up on it.

—who remains a loyal friend, no matter what.

—who cheers and encourages.

—who looks for the praiseworthy in others.

—who dares to love fiercely.

—who is passionate even while being patient.

—who always wants God’s best for you.

I could keep adding to the list, but you get the point. In a culture fractured by self-interest and ambivalent toward anyone else, God still issues the challenge, “Who will go for our side? Whom do I send?”

I don’t – won’t – speak for you. I do believe our crazed American social scene will most effectively be healed in one way: you and I being God’s best kids, impacting others one by one in ways that lift them and please Him.

Saying that, I make no case for laying yourself open to hurt, abuse, and being used by those who’ve made a lifestyle – even built careers – out of squeezing the hearts of good people. Part of the passionate patience to which I refer above is learning to wait on God’s timing; and listening to His prompting.

Oh, yeah. And maybe the next time you hear “Let It Be Me”, it’ll make the message a little more special.

© D. Dean Boone, January 2020

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2nd Cup Hash: LITTLE O’ THIS, LITTLE O’ THAT, & STIR – 1/21/2020

“Time to create,” said his heart.

“It’s about time,” replied his soul.

Why I write: because creating something that didn’t exist before is as close to magic as I’ll ever get.

I wander through fiction to find the truth.

Sometimes you can’t calm the storm, so it’s best to stop trying. What you can do is to calm yourself. The storm, no matter how violent, will pass.

Your life will get better when you realize it’s better to be alone than to chase people who don’t really care about you.

Real strength, empowerment, and inner peace begin with the ability to let go. Then focus on living in the moment according to what genuinely pleases you, instead of trying to look good to others in order to earn their favor.

Lazy is such an unpleasant word. I like to call it ‘selective participation’.

underneath my outside face / there’s a face that none can see / a little less smiley, a little less sure / but a whole lot more like me

Growth demands a temporary surrender of security.

Well, my friends, that’s enough for now. It is my hope something herein, either the words themselves, or some thoughts and impressions of your own that snuck quietly from between the lines, will generate an idea of your own.

We are together a formidable force when we forego letting others speak for us, instead being our own advocates and building our speech and conversations on the product of our own reasoning, guided by God’s wisdom and grace.

Life is a sequence of moments all called NOW.

© D. Dean Boone, 1/21/2020

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The 2nd Cup You’ve Been Waitin’ For – 12/16/19

It read, “Make sure everyone in your boat is rowing and not drilling holes in the bottom.”

Since almost this blog site’s birthing, I’ve had to wrestle with the hosting entity. I thought once I’d paid my dues, I could settle down and focus only on writing. The hosting folks would have my back.

As it turns out, they mostly had their own back. It seemed every time I got my writing groove on and encountered a site issue, their response was, “Sure, we can help with that–for only $_____.”

I’m slow on the uptake sometimes because I don’t like confrontation, nor have I ever liked those who use me. I did, however, finally tumble to the fact they were busily drilling holes in the bottom of the boat when I wasn’t looking. I confess to real disappointment, often bordering on discouragement, for it felt as if everything was aligned against my working on the manuscript for Time Trials – my healing story. Anyway, it got expensive, and I began searching for a new 3 Hour Tour.

I found one. The transferring of my domain to the new hosting site will take a few more days. It’s already paying for itself, saving me irritation and heart burn – and laying my groove down, man. The creative juices will soon be flowing from my fingertips, through my trusty laptop keyboard, onto the screens of devices everywhere.

IF, that is, you dial up my blog address, www.2ndcupofcoffee.com. Hint: my new hosting site has some smooth electronic whozits that alert me when peeps are clicking and reading. It also keeps track of how many, on which days, even preferred posts.

So. My blog since 2013, 2nd Cup of Coffee, has a new host. It’s still sponsored by WordPress, so nothing will look different to you. It’s all going to be different, though; definitely upscale and better than ever.

I’m looking forward to li—- What? Oh. Sure.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Coffee-GIF-Grinch.gif

Granger says he’s got something special in the works as a Christmas gift.

Ah-ah-ah? No Peking.

© Copyright D. Dean Boone, December 2019

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QTMs for 9/28/19: From Humility To Excellence

Humility is one of those things we may find confusing to define, but I believe we all agree what humility’s absence looks like.

Definitely. Espresso grind.

I recently read that almost everyone you meet claims to be humble. Yet even while making that claim, they have their eye on the Trinity just in case there’s a vacancy.

QTMs is my own shorthand for Quiet Time Musings. At one time I sent at least one such post each morning, and its practice became more habitual than enjoyable. That’s one of the reasons I stopped writing them. Two others are that I’m continuing work on the manuscript for my first book, which takes time. The second is that I’ve been forced by my web hosting site to switch to new servers. There’s more to that than meets the checkbook, so suffice it to say I’ve been slowed down and distracted. Frustrated, evUN. (Some of you read that in Snagglepuss’s voice. I heard you.)

No matter where I’m reading during each morning’s quiet time, I always find good, worthy counsel in Psalms and Proverbs. This year I’ve been reading out of the English Standard Version, and the subtle differences are always instructive. I love to learn new ways of understanding and applying what the Bible has to say.

This morning some things Psalm 25 has to say about humility’s link with learning grabbed my attention. My habit is to point out what I’m learning, rather than to bore you quoting Scripture. The section of my focus, however, is verses 8 through 14. Get yourself a refill of java and let’s think together.

God “instructs sinners in the way”. Okay, we sort of expect that. It’s what follows that interests me. He “leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way”.

Yeah? So? Repetitive, right?

Nope. Only one who is teachable can be led. Only one who wants to learn can be taught. Note the difference between “God instructs sinners” and “He leads and teaches the humble”. There’s a stark difference between, “Okay, goofoffs, listen up!” and “Come on over here and take a load off; I’ve something to share with you.”

I just read this morning of a Port St. Lucie, FL 8th grade teacher who was fired because she refused to give lazy, impudent students at least 50% for not handing in their required work. They weren’t interested in being either led or taught, so she was restricted to only instructing them.

This passage reminds that in times when these Scriptures were written, teachers often walked along, speaking as they walked. Those wanting to learn from them walked along with them, both to hear and to bounce questions off them.

It reads that “all the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness” toward those wanting to follow after Him. That implies a close, growing relationship between teacher and learners.

Think back. Who were your favorite teachers in school? Your favorite profs in college or grad school? What made them so?

This Psalm says those same things apply, albeit perfectly, to God’s desired relationship with you. Weren’t some of your most memorable times with friends those times when you walked along together, sharing thoughts and ideas? The promises here indicate that kind of closeness between God and anyone humble enough to want to read (hear) what He has to teach.

Your humility – remaining curious and teachable – is your pathway to excellence.

Check out verse 14. Really? Friendship with God?

© Copyright D. Dean Boone, September 2019

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GRANGER at Halloween for 10/26/16: THE TEAR IN THE WRAPPER

Truth in advertising“, it read.

Granger was fed up with the glut of political flyers in his mailbox and inboxes.  Tossing on his desk the garishly colored hit piece in yoga pants by a former state senator, he swung around and gazed unfocused out the window at a grayish, cotton-streaked sky with bruise-blue accents.  Chuffing through his nose, he thought, “Even the sky’s puzzled by it all.”

Bemused, he reached for his “Coffee Made Me Do It” mug.  Just before he got it to his mouth, he noticed the “fun-size” Butterfinger laying on his desk; it had been hidden by the big black mug.  Glancing over at the glass bowl full of assorted Halloween-sized candy, he saw many other bars identical to the one huddled behind his coffee.  You won’t get away from me-e-e . . .

Image result for fun-size Butterfinger

Amused at the desire-borne moisture in his mouth, he glommed onto the familiar yellow-orange-gold wrapper.  Granger actually licked his lips as he tore the wrapper lengthwise.

Opening the wrapper, he grimaced in disgust.  Really?  Instead of the neat, compact one-by-two-inch chocolate-covered nougat he expected to find, a sharded mess of odd-shaped pieces had fallen onto his black crew-neck tee and khaki pants.

Irritated, he started to grouse about something more to clean up when he suddenly got quiet.

I know people like that, he reasoned.  Brightly packaged, looking like others in The Bowl, like they’ve got it all together–until the wrapper comes off.  Unwrapped, they’re a ragged, jagged collection of misshapen pieces just waiting to fall all over the place.

Yeah, I know people like that.  I’ve been like that.

Image result for people wearing I'm fine masks

As these thoughts jostled each other in his mind, he glanced again at the phrase off the discarded voting flyer:  “Truth In Advertising”.

 

Granger’s eyes blurred and his voice thickened as he spoke aloud, a habit of those who spend most of their time alone.  “Oh, yeah.  Many’s the time that, had my wrapper torn, all my hidden insecurities, my personal misgivings, self-doubt, all those questions about myself would be laying all over in a huge, untidy mess just like–here he made a rueful face as he surveyed the slightly-sticky, sweet mess he’d dumped on his clothes– “my ill-fated little candy bar buddy, may it rest in pieces.”

 

Later, wearing a comfortable black-and-red shirt with the sleeves rolled half up and a soft pair of old jeans, he stood with mug in left hand and coffee carafe in right, thinking about the recent experience.  Shaking his head as if to wake up, Granger poured a fresh, fragrant cup of Community Golden Caramel, returned to his desk chair and sat pondering.

Is it wrong to present a public appearance that’s attractive, appropriate to one’s task?  Does that not reflect good self-image and -respect?

Is it deceptive to present an outward persona that’s positive and uplifting, even when one’s interior landscape more resembles a barren wasteland?  As a Christ-follower, isn’t being winsome and attractive kind of necessary?

Sipping thoughtfully at the semi-sweet, smooth coffee, he answered his own question.

Deception is willful.  Wearing a mask is intended to hide, to frustrate and conceal.  If those are the reasons for the wrapper, then the advertising is dishonest and disingenuous.

Image result for Christ Like spirit despite internal pain

Image result for Christ Like spirit despite internal pain

If one’s desire is to be a consistent positive, encouraging and Christlike witness to one’s own world, then God can be trusted to know how to tenderly deal with the internal brokenness.  To fit the nonfitting.  To create beauty and symmetry just as perfectly as He did at The Original Event.

Rising to refill his mug, Granger thoughtfully nabbed another of the sweet, chocolaty morsels from the Halloween bowl.  Grinning as he softly checked that this one was whole, he admitted to himself, I don’t have this here “for the kids” since none ever come up here.  I have this here for me.  And I’m lovin’ it!

Butterfinger?

© D. Dean Boone, October 2016

 

Categories: Encouragement, Inspirational, Tell-A-Story-Make-A-Point | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

PRAYER WARRIOR: SPIRITUAL STRENGTH TRAINING ~ 2nd Cup of Coffee, 6/22/22

Dear Fellow Believer: consider this series of morning exercises a spiritual aerobic session with God. If you read them back to back in one setting, it will take you about 30 minutes to pray and think your way through these paragraphs. Should you choose to focus on one lesson for several days, obviously it will take longer. Whichever you decide, I’m suggesting you first pray your way through the entire series in one sitting to get the progression of them in your mind and spirit. After that, how you use them is up to you. The point is not a strict regimen or grim duty; it’s to use this series of prayer statements of faith to strengthen yours.

I’ve had these in one form or another for over 40 years; I’ve edited and made literary corrections here and there across that time to keep them contemporary and effective. I’ve no idea who the original author was, so have no idea to whom to offer credit. All I know is that in their original form way back when, they were not my work. Therefore, feel free to copy and use them for your own spiritual growth. That was and remains their sole purpose. My prayer for you is that they will be as powerful a stimulus to your personal walk with God as they have been for me.

As you pray each day, you’ll begin to sense a deepening dependence to spend this time every day alone with God. You’ll also find your spiritual power developing, and your ability to intercede for others will grow as well. The power, energy, and promises come from God. The discipline to continue these prayer lessons until they become a habit is up to you.

– 1 –

The Prayer of Victory

Sovereign God, I praise you that Satan is a defeated enemy. I rejoice that his defeat as because of the Lord Jesus Christ in His sinless life, His death, burial and resurrection – and His ascent into Glory. I look forward to the day when the Lord Jesus Christ rules while Satan, the Adversary, is bound in the bottomless pit. I know Satan will ultimately be condemned forever to the lake of fire prepared for him and those angels foolish enough to follow him when he challenged Your ultimate authority. I rejoice that because of my union with the Lord Jesus Christ, You have given me the ability to walk in complete victory over Satan today.

I aggressively enter into my victory and claim my place as more than a conqueror through Him who loves me. I refuse to allow continuing defeat in any area of my life. I am not required to put up with Satan’s bullying. He cannot and will not rule over me. I am dead with Christ to Satan’s influence and rule, and I affirm that the grace and mercy of God rule in all areas of my life through my union with Jesus Christ. Grant to me the grace to affirm Your victory even when experiences of life seem to say otherwise.

I thank You, O God, for the battle I am fighting right now, and for all that You in Your wisdom and design are seeking to accomplish in my life. I accept the battle and rejoice in Your purpose for it. I willingly accept and desire to profit from Your purpose in letting Satan’s kingdom get at me. I reject ALL of Satan’s purposes. Through the victory of my Lord and Savior I stand resolute and strong upon the certainty of my victory. In confidence I look to You, Lord Jesus Christ. You have never failed and never will. When Your purpose for this trial is fulfilled, I know it will fade into the dimness of forgotten battles and a defeated enemy.

Through the precious name of the Lord Jesus Christ, it shall be so. Amen.

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A Spring 2nd Cup: 8 FIGHTS YOU NEED TO PICK WITH YOUR KIDS – 4/20/22

G’morning; come on in. There’s fresh-brewed Cameron’s Jamaican Blend right there. Help yourself and have a seat. That’s Vince Ingala on sax in the background. Relax a bit with me; I’ve something to run past you.

I recently read again parenting is the last refuge of the rank amateur. Anyone with two or more little ones will vigorously nod. A friend passed something along I feel needs broader reach and I’m including it here.

This was both helpful and challenging. Parenting at the best of times is hard. Especially considering all the butting in from every possible direction over 2020 – 2021 trying to yell in your ears how to raise your children – or just let them do it – parenting is a real challenge.

It seems some days every interaction with your kids turns into a fight. Wise parents soon learn they have to choose their battles. Here are 8 fights worth picking with your kids

8 Fights You Need To Pick And Win With Your Kids


The Reading Fight: Make your kids read. Reading is tied to everything from cognitive development to the ability to focus. Spend any time around a friend who says, “Oh, I’m not a reader.” Observe them. Listen to the level of their conversations and interests. Make sure your little ones see you reading, and often. Make your kids read now, so they’ll want to read later.

The Outside Fight: Make your kids go outside. The natural world teaches us things. Plus, outside there’s sunshine, fresh air, and exercise waiting for them. Take them for neighborhood walks, and to local parks. Do things outside with them. Have them ‘help’ you with outside yardwork, learning by watching and mimicking you. Most importantly, help your kids learn at an early age nature is full of things in short supply in our world: Discovery, wonder, peace, and joy.

The Work Fight: Make your kids work. Make your kids WORK. I’m saddened by how many parents don’t require their kids to lift a finger at home. There are priceless life principles you can only learn with a cleaning rag, a mop, a shovel, or a lawnmower in your hand. Let sweat be their teacher. Of course they’ll balk. No kid wants to do chores, even the ones wanting to please and suck up to you. Again, let them see you doing it, and make it clear: you’re showing them how so they can help. Keep chores age-appropriate, but never, EVER let your kids lay around being electronically-babysat. Always come up with helpful, wholesome ways to reward them for a good job – but only things each child loves, and only if they earn it.

The Meal Fight: Make your kids eat with you as a family. Yes, it’s a discipline, which means you have to do it with them. Our lives are a blur of incessant activity. Meals together are a physical pause to recover a truth so easily sacrificed at the altar of busyness – and, trust me, your busyness, no matter the reason, will ring hollow for both you and your kids once they’re up and gone. Nothing’s more important than family.

The Boredom Fight: Make your kids live with boredom. Don’t show a DVD on each car ride. Kids need unscheduled time. And, odd as it sounds, boredom is a skill. It’s hard as a parent to deal with the assault of boredom complaints. But if you give in and fill up their time with external stimuli, you’ll raise an activity addict. Make them learn more than constant doing; make them learn how to be. This can be addressed along with The Outside Fight.

The “Me First” Fight: Make your kids learn to go last. No – not every time for everything. But teach that lesson enough for them to remember the world doesn’t revolve around them. Again, model this in front of your kids. Take the smallest piece. Give up the remote. Do someone else’s chores, taking the one they hate the most. They won’t like it, but this is a lesson in respect they’ll need throughout life.

The Awkward Conversation Fight: Make your kids have uncomfortable conversations with you. Sex, dating, body image, moral, social, and spiritual values…Your kids will roll their eyes and resist. You will stumble and stutter. That’s normal. Your kids need and want your perspective, the lessons you’ve learned, and wisdom that came through those lessons – good and not so good. Rule of thumb: if your child is capable of asking an intelligent question, they deserve a reasonable, age-and-experience-appropriate answer.

The Limitation Fight: Make your kids learn to set boundaries. Learning to live within limits is a valuable life skill. In fact, many adult problems arise from an inability to accept them. Screen-time limits, dietary limits, activity limits, and schedule limits are all good. Once again, the best way to teach your sons and daughters how to set limits – boundaries – and live by them is for them to observe you doing it. It’s also a great idea to explain why you’ve set those boundaries for yourself, and how they are helping you. Remember: these are lessons for a lifetime.

As a parent, you have to pick your battles – and the sooner you start, the better the outcome. The pros say begin between your kids’ ages of 2-3.

As a parent, you do have to pick your battles. They’re not easy and you must be in it for the long haul, but they’re worth the fight. After all, your kids will one day be frightfully like you.

Give ’em a fighting chance.

© Copyright D. Dean Boone, April 2022

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2nd Cup of Coffee for 2/26/22: WHO CRIES FOR UKRAINE?

That could be us.

Ukraine happens to be under bold, brave, conservative leadership; and the Ukrainian people are solidly for maintaining their freedoms. They’ve been senselessly attacked by a much larger aggressor, “led” by a Soviet-style thug tyrant wanting to subject the people and nation of Ukraine to the same drab, lifeless, miserable existence they were forced to experience under the old Soviet regime. Putin seems to be angling to become the new Stalin and revive the Soviet Union.

Exactly – just like happened right on the heels of World War 2. We had military commanders on the ground in Europe at the time who begged Franklin and Eisenhower to let them keep pushing the Russian Army back into its own territory. They could have done it, too. Unfortunately, politics got in the way. We all watched the results, and the Cold War that dragged on until 1991.

We in America do not happen to be under bold, brave, conservative leadership. Our President and every far-Left person he’s been able to tap for high position seems to be currying favor with both Chinese and Russian world leaders who have long since proven they are no friend to American freedoms, our Constitutional Republic, or our ability to defend ourselves. Our leaders care more about what our enemies think than what you and I as citizens of this amazing land believe and want to be happening.

Since I first heard of Russian military attacks against Ukraine and its resilient people, I’ve been praying for them. I pray God’s protection over ‘The Ghost of Kyiv’ and his/her wingmen and ground crews. I pray God tasks Heaven’s warring angels with oversight and miraculous help for this tough little nation and people who just want to be left alone to take care of themselves and their own resources.

I also pray God wakes up the American people to the point we no longer allow into public office these lifelong corrupt, lying men and women who have every intention of grasping all the power and money and influence they can to themselves, ignoring not just their own constituents, but the very oaths they took upon taking office.

As an American veteran, and a citizen of this wonderful, blessed land we call home, I want everyone permanently gone from public life who has in any way been complicit in the past 30-some years of Obama-Clinton-Biden destruction of all we love and cherish – and, yes, the taking down of President Trump when he tried to clean up their mess.

We voted for him for a reason. I voted for him for a reason.

My deepest desire is to see the United States recover from this ‘experiment’ with Socialist/Marxist insanity. It will not, cannot work here, nor was it ever intended to. We were established as a Constitutional Republic. Our founders intended it that way and expected you and I to keep it that way.

We haven’t done a stellar job of that, and I’m encouraging us all to get after it. We know who and what we’re supposed to be, and I think we get the truth we can’t get it done without God.

May He overshadow us as we pray for, support, and love the strong people of Kyiv and Ukraine. For if that nation falls to the Russians, they’ll just be the first of many. Tyrants and bullies never stop on their own.

And that’s true in Europe just as it is here.

Head’s up, people.

© D. Dean Boone, February 2022

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