Clogged: blocked or filled with something (Cambridge English Dictionary)
Clog: something that shackles or impedes (Webster’s)
Thought for the Day: Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life. Proverbs 4:23
When I think of being clogged, my thoughts automatically go to pipes or sink drains in my house. I simply dislike a backup from a clog and I’m sure most people feel the same way. When there is a clog in a pipe or drain the flow of water or waste material doesn’t work properly and the result is a mess as it backfires! An expert in the field of plumbing is summoned and after clearing out the problem and a hefty check is usually written life goes back to normal.
Having a women’s ministry and listening to and praying over many situations with my dear sisters the issue I find being brought for prayer is a clog hindrance . Often there is something that is impeding or blocking their spiritual sight obstructing them to go to the Lord, our “expert plumber” to remove this quandary. Now hang in there with me, friends. This doesn’t just apply to believers, but it certainly gets in the way of unbelievers coming to Christ.
Clogs do not happen overnight. In fact, the hair that accumulates in my bathroom drain occurs over a period of time. I don’t even see the hair going down the drain. Of course, my hair is blonde and turning white, but that doesn’t excuse the fact those hairs go down the drain without my notice. It begs the thought, what goes on in my life that I don’t even notice that will begin to build a clog and work against the flow of peace, assurance, joy and hope in my daily life?
Have I unknowingly said something that has offended someone? Did I not help in a situation when the Spirit was nudging me to do so? Did I become angry and begin to spew in the presence of others that hurt my witness? Have I become so disgruntled with the way of the world that I have looked toward heaven and wondered what is God doing? If these questions have any positive answers each one of those snags or “hairs” is accumulating in the drain of my thoughts, my heart and my actions. If I don’t admit these failings and ask for God to intervene in my behavior and thought patterns, my life will overflow with those items that are backing up the drain.
None of us are perfect. We all make mistakes so we shouldn’t place undue perfection expectations on another human being. We’ll be disappointed and discouraged every time. The only perfect one was Jesus Christ. And he is very well aware we are carnal sinful souls. But he loves us so much he was willing to leave all the glories heaven to cleanse out our clogged drains giving his life to do so. Cleaning out all sinful actions, thoughts, deeds and hearts of all man/womankind…imagine that sight. And his payment? Completely free on your part, no collection agency, no debt incurred just his hope that his voice would be heard, and we would follow his leading out of love, not obligation. That choice still stands this side of heaven.
The world is filling up with clogs, my friends. Satan is fueling the clogs of human lives by blinding spiritual eyesight and spreading the lie it is perfectly normal to do what is right in your own eyes. But why is that a false assumption? As human beings we have a differencing of opinions regarding the definition of “right” and will never be able to unify or enforce our particular view on others. We are children of the Most, High God and He alone provides the blueprint for our lives. As our Creator, He spoke the universe into being, uniquely designed each human fingerprint to be unique, constructed our bodies to have distinctive DNA components and on we could go. Science didn’t do those things, friends. God did. With that being said, getting rid of clogged drains is among His many specialties of cleansing power. Allow Him to remove whatever clog is circling your drain and in its place fill your life with peace, contentment and joy!
Father, thank you for being the One who removes hurt, doubt, pain and anything that would fill our lives with harm resulting in resentment and anger. Help us to see with spiritual eyes how wonderful life in Christ Jesus is and move forward in using our gifts and talents to honor and glorify Your Name. Amen!
Focus: a state or condition permitting clear perception or understanding
Thought for the Day:
Hebrews 3:1 (NIV)
Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Have you found yourself driving down the road and through mental memory end up at your destination but can’t remember seeing familiar road marks along the way? Your focus was divided between arriving to point B from point A due to habitual repetition. It’s probably occurred to all of us at some point in our motorist careers. But we have to admit it’s dangerous to sit behind the wheel of a vehicle while our focus, or attention is diverted.
Or possibly has focus diversion happened as you were supposedly “listening” to a friend sharing a concern, but you inadvertently let your mind step aside momentarily and missed part of the conversation? When asked an earnest opinion on the subject revealed you suddenly look like a deer in headlights because your focus or concentration was temporarily diverted? Swiftly you begin to back-peddle recollecting the conversation and hope your answer isn’t an affront to the one sharing.
Focus involves hearing, seeing and comprehending. We are unbound free agents this side of heaven as we live in a democratic, free society permitted to hear, see and comprehend anything desired. But this devotional asks on what or to whom do you focus? What receives the majority of your time and effort and who captains the ship of your life? Where is your course leading you and do you have an accurate compass on which you depend to keep you from dangerous waters, or at least enable you to steer around an oncoming storm to keep you and your passengers safe?
In keeping with the previous paragraph, we could do everything needed before setting sail; check every gauge, have all the maps, test the radio to a command center, and then set out on the open waters and still run into a rough patch. But I would assume while sailing your focus would be on the instruments, the winds, the weather forecasts and various needed indicators in order to avert trouble.
My point with this writing is to ask if you are that prepared with your spiritual health? Is your focus or concentration elsewhere as you live day by day other than giving a portion of that time to our Lord, the Maker of Heaven and Earth? The One who breathed that first breath of air into your lungs, the One who allows your heart to beat time and time again, the One who wants you to live an abundant life…is He on the list of things to do today?
When you attend church, if you are an attender, do you mindlessly sit in the pew not truly listening or concentrating and when someone makes a comment afterwards in the church parking lot about the sermon, do you just smile and say, “Amen”? Do you even bother to try to back-peddle to remember what the pastor or speaker said?
You might be content to live the rest of your life calling your own shots. Placing your focus or concentration on pleasures, entertainment, your career, your family, maybe shopping, but are you truly, deep down in your soul, happy? Has your focus been placed on things that are temporary and not eternal? Do you even believe in the eternal?
Maybe it’s time to investigate where your focus is and if it can stand the test of time and eternity. Your free agent clock is ticking….one day it will stop….then what?
Father, enable us to focus so that we may see, hear and understand the plan you have for our lives. May we always be alert and ready to follow you and be stellar witnesses of Your grace and mercy. Amen.
Wall: Something that acts as a barrier or defense
Thought for the Day: But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:57 (NIV)
There are many barriers we encounter in life. Some are self-made, some are erected by others, but a wall or barrier doesn’t necessarily surface in life as an actual structure. Take for instance a roadblock. When you come upon a roadblock and your desire is to move forward what’s your first reaction? If you are anything like me, I take a deep breath and begin issuing my dismay of any inconvenience this blockage is having on my immediate plan. It happened recently as I was walking on my much used, need to breath fresh air, trail. My regular routine was blocked due to signs, complete with cones and yellow tape, instructing men were working.
My first response? What men? I didn’t see any men working and wanting to reach my designated turnaround point I could walk around these cones and yellow tape. If I came upon the work crew (which there was no sound of any work being done and it wasn’t lunch time) I would explain the public was not given any notice and we should be warned at our point of trail entry! Another person reached this point right before I approached and was shaking his head in disgust. We exchanged a few comments ripping the township for lack of notice to the residents, but inevitably we obeyed and turned around.
Why did I think this was such a huge inconvenience? After all, I lengthened my walk in the other direction and accomplished my walking goal for the day. So, why the big deal? Bottom line, we (I) don’t like being inconvenienced or being told we cannot go beyond a barrier not of our making! It’s human nature. We simply don’t like being told “no” and it started when we were very young.
As we age the nuisance of walls and how we react to those annoyances tells a lot about us. I could have very easily been a better Christian witness to the man I met at the cone wall and put a more positive spin on the incident by reminding him and myself we are blessed to have the ability to walk, to be out and enjoy nature. After all, I accomplished my goal even in the midst of an untimely detour.
But there are other difficult barriers we face this side of heaven. Bulwarks created due to disagreements in our church body, in our government, with our elected leaders and often because God doesn’t remove our aggravations with greater expediency! God doesn’t answer to us, my friends, and frequently those aforementioned bulwarks are of human making. This isn’t the way God purposed our lives to be. We aren’t living in a world where every single person is given the opportunity to run around like a kid in a candy store grabbing everything he/she desires with absolutely no limits. We live in a society composed of various races; economic backgrounds; educational levels; religious upbringing; desires and dreams. It is essential we work together and not run amuck doing what is right in our own eyes without the consideration of others.
What makes a country great? Unity. Working together for the greater good of all and not demanding a “my way or the highway” syndrome. When people are made to conform without at least having the opportunity to voice concerns and have that voice heard, that’s when the human side shows up in spades. Unity will never be found or gained when the vast majority of citizens are disregarded and silenced.
For the believer, those who love the Lord God and follow him faithfully, we are instructed to hold onto our faith, pray, hold to God’s teachings and know that the human/spiritual battle has already been won through the death and resurrection of Jesus. Whatever befalls the believer God is our strong tower of protection. We need to take a deep breath, be a stellar witness of His goodness and mercy and when we face aggravating obstacles, pray. Pray that God will guide us to do what is right, what is true, what is pleasing to Him.
Father God help us as we hurdle hindrances that can easily become stumbling blocks in our Christian witness. The battle has already been won, death has been defeated, we are headed to our home in glory when breath leaves our body. But until that day comes may we use our voice, hands, arms, and legs to minister to others in need as You lead us to do so. Give us the ability to turn all our earthly disagreements into opportunities to be stellar examples of God’s love. In Jesus’ precious name, Amen!
I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
Every morning when I was growing up in rural America in the State of Virginia, our elementary classes began with the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag. It’s just how we started our day. It was probably a recitation exercise to my little mind because I never gave it a lot of thought. As I have aged those words and what the pledge stands for means a great deal to me and it should for every American.
We have laws and documents that have governed our land for years, successfully I might add. A lot of thought and debate went into the writing of these laws and documents while hearing and addressing various opinions. That’s democracy at work for all the people. The ones chosen to pen these laws and documents were elected by the people and worked for the best interest of the people in order that everyone’s voice might be heard. Seems fair, right? Not all people can speak at the same time or have their individual opinions taken into account, so they choose the best elected official to be their collective voice. Overall, those voices are to be supported by their elected officials.
In this country, we have been able to write, hear, listen to and verbally voice our opinions due to the First Amendment on free speech, but recently I have come to notice that particular freedom is being limited. For the past four years I have decided not to mention how I feel politically about certain political issues. It was simply not worth having various individuals “take me to the mat” trying to correct, challenge or demean my ideas and beliefs. Whatever was said was not going to change my outlook and the argument would be to no avail.
But I now realize that combative mode of thinking is permeating our entire society. If you speak an opinion that isn’t what others want heard, get ready for your voice to be erased. In fact, many of you might not get to read what I am writing due to a possible algorithm devised to squelch this writing because I do not advocate these actions or behaviors. My censorship will read my writing isn’t in line with what “they” want printed. Exactly when did “they” become in charge of free speech?
One day as I was contemplating all that is currently swirling in the world today, God brought to mind Billy Graham. Do you realize when that man began his ministry and crusades, they were attended in record numbers while having no social media access? I don’t know if many television stations carried him at first, but slowly he became known on the radio and the word of his preaching spread like wildfire. His ministry continues today although he has gone to his eternal home.
I guess my culminating thought is this; it doesn’t matter if news outlets, book publishers, social media or even popular spokespersons try to shut those opinions that don’t coincide with their own. This country was founded on freedom; freedom to debate opposing views, freedom to start a business, freedom to worship, freedom to elect those who best represent our opinions and desires and freedom to speak our hearts and minds without the possibility of being punished. Every decent human being should know where to draw the line when implementing freedom with speech. We belong to a great country. It’s never been about one person or one political party. We are still under the authority, grace and mercy of Almighty God. May He forgive us for all the chaos running rampant, teach us to love more deeply our fellowman/woman, and heal our land physically and spiritually. God bless!
What is systemic racism and why have I been lumped into this category?
I have struggled with these new buzz words and the frequency with which I continually hear it used to describe a segment of Americans in today’s society. Evidently, this narrative applies to me since I happen to be Caucasian. Although I think it’s unfair to throw this portrayal around as if it has to be the main cause of countless problems in society today, I decided to find out exactly what it means and why I’m thrown into the category.
Always as a first step I go to Webster’s and see what another human has decided is the appropriate definition. Since systemic racism is not given in Webster’s on Google, I had to look at the words separately. Actually, I had to read what the NAACP quoted and various other organizations to know what they believed to be systemic racism. But what I uncovered dividing the words by definition follows:
Racism: “A belief that race is a fundamental determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race.” The two words underlined were emphasized in the definition, thus I decided to further my search.
Race: “Any one of the groups that humans are often divided based on physical traits regarded as common among people of shared ancestry.” Okay, so that is any race, agreed?
Determinant: “An element that identifies or determines the nature of something or that fixes or conditions an outcome.” Wouldn’t your question now be, what particular element is the determinant that fixes or conditions an outcome? Once again I researched what an element’s definition would yield and the one that seemed to be appropriate was, “One of the factors determining the outcome of a process.” Again, I bumped into the question, who determines the element and what might that element be that sets this whole matter into motion?
Then I went back to the dictionary to get systemic defined and one of the definitions that jumped off the page to me was this, “affecting the body generally” because most of the explanations have to do with the body. Hang in there with me, if you will.
This is probably where I might lose some of you, but it is a belief deep within my soul. The body needs to work together. Before I further explain those statements, I want to be very truthful. I was raised in the south and I’m proud of where I come from….my parents were hard working blue collar employees. We attended church every Sunday. Dad and mom helped run a bus ministry in order to bring children to church that otherwise would not be able to attend. As a result, their parents sometimes would begin attending. We were taught to love people. I was never sat down and told people of color were to be treated differently. There weren’t a lot of girls I that I grew up with who attained four year college degrees. In fact, it was a big deal when people my parent’s age had a high school diploma.
After working with an engineering firm for a few years following two years in a community college, I decided I wanted to pursue a degree in teaching. It took ten years, full time and part time with a husband and children to see that degree in my hands. I wasn’t given any monetary assistance. My husband and I bore the burden of paying for that degree and we have done the same with our two children. Our children were never asked “if” you go to college, we always used the word “when” you go to college. That desire came from within. I didn’t blame anyone for not helping with my education, I wanted it so badly I kept at it and paid for it monthly for years.
Yes, I know it’s been more difficult for those of color in this nation in times gone by, but now in this present age, there’s no reason why anyone can’t get an education. There are loans at low interest rates and why should anyone expect the government to pay for higher education? In today’s society there are countless people of color making millions of dollars due to being an actor/actress; politics; sports figures; on talk shows and news outlets. They are writers, teachers, lecturers and on we can go because they wanted to succeed and kept working towards that goal.
Schools are no longer segregated and the teachers who stand in front of the classroom are of various skin colors. I’m proud to be an American and to have the heritage I possess. It’s made me who I am today, a woman of integrity that loves my family, runs a ministry and loves the Lord Jesus.
One last point…let’s go back to the definition that systemic “affects the body”. This time I will explain its effect on the Body of Christ. Delving into scripture, my source for living, the Bible states:
1 Corinthians 12:12-27
New International Reader's Version
One Body but Many Parts
12 There is one body, but it has many parts. But all its many parts make up one body. It is the same with Christ. 13 We were all baptized by one Holy Spirit. And so, we are formed into one body. It didn’t matter whether we were Jews or Gentiles, slaves or free people. We were all given the same Spirit to drink. 14 So the body is not made up of just one part. It has many parts.
15 Suppose the foot says, “I am not a hand. So, I don’t belong to the body.” By saying this, it cannot stop being part of the body. 16 And suppose the ear says, “I am not an eye. So, I don’t belong to the body.” By saying this, it cannot stop being part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, how could it hear? If the whole body were an ear, how could it smell? 18 God has placed each part in the body just as he wanted it to be. 19 If all the parts were the same, how could there be a body? 20 As it is, there are many parts. But there is only one body.
21 The eye can’t say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 In fact, it is just the opposite. The parts of the body that seem to be weaker are the ones we can’t do without. 23 The parts that we think are less important we treat with special honor. The private parts aren’t shown. But they are treated with special care. 24 The parts that can be shown don’t need special care. But God has put together all the parts of the body. And he has given more honor to the parts that didn’t have any. 25 In that way, the parts of the body will not take sides. All of them will take care of one another. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it. If one part is honored, every part shares in its joy.
27 You are the body of Christ. Each one of you is a part of it.
We are equally a part of the body of Christ. We can’t all be eyes, hands, or feet. We can’t all be seen, in fact, while of us will never speak in public it doesn’t mean we are not as important as those that do. A house divided against itself cannot stand. We need unity. We need to work together. We need to go forward and not continue to look over our shoulders at what should have been, could have been or might have been. We are America. It’s time we start praying for our Maker, the Creator God, to shed His Light, His Truth, and His Way on our journey of life.
I have been desiring to ask this question for quite some time regardless of your personal upbringing or religious beliefs.
So, let me know by messaging me on Facebook or as a comment to this blog your answer as to who do you say God is....I am very interested to hear from you. It can be one word, a scripture verse, a personal experience that led you to think the way you do about God or something that occurred in your youth that has shaped your thinking regarding God.
Jesus asked this question to his disciples regarding their definition of the Son of Man....if you would like to share your thoughts on the Son of Man please feel free.
Matthew 16:13-20 NIV.
When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
Judith "Cookie" White is the founder of The Sounding Board Ministry. She is the author of two devotional books which are available on this site.