Lessons From a Pup Named Roscoe

Late evening storms often pepper my neck of the woods in our beautiful East Tennessee. These summer storms showcase magnificent lightning displays and thunderclouds etched in ominously brilliant colors.

The storms also bring a furry friend to our front door. Roscoe, a little Corgi mixed pup, belongs to a nearby neighbor who often travels. We welcome him in with treats and a warm rug. When his master is out of town, Roscoe finds refuge from the storms with us.

During one thunderous storm, poor Roscoe kept nudging my hand up for comfort every time the violent rumbles exploded over our home. Though my hand rested on his neck, he was shaking terribly because something in his tiny tangerine-sized brain kept him from resting in the safe haven of our home.

At that moment, God reminded me that waiting out the storms can be challenging.

It dawned on me that I’ve done the same thing when going through the storms of life.

Our summer started out stormily. Gailen wrestled hard with combat PTSD partly because his CPAP machine has been on recall. When he doesn’t sleep, I don’t sleep.

Health issues spilled over into another bout of Covid for me and a few surgical procedures.

I picked up little worries along the way, bumped into a few disappointments, and then BAM … my mind started chasing wild, vicious rabbits down problematic trails that I held no power to change. If you’ve ever read the classic Watership Down, you’ll understand scary rabbits.

But on this one stormy night, sitting with Roscoe nuzzled into my side, I realized my focus had shifted from God to discouragement and fear.

The enemy is an expert on worrisome, scary distractions to steal our focus even when we’ve previously weathered numerous storms with the Lord. Nevertheless, in overwhelming moments of pain and weakness, sometimes we don’t choose His peace; we sit and listen to the thunderclaps exploding in our minds.

I don’t want to sit and tremble in the storm; I want to be at rest. I don’t want to focus on myself or the winds of discouragement swirling around; I want to run to the refuge of my faithful God.

When I need encouragement, I often go to one of my favorite scriptures in Isaiah:

“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you because he trusts in you.” Isaiah 26:3 (ESV)

Perfect peace means shalom shalom in Hebrew. The repetition emphasis is for added intensity. God’s refuge isn’t just a place of peace; it’s a place of perfect peace.

But staying in this place of perfect peace depends upon our minds. Where we allow our mind to wander or even steer with deliberate thoughts will determine our peace.

But there is another truth to remember when breaking down this verse.

In the Jewish Study Bible, it’s written slightly different:

“A person whose desire rests on you, Adonai, you preserve in perfect peace because he trusts you.” Isaiah 26:3 (The Complete Jewish Study Bible)

Photo by Jonas Kaiser

Dictionary.com gives the meaning of desire as:

A wish or longing; craving. An expressed wish; request. Sexual appetite; lust. A thing that is desired or a person.

As I look at this long list of verbs and nouns, I see the connections in which we often rest our trust.

We wish for comfort through financial means; we long or crave adventure, food, friendships, and more. We dream of easier lives, perfect moments whispered in fairy tales and portrayed in entertainment.

We can lust over a person, a car, a trip, or something we want for various reasons. But the one word that stuck out to me in this definition was a person.

Sadly, we will never find perfect peace in another human. We’re not perfect people, are we?

But we will find perfect peace in a relationship with God. That peace satisfies all our combined longings, cravings, wishes, and appetites.

And when the storms of life come, HE IS the one person who we can rest on because He will always provide us with an impenetrable refuge.

But where or who we rest our minds on determines if we find this perfect peace.

It takes a deliberate effort to steer our minds to God and His Word.

It takes a tested faith to recall His faithfulness in previous storms. But most importantly, it requires a relationship with Him to build a faith that leads to perfect peace.

Roscoe has spent a few nights sleeping at the foot of our bed, safe from the storms. We usually let him out in the early mornings after the storm passes, and he trots back through the fields toward his master’s house.

But he knows when his master isn’t around and the skies open up in a thunderous performance, he can always find a safe place to rest with the Porters. He’s built that trust in us now. With every refuge he takes in our home, his little furry yellow and white body relaxes, and he eventually finds sleep amidst the sprays of lightning flashing through our bedroom windows.

Over the summer, I’ve been re-reading the covid journals I wrote two years ago when Gailen and I were fighting for our lives. I was reminded through these writings that we’ve battled many storms in our 37 years together.

My faith is strengthened and my hope has pole vaulted to another level.

I’m so grateful I can rest in my merciful God’s care.

Tell me, friend, who do you find rest and refuge in during the storms?

Love you – and I mean it!


A Little Biblical Background:

Isaiah 26 speaks of a song that will be sung in a victory procession into Jerusalem when Jesus, our Messiah, establishes the millennial kingdom. In these beautiful prophetic verses, the prophet Isaiah daydreams about this anticipated Day of the Lord when God judges Israel’s enemies. This prolific chapter reminds us that victory comes to the righteous, redeemed Israel, and they experience perfect peace because they’ve placed their trust in the one true God.

When we place our trust in Jesus Christ, we too can have perfect peace.

Lessons From a Pup Named Roscoe

A REEL to REAL Look at Sia’s Snowman -Seeing Jesus in the Arts

Snow is on my mind. After glorious sunshine and temperatures in the 60s yesterday, we woke up to 7 inches of God’s magical white fluff … even though the daffodils are blooming. So, I thought it would be cool to take a REEL to REAL look at Sia’s Snowman video.

I came across this sweet, catchy tune in December after my husband found the Christmas station on Sirius in our car.

Immediately, this little melody got stuck in my head. I found myself playing it several times throughout the holidays, and then I watched the YouTube video.

Y’all, this story is seriously precious and made me love the song even more.

I wasn’t familiar with the Australian artist, Sia, but her raspy tone and fast vibrato highlight a controlled technique referred to as glottal stops.

These vocal gymnastics happen because of the way she pronounces vowel sounds while controlling her air. It’s a difficult, complex technique to accomplish, and I love everything about her voice. Her style is uniquely identifiable, like Elvis or Johnny Cash.

This unique Claymation masterpiece portrays a love story between Mr. and Mrs. Snowman, but the little girl becomes the story’s hero.

The video begins as a childlike version of Sia builds Mr. and Mrs. Snowman. She places their stick hands together, and they come alive. They affectionately gaze at each other while twirling and dancing. In essence, the little girl creates a love story within her snowy creativity.

The lyrics are written as a love song from Mrs. Snowman to her Mister. As the sun brings signs of Spring, the snow couple becomes troubled as they start melting. Nevertheless, Mrs. Snow pledges her faithfulness to her snowman and suggests they hide from the sun.

Sia becomes concerned with the melting snow too, and takes it upon herself to help Mr. and Mrs. Snowman.

With the aid of her adorable, hairy sidekick, Sia loads a cooler with ice in her trusty red wagon. She then shows a map of the North Pole to Mr. and Mrs. Snowman and places them inside the cooler.

They’ve melted significantly, and if ever snowmen showed fear, it is evident that Mr. and Mrs. Snowman are anxious.

So, let’s watch the video, and then we’ll talk more.

Is that sweet or what?

I’ve thought about this little story so many times since first watching the video. Besides being a hauntingly, beautiful melody, there is so much goodness in this imaginative work of art.

Helping someone in need can make a big difference. For Mr. and Mrs. Snowman, it saved their lives.

It took great effort for the little girl and her pup to find the North Pole, yet they pressed on.

Her toil exhibits all the fruits of the Spirit.

 But the fruit of the Spirit [the result of His presence within us] is love [unselfish concern for others], joy, [inner] peace, patience [not the ability to wait, but how we act while waiting], kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such things, there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23 AMP

Sometimes circumstances or people in our lives will test our willingness to share some of our fruit. Yet … Paul said that only through the power of the Holy Spirit can we as believers live out these fruits, successfully denying our fleshly selves.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Paul listed love first. Honestly, I don’t think we can operate in the rest of these fruits unless we love and care about people.

I remember when God challenged me to consider if I truly loved my fellow man? So, I started praying that He would help me genuinely love people. I realized I would never have a burden for their soul if I didn’t love them.

Love isn’t necessarily about words, is it? 

Love is all about action.

The actions we take such as concern for another’s well-being or practicing peace in less than peaceful situations. Showing patience in our behavior by being kind or being good to others just because we can -even when it doesn’t feel good. Exercising self-control, gentleness, and persistent faithfulness that promotes endurance in hard times.

You see, all the fruits of the Spirit lived out together, or even one by one, can make a big difference in a broken or lonely heart.

Patience can calm anger and soothe grief.

Kindness can encourage, and goodness can cultivate hope and joy.

Gentleness can promote healing, and self-control can produce faithfulness.

It’s a never-ending, perpetually evolving love that shows up over and over in countless ways when someone needs us the most.

Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 16:14 …

Let everything you do be done in love” [motivated and inspired by God’s love for us].

That’s the bottom line, folks; God’s love for us should motivate us to love without boundaries. After all, He put action behind His love when He sent Jesus to die a cruel death for our sin.

Will it be easy? Probably not; we’re not all easy to love, are we?

But Jesus told us why we needed to love each other in the book of John.

“I am giving you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, so you too are to love one another. By this, everyone will know that you are My disciples if you have love and unselfish concern for one another.” John 13:34-35 AMP

“Everyone will know that you are My disciples if you have love and unselfish concern for one another.”

Our love for each other, or the lack of … will identify to the world who we are or are not, right?

The ending of this video finds Mr. and Mrs. Snowman safe. They’ve made it to the North Pole or perhaps their heaven or eternity … all because of a little girl who created and loved them well.

This sweet story reminds me of another love story created within our world’s divine foundation … the greatest story ever told.

So, let’s go love well … there are lives to be saved.

Love you, and I mean it!


Important Disclaimer!!! I do not own or claim any rights to Sia’s Snowman video directed by the immensely talented Lior Molcho. I’m just a massive fan of this beautiful song and carefully crafted video. Well done, Sia! I’m your newest fan! Be sure to add this sweet tune to your Christmas/winter playlist – I guarantee it will make you smile every time you hear it!

A REEL to REAL Look at Pride and Prejudice

In the 2005 movie, Pride and Prejudice, directed by acclaimed British director Joe Wright, two scenes grab my heart.

First, Mr. Darcy walks through the cold morning fog to declare his love for Elizabeth Bennet. Gads! My heart jumps right up in my throat and chokes the tears clean out of my eyes. It’s a big swoon moment of the entire film. 

Heavens, this has got to be the most romantic and artistically creative scene ever produced in the history of cinematography. I’ll provide this hopelessly romantic scene below – just for good measure, right?

But I want to talk about another scene that so sums up the sinful side of man.

The beautiful Elizabeth Bennett thought Mr. Darcy was arrogant when they first met, and perhaps he exhibited some upper-crust cheekiness.

He thought she was a gold digger.

After all, her family’s audacious sass and blatant flirting made him feel like a trapped mouse in a bucket.

 It was no secret Elizabeth’s mum was looking for husbands for her daughters.

The plot for this Jane Austen masterpiece is charming and culturally mesmerizing.

In truth, the only relatable factor in this high society story is how messy people and relationships can be. But I still love this timeless, literary masterpiece. 

So, watch the scene, and then we will talk about it.

What you don’t see just before this spirited exchange is that Elizabeth finds out that Mr. Darcy ruined her sister’s chances of marrying the man she loved.

Little by little, Elizabeth has been building a case to hate Mr. Darcy via rumors and lies that she entertained.

But as her feelings continued to sour, Mr. Darcy’s were passionately festering; he was falling head over heels in love with the unwitting Elizabeth.

As we see in the clip, he asks for her hand in marriage. It wasn’t the most romantic or flattering proposal because he speaks to her family’s flaws, lack of station, and reputation.

However, it’s obvious Elizabeth’s feisty ways and outspoken opinions have wooed Mr. Darcy to a place of great pining.

But smack dab in the middle of this gorgeous, climactic scene … two people have chosen to believe the worst about one another.

Gosh, I can so relate. How about you?

Too many times, I’ve chosen to take rumors, perceptions, or distorted truths and make them real in my mind.

Too many times, I’ve let brief encounters paint a negative picture of another’s heart. 

Far too often, I believed gossip or lies because they came from the lips of someone I seemingly trusted or enjoyed.

In truth, it’s a fatal flaw to believe one side of a story without getting the other side.

In time, Elizabeth learns that Mr. Darcy is painfully shy and doesn’t make a friendly showing in crowds. She realizes that Mr. Wickham with his own agenda has grossly distorted Darcy’s character.

Elizabeth experiences his tender heart when he generously helps her younger sister, who gets into scandalous trouble. And in truth, he did discourage his friend from marrying Elizabeth’s older sister because he thought she didn’t love his friend; however, the sister was painfully shy and loved his friend desperately.

But the point is, his motives were pure.

It’s incredible how much we can assume and be wrong, right?

It’s amazing how wrong thoughts and assumptions can harm or destroy relationships.

It’s mind-boggling how much damage loose talk and repeating gossip can cause.

So, what’s the fix?

The fix is in our hearts and minds.

According to Philippians 4:8, we should take the high road.

Finally, believers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable and worthy of respect, whatever is right and confirmed by God’s word, whatever is pure and wholesome, whatever is lovely and brings peace, whatever is admirable and of good repute; if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think continually on these things [center your mind on them, and implant them in your heart]. Amplified Bible (AMP)

According to this scripture, our job is to think the very best about each other regardless of what we see or presume, and especially what we hear.

Unfortunately, our feelings lie, and so do we humans if we have bitter lips like Mr. Wickhams.

So the fix comes in training our minds and hearts to think only good about each other.

Can you imagine what our relationships would be like if we obediently followed this scripture?

Can you imagine how loving our churches would be?

God thinks the best about us and our futures; we need to take a cue from His script and live it out in love. 

After all, God loves to watch His kids make it big in love!

So whatever good we can believe about another’s heart, let’s believe it and leave the judgment to Jesus!

Love you and I mean it!


Oh, I almost forgot; here is the link to watch the most romantic movie scene that’s ever been produced. I promise your heart will skip a beat!

Important Disclaimer!!! I do not own nor claim to own any rights to these clips or this cinematic masterpiece. I’m just a huge fan of this beautiful film and literary classic, and I can always see my creative God in the arts. Now go rent or buy this movie and enjoy it for yourself; I own the collectors’ edition with all the director’s notes, and it’s glorious!

Welcome to … REEL to REAL!

I’m a big movie fan! I love watching a good story unfold and figuring out what will happen in the end. I have to confess; it irritates my husband to no end when I correctly guess the ending before the movie’s over.

I fell in love with the Theatre at the tender age of twelve after winning the role of a damsel in distress in a children’s community theatre production.

My love for the arts spurred an interest in acting and all things drama. I studied scriptwriting, production, and directing in college. Eventually, I changed my major to the study of Communication before I felt called to write. Funny how God works.

But over the years, I realized that my love for a good story goes much deeper than being entertained. I love sizing up the characters, understanding their motivations, and studying the deeper themes.

God has spoken to me numerous times through a movie scene or even a line voiced by a character. I even get these inspirational epiphanies in music videos and, oddly enough, commercials.

God is our Great Creator. He’s passed His love of creativity down to us humans for our pleasure but primarily for His glory. So, in this space, I will highlight video clips (from YouTube) that speak to me, and hopefully, you too.

I believe God can use any form of wholesome entertainment He chooses to encourage and spur on our obedience, spiritual endurance, and creativity. So, enjoy the clips and ask God to help you see Him behind the stories in your world, every day.

Love you and I mean it!


Are You the One?

The post was long, and I almost didn’t read it. I strictly stick by my rule of only 15 minutes a day on social media. But something told me to read on.

I’m part of a private women’s ministry page with Christian communicators and pastors’ wives. They share a lot of emotionally challenging experiences. I’m privy to prayer requests and heartbreaking details of hurts collected via the church and organized religion.

But back to the post, it was from a grieving mom whose adult son lived thousands of miles away from her. Some personal problems led her child to call home, and it was an unusual move on his behalf to break down in tears.

This brave mother was begging for anyone who might be in that part of the country to reach out to her son. As I read the personal details of her story and all the responses that flooded in, tears filled my eyes.

Surprisingly, there was someone in that area who not only counseled the young man but invited him to church. The next morning, mom reported that he was heading to church encouraged and so was mom.

Wow, God, that’s what we really long for, I whispered. We want someone to feel our burden and pick it up when we ask for prayer.

When people ask us to pray for a loved one, I’m not sure we get the angst behind the request. If you aren’t a momma, then you’re not going to feel the apprehension of a desperate child hundreds of miles away.

It’s hard to feel another’s burden for a loved one if we’ve never walked the same path or our heart is distracted or indifferent.

After reading this post, I realized that I’m aching for someone to be Jesus to my burden when I request prayer. I think that’s what we all want when there is someone we love that needs Jesus in a big way.

Often, we won’t be the ones who reach our loved ones – more than likely, God will use someone outside the family.

It’s made me think about the next time someone asks me to pray for their loved one. Could I possibly do more?

Can I be intentional and reach out after I pray?

Can I ask God to provide divine appointments that put me in that person’s path?

Can I think of my friend’s burden as my burden?

I imagine God would work gloriously through us if we saw every prayer request as a burden that needs action.

So the next time you’re asked to pray, remember, you may be the one God sends to be the pursuer or the helper. You may be the one God says … go get ’em and don’t let up.

Love you, and I mean it!

What Are You Wrestling With?

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people. Ephesians 1:18 (NIV)

As a teenage girl full of brokenness, I wrestled hard with condemning voices from the enemy. Struggling with suicidal thoughts, I opened my green Living Bible one day and made a connection that changed my life forever.

When reading scripture, the voices stopped. When I quit reading, the voices attached to feelings of being unloved, alone, and rejected returned.

That day I fell in love with God’s Word.

I found peace in every word I devoured.

It was during this time that God called me to ministry. I didn’t know what that ministry looked like or when it would arrive, but I knew He called me to tell others how to find peace. 

Where would I be without Jesus?

But the enemy is where all my hardship originates. Just as God has plans for our lives, so does the enemy.

As a teenager, he tried to snuff my life out. He tempted me to quit my marriage as a young bride. As a floundering mother, he wanted me to trust my ways instead of God’s. As a restless housewife, he didn’t want me to step out in faith and return to school. In grief, he hovered over me with depression, chaos, and rejection.

He deceived me into putting walls up around my heart to keep friends at a distance. The betrayals, the hurts, they were too painful to open my heart back up to possible future hurts. 

And the Devil didn’t stop there. That wicked old deceiver has tried to take me out in other areas of ministry. We wrestle not with flesh and blood, but unfortunately, the enemy will use flesh and blood to mistreat us and knock us out of fulfilling God’s call on our lives.

As Christians, we must work harder to do no harm to one another.

Go the extra mile.

Be brave enough to have the hard, honest conversations that depend on our integrity.

Love even when it’s hard.

Stand up for those oppressed even if it’s not returned.

Defend each other’s character when necessary.

Refuse to follow the lead of those who want to judge and make unfair assumptions of others.

And last but not least, forgive when it seems impossible.

I’ve wrestled hard with this … but where would I be without Jesus helping me, right?

My family and I returned from a much needed, COVID cautious vacation last week. A few days before we left, we kept our 16-month old granddaughter overnight. That precious baby girl fights sleep like a pro. I wrestled her into the wee hours until God spoke to me.

“You’ve been wrestling hard with me these last few years, Mel.”

“Yes, I have God. I’m sorry,” I whispered into the dark. 

Immediately, I felt compelled to reread Jacob’s story of wrestling with God. So, on the long ride to the beach, I started reading and researching this divine event in Genesis 32. Each morning I awoke and opened my laptop to online concordances, devouring all I could about Jacob.

On Wednesday, four days after I started this study, I took my granddaughters to the pool. Sitting down in a low-to-the-ground, lounge chair, I felt a breath-taking, sharp pain in my lower back and left hip. I was in so much pain; I had to call my family to come help me.  

Nothing gave me relief: ice, heat, Tylenol, nothing. I found myself in a chiropractor’s office early the next morning. I sought treatment for two days before we left for home on Saturday. Needless-to-say, it was an extremely uncomfortable ride home.

Later that evening, I opened my notes and carefully read over a few that I had compiled during the week:

The events at Bethel and Peniel are important milestones in Jacob’s life.

His nighttime face-to-face encounter with God remarkably transformed Jacob.

God renames Jacob … giving him the name Israel.

Israel means “God prevails.”

This wrestling event with God was a significant turning point in Jacob’s life.

In that moment while revisiting my notes, I heard God say … “This is your turning point, Mel.”

I gasped and immediately went to tell my husband. I realized my injury was no coincidence.

God used my sleep fighting granddaughter, the details of Jacob’s story, and my injury to bring about a turning point of a hard wrestling that’s gone on long enough.

So, these last few days, my Lord has sweetly ministered to me about my future. I’m listening, praying, taking notes, and digging deeper into His Word.

I’m grateful that He brought me the assignment to write for Proverb’s 31 Ministries, First 5 App, during this hard season. Honestly, I don’t think I would have ever written another word without the desire to study His Word and tell others. Being apart of this team kept me writing. 

Where would I be without Jesus?

And truly … that’s the fuel that gets my heart going, friend … I just want you to know Him greater. I want you to realize that even when life is hard, you’re not alone. I want you to let Him lead you out of the hard wrestling of your darkest days.

I guess my simplistic mindset is that Jesus can make it better even when it’s hard because He did for me.

We live in a time of many unknowns. Loss abounds all around us. Broken hearts are in abundance … its understandable we wrestle with God and fallen world circumstances. Life isn’t fair, but don’t let what the Devil brings to harm you, cause you to quit.

But I pray you know that the answer to my question leads to hope. Without Jesus, there is no hope.

I challenge you to spend time with the Holy Spirit and let Him show you what you’ve been wrestling and why.

I pray you find the courage, to be honest with yourself. I pray that you find peace like I have so many times from His precious Word and presence. 

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people. Ephesians 1:18 (NIV)

I pray that you have called upon the name of Jesus and made Him the Lord of your life if you’ve never done so.

The truth is, I would be as lost as a ball in high weeds without Jesus. He’s everything to me, and I desperately want you to find this hope too.

Wrestle well, my friend.



If you don’t know Jesus, this simple video from Charles Stanley will help you find true peace.

What God Wants You to Know Today

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore, I will hope in him.” Lamentations 3:22-24 (ESV)

Did you wake up feeling defeated this morning?

Are there regretful actions or words on replay in your mind?

Did you blow it in a big way?

Girl, have I been there!

But I’m here to give you a word from the Lord. God started speaking to me yesterday about you when I went and shared the word with some sweet women in jail. You see … these ladies need hope because their life situations are pretty dim right now. So many are experiencing the consequences of their poor decisions, and they are mourning their sinful actions.

God reminded me that we all need some encouragement too.

The prophet, Jeremiah, spoke these scriptures in Lamentations to the children of Israel after they were taken captive by the Babylonian empire. The Israelites were in great mourning and despair because God’s judgment had brought the consequences of bondage upon them for their sin. 

In truth, the Israelites deserved death for their gross idolatry and sin, but our merciful God spared their lives.

This scripture in Lamentations reminds us that no matter how we sin or mess up, God’s steadfast love for us never ceases. According to the Hebrew interpretation, the word steadfast far exceeds the basics of mercy, grace, forgiveness, and compassion.

This word steadfast translates to a “great love.” That’s the kind of love we have from God, a love that hangs in there when we are at our worst in the most challenging situations of our lives.

And no matter what … God will not break His Covenant Love. He proved that over and over with His chosen people.

Every morning that we wake up, we get another chance at making things right or learning from our mistakes.

If we’ve repented … we can start over with God.

That doesn’t mean there won’t be consequences there may be. But it means that God in His unfathomable love will give us mercy to navigate those circumstances.

So, don’t wallow in defeat because the enemy has convinced you that you can’t overcome certain situations or mindsets. You can, in the name of Jesus! (Philippians 4:13)

Don’t think your transgressions are so bad that there is no forgiveness or redemption for you. (Acts 3:19)

Choose today to grab hold of God’s mercy and don’t look back.

With true repentance … God will pave a way of mercy that will take us to new places of hope, redemption, and victory. (1 John 1:9)

God’s got some fresh mercy for you today, friend, so wash your mind in His love and start over.



When We Know Something or Someone isn’t Good for Us

Just because I can

“All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up. 1 Corinthians 10:23 (ESV)

I scroll away until I feel that shift in my spirit. You know, the post that stops you in your tracks and feels like a dagger thrust through your back? Or it may be the purposeful or unintended omission of acknowledgment? Or the distorted or twisted comment that’s left open for personal interpretation.

Oh, the woes of social media. I’ve come to realize that I have a love-hate relationship with all things online. I’ve even limited my activity to 15 minutes a day, but of late, I haven’t had the heart to jump on for a few minutes. I don’t mean to appear anti-social or ignore those I love, I’ve just concluded that unless I am sharing God’s hope, social media isn’t helpful for my mind or emotions.

God’s used this situation to remind me of the scripture in 1 Corinthians 10:23:

“All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up.

The apostle Paul is warning us about abusing our Christian liberty. This chapter has many precious truths, but verse 23 is rolling around in my heart and mind. 

Paul refers to the Israelites self-indulgent and careless discipline that led to sin. Just because we can do something, doesn’t mean we should.

The Corinthians didn’t seek after the things that built them up them, they pushed the envelope, practicing what they could get away with and still be a Christian.

They didn’t see there were activities or even people that fractured their fellowship with God or distracted them from faithfulness.

We all have habits, people, or situations in our lives that we know are not spiritually helpful, yet our flesh wants what it wants. Unfortunately, the trade-off for gratifying the flesh comes later in circumstances that deplete us emotionally, physically, and spiritually.

If we know something is harmful or isn’t beneficial to our lives, shouldn’t we run from it?

Paul warns about habits that lead to sin. He even mentions being led astray by the company we keep. (1 Corinthians 10:6-22)

He basically says, “I have the right to do anything I want, but if that anything enslaves me in sin, then I don’t need to do it. (1 Corinthians 6:12)

Breaking free from those things that are oppressive, impure, discouraging, or pleasing to the flesh may be difficult, but not impossible. (Matthew 19:25)

In truth, we know what edifies our soul or what wounds or violates our consciences, don’t we? 

So, I’ve started asking myself a couple of questions to get to the gut of my feelings:

Does this activity harm my emotions or distract me from God’s truths, leading to sin?

Does this activity or person splinter my peace, or do I feel encouraged?

Does this activity cause me to lead others astray?

Your gut questions may look different from mine; we each battle the flesh in different ways. But I encourage you to take a soul inventory to identify those habits or people that may be bringing you down. 

Honesty with God is helping me decipher what His good and pleasing will is for me.

Yes, all things are lawful, but that doesn’t mean they are good for me.

I’ve wasted too much life on things that are not God’s best; how about you?