The Sniff Test

I have never had a guest writer before, but my friend Lynne Gintzig, a sister on this journey of faith, is sharp and witty, amazing and humble. She doesn’t mince words, but after she steps on my toes, I somehow always leave with a smile. Lindy has the ability to combine profound spiritual wisdom with things she pulls out of the junk drawer of our everyday lives. Enjoy…

                    Porkchops, The “Sniff Test” and a Metaphor for Life.

I have added this to my daily prayer…and I really pray it with SINCERITY. But do I really listen?? “Most Holy Spirit of God, inspire my thinking, pervade my imagination, suggest my decisions and order my doings.”

So WHAT would possess me to fry up some thin cut pork chops when I almost gagged upon opening the package?? (Well, the date was good, I just purchased them and stored them properly was my rationale). Even during the brief flash in the pan they smelled “off”…. So, WHAT possessed me to eat one? I ignored the “red flags”. And believe you me, I suffered consequences all night.

So, why – in our daily lives- when something doesn’t pass the “sniff test” do we ignore the warning signs and our conscience and proceed full steam ahead? Our egos? Our love of something else besides wisdom ($?), comfort (I don’t want to have to go back to store), our lust (I REALLY like a pan fried porkchop), or just plain lazy stupidity (duh).

I say, if you want God to bless your life, then LISTEN to Him… And then obey Him. If something about that relationship with that cute guy (the porkchops LOOKED just fine) smells off, pay attention, GIRLS (and guys). If you jump in the frying pan with those questionable chops, trust me… there WILL be consequences.

Moral of this bedtime story….If your “porkchop” isn’t passing the sniff test, there are other porkchops out there! I’m not giving up porkchops because of a bit of misery, however…it just may take me a few weeks before I can look at one and not gag.



Second Chances

In everything that he undertook in the service of God’s temple and in obedience to the law and the commands, he sought his God and worked wholeheartedly. And so he prospered (2 Chronicles 31:21).

These blog entries contain many of my thoughts, but not usually personal narratives; however, this one may be worth sharing and hopefully be encouraging.

A few years ago, I felt led to host a bible study in our home for ladies in our area. I had some people in mind, and the book and the time frame chosen. All systems go! Then all the reasons why I shouldn’t/wouldn’t/couldn’t started moving to the forefront. I even made excuses for people without even asking them, not to mention the excuses that I made for myself.

When the time had passed, I knew that I blew it! I experienced a sadness and heaviness that’s hard to explain. I felt that I let so many people down—my neighbors, myself, and especially God. It felt like I was on the dock watching my ship sailing away in the distance, too far to come back for me.

But God is so merciful. He doesn’t write us off when we drop the ball. When I first got the idea of writing a journal into a blog, I had a ton of legitimate excuses. I had never followed one myself, didn’t know anything about formats, or where, or how, or what, or who. All I knew was that I wasn’t going to say, “Don’t send me” again.

It has been challenging, but not concerning content; sometimes I can’t wait to get my thoughts down on paper. The challenges come in my attitude, and it’s funny because they are two opposites—lack of confidence and pride. But that’s a story for another day.

I just pray for the needs of each person who is reading, and pray that they will see the message that God wants them to derive, whether I wrote about it or not (He can do that!) I also pray that when I know that He is nudging me to do something that I will not use my own reasoning, but just say, “Send me.”

One of my friends used to always encourage by saying, “When you stick your neck out, your body just kinda follows.” Or more biblically, if you take the first step, God will show you the next.


Worthless Things

Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word (Ps 119:37).

At this time in my life, my time is  much more flexible. I find myself often praying for God to guide me and show me His will for the day. God does not reveal His will for our lives from beginning to end, and there are very good reasons for this. His plans for each of us are so tremendous that it may scare us because we haven’t grown to that point yet. Or it may be the opposite; we may get so excited that we jump ahead of God when we, or the time, are not ripe. Another very important reason is that we need to learn to trust—trust Him as He shows us the way to go—

This is why reading the word and loading our hearts with His principles is so vital. As our hearts are being filled with truth and love, our decisions and actions have a much better chance of being righteous. Psalm 119 tells us that the word illuminates our path and that we can stay on the right path by heeding it.

But the verse that stood out to me today is Psalm 119:37–Turn my eyes away from worthless things. This certainly doesn’t mean that we’re destined to a somber life. Quite the opposite! But many things that the world has to offer are shallow, just a veneer. We’ve all heard about people chasing power, fame and wealth and acquiring all that the world has to offer except the joy and peace that comes only from following the word.

Those worthless things are so enticing, and before we know it, we are lured and ensnared, but never satisfied. Jesus used some pretty strong words when He said that if our eye causes us to sin, pluck it out. The prayer in this verse makes it easier—Turn my eyes away from worthless things; help me not even to notice nor acknowledge them.

Taste and See

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him (Ps 34:8)

The word “taste” appears a few times in connection with the goodness of God in both the Old and New Testaments. God’s choice of words is never random, but each is meaningful and carefully chosen.

As I thought about this, I concluded that our sense of taste is the most complicated. It works in connection with other senses including smell– aroma and also touch–texture. Though we may try, a taste is most difficult to explain in words. It can only be described by comparing it to another taste–like chicken (sorry, I couldn’t help myself). So it is with the goodness of God. There is no comparison; it must be discovered, experienced, and acknowledged.

God’s goodness is complete—totally satisfying, sufficient to meet our every need.

The challenge isn’t going back for a second helping, but to park there and bask in the Lord’s provision as this verse concludes, blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him.

Let It Begin With Me

Examine me, O Lord, and test me. Evaluate my inner thoughts and motives (Ps 26:2).

It is said that you can’t legislate morality. Governments and societies have been trying for eons. But if a person desires to break the law, whether it is God’s or civil, he can so choose. He may suffer the consequences, but the choice is still his.

Integrity and moral behavior start in our hearts and are carried out by our will. And we must be fed a special diet of God’s word or the deceptive temptations, lies of the world, and our own selfishness steadily creep back in. A fitting example of that is choosing wrong for a good reason (Wrong is never right!!). If we’re not vigilant, we slide right into believing those gray areas.

The words of the song, “Let there be peace (kindness, generosity, honesty…) on earth, and let it begin with me (not enacted by law),” are true if we first allow the motives of out heart to be examined and placed in submission to the Author of goodness and love.

Lifting Others

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves (Phil 2:3).

If you look back a couple messages ago, I referred to this same scripture. God has been speaking to me lately about acknowledgment and appreciation of others as well as humility. Also, a bible study that I attend has been focusing on submission these past few weeks.

God designed the family as the most efficient foundational institution here on earth where we are not alone, but support each other by providing love, nurturing, learning and stability. The enemy knows exactly the areas to attack that will make us most vulnerable to sin, and submission is the one concept that has been more than misunderstood— it has been perverted.

It has been used in some cultures to place others, especially women, in positions of little more than indentured servitude. This is clearly NOT what God had in mind. Think of the parent who willingly sets aside his/her own needs for the needs of a small child. It is not motivated by coercion, but quite the opposite. The motivation is love.

The one who is submitting is actually in control, choosing that course of action. We have all read about mothers who have chosen to give their last bit of food, or their coat for the comfort or life of their child. Or men who have sacrificed their own desires and needs in order to provide for their families.

Valuing others above ourselves requires confidence in God’s love in order that we can willingly yield to others. It can be as simple as relinquishing our place in line to giving away our prized possession (probably our pride).

With loving humility, submission involves willingly placing ourself beneath another in order to lift that person up.


For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be (Psalm 139:13-16).

I would like to share with you part of a story from Crosswalk. I hope I can do it justice without getting too lengthy.

A women’s ministry speaker challenged her audience by asking them to be still and listen to their hearts in order to recognize the lies about themselves that either knowingly or unknowingly linger there. It may have been something spoken by a parent, teacher, spouse, school kid, or something not even spoken at all, just believed. The ladies were asked to write them down, then symbolically (and not so symbolically) place them at the foot of a wooden cross and replace them with a “truth card” that she had prepared citing a promise or positive affirmation from God’s word.

After the retreat, the speaker gathered the cards and noticed that over and over again the word “worthless” appeared. This big, fat, ugly lie is one that the enemy throws in our face time and time again.

As parents, we were intentional in instilling a positive self-concept in our children; in fact, one spouse says that we went a little overboard. But it really is not based on anything we do or are. Self-worth is only meaningful when we recognize who we are in Jesus—beloved, precious, wonderfully made. We are not only worthwhile, but we are a necessary part of His perfect plan; and to believers, all mistakes and sins are covered.

Next time a negative self-thought pops in, recognize that it is not from the One who made us just as He wanted us, “complete” and filled with all His fullness and power.