Robin’s Wish

I just watched the newly released film Robin’s Wish. Came across it ondemand. Didn’t know anything about. Hadn’t seen any trailer or news about it. But after looking up the trailer, I knew I wanted to view it.


I imagine most people are in my shoes, thinking they know what ended Robin Williams’ life. Many have learned-now everyone can know as I now know-that it wasn’t what they first heard or thought. A few months after his death, his wife was told that Robin had Lewy Body Dementia. There is no cure. This film, with much storytelling by his widow Susan Schneider, captures the reality and challenges of this disease both of the sufferer and their caregiver.

Watching a documentary like this provides loads of takeaways. You should watch to see what yours are. Mine are the importance of knowing the truth and the need to share it.

Lincoln: How He Managed His Burden


I picked up this audio book last weekend at the library. It hasn’t disappointed. Here’s one example why:

“I know there is a God, and that he hates the injustice of slavery. I see the storm coming, and I know that his hand is in it. If he has a place and a work for me, and I think he has, I believe I am ready. I am nothing, but truth is everything. I know I am right because I know that liberty is right; for Christ teaches it, and Christ is God.” -Abraham Lincoln, Springfield, Illinois, 1860

Anything you read or watch about Lincoln depicts the burden he carried. What man or woman can imagine it? But when I heard this note read, I heard how he managed the burden.

  • He managed it because he believed the burden came from God.
  • He managed it because he was discerning to see it coming before it arrived.
  • He managed it because he trusted the work, call, and preparation by God for anyone to carry any size burden.
  • He managed it because he knew his place, which he chose to humbly embrace.
  • He managed it because he viewed it as a burden for truth and right.
  • He managed it because he was aligned with God, the life-giver and sustainer of all burden carriers.

What can you learn from Lincoln’s example? How could you better manage your burden with these principles?

Grace A Dieu

(Day 14 in a 28-day series from First Bradenton)

Le Créateur, we thank you for preparing us for our battles. The first thing we need to be prepared for within spiritual battle is the importance of Scripture. Scripture is a defensive weapon as well as an offensive one. This stronghold can deflect an attack as well as inflict an attack.

I am a child of God, and I shall NOT fear anything. God gave me a shield and armor within the words of the Bible. I have been dealing with confusion, deception, and betrayal. I didn’t know how to fight off the negative energy and thoughts. God clearly tells me the devil is the one “who deceives the whole world” (Revelation 12:9). Deception is one of the main arrows Satan fires from his bow.

Le Père, you started showing me signs within quotes, movies, and songs. I had to stop procrastinating and open the Bible to find my defense mechanism towards satan. I can’t face life each day without feeding, nourishing, and equipping myself with the Word of God. If we cut the Bible out of our lives, then we are guaranteeing to become a casualty of war. We need to carry our Bible onto the battlegrounds, and we will win the war.

Are you unsure that the Word of God can protect you or help you on the battlefield? The Word of God is so potent that it can transform people from the realm of spiritual darkness to light, from falsehood to truth, from being deceived to being enlightened. Every time God’s Word leads you out of temptation or through a trial, it’s a demonstration of Scripture’s power to cut through the spiritual and moral blindness inflicted by satanic forces. Every time that same Word of Truth leads a person to salvation, it demonstrates its power to cut a swath through Satan’s dominion and bring life to a soul previously sentenced to death.

“What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31)

By Shanti M. Washington

Praying through Scripture

(Day 13 in a 28-day series from First Bradenton)

One of the best patterns for spiritual warfare that we can follow is Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness. He demonstrates the adept use of Scripture as a shield for His own heart, reminding himself of the truth. This same well-aimed truth is what tears through the tempting words of Satan, revealing them to be lies and deceit. We need to have a good grasp on the truths in Scripture in order to use them against the attacks of the enemy. Just as we would equip ourselves from an armory for a physical battle, for a spiritual battle we must equip ourselves with knowledge of the Word.

One great way to do this is to pray through the Psalms. David and others wrote many Psalms about the deliverance and provision of God, how He is there to protect us from our enemy and sustain us through our battles. Praying through scripture will remind us of God’s character, faithfulness, and can bind us to the faith of believers past, knowing that these words are timeless and true. As we consider God’s ability to rescue us, let’s pray through Psalm 46, which reminds us to find our shelter in Him.

God is our refuge and strength, a helper who is always found in times of trouble.

Therefore we will not be afraid, though the earth trembles and the mountains topple

into the depths of the seas, though its water roars and foams and the mountains quake with its turmoil. Selah

There is a river—its streams delight the city of God, the holy dwelling place of the Most High.

God is within her; she will not be toppled. God will help her when the morning dawns.

Nations rage, kingdoms topple; the earth melts when he lifts his voice.

The Lord of Armies is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah

Come, see the works of the Lord, who brings devastation on the earth.

He makes wars cease throughout the earth. He shatters bows and cuts spears to pieces; he sets wagons ablaze.

“Stop your fighting, and know that I am God, exalted among the nations, exalted on the earth.”

The Lord of Armies is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah 

By Kyle Reilly

Repentance Defined

I’ve been thinking about repentance this week. Read a @youversion plan. Heard a sermon.

I can’t say I’ve ever really considered how I would define it personally. I’ve always leaned on others’ definitions, such as this one from the @youversion plan:

Repentance isn’t doing something about our sin; it is admitting that we can’t do anything about our sin.

I like that one. Certainly puts my mind in the right direction. Less about my ability and more about my need.

Here are a few definitions I’ve written this week:

  • A repentant heart is a softened heart.
  • A repentant heart has turned away from the dark and turned toward the light (Jesus said he was the light).
  • Repentance is when I stop disagreeing with the truth (Jesus said he was the truth).
  • Repentance is possible when the light finally comes on.
  • Repentance begins when I accept my self-given excuses are lies. 

This is a good exercise-defining repentance. Give it a try and see what it does to your heart and to your relational status with the truth and the light.

They Don’t Have To

I got a call today from a friend looking for a reference for his friend. He flew states away to help his friend who is in crisis. He illustrated this truth about friendship-you do what you don’t have to.

A friend doesn’t have to tell you the hard truth.

A friend doesn’t have to go to bat for you.

A friend doesn’t have to give you their time.

A friend doesn’t have to offer you help.

A friend doesn’t have to sacrifice for you.

A friend doesn’t have to go the extra mile.

A friend doesn’t have to do for you what you aren’t capable of doing for yourself.

A friend doesn’t have to care about your future, your success, or your wellbeing.

A friend doesn’t have to choose to be your friend.

But because they do what they don’t have to, you can call them friend. 

Who in your life does what they don’t have to for you? Thank God for them. Thank them for them.

Winning the Mental Game First

(This is the third in a series on wisdom from baseball. In this article, Mark Stanifer continues to mine his playing experience for insights into how to better play the game of life.)

As a boy growing up, baseball was my game of choice. I enjoyed the game and was naturally gifted with some physical talent. But I was not very good at playing the mental side of the game. It wasn’t until long after I hung up my cleats that I realized just how important the mental game is to success, and how weak I really was.

During my last year with the local American Legion team we hosted the State Championship tournament. We had played our way into the championship game, in front of the home crowd, and against our in-state rival. The winner would move on to the National Regionals. And the entire game came down to the bottom of the last inning. We were trailing by one, with two outs, and the tying run on third base. And I was on-deck and thinking, “I don’t want to bat!”

Doesn’t sound like a recipe for success does it? As it turns out, I never got the chance to be the hero of that game, but given my mental state — doubt, fear, lack of confidence — odds are that I would have made the third out myself.

With time and lots of life experience, I’ve come to realize just how much of the game of life is really mental. I have read numerous books this year on the power of our thoughts to shape our actions. What we tell ourselves, or absorb from others, is a significant contributor to our state of mind. Dr. Caroline Leaf, in Switch On Your Brain, says this, ‘What you are thinking … becomes a physical reality in your brain and body, which affects your optimal mental and physical health.”

I don’t often hear baseball used as a metaphor for life. But there is some rich insight to draw from this sport, especially in how we play the mental game.

Don’t focus on the negative

Baseball is not a game of perfection, especially when it comes to batting. Whether it is an errant throw, a missed opportunity, or a strikeout (more on this in an upcoming article), there are many opportunities to focus on what didn’t go right. And while reflecting on mistakes for lessons learned can be very valuable, dwelling there can be debilitating. The better approach is to own it, learn from it, and then move on.

Be in the moment

There is a lot of down time in baseball. An average MLB game lasts around 3hrs, but with less than 20 minutes of actual playing time. The rest is transition and preparation. Sometimes life can feel that way too — a lot of time invested in the “game of life” but in the end only a small amount really counts. It is important to be looking for those few precious moments and be ready when they come. Blocking out distractions, being prepared for when the ball comes to you, and being fully present, are good ways to help you stay in the moment

Be clear on the truth

It is hard for a professional player to ignore the critics. It is equally tough to ignore the critics in our own lives — both self and others. The best way I know how to do this is to continually remind yourself of what is true. The starting point for me is always “I am valuable simply because I am a child of God.” So much of our perceived worth is derived from accomplishments or accumulations, but these are not really our identity. Knowing who you are won’t eliminate the critics, but it will help lessen the potency of what they say.

Maybe you’re a huge fan of baseball or maybe the game isn’t your thing. Regardless, we are all involved in playing the mental game of life. And the winners of that game have figured out the importance of these insights. While I’m not fully there yet — maybe that’s not even possible — I am definitely a lot stronger now than that 18 year old back in the on-deck circle. And I like my chances this time around a whole lot more.

Living with Judas

10 Questions to ponder when you think you know a “Judas”:

  1. How am I praying for them?
  2. What role might I play in their redemption?
  3. Has anyone approached them with the truth?
  4. What is missing from my knowledge of their story that would help my encounters with them?
  5. What wholesome character traits are shown by their behaviors? What damaging traits?
  6. Has grace been offered? If so, is there room for more? When does the grace end?
  7. When will it be time to withdraw? What’s the line that when crossed severs the relationship?
  8. What may be the root of cyclical behavior?
  9. What choices do you have when no offense has occurred but their character indicates it’s just a matter of time?
  10. What does God want me to learn from this relationship?

5 Suggestions to Avoid being Duped

Joshua 9 tells a story of deception.  And it is summed up by verse 14, “So the men took some of their provisions, but did not ask counsel from the Lord.”

Here are a few strategies and guidelines to avoid being duped by deceivers:

  1. Keep in mind that what you see has a story that does or doesn’t match what you hear.
  2. Responding in haste increases your chances of being deceived.
  3. Never make a decision without counsel, either from preset guidelines or from momentary inquiries.
  4. Listen to the voice of God. Ask him before responding, even when the request appears to be pure. Let him give you assurance.
  5. Take the necessary time you feel led to take to respond. Human emergencies rarely seem urgent to God.

What It Means to Be an Idiot

I’m an idiot. Some of you already know that. For the rest of you, here’s proof.

Tuesday a week ago I had dinner with two of my running friends; you’ve been introduced to them, Lorraine and Monika, as guest bloggers for Running Tuesdays. In our dinner talk, Lorraine and I found out that we share similar running issues with our calves. My calves have always given me issues, particularly when building up mileage or adding in speed work. In telling me what she has tried to overcome this issue, Lorraine mentioned she wears orthotics. 

In that moment, here were the thoughts in my head: 

That’s interesting. I have orthotics. I got them for a foot problem-pinched nerve. It hasn’t crossed my mind that I should try them for a calf issue. I wear them off and on if my foot gets aggravated. Maybe I should wear them more often. Of course, the podiatrist told me 4 years ago to wear them all the time, but what does he know.

As my friends are known for, they pressed me about what I was going to do about my calves. So I sheepishly admitted I had orthotics and rarely wear them. 

You know that look that your mother or the doctor gives you when you say something stupid? Well, I got two of those immediately. Good friends, huh?

So I went home and googled my issue. Of course, I found articles giving the pros and cons of orthotics. But I read enough to convince me I’d be an idiot not to give them a try. After all, all they do is sit in my closet. (In case you’re curious about this running problem, here’s one Article I found that backed up this decision.)

So that’s what I did. I ran the next morning, then the next morning. Following that second morning, here’s my text to one of my friends:

Orthotics in. Ran 3.2 yesterday, 4.7 just now. No issues. It never crossed my mind that this might be a solution. You’ve waited a long time to say it, so I’ll say it for you: I’m an idiot.

(Her reply): Lol. I just cracked out loud!!! We need friends in our life to help us see the real things. And only the real friends will tell us. You’re not an idiot…just a bit slow…the foot is attached to your calf, idiot…Lol.

Since then I’ve ran three times for about 20 miles…wearing orthotics…still no issues.

Life Application: Check the “closet.” The answer to your problem may already be in your possession. We’re all idiots when we ignore, overlook, discount or reject truth, advice, counsel, and God-given remedies. And that’s what it means to be an idiot.