Generations

This is my last post for The Christian Pulse. My sincere thanks to Suzy and her team for letting me be part of this site for the last year. They are always looking for fresh writers and volunteers (technical and otherwise if you aren’t a writer!), so if you are interested, let me know and I would love to get you in touch with them.

Posted: 11 Jul 2013 02:00 AM PDT

By Mollie Bond –

I listened to a radio program’s promotion touting the latest report on the “Emerging Adults” Generation. The promo added that the beliefs held in this upcoming generation were unbiblical, and expressed concern that the church had no future.

My insides crinkled. I smoothed out my emotions before continuing to work while listening to the radio. Yet again, I stewed, it seemed the elder generation was trying to “fix” the younger generation, implying there was something terribly wrong with them. What gripped me the most was that the show did not have any “Emerging Adults”: no one younger than 50 to give an opinion, good or bad. No one to have a conversation with, to grapple through what was unbiblical. “Emerging Adults” were a study to be done, not people who needed grace and love.

How many times had I judged the older generation before me? Am I condemned to judge the generations after me as less respectful than my own? Will I have conversations to learn why generations swing one way or another, and then use the opportunity to be grace-filled?

God doesn’t bias Himself against one generation or another. God is about people, not studies. He shows his love to a thousand generations. As his daughter, I should learn to do the same.

After listening to the radio ad, I engaged in a conversation through e-mail that lasted for months with another from the Baby Boomer generation. I learned some valuable insights. I allowed the opening of my mind as I took time to listen, with the radio off.

PRAYER: Lord, so much of the time I find myself judging someone for various reasons, but especially their age. I pray I find those moments as opportunities to distribute Your love, and to reflect a desire to keep Your commandments.

“but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments” (Exodus 20:6 NIV).

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

© 2013, Mollie Bond. All rights reserved. Published at www.molliebond.org.

It’s My Party

Thank you to The Christian Pulse for publishing my devos once a month!

It’s My Party

Posted: 30 May 2013 02:00 AM PDT

By Mollie Bond –

One person at every party wins these titles: drama queen, party-pooper, Debbie downer. When I was 12, you could have called me Debbie.

At my friend’s thirteenth birthday, her mom let us watch a “scary” PG-13 movie: Death Becomes Her. I was almost 13. My mom said I could watch it. After eating pizza, watching the movie, and calling the radio station to play “It’s My Party,” we fell asleep in New Kids on the Block sleeping bags under a cake-covered tablecloth fort.

I woke up at 2 a.m. haunted by scary parts of the movie. I saw blood-drenched limbs everywhere. I put my hand gently on the wall, avoiding light switches. I found the phone, called home and said, “I’m going to die! Come get me!” My sleepy parents talked me out of my wild fear and fetched me in the morning.

We read in Genesis of how Joseph’s eleven brothers dramatized a scary moment, too. Reuben and Joseph’s other brothers had sold Joseph long ago. Joseph became head-honcho in Egypt. Not knowing what became of Joseph, his brothers came to Egypt to buy food and did not recognize him. Joseph pretended to believe they were spies and kept Simeon, a brother, in prison.

Reuben, the “I told you so” brother, thought this evil ruler of Egypt was going to lock up Simeon forever because of his past. Reuben wailed, “Oh, how terrible!” (True.) “We killed Joseph!” (Not true, they sold him.) “He cried out to us and we didn’t listen,” (True.) “and we’re going to die!” (Not true.) Reuben exploded into a woe-is-me party. It’s his party and he’ll cry if he wants to.

Sometimes our memories warp and we exaggerate scary moments. What stressors seem magnified now, but won’t matter in a week, a month, a year? What scary memories haunt you? Are you remembering them correctly, or are they food for a pity party?

PRAYER: Father, I’m calling on You because I remember something horrible, but perhaps it wasn’t as terrible as I remember. I’m glad You took care of me and want to use those scary moments for good. I’ll dry my tears and scale back the drama. Amen.

“Speaking among themselves, they said, “Clearly we are being punished because of what we did to Joseph long ago. We saw his anguish when he pleaded for his life, but we wouldn’t listen. That’s why we’re in this trouble.”

“Didn’t I tell you not to sin against the boy?” Reuben asked. “But you wouldn’t listen. And now we have to answer for his blood!”” (Genesis 42:21-22 NLT).

Stay Straight

Author’s Note: This was posted at The Christian Pulse. Since April of 2013, the post has been removed at the original link, but you can still enjoy it below! 

Do not turn aside from any of the commands I give you today, to the right or to the left, following other gods and serving them. Deuteronomy 28:14 NIV

Posted: 11 Apr 2013 02:00 AM PDT

By Mollie Bond –

When I was a 5 year old, I often watched my mom get in the car, put the keys in the ignition, and turn the key. One day, as my mom wrapped up her day as the church secretary, she handed me the keys to the jeep. “Here,” she said, “wait in the car.”

Feeling the weight of her trust in the keys she handed me, I pranced outside. Thinking I could do something that would make my mom happy, I got in the driver’s side, and just like my mom, put the keys in the ignition. Look at me! What would really make her happy? Trying to do everything just like she did: I turned the key.

I think I screamed. The steering wheel felt unnatural in my small hands. The manual transmission had been left in neutral. The jeep lurched past the sidewalk, down the little embankment, and straight into…this is where my memory stops.

The top level of our church had two wings held together by a narrow hallway with offices on the right, and the sanctuary on the left. The hallway area also enclosed the entry way to stairs leading to the lower level and overlooking the basketball court. The jeep hit right between the two wings, smack-dab at the top of those stairs. I took out the front wall.

The following Sunday, plastic covered the front of the church. One beam remained unbroken. If that board had broken, I would have traveled in the jeep down the stairs and out to the lower level.

Gripping the steering wheel and making sure I kept straight, kept that beam steady enough to hold.

PRAYER: God, I might try to take hold of the wheel and do what I think will make me happy. Instead, I’d like to learn how to keep going straight, listening to Your voice before I put the car in gear. I’m giving You room to speak to me today.

Photo by Timothy Eberly on Unsplash

© 2013 Mollie Bond. All rights reserved.

Steak and Honey

A steak-sized shout out to my Word Weaver friends for their tremendous help, and my editor, Suzy, who continues to encourage and inspire The Christian Pulse team.

March 6, 2013 by    

Filed under Daily Devotions

By Mollie Bond-

Sizzling, succulent, scrumptious. In other words, a Brazilian steakhouse. I winked at my friends Tammy, Jennifer, and Callie at the decadent restaurant as the servers slid out the fabric-covered chairs. Slightly drooling, we found our way to at the salad bar, which included raw fish, mozzarella carved from the wheel, and basil salad dressing. The girls waited for me to finish. At the last bite, the real fun began.

“Turn the cards!” Tammy said with much flair as she picked up the card next to her plate. We flipped the card to green. When we needed a moment, we flipped the card back to red. However, I saw most tables had green cards because of what came your way with a green card.

Meat sizzled past my ear. Foot-long skewers of meat came right to my table. The server slid the sharp knife through the meat while the tongs I held keep it from falling. Instantaneously, lamb, beef, chicken, spicy sausage, and

A Brazilian Steakhouse Experience

A Brazilian Steakhouse Experience

filet mignon wrapped in bacon, were rushed to my side with one flip. Just as we started whispering in an un-lady-like manner about how a belt needed to be loosened, Callie said, “I can’t even taste what I’m eating anymore.” It reminded me of the verse in Proverbs that warns about eating just enough.

“What is this?” as her fork held up some type of meat. Defeated, the fork and the meat landed back on her plate. She’s right. The more we ate, the less appetizing meat sounded. Even bacon.

I wondered how many other times in life do I gorge myself? What about in my finances, or my quest for a better job, or my desire for more down time? Contentment, knowing when enough is enough, is so hard to come by in America; especially in American Brazilian steakhouses.

PRAYER: Father, I’m turning my card to green to You. Yet I am leaving it on red for that feeling of discontentment. I’m glad for the many good things in my life, and I’m determined to enjoy them fully.

“One who is full loathes honey from the comb, but to the hungry even what is bitter tastes sweet” (Proverbs 27:7 NIV).

Questioning my Generosity

Thanks to Word Weavers, who gives great insights, and to The Christian Pulse, who continues to support devotional writers!

As seen at The Christian Pulse.

February 28, 2013 by 
Filed under Daily Devotions

By Mollie Bond –

I’ve got a new five-year journal; it is a resolution of sorts. The journal isn’t a bit of space to write random thoughts. Rather, each page poses a question for each day of the year.

When you finish the first year, you start over, answering each question again, until all five years have been completed. Your answers to questions like, “What did you last eat?” and “What is your motivation?” or even more challenging: “When was the last time you were generous?” will reveal developments in your life and character.

As a follower of Jesus, I should give everything. But when was the last time I had given anything? Do time and effort count? I work hard for my boss. Does that count?

The question of generosity reminded me of the last time I did something unexpected. A lady in front of me at the grocery store didn’t have enough food stamps to cover the expense of baby formula. I added her formula to my bill, and wished her a good day. I wanted to take time to share the entire gospel. However, God held me back. Generosity is simple, random, and perhaps the loudest evangelist of all. In the end, I’m answering a question in a journal, and I realized that was the last time I was spontaneous in my generosity.

Jesus had moments when He had to keep moving, but He stopped to give compassion as in Matthew 15. The woman wouldn’t let up. Motherly instincts for her sick daughter prompted her persistence. As a Gentile, she might not have been at the top of the list of people Jesus needed to see that day. She followed Jesus to get what she wanted, knowing Jesus was on a mission. When He said his priorities laid elsewhere, the woman asked for a moment of compassion. Would He pick up the tab? Would He stop in his busy day to heal her daughter, even though she wasn’t on the list? He agreed. In a moment, Jesus made an exception in the spirit of compassion and generosity.

You may not have a journal to remind you to be spontaneous and generous, but Jesus gives us a spirit of compassion. Use it.

PRAYER: I may not be good at this generosity thing, but I know you will help me. Will you show me more how to keep my eyes open for moments of giving? I’m looking for the next opportunity.

“Then Jesus answered, ‘Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.’ And her daughter was healed from that very hour” (Matthew 15:28 NIV).

Root for the Dentist

Author’s Note: A huge thank you to my Word Weaver Naperville friends who give me honest assessments, making me a better writer.  The product of their expertise is below.  (Disclaimer:  I did keep the “Heavenly Dentist” line, not to offend, but perhaps encourage readers to see that cleanings might be painful, but helpful in the light of longevity.)

Also a thank you to Janet Morris Grimes, who has continued to encourage me throughout her tenure as Editor as The Christian Pulse.  She played a huge role in jump-starting this journey I’m traveling. While The Christian Pulse still exists, this particular post (from January 8, 2013) no longer lives on their site.

Rubbing my hands, I cried in my idling car. Clinging to the dentist chair hurt my hands, and, coupled with the extra two hours for a cavity filling, I was ready for a good cry. The dentist had to re-do the same tooth three times because the filling kept popping off. Closing my eyes, I tried to dream of a far away place, and not think of the metallic taste and the “pinch” of more Novocain. Eventually, the dentist skipped the Novocain for lack of time, and the “pinch” became a sharp pain I felt in my gut.

No one likes to cry after visiting the dentist. I’ve had my share of poor experiences. The oral surgeon waited to remove my wisdom teeth because I couldn’t stop crying when they gave me the “knock-out” gas. I have what’s been deemed “slick teeth,” and it makes filling cavities fun. As fun as sitting for hours in an uncomfortable chair next to a jack-hammer in a construction zone. That’s the way it is. I have a problematic mouth.

My friend, Tina Crown, also has a problematic mouth. For years, she had one cavity. One little, teeny, tiny cavity. Not a big deal; no real problems. Tina and her husband, Todd, went to a new dentist. Neither felt surprised by the two root canals Todd needed. He often has work to be done. She went in next, expecting to hear glowing reports of her dental hygiene for the tenth year in a row. Instead, the dentist said, “Mrs. Crown, you also need a root canal.” The new dentist found a cavity under the old filling. The original cavity wasn’t completely removed and had festered for years, while she assumed her mouth was clean. Add one more crown to the Crowns’ dental budget.

What in life is problematic? What has been covered, and needs a deep cleaning? Let the Heavenly Dentist take a look around, even in those places that might hurt.

PRAYER: God, I think things are hunky-dory with my fillings, but I’m ready for a checkup. Does a hole exist underneath? Do I need to refine my daily cleaning routine? Will you take a look around? I’m ready for a root canal, even if it hurts. Thank You for wanting to help me be healthy and holy.

“My eyes are on all their ways; they are not hidden from me, nor is their sin concealed from my eyes” (Jeremiah 16:17 NIV).

Find me at facebook.com/HopelesslyHopefulBooks.

Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash

© 2020, Mollie Bond. All rights reserved. Originally published at www.molliebond.wordpress.com.

Adoption (Based on a True Story)

Thank you to Ann, who allowed me to shorten a very precious story. I feel like I’ve gone on an amazing road trip and had only 3 minutes to tell you just about the pavement on Interstate 90, while missing the chance to tell you about the thousands of miles of scenery. Alas, I also find this story powerful and needed to tell you about.

Another thank you to Word Weavers. Your dedication and honesty is appreciated! Would I be published without you? I dismiss that nightmare quickly.

Finally, thank you to The Christian Pulse, who originally published this story, but has since removed older posts.

December 3, 2012 by 

Stacy clamped onto her new adoptive mother and stared as the van gained speed down the mountainside. She didn’t cry as Colombia passed into a memory. She crusted into a stoic two-year-old. She didn’t say goodbye to her birth mother who dropped her off at the orphanage frequently. Then she would return again after a week or two. This time Stacy wouldn’t be at the orphanage.

Stacy couldn’t stop crying. After being in the United States six months, she stopped as quickly as she started. It was as if she put her anguish into a box, and hid the grief for fourteen years.

Now, a shattered Stacy sat with her parents on one side of the table; a representative from the adoption agency sat on the other side. The previous night she and her adoptive parents tried to determine what was best for Stacy’s illegitimate daughter. It came time to sign away her rights.

Stacy’s father began the meeting. “Fourteen years ago, a woman made a difficult choice. She gave her child something she couldn’t provide.” Stacy’s body went rigid with the overwhelming memories. She leaked a tear that became a rush of emotion. This anguish wasn’t satisfied with stuffing the emotions back into the depleted box. This pain refreshed her and her decision. In a moment, Stacy realized that her birth mother loved her, and that her mother did a very brave thing. She also saw the significance of her adopted parents, and their unconditional love because she now felt that same love for her new daughter. Healing began that day. Freedom brought relief from crying.

We too must grieve our former lives and realize we now live a better life under God’s care through adoption. We can welcome freedom and love as we see others being loved. Sometimes giving up circumstances or people frees us, and them, to enjoy a new situation.

Are there changes at work? Is a friend moving? Is there someone unforgiven in your life? Who in your life needs to be released? Give up treasured people so you can receive treasures from others. Hand them over to their adoptive Heavenly Father, who has a much better plan for them than you can provide.

PRAYER: Father, I’m glad You’ve taken me in as Your own. Help me to release those people and situations to You so that they can be taken into Your family. I grieve what I wanted, but know You will give something better in return. Thank You for being my Father.

“For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God” (Romans 8:14 NIV).

Photo by Niels van Altena on Unsplash

© 2012, Mollie Bond. All rights reserved. Published at www.molliebond.org.

Traveling Between Blunders and Blessings

As seen at The Christian Pulse, Posted: 08 Nov 2012 05:26 AM PST. The page with this article has since been taken down, but I am still grateful for The Christian Pulse.

It was the best worst day. I traveled by myself to downtown Chicago for the first time for an interview. I sent out oh-so-many applications and resumes. This was one of two companies that called back. I put on my dry-clean only clothes, prepared my answers, and gave myself pep-talks. While on the elevated train, I got a phone call from the interviewer. They cancelled. I got off at the next stop, and started the train ride into despair.

After the train ride, I still had a 20-minute drive home. While sulking, I didn’t retrieve my paid ticket. I couldn’t get out of the garage. I didn’t have $40 for a new ticket. I kept putting my credit card into the machine, praying for the gate to let me out.

Eventually, a garage employee found me crying. I couldn’t catch my breath to tell my story. She said she’d pay my way out. A single working mom footed my bill. I couldn’t believe it, and instantly felt guilty as a single person. As that gate lifted, my spirits did too. I wanted to take a minute to thank God for this employee.

I pulled into the nearest gas station and prayed. The car jolted when a woman hit my parked car. She recently lost her job and didn’t have money to fix the “fat lip” from a previous accident on her front bumper. It bounced me off my recent rise in spirits. It was the worst of days.

After I quit wallowing, God repaired everything in one swipe. Later I got the job without the interview. I was let out of the gate without paying extra and I never again forgot to grab my paid ticket. The woman who hit me gave me job tips that I passed along to others. The car was not damaged.

Those plans and the pep-talk I gave myself that morning could not have prepared me for that day, yet God made it successful.

QUOTE: “When men have done their worst and finished, it is the time for God to begin. And when God begins He is likely, with one blow, to reverse all that has been done without Him.” F.B. Meyer

“There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the Lord” (Proverbs 21:30 NIV).

Photo by Sergi Kabrera on Unsplash

© 2012, Mollie Bond. All rights reserved. Published at www.molliebond.org.

Seasons or Scenery

As seen at The Christian Pulse.

Seasons or Scenery
Posted: 18 Oct 2012 02:00 AM PDT
By Mollie Bond –

Seasons or scenery: the top two reasons I move and change jobs. I may move because I need a change of scenery, but mostly it is because I need a change of seasons.

It’s like this—a crew of Muppets comes to a fork in the road. Their decision mimics my decision. The fork the Muppets see, literally is a fork. Great for comedy, but in real life, forks have prongs that hurt, so I’m careful with my choices. I can find a job based on the scenery (where is it?), or I can find a job based on the season (what I’ll be doing).

Two signs in the fork in the road point to two directions. One sign says “move first.” If I choose scenery, it usually requires a move. I risk moving to a town I like and try to job search. I’ll walk into companies in hopes for the impromptu interview.

The other sign says, “job first.” Find the job you like, then move. That risk is to wait where I am (in search of seasons), and pour resumes into the Abyss where my resumes might also see the Abysses’ city dump.

Sometimes I’ve chosen the Abyss. (I’ve heard it’s a nice place in the fall.) Sometimes I’ve waited at my current location. Here’s where my Bible knowledge comes in handy.

God has an opinion. That opinion on whether you go or stay is straightforward. Seek Him, find Him, and then glorify Him. I first will search for Him.

Okay then. The next step after seeking Him is that I’ll find Him. Check. Then glorify Him. I can glorify Him in this scenery or this season. He is close by us no matter where we are in life. He gives us two choices of scenery or seasons so that we will “reach out for Him and find Him” (Acts 17:27). Pray lots, continue to seek Him, find Him, and glorify Him in day-to-day living. As time goes on, the answer will come, and maybe it will be both seasons and scenery.

PRAYER: God, thank You for creating both scenery and seasons. I pray no matter which situation I am in today, that I seek You, find You, and glorify You.

“From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us” (Acts 17:26-27 NIV)

Houdini

Author’s Note: Thank you to Janet Grimes and The Christian Pulse, who originally posted this in December 2012. Also a thank you to my devoted Word Weavers writing group. Based on a true story from a co-worker.

“A man in the crowd answered, ‘Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech. It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.’ “‘If you can”?’ said Jesus. ‘Everything is possible for one who believes.’ Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, ‘I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!’”

Mark 9:17, 22-24 NIV

Granddaughter Joselyn pushed back her hair with chubby hands and huffed. Her grandfather and grandmother tracked Joselyn’s progress as she learned about life. At age three, some things went over her head. But on this night, he had the privilege of explaining death.

Their cat, Houdini, actually died a year earlier. But since that time, little Joselyn came over to their house and asked, “Where is the cat?” Each time, he explained, “I’m sorry, but the cat won’t come back. He has passed on.”

At dinner, it was her chance to pray. As a proud grandfather, he allowed the precious moment to sink into his heart. She began, “God, thank You for food. And when is Grandpa’s cat coming back? Although I don’t think he can. Amen.”

Grandpa turned his thoughts to the man with a possessed son. A man came to Jesus, and asked him to heal his son, if He could. “If I can?” Jesus retorts. The man realized it’s not his faith that needed help, but rather during the times he didn’t believe. The man knew that Jesus had power to do as He pleased. He trusted God, but could his faith support healing a demonized son? Jesus used the occasion to applaud the man’s honesty. Sure, Jesus could heal his son.

Joselyn asked for the cat to come back. Would her faith to allow her to see the cat again? It’s worth asking, even with little faith. Grandpa stifled a laugh, and thanked his granddaughter. In her innocence, she asked for a cat—named Houdini—to come back. This is a miracle yet to happen, but no one shunned the girl for asking.

What do you ask for, but don’t really expect Jesus to do? Jesus healed a possessed son, so He can fulfill your prayer, too. Who knows? Just as the real Houdini escaped chains and straight jackets, maybe Houdini the cat will escape death, based on a little girl’s prayer.

PRAYER: God, I’d like to ask You for a big thing. I want to trust You when I’m up against something big. Would You help me when my faith falters and I’m not sure You can do it? Thank you for the times You do so without me asking.

Houdini (2012)

Photo by Cédric VT on Unsplash

© 2012, Mollie Bond. All rights reserved. Originally published at www.molliebond.org.