Civil War (Mental Health)

One of my best friends, Gavin Yeatts,  came across something that reminded him of my son, how he worded things and his own personal dilemmas.

Gavin wrote me,

I remember Alex’s passion with facing topics of controversy. Especially those topics that many Christians in the Church have misunderstood or fell into the trap of legalism. 

I think about his well spoken and poetic way of delivering a testimony or message. The following quote is something I really connected with and really made me think of Alex. Love you Tom, call me anytime. 

Here is the quote,

“Our friend died on his own battlefield. He was killed in action, fighting a civil war. He fought against adversaries that were as real to him as his casket is real to us. They were powerful adversaries. They took on his energies and endurance. They exhausted the last vestiges of his courage, and only God knows how this child of His suffered in the silent skirmishes that took place in his soul.” 
From the book ​”The Art of Helping”
Author: Lauren Littauer Briggs

-Quote from unknown pastor

A perfect poetic description. 

Thank you Gavin.

Jeremiah 9

Oh, that my head were a spring of water and my eyes a fountain of tears! 

I would weep day and night for the slain of my people. 

 Oh, that I had in the desert a lodging place for travelers, so that I might leave my people and go away from them; for they are all adulterers, a crowd of unfaithful people.

 “They make ready their tongue like a bow, to shoot lies; it is not by truth that they triumph in the land.

 They go from one sin to another; they do not acknowledge me,” declares the Lord . 

 “Beware of your friends; do not trust anyone in your clan. For every one of them is a deceiver, and every friend a slanderer. 

 Friend deceives friend, and no one speaks the truth. 

They have taught their tongues to lie; they weary themselves with sinning. 

 You live in the midst of deception; in their deceit they refuse to acknowledge me,” declares the Lord.

 Therefore this is what the Lord Almighty says: “See, I will refine and test them, for what else can I do because of the sin of my people?

 Their tongue is a deadly arrow; it speaks deceitfully. With their mouths they all speak cordially to their neighbors, but in their hearts they set traps for them. 

 Should I not punish them for this?” declares the Lord . 

“Should I not avenge myself on such a nation as this?”

 I will weep and wail for the mountains and take up a lament concerning the wilderness grasslands.

 They are desolate and untraveled, and the lowing of cattle is not heard. The birds have all fled and the animals are gone. 

 “I will make Jerusalem a heap of ruins, a haunt of jackals; and I will lay waste the towns of Judah so no one can live there.”

 Who is wise enough to understand this? 

Who has been instructed by the Lord and can explain it?

 Why has the land been ruined and laid waste like a desert that no one can cross?

 The Lord said, “It is because they have forsaken my law, which I set before them; they have not obeyed me or followed my law.

 Instead, they have followed the stubbornness of their hearts; they have followed the Baals, as their ancestors taught them.” 

Therefore this is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: 

“See, I will make this people eat bitter food and drink poisoned water. I will scatter them among nations that neither they nor their ancestors have known, and I will pursue them with the sword until I have made an end of them.” 

 This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Consider now! Call for the wailing women to come; send for the most skillful of them. Let them come quickly and wail over us till our eyes overflow with tears and water streams from our eyelids.

The sound of wailing is heard from Zion: ‘How ruined we are! How great is our shame! We must leave our land because our houses are in ruins.’ ”

 Now, you women, hear the word of the Lord ; open your ears to the words of his mouth. 

Teach your daughters how to wail; teach one another a lament.

 Death has climbed in through our windows and has entered our fortresses; it has removed the children from the streets and the young men from the public squares. Say, “This is what the Lord declares: “ ‘Dead bodies will lie like dung on the open field, like cut grain behind the reaper, with no one to gather them.’ ” 

 This is what the Lord says: “Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches, but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the Lord , who exercises 

  • kindness, 
  • justice and 
  • righteousness on earth, 

for in these I delight,” declares the Lord .

 “The days are coming,” declares the Lord , “when I will punish all who are circumcised only in the flesh— Egypt, Judah, Edom, Ammon, Moab and all who live in the wilderness in distant places. For all these nations are really uncircumcised, and even the whole house of Israel is uncircumcised in heart.”
Jeremiah 9:1‭-‬26 NIV

Salt Light Life

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
John 8 NIV

Here in St. Augustine there is a restaurant & brand name apparel, ‘Salt Life’. I always assumed it was another way of expressing a lifestyle of living near the salty shore & air.

You spend the day at the beach, even if you don’t go in the water, and you’ll leave with salt on your skin.

We pick up things around us, good and bad, healthy and not healthy (germs). However,  Christ is able to live in us and through us so that even if we are in a dark place HE is still the light. 

Take everything with a grain of salt. 

Jesus also said, to the Jews who had believed him,

 “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.  Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”   Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.  Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever.  So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

John 8:31‭-‬32‭, ‬34‭-‬36 NIV

So also He is, and with Him we can be,  The Salt of the earth.

Jesus says,

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.    

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.  Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 

 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Matthew 5:13‭-‬16 NIV

So where ever we are, where ever we are place, where ever we find ourselves in this life, with Christ in us we can be light & salt.

It’s a lifestyle,  a relationship, not a religion. 

In Christ,  Beetle 

Worthless Religion 

Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
James 1:26‭-‬27 NIV

Watching out for wolves  in sheep’s clothing.  Staying away from the buck of the goats…

Enough said, Beetle 

Jeremiah 8 (Doglike Devotion to Who & What?)

“And when the time comes”— God ’s Decree!—“I’ll see to it that they dig up the bones of the kings of Judah, the bones of the princes and priests and prophets, and yes, even the bones of the common people. They’ll dig them up and spread them out like a congregation at worship before sun, moon, and stars, all those sky gods they’ve been so infatuated with all these years, following their ‘lucky stars’ in doglike devotion

The bones will be left scattered and exposed, to reenter the soil as fertilizer, like manure. 

“Everyone left—all from this evil generation unlucky enough to still be alive in whatever godforsaken place I will have driven them to—will wish they were dead.” Decree of God -of-the-Angel-Armies. 

“Tell them this, God ’s Message: “‘Do people fall down and not get up? Or take the wrong road and then just keep going?

 So why does this people go backward, and just keep on going— backward! 

They stubbornly hold on to their illusions, refuse to change direction.

 I listened carefully but heard not so much as a whisper. 

No one expressed one word of regret. Not a single “I’m sorry” did I hear. 

They just kept at it, blindly and stupidly banging their heads against a brick wall.

 Cranes know when it’s time to move south for winter. And robins, warblers, and bluebirds know when it’s time to come back again. But my people? My people know nothing, not the first thing of God and his rule. 

“‘How can you say, “We know the score. We’re the proud owners of God ’s revelation”? Look where it’s gotten you—stuck in illusion. 

Your religion experts have taken you for a ride! Your know-it-alls will be unmasked, caught and shown up for what they are.

 Look at them! 

They know everything but God ’s Word. 

Do you call that “knowing”? 

“‘So here’s what will happen to the know-it-alls: I’ll make them wifeless and homeless. Everyone’s after the dishonest dollar, little people and big people alike. Prophets and priests and everyone in between twist words and doctor truth. 

My dear Daughter—my people—broken, shattered, and yet they put on Band-Aids, Saying, “It’s not so bad. You’ll be just fine.” But things are not “just fine”! 

Do you suppose they are embarrassed over this outrage? 

Not really.

 They have no shame. They don’t even know how to blush. There’s no hope for them. They’ve hit bottom and there’s no getting up. 

As far as I’m concerned, they’re finished.’” God has spoken. “‘I went out to see if I could salvage anything’” — God ’s Decree— “‘but found nothing: Not a grape, not a fig, just a few withered leaves. I’m taking back everything I gave them.’” 

So why are we sitting here, doing nothing? Let’s get organized. Let’s go to the big city and at least die fighting. 

We’ve gotten God ’s ultimatum: We’re damned if we do and damned if we don’t— damned because of our sin against him. We hoped things would turn out for the best, but it didn’t happen that way. 

We were waiting around for healing— and terror showed up! From Dan at the northern borders we hear the hooves of horses, Horses galloping, horses neighing. The ground shudders and quakes. They’re going to swallow up the whole country. Towns and people alike—fodder for war.

 “‘What’s more, I’m dispatching poisonous snakes among you, Snakes that can’t be charmed, snakes that will bite you and kill you.’” God ’s Decree! 

I drown in grief. I’m heartsick. Oh, listen! Please listen! It’s the cry of my dear people reverberating through the country. Is God no longer in Zion? Has the King gone away? Can you tell me why they flaunt their plaything-gods, their silly, imported no-gods before me

The crops are in, the summer is over, but for us nothing’s changed. 

We’re still waiting to be rescued. For my dear broken people, I’m heartbroken. I weep, seized by grief.

 Are there no healing ointments in Gilead? 

Isn’t there a doctor in the house? 

So why can’t something be done to heal and save my dear, dear people?
Jeremiah 8:1‭-‬22 MSG

Calling God for help and healing in His Body (The Church).

In Christ,  Beetle 

Jeremiah 7 (Clearing Out The Temple)

As I read what God tells Jeremiah in Chapter 7 I think back to when Jesus cleared & cleaned out the temple.

The Message from God to Jeremiah: “Stand in the gate of God ’s Temple and preach this Message. “Say, 

‘Listen, all you people of Judah who come through these gates to worship God. God -of-the-Angel-Armies, Israel’s God, has this to say to you: 

“‘Clean up your act—the way you live, the things you do—so I can make my home with you in this place. 

Don’t for a minute believe the lies being spoken here—“This is God ’s Temple, God ’s Temple, God ’s Temple!” Total nonsense!

  Only if you clean up your act (the way you live, the things you do), only if you do a total spring cleaning on the way you live and treat your neighbors, only if you quit exploiting the street people and orphans and widows, no longer taking advantage of innocent people on this very site and no longer destroying your souls by using this Temple as a front for other gods—only then will I move into your neighborhood. Only then will this country I gave your ancestors be my permanent home, my Temple.  (See James 1:27)

“‘Get smart! Your leaders are handing you a pack of lies, and you’re swallowing them! 

Use your heads! Do you think you can rob and murder, have sex with the neighborhood wives, tell lies nonstop, worship the local gods, and buy every novel religious commodity on the market—and then march into this Temple, set apart for my worship, and say, “We’re safe!” thinking that the place itself gives you a license to go on with all this outrageous sacrilege? A cave full of criminals! 

Do you think you can turn this Temple, set apart for my worship, into something like that?

 Well, think again.

 I’ve got eyes in my head. I can see what’s going on.’” God ’s Decree! 

“‘Take a trip down to the place that was once in Shiloh, where I met my people in the early days. Take a look at those ruins, what I did to it because of the evil ways of my people Israel. 

“‘So now, because of the way you have lived and failed to listen, even though time and again I took you aside and talked seriously with you, and because you refused to change when I called you to repent, I’m going to do to this Temple, set aside for my worship, this place you think is going to keep you safe no matter what, this place I gave as a gift to your ancestors and you, the same as I did to Shiloh. And as for you, I’m going to get rid of you, the same as I got rid of those old relatives of yours around Shiloh, your fellow Israelites in that former kingdom to the north.’ 

“And you, Jeremiah, don’t waste your time praying for this people. Don’t offer to make petitions or intercessions. Don’t bother me with them. I’m not listening. Can’t you see what they’re doing in all the villages of Judah and in the Jerusalem streets? 

Why, they’ve got the children gathering wood while the fathers build fires and the mothers make bread to be offered to ‘the Queen of Heaven’! And as if that weren’t bad enough, they go around pouring out libations to any other gods they come across, just to hurt me. 

“But is it me they’re hurting?” God ’s Decree! 

“Aren’t they just hurting themselves? 

Exposing themselves shamefully? 

Making themselves ridiculous? 

“Here’s what the Master God has to say: ‘My white-hot anger is about to descend on this country and everything in it—people and animals, trees in the field and vegetables in the garden—a raging wildfire that no one can put out.’ 

“The Message from God -of-the-Angel-Armies, Israel’s God: ‘Go ahead! Put your burnt offerings with all your other sacrificial offerings and make a good meal for yourselves. I sure don’t want them! 

When I delivered your ancestors out of Egypt, I never said anything to them about wanting burnt offerings and sacrifices as such. 

But I did say this, commanded this: “Obey me. Do what I say and I will be your God and you will be my people.

 Live the way I tell you. Do what I command so that your lives will go well.” 

“‘But do you think they listened? 

Not a word of it. They did just what they wanted to do, indulged any and every evil whim and got worse day by day. 

From the time your ancestors left the land of Egypt until now, I’ve supplied a steady stream of my servants the prophets, but do you think the people listened? 

Not once. 

Stubborn as mules and worse than their ancestors!’ 

“Tell them all this, but don’t expect them to listen. 

Call out to them, but don’t expect an answer. Tell them, ‘You are the nation that wouldn’t obey God , that refused all discipline. 

Truth has disappeared. 

There’s not a trace of it left in your mouths.

 “‘So shave your heads. Go bald to the hills and lament, For God has rejected and left this generation that has made him so angry.’ 

“The people of Judah have lived evil lives while I’ve stood by and watched.” God ’s Decree. 

“In deliberate insult to me, they’ve set up their obscene god-images in the very Temple that was built to honor me. They’ve constructed Topheth altars for burning babies in prominent places all through the valley of Ben-hinnom, altars for burning their sons and daughters alive in the fire—a shocking perversion of all that I am and all I command.

 “But soon, very soon”— God ’s Decree!—“the names Topheth and Ben-hinnom will no longer be used. They’ll call the place what it is: Murder Meadow. Corpses will be stacked up in Topheth because there’s no room left to bury them! Corpses abandoned in the open air, fed on by crows and coyotes, who have the run of the place. And I’ll empty both smiles and laughter from the villages of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem. No wedding songs, no holiday sounds. Dead silence.”
Jeremiah 7:1‭-‬2‭, ‬2‭-‬3‭, ‬3‭-‬34 MSG

May we not be like those God delivered this message to.

In Christ,  Beetle 

TUNE IN -Jeremiah 6 (portioned)

“I’ve got something to say. 

Is anybody listening? 

I’ve a warning to post.

 Will anyone notice? 

It’s hopeless! 

Their ears are stuffed with wax— deaf as a post, blind as a bat.

 It’s hopeless! 

They’ve tuned out God .

 They don’t want to hear from me. 

But I’m bursting with the wrath of God.

 I can’t hold it in much longer.

 “So dump it on the children in the streets. Let it loose on the gangs of youth. For no one’s exempt: Husbands and wives will be taken, the old and those ready to die; Their homes will be given away— all they own, even their loved ones— When I give the signal against all who live in this country.” –  God ’s Decree. 

God ’s Message yet again: “Go stand at the crossroads and look around. Ask for directions to the old road, The tried-and-true road. Then take it. 

Discover the right route for your souls. 

But they said, ‘Nothing doing. We aren’t going that way.’ I even provided watchmen for them to warn them, to set off the alarm. But the people said, ‘It’s a false alarm. It doesn’t concern us.’ And so I’m calling in the nations as witnesses: ‘Watch, witnesses, what happens to them!’ And, ‘Pay attention, Earth! Don’t miss these bulletins.’ 

I’m visiting catastrophe on this people, the end result of the games they’ve been playing with me. 

They’ve ignored everything I’ve said, had nothing but contempt for my teaching. 

  • What would I want with incense brought in from Sheba, rare spices from exotic places? 
  • Your burnt sacrifices in worship give me no pleasure. 
  • Your religious rituals mean nothing to me.”

 So listen to this. Here’s God ’s verdict on your way of life: 

“Watch out! I’m putting roadblocks and barriers on the road you’re taking. They’ll send you sprawling, parents and children, neighbors and friends— and that will be the end of the lot of you.” 

And listen to this verdict from God : “Look out! An invasion from the north, a mighty power on the move from a faraway place: Armed to the teeth, vicious and pitiless, Booming like sea storm and thunder—tramp, tramp, tramp— riding hard on war horses, In battle formation against you, dear Daughter Zion!” 

We’ve heard the news, and we’re as limp as wet dishrags. 

We’re paralyzed with fear.

 Terror has a death grip on our throats.

 Don’t dare go outdoors! Don’t leave the house! Death is on the prowl. Danger everywhere! “Dear Daughter Zion: Dress in black. Blacken your face with ashes. Weep most bitterly, as for an only child. 

The countdown has begun . . . six, five, four, three . . . The Terror is on us!” God gave me this task: “I have made you the examiner of my people, to examine and weigh their lives.

 They’re a thickheaded, hard-nosed bunch, rotten to the core, the lot of them. Refining fires are cranked up to white heat, but the ore stays a lump, unchanged. It’s useless to keep trying any longer.

 Nothing can refine evil out of them. 

Men will give up and call them ‘slag,’ thrown on the slag heap by me, their God .”
Jeremiah 6:10‭-‬11‭, ‬16‭-‬30 MSG

Powerful warnings to God’s people in Jeremiah’s day.  

Remembering that God is the same yesterday,  today & forever I put my trust in Him. I give my attention and consideration to Him.

Praying, Lord, open my eyes & ears to You so that I don’t tune You out.

In Christ name, for His sake, Beetle 

Jeremiah 5 continued (verses 10-31)

God spoke to Jeremiah.  Jeremiah relayed His message to Israel.

“Go through her vineyards and ravage them, but do not destroy them completely. Strip off her branches, for these people do not belong to the Lord . 

 The people of Israel and the people of Judah have been utterly unfaithful to me,” declares the Lord. 

 They have lied about the Lord ; they said,

 “He will do nothing! No harm will come to us; we will never see sword or famine. The prophets are but wind and the word is not in them; so let what they say be done to them.”

 Therefore this is what the Lord God Almighty says: “Because the people have spoken these words, I will make my words in your mouth a fire and these people the wood it consumes. People of Israel,” declares the Lord , 

“I am bringing a distant nation against you— an ancient and enduring nation, a people whose language you do not know, whose speech you do not understand. Their quivers are like an open grave; all of them are mighty warriors. They will devour your harvests and food, devour your sons and daughters; they will devour your flocks and herds, devour your vines and fig trees. With the sword they will destroy the fortified cities in which you trust. 

 “Yet even in those days,” declares the Lord , “I will not destroy you completely. And when the people ask, ‘Why has the Lord our God done all this to us?’ you will tell them, ‘As you have forsaken me and served foreign gods in your own land, so now you will serve foreigners in a land not your own.’

 “Announce this to the descendants of Jacob and proclaim it in Judah: Hear this, you foolish and senseless people, who have eyes but do not see, who have ears but do not hear

 Should you not fear me?” declares the Lord . 

“Should you not tremble in my presence? I made the sand a boundary for the sea, an everlasting barrier it cannot cross. The waves may roll, but they cannot prevail; they may roar, but they cannot cross it. But these people have stubborn and rebellious hearts; they have turned aside and gone away. They do not say to themselves, ‘Let us fear the Lord our God, who gives autumn and spring rains in season, who assures us of the regular weeks of harvest.’

 Your wrongdoings have kept these away; your sins have deprived you of good.

 “Among my people are the wicked who lie in wait like men who snare birds and like those who set traps to catch people. Like cages full of birds, their houses are full of deceit; they have become rich and powerful and have grown fat and sleek.

 Their evil deeds have no limit; they do not seek justice. They do not promote the case of the fatherless; they do not defend the just cause of the poor. Should I not punish them for this?” declares the Lord . 

“Should I not avenge myself on such a nation as this? “A horrible and shocking thing has happened in the land: The prophets prophesy lies, the priests rule by their own authority, and my people love it this way. But what will you do in the end?
Jeremiah 5:10‭-‬31 NIV

Enough said, recorded and given to people who once followed God’s leading but were in danger of doing things without Him.

Peayer: God help is to consider You, Your way. Prune us.

2 a.m.

Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.
Psalm 43:5 NIV

I was reading day 1 of the @YouVersion Plan “The Comeback: It’s Not Too Late And You’re Never Too Far.” & I identified with this haunting feeling I also experience regularly and consistently between 2am and 3am.

 Check it out here:

I’m trying to cut & paste it below but the link above should take you there.

God is my only hope.

Standing on His Word, Beetle 

A few years back, life was on an upswing. My schedule was cranking, and everything ran at a high energy level all the time. Yet there were also some difficult and stressful tensions swirling around our family and ministry. It felt like I never had a moment of rest. In my honest times, I felt overwhelmed.

One morning at 2 AM, completely out of the blue, I woke up with a jolt and sat straight up in bed. Sweat poured down my face. My heart was racing. I thought it was going to blow out of my chest. I really thought this was what it felt like to die.

I became stuck in this pattern. Night after night, at 2 AM, I shot straight up, wide awake, with my heart racing. A dark cloud hung over me, an overwhelming feeling of dread. Night after night after night this went on and on and on.

I’ll never forget about two months after all this began. Boom—2 AM came, and I against sat bolt upright in bed. Darkness closed in around me. It felt like I was coming to the end of my rope. I thought, I can’t do this anymore. I didn’t know where to turn. All I knew was that I couldn’t continue this way. I was at the bottom.

Almost on reflex, my heart prayed, God, you’ve got to help me. That’s all I could think to say. God, please, please help.

There was no bolt of lightning. No fast fix. No immediate cure. But the smallest snippet of a Bible verse floated through my head from Job 35:10, about how God gives us songs in the night. I said, God I don’t know what else to do. But if you’ll give me a song tonight, then I’ll praise you.

The little song wasn’t a promise that God would heal me then and there. Yet God was still a healer, and I believed in him and in his purposes. That was enough for the moment—and it was the beginning of how God created a comeback in my life.

For nights, weeks, and even months to come, I experienced a strange rhythm of dread and peace, peace and dread. Some nights it was cloud, cloud, song, song. Other nights it was song, song, cloud, cloud. Gradually, mercifully, it became song, song, song, cloud. Then one night there was no cloud at all. For months on end it remained simply song, song, song, song.

If you’re in a dark place like I was, know that you’re not crazy and you’re not alone. Maybe you have a struggle similar to mine. Maybe you have conflict with your friends, coworkers, or relatives. Maybe you’re battling to overcome an addiction. Whatever the cause, life hasn’t turned out for you the way you hoped. The good news is that Jesus can meet you there and offer you a comeback. He can redeem even the worst circumstances for his glory and your best. And he offers this comeback to you right now.

During the next six days, we will look at stories of men and women in the Bible to see how God gives hope to the hopeless, direction to the directionless, and help for those who need help. All we have to do is lift up our hands in response to God’s reaching down and declare that his plan is take us out of the valley. He can—and will—give us a comeback and lead us through.


Can you recall a storm in your life that you thought was insurmountable? How did you see God come through for you?

Why do comeback stories give us hope?

Is there an area of your life you need a comeback right now?

Making That Call

I love the Lord , for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy. Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live.
Psalm 116 NIV

I recall my grandmother telling me God’s phone number is Jeremiah 33:3,

‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’ 

Jeremiah 33:3 NIV

I’m so glad there are no strings or wires attached. 

In Christ,  Beetle 


Cell Use Within Your Cell

Call, Then Listen (by Alexx Bailey)

Calling on You, by Stryper:

The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them.

Psalm 145:18‭-‬19 NIV