Sunday, December 28, 2014

A thought on leaving Christmas lights up all year you look like a Christmas tree!?

Christmas lights...some people leave them up all year.  I for one began taking our decorations down on Christmas night!  I began to box ornaments once the last guest closed the door.  The eight trees in my home are proof we love Christmas. This is proof it's not for lack of love for the holiday that we start to un-decorate but because we know it won't be long before we are back to our regular schedules.

This year, I have a new thought on these lights. I almost regret breaking them down.  I have enjoyed the last 32 days with my halls decked so bright.  Every corner was decked with bright Christmas colors since the week of Thanksgiving.  No doubts on our street we are children of the one true King.  Remember my Tim the Tool Man manger scene?  It makes the statement loud and clear we are CHRISTians, right?

So back to un-decorating....our internal lights should not only shine those 32 days but all 365.  Thus, as we undecorate that tree, let's make sure we don't lose our decorations!

Prayers that our life lights don't go dim now that shouting Jesus is the Reason for the Season and defending Merry Christmas over Happy Holiday's is 333 days away.  May we keep that light shining bring within us for Christ so there is no doubt to those who cross our paths that we are children of God the Father-Elohim.

How do we keep those internal Christmas lights shining bright all year long other than sporting this homemade sweatshirt all year? We do this through the decorations in our lives----our words, wisdom, and works.


May our words be a reflection of The Word. May we build others up in our words.  Avoid tearing others down. The old adage "if you don't have anything good to say, don't say anything at all" applies.  I am certainly not saying we don't confront issues with one another biblically but I am saying as Christian brothers and sisters we are to lift each other up not tear each other down.  When we see our sisters and brothers in need, we encourage them.  We take time to listen to one another and to speak life in to one another.  I challenge us to let others see the light of Jesus shining bright in our life.    

1 Thessalonians 5:11 Encourage one another and build each other up...

Ephesians 4:29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 


May we follow and give godly wisdom.  This wisdom comes only from God's word.  May we ensure advice we follow or give lines up with God's word.  We may have lots of knowledge and thoughts on what someone should do, before we speak it, may we seek the Lord to ensure it is His direction and not ours.

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.  

Proverbs 12:15 The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice.

Proverbs 15:31-33 

He whose ear listens to the life-giving reproof Will dwell among the wise. He who neglects discipline despises himself, But he who listens to reproof acquires understanding. The fear of the LORD is the instruction for wisdom, And before honor comes humility.


May our works aka our deeds exemplify the hands and feet of Jesus.  Now, we are clear it's not our works that get us in to heaven, but they do demonstrate who we are in Christ. 

Colossians 3:17And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father.

Colossians 3:23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.

In Sandra Wilcher vernacular....If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and talks like a must be a duck. So, if you are a Chrisitian, you should look like one, walk like one and talk like one all year long!  May we all shine bright this year!  I don't wanna look like a duck!  I wann
a look like a CHRISTMAS tree...shining bright for CHRIST!  

Let's leave our internal Christmas lights on all year long!  

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

I don't know who she is....Let others know you KNOW Jesus!

At my office, I hear my name what feels like hundreds of times a day.  Sometimes when I hear someone call out to me or ask where I am, I call out, "I've never heard of her."  For some reason, that never stops people from walking in, starting to talk, asking for help or sharing something with me.  Usually, the only thing it does is cause a brief chuckle or get a response like this  "you are crazy." However, it never stops people from approaching me or continuing with their purpose!  There are few places I go in our town that someone doesn't know who I am because of my job. Ah, the joys of being a social worker. Never a dull moment!

I tried this the other day at home when my kids called out "where's mom?" I said "I have never heard of her."  They both ran to me, told me I was a nut, and continued with what they needed from me.  So denial clearly is not working for me.

Escaping who I am is never going to happen even on my craziest of days.  God created me to serve others, to be His hands and feet, and to tackle some of the craziest of problems.  I actually love it but sometimes a spa retreat seems appealing!  Last night, in my quiet time, I pondered my comment.  "I've never heard of her."  Clearly, a misnomer since I am her!  It took me to a much deeper many times have we denied Christ if not in our words but our actions.

I began to think what is my response to the cross.  When I hear people talking about Jesus do I call out "I KNOW HIM!" or do I remain silent.  When I hear people deny Christ, do I remain silent, do I have a Peter like moment and imply that I do not know Him? 

In Luke 22-After being asked if he knew Jesus,  60 Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” We all know Peter knew Jesus well, He loved Jesus, He served beside Jesus. But suddenly, he was caught in a dangerous know Jesus may cost him his life so in his moment of weakness, denial gripped him.

I suddenly thought of all the times I have seen posts on social media and hesitated in responding because I wanted to be politically correct or avoid offending others. I thought of times I have sat silent when I had plenty of words to say.  Conviction of my silence and lack of actions being indicative of "I do not know Him."  May we not be silent during this CHRISTmas season -- our silence or actions say we don't know Him.  

SO, I do KNOW HIM!  I cannot deny who I am in Christ, I will not deny who I am in Christ. May we exude who He is in us everywhere we go.  It is Merry CHRISTmas not Happy Holidays, it is Jesus' birthday we celebrate.  On someone's birthday, we only celebrate them so let's remember that this is Jesus' birthday.  The song says it so well...Happy Birthday Jesus, we're so glad it's Christmas...all the tinsel and lights and the presents are nice but the real gift is you!

Luke continues---Just as he (Peter) was speaking, the rooster crowed. 61 The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.” 62 And he went outside and wept bitterly.

Let's live with no regrets...JESUS we DO know you!  

Peter didn't stop there...he went on to win 3,000 souls to Christ in his first sermon and he was the leader of 12 apostles of Christ fulfilling this truth  Matthew 16:17: "And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it." 

Regardless of any mistakes we have made we can still fulfill God's purpose for us! 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Guilt Ridden or Grace Driven

I know it's been a while ---- not for lack of ideas but lack of time to let the words flow. Does that ever happen to you?  So much you want to accomplish but no time to make it happen. I wonder if it's because there is no time or is it just not a priority.  I ponder and realize I have found time to do lots of things over the past few months besides write.

I have couponed almost every week.

I have shopped many sales....I mean Winn Dixie lowered prices 10 percent a week until it closed!

I have watched many Netflix videos with my children.

I have attended every basketball game my son played in.

I have spent quality time with my man! AKA Hubster

I rush out on time from work to make sure I get to see some of the tumbling class my daughter takes... (thanks Grammy for taking her).

I have started decorating for Christmas.

I have liquidated my closet.

I have spent time with my family and friends just hanging out.

I have mindlessly searched Foxnews at least once a day.

I have spent time helping those less fortunate.

Then the list of things I have not, that I will skip.

AH now that sounds like a list that would be driven out of guilt.  I use to beat myself up for all that I didn't accomplish instead of all that God allowed me to live out.  That was mostly an inspired guilt driven by legalism that offered me a list of rules of do's and don'ts, musts and must nots.  What can I do, instead of how can I bring glory and honor to the Lord who created me.

So, today, I may not live up to the standards of some. I have not made everyone happy because of my no's. I have ignored some requests, openly defied others. But, I was not created to be all things to all people but to be one of His children, created for His purpose.  What that is to me is something different than what that is to you.

Just yesterday,  a sweet friend said to my daughter that she and I are wired differently. Guess what?  We all are. That is the beauty of being fearfully and wonderfully made Psalm 139:14.  Live in the season God has given you, not exile--not the season others want to create for you. He is the one true creator or all things, all places, and all seasons.

1 Corinthians 10:31 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

Isaiah 43:7 Bring all who claim me as their God, for I have made them for my glory. It was I who created them.

And these verses always seem to fit!

Jeremiah 29:11-14 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Is this a good or bad pest?

Subtle hints from others are not always enough....have you ever walked away from someone just to have them follow you?  Have you changed the subject just to have someone change it right back?  Have you shifted your focus to something else just to have a person force you to focus back on them?

We have all had these friends, moments, episodes...some of us have been these pests! Sometimes I can be like a gnat in someone's ear when I am on a mission. I admit, when I need to help a family or child, I can be relentless if I think I am on to something!

Hmmm...tonight I thought about how I had annoyed someone today. I will admit ultimately the outcome was helpful to someone else, so I would say it worked out okay  In the end, the person I annoyed was thanking me for what I did (ironic in some ways). The lesson in this is sometimes pest grow on maybe I have grown on this person.

This is a pest that has lived outside of my office for a long time....he or one of his relatives was even there last year.  He sits in this same spot and stares at me. Sometimes he nestles under the seal and I only see his tail.  I use to knock on the window to scare him away.  Now, I expect him to be there.  When he isn't, I look closer for his tail.  He has grown on much, I went outside and took a picture this week (I humor myself in so many ways....).

I stop and ponder wondering how would God describe me?  Am I a pest to Him?  I want to be!

Think back...if a pest is someone who constantly nags at you, desires to be with you all the time, desires your guidance, wants your attention, desires to mirror you then that is what we should desire spiritually.  I want God to want me notice when I stray away....

As pest, may we desire to:

Nag God... Praying without ceasing.  1 Thessalonians 5:17

Be with God...But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be 
added to you. Matthew 6:33

Have God's direction...Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Psalm 119:105

Mirror Him....And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.  
2 Corinthians 3:18

Know more about Him....I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. Psalm 119:111

Monday, September 8, 2014

Are you a talker or listener? Blahblahblah

Too many words....blahblahblah....

I have always been a children are talkers....I am sorry to all of their teachers; they got it honestly!

I am trying to minimize my words. I have a lot to say and I am usually in a hurry. I rush through because my to do list is mammoth.  Not to complain, I do like it that way. God created me as an Energizer Bunny.  I have long lasting batteries, but they still need recharging at times.  In an effort to save some of my juice, I have been trying to minimize my words.

Sometimes I say so much, I know I lost people at hey and they tune back in at bye!  I know the extraneous details are not always necessary.

Why am I telling you this?  To say, we have so much to say that we often forget to listen!  God wants us to be still and listen.  So I am tuning in and trying to listen more...shhhhhh....enjoy the quiet, for in it, God has a still small voice...wait on it 'cause it is bound to be good!

“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” Psalm 46:10

"Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him."  Psalm 37:7 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

How many friends do you have? Social Media tells all! A true Christian Friend is so much more...

How many friends do you have?  We can start with a simple math equation.

Facebook friends +Twitter followers + Instagram + Phone contacts + Snapchat, Vine, etc contacts = your friend count.  Wow, according to that equation I am 1,500 strong!

Let's define who these friends are since modern technology defines a friend differently than I did in high school (GO VIKINGS!).

1. Facebook friends: high school friends; college roommates; work associates from every job you ever had; anyone you ever heard of or someone you know has heard of; someone you have a friend in common with so you think you should know them --maybe you did back in the day so, just in case, you friend them.

2.  Twitter followers: anyone with access to news, details, 411 that you might be interested in or opposed to.

3.  Instagram:  anyone you know that is still in middle or high school; friends of your children; foes of your children you think you need to be in the know about.

4. Telephone contacts:  anyone that ever called you; anyone you are afraid will call you so you need to know not to answer; peeps who love to talk in emoticons via instant messenger.

5.  Others that you love enough to keep up with even though they are:
    a.  of an older generation not interested in social media
    b.  anti social media  
    c.  out of minutes and data for the month
    d.  friends who live so far on the back side of no where cable companies & cell towers refuse to go

Now let's talk about a deeper friendship

Some of my 1,500---from church, family, community, childhood, work, baseball & football...

6.  Being a Christian Friend:

  • Faithful, constant--unwavering, helps in time of stress 
    • Proverbs 17:17 A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.  
    • Proverbs 27:10a  Do not forsake your friend or a friend of your family...
    • Proverbs 18: 24 One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend  who sticks closer than a brother.

  • Merciful, kind, relentless    
    • Luke 11:5-8  
      • Then Jesus said to them, “Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread;  a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have no food to offer him.’  And suppose the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’  I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need.

  • Inspires you to be a stronger Christian; does not encourage you to be worldly
    • James 4:4 
      • You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God?Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.                                                                                         
  • Prays for you 
    • Philemon 1
      • I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers, because I hear about your love for all his holy people and your faith in the Lord Jesus. I pray that your partnership with us in the faith may be effective in deepening your understanding of every good thing we share for the sake of Christ. Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the Lord’s people.                   
Ponder these thoughts and try to be a better friend to those God has allowed to cross your path during this season of life.  There is no way you can be a true friend to 1,500 people but you can be a true friend to those God has chosen to surround you with the most.  Now for the other 1,475, be an example for Christ, inspire them, love them, serve them as you can but don't spend so much time browsing social media you forget about those closest to you.  Love you my friends!  

All verses are from the New International Version of the Bible

Friday, July 25, 2014

How do you kill snakes??

Snakes are clearly on the move!  I have seen multiple FB comments about snakes today alone!  I am not a fan of snakes but I do understand they are on the move so I expect to see them outside.  Recently we had a ring neck black snake in our pool....that day we excercised catch and release.  HOWEVER, I do draw the line.  This week while Lance was at work, I hear a scream....SNAKE!  What?? Everyone is inside, this must be a joke!  No!  A small black snake is inching his way around my son's bathroom.

Panic did overwhelm me, but as any good woman would do, the first move is to grab the closest weapon!  Going for a gun means the snake has a chance to slither away.  Calling the neighbor is how we ended up playing catch and release last week.  Therefore, the snake was sucked up in to the infamous Electrolux vacuum cleaner which was sitting nearby! 

The story becomes more comical...I throw the vacuum in to the yard. It is trash pick up day; isn't it time for a new vacuum?  My frugal side realizes I am about to trash a very expensive vacuum (yes it is old but it still works wonders) so I send my child for scissors!  Yes, I cut the vacuum bag open.  I need to make sure the snake is inside before I decide if I should keep the vacuum.

He is inside the bag.  I need to know if a mommy snake is likely to be nearby and if she is, is she poisonous.  I send for a trash bag.  I tie the snake (and the vacuum bag) up and call Lance to come id him!  He is a baby ring neck black snake -- probably one whose mommy we sent packing last week!

What lesson have I found in this?  First, do not call neighbors or they will not kill the snake.  KILL the snake because they come back! 

Secondly, I put a great deal of effort in to eliminatiing this snake, identifying his threat level, and then I mutilated him to make sure he could not give me a second heart attack!  

I wonder if we put this much effort in to sin in our lives.  When we know it is present, do we just push it off to the side knowing it may come back (a nice game of catch and release)? Or, do we look for the closest weapon available to get rid of it?  Once we know the threat is secured, do we assess the threat level, and ensure there is no chance of return? 

As Christians, this means understanding spitirual warfare, and exercising our right to it! Ignoring problems and thinking we can tackle them on our own is like playing catch and release.  Grabbing our sword (the Bible) and letting the serpent know we will not tolerate his presence is the only way to assure Satan we will not stand for his temptations.  According to 1 Peter 5:8, he prowls around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. He doesn't just show up in obvious places (outside)...he enters our homes and our comfort zones and poses a threat hoping we won't think fast enough to act.  So, be equipped to act fast.  Keep the Bible close to your heart (Psalm 119:11) so you don't have to go roaming off looking for answers.  God will bring scripture to our memory if we hide it in our heart! (Proverbs 2:1) 

I hope not to see another snake inside, but I can promise if I do, the vacuum is ready!  In the same way, I challenge each of us to memorize at least one verse a week so we can pull that sword out fast when the serpent comes lurking!

More on spiritual warfare:
Ephesians 6:10-12
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.…

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Problem solver...are you one?

Have you ever had something in your life you knew wasn't just right but never cared enough to fix it?  Well, look at this picture....

I have stood many people in this foyer and you see anything wrong?  Most people stare, analyze, look at me like it's a trick and say no....

I have lived in this house for ten years.  I am not sure how many years I lived here before I noticed the panel to the right is white and the one to the left is yellow like the wall. I have spent the last ten years using it as a conversation piece when people come over.  But, I never cared enough to do anything about it...even though it is wrong in every decorators book!

Today, I happened to be at the paint store and thought about it...I bought a can of paint and thought "one day, I will fix this."  However, within ten minutes of the can entering the house, this happened....

My problem solver took the task on!  The paint is drying and the sides match for the first time in ten years!  We both laughed.  She said she wondered how long it would take daddy to notice --- maybe another ten years!

This made me wonder how many other "small" issues we have in our lives that are not significant enough for us to stop and give our attention to even though in the divine decorator of our lives book...the is clearly wrong or in need of repair.  How many "small" seemingly insignificant issues do others have that we could minister to yet we ignore even though it would take us less than ten minutes to fix?  

I was convicted by this eleven year old who took on the task just because....may I look for the small ways to serve others even if it never gets noticed!

Matthew 25 

35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

Sunday, June 8, 2014

One dark night...we did it!

It was late one night when my old roomie and I decided to do it.  It would start with several days of contemplating and making jokes about should we do it, should we not?  Then the night would come when we would make that journey down the stairs from our apartment in to the darkness of the night.  We would meet in the middle and turn our backs to each other and start walking in the opposite direction....then we started to run in opposite directions until the final pop occurred.  It was over! Anyone thinking of an old Western yet?  Well, we did not step off to start a gunfight.  We started a "tape war."  See it went something like this....

For years, I listened to music that filled my head with what/who I deserved, what emotions have to do with it, what color I should like (Black is really back now) and what adventures I should pursue.  I could quote lyrics to soft love songs all the way to hard rock.  I loved all music. What I found was I could quote you a lyric to any situation you faced and maybe even break out in song if the notion hit me just right.  Not all the music was bad but it all left lasting impressions on my mind. I am sure that is why I say huh so much today...some of that music was really loud!  

The point is once I became a Christian, I realized it wasn't all about me, my mind should not be focused on anything but Jesus 'cause He does have something to do with it, and the adventures would be plenty when He ordered my footsteps.  So I set out to clean my mind - Romans 12:2 "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will."  I desired to learn more about God's word than I knew about anything else.  

I wanted to live out Psalm 119:11- "I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you." So I set out to memorize scripture!  I was 18 years behind some people since I was 18 when I confessed Christ as my Savior.  I can no longer quote you the lyrics to any of those songs but I do have God's word hidden in my heart.  Today, His truth is what comes to my mind instead of those song lyrics. Now, I still have lots of song lyrics to spurt out but the kind playing on KLove not the 1980s station....and yes, I still break out in song at times but singing along with KLove or at least what I heard on KLove!

Again, I am not knocking all other music but I am saying what I desire to fill my heart and mind with are the things of the Lord.  I encourage you to remove anything that does not spur you on to good deeds.  Maybe it is not music for you but something else...

So back to the earlier story....we always did things with a little drama added in just for fun.  We started off in the middle of the parking lot.  One of us grabbed the cassette and the other grabbed a piece of the tape. We took off in two separate directions until pop---the tape came out!  Dozens of tapes later and lots of laughter, we dumped the trash where it belong...the "dipsy dumpster" as we called it.  So I challenge you to dump your trash today.  It will be freeing and may even give you a few good laughs! 

Saturday, June 7, 2014


Tonight I enjoyed dinner with my family laughing hysterically about some things from days gone by. I won't linger long in this post but to say I laughed so hard I almost cried.  I enjoy those good times with my mom and siblings.  I will say I am a little concerned that some of my memories are not the same as theirs....denial might be my coping skill!  With that being said, after settling down from the laughter and hysteria...I had a thought. It was----are you ready??  It was just this one word, "WOW!"

This one word encompasses so much. WOW--thank you God for all you protected me from, thank you for where I am today vs where I could be.  Thank you for ordering my footsteps and for doing whatever it took to bring me on the path I am on today. Thank you for the roadblocks, stumbling blocks, and 180 degree turns I experienced along the way. At times I did not understand those obstacles but WOW today I do!!

So if you are not sure why something's okay. Just know God knows better than we do and sometimes we are too hard headed to listen.  He loves us enough to change our direction, slow us down, or pick us up and move us to a whole new place.  So to use an old cliche...Let GO and Let God!  Years from now, you MIGHT understand why!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Let it Go Let it GO!

How many of you are singing the song from Frozen just because of the title of this blog?!

I couldn't imagine letting something go that I had for so long.  After ten years, you get attached even to objects---having personfied this object and even giving it a name.  Many of you knew Sally and even spent time with her. She had seen her better days. How could you give up "someone" you have grown so attached to? I was comfortable with her and had no desire to make a change. But the day had come to walk would be hard to say goodbye.  The final moments would seem awkwrd. could I? Wait, we are talking about an automobile...something I was about to replace with a newer model with more bells and whistles.  But for a brief moment, I was caught up in the emotion of naming a car ---something that could not talk back.  When I think of such craziness, I remember Knight Rider named his car Kip (dating myself) so I must be in good company...ah...satire.

So, I trade in Sally for Princess.  She is a more stylish version of the large SUV.  She is known as a crossover.  She is smaller, can't hit a pot hole quite as fast and won't take the Klampets on vacation.  However, she is more reliable and a little snazzier.  It has been a month (I know because Bank of America reminded me :) )!  I have not forgotten Sally.  Crazy as it is, I wonder who has her and how many more miles she has in her (156,000 strong when I let her go).

Life is like that.  We get attached and comfortable in places so much that we keep on keeping on even when a change is needed.  I needed another vehicle for some time but I was content and satisfied.  Time came when a few visits to the mechanic would cost me as much a month as a new payment so it was time. Sometimes God has to move us to another place in our lives with a gentle nudge - at other times he has to take us through some trials to get our attention.  I know we should be content where God has us but we should also be open to Him when He wants to move us.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isa. 55:9

Changes are taking place and sometimes they can be scary but God says to trust Him.  He is clearly in tune with all elements of this world so certainly He has an interest in His children.

But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! Luke 12:28

Ask God, "are you ready to move me?"  If he is moving you (not geographically but spiritually), are you waiting for a road map or trusting He has a plan to prosper you and not to harm you.  Are you trusting He takes care of His children?  These are easier said than done. He won't let the snares of the devil consume you.  (Psalm 91:3).  God will protect you and bless your future more than you can fathom.  Join me on the journey to live out Jeremiah 29:11-14a

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Closed Doors & Broken Toes!

What are your thoughts on closed doors?  Regularly, my husband will ask me to slam the car door harder (sarcastically of course) because I have a lot of power in my closures! :)  My children inherited this gene from me.  So our house doors and car doors get a great deal of exercise.  Two summers ago, I mustered up all the energy inside my little body and closed my bedroom door.  Within a snap of a finger, I knew hubby was right!  I do close doors too hard.  I fell to the ground and let out a wail as if weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth would help! little toe was not fast enough to clear the perimeter as the door swooshed closed!

I am on the ground in my room laughing, crying and screaming.  Mind you, my two children, one dog and husband are hearing me.  Nothing. Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse!  The scream becomes a bellow and the door opens slowly. Long story, short...Lance tells me my toe is broken and he "breaks" it back in to place.  Fast forward.  I ask why nobody came to my aid.  The answer..."we did not know what to think." They heard the door slam and heard my "racket" but had no idea what was behind that door.  They were startled and frozen for a minute.  Needless to say, I need to scream more so this family knows what to do when someone has a melt down!  I quickly gave them a lesson on what to do when someone is yelling out in pain! :)

Closed doors....sometimes they are painful.  Sometimes we are unsure what has happened.  We may be like me on one side, clearly aware of what happened yet encumbered with pain.  We may be like my children and husband...on the outside unsure what is going on but clearly aware we better be careful before we go where angels dare to tread!  Either way, ignoring the call is not an option.  Maybe a door is closing in your life and you are very aware of what is ahead.  You know the terrain may be rough but you are willing to face it. Maybe you are not sure what is ahead.  God knows what is before you.  Proverbs 3:5,6 "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight."  I think of the old Sounds of Liberty Song..."when you can't trace His hand, trust His heart."  

Doors are closing and I am excited. Not because the journey won't be treacherous at times but because He has been faithful before. He will be faithful again. 

Sunday, May 4, 2014

He wasn't very hungry...New York New York!

The ambience of New York City consumed me as soon as we drove in to Times Square.  Thirteen South Georgia Gals descending on would never be the same!  If you have ever been, you understand how the lights dance in your eyes and just being in the city is exciting!  It had been thirteen years since I set foot in NYC and I was so excited to bring my daughter.  Since we only had three days, we had an action packed agenda that most travel agents would plan a week to acomplish.  Well, since I think the Energizer Bunny is my twin...who needs a week? Days would do.

We set out to take NYC in three days.  We had so much to take in!  I carried a back pack for essentials...mophie to charge the phone, umbrella (forecasting rain), scarves (it might get colder), and of course...granola bars for an extra punch between meals.  It became a running joke when others said they were hungry---I would say, "do you want a granola bar?"  No time to stop!  We might have one more thing to do before dinner.  I guess you had to be there but just don't be surprised if one of us falls on the floor laughing when someone says, "you can have a coke or do you want a granola bar?"

By day three, we had covered the 9-11 memorial, 5th Avenue, Rockefeller Center, Wall Street, Statue of Liberty, Times Square, Central Park, two shows, China Town (along with a few side streets), Little Italy and several local eateries.  Nine of us were out and knew it was getting close to midnight - the 3am shuttle would come early.  So knowing we had covered it all, we began our journey back to our rooms.  Unable to hail a taxi, and knowing we had money left on our subway cards, we journey down the first subway tunnel we pass.

Dark and isolated is an understatement.  Maybe we should have paid closer attention. Who knew a journey down an old, musky subway hall would leave such a mark?  Worn out, rushing down the passageway are nine naive South Georgia moms and daughters.  We are alone except for one weary eyed, tattered and torn man.  All of those ahead of me rushed by him.  He is holding a sign begging for money so he can eat.  One step past him, I am convicted to step back.  I pause along with my ten year old and begin to dig in the backpack....remember the granola bars?  That box had been hauled all over NYC so now was time to depart from this iconic box that had taken on a life of its own...btw, do you want a granola bar?  OK, you are had to be there.  Back to the man.  I take out the box and offer it to him.  After all, I was cashless at this point (ummm...a female in NYC for three days, of course I was!).

I was feeling so proud inside...I mean I am going to feed the poor, right?  Isn't this what Jesus would do?  Well, maybe the pride was why the story went the way it did.  Those empty, blood shot eyes filled with rage and looked at me as if he could see through me.  With a strong tone in his voice, he tells me no...he wants money.  Of course, I am a social worker so I can convince him granola bars are just as good, right?  He tells me his teeth are rotten so he cannot eat them. Am I seriously debating a homeless man?  Well, yes.  I explain I have no cash.  He reaches for something.  For a minute, I swallow the lump in my throat glancing at my 7 friends who are far ahead and looking at me as if I had lost my mind (again). What is he reaching for? I urge my daughter to go ahead and she moves on to the safe place...the 7 other gals.  My heart racing, not sure what to expect.  He pulls out....nope, not what you are thinking....but a phone. He tells me he can take my credit card.  Trying hard not to laugh out loud,  I say, "you're not very hungry." I drop the box of granola bars by him in case he wises up and I go on.  I was saddened by the rejection but I never look back.  The offer for food stood long after I left.

I have no idea what the man did. I do know I didn't give him my credit card.  However, if he really got hungry, he had food to eat. He just had to choose to eat it.  He had to open the box and take the food out.  He may truly have rotten teeth but if he was hungry, maybe he could gnaw the food or wet it in a bathroom to make it palatable.  Either way, he could satiate the hunger if he wanted to.  I will never know the outcome but I had no regrets.  I didn't let his rejection end my offer.

Wow...what a long story to get to this....the world is a place hungry for God.  Sometimes people are in such need, they don't know what it is they are longing for.  It is up to us to share the gospel even if we do not reap the harvest.

John 4:35-38 tells us
"I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. 36Even now the one who reaps draws a wage and harvests a crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together. 37Thus the saying ‘One sows and another reaps’ is true. 38I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor."

Somebody had to sow the seed before the harvest came in.  Sharing the gospel is sowing seeds. Sometimes, we will offer God's word and message to people to simply get rejected.  Other times, people will accept Jesus as Savior and Lord.  Regardless, our message cannot change.  Jesus came to the world to feed the hungry offer salvation.  Sometimes we plant seeds and don't know the outcome.  It is ok.  We leave the tools behind, God will do the rest.  Drop that box wherever you are.  Even if it is uncomfortable! 

Luke 10 2He told them,“The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field."

My lesson in a worker...a missionary wherever God has placed you.  Acts 1:8 says
 8But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”  This means your town, your state and, yes, all the world.  Don't forget the first part of this.  I have served in foreign missions, so don't get me wrong, I do have a heart for foreign missions.  But, people need the gospel right where you are.  There will most likely not be a missionary at your place of employment tomorrow, at the grocery store with you or walking your streets. Wait! Yes, there will be.  Who? You!

The harvest is plentiful right where you are.  Carry out the Great Commission.... It is ok if you don't know the outcome.  I have been blessed to see my seeds reap a harvest an abundant amount of times...those are some happy times.  But I have also been ignored, mocked and ridiculed when I have shared my faith.  It doesn't stop me.  Don't let it stop you!

Matthew 28
18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with youalways, to the very end of the age.”

Where are we to take this message?  Wherever you are!  People are hungrier than you think!  (Do you want a granola bar?!)

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Perception--Will I Write a Book?

It was early in my career when I first had the thought to write a book.  The thought would come to the forefront of my mind anytime I was faced with children crying for someone to help them, parents desperately seeking to control themselves after being caught in a moment of passion, enraged adults taking their anger out on the innocent, or people of all ages losing control emotionally thus making attempts at their own lives.  The end results included threats, death, harm to others, emotional distress, tears of sorrow, loud voices, hallow words.  The title of my book has been unwavering--"All the Things I Wish I'd Never Seen."  I have repeated that title to many people over the course of my social work career.  I knew inside I would take many of the details of situations I have been involved with to my grave.

Yesterday, I was hit emotionally like a tornado in an open field tearing apart the old barn in its path  shattering the splinters of the wood then tossing all the contents to and fro.  Why would I wish away where God ordered my footsteps?  After all, I have also had an unwavering life verse.

Jeremiah 29:11-13

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. NIV

I actually never really meant that I wish I had not seen any of these things.  I count it a privilege that God has trusted me enough to place me in the middle of tragedy, heartache and loss of others.  I know I am unworthy of the calling but early in my Christian life I dedicated my life to mission work. I spent brief time in Thailand, but my heart longed for home.  I never felt I missed the call or neglected what God placed on my heart.  I instead found the job he gave me stateside, right in my back yard, to be my mission field.  

I recently began reading 1000 Gifts by Ann Voskamp as part of a Wednesday night Bible Study.  Ann challenges us to change our perspective and live a life of eucharisteo...a life where we find thankfulness in situations we are faced with.  Her challenge was to look for God in the situations He places us in including the simple daily tasks.  If you have never read the book, it is worth the investment....I could never do it justice. I can say, however, it has changed the way I look at the blessings I have each day before me.  I don't find pleasure in situations that cause a mother to fear for her child or a parent to long for healing, but I find contentment in the fact that God found me worthy of being His hands and feet in these situation.  May I never again wish away the privilege God has given me as He allows me to walk with others during hard times.  

May you find contentment in the place God has you. Like Paul, we need to learn to be content where ever God has placed us. We are all in different places in life.  Where ever you are, if you are a believer, be content.  God makes no mistakes.  He has placed you there for a reason.

Phillipians 4:11-12

11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. NIV

I was talking to someone yesterday who was faced with a heart wrenching issue.  These were not just words I used, these are heart dripping emotions from having been there done that...I stated, "Endure this my friend, stand strong.  Don't let your testimony be tainted.  God will see you through and when He does He will use you for His glory.  Someone else weaker will come along unable to endure, God will place you in their path to speak as a sojourner having been in the valley before. Count it a blessing He saw you worthy."   May those who come behind you find you faithful!  

Finish the fight well my friends!  Be able to say:

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 2 Timothy 4:7 NIV