24/365

24/365

Since my boys have moved away it is now my responsibility to watch football with Jeff. Football is Jeff’s favorite sport, and I am pretty sure it is the only sport he really likes. Of course for Jeff being born and raised in Alabama, there is only one team and you guest it, it is Alabama. What once was a time that I made snacks and went shopping while the boys watched the game. Is now my responsibility to sit with Jeff and watch the game and all sports related news because after all, he looks so lonely watching the game by himself, and he has since given in to watching Hallmark movies with me, since Amy has moved away, so you can see this empty nest thing has changed everything in our lives.  

In the process of learning to love this sport, I have watch a lot of documentaries of just how Alabama works because that is what I like, I like knowing about the administrative part of it. One thing I was surprised to learn was that the Alabama football players don’t just train during the school season. No! They school and train year round. Once you make the team, you are Saban’s and you do what he tells you to do. I was really kind of shocked to hear this because for some reason I just thought September through January is all the time they spent on football. But that is not the case.

If you have been locked in a cave somewhere, then you may not know that the Southeastern Conference National Championship game was this past Saturday. Where Alabama played Georgia and won 28-35. But it was not an easy task, Georgia was ahead all but just a little over a minute of the game. (the last minute at that)  Something that hasn’t happened to Bama at all this year. Up to this last game I believe the longest Alabama had been behind in a game this season was about 70 seconds.

It looks as if Alabama is on its way to winning it’s 17th National Championship and just won it’s 27 Southeastern Conference Championship. Unless you were raised around this kind of excellence you really can’t comprehend what Alabama football means to it’s fans.

But it really isn’t that different than being a follower of Christ. There is an standard of excellence that is expected from God from His creation and we as His followers are expected to train and follow Him 24/365. We can’t just expect that, showing up for church once a week thinking this is gonna get us to the level of relationship with God that we need to be, so we can tackle this day to day life we live.  

Alabama is known as a 2nd quarter team mainly for their endurance, not because they often come from behind in the last half, but because they don’t give up when they are ahead. They don’t quit. They play up to their potential all 90 minutes of the game, not their opponents abilities, but none of that would be possible if they didn’t train 24/365.

Our life of following Christ is a 24/365 choice. We don’t get to just pick and choose when to be nice to our neighbor because God already said “Do unto others as you would have other do to you” and  We can’t just tell God, I don’t have time for you right now, or when we get scared we run to anything but Him. Because He already told us that” we should have not other God’s before Him!”

Most Christians don’t know what God’s word says, that is why we are so easily deceived into doing things that aren’t true and we sure don’t either, know or believe the promises He made us like “All things work together for good to those that love Him”. because if we did, we wouldn’t get discouraged so easily.

The Alabama football team, was able to endure to the end of the game this past week because they train 24/365 and in the last minute of the game won. In fact it was sort of a restoration story as our 1st string quarterback, Tua,  got hurt and was pulled out and was replaced with the 2nd string quarterback, Hurts, who took us to the victory.

The funny thing is, almost a year ago the exact opposite happened. Last year Tua, who is our first string quarterback this year was our 2nd string quarterback, and a similar situation happened then in a championship game. These 2 quarterbacks have worked as a team this past year. They aren’t in a competition their goal is for the good of the teamWhen many people thought last year’s first string quarterback  Hurts, should leave Alabama football when he wasn’t put back in as 1st string this year. But Hurts endured and knew Saban had a plan and he trusted the process he was going through. Doing so, he was able to restore his name and now he is admired more than he ever was before because of the character it showed. Hurts is a better player by being on the second string this year, because he was able to work on the things he needed to improve on. Then, when the test came, he put that new ability to use and won the game for his team.

I wonder if any of you have ever felt like you were discarded to 2nd string in this life? Have you ever felt like you failed and there was no coming back? God wants you to know, that He is working on you and we are all just in the process of life. You may not feel like you are on the 1st string team right now, or maybe you don’t even feel like you are on the team at all.

But that is why we train everyday as Christs follower 24/365. We need to read our bible, pray, listen to God, follow what His word says, work out with His team (at church on Sundays)  Then when we play in this game called life, we are prepared, we know God’s word, we know who we are because of God’s word and because we know His promises. We endure to the end when we trust the process.

God took what Hurts thought might be the end of his career in college football and turned it around to a winning championship. Because over this last year, Hurts has been faithful to train, practice, and he didn’t quit.

I don’t know what you are going through today, but don’t quit, don’t give up! Trust the process. Just like the story of Joseph in the bible. He could of given up and turned his back on God when he was sold to slavery and the later, put in prison. But all the while God was using it for His good and God has good plans for you too – Just trust the process.

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Thanksgiving

Well, the Thanksgiving season is upon us, many will soon be gathered around the table with their loved ones and friends reflecting on the blessings we have received this year. If your house is like mine, there will be a moment before we indulge in the food before us that we will pause and go around the table, allowing each one to say what they are thankful for.

Now in a house like ours some might choose to move this process along by simply saying all they are thankful for is God assuming He covers everything,  just to hurry up and pro take of the feast that sits before them. So, you may be surprised to find, at our house, it is made clear before this process begins that we know, God is responsible for all that we have been given and so, we want to hear what specific things that God has given you this year that you are thankful for.

Another tradition in our house at this time of the year, is I try to prepare all the foods my kids want. It’s a favorite dishes kind of meal. I ask everyone what they want to eat and since there is 9 of us and at least a couple of choices by each person, the amount of food can add up quickly and that isn’t limited to just the side dishes or desserts, but also includes what kind of turkeys we have, which can range from fried, roasted or smoked, there is usually at least 2 turkeys, (smaller ones) cooked different ways for us to enjoy!

Now although my kids are active in the meal preparation these days there’s still some dishes I make that they demand only from me and I in turn have favorites that only they can make. I have been working hard for many years to teach my kids how to cook, so that I know when I die they won’t starve. Essentially I want to work myself out of job of cooking on the holidays but I am no quite there yet but I believe the plan is on track..

You may have heard of people who do food prep and make all the food they are going to eat for the week in one day, then cook it throughout the week?  Well that is kind of what Thanksgiving is like for us, except we cook enough food for a week all on Thanksgiving day and then graze on it for the next 3 days while the kids are here. I like doing this because, I am not stuck in the kitchen the whole time the family is here and I can take pleasure in just enjoying my family.

You may think, my idea is crazy but let me tell you the reasoning behind my madness.  One of the most disappointing Thanksgivings Jeff and I ever had was after we were married and had moved to Kansas, we returned to Alabama for the big day anticipating eating my mother in law’s traditional thanksgiving meal.  

We were so excited to be going back to celebrate with Jeff’s family. My mother in law is an amazing cook, this woman who made biscuits everyday for breakfast when her husband was alive and homemade cornbread for every other meal had our mouth watering as we traveled the 14 hours to visit them remembering how good Thanksgiving is around my in laws house. So needless to say we had great expectations of eating her famous dressing, and enjoying all the other dishes she is known for. But to our disappointment, when we arrived it was announced that this year, Mrs Miller was tired of cooking and had decided to have the meal catered in.

Our hearts sunk, although we understood, it did not consul our craving for her own cooking that we had missed so much, by living all those hours away and rarely getting to see them, let alone taste those famous home cooked meals she was known for.  So that is when I decided when my kids grow up, I was determined to make sure they never felt that disappointment after coming back home.

You know, if we are all honest with ourselves, there is that one dish for most of us that we remember as being our favorite from our mom or grandma, and it doesn’t matter if we follow their directions to a tee to make it, it still never tastes like it did when that person we loved made it. So, yes that is why I indulge my children when they come home. I never want my kids to walk away from my home on a holiday wishing I had cooked something,or we had done something, I want them to have that special memory of home.

Have you ever expected something, that didn’t happen the way you planned? Were you disappointed? We often have expectations. We ask God for something and believe and even have faith that He could do it,  then when the time comes and it doesn’t go the way we planned, we are disappointed, sometimes mad that we didn’t get our way.

There will be a lot of people who over this holiday season will reflect on this past year that have much bigger issues than Jeff and I did on that disappointing day. They may not have anything to eat at all, they may only be able to think about that empty chair where their loved one use to sit.

I read somewhere your tough job is an unemployed persons dream, your small home is an homeless persons dream, your annoying child is an infertile couples dream, and your smile is the dream of every depressed person. So be thankful in every situations.

Whatever the case, let us all remember that there is always someone worse off than we are. God has placed us here to bless others and you are blessed to be a blessing. Oh! You may not have as much as someone else, but is that really what God is looking for? No where in the bible have I ever read, you have to have this much money in the bank, or this much food in your house, or even your children act a certain way for God to love you.

God looks on the heart in 1 Samuel 16:7 God told the prophet Samuel … “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”

How about we do that this holiday season? How about we not judge ourselves or others on anything else, but what God sees. Let’s ask God to help us see others with His eyes,  love others with His heart. But most of all love yourself the same way. Give yourself a break! So what if this year didn’t turn out how you expected it? Tomorrow is a new day and the bible says God’s mercies are new every morning. So that means, every day there an opportunity for a fresh start and nothing is lost if we learned from it. Just like that disappointing thanksgiving vacation, Jeff and I had, you also can learn from whatever you are going through and because of that today two more generations reap that blessing. Perhaps God has allowed you to go through whatever you have dealt with this year so you can make a difference in the generations that are coming behind you. One thing is for certain tomorrow is a new day and the best is yet to come. So let’s focus on that as we sit around our table this week and thank God for what He has done and will do!

Worst Thanksgiving Ever!

Worst Thanksgiving Ever!

Well, the Thanksgiving season is upon us, many will soon be gathered around the table with their loved ones and friends reflecting on the blessings we have received this year. If your house is like mine, there will be a moment before we indulge in the food before us that we will pause and go around the table, allowing each one to say what they are thankful for.

Now in a house like ours some might choose to move this process along by simply saying all they are thankful for is God assuming He covers everything,  just to hurry up and pro take of the feast that sits before them. So, you may be surprised to find, at our house, it is made clear before this process begins that we know, God is responsible for all that we have been given and so, we want to hear what specific things that God has given you this year that you are thankful for.

Another tradition in our house at this time of the year, is I try to prepare all the foods my kids want. It’s a favorite dishes kind of meal. I ask everyone what they want to eat and since there is 9 of us and at least a couple of choices by each person, the amount of food can add up quickly and that isn’t limited to just the side dishes or desserts, but also includes what kind of turkeys we have, which can range from fried, roasted or smoked, there is usually at least 2 turkeys, (smaller ones) cooked different ways for us to enjoy!

Now although my kids are active in the meal preparation these days there’s still some dishes I make that they demand only from me and I in turn have favorites that only they can make. I have been working hard for many years to teach my kids how to cook, so that I know when I die they won’t starve. Essentially I want to work myself out of job of cooking on the holidays but I am no quite there yet but I believe the plan is on track..

You may have heard of people who do food prep and make all the food they are going to eat for the week in one day, then cook it throughout the week?  Well that is kind of what Thanksgiving is like for us, except we cook enough food for a week all on Thanksgiving day and then graze on it for the next 3 days while the kids are here. I like doing this because, I am not stuck in the kitchen the whole time the family is here and I can take pleasure in just enjoying my family.

You may think, my idea is crazy but let me tell you the reasoning behind my madness.  One of the most disappointing Thanksgivings Jeff and I ever had was after we were married and had moved to Kansas, we returned to Alabama for the big day anticipating eating my mother in law’s traditional thanksgiving meal.  

We were so excited to be going back to celebrate with Jeff’s family. My mother in law is an amazing cook, this woman who made biscuits everyday for breakfast when her husband was alive and homemade cornbread for every other meal had our mouth watering as we traveled the 14 hours to visit them remembering how good Thanksgiving is around my in laws house. So needless to say we had great expectations of eating her famous dressing, and enjoying all the other dishes she is known for. But to our disappointment, when we arrived it was announced that this year, Mrs Miller was tired of cooking and had decided to have the meal catered in.

Our hearts sunk, although we understood, it did not console our craving for her own cooking that we had missed so much, by living all those hours away and rarely getting to see them, let alone taste those famous home cooked meals she was known for.  So that is when I decided when my kids grow up, I was determined to make sure they never felt that disappointment after coming back home.

You know, if we are all honest with ourselves, there is that one dish for most of us that we remember as being our favorite from our mom or grandma, and it doesn’t matter if we follow their directions to a tee to make it, it still never tastes like it did when that person we loved made it. So, yes that is why I indulge my children when they come home. I never want my kids to walk away from my home on a holiday wishing I had cooked something,or we had done something, I want them to have that special memory of home.

Have you ever expected something, that didn’t happen the way you planned? Were you disappointed? We often have expectations. We ask God for something and believe and even have faith that He could do it,  then when the time comes and it doesn’t go the way we planned, we are disappointed, sometimes mad that we didn’t get our way.

There will be a lot of people who over this holiday season will reflect on this past year that have much bigger issues than Jeff and I did on that disappointing day. They may not have anything to eat at all, they may only be able to think about that empty chair where their loved one use to sit.

I read somewhere your tough job is an unemployed persons dream, your small home is an homeless persons dream, your annoying child is an infertile couples dream, and your smile is the dream of every depressed person. So be thankful in every situations.

Whatever the case, let us all remember that there is always someone worse off than we are. God has placed us here to bless others and you are blessed to be a blessing. Oh! You may not have as much as someone else, but is that really what God is looking for? No where in the bible have I ever read, you have to have this much money in the bank, or this much food in your house, or even your children act a certain way for God to love you.

God looks on the heart in 1 Samuel 16:7 God told the prophet Samuel … “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”

How about we do that this holiday season? How about we not judge ourselves or others on anything else, but what God sees. Let’s ask God to help us see others with His eyes,  love others with His heart. But most of all love yourself the same way. Give yourself a break! So what if this year didn’t turn out how you expected it? Tomorrow is a new day and the bible says God’s mercies are new every morning. So that means, every day there an opportunity for a fresh start and nothing is lost if we learned from it. Just like that disappointing thanksgiving vacation, Jeff and I had, you also can learn from whatever you are going through and because of that today two more generations reap that blessing. Perhaps God has allowed you to go through whatever you have dealt with this year so you can make a difference in the generations that are coming behind you. One thing is for certain tomorrow is a new day and the best is yet to come. So let’s focus on that as we sit around our table this week and thank God for what He has done and will do!

The Parsonage (not my home)

The Parsonage (not my home)

I have lived in a parsonage most of my life, My daddy being a pastor and now my husband being one, has sealed my destiny in this. You may be saying “What is a Parsonage?, That is a strange word.”  Well, Webster defines it as “the house provided by a church for its’ pastor” Living in a parsonage is a peculiar position to be in, you aren’t renting but you don’t own either. The home isn’t yours,  but it is yours to live in for the season you pastor there.

It typically isn’t painted or decorated to your preferences, you simply have to take what you get. (and you don’t throw a fit)  Some parsonages have been poorly maintained and look like they haven’t seen any attention to detail or style since the 60’s, while others are immaculately cared for.  As new pastors to a community, you never know if the church is going to require the pastor and his family to get permission before you do anything to the home, like paint or hang things on the wall or will they be comfortable just to let you decorate and maintain it yourself. On the other hand, I am sure some congregations feel the same way and are wondering “How much does the pastor expect of us?”

I remember as a little girl, one week while our family was gone on a vacation, the church people,  trying to be helpful, came inside the parsonage without my parents knowledge and painted the whole interior.  To my mother’s horror she was not expecting people in her home without notice so it was in no way ready for any guests, after all when a family leaves for a vacation, they aren’t typically deep cleaning before they go. So, needless to say, it wasnt ready for furniture to be move out to be painted behind. But the worst part was,  they painted every room in the house without asking my mother what color she would like. The color turned out to be a green that my mother despised, well before those sweet dear members decided to help her out, and perhaps that is why we had nothing in the house that remotely matched it.

Some churches think it is important to keep their pastors humble,  so they assure you live in a home much less than any of the parishioners would choose to live in, while others honor their pastors and assure they have a home at least as equal or much better than any of their parishioners. (parishioners is another churchy word for people that go to the church)  Living in a parsonage can be a tricky thing. It can be uncomfortable for a pastor to have to make the board aware of broken appliances, especially when he knows that the churches finances might be tight and can’t really afford to replace it. But, at the same time, a home needs a stove or refrigerator and usually if the churches budget is tight, so is the pastor’s,  so it’s not like he or she can afford to replace it.

So you can see how living in a parsonage can feel like you are really living at the mercy of a group of people who hold your personal space and job in their hands. It can be very awkward.  while at the same time, you are very grateful for their generosity. But the bottom line is, it is not your home. and for me, it has never felt like my home. No matter where I have lived, and I have lived in at least 11 parsonages, that I can think of just off the top of my head.  Because for me , there is always that shadow, of “What will the board think if I do this?”, “What will the neighbors think of our church if the kids leave their bikes in the yard or the scrubs are trimmed imperfectly?” I don’t know if the congregations feels this way but, I am always wondering when they come into the house, “Are they judging how well I have kept it up for them?” It’s kind of like seeing your hairdresser out on the street when you are having a bad hair day.  

But the maintenance and style isn’t the only thing that is not our own in a parsonage. Your privacy,  many times, is given up because at anytime, by your sheer profession you can be called upon or dropped in on.

I remember one specific evening, when I was a little girl, my family was having some special time when an unexpected knock came at the door. It was a young teenage girl and her boyfriend that attended our church. She was crying and I was immediately asked to go to my room. Well, me being the inquisitive child I have always been, went down the hall toward my bedroom but just happened to stop at the rocking chair at the end and sat hiding behind it as I listened  to these young people tell my parents she was pregnant and they didn’t know what to do.

I have learned a lot behind these parsonage walls, and this one defining moment that taught me that I never wanted to be put in that predicament as a teenager,  and is probably what kept me a virgin till my wedding day.

But all of my family doesn’t carry the baggage I do of living behind the parsonage walls, they don’t understand that this is not our own home and we can’t be just leaving our underwear and socks around everywhere, because at some point and time,  because of our profession, someone might walk into our home unexpectedly with a issue or need, or maybe just want to paint the inside of our house.

All this got me thinking, the parsonage is not much different than our life in Christ, once we give our life to God. It is not our own either, it is His and we shouldn’t be just leaving the junk of this world laying around in it. We should always be aware that this world isn’t our home we are just passing through. The truth is we are living for another just like you do in a parsonage,  and that other is Christ. You don’t always get what you want because our flesh often wants things that are not good for us.

If we are truly following after God. We have to remember that the chains of sin have been broken over us when we accept Christ. But, because of God’s amazing grace,  He has given us a choice of our will. So we must choose to pick up the junk in our lives, and avoid the temptations that so easily trips us up.

When this world seems to be crashing down around us, we can remember that this world is not our home, we are just passing through, this is only for a season and God has a home waiting for us that supersedes anything we could hope for or image.

This life is only temporary and we can’t  allow the struggles that come our way to discourage us or distract us from what we should be focused on and that is living our life pleasing to the King of Kings. Troubles will come, things happen in our life we wish didn’t , but we can trust God has a bigger and better plan if we will just follow it.  

 

Exercise, Politics and My Family

Exercise, Politics and My Family

This year my son did something extraordinary, in fact you might call him one of the bravest men alive. Our oldest son J. Lee Miller Jr. ran for political office in Oklahoma, which in our political climate could be nothing short of self manslaughter. But my brave son took on a bigger challenge than most of us are willing to do because he believes in the right of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness,  you know just that little thing, called the Declaration of Independence that our forefathers set forth as our “unalienable rights”, which the Declaration says has been given to all human beings by their creator, and which governments are created to protect, I guess that is why his campaign motto was Lee for Liberty.

 

So being the supportive family we are, Jeff and I headed to Tulsa to support our kid the day of the election. I thought we would all be sitting around resting just waiting for those polls to close, because I thought all the work was done. But nope! Not my kid! We were out the door as soon as he voted heading to the major intersections of the community standing on the corners holding signs and waving, now I feel I can safely say this was my workout for the day and probably for the year , since I am so athletic. In fact, I feel I developed an effective technique to sign holding and waving on street corners.  

 

The first position for the effective sign holding technique is:

  1. You have your arm stretched all the way out waving with the wrist,
  2. Once your arm gets tired doing that you lower it to halfway at the elbow and wave with your elbow
  3. Once your arm starts hurting from that you go back to fully extended arm waving the whole arm this time from the shoulder
  4. After about 15 mins of each of those positions you switch arms and do it all over again on the other side , all while holding a sign in the other hand and smiling.
  5. Smiling might be the most important part and all of this must be done by looking engaged, at the car coming at you as if to tell the person in the car from the expression on your face “Hey, What a surprise!!  I wasn’t expecting you to be driving down the street today” and this must be done with the same excitement as you would see on your face as if you haven’t seen an old friend in a really long time!

 

I honestly don’t know how the queen does it although waving from a car at people while being driven down the road is probably easier than standing on the street corner for 6 plus hours and  I am sure you are probably wondering, “Well why didn’t you just take a lesson from the Queen and wave like she does” and I honestly tried that too but it was such a little wave, it didn’t and , couldn’t really engage the cars coming at us well enough to get their attention so that idea had to be scrapped immediately, apparently you don’t need to grab people’s attention when you are the queen but you do when you need their vote for a political party.

 

This years election got quite a few peoples attention and set a record number for voters in a non-presidential election all over the country. Many woke up the next morning unhappy and frustrated that their candidate did not get elected. You know, frustration and unhappiness can happen a lot, if we put our faith and trust in man. It is all too easy for us to look to humans for , help when the truth is our only true help come from the Lord. Does that mean if we look to Him we will get everything we want? No! But what we have to remember about any election or difficulty that come to us in life is that God is still in control.

 

The neat thing about last Wednesday morning, God didn’t wake up and say “What?? How did they get elected?”. No God appoints every authority, even the ones we don’t like. He is in control. The children of Israel in the bible didn’t like the pharaoh who had authority over them, but his hardened heart only opened the door for God to show His mighty  power to the children of Israel through the 10 plagues, , which by the way, never touched the children of Israel.

 

You may not have liked what the results of the election were but that doesn’t dismiss your responsibility of what God calls us to do and that is to pray for our newly elected officials. I didn’t say pray against them.  I said pray for them. Because the God who is in control has given you Life and the Liberty to pursue Him which will ultimately lead to the Happiness you are really looking for if we will follow God’s plan.

 

It is time we declare our Independence against fear, and worry of what the future holds and it is time to hold on to the one that holds our future in is hands and I promise you His arms never get tired.

The Scariest Thing……

The Scariest Thing……

The scariest thing about Halloween this year, will not be the Ghost and Goblins running around town or even the Zombies for that matter. No! The scariest thing is what is in the heart of men and women everywhere. Last Saturday an armed gunman walked into the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh PA  screamed anti-Semitic slurs and began shooting, killing 11 innocence people and wounding 6

What does it take for that kind of hate to be in someone’s heart? It has been said that the problem with our world is not the presence of darkness but the absence of light. Many respond to this and other tragedies like it, by believing we need tougher gun laws. But I don’t believe the problem is the lack of laws. I just believe we have failed to follow the most important law given to us many years ago when Jesus told us “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”  

If we would all follow that one simple law there wouldn’t be a need for any others. What has happened to a society that will turn on it’s own kind? The problem isn’t gun laws the problem is a matter of the heart. Our hearts are broken, from a deterioration of a society that has turned its back on its creator and now believes it is it’s own God.

Like the children of Israel who cried out for a king to worship, we have become such an idolized society that we worship ourselves. We now live in a world where there is no absolutes, no right, no wrongs, if it feels good do it. Some of the newest phrases around are “You be You Boo” which is often said in innocence but at the same time is subconsciously telling us we don’t have to follow any laws, that there is no right or wrongs we can just be who we want to be and do what we want to do.

And where is the church in all this? Have we set silent so long that satan now has taken over, or is it totally the opposite that we have pushed this generation to where it is, because of the years of our own self-righteous attitudes or our own cynicism or perhaps it is even both. For so long and in some cases still today, we in the church judge people for what they wear, how they look, who they hang out with, in some places Jesus himself would not of been welcome in our churches because, he didn’t hang out with the right crowd or wear the right clothes. (after all he did walk around in a robe) all the while we sit in our self-righteous pews judging others for what they have done, and forgetting what we have been forgiven of. We are no different from the people in the bible days who stoned people to death, today we just use our words and our rejection of them and then wonder why they don’t want to serve God.  

It is this kind of attitude that I am afraid as pushed people away from the church looking for their own God which has then in turn cause them to look to themselves and thus we have become our own idols. So we don’t want any gender laws or anything that remotely states marriage is between one man and one woman, we don’t want anyone taking away our rights to choose, unless of course it is to defend ourselves then we have no right to that because defending ourselves means that we are standing up for what we believe, whether it be on social media or with a gun in our hands we have no rights to opinions only the right to follow the crowd but yet look where the crowd is taking us. We are headed to a Godless sin filled nation like in the day of Sodom and Gomorrah,  We have mayors and other government officials calling out begging for us to become a socialist nation that would take away our guns and pretty much any right to govern ourselves because we are looking for a savior. Like the children of Israel who cried out to Moses “Give us something we can worship” and while he turned his back and climbed a mountain to get the 10 commandments, they built themselves and idol of a graven image. We in America are crying out for a saviour and yet we reject the one who has already come. Why? Because we don’t want a God we serve, we want a God that serves us and if we don’t get what we want we reject Him.

No the scariest thing this Halloween is not what will be walking around in costume it will be what is walking around in the hearts of those in costume. Because we are raising a generation of children that are being trained to worship themselves, like an army of little sinners, we have defined direction, and absolutes as offenses and unlawful acts. We no longer direct our children to the Savior we allow them to roam free condoning their selfish desires to be the god in their own lives.

What will it take for all of this to change? Only one thing, that most important law that Jesus told us all those years ago to follow. “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ That means that we put Him first. We put Him and His ways, above what we want, what we feel, and what we think and until we do that, I don’t care how much you say you love Him, or how many times you sit in the pew. If you haven’t done these things you can’t say you are His child and expect to get to heaven one day. It is an absolute and I don’t care how many times you say it or want to deny the fact, that absolute is for all time and will never change. Our idea may change of it, but we can never change what it means because the one true and only living God makes it a fact.

It is only when we learn the first part of that law then we can fulfill the second part which is “And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”, Because we can’t love anyone else until we love God, it is in the love we find it God we realize the worth we really have and in that, we can love someone else, as we love ourselves and that is when the light will negate the darkness in this world. And there will be an absence of darkness in all the light and that is something that even the 10 commandments or any law we put into place can’t do. It is only in the Love of Jesus Christ we will change this world. So what do you plan on wearing in your heart this Halloween season?

 

 

Worst Parenting Fear!

Worst Parenting Fear!

Being a parent can be one of the scariest things anyone can do. You hope to you are doing it right. You don’t want to miss your kids up to bad, because you know you, yourself, aren’t perfect, and well let’s face it we all think we are a little messed up and our biggest prayer as parents is “God just don’t let me mess up my kids”.

I remember one particular time this was heavy on my heart as a young mom. My oldest had to be in about 1st grade. We were associate pastors in charge of children’s ministries in Iola Kansas. Our children’s ministry there ran about 80-100 kids each Sunday.  We had a bus ministry of 3 buses that drove around town every Sunday, picking up kids to bring them to church. To assure the kids would come, we would go around door to door every Saturday and knock on the doors of homes in the area reminding the parents we would be coming by tomorrow to pick up their children.

Often Jeff would take our son, Lee with him on those trips. In fact pretty much every part of our ministry Lee as well as all our children have tagged along and been a part of it with us. Lee however was our only child at this time in our life so not only was our weekly canvasing the neighborhoods part of his weekly agenda, so was summer church camps. For several years we spent a month at kids and junior camps in the summer not even coming home on the weekend in between camps. Because we were Children’s Pastors, Jeff and I were counselors each week and Lee got to tag along with his dad in the boys cabins.

Wheat State Camp is 4 weeks in the summer that kids from Assembly of God churches all over Kansas come together in Augusta at our district camp ground where a different age group comes each week to play games and sporting events, have fellowship with other believers and all go to church services together in the evening. It was one of those evenings I was down at the altar crying out to God because my heart was so heavy. I felt as if I was ruining my kid’s life. I was probably about week 3 of being at camp for us and I was believing all the negative thoughts satan was running through my head that said “Lee is going to hate church” or “You are pushing our religion down his throat by keeping him here”. “What kind of mother are you?”.

As I was pouring out my heart to God that evening, with young girls from my cabin,  praying all around me. I felt God say, Looked up over to the boys side of the altar area. There I saw Lee standing with his arms raised to his Savior, tears streaming down his face. It was as if God was saying,” He is okay.” Because God knows, more than anything I want my kids to serve Him.

That kid is now 33 years old and running for a seat in the Oklahoma House as State Representatives for District 68. He was telling me the other day of how his campaigning was going. You see every evening after he gets off work and on Saturdays, he goes canvassing door to door the neighborhoods of his district.

He was actually canvassing with another candidate recently when the candidate of the same party said  “Man you are good at this!, Have you done this before?” To which my son responded “Sure have, but not for political purposes”.  See, it was all those years ago, that Lee walked with his daddy canvassing the neighborhood for the churches bus ministry that taught him how to handle himself and approach people in that type of situation. But we didn’t take Lee out canvassing with the idea that this is going to be a lesson, or with any thought that he would use it later on in life, and we never had any idea he would actually run for a political office at that age. But, it was a lesson that gave him confidence where another person might have been hesitate to knock on a stranger’s door without it.

All this got me thinking…….  Deuteronomy 11:18 – says “Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds,…….. 19 Teach them to your children, speaking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 20 Write them on the doorposts of your houses and gates,… “.  In essence, it is saying teach your children about God as you go about your everyday responsibilities. All too often we expect the church to teach our children or we think I’ll just wait until they are older and let them decide for themselves what kind of faith they want to accept. But that isn’t what God tells us to do.  

Proverbs also tells us, “Train up a child in the way he should go [teaching him to seek God’s wisdom and will for his abilities and talents] Even when he is old he will not depart from it. (Prov 22:6 Amp) How do you train up a child, if you wait till they are older and let them decide? You don’t, this makes it plain that parents are instructed to teach their child in His ways. As a minister my dad use to say, it is better to build boys and girls for Jesus then rebuild broken down men and women for Christ. You may ask why is it better to teach them when they are young? Because we are creatures of habit. We get in good habits or we get into bad habits but either way they are habits and old habits are hard to break. I don’t know a better habit then going to church every week, reading your bibles, and praying every day.

As parents often times I think we negate the reality that our children are always watching and learning from everything we do and say. It is important that we keep in mind children learn what we live. I don’t care how old they are, they are like little sponges absorbing everything we say and do. So the question is what are we teaching are kids? It wasn’t our intention to be teaching Lee anything, on the days we canvass the neighborhood but we did. I also believe he has learned how to follow God by our example (habits) of going to church, reading our bibles and praying with our kids. Lee developed a relationship with Jesus Christ all his own and that has given him the foundation he needs to make good choices and why he cares enough to try to make a difference in this country.

Does he have some ideas that I have wondered about? Sure!  But the truth is we probably taught him that too. Oh! Not the exact ideas, but I believe his father and I taught him to not just go with the crowd. We have lived a life of entrepreneurship and pioneering new ideas since he was born. From being the first homeschoolers in Graham County, to deciding to start a church with absolutely no support except knowing God has called us. We have taught him to judge whatever you do to the word of God and in this day and age when there is more people just following the crowd of what has always been done or what everyone else is doing. It is not surprising, he choose to be in the libertarian party because he sees the present parties in place are not making any difference. Lee isn’t afraid to pioneer down a new path of politics and I am completely confident he will pave his own way down that path as well.  

So the question is, what are you instilling in your children and grandchildren?  What are you talking about as you drive around in the car, sit in your homes? What messages are you sending to them? The fact is, whatever you are teaching them, they will take it to the next level. They will push the limit of whatever you are doing, good or bad. Do you want your kid to do more of what you do? What legacy are you leaving?