Jesus and my Diet

Jesus and my Diet

You know most days I feel ill-equipped to be a Pastor’s wife or in ministry of any kind. The world we live in today is far from anything I was raised in or my parents prepared me for. Satan would want to tell me that because I have not participated in many of the so called big sins that plagues this world we live in today, means I am unqualified to help rescue those who are in the middle of those situations.  

Satan would want me to believe that there is no way I can relate to those who aren’t like me, raised in the church all my life and being introduced to Christ at an early age. 

Satan would also want me to believe I could never succeed at certain things in my life. Like, when I dropped out of High School my senior year. It took me 10 yrs to go back and get my GED and lets not even talk about what he said to me, when I went on to college.  Satan tells me I am a bad mother, He tells me I will never amount to anything and you know what the most recent lie he told me was. “That I could never lose weight.” 

You see, It didn’t matter what I tried, it seemed to me I could not lose any weight. Oh! I would read the latest craze and try whatever it suggested. I was determined I was going to do it myself! Eat healthy, eat clean, only eat organic, no processed foods, only things made from scratch. No sugar, no gluten, no fat, low fat, etc.  It did not matter what I tried, I could never seem to lose the weight! He had me believing that there had to be something wrong with me. I mean obviously if I had done all these things on my own surely there had to be something wrong with me physically to have not lost weight with everything I had done. 

Until January of this year,  I stepped on the scales in this 30 plus year long journey, finding out that I had hit the all time highest weight of my life. At that point you could have poured poison down my throat that day I would not of cared. I was willing to do whatever it took to get the weight off me. But instead of picking up the bottle of poison, I called a friend who I had watched weight melt off her. She told me about a doctor recommended  program that she was on and I told her to sign me up! I did not care what it took, that day I was done! I was done with my aching back and knees, I was done with not sleeping well. I was done with my clothes not fitting, I was sick and tired of being sick and tired and I hated what I saw in the mirror. 

So I decided to follow this step my step plan that was proven time and time again to work for others and you know what? It worked for me! This past week I hit my first goal of losing my first 50lbs. I am so excited I could dance! Well, actually I have done the happy dance around my house. I feel so much better, my blood work has improved. I am sleeping better, no more aching back or knees and I have more energy than I have ever had perhaps in my whole life! 

But you know what I have learned through this process, it’s a choice! I had to choose to change my old habits and embrace the new ones that would lead me to the goal I wanted to achieve. I also had to follow a plan that was time tested by experienced and knowledgeable people and you know what else I realized? I realized that wanting to lose weight is a lot like people who are not living for God and say they want to live a better life, they say they love God, but they have never totally surrendered their life to His time tested plan and because of that they continue to struggle and don’t understand why they are so miserable with themselves. 

See I had to choose to give up my will and my way and submit everything I had thought was right to follow this plan that was going to change my life, if I wanted to lose weight. Isn’t that what we have to do when we decide to live our life for Christ too? We can go around trying our own way, we can read the latest craze of the best psychologist self help book, in the country. But there is nothing that will beat the time tested, God given word called the bible. 

I knew I had to resist the temptation, if my life was going to change. I had gotten into the habit of seeing food and thinking, “I like it,I will eat it” My mindless habits were killing me! I had to resist the temptation to eat late at night. I had to choose to do things that weren’t comfortable to me because it was a new lifestyle I was choosing to live. In fact, one of those things was totally opposite of what you would think was the correct way to lose weight.  I had to start eating every 2-3hrs. This seemed ridiculous to me, after years of starving myself, to lose weight, because after all, you can’t eat to lose weight! But I did!  

You know that is a lot like our walk with Christ if we are really going to live for Him we have to resist the temptation to continue in the activities of our life that God is not pleased with. The stuff that is killing us, either spiritually or physically. When we make those changes they are not always comfortable because it is a new lifestyle we are choosing to live and often times we need to do the opposite of what we have done in the past. So it is uncomfortable at first to walk this new path. Because it doesn’t feel the same as living our old way.  

It’s uncomfortable, for some to accept that the creator of the universe, loves them with and everlasting love and gave His life for them even before they were born. (Jeremiah 31:3)

Satan wants us to believe something is wrong with us. That we will never be good enough, that we can’t ever change, that our lives will never be better. That no one could love us like that. He doesn’t want us to use the time proven plan in the bible because He knows it will change us and he is in a battle for our souls. It will not be until we get tired of the life we are living and we choose to make the change that change will happen. 

But for this process to happen, we often need someone to guide us. Show us the way. I know for several years I would ask my skinny friends what they were doing to lose weight, and they would give me vague answers, “Oh just eat clean”, “Cut out sugar”. Much like I have told many people “Just live for Christ”. Well because of this journey I am on, I now realize none of that advice makes any sense to the people asking it. We all need someone to come alongside us, take us by the hand and walk with us through this process, step by step. Because, to the fat person, eating clean is not going to change their life unless someone walks them through all the other parts of really changing your lifestyle to become healthy and to the sinner who has never known anything but living the way they are, they also need someone to walk with them through the process, step by step showing them exactly what it means to trust God and live for Him.

So maybe you’re reading this and thinking “Yeah!” I need someone to walk me through this life or, how many times have you just looked at someone and said “They should just live for God” and now realize they don’t have a clue of how to do that because no one has ever taught them. 

To the skinny person being skinny is what they know to do, and being a sinner is all many people know how to do too. Because we live in a world that doesn’t honor the Godly heritage that many of us grew up with. 

So how about today, we be that coach to someone, let’s take the hand of that one who wants to do better but just doesn’t know how. Let’s put an arm around someone and lead them, instead of pointing them in the direction they should go, like an employee at the big box store down the street, but let’s be like the professional customer service agent who when asked where something is, they walk you to it and assure you have everything you need before they go. 

I don’t know about you today, but that is my goal! I now understand how being lost feels and I am so glad someone showed me the way! I can’t wait to help someone who was like me! I have committed that I will be a different person after this because we all just need someone to take us by the hand and lead us to what we are looking for. 

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Feel the Love

Feel the Love

I love weddings. I have told you this? I just love, love! If you have hung out with me very much it doesn’t take long for you to realize that. I have loved weddings since way before I was married and almost decided to be a wedding consultant. I am creative as well as have the gift of organization. (remember my story last week on we all have a gift?) 

 

So putting any event together especially weddings is just fun for me and because I enjoy the decorating part and I have two single children yet. I have started collecting a few things for their “one day” wedding. I even try to stay on top of the latest trends and styles going on in weddings. 

 

One of the ways I do that was by following some wedding pages on Facebook. There they ask different questions about what to do at weddings. It was also there that my eyes were opened to a whole different world I didn’t realize was out there. Oh! I guess I knew it happened but I didn’t realize how much.  

 

It’s there I realized that we have an epidemic in the world and that is the institution of marriage is falling apart. It’s falling apart because we no longer value it anymore because many think it’s okay to just live together. In fact according to the U.S. 2010 census living together has never been more popular. There it was reported 7.5.million couples are living together before or instead of getting married. That is 15 million people.

 

Due to this great mass exodus of the realization of what God’s word says about being married there is a lack of having weddings. We have a generation of people who have never even been to a wedding. So you can imagine the questions that are being asked on this Facebook page. Some of the things that I think are the most basic knowledge are unknown to most. Why because they aren’t seeing it. They aren’t seeing it lived out in front of them so they don’t know what to do. 

 

Our church just finished giving its third free wedding away this year and as I walked around last night looking at the almost 100 candles we had lit on the tables,  towards the end of the evening most were almost completely gone. They were melted completely down into the candle holder.
As I looked at them a thought came to me, “Well at least we got our money’s worth out of them because they are done for, useless and over with” another thought came to me after that. “But they represent something that has just begun” 

 

As we walked around cleaning up after the wedding, table clothes were ripped. Drinks had been split on the table runners and the candles all melted. The place looked somewhat in disarray. But it wasn’t because the guest had been abusive to the property, but simply the natural wear and tear of the day. Kind of like life isn’t it? . 

 

All I could think about was doesn’t this just represent marriage. Everyday wear and tear on our lives, struggles come and life goes on. It was at that moment I was reminded “What looks like an ending here in this room, is just the beginning for that couple” and so I begin to pray for them. 

 

In that pray I believe God spoke something in my heart that every church going so called Christian needs to hear. “That is why it is so important for we as followers of Christ live out what He did in this world, what Christ did more in this world than anything else is, He loved. He loved people right where they were.”  

 

If we read John Chapter 4 we find the story of the woman at the well. Where God goes out of His way and against all customs and traditions of His culture to this city and believe because He went because he wanted to talk to this woman. He was on a mission from His Heavenly Father.

 

He wanted to meet her and live the love out before her. See if your read, she knew “about” God but she didn’t know the God. Because know one had lived it out before her. She had only heard stories of the God

 

But Jesus told her in vs 10 “ “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” and then she responds in vs 15 ““Sir, give me this water..” 

 

Jesus didn’t care that she had 5 husbands and was living with another. Verse 18 “The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband.”

 

He showed her love and because of that she came to know Christ and the bible says in vs 34 she said. “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.” 

 

Then it goes on to say” 39 Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. 41 And because of his words many more became believers.” 

 

Jesus showed love to a woman who wasn’t of his culture, sex or stature and back in those days it was unheard of and looked down up on by everyone for a man to even talk to a woman and for a Jew to speak to a samaritain was considered a terrible thing to do. 

 

But Christ stepped outside the comfort zone of the culture and even his friends and loved with the love of His Heavenly Father.  In most churches today, we still don’t condone living together outside of marriage. Because the bible doesn’t but that doesn’t mean we don’t love the people that do. 

 

In this day and age when it is such a common occurrence, we as the church must step up and be a light into a world that does not know. A world that has only heard of what marriage can be. 

 

If we have the gifts and abilities to bless others with this gift of a free wedding we need to do it. We need to use whatever gift God has given us to bless others and do it in love because that is what people will see in us. 

 

I heard a phrase the other day that “People won’t always remember what you say to them, but they will remember how you make them feel” Let’s make sure when people what away from us, just as that Samaritan woman did with Jesus, she feels the love she has never felt before.

A Place Called Home

A Place Called Home

My daddy was a preacher and because of that, we moved quite a lot and because we moved a lot that means I went to a lot of different schools, 9 to be exact out of 12 yrs. But along with going to a lot of schools, I also lived in a lot of homes and out of the 17 and half yrs I lived at home, only one of those homes my parents owned, the rest were parsonages.(A home provided by the church for the minister)   So needless to say all I ever wanted in life was a home that I owned. 

 

So imagine my excitement when Jeff and I were approved for our first home loan and we found a home we fell in love with. The only problem was the house we loved was appraised for about $5,000 more dollars than what we were approved for and although the homeowner had told the realtor to go ahead and sell us the house for what we could afford. The realtor was determined to try and get more money for it. So, while our paperwork was going forward she was still showing the house to other potential buyers. 

 

When I found this out I informed that agent under no uncertain terms that “You can show that house all you want but I know God has given us that house so you are just wasting your time” 

 

You might say “How do you know that, Alesa?” and I would tell you, that I know that because there were confirmation after confirmation of things that I prayed for that God gave me in that house. The first one was, I prayed that God would give us a house where all the woodwork was stained except for the kitchen and Amy’s bedroom. Secondly, I wanted white woodwork in those rooms, this home had all that. 

 

Also, Jeff didn’t even have a job at the time, we were in the process of moving to Kansas City area to plant a church and Jeff only had a promise of a job, he hadn’t even started working yet. Yet, we were approved for a loan. I wanted white kitchen cabinets, tall ceilings, and a house with a history. This home had all that. 

 

So I knew in my heart God had given us this house. The day came when we closed on the house and we had our final walk thru with the realtor before getting the keys. 

 

As we looked over the house one last time the realtor told me “Alesa you were right, God has given you this house” She went on to tell the story of a woman who she had showed the house to and the lady was ready to buy it, had the money and everything but when she went home and told her husband, he said “You can buy it but I am not moving”

 

The realtor confessed she had tried her hardest to sell that house to someone else to make more money but every time she did it fell through. 

 

You may be thinking I wish God would answer my prayers like that. You maybe wondering how did you know Alesa? How can you be that confident? 

 

And I would have to tell you, because I have a personal relationship with God. He isn’t the friend I just talk to once a week. He isn’t the person I call only when I’m in trouble. I know Him through reading His words in the bible and constant communication with Him and He knows me because He created me. 

 

He also knows that I am willing to follow His plan even when it isn’t want I want. 

 

You see I never wanted to be married to someone who served in the military and I never wanted to be married to a pastor.  Not because I didn’t think those jobs were admirable or I didn’t appreciate what those people do, I just didn’t think either of them made enough money for me and I wanted more than what those salaries could provide but yet when God called Jeff into the ministry, and the military, I knew that it wasn’t about what I wanted anymore but it was about God’s will and following the plan He had for our lives. 

 

So I gave up my dreams my plans and we follow God’s. That’s what I really think having a relationship with Jesus Christ is all about, No longer following what you want but following what His will is for us and as Rick Warren’s famous quote says “It’s not about me” 

 

When you have that kind of relationship with the creator of the universe you can know what His will is for your life, because when you’re willing to give up your will, desires and ways of how you think things should go. Then God will know He can trust you enough to tell you His innermost secrets and the direction that He has for your life

 

Now does that mean I always get what I want No! Does that mean I am always certain of what to do, no!

 

But I have learned when I sense my life is about to change and God is up to something I continue to keep doing the last thing He told me to do until I see the next open door. 

 

That’s called faith It’s called trusting God no matter what it looks like ahead and following the plan He has for me. 

 

The bible says “Now faith is the assurance that what we hope for will come about and the certainty that what we cannot see exists” Hebrews 11:1

I was telling this to our son Chad the other day. He has been sensing a change coming in his life and he is uncertain of what to do at the end of this semester. I reminded him, When following Christ He usually only gives us one step at a time. So we just do that last thing He told us to do until we get new directions. 

 

We can’t get so focused on looking ahead that we forget the task at hand but at the same time we must always be listening to the direction of the Holy Spirit that is living inside of us if we have given our lives to God. 

 

The question today is who are you following? Are you following your will and your way or have you totally submitted your life to Christ? Is there something that God has told you to do and you haven’t? Are you listening for His call on the next step He desires you to take? When He does speak to you , are you willing to move no matter what He tells you to do?

 

God is looking for people who are willing to follow after Him no matter what the cost. No matter has scary or crazy it may look. You see what I didn’t tell you in that house buying story Is that Jeff and I were moving to Kansas City area to plant a church and we didn’t have any other contacts in that area but us,  we started that little church with the five members of our family and it grew to 50 in just a year’s time. We stepped out in faith to follow what God has called us to do. 

 

When other church planters had churches coming alongside them and helping them, partnering with them and even sending some of their congregations to help them. 

 

It was just Jeff and I and our kids. What the old school preachers would call pioneering a church with no help from anybody else but God, and you know what we found in that season of life God is all we need and He’s all you need too. 

Our imagination is bigger than we think!

Our imagination is bigger than we think!

Recently, Jeff and I were privileged to be a part of my cousin’s daughter’s wedding. I say apart because, Jeff performed the wedding and I was the day of coordinator. Which is a fancy term, that basically means I told everyone what to do that day, but my family would probably say that was nothing new. 

 

There are two reasons why this was such a special occasion. The first is because it was kind of surreal going back home for this special occasion.  You see,thirty years ago, it would of been my mom and dad doing this, because that is just what their role was in the family. When anything came up that needed a preacher, my mom and dad were the ones the family called on. Because my parents were both ministers with the Assemblies of God for over 40 yrs. 

In fact it was 18 years ago my mom performed the wedding of my cousin and his wife, only because my daddy had already gone home to heaven. So to say we keep things like this in the family is sort of an understatement. It truly felt the mantel was passed on to Jeff and I, not only in ministry but by performing the wedding in the exact same church where my mom performed my cousin’s wedding, and now his daughter was getting married. 

Another neat thing about this special event is when we went back to this town I was born in (Iola Kansas) and where Jeff and I served in the church not once but twice, we not only got to see many friends from our church there. It was endearing as we drove around town remembering all the blessings God had brought us while we lived there.  

Now our life has never been without problems, so we were also reminded of the difficult times as well. But because we kept our focus on the good, the bad didn’t over shadow us, even going to the graveside of my parents was not a disappointment because I know where they are and it isn’t in that grave, but it is in heaven. 

One thing that was a surprise though was how much smaller things felt. As Jeff and I was driving to the park entrance, He even made the comment “I remember it being a lot further down this road” and when we entered the old church, where we had pastored, I made the comment “I remember these rooms being bigger”. 

Now had the street gotten any shorter or the room any smaller since the last time we were there? No, but our mind had made them much bigger than they really were. In the six years since our last visit to the town and the probably 20 plus years since we had been inside the church, nothing had changed about these places but in my mind they were so much bigger. 

Isn’t that what happens to all of us though, and I don’t mean just physical things but just about any idea we have in our mind can be blown up much bigger than what it actually is. For instance someone says something to you and you might not think anything about it right away, but if you sit and dwell on it, the longer you think about it the bigger the conversation can get and the more offense we can take. 

We often allow things to fester and grow in our minds much bigger than they actually are. Romans 12:2  reminds us “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.”  Satan doesn’t want us to be happy and at peace, that is why he drops negative thoughts in our minds that we focus on. Because he wants us to focus on the bad in every situation.

Paul tells us in Philippians 4:8 …… Fix your thoughts on what is true and good and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely, and dwell on the fine, good things in others. Think about all you can praise God for and be glad about. (TLB) 

If we only dwell on the negative in our lives, we will end up magnifying everything we think about over and over again for an extended period of time and the truth is the situation or the issue often isn’t as big has our mind imagines it to be. 

I remember my dad telling the story of a church he pastored where there was so much offense between two families in the church that they refuse to speak to each other and sat on separate sides of the church. One day my dad brought the leaders of both sides of the family into his office and told them, “It is time this feud stops! Now tell me why you can’t get along? What happened between your two families that has made you so mad?” The two people thought for a moment and looked at my dad and said “We can’t remember” Here they had been mad at each other for 40yrs., refuse to have anything to do with each other, all while calling themselves Christians and they couldn’t remember what they were mad about? 

Satan had taken something that obviously wasn’t that big of a deal and magnify it into a family feud that lasted years and who knows how many countless people were turned off of the idea of knowing Christ because of these so called Christian’s actions. All because they had dwelled on something way to long and allowed Satan to make it much bigger than what the situation obviously really was. 

So what are you thinking about? What keeps you up at night? What has you so angry you are refusing to speak to someone? Whatever it is, try stepping back and focusing on Phil 4:8.  Because you aren’t doing it for the people you are upset with you are doing it for you, and because God asked you to, and God only asks us to do what He knows is best for us.

Who’s knocking at your door? (The time I wouldn’t let my FIL in my house)

Who’s knocking at your door? (The time I wouldn’t let my FIL in my house)

As a young mother, life can be hectic to say the least,  between work, life and just wrangling a little kid the task can feel daunting. At least it did for me,  our little one must of been about 2-3 yrs old and between the depression of Jeff not having a job, and me carrying the financial load, I was pretty give out, add to that the fact, my mother never taught me how to clean or maintain a home much because of her physical disabilities. So,  lets just say there were some areas in my life, that I had to grow up quickly in, maintaining a home was one of those and obviously I was a little behind on that learning curve. 

 

So, it not might come as a surprise to you that one day when my father-in-law appeared at my apartment door I refused to let him in. Oh! I was nice about it. I just opened the door, stood in the doorway and said “Hello” and smiled. When he told me what he was there for I was polite and said “Thank you!” and added “I’d invite you in but Jeff isn’t here and the house is a mess” to which we both laughed and my father-in-law went on his way. 

 

Later, I found out that Jeff had mentioned to his dad, “You need to come see us sometime” to which Trammel responded “I tried and Alesa wouldn’t let me in”. Looking back, perhaps that is why I never remember my in laws coming to visit our home when we lived in the same town. I doubt that was the reason,but it is a thought. 

 

You know what else I have thought about, I was thinking, how many times do we do that to God. He knocks on our hearts, nudges on our hearts with a thought of “I want to help you, just let me in” or “If you would just do this or that, things would be better” and we stand in the doorway of our life saying “It’s to messy in here I can’t let you in”. 

 

We believe the lies that satan tells us that we will never be good enough and won’t ever make it or we have to clean up our lives before we can let God in. But the truth is God loves us right where we are. In fact is,  the bible tells us ‘While we were still sinners Christ died for us” Roman 5:8

 

The truth is we are loved with an everlasting love (Jer 31:3) Now does that mean just because God loves us we stay in the same mess we find ourselves in now. No! Once we know better we do better. The bible tells us that just because grace abounds doesn’t give us the license to continue to sin. (Romans 6:1-2)

 

When I got older, I got better with my housekeeping skills. I read books, and sign up for email reminders of what to do. I made the effort to do better and I did. Most people after seeing my home,  then and seeing my home now, wouldn’t believe it was the same person living there. I have even been admired for my home organizational skills so much so that some husbands have hired me to help their wives. 

 

It’s the same way with life, and living for God. We all have messes. The question is what will we do with our mess. Will we let it over take us and continue to live in it or will we decided we can do better and we will do better and step by step begin to change. 

 

I learned to do better by educating myself through books, magazines, T.V. shows and email subscriptions. I read and watched everything I could get my hands on to help improve the life of my family. I knew I couldn’t do it on my own. 

 

It’s the same way for us in our lives. We can’t change our life without God’s help and He is still standing at our door knocking asking “Won’t you let me in?”. He has sent the church, His Word and other believers around you to help you. He doesn’t expect you to do it on your own either. 

 

So what will you say? How about today,  you decide to let Him in, make the change? He already knows everything about you and loves you anyway. There is nothing you are ever going to do to make God love you more and there is nothing you will ever do to make God love you less. 

He promises that if you will open the door to Him,  He will come in. (Rev 3:20) How about you let Him in today, join a bible believing church that will help you grow and understand His word and just give Him a chance to make a difference in your life today. I promise,  you will never find anyone that loves you more than He does. Alesa Lewis Miller is the Pastor’s wife of Lighthouse Worship Center, Greensburg Kansas, Mom, Mimi, Speaker, & Columnist. Find more of her stories at www.behindtheparsonagewalls.com

Green Acres

There was a famous American Sitcom on television back in the late 1960’s and early 70’s called Green Acres. It was popular back when we had commercials on TV and theme songs to our favorite shows that you actually went around singing throughout the day. The theme song to this show  was actually written by Vic Mezzy and went like this. 

 

It starts out with you seeing New York lawyer Oliver Wendell Douglas who longs for a simpler way of life. Singing in his suit and tie………….

 

“Green acres is the place for me

Farm livin’ is the life for me

Land spreadin’ out so far and wide

Keep Manhattan, just give me that countryside”

 

Then you see Eva Gabor, who plays, Lisa Douglas,his socialite wife, in her full-length gown trimmed in fur and wearing her ostentatious jewelry, standing on a baloney of a penthouse looking over New York City singing 

 

“New York is where I’d rather stay

I get allergic smelling hay

I just adore a penthouse view

Dah-ling I love you but give me Park Avenue”

 

Then they go back and forth singing, 

 

…The chores

…The stores

…Fresh air

…Times Square

 

Finally you see Eddie Abert who plays Douglas singing “You are my wife”

And Eva sings, “Good bye, city life” Together they chime in “Green Acres we are there”. 

 

It is a hysterical comedy where Oliver,  buys a farm, sight unseen, and moves there to live off the land, much to the chagrin of his socialite wife, Lisa. The collision of small-town life and Lisa’s sophisticated ways  where she insists on continuing to wear her full-length gowns and gaudy jewelry, while working on the farm, provides much of the humor in the show.

 

It is also a theme song that Jeff and I have sung to each other many times since he moved me to Kansas kicking and screaming 30 yrs ago this October. You see we were living in Atlanta GA. at the time, and through a series or miraculous events, God brought us to Kansas. Now, mind you I came because God said, not because I wanted to. Similar to Lisa on Green Acres I like my stores, I like the business of the city and the action and opportunities that comes with it. 

Jeff on the other hand “Not so much” He likes the slow pace life of a small town. So for many years he and I jokingly sung this to each other because we knew that the truth is really neither of us chose to come to Kansas. God brought us here and ultimately wherever we go, and whatever we do, we are God’s and we follow His plan for our lives not our own. 

 

So traveling and living in as many different places that I have lived has taught me a lot about people and culture. I went to 9 schools in 12 yrs so to say my family moved a lot as a kid is an understatement.

 

When Jeff and I moved to Kansas from Atlanta, GA. There were 2.5 million people that lived in the city of Atlanta at the time, when we came to Kansas there wasn’t 2.5 million people that lived in the whole state, let alone the city we moved to. So to me it was definitely like moving from the city to the country.

 

One thing I have noticed in living in small and large cities is there is a different perspective of how people view each other from city to country. In the city people don’t care where you come from, for the most part or who your family is. In the country, when people ask who you are, the last thing they want to know is your name, what they are really asking is “Who do you belong to?” and “Do I know them?” or “Can you be trusted?”

 

In the country people’s form of entertainment seems to mostly come from being in other people’s business, (example – owning police scanners and listening to it as a form of entertainment, when you are not a member of law enforcement or emergency management) verses in the City where everyone has their own business to attend to because they have places to go and people to see. 

 

Another difference is in the city people don’t just show up at your house unannounced. People call before they come and it is usually, a scheduled time. Now mind you the differences I am talking about, don’t make one or the other right or wrong. It is just different cultures, different ways people live. It doesn’t make one better than the other, or one worst. It is simply my perception of what I have seen and experienced.  

 

But there is another perspective I have seen too, I have often heard from people that have lived all their lives in small towns, “There is no way I could live in a big city, I couldn’t stand all those people looking at me” Or “I couldn’t stand all of those people in my business” 

 

Which that perspective blows my mind because coming from a person who has lived in the city, I couldn’t find that farther from the truth. The truth is most people who live in the city could care less what their neighbors are doing. Unless you are bothering them,or need help, they will pretty much leave you alone. Because they have plenty of other things to keep them occupied they are not worried about being in their neighbors business. 

 

But you know another perspective that blows my mind is people who believe that everyone is judging them, when they walk out their doors. Whether it is with their clothes, weight, or whatever.  Satan is the author of isolation and if he can keep up all thinking everyone is judging each other, he can keep us isolating ourselves from each other. 

 

Satan is the author of lies. In John 8:44 It tells us “…..for he is a liar and the father of lies.” when referring to satan. 

 

I believe satan tells us that so we hold people at arm’s length and refuse to get close to people for fear they will find out who we really are and they will reject us. But the truth is, everybody feels like they are not good enough, that everyone else is probably doing a little better than they are, at least in some area of their life. Satan has woven that lie into so many people’s lives so much so it keeps us hidden away in our houses for fear of getting out and going to church or hanging with certain groups of people. 

 

The bible says in Matt 18:20  “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” No wonder satan doesn’t want us coming together with believers. He doesn’t want us knowing the power there is when followers of Christ come together and worship God. 

 

It also tells us,  “Where there is no counsel, the people fall; But in the multitude of counselors there is safety.” Proverbs 11:14. Did you hear that? In the multitude of counselors there is safety. Now the bible is not talking about just hanging out in any crowd here. But a crowd of believers, who are further along in their walk with Christ than you. It is saying here, when we don’t know what to do, seek out those believers who are further in their walk with Christ and ask them for help. 

 

The truth is, satan doesn’t want us doing that because he knows we will find peace and understanding in that as well as be blessed and grow in our walk with Christ. So if satan can’t keep us all thinking we are all against each other, then he can keep us divided. He can keep us isolated and never grow in our faith. 

 

But you may be saying right now “Alesa why does that even matter, I am a good person I don’t need other people to get to heaven” and to that I would respond.”That is the biggest lie you could believe” You see good people are not going to get to heaven. It takes a relationship with Jesus Christ to get to heaven and He didn’t just come to earth to give His life for us so we would be good. Christ gave His life so you would be saved and you would then go and tell others about Him. He didn’t come to make your life better, He came so you would be better in this life and you can’t be better and do better if you don’t grow in your understanding of Him. 

 

As Christ followers we don’t just commit to living for God and then never learn anything else about Him. How can we live for Him if we don’t know who He is and how can we know who He is if we don’t learn from others who know more than we do? 

 

YouTube is one of the most popular sites on the internet, Why? Because for the most part it is people telling people how to do something. Even if it is stupid things like eating tide pods. Many people look to the stars and their horoscopes to find what they should do in this life, but why not go to the creator of the stars instead? God is asking you to come to Him and the church is the YouTube of God to get that message to you. It is the earthly form that God created and still the biggest tool He uses to make a difference in this world and help us get the understanding we need to know Him better. 

So what are you gonna do today? Will you allow the lies of satan to rule you? Will you allow those negative voices he is putting in your thought life to overtake you? How about you come out of the comfort zone of fear you are in, take the next step in your walk with Him and go to church, read your bible, begin to engage with others in a bible believing church who can help you grow in your understanding of Him and lets stop listening to the lies of satan and step into the green acres of a deeper relationship with Him. Alesa Lewis Miller is the Pastor’s wife of Lighthouse Worship Center, Greensburg Kansas, Mom, Mimi, Speaker, & Columnist. Find more of her stories at www.behindtheparsonagewalls.com

The 3 P’s of the Alesa Doctrine

The 3 P’s of the Alesa Doctrine

If you know our family you are probably familiar with our two younger children Amy and Chad, but you might not realize we have an older son Lee, who is 10 and 12 yrs older than his siblings. To say we have memories with our oldest son that we don’t have with our younger two and visa versa is an understatement. 

 

One particular fun memory we have is what my oldest son and his two best friends Joe and Ryan call the Three “P’s” of the Alesa Doctrine. You see Joe and Ryan practically lived at our house when they were 14, 15 and 16 yrs old,  so they were just part of our kids and because we treat everyone like family when they visited our house, they had to follow our rules. 

 

You see it was about 1998 when Pokemon came out. It was all the rage, especially to my 14 yr old son Lee, and his friends. Pokémon also known as Pocket Monsters in Japan, It was a Nintendo game, and eventually there was even Pokémon Trading Card Game and I don’t know what else but it seemed the world was taken over by the craze all except for me. 

 

It didn’t matter to me how cool it was to everyone else. I didn’t like it. I really can’t tell you why. All I knew was, there was just something wrong with it that made a check in my spirit. Others might call it our conscience or just a sixth sense but for me, I feel like it was God telling me not to allow my kids to play it. So I band it from my house, It was about the same time that I was on a health food craze and not allowing any processed foods in my house, I was making homemade everything, homemade baby food, I was canning food, and even feeding my family tofu (Okay, I tried but that didn’t go over very well) 

 

It was also about the time when Harry Potter came out. That set of books and then the movies, had way too much witchcraft in it for my taste and again I just felt in my spirit it wasn’t the influence I wanted my kids under.  

 

1 Corinthians 10:13 tells us that  Some of you say, “We can do whatever we want to!” But I tell you that not everything may be good or helpful. In other words God gives us a choice in everything in life, we have a free will, we are not like the angels or even the rocks that when God snaps His fingers, we must do what He says and obey Him. Nope! God gave man a choice and allowed us the freewill to pretty much do anything we want. But He warns us that just because we can, doesn’t mean we should. 

 

So Lee and his friends named my rules, the 4 P’s of the Alesa Doctrine. No Pokemon, No Potter, No Processed foods and No Pringles. Now of course the Pringles and Process foods are interchangeable and it really could be called the 3 P’s with the Pringles being dropped but our family and especially the boys like Pringles so much they felt it was worth adding in. It’s funny how teenage boys perceive things. The 4 P’s of the Alesa doctrine became quite the joke at our house. But although they teased me about being so strict they never defied me and did it. (Okay maybe a little bit on the processed foods, but Potter and Pokemon was out) 

 

Now don’t get me wrong if any of these things are something that you allowed your kids to participate in or you participated in yourself. That is totally okay with me. No judgement here. But I am just saying as for me and my house, I felt like it wasn’t right for us. 

 

You know, there is a lot of questions like that, can go unanswered in the bible. I mean no where in the bible does it say “Thou Shalt Not Read Harry Potter”. That is why we need the power of the Holy Spirit to guide us in situations like this. We find out about the Holy Spirit in the second chapter of Acts. He is who Jesus sent after He left the disciples here on earth to guide and direct them. Some people call it our conscience but I think God takes it to a whole new level, if you follow Christ and what His word says. 

 

In life we will come across decisions everyday that we don’t know what to do and If we search the bible for it, we either don’t know where to find it in the bible or it just isn’t black and white with a “Thou shalt not” tagged to it. 

 

When times like that arise in our life, let me encourage you to do 3 things. First pray about it and ask God to show you what to do. Second look in the bible for someone who may have dealt with a similar experience and Thirdly, Ask someone further along in their faith walk than you. 

 

Don’t ever think that God doesn’t care about every part of your life. He does and He wants to be included in everything we do. The guidelines He has set before us in the bible and how the Holy Spirit guides us is because He loves us and wants the very best for our lives. He cares so much for us. Yes, everything may be permissible, but we need to ask ourselves if everything we do is beneficial to our lives and pleases God when we do them. We need to ask ourselves, would Jesus do this?

So this week as you go about your days, why not ask Him to show you what you should do and ask Him if there is anything in your life, that isn’t pleasing to Him to reveal that to you and then be willing to follow what He shows you to do. Don’t forget to follow the 3 steps I mentioned earlier, if you don’t know what to do in any part of your life, God wants to help you through it. Alesa Lewis Miller is the Pastor’s wife of Lighthouse Worship Center, Greensburg Kansas, Mom, Mimi, Speaker, & Columnist. Find more of her stories at www.behindtheparsonagewalls.com

Mimi and Poppy Camp

Mimi and Poppy Camp

This past week was Mimi and Poppy camp at our house,  which means it is a week my husband and I get all of our grandchildren (which I affectionately call grands) to ourselves. Jeff and I picked our 3 grands up, on Sunday, at the halfway point between where they live and we live because they live 5 hours away from us. 

 

As our son and his wife dropped them off, I could tell he was nervous and as usual began giving us all the directions of what the kids needed and what not to do with them or let them do. Which the whole point of Mimi and Poppy camp is they don’t have to have any rules, because it’s for spoiling!  

 

For a minute I thought to myself “Doesn’t he know I raised 3 children already,  I got this!” but I let him continue to ramble and share his concerns after all they are his children. But the truth is they are our grands and I am pretty sure, if there was a gage to measure the love we both have for these kids, it would be a very close tie, and maybe even Poppy and Mimi’s gage would surpass mom and dad’s. 

 

The best part for me of the whole conversation was as my son hugged me goodbye, he told me. “But seriously mom they have been so excited about this, I think they about wet their pants” 

 

This is not the first time we have had Mimi and Poppy Camp. But probably the first one our youngest grandchild who is 3 years old can remember. My daughter in law texted me earlier this week and told me, they couldn’t find him around the house for a few minutes and when they went searching for him. They finally found him in his closet packing a suitcase because he said he wanted to get ready to go to Mimi and Poppy’s house for camp. 

 

All this got me thinking… are we as excited to spend time with our Heavenly Father? Do we look forward to reading His word. Do we make it a priority everyday to talk to Him in prayer and then listen to what He has to say? Do we get so excited we about pee our pants thinking of getting to go to church and worshiping Him with other believers? 

 

You may be asking yourself, what exactly is Mimi and Poppy Camp. Well, I am sure it is different for every grandparent but at our house. We spend 3 days of doing nothing but what the grands want to do. We eat nothing but what the grands want to eat. We have even been known to allow them to eat ice cream for breakfast and breakfast for supper just to switch it up. 

 

We do arts and crafts, go swimming, go fishing,the grands get to drive the golf cart around town. We do a lot of just hanging out and watching movies, while we pile up snuggling on the couch and eating popcorn. 

 

But probably the thing our house is most famous for, is our indoor water gun fights. That’s right I said indoor water gun fights! Now don’t get me wrong. We are not using super-soakers in the house. We have those little handheld water guns that our grands love to fill up and as we run all over the house the giggles and laughter erupt. Just who doesn’t have fun when a pair of water guns come out? (okay maybe 6 or 7 guns)  

 

But after talking to my grands this week, I have found the thing the like best about coming to Mimi and Poppy camp is they can just hang out and not have to go anywhere or do anything if they don’t want to. 

 

You see 6 years ago our lives were changed when our son married this wonderful young lady who had 2 little girls. We weren’t exactly ready to be grandparents, but since that day when our life changed, we have totally embraced those kids as ours. The thing is, their dad is still in the picture and every other day they get to hang out with him and his new family. Then their parents trade out every other weekend. So needless to say the girls are on the road a lot. They have a lot to deal with from school to changing houses every other day. 

 

So for them, just hanging out and not having somewhere they have to be is their favorite thing to do and it just so happens that Mimi likes that too. So there are some days we just sit around each reading or listening to something, all doing our own thing but still in the same room, just hanging out together being quite. 

 

That made me wonder, how much do we like just hanging out with our Heavenly Father. I am always with my grands during camp but we may not be interacting with each other. As I said, sometimes the one kids may be playing a game, another watching cartoon while the other is sitting at the table drawing a picture, and I may be typing on my computer writing a story for the newspaper. We are all in the same room all doing our own thing, but at the same time I may pause a moment and ask them a question or tell them a story about something, I might even give them advice. We are together but separate. 

 

You know the bible says to “Rejoice always,  pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thess 5:16-18 

 

That line there about praying without ceasing could be kind of confusing if you didn’t think about it, with the image of me and my grands in the same room. I am always aware they are there, as they are aware that I am with them as well. We are in constant communication when we are together because I can hear their sighs, I can see their body language, I pay attention to their facial expressions. They just know Mimi is here, and when they call you can bet I answer. Just like God who is always with us and is always watching over us taking care of us. 

 

There is something else we do at Mimi and Poppy Camp. We have nightly devotions with object lessons and games to reinforce the scripture that we are talking about. Last night was 1 Cor  10:13 that talks about there is no temptation that is given to man that God won’t provide a way out. To illustrate this verse we sat each child, one at a time in from of my curtains that has hundreds of blocks in the pattern on them. They then had to sit there and start counting the blocks. At the same time Poppy had a prize on the end of a fishing pole that he dropped in front of their face distracting them and tempting them. They would lose count of the blocks when they saw the prize and had to start all over again. 

 

We talked to them about,  that is how it is in life, satan will distract us with something that we want or think is good, just to get us to not follow God’s plan for our life. We warned the kids that even if that happens, as soon as they realized they messed up they can just start over again. Just like that started counting again. 

 

I don’t know what is distracting you, or what has taken your focus away from what God has for you, but I am here to tell you, you can start again. Because God is there, He has never left you. You can call on Him anytime and He is there, like I am with my grands, He is just waiting to help you. So just start over again with what you know to do. Read your bible, pray, attend church and I promise you, that is your way out of whatever has taken your focus away from the God that loves you even more than I love my grands.