Who gets the Victory in your Life?

One of the first things I remember being a preacher’s daughter was my mom telling me, I couldn’t bring my baby doll to church with me on Sunday nights anymore. I was probably in kindergarten or first grade and being that services typically went long on Sunday nights. I always enjoyed  bringing my baby doll with me. I am sure it kept me occupied during the long night and I probably ended up cuddling with it and falling asleep at some point. I really don’t remember, but one thing I do remember is sitting next to the daughter of the deacon that night who had told my daddy I couldn’t bring my baby doll anymore to church. I sat there and watched as she played with her doll, wondering why the rules were different for her than me.

 

That would not be the last time I would be singled out as the preachers daughter and be expected to keep a standard higher than others around me,  but it will forever be embedded in my memory. I still deal with fighting bitterness and anger from that incident. Especially since I still have contact with the daughter and see how she now gets to care for her parents. I am not going to lie, I have wondered, why would God allow someone that was so mean to my father,  still get to live and why would a God that loves me take my daddy instead, and at such a young age. My daddy has been gone since I was 23 years old. He hasn’t gotten to be a part of my kids lives nor see his great grandchildren or see what kind of a woman I have grown into. My husband has missed the mentoring that my father could of provided to his ministry that would of been so useful especially in the early years.

 

But one thing is not different about me, I am still expected by God to forgive. Just like anyone else in this world. You may ask “Well what is expected of us”.  The bible says If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a fellow believer, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see?” (1 John 4:20) Then Matthew reminds us “But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Matthew 6:15

 

Oh! That isn’t the only hurt in the church that has happened to me, in fact I am pretty certain satan has instigated many opportunities for me to be bitter and angry at God’s people. It’s not important I share all the details of the opportunities for offence I have had. See,  I am not alone in this. Satan has been using these tricks to discourage believers since the beginning of time. Just look at the story of Job in the bible. We are told that satan and God are having a conversation. When God says “Have you considered my friend Job” In the conversation God basically tells satan, you can do anything you want to Job except take his life, and he will not turn his back on me”. So satan goes after Job, he ends up taking everything Job has expect his complaining and nagging wife, which if you read the story you realize, she was probably working for satan. Even in all that Job lost, his children, his home, Job refused to turn away from God. Job tells us that even if he dies, he will not stop trusting in God. I guess that is what I would have to say too.

 

See, my family has failed me, my friends has failed me, my church has failed me, my denomination has failed me, but one thing I can say is my God has never failed me. Oh! I lived in a season of my life in bitterness and anger and all it did was hurt me and the people around me.  And you know what? The people that hurt me so much and who I was so angry at continued on with their lives as if, nothing had happened. I was the only one hurt. I was letting my bitterness and anger hold me captive while the one that I wanted so badly to hurt went on with their lives.

 

I was a prisoner in my own world, a world I had created of bitterness, isolation and anger. I didn’t realize that I was angry at the wrong people. I, like all of us, needs to focus on the real enemy and that is satan. I,  like all of us also, needs to realize that with every opportunity for bitterness,unforgiveness and anger that comes my way, I need to remember that this also, like Job, maybe a test, Perhaps God has put so much faith and trust in me, He has told satan, “Go ahead, see what you can do to her”. Like a coach who puts his best player out in the time of the game that is critical to the team, he is depending on you to make that finial point for the team to win the game.

 

When we come to look at every opportunity for offence as an opportunity to rise above and be the shining star on God’s team. We will then let Christ’s love in us shine through and overshadow any root of bitterness. When we realize every opportunity of unforgiveness is just a trick from the enemy. We will begin to see a whole lot less opportunities for unforgiveness, bitterness and resentment. Because satan soon leaves stops using tricks that don’t work. It is important that we realize we are not a war against people but satan, its just that satan often uses people as his ploys. We can see from the beginning of time, satan as only used those things to slip us up and keep us from the life that God has called us. But Jesus died for us to live.

 

Christ doesn’t desire for us to just have life here on this earth but He desires for us to live an abundant life John 10:10 tells us that satan comes to steal our joy, kill our hope  and destroy our faith in God. But Christ came that we would have that abundant life, not just an ordinary life but an abundant life that is full of joy and peace, that is a comfort for those who are in need and a peace to those who are troubled. One of the ways we can receive that abundant life is the choice we make when we are tempted to refuse to forgive and live in unforgiveness, bitterness and resentment.

 

Make no mistake we always have a choice how we respond and that choice either glorifies God, or glorifies satan. So the question is, who are you living for? Who do you want your life to glorify? It isn’t the people that hurt us or our families we need to be angry out, it is satan himself and the sooner we realize that,  the best defense to his skeem is to not play in his hand. Because as long as we live in unforgiveness and bitterness satan wins and I for one refuse to allow him to have any victory in my life. What about you?

 

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Wedding Elopement Turns into Fiasco

Wedding Elopement Turns into Fiasco

I did a little research project the other day. Oh! It didn’t start out as a research project but it certainly turned into one. See,  I love a party! I love planning parties and I especially love planning weddings. My love for all this started when I was just a teenager, I was coordinating weddings, by the time I was 16. In fact I almost went into the wedding business for my career.  Because of this, it might not come as a surprise to you that I am in several wedding groups on Facebook. Some resale things, others are just for support or advice. It is a lot of fun to see people’s joy and excitement, it is also a great resource to keep up on current trends and at the same time perhaps, share some of my experiences that might keep a disaster from happening at someone’s wedding.

 

In the wedding biz there has been a new phenomena happening, some might just call it a trend, but I think its a real, phenomena and it is that, couples are going away from their home and in some cases even families to get married instead of staying closer to home to have their wedding, they sort of take a vacation and get married at the same time. They are calling it an elopement, but that word confused me, because when these young ladies are describing their weddings, they are talking about their family having showers for them before they “elope”. Some are even having big parties before they go with their friends. As you might imagine, when they use the term elope or elopement to describe their wedding in this scenario. I was confused, I mean I know I am a little old school in some things, but when I started coordinating weddings all those years ago for someone to elope met that they secretly went away from their families and got married then came back and “SURPRISE” they were married.  

 

So in my curiosity of it all I decided to look it up. After all, if the definition had changed I wanted to know so I wouldn’t sound uneducated about this subject. I went to Webster’s Dictionary which is the absolute truth on definitions of words. It is where we all go to understand what any word means. It is a guide we can all use to direct us in our vocabulary. So, guess what I found out when I looked up the word elopement? I found out I was right, Webster says “to run away secretly with the intention of getting married usually without parental consent”  

 

So then I got curious as to what was defined as a Destination Wedding, which in my mind was what most of these brides were explaining on this site, but yet they called it an elopement or they were eloping. Guess what that definition was? Google said (and I had to ask google because Webster doesn’t define phrases) “A destination wedding is defined as marrying 100 or more miles from where they live. A destination wedding is a different way for couples to choose a beautiful place to celebrate marriage away from their home.”

 

After all my research I thought, well I will post this on one of these sites, just so people will start using the correct verbiage. To my amazement, this is where the research project began. Several brides got upset with my information. One commented “Then why does my venue call it an elopement?” As if by a venue naming something it, made it so. To which I responded, “perhaps they didn’t look up the definition or don’t know you are going to tell everyone you know?”

 

Another found information on the internet saying that eloping was a new trend and by posting this thought it refuted that fact of what the word elopement met by the dictionary. Yet, another was down right nasty to me and accused me of trying to steal these brides joy. To which I responded, “I didn’t write the dictionary, I am just making people aware of the correct terminology to use.” I was seriously flabbergasted at the amount of argument and energy put in to trying to refute the fact that the book says, that is what it means. The truth is, it doesn’t matter how many times brides use this word incorrectly, it doesn’t change the meaning of the word. It still means what Webster says and Webster is still the leading dictionary and guide to our english vocabulary.

 

All this got me thinking…. Isn’t that what we do, we decide that just because everyone is doing it, it suddenly justifies what we do even if the bible says it is wrong. We call living together okay while God calls it sin, simply because everyone else it doing it. Perhaps you hang out with a crowd that it’s popular to get drunk on the weekend, so it’s okay even though God’s word says drunkenness is a sin. Maybe you take office supplies from work because everyone else does, but the bible still says stealing is a sin. Maybe, you think you are a good person because you think your better than other people you know.

 

We have become a society that runs more by popular opinion then the absolute of God’s word. We have people running around with high anxiety, panic attacks, all because they are trying to meet the expectations of others. Instead of going to God’s word and judging our life, and ourselves by what God says we need to do and be. We refuse to realize what God word says about us and walk in it that with confidence.

 

It’s time we stop living by popular opinion and start living by the word of God, the absolute truth of what He has called us to do and we only learn that by being guided by the word of God. Because the fact is, when we walk into those pearly gates, we are not going to be judged by a group of our peers, God isn’t gonna say “Well, everyone else was doing it, so it is okay, I will let you slide” NO! He is gonna say one of two things, either “Depart from me I never knew you” or if you lived by His word and followed what He said in it, He will say “ Well done, good and faithful servant enter into your eternal reward” God has given us His word the Bible to guide us and He  His body the church to help us understand and encourage us.

2 Timothy 3:16 says “ All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:” You know what that word righteousness means, in short it means right living. That is what God’s word is. Some may ask “Well what makes God’s word the ultimate authority?” Truth is, when you are the creator of the Universe, you get to tell your creation how to live. The maker is the designer and there is a lot of things we do, that God never intended for us to do that is why we have so many troubles and issues in this life, not because He is punishing us, but because it is the consequences of our choices. So how about this week we stop letting other people’s opinions drive our actions and feelings and let’s follow what God says and know that in Him we are enough, remember that in the long run, that is where it counts, it only matters what God says no one else.  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

Driving Ms Alesa

Driving Ms Alesa

If you know me very well, you know that when there is an option to drive or let someone else do it , I normally opt for letting someone else drive. My husband Jeff is typically my chauffeur, I have often teased my children if their father dies before I do, they will need to hire me a new chauffeur and Jeff often teases he is “Driving Ms Alesa”.  Now don’t get me wrong, I will drive if I need to and have often offered to on long trips with Jeff, but he always responds the say way “ I got it dear”. I am not for sure if he always drives because he doesn’t trust my driving or because he just likes to drive, but either way I am happy with our arrangement.

 

On those rare occasions that I do drive with Jeff in the car. It isn’t uncommon for me to ask him directions. See, because he normally drives I don’t pay much attention to how we get there. I might be busy reading a book, scrolling through my phone or writing a story for the paper.  My other excuse for not knowing where I am going is Jeff rarely takes the same route to a destination twice. So ultimately. I just trust him to take me where I need to be.

 

All this got me thinking, Isn’t that a lot like us in life?  We often don’t pay attention to where our life is headed spiritually.  We allow the distractions of this life to weigh us down. From being occupied with working to pay the bills,  to self gratification of whatever we feel like we want that day.

 

We soon, stop reading our bibles, taking time to worship everyday throughout the day. We often neglect our time with other believers, who can encourage us,  by skipping church. If we are not intentional in living our life for Christ we will soon just slide into complacency and one day we will look up and realize we don’t know where we are spiritually, just as I have many times riding in the passenger seat of the car with Jeff. I will look up and think “ Where are we?”

 

Once we trust God with our lives, we need to allow Him to guide us and direct us. But we won’t know the direction we are suppose to go, if we don’t follow what the map (His word) says and if we don’t stay in a constant precute of Him we will soon lose our way. Although, He is our invisible friend who is always there,  he will not intervene in any part of our life, if we don’t invite Him in. .

 

Our lives don’t just automatically steer into a relationship with Jesus Christ.  Just like our cars don’t just automatically steer in the direction we are going without someone taking the wheel and turning it. It’s up to us to intentionally make Christ a priority in our lives and it isn’t good enough to say “I believe in God or I love God” God created us for a personal relationship with Him. One where we are in constant contact with Him everyday, like you would a best friend. Satan wants to do everything he can to keep us from doing that. Satan wants to be that roadblock in our lives to distract and discourage us from what is really important.

 

I mean have you ever know anyone that said “ I don’t know how my life got here?”, or “ I don’t understand what went wrong?” It is almost as if they wake up from a daze and suddenly realize something isn’t right. Except they were the common denominator in their whole story. They were there all the time, but because they weren’t intentional in their relationship with God, they didn’t keep their eyes on the only real GPS, for our life (Christ) suddenly they have found they are lost and don’t know what to do.

 

The bible warns us in John 10:10,  that “Satan comes to steal, kill and destroy but Christ comes that you might have life and have it abundantly” . Are lives are a battlefield and it isn’t one of this world. We are told in Ephesians 6:12  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”  Our battle is with satan and all his demons, and the only way we can can defeat him is by allowing Jesus Christ to rule our lives, then with the same power that rose Jesus from the dead will live in us and we can overcome satan.

 

But God tells us to put on the full armor of God. If we continue reading on verse 13 says  “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, stand” . He tells us to be buckled with the truth, carry the breastplate of righteousness, feet fitted with the gospel of peace,  take up the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

 

I believe in everyday language that means,  Follow the Truth, by living right and following God’s Word, we then have the Peace God,   through our Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, who gives us Salvation, by His promises in the Word of God.

 

But none of that just happens, it doesn’t happen just by saying you believe in God, it doesn’t happen by saying you love God, it happens by initially taking the wheel of your life and following hard after God. In Matthew 7:21, we are warned that not everyone who says they love God is going to make it to heaven. God warns us that, those people were saying “ We love God” But their hearts were not following after Him because He didn’t even know them, He wasn’t their best friend. They kept living life for themselves and only had a surface relationship with Him, when it was in the “in crowd” thing to do or perhaps just when they needed help. .

 

But let me challenge you today, if the people you hang out with don’t realize that there is something different about you. If you are so comfortable around people who you know aren’t living a life pleasing to God, that you never even think about it.  Then you probably need to pay more attention to where you are going in your spiritual life. Because God tells us in 2 Corinthians 6:17 to come out and be different, and I don’t think God is talking about your hair, or what you wear, I think He is talking about your heart and your passion for Him. That is what He is most concern with.

 

Is He just an afterthought of yours or is He the center or your attention?  

God wants our attention, He wants us to focus on Him. Because that is the only way we will get down this road of life. 

Chad’s Southern Draw! (Who do you sound like)

Chad’s Southern Draw! (Who do you sound like)

If you have spent anytime around my 2 guys Jeff and Chad, you may have noticed a couple of similarities. Besides the fact they are both large in stature and have the biggest hearts anyone could ask for. Once they open their mouths it is suddenly revealed. They both have a southern draw. Jeff was born and raised in Mobile Alabama. “The Heart of Dixie and the Port City of the South”, as he likes to call it. Jeff didn’t leave Mobile till after he graduated from High School and then went into the United States Air Force.

 

Chad was born and raised in Kansas and has only been down south a handful of times. So, you may ask “Why does Chad often sound like he was born and raised in the south? And to that  question I would respond “Because he lived around his father for 21 years.” He has practically been in his father’s back pocket most of his life. He admires his dad and wants to pretty much be exactly like him.

 

Now I am not gonna lie, I have heard Chad embellish his southern accent a few times and like any other southerner he can draw it out more sometimes than others. But Chad legitimately sounds like a southerner most days. Especially, when he is responding respectively to his elders as he as been taught to do so by saying “Yes, Ma’am and No Sir”.

 

All this got me thinking….. Isn’t that the way we should all talk? Oh! I don’t mean we need to have a southern draw, but we need to talk and act like our Heavenly Father.  All to often in my husband and I’s line of work, we see people, accept Jesus as their Savior or claim they have in the past but yet we see no reflection of that from their lifestyle.  They don’t talk like Him, They don’t act like Him and they never or rarely visit His house. But yet they say “Oh! I love God” or “Oh! God has been so good to me” they have even called us up and said “I just wanted to call you and tell you what God did for me today”.

 

Which, don’t get me wrong it is great that they are acknowledging where the good in their life comes from, and the fact they admit and realize there even is a God is a good thing too. But I often have to wonder and have actually been tempted to respond to them “ I don’t think God gave you that job, I think the devil did, because it is gonna keep your out of God’s house on Sunday” or “ Keep you so busy you don’t have anytime for God” Oh! And I love this one “ I have just been praying and asking God but I haven’t had an answer yet, and I don’t know why God hasn’t answered my prayer?” To which I really want to say “ Well if you want God to answer your prayers, the bible says you first have to follow Him”.

 

I often feel like, if we could see some people with spiritual eyes, they would look like those orphan children in the foreign countries, you know the ones, that are on the TV commercials, with their bellies swollen and flies swarming around their little faces, almost like they are just waiting from them to die. Because on the outside these people, look normal, but spiritually on the inside they are suffering from malnutrition.  

 

God warned us about a society like this in the bible, in 2 Timothy  (NIV)

“1….in the last days.2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money,boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents,ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good,4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. “

 

Did you hear that? “Having a form of godliness but denying its power” They have just enough salvation to get to heaven but not enough to live a victorious life. They have accepted Christ but they have refused to deny themselves and they are lovers of pleasure and wants their desires more than they love God. They aren’t willing to give up their will and their way, or they made it to a point in their spiritual walk after accepting Christ where, they came to a challenge and God didn’t answer their prayer the way they wanted.

So, they have a dilemma a crossroads as such, they have to ask themselves, do they continue to trust this God, that didn’t give them what they wanted or do they go back to their old lifestyle? For many they get stuck at a crossroads as such.They have what Henry Blackaby, in the book Experiencing God, calls a Crisis of Belief.  With a little bit of Jesus in them, but a whole lot of the world still lingering. And I tell you from what I have seen, the longer a person, stays stuck, the further backwards they go.

They don’t understand that the reality is to truly to have an intimate, growing relationship with God. James tell us to2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4 NIV

And in Romans 5 we find, 3.but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit.”

Then when I hear that word hope, it reminds me that God said “Now faith is the substance of things HOPED for and the evidence of things not seen”  Hebrews 11:1 NIV. We cannot give up when things get bad in life, when life doesn’t go our way. God warned us all those years ago that  “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”John 16:33 (NIV)

See the beauty of all this, is that we aren’t at the end of our story. We aren’t at the end of our life, even when we take our last breath on this earth, there is another life to come. So we have to hang on and trust in the Creator of the Universe, knowing that in HIs wisdom God will reveal His plan in time and the truth is, His plan is always better then what we could hope for. Opps! There is that word again! Hope! Don’t lose, it! Don’t let satan take it from you! Don’t give up!

Because “Faith is the substance of things HOPED for” and “Without Faith”,Hebrews 11:6 says “it is impossible to please God”  and you know what the bonus points on this verse is? God says “He rewards those who seek Him” one translations said earnestly seeks Him, another said sincerely seeks Him, and another said “diligently seeks Him”.

Chad has earnestly sought to be like his father to the point he even sounds and often acts like him and yet he has rarely been to Alabama. So, if Chad can sound like his earthly father down here, how much more can we sound and act like our Heavenly Father if we will only seek Him and trust that when we follow Him everything will be okay, even if it doesn’t look like it now. Because we never want to forget, “hope does not disappoint….” Romans 5:5 NASB

Mimi & Poppy Camp!

Mimi & Poppy Camp!

Well this past weekend was a special one. We had all three of our grands visiting us for a little less than 72 hours. We called it Mimi & Poppy Camp and we had all kinds of scheduled activities for them. It all started off the moment we picked them up with Road Trip Bingo, and each time they won, Mimi gave them a prize, then there was the sing-a-longs on the way to our house too. We sung to the top of our lungs some of our favorite songs. When we finally made it back to our house, I had special snacks in the refrigerator in the basement that was just for them. The basement in their playroom. Being the Event Planner that I am, I had the next day filled with field trips, pool time and games, golf cart rides then ending the evening with a movie, and popcorn in our PJ’s and that was followed by some object lessons for the devotions Jeff and I had planned.

 

During one of our nights object lesson, we had the kids put together a puzzle backwards, looking at the gray side, not the picture side. Jeff explained that, is like our life sometimes, each thing that happens to us in life, is like a piece of a puzzle and God is putting each piece together because He as the perfect plan for us and although sometimes we can’t understand it and we can’t see what He is trying to do. We have to trust Him even when we don’t understand what is going on.  Jeff had one of them read Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you says the Lord, plan to prosper you and not to harm you, plans for a hope and a future.” We can trust God even when we can’t see what is going on because He has a plan and it is for your good.

 

I think the highlight of the weekend for me though, was when we met their parents back in Wichita and instead of being excited to go home, they said “Quick Mimi!!, Take us back to your house, we don’t want to go home!!” Of course they were happy to see their parents too. But I have to say, my heart was so happy when they begged to stay with me. I felt I must had succeeded in making them feel special enough to want to come back. As, I sat reflecting on the weekend. I remembered my own Grandma. She always made me feel so special.

 

I remember when she took me into her kitchen one day, and showed me where in the bottom drawer of the refrigerator, at the back she had hidden the cans of root beer she had bought just for me. She told me “Now, This is our little secret, we won’t tell your cousins about this, this is just for you” She made me feel so special that day, it was like I was her most favorite person in the whole world. My grandma was a woman would loved the Lord and certainly showed me that love.

 

All this got me thinking, what if we made every person we came in contact with feel as special as my grandma made me feel and hopefully I made my grands feel. You know one of the other things we talked about with our grands was that we were made in God’s image. We had the kids take modeling clay and create and image of themselves out of it.  We talked about how they look like their parents.. We read in Genesis that God created us, how because we’re made in God’s image and we are suppose to act like Him and when people see us, they should see Jesus in us. .

 

We talked about how God sent His only son to die on the cross for us so that we could have life eternally and live with Him in heaven one day. I don’t know about you but someone dying for me, seems like a pretty special act. There is in fact no greater gift to give, than for someone to lay down their life for us. I know if someone died for me I would be forever grateful and anytime they would ask me anything I would do my best to accommodate them anyway I could.

 

We’ll it’s like that with Christ isn’t it? He gave His life for us, and out of pure gratification we need to follow what He asks us to do and one of those things is to reflect Him. In His time here on earth He showed unconditional love to all no matter their social status or how familiar He was with them.  

 

I have to admit. I struggle with this I am often socially awkward in new situations with people I don’t know, and although I appear to be an outgoing person, sometimes in those situations. I can also appear aloof and maybe even snobbish when I don’t mean to be. I am striving to really be the type of person that everyone feels welcomed and loved by. I not only want my grandchildren to feel special when they walk away from me but everyone I come in contact with.

 

I believe we see Jesus doing this throughout His time here on earth and God calls us to do the same. But things like this don’t happen without an intentional commitment to make it happen. It is so easy to slip back into the our old habits if we aren’t intentional everyday.  

 

Oh! And apparently, I was not the only one grandma loved, and wanted to make feel special.  As my cousins and I sat around the funeral home, after our grandma passed away. All of the sudden one of my cousins speaks up and says. “Well, I know Grandma loved me more because she hid my favorite candy in the bread box for me” and another spoke up and you guessed it, Grandma had hidden something special for them too, She led everyone of her grandchildren, to  all to believe we were the ones she loved the most.

 

So, how about we all be like my Grandma Northcutt this week. Let’s make sure everyone we come in contact with feels like they are the most important person in the world to you! Let’s reflect God’s Love.  Whether it be the person you meet on the street or the coworker you see everyday. Smile, shake their hand, or give them an encouraging word or complement. Let the love of Jesus and all the gratitude you feel towards Him be reflected in all that we do!

Actions Speak Louder Than Words- Lessons Learned

This past weekend was our churches annual fundraiser. It is the Christmas in July Arts, Crafts and Vendors fair held every year at the Recreation Center here in Greensburg. It is always one of those things you look forward to, but at the same time dread because it can be a lot of work. But we do it because it is for a good cause and it is always fun once you get there and get started. This year our church hosted about 35 vendors, we always try and keep everyone in the spirit of things, by playing Christmas music, and I sit at the door and wish everyone Merry Christmas. I also invite the guest attending to sign up for door prizes that we draw every hour and I serve as the general information person for the vendors as well.

 

This isn’t my first Rodeo with something like this. I served on the De Soto Days Festival Committee for probably 10yrs, where we previously lived, and I ultimately ended up chairing the Committee for the Annual City-Wide event.  This event welcomed some five thousand people to our community for a weekend of fun, from a carnival, to food & craft vendors, a car show, a parade and a live band every night. But beside the committee of volunteers that helped with this annual event, I could of not done any of this without my family.

 

See one thing, we have tried to instill in our family was the fact we are a team. That means whatever one person is doing the rest support them and by support I mean gets in and helps, shows up, whatever it takes. So because of that, my kids grew up at events like this. I dare say, they even looked forward to it. Something like this required our family to stay at the event almost 24 hours a day for 3 days straight.  My last 2 kids who were still at home then, must of been about 8 and 10 or so years old when we started serving our community in that way, back then. So none of this is a strange to them. They are almost 21 and 23 now.

 

But honestly, with the kids off to college these past 4 or 5 yrs. Things have been shaken up a bit at our house and well, lets just say it isn’t as much fun doing events without our whole gang around all the time. So needless to say, nothing thrilled me more then having my kids at the event this year. I had a proud momma moment this weekend, I had to step away from the information table for a minute and ask my two youngest to watch it for me. Since were at the table while I was sitting there.

 

As I was away from the table I looked over and out of the corner of my eye I saw both my kids, assisting guests, helping vendors, they looked so grown up and were acting so professional. I just watched for a little bit and I can’t tell you the pride that swelled inside my heart. Oh! Not that I really felt like I have done anything. See, I was happy because my kids had learned how to treat people with respect and handle situations in a professional manner. They have become such great adults. I literally had the thought, well I can die now my children can make it without me. Now, mind you I have never sat my kids down and given them the 5 lessons on how to run a Arts and Crafts Fair, but they learned by watching their father and myself. They have worked along side their father and I at events for years and saw how we have handled different situations at times like this. They have help carry more tables and showed vendors to their booths then most kids their age.

 

The truth is, there is so much more I hope my kids to have learned from me. Because ultimately, what they have learned in my event planning career is not important, it will not give them anything eternal because teaching our kids to live with an eternal purpose, and introducing them to a real relationship with God, is the ultimately the most important thing we can teach our children. Proverbs says in chapter 22 verse 6 says “ Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”

 

Our children are watching us all the time. What we accept they will accept and even take it to the next level. They will push the boundaries of what we have condoned to the edge. So the question is what are we teaching our kids just by our actions? It is the subliminal messages we send to them by doing what we do everyday without even thinking about it. The products we buy, the places we go and the type of people we hang out with. All teaches our children what is acceptable and what they should do. Deuteronomy 6:6-7 ESV says….. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.

 

If we don’t make going to church a priority we should not be surprised if our kids don’t attend when they get older either. If they don’t see us praying and reading our bibles, they aren’t going to. If they don’t see us making God’s word a guide of how we live our lives they won’t either.

 

So, what are you teaching your kids? Or maybe you are like me and your kids are already grown and out or almost out of the house. Is there something you need to go back an apologize to your kids for?  Is there something you need to encourage them to do that you realize now you could’ve done better?

 

It is never wrong to admit to our kids we messed up. As each of us get older, we often realize we have made some mistakes, we see our kids often reflect the worst habits that we have instead of the best. And if we ever think that we can tell our kids one thing and do another. We are simply fooling ourselves. We need to live what we want our kids to learn, and that also means we need to spend time with our kids, all to often in this day and age, everyone else is raising our kids but us. Teachers, Coaches, have all been left to babysit our children instead of us choosing to raise our children ourselves.

 

What we have to remember is God gave our children to us, to raise, not someone else and when we stand before Him on that final judgment day- You can be rest assured we will be held accountable for what we taught our children or what we haven’t. So, lets make sure, from now on our actions are speaking as loud as our words because trust me, they are watching. The question is, are we listening to what we are teaching them. Because, this life will soon be passed, but only what’s done for Christ will last!

I Wish I had Her Life……..

I Wish I had Her Life……..

Well for the first time,  it happened to me I have heard other people talk about doing it, but the other day it happened to me…. I was scrolling through facebook and saw a friend of mine and thought, “ I wish I had her life!” and as soon as I thought it, it was as if the Lord said to me. You don’t know the tears she has cried.

 

Have you ever just looked at someone else’s life, and thought…. “I want their life! They never seem to have any problems, their world is perfect” Well, first off what you need to remember is, Their life is not without worries, or chaos, they cry at night when they go to bed or worry about their family just like you do. Why? BECAUSE WE ALL HAVE PROBLEMS and it doesn’t matter how big your problems are, when it is your problem it is HUGE to you.   

 

Often times, we look at someone else’s life and think,  “The grass is greener over there”, and if we only knew what their water bill cost to get it that way, we might reconsider our “Grass is always greener on the other side of the fence”  philosophy.

 

But why is it that some people never act like they have any problems while others lives seem to be consumed with them? Well, I think some people have learned the secret.                       
They have just chosen NOT to post their struggles and complaints all over the inter web and or be Negative Nancy when you see them on the street. Perhaps they choose to take their concerns to God as we all need to do.                                                                                          

 

Satan wants us to be so focus on ourselves that we can’t see the issues of everyone else around us. See that way, we can’t follow what God’s word says to do, but I can assure you. There is someone out their that has a problem bigger than yours.

 

I’ll never forget their was a season in my life where I felt very alone, Okay, there have been many of those seasons. But this particular season there was one particular person whose job responsibility in my mind,  should of been to check on me, and she didn’t.

 

I can remember thinking, why isn’t she reaching out to me? Why isn’t she calling and checking on me? I remember thinking maybe I should call her and then I rejected that idea in my head because it wasn’t my job to check on her, it was her job to check on me! At least that is what I justified in my head and why I begin to allow myself to be offended. Which was then snowballed by the fact that I was alone. I soon became so self absorbed I was only focused on myself and my problems.

 

Then about 3 or so years later, I heard that she had been personally dealing with some similar situations I had been almost at the very same time. It was at that point that it hit me! I was so focused on myself I had not even considered she might have been going through something herself, and if I had reached out to her as I had thought about, perhaps we could of helped each other. In fact maybe her struggle was greater than mine. I will never forget how horrible I felt.

 

I will never again get offended when someone doesn’t call me over an extended period of time and just assume they are being rude or mad at me. No! Now my first thought is, I wonder if they are going through something? I think “ I better check on them!”

 

Through the grace of God I had made it through that season of life and that little lesson has kept me from drawing into myself so much.

 

See I had allowed Satan to use my struggles to distract me from reaching out to someone else. I had been so focused on myself I wasn’t even looking at someone else or thinking of anyone else.

 

All too often we fall into our own pit of self pity and discouragement. Often in a hole we dig ourselves because we refuse to look up from ourselves and look at others.  

 

It has been said by doctors and psychologist that the best thing a person who is depressed or in emotional need can do,is reach out and help someone else. But all to often we get sucked down into a self-center pit that quickly spirals out of control.

 

In times like this, we need to remember what 1 Thess 5:11 says, Therefore encourage one another and build each other up….. In this passage Paul is giving us final instructions for the days before the Lord’s return. He tells us to not forget to hold on to faith, hope and love because that is our salvation from our troubles. Paul, urges us to encourage one another in faith, hope and love. He warns us that, some are going to be in darkness, or deceived and he tells us not to be sucked into that path but hold fast to what we know and to encourage one another in that!

 

So this week, as you go about your day be sure to look outside yourself. Don’t be deceived and sucked into the idea it is all about you. If we look hard enough there is always someone who has problems bigger than you do. Find someone who needs an encouraging word. Be someone else’s miracle, while you are still looking for your own.  God’s word clearly calls us to encourage one another because when realize the only real hope we have is in our faith and trust in the Lord. We won’t be seeking consolement from everyone else, because we will be too focused being the hands and feet of the one who has given so much for us, Jesus Christ.