The Best is Yet to Come

The Best is Yet to Come

On June 9th 2013 my world was turning upside down, my oldest son was getting married, while at the same time we were preparing to move from our home of 14yrs, the only real home I had ever known, our daughter was graduating high school, our youngest was learning to drive, that along with about 10 other major life events, were happening in our lives, all at once. So to say the least, I was a tad bit overwhelmed.

 

I think one of the things I remember most about Lee’s wedding was trying to find places to slip away and cry before anyone saw me. Maybe, it was the fact that my momma, who adored Lee was unable to come, knowing she would want to be there more than anything and realizing she wasn’t going to be around much longer was almost more than this girl could stand. Coupled with trying to access my new duties as a mother-in-law. Let’s just say I was pretty heartbroken and uncertain of so much..

 

But fast forward 5 years to the day and guess what this girl was doing? She was hanging out with her first grandson and namesake to her husband. If you don’t think that was special then you obviously don’t have grandchildren. It is the first time our little man has gotten to spend the night at Mimi and Poppy’s all by himself. His parents were celebrating their anniversary and his siblings was hanging out with other family members. So we had him all to ourselves and since this guy lives four and a half hours away we relish every minute we get with him. So,  needless to say, I wasn’t feeling heartbroken or miserable anymore.

 

I was feeling blessed at the hope of the future as I looked into the eyes of that little fellow. My heart leaped with joy when he at 2 yrs old, mumbled out as best he could “ I love Mimi” when his Poppy asked him to say “I love Poppy”. I was reminded that God does answer prayer as we watched him play and catch bubbles in the air as we blew them.

 

All this got me thinking? Doesn’t things like that happen, a lot to most of us? I mean how many times do we feel lost or hopeless only to have in a few weeks, months, or maybe even years later, our feelings and emotions are completely the opposite. Sometimes about the same thing.

 

God reminds us that our feelings are fleeting and that for everything there is a season. In Ecclesiastes 31 verses 1-8 it tells us.

 

To every thing there is a season,
and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate;
A time of war, and a time of peace.”

 

I think in short that means don’t give up hope.  Because we also know the bible says that in this world we will have trouble. (John 16:33) and it says, that God has a plan for our life and that plan is for good and not to harm. (Jeremiah 29:11)

 

So when we get overwhelmed with this life, when we feel like everything we hold dear  is falling apart. When nothing we planned is going our way. How about we remember this? God said, It will be okay! Oh, not exactly in those words but I think that is what He means. So trust Him, don’t give up, tie a knot at the end of the rope and hold on cause, the best is really yet to come!  

 

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Which Girl are You?

Which Girl are You?

This past week I did something I haven’t done since the summer of 1991. I walked out of a cabin and at the same time, a friend walked out of the cabin right next to me. My mind flashed back to the first time she and I met. We were both scared young pastor’s wives who because of the position of our husbands, (or lack thereof)  were throw into circumstances we would never chosen on our own.

We were at Junior Camp! Now Junior Camp is a camp that happens once a year just outside Wichita. It is where all Kansas Assembly of God Churches send their kids for a week of spiritual renewal or what some might refer to it as Klingon Camp. Because kids ages 9-13 away from home for the first time, just might kling on to you as a camp counselor.

She and I first met walking out of our separate cabins and frankly, we were probably more scared than the kids. I am still not for sure if I was more scared of the primitive lodging or the fact I had to not only coral 15 girls for a week, but participate in outdoor sports, and don’t even get me started about what the bathrooms looked like. See for this girl, who considers roughing it going to a hotel without room service,  you might as well have dropped me off in the middle of the forest, like one of those TV shows that gives you a week to find your way home.

But this year, my friend and I were not at Wheat State Camp outside Wichita,  we were at Woodston camp, which is known for being a much more primitive camp. When we walked out of our cabins that first time, and met each other this year, we were not staying in the non-air conditioned/bunk bed cabins, where we shared the bathrooms with probably 100 other people at the end of the building.

No! This week things were totally different than they were so many years ago when She and I first met. This year, we stayed in new cabins with private baths, with air conditioning, carpet on the floor and nice queen size beds. This year we were not scared young pastor’s wives. This year her husband is now the District Superintendent of the Kansas Assemblies of God which in layman terms means he is the Pastor the all the AG Pastors in the state of Kansas and my husband serves on the Presbyter Board or in layman’s terms he is on the Board of Directors for the state of Kansas Assemblies of God and this year both of our husbands were speaking at this camp.

I couldn’t help but think of the difference in the girl that walked out my cabin door this past week compared to the one all those years ago. She has had so much happen over the years. That girl that walked out of the cabin all those years ago would of been impressed with the woman that walked out of those cabins doors this past week,  That girl would of thought these women have it all together and their lives must be of always have been perfect and full of peace and fulfillment. That girl would of desired to be who those woman are today. But that girl didn’t know what it took for this girl to become who she is today. This girl, isn’t the same girl that hid in the corner of the tabernacle at camp and cried her eyes out because she was so scared and knew she just wasn’t as smart and pretty as all her counterparts on the other side of those walls. This was not the same girl who had panic and anxiety attacks every time she went to a state event.

My friend and I reminisce about all the water that has went under the bridge in the time we have know each other. Some of the water was smooth sailing, some was pretty rocky and felt more like white river rafting, while others were more like babbling brooks.

See not only has our husbands positions changed, but we as woman have changed. I am not the same person I was back then. Oh! The changes are more than the weight I have gained, the wrinkles on my face or the silver streaks in my hair. I have changed because of the challenges I have face.  See, all those tears I have cried has made me stronger. I have faced obstacles both personal, physically and spiritually. I have faced rejection and victories, I have seen God’s hand at work in all of it.

It is those trials and tribulations that gives me the strength to do what I do today. See because I have made it through those test and I have come out on the other side. No! Not everyone of the outcomes was what I expected, in fact most were not what I had wanted or planned, I’ve been homeless, lost loved ones, lost friends, had failed ministries, been rejected by God’s people, family and friends. I had the rug pulled out from under me. I’ve made some really stupid mistakes, and faced challenges with our kids, cared for a handicapped mother and watched her die before my eyes. My marriage has struggled, and dealt with infertility..

My successes have been few and far between, but I count the most important ones as the children I have had, and the grandchildren added to my clan. But none if it is worth anything if my children have not caught the joy of living for Christ. See because they have seen my life and the challenges I have faced they have also seen the hand of God come along side and sometime even pick me up and carry me. They have seen the miracles He has performed in our lives, the checks that came in the mail, the doors that have open for us, the gifts He has given us. Time and time again God has shown up!

See this girl who used to strive for a title now, is no longer impressed with peoples status. She is more about where people’s hearts are, she is more about being who God has called her to be.

She is thankful for all that she has went through because it has given her the ability now, to look back and say….. “Bring it on devil, Do you see where God has brought me from?”. “If He can do that, My God can do anything!”, ”You can’t mess with me satan because my daddy is the King” , “Whatever comes my way, my God will take care of me”

So this girl now refuses to hide in corners and cry her eyes out. She refuses to allow man to define her. She stopped listening to those negative voices in her head, she now knows whose she is because her daddy God has showed up time and time again to rescue her. She is not the fear driven, people pleasing, person she was all those years ago, intimidated by everyone and everything. No! This girl has experienced the unconditional irrefutable love of God, not because He gave her everything she ever wanted but because He taught her that God’s word says “ I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5. This girl knows that she can be content when things don’t happen the way she planned because it must mean that God has a better plan. (notice I didn’t say easier one?)

This girl also knows, what Deuteronomy 31:6 says,  Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.” See that girl knew what it said all those years ago, but until she experienced it she didn’t have to assurance that it was true.

This girl has had to learn to give up her will and follow after God. This girl has realized that He is not a God sitting up in heaven like the arcade game, whack-a-mole, with a big stick just waiting for me to mess up, so He can hit me over the head..  He is actually a loving God trying to direct my paths, because He knows the way that I need to go, He has been in the future and He knows my past, while at the same time He is my very present help in time of trouble.( See Psalms 46:1)

This girl who lived all her life in a church full of condemnation, religiosity, in fear and intrepidation. Learned that there is a loving God who is up their with arms outstretched bidding for me to come to Him, asking for me to trust Him, telling me that I am His child and He will take care of me I have nothing to fear. He reminds me I only need the approval of the audience of one and that is Him. That no matter what those around me think or do I am safe in His arms and if I will only strive to please Him, He will carry me through. He reminds me that, He is not half as hard on me as I am on myself. He tells me I am complete in Him and because of that, I now walk with my head lifted up, no longer ashamed or in fear. I have straighten my crown that He gave me and smile with confidence of whose I am. Not because of anything I have done, but because of who lives in me and loved me so much He gave His life for me.  So the question today is, Which girl are you?

 

What do you do when you don’t know what to do?

What do you do when you don’t know what to do?

I love weddings! And there is nothing I like more than a Royal Wedding. This past week I set the DVR early and recorded the Royal Wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markel,  on 2 different channels on my DVR. Because I didn’t want to miss a thing! As the day grew closer and the hype of the event begin to escalate, I begin to ask myself, why do I like watching this so much?

Is it because I watched his mother get married?

Is it the dream of being a princess?

Is it the idea of Royalty and all the wealth that comes from it?

Is it because she is an american?

Is it the dresses?

Is it the hats?

 

After pondering over this for most of the past week. I came to the conclusion I love the tradition, I love the heritage that comes with it all. The castle is over 1000 yrs old. The center broch used in her tiara dated back  from the 1800’s. The gold for her ring is made from the family’s own chuck of gold from wales. The dress code for guests were, men could wear a morning coat, uniform, or sport jackets, and women must wear hats, dresses should at least be knee length, and their shoulders covered.  There is something rich and wonderful about the traditions, that comes with Royalty. There is a standard of excellence that I just love!

 

I have reminisced a lot about Tradition/Heritage this last month. As the Assemblies of God celebrated 100 yrs in Kansas, realizing I had lived over half my life with that great heritage. I am proud to have been raised in a home that decided to draw a line in the sand and say we will not be like everyone else. I am thankful for the heritage that has been afforded to me.

 

I have done my best to instill those same values and beliefs in my kids. I pray everyday that the same heritage and values I was raised with will not slip passed those who come after me and be considered  remise or unimportant. After all, I realize that the ultimate value I was raised with is a relationship with Jesus Christ that above all else is the most important thing. But because of that personal relationship with Christ. It calls for me to live a life different than others, a standard of excellence as well,  I have a heritage of this. But what happens if my kids and grands and great grands (one day) refuse to hold on to that same heritage. What will I do?

 

Like the New Royals, they will  also have a choices to make. The next generations will have to decide how to hold on to the roots of what they have been taught, while making a difference in the new world that seems to develop new hurdles that desires to keep them from that standard of excellence, day after day and  year after year.

 

As I pondered this in my heart. I was reminded of a young man in the bible that ultimately refused to follow the heritage of his family. He decided to live on the “Wildside” of his parents faith. He wanted to push it to the edge. He wanted to rebel against what he had been taught was right.

Samson who appears in the Book of Judges, 13-16 of the Bible,  was an Israelite who followed the Nazirite life, which included not drinking or cutting their hair. A Nazarite took a vow, This vow required the person to: Abstain from wine, wine vinegar, grapes, raisins, intoxicating liquors, vinegar made from such substances, and eating or drinking any substance that contains any trace of grapes. As well as touching anything dead.

 

Samson’s mother prayed for him as she was barron. One day an angel appeared to her and told her she would have a child and this child was to be raised as a Nazarite as he was going to be save the Israelites.

 

Samson was anointed with special power of strength. He had a God given gift that was to help him defeat the Philistines. Unfortunately, Samson got cocky,  He didn’t follow the traditions of his family and let the love of a woman outside the traditions of his faith lead him astray. He decided he would play to close to the enemy and ended up losing his life over it. He ultimately accomplished what God desire, but I have to believe, God’s original plan did not include Samson giving his life for it.

 

So that is the question we have to answer today. When is it okay to compromise your beliefs and traditions that make up that heritage? The Royals, are now marrying divocee’s and for the first time ever, there was an African American spoke at the thousand year old Windsor Chapel. Samson choose to marry outside his traditions of marrying within your own country. Samson choose to sleep with a prostitute that would soon be the end to his demise. He allowed his pride and jealousy to reek havoc on the Philistines.

 

Did either lowered their standard of excellence?  The angel told Samson’s mom to raise him as a nazirite which included not drinking alcohol, but Samson, allow the lust of his flesh to deceive him. Is one worse than the other? What is important here to remember is that anything that comes between you can God is wrong. When we believe that we know better than what the scripture says we have a problem.

 

God’s word is our absolute truth. There is no compromising it. God has given us His word not because He hates us or wants to make our lives miserable but He has given us His word because He loves us, He has given us His word because He wants to protect us. All too often today we are lowering our standards to fit in with what the world says.

 

On the opposite side many of us are willing to die on a mountain of controversy that God doesn’t even care about. It is important to teach our children the love of our Heavenly Father. He is not a God up in heaven waiting with a hammer in his hand, just looking for us to mess up so He can knock us on the head. If we do it right and our kids really grasp the fact that God loves them, then they will long to desire to please Him and follow after that standard of excellence.

 

So what are you doing today? Are you studying God’s word so you will know what it says? Or are you just taking someone’s word for it? Because when we don’t know what to do. We need to know what God’s word says.  That is the only standard of excellence we need to follow

REDO Part #2 a continuations from Praise Him!!

This article was originally written in October 2010. I am re-sharing this to remind us of how faithful God is.  As I talked about in my article last week. this is just some of the memories that was going through my mind as I was singing “Great is your faithfulness, your promise still stands this in my confidence you’ve never failed me yet!! (Do it again, by Elevation Worship)

 Have you ever felt like you wanted to just quit, and holler re-do, or just hit the reverse button on this life altogether?

I have!  It has been one of those days…… no weeks…..no months……. OK! really a couple of years.

Between finding out our youngest has some learning disabilities, a job loss (still unemployed after 2yrs), being responsible for the care of my handicapped elderly mother, and now finding out that a 14yr hope, dream and vision that we know God wants us to do, appears to be on hold once again!  I have come to my wits end.

I am wondering; what’s the next step and where do we go? What do we do? What did we do wrong? My head is spinning with questions of uncertainty. What curriculum to use for my child now? Have I already screwed him up? How are we going to pay for the special curriculum? Am I really this bad of a parent? Will the next phone call I get.  be that my mother is gone?  What have I done so wrong that God has allowed me to go through this? The questions are endless and so are the accusations the devil flies at me.

I feel my family has been on a long journey, a wandering in the wilderness per say for the last 11yrs. All I want is a “normal” life.

So, I go to the Word.  I open the bible to Joshua 5. Here are the children of Israel, those promised the Promised Land.  They have wandered in the wilderness for 40yrs on the hope and dream of a promise their parents had only talked about.  All this generation knows is God’s provision, simply that God covers them with a cloud by day to keep them cool in the desert and provides a fire by night to keep them warm. Manna falls from the sky to feed them. All these people have known is God’s provision and that they have been promised a land flowing with milk and honey.

Think about it, all these people (about 2.5 million) and all but Caleb and Joshua, have now only eaten manna all their lives, they have known nothing but God’s provision for every part of their life. Every part of their day and night for the last 40 yrs., literally all their lives, has been about getting to the Promised Land. Now they have just crossed the Jordan River (on dry land, another provision of God) they can see the Promised Land and God tells them to make a camp, celebrate the Passover and get circumcised. They can see what God has promised them and the scripture says……

Joshua 5:12 And the manna ceased on the morrow after they had eaten of the old corn of the land; neither had the children of Israel manna anymore; but they did eat of the fruit of the land of Canaan that year.

THAT YEAR!!!! Really???? Is it saying they waited a year???  A YEAR???? Seriously??? Here they are they can see what God has promised them and they have to sit there and look at it for a year

Maybe you have been waiting on that “Promised Land”, whatever it is for you in your life, and it seems like once again you’re on hold.

The reassuring part to this story for me is threefold:

  1. God provides. The whole time, in the wilderness God provides. So, no matter what we’re going through, whatever wilderness we may feel like we are in, God will provide.
  2. They do make it to the promised land. God does not leave them hanging, but He sees them through.
  3. We have nothing to be ashamed of. The past is the past, Gods word says, forgetting those things behind me I press on…I reach forth… Basically, Keep going! God is about to bring you to a higher ground!

Whether you are in the middle of what feels like a 40yr wilderness journey, or you may be so close, can see what God has promised you and yet you must sit outside and wait before you can reach it. Know this …. That today, whatever your wilderness, whatever your Promised Land whatever your battle… God will provide, He will see you through to the other side and you WILL come out victorious! You are a priceless, valuable treasure to God and He loves you.

And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. Galatians 6:9

Praise Him!!

This past Sunday I attended the Church in Wichita that Chad’s College is associated with. They have a annual end of the year event at the church and invite all the families of the students to attend. Well, since Jeff must preach on Sundays here, I am always the representative for the family on events like this. Once Amy came down from Kansas City and joined me, but this year, we had a surprise for Chad. His oldest brother and family drove in from Tulsa to surprise him.

Chad and I arrived at the church early because he was on the agenda of the service. Church began, and Lee was nowhere to be found. But as the whole church stood in the worship service singing Lee comes up taps Chad on the shoulder and asks if the seat next to him is taken. Chad was thrilled his brother was there, but we were both excited to see J.J.  See he is my first grandson and named after Jeff so to have a third in the family is super special. As I took J.J. in my arms still standing and singing with the congregation, the words of the song ”Do it again” by Elevation worship came out of my mouth…

“Your promise still stands
Great is Your faithfulness, faithfulness
I’m still in Your hands
This is my confidence, you’ve never failed me yet”

Those words were repeated several times as I stood there. As I sung them,   I couldn’t help but first look at the little one in my arms and in my mind I went back in time, when his daddy was about that age and how I would tell Lee, “Now one day you are going to have a son and you will call him, Jeffrey Lee Miller the Third after you and your daddy”. I told him that often throughout his life, it was a silly little dream I had, but I prayed it would come true and it did. Then my mind jumped to all the learning difficulties Chad has had and the times I had cried out to God “What should I do? How can I help him? I recalled all that Chad has overcome just since being at school in Wichita. From failing every class his first semester, except Student Success Class (Go figure? How does that Happen?) to this year passing all his classes with C’s or above. Memory after memory kept running through my mind of just how good God had been to us.  The time Lee had an infection in his thumb and he almost lost it, but we prayed, and woke up the next morning to new skin growing on it, God healed it. I remembered the time we didn’t know where our next meal was going to come from but God provided that check in the mail. I recounted over and over again of God’s faithfulness in our lives! As I sung out to Him“You’ve never failed me yet!”

All this got me thinking……. What if, we would all just do that? Just look back and recount all that God has done for us. Because I must tell you. My heart swelled with gratitude when I considered what He has done. Is my life perfect now? Absolutely not! Do I still have problems? Yep, every day! But see one of the verses in that song says…

“Walking around these walls
I thought by now they’d fall
But You have never failed me yet
Waiting for change to come
Knowing the battle’s won
For You have never failed me yet”

I think all too often instead of looking at what God has done for us, we focus on what we haven’t gotten. What we prayed for and never came, or when the circumstance didn’t turn out to be what we expected. But our faith can never be measured by whether God answers our prayers or not. Our faith can only be measured by the sure fact that we believe who God says He is and we trust in who He is, knowing if we will follow Him that in the end He has the best plan. It is called dying to our-self. We have to learn to give up our will, and our way if it doesn’t go as we had hoped and we trust in the Master’s plan.

But all too often we act like a 2-year-old who when they don’t get their way, throws a fit and refuses to play nicely. Let me encourage you this week, take the time to think of all God has brought you through, then praise Him for being there even when you didn’t know it and providing and protecting for you and your family. Maybe even look up this song and listen to it. Because let me tell you as we focus on the faithfulness of God, if we won’t quit if we will continue to trust in His faithfulness. Yes, it may not turn out like we had hoped and our heart maybe breaking but I promise when the dust settles, and all is said and done, we may even have to be standing before our Heavenly Father one day before we find out, but in the end we will find out, we can trust Him!

He has a plan and He is faithful. When Chad graduated from High School not being able to read much more than a 4th grade level because of his Dyslexia and other learning disabilities, all of which have no cure. We never dreamed He would be attending a Bible School where he had to read and write so much. We assumed he would end up in a more manual labor job because that is where he is gifted at. But God had a different plan.

So, no matter what mountain you are going around right now, or how many times you feel like you have been around it. Trust God, give Him glory right where you are. Don’t make Him perform to your specifications before you will praise Him. Because if you demand that, He isn’t the God, you are! And let me tell you, You nor I are God or even close to being one.

I have to be honest, there was a season of my life, I was a little mad at God, because my kid has to work 10 times harder than any other to do the same thing another kid easily accomplishes. Chad is incredibly intelligent yet struggles to get it out. But I had to choose, to trust God, even though I couldn’t see how He would use this for His glory. I choose to trust, to keep going. I refuse to lose faith in a God I knew was faithful! And I would be lying if I said I still don’t have to encourage myself every now and then by remembering what God has already brought us through.

So, this week, let’s do what Psalms 150:1-6 (ESV) says

Praise the Lord!
Praise God in his sanctuary;
    praise him in his mighty heavens![a]
Praise him for his mighty deeds;
    praise him according to his excellent greatness!                                                                                                                         

 3 Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp!

Praise him with tambourine and dance;
    praise him with strings and pipe!
Praise him with sounding cymbals;
    praise him with loud clashing cymbals!
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord!

Hero

Let me be honest, I love listening to music! It has inspired me and encouraged me but as I have gotten older I find I care less about who is singing the songs I hear on the radio.  I just do good to remember the words to sing along!

For years, music was a huge priority in my life. I sang every day; followed my favorite artist; knew every word of every song they sang. I entered musical competitions and won; I opened concerts for some famous groups – people who are literally dead now. Boy!! I sound old!! But truth is I was doing this between the ages of 13-17 and the average age of the members of the groups back then was probably 50. I was even approached about making a record by a Christian record producer. But I turned it down because all I ever wanted to do was be a wife and mother.

So, needless to say, two weeks ago when we attended the Gathers concert, I sang along to the top of my lungs with songs I had grown up with. I am not going to lie, I can’t help wondering when I watch those Homecoming videos if I could have been there.

This past weekend we went to a totally different genre of music. We attended the For King and Country /Skillet concert. Now to be completely honest, neither Jeff nor I really knew what we were getting into, going to the United Wireless Arena. You see, I didn’t recognize the name of the group, but there were several from our church who wanted to go. So, because I am so busy, I trusted their judgement and didn’t bother looking them up and seeing if I knew any of their songs.

I am the kind of person who believes you can worship the Lord in about any style of music. I sincerely believe that if you think you can only worship the Lord in one kind of music, and you have a true disdain for everything else, you probably aren’t worshiping God. You are worshiping the music, the tune, the memory you have associated with that song, etc. So, I do my best to discipline my will and desires to be open to what God has for me, not just what I want or is traditional and comfortable to me.

When the group, For King and Country, came on the stage, I recognized most of their songs right away and their testimony and message was awesome. But I noticed, the audience was only semi-participating. Then, Skillet came out and the place came alive.
I only knew one song Skillet sang and I only understood a few words of the rest of the songs. But here is what I did see: I saw a group of young people from the ages of probably 8 up singing along with every song; the attendance was at least double what it had been the previous week when the Gaithers were in town; and what touched my heart more than anything was seeing one young man jump to his feet and raise his hands when he heard the song “Hero.”
Here are just some of the words to that song: “I’m just a step away, I’m just a breath away, Losing’ my faith today, It’s just another war, Just another family torn, Just a step away from the edge, Just another day in the world we live, I’ve gotta fight today, To live another day, Its just another war, Just another family torn, I need a hero to save me now, I need a hero to save my life, Who’s gonna fight for what’s right, Who’s gonna help us survive, We’re in a fight of our lives, Who’s gonna fight for the weak, Who’s gonna make’em believe, I’ve got a hero, Livin’ in me, I’m gonna fight for what’s right, Today I’m speaking my mind, And if it kills me tonight, I will be ready to die, A hero’s not afraid to give his life, A hero’s gonna save me just in time, I need a hero to save me now, Who’s gonna fight for what’s right, Who’s gonna help us survive, Who’s gonna fight for the weak, Who’s gonna make’em believe, I need a hero, A hero’s gonna save me just in time.”
Tears ran down my face as I saw the passion of the people in the audience, who were singing this at the top of their lungs. Words that to me sound as if they are coming out of pain and despair. These people were totally different from the generation of people who had sat in these same seats the previous week. Songs sung previously, were words like, “He Touched me;” “Because He Lives I can Face Tomorrow;” I Will Serve Thee Because I love Thee;” and “Jesus is the Sweetest Name I know”. One generation sang the praises of their King, another generation was calling out for a King to save them.
All that got me thinking. We have a generation that is crying out for help. Their lives are in shambles, homes torn apart, and if you read last week’s story I believe a lot of it stems from what I talked about there.

Here’s what God spoke to me: it doesn’t matter if I like the music! What He’s asking is, “What am I doing to be the Hero to the next generation?” God has called us all to share His love with others. His word says to “…Love one another as I have loved you…” John 13:34-35.  Notice it doesn’t have any exceptions that say, “Unless they listen to ‘that music,’” or “As long as they don’t look weird.” We have a dying hurting world that is going to Hell, while we sit on our privileged pews waiting for the world to come to us in the church. If you believe any of this is OK, you’ve bought into the lies of contentment that Satan wants us to believe.

I am so thankful that there are concerts like this. This group welcomed all those who didn’t know Christ. The lead singer gave his testimony of living with an abusive father, his mother dying of cancer when he was 15. He shared how one day in his bedroom he asked Christ to be his Savior, his Hero. It’s time we get real; it’s time we get transparent to those around us and share our struggles and challenges. It’s time we take the hand of someone who isn’t as far along in their walk with Christ or maybe hasn’t even begun one and take their hand and love them into the kingdom of God. Whose Hero will you be today?

This article was originally written April 16, 2018

Oklahoma Teachers Walk out for Love or Money?

Oklahoma Teachers Walk out for Love or Money?

This past week Oklahoma Teachers walked out of their class rooms. Why? Well if you asked the news companies reporting on this issue and even most of the Teachers and Legislators, they would probably all give the answer that it is for more pay, it’s for better schools and better supplies for their students. But I have a different view of the whole thing. So hear me out…..

Last week we were in Oklahoma, and as we were driving home we were listening to the radio. I heard the story of several teachers and principals who even though they were not in school they are going into the communities that their kids come from and passing out meals to those kids because they didn’t want them to go hungry. I must tell you that broke my heart and as I sat in my car and cried the vision of seeing Americans pass out food to the hungry orphan children in impoverished countries passed before my eyes.  It was if the Lord spoke to me and said the United States is spiritually impoverished. It broke my heart that America has come to this.

We are a spiritually impoverished country because we have forgotten the value of human life. Unfortunately, for many children that are not aborted before they are born, they are aborted in a sense after they are born. Why? Because parents do not know how to parent, and why is that? Because many times they had no examples.

If you have been around me any length of time you have heard me say “If satan can destroy the family, then he can destroy the church, and if he can destroy the church than he can destroy the nation.” Well, look around.

My heart goes out to school teachers across the country because in their laps everyday are being dropped the responsibilities that parents should be taking. From disciple, to hygiene, to providing meals and basic needs for education and survival. Too many parents are dropping the ball in general nurturing lessons. Somewhere along the way, we now have a generation of parents where many thinks that their children are just a commodity, a result of a moment of pleasure. A cute little thing to dress up, until they get annoying or to costly, then that parent gets overwhelmed and often discards them in one form or another.

If the human life were more valuable, than the Legislatures would value the education of our kids more and find the money needed, if human life was valuable and we didn’t live in a selfish world then the school districts would allocate more of the money they get from the state to the education and not to their own pocketbooks. If human life was more valuable, parents would realize they are raising warriors for Christ, they would remember what the Psalms says “Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth.” Somewhere along the way, we forgot or rejected the fact that we were all created to be warriors for Christ and we all are just raising little warriors for Him. But the value of life is just part of the sin that has seeped into this world.

No one blinks twice that we have people living together that aren’t married or having children out of marriage. It has become common place that if we get tired of our spouse we just divorce (if we were married to begin with) or go sleep with someone else and why?? Because “We’re not Happy” and we “Deserve to be Happy”.  All the while God told us “You shall not commit adultery. Exodus 20:14 This self-center attitude is exactly what leads us to deeper and deeper sin.

See there is a reason God said that having sex before marriage is wrong, it’s because it leads to unexpected pregnancies which often leads to single mothers, which often leads to poverty. Some of you may be appalled I would say such a thing but let me ask some questions. If that isn’t the case than why does http://www.nokidgoeshungry.com report that over 13 million children in the US live in “food insecure homes”? Well you say, that isn’t the parents fault it is poverty that have put them in these situations. Isn’t it? Does poverty just happen or is it a result of someone’s choices that over time often snow balls and therefore many times effect generations to come?  I don’t think it is a coincidence that Wikipedia reports that there are 13.6 million single parent homes. And why is there so many single parent homes? Is it because we are having sex before we are married, getting pregnant unexpectedly or is it the 50% divorce rate? These facts combined with the knowledge that young girls who grow up without an active father figure in their life are more apt to get pregnant before marriage than those with fathers in the home.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am not saying stay in a marriage if there is real physical and emotional abuse.  I believe we serve a big God that stands without stretched arms ready to forgive and love those who make mistakes. But what concerns me is we don’t even look at any of this as sin any more. It used to be a couple of kids would have a passionate moment in the back of a car somewhere and it would go too far and she would end up pregnant. But today, we have parents letting kids who are not married sleep together right in their homes, or adults who choose to live together or just sleep around. It is no longer a “Oops baby!” but it is intentional acts of sin. It has become so common, that now we are exploring new sexual immorality. Past Homosexuality, we now have Poly-amorous relationships that are becoming acceptable, and that’s when there is more than 2 partners having relationships with each other all in the same home and same bed.

And who is to blame for all of this, well besides satan himself, I would have to say the church is. For far to long, we rejected people who weren’t exactly like us. We rejected young girls who made a mistake and forced them out of the church walls instead of coming alongside them and loving them the way Christ would. We forced them because of the pressure of being perfect before man’s eyes, to go and have abortions.  For to long it was easier to get forgiveness from God for an abortion than it was to bring an unwed mother and her child to church.  Make no mistake I am not talking about the institution itself, I am talking about the people sitting in the pews that make up the church. It was the same with anyone divorced they were outcast. More often than not, the old ladies in the church whispered behind their backs in the grocery stores or the leaders of the church asked them not to come back. To many times, we sit up on our high horse looking down on others because we have forgotten what we have been forgiven of, and we forget that God’s Word say’s, “If we can’t forgive other’s there is not forgiveness for us” Matt 6:15

You may be asking, yeah but Alesa what does any of this have to do with the Oklahoma teachers walk out? See, I have a different perspective about why teachers walked out in Oklahoma. I say it is because sin is on such a rampage in this country and has been for many years now. That our country is like the old story of the Frog in the pot of boiling water. The US is that frog in boiling water. You see, you can’t cook a live frog if you just throw him in a pot of hot water, because it will jump out. But you can slowly cook a frog if you put it in cool water and slowly turn up the heat. Unfortunately, Our Teachers are having to pick up the pieces left behind in this sin rampaged world. The heat that has been turned up on high and the pot is starting to boil now.

I have great compassion for our teachers they carry a heavy burden, they are on the front lines of seeing how sin has rampage this country and they deserve our greatest support. They are having to do what the parents and the church were created to do. So, what is our responsibility in all this? Well, if you think sitting here in our sweet little town in Kansas you are immune from this, you have bought into a bigger lie than all the others put together. Satan wants us to become complacent and content, so he can sneak his way in and when he does, we are either those committing the sin or the ones looking down on those that do. Which one are you? I say choose a different road and love like Christ loves, ask Him to help you to see others as He sees them. It is only then that we will change the world, sin will never stop until we get to heaven. But we can make the world a better place, and we can bring more people to His saving grace if we will love them.  No matter what the differences are, or the sin that they may have committed because we are all sinners just saved by grace. We are all valuable to Christ. Let’s not just pray for our teachers but let’s, try to start right where you are making this world a better place. Because, money in never going to solve the real problem, only Christ’s love can.