It Just Hit The Spot!!

It Just Hit The Spot!!

My parents were pastor’s for over 40 yrs before my dad passed away and they use to tell a story that happened at one of the first churches they pastored, there was one particular member of the congregation who had such a generous heart of sharing and blessing them with food she would bring over something to them all the time, from baked goods to full meals. She was always blessing my parents with food that she had made. The only problem with this situation was that as sweet as this lady was she didn’t know how to cook. In fact my parents told stories of one time, she baked a cake without any sugar in it and as best they could tell, they think she used salt instead. 

 

Apparently, as the story goes,  I am told, at that point my parents had to decide to do something that would not only keep them and their intestines safe, but protect this ladies feelings as well. So they came up with a plan that would not offend the sweet lady.or kill them. They decided to name their trash can “Spot” and every time this sweet little lady would bring mom and dad something that they couldn’t eat, they just threw it in the trash can and told the sweet lady “It  Just Hit the Spot” the next time they saw her in to acknowledgement of their appreciation for her effort. 

 

So for years at our home you couldn’t say “That just hit the spot” around the dinner table, without everyone bursting into laughter. My parents did this to preserve the sweet little ladies feelings. Some might call this a little white lie, others would say it wasn’t because the trash can now had an affectionate name called the Spot! So whatever you deem it as, it really doesn’t matter because mom and dad have since gone on to meet God and I am pretty sure out of everything they did in life, that did not keep them from heaven. 

 

My parents served in many churches over their years of ministry many times we didn’t stay more than 3 or so years because it seemed every church my parents went to were one of those so called “difficult” churches,  especially in their later years of ministry. Mom and dad would go in to the church, take care of the problems that had been left behind and then move on to the next church. 

 

One particular church my parents pastored was a church where the previous pastor had an affair with one of the deacons wives and had spent so much of the churches money that the church could barely pay their bills. I am told that the treasurer of the church couldn’t even stay at home in the evening because local bill collectors would come knocking on his door for the churches bills.

 

This is the kind of dirt that often times the church doesn’t want to talk about. It is also the kind of dirt and problems that run people away from the church. For some reason the world looks at the church as a place that is for perfect people when Jesus told us in Mark chapter 2:17 

Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

 

For far too long the church has put on this front that we are better than the world. For years the church has had a list of don’ts that is far longer than their list of the do’s. We have looked down on people who aren’t like us instead of being like Jesus and sitting with sinners. 

 

The verse above in Mark 2 follows the story where Jesus is hanging out with well known sinners and the Pharisee or what we would call today,church people, are judging Him in their hearts and He calls them out on it and tells them, in a roundabout way, that I am and the church is for the sick not the healthy. Jesus himself said that He came for the lost. 

 

If the church today is going to be what God has called us to be, we need to realize that living a life for Christ isn’t about doing, doing this or doing that. It is about being! Being the only Jesus in many cases that people will see. Loving people like Jesus loved them. He loved them into His way of life, not criticizing or looking down on others because they weren’t just like Him. We as believers just need to accept the love that has so freely been given to us while we were still a mess and extend that grace to others while they are still in their mess. 

 

When we look down on people because they are different than us, we forget that God also told us in Matthew chapter 7 that the same way we judge others we will be judged. Now that doesn’t mean because we don’t sin like someone else that when judge them that makes it okay. No! It means that with the same severity that we judge others we will be judged. 

 

Rick Warren author of The Purpose Driven Life says “ “Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.”

 

Christ didn’t compromise His convictions when He sat around and ate with sinners or hung out with prostitutes! So what makes us think we have too.

 

You know what my mom and dad did as they named the trash can “Spot”,  they were being a friend, they were being, instead of doing. They could have scorned this woman and told her they appreciated the effort but wasn’t really interested in her kind of cooking, they could have said they didn’t like her food and shunned her. But they just loved her and she didn’t walk away with her feelings being hurt, but she was made to feel loved and valued.

 

If my parents had done anything less, it could have wounded this person and she may never of darkened the door of a church again, Is one cake really worth that? Nothing! Absolutely Nothing! Is worth the loss of a soul. Because that one soul can affect generations of others who will not darken the door of the church, if we wound a tender soul. We as Christians can put such a sour taste in someones mouth, we can turn people away from God because we aren’t loving people like Jesus did and still does. 

 

It is God’s call to all of us to love. The bible says Jesus is Love and we are responsible to love everyone and show them Christ’s love. Will your life be that today? When we remember what we have been saved from, then it is a lot easier to love others who aren’t just like us, because one thing is certain. There but for the grace of God goes any of us! Let’s show the grace to others that we have been given by the almighty Creator of the Universe. Because He loves every single one of us and let’s never forget at the foot of the cross it is all level ground!  

 

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It Just Hit the Spot!

My parents were pastor’s for over 40 yrs before my dad passed away and they use to tell a story that happened at one of the first churches they pastored, there was one particular member of the congregation who had such a generous heart of sharing and blessing them with food she would bring over something to them all the time, from baked goods to full meals. She was always blessing my parents with food that she had made. The only problem with this situation was that as sweet as this lady was she didn’t know how to cook. In fact my parents told stories of one time, she baked a cake without any sugar in it and as best they could tell, they think she used salt instead. 

 

Apparently, as the story goes,  I am told, at that point my parents had to decide to do something that would not only keep them and their intestines safe, but protect this ladies feelings as well. So they came up with a plan that would not offend the sweet lady.or kill them. They decided to name their trash can “Spot” and every time this sweet little lady would bring mom and dad something that they couldn’t eat, they just threw it in the trash can and told the sweet lady “It  Just Hit the Spot” the next time they saw her in to acknowledgement of their appreciation for her effort. 

 

So for years at our home you couldn’t say “That just hit the spot” around the dinner table, without everyone bursting into laughter. My parents did this to preserve the sweet little ladies feelings. Some might call this a little white lie, others would say it wasn’t because the trash can now had an affectionate name called the Spot! So whatever you deem it as, it really doesn’t matter because mom and dad have since gone on to meet God and I am pretty sure out of everything they did in life, that did not keep them from heaven. 

 

My parents served in many churches over their years of ministry many times we didn’t stay more than 3 or so years because it seemed every church my parents went to were one of those so called “difficult” churches,  especially in their later years of ministry. Mom and dad would go in to the church, take care of the problems that had been left behind and then move on to the next church. 

 

One particular church my parents pastored was a church where the previous pastor had an affair with one of the deacons wives and had spent so much of the churches money that the church could barely pay their bills. I am told that the treasurer of the church couldn’t even stay at home in the evening because local bill collectors would come knocking on his door for the churches bills.

 

This is the kind of dirt that often times the church doesn’t want to talk about. It is also the kind of dirt and problems that run people away from the church. For some reason the world looks at the church as a place that is for perfect people when Jesus told us in Mark chapter 2:17 

Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

 

For far too long the church has put on this front that we are better than the world. For years the church has had a list of don’ts that is far longer than their list of the do’s. We have looked down on people who aren’t like us instead of being like Jesus and sitting with sinners. 

 

The verse above in Mark 2 follows the story where Jesus is hanging out with well known sinners and the Pharisee or what we would call today,church people, are judging Him in their hearts and He calls them out on it and tells them, in a roundabout way, that I am and the church is for the sick not the healthy. Jesus himself said that He came for the lost. 

 

If the church today is going to be what God has called us to be, we need to realize that living a life for Christ isn’t about doing, doing this or doing that. It is about being! Being the only Jesus in many cases that people will see. Loving people like Jesus loved them. He loved them into His way of life, not criticizing or looking down on others because they weren’t just like Him. We as believers just need to accept the love that has so freely been given to us while we were still a mess and extend that grace to others while they are still in their mess. 

 

When we look down on people because they are different than us, we forget that God also told us in Matthew chapter 7 that the same way we judge others we will be judged. Now that doesn’t mean because we don’t sin like someone else that when judge them that makes it okay. No! It means that with the same severity that we judge others we will be judged. 

 

Rick Warren author of The Purpose Driven Life says “ “Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.”

 

Christ didn’t compromise His convictions when He sat around and ate with sinners or hung out with prostitutes! So what makes us think we have too.

 

You know what my mom and dad did as they named the trash can “Spot”,  they were being a friend, they were being, instead of doing. They could have scorned this woman and told her they appreciated the effort but wasn’t really interested in her kind of cooking, they could have said they didn’t like her food and shunned her. But they just loved her and she didn’t walk away with her feelings being hurt, but she was made to feel loved and valued.

 

If my parents had done anything less, it could have wounded this person and she may never of darkened the door of a church again, Is one cake really worth that? Nothing! Absolutely Nothing! Is worth the loss of a soul. Because that one soul can affect generations of others who will not darken the door of the church, if we wound a tender soul. We as Christians can put such a sour taste in someones mouth, we can turn people away from God because we aren’t loving people like Jesus did and still does. 

 

It is God’s call to all of us to love. The bible says Jesus is Love and we are responsible to love everyone and show them Christ’s love. Will your life be that today? When we remember what we have been saved from, then it is a lot easier to love others who aren’t just like us, because one thing is certain. There but for the grace of God goes any of us! Let’s show the grace to others that we have been given by the almighty Creator of the Universe. Because He loves every single one of us and let’s never forget at the foot of the cross it is all level ground!  

 

Dishes and Jesus

Dishes and Jesus

If you have ever been to my home, you will immediately see my love for blue and white dishes. Some were gifts, many I inherited and a few I bought. If you follow me on Facebook you probably have also seen a table or two that I have set up for the purpose of entertaining people at my house for dinner. 

You see, I love entertaining. It is my love language to others. I love sitting out the dishes, days ahead of time, I will begin to prepare the table, ironing the table clothes (because I hate wrinkles on my tables) I plan for days ahead of time on what kind of theme my table centerpiece will be. I think about what dishes I want to use (and yes, I have more than one set). I carefully take out my goblet glasses and rewash them, I look over the silverware and assure there are no spots on it and when needed I will wipe it down to assure it is sparkling. As I do this I pray for my guests that are coming. 

Once the table is set, I will take pictures of it and post it on facebook, as I use facebook for my personal digital scrapbook. I also have several friends who live out of town, who also love to set tables so we enjoy sharing our photos to inspire each other. Capturing the moment also helps me remember what I have done in the past so I either don’t repeat it or can add onto it. 

It was in the middle of setting up one of my tables recently my daughter Amy said “ and this is why no one invites us over to eat mom” insinuating because they are intimidated by my table settings.  She thought she was being cute, by teasing me, but I know she enjoys setting a table up beautifully too. This wouldn’t bother me except for the fact that someone who my husband did not recognize stopped him in the grocery store shortly after my last dinner and told him “You can tell your wife I am never posting any pictures of my tables again” Jeff said she was joking and actually trying to compliment me because it looked so pretty as they both laughed about it. 

Many people don’t realize the reason I use my good dishes so often, when some will only take theirs out of their cabinets once or twice a year, I use mine at least that often a month. One of the reasons I use them so often is because I lived in the home where my mother was a hoarder and although she had everything she needed to entertain, I mean after all, I have all her dishes now. She never used them. I cannot remember once my mother every having guests over and getting out the good dishes. 

They sat uselessly in a cabinet year after year, or worse yet in some of our homes we lived in, she just left them in boxes we moved them into the house in and piled the boxes on the corner of the room. I determined in my heart as a kid growing up, I would never keep anything that I didn’t use so if I am going to have these dishes, I want to use them and what better way to do that, than to serve others. In this day and age where fast food or frozen meals are the norm in most homes,and the family table has almost become extinct. It is important to make our families and friends feel special and loved. No one should be intimidated by another person or by what they have,  because we are all valuable in God’s eyes and things don’t matter to Him because He looks on the heart. The real question is, where is our heart? Is our heart selfish and unwilling to take the time that it takes to do something for someone else?

I find eating off a china plate and drinking out of a goblet glass just makes things taste better, even if you did buy the food pre-made at the store. Taking the time to serve someone with pretty dishes just makes them feel special and that you care. It’s almost like when you were a little girl and had a tea party with your friends (or stuffed animals depending on the day) It was just fun! 

So what has happened to us? The bible tells us unless we become like little children we can never see the kingdom of heaven, now I don’t think God was talking about having tea parties, but I think He is talking about having that same joy and innocence, the same size faith as a child who sat around her little table and had a tea party with her plastic plates and stuffed animals. 

You know, there was someone else who sat around a table with His friends, it was Jesus. Many times He sat around a table just spending time with His friends and disciples, teaching them and sharing His heart. At the last supper He sat there as he was getting ready to leave this earth and with His twelve closest friends. 

No one knows for sure but it is believed that Nicodemus was the owner of the house where the Last Supper was held.  Here, Nicodemus served the creator of the universe and all they had was bread and wine, (okay maybe they had more we don’t really know)  if it was Nicodemus home they must of had some of the nicer things available at the time because Nicodemus was a fairly wealthy man and a leader in the community. But even if he hadn’t been wealthy, Nicodemus gave his best to the Lord. Nicodemus was a Pharisee and a member of the Sanhedrin which met he and Jesus were really on opposite sides, of the culture at that time.  

So one man had another man, who he would not of normally hung out with into his home and he blessed him by doing his best for him and it turned out that this one guy who Nicodemus blessed, was the Son of God the Savior of the universe.  

I mean in that day and age, that is better than having Superman over to your house or any of the Marvel characters.  

Hebrews 13:2 tells us “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing so some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” 

We never know what the person is going through that we sit across from sharing a meal. But everyone deserves to be shown kindness and friendship. Taking the time to sit down and just connect with them is priceless in the day and age where we are going 90 miles an hour.  

Jesus still desires to connect with us today. We can do that by sitting down and reading His words everyday in the bible and praying. We can also do that by sitting across the table from someone and sharing His love with others, because you never know, we just might be the only Jesus that person sees.  

Jesus never cared about what they had done in the past, in fact Jesus was known for hanging out and eating with the sinners. He never turned them away. His reputation got to be to the point those Pharisee called Him a drunkard because of who He hung out with.  

No where in the Bible do we see Jesus show people who are different than Him anything but love and hospitality. So how about we do that today. We make a pledge to ourselves and God that we will take this next step in being more like Him and love people they way He does.  

Lets bless someone today. It has been said that the greatest gift we can give someone it the gift of our time. So who are you going to bless today. Who will you invite to your home, or out for dinner, or maybe you will just sit around the grill this weekend. But whatever you do. Show Christ’s love just has He has shown it to us. Because after all “ While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” Romans 5:8.

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.