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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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

Stop Scrolling and Start Living! Satellite TV & Wasting Time!

Stop Scrolling and Start Living! Satellite TV & Wasting Time!

Because of where my family lives,  we have to have satellite TV, if we want any reception at all. There is no option for cable, or even an antenna,  it is satellite or nothing and since I would go stark raving mad if all I did was sit around listening to my own thoughts in my head everyday. We pay for satellite. Oh! We could do some of the options on the internet that are out there but I like to watch current shows, I am don’t like to watch pre-recorded shows unless I am the one recording them. (Remember my story on I don’t like Re-runs?)

 

So the satellite network we subscribe to, allows for 4 different profiles. Because although we pay for a couple hundred channels. We actually only watch a fraction of them. And me being the good mother that I am, and perhaps the only one that cares in my family. I have been gracious enough to go into our satellite account and create different profiles.

 

I have a profile for just the movie channels we watch, Hallmark is my favorite by the way.  I have a profile for sports for my husband and his western shows he so dearly loves, I have a profile for the nature and hunting channels that my son likes to watch. Then, there are the channels that I love, those are the ones that have anything to do with cooking, & decorating.

 

I do this because in our package we pay for there is multiple channels that are spanish speaking, and although I our love our mexican brothers and sisters, I can’t speak their language so it does me no good to watch those channels. Then, there is the hockey channels and baseball channels, which no one in our family watches. Oh! And we can’t forget those shopping channels that I am not for sure anyone should watch.

 

So you can see why this is such a good deed that I have done. Now my family doesn’t have to scroll over all those channels we will never watch when searching for something to watch. I have eliminated all of these things my family doesnt need.  I do this out of the kindness of my heart, because when we are scrolling through the guide, who wants to have to scroll through things they aren’t even interested in or relevant to them. When we have to do that, it take as much time to find something to watch, as it does to watch it. I mean who wants to have to dig through junk to get to what they are looking for? It is such a waste of time.

 

But for some reason occasionally, I find the TV put back on, the “All Subscribed Channels” profile.  Which is a huge frustration to me. See, I don’t see why anyone would want to look through all those channels that they aren’t even interested in, to search for something that is worthy of their time, when they have been clearly given optimal choices in the profiles section.

 

But in the same breath I don’t know why people look everywhere for peace and contentment when they have been given that gift by Christ already.  Looking for that, is like my family scrolling through the all the channels on our satellite, having to pass through all the junk that we have no interest in, could care less about and in most cases have no business watching.  It is such a waste of time.

 

People everyday are looking for that unconditional love in everything but where it comes from. They look for it in multiple sexual partners, in over drinking, overeating, drugs, they look into black magic and sometimes even in their work. We gossip about our neighbors to make us feel better about ourselves or strive in ourselves to be perfect only to be disappointed when we can’t meet that unachievable standard. We often do anything but what God has told us to do.

 

The bible says, in Deut 30:19 …….I set before life and death, blessing and cursings, now choose life…….. It is that simple, just like I have set before my family good choices on our satellite profiles and I have weeded through the junk that isn’t relevant to them. So has God set before us choices everyday. Sure there is always going to be the good and the bad, the right and the wrong for us to choose from but God’s word also promises that in 1 Cor 10:13…….God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure…. .

 

I wonder if God gets as frustrated with us as I do with my family. I have laid out the best plan. Given them good choices and laid it before them. But they don’t always choose to follow my plan. Just like we don’t always follow God’s.

 

Now my family isn’t going to die and go to hell because they choose to waste all that time finding what they are looking for, but we will die and go to hell, if we don’t choose God and even if we finally decide to choose Him we often take so long to make that choice.  We lose so much opportunity to tell others about this unconditional love that Christ gives us. The sooner we submit our will to His. The sooner we choose to make the right choice. We can share this amazing love with others and we all know someone who needs to know they are loved by the creator of the universe and He has a great plan for their life?

 

The bible tells us that he that knows to do good and doesn’t do it to him it is sin.  James 4:17

 

So the bottom line is which choice will we make? Will we waste time like some of my family chooses to do. See, the only difference is,  taking forever to find a TV show to watch isn’t as detrimental to our life as taking forever to follow Jesus.

 

The choice is yours and the right choice is always following Jesus.

So find a church home, get in a small group to learn more about God’s word. Pull out your bible, computer or phone and download sites like You Version or Bible gateway. Read God’s word and learn it!  Make the right choices today and skip the junk! It is time to stop wasting time and do what we know is right to do!

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!  

 

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?

 

When is Enough, Enough?

When is Enough, Enough?

When is enough, enough? When do we stop sharing Christ’s love? When do we stop telling others about Him? When do we decide we should stop praying for our unsaved friends? We can we quit being the witness that God has called us to be and just focus on us? When do we get to do what we want to do and not have to think about anyone else but ourselves?

I don’t know? Would it have been enough for our sins to be redeemed by Jesus as he prayed at the Garden of Gethsemane and asked His Father, “Please if there is any other way, don’t make me do this” How about just for being arrested? Could God have called out from the heaven’s and said “Cut! That’s enough this show is over” Would it have been enough for Christ to just be beaten? Or maybe it was just enough for Him to carry the cross up the hill? No! No!! I’ve got it!! Maybe it would be enough for the 3 nails to be hammered into his hands and feet? Surely, that would have been enough right?

The truth is, the only way we could find remediation for our sins was for a sinless sacrifice to come and die for us. DIE do you get that?  Capital D-I-E.

The other day as I was traveling back from Wichita I was listening to Christian talk radio the show was taking questions from callers, and one of the people who called in asked the question ” Should I give up talking to my unsaved family about God?”  You see the young man said that he has 3 or 4 family members who were not living for God. He had encouraged them to read their bibles and go to church,  and because they all had not responded to his expectation, his question was,  “Should he just give up on them?”

My immediate response to him, (Because you know, we all have our opinions in situations like this) So what was my answer you ask? Well, I asked him (as if he could hear me through the radio)  “Did Christ ever give up on you?” “What would you want someone to do for you? Would you want someone if you didn’t know Christ to just give up on you because you were not meeting their expectations? Because things did not happen in the timing you thought they should?” I think the answer for all of us to that is a resounding “NO!”.

But all to often don’t we do that? Don’t we subconsciously or consciously make that decision about co-workers, family members etc. We decide I am done with them! They are too far gone!  They don’t want to hear the truth! Now don’t get me wrong I am not saying to pound people over the head with the word of God until they submit and come to know Him. No!

The bible says it is the kindness of God that leads people to repentance. (Romans 2:4) So I understand that we can’t talk all day everyday to them about coming to Christ. And we certainly aren’t going to win them over by judging and condemning.  No! Far to many people have been run off from the church and God with that one. Nor will isolating people from us help either.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand that with every person is a different situation and a different personality you are dealing with. But no matter what the circumstance or situation. We never stop praying for them we never stop loving them. We may have to set boundaries, we may have to be sensitive to their feelings and more often than not we need to meet them where they are. We need to meet their physical needs before they will every want to hear about their spiritual needs.

I don’t know about you, but I am thankful God never gave up on me! I am thankful that Christ was not only beaten for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities  and the stripes on His back were for our healing. (Isaiah 53:5)  I am thankful that I serve a Savior that didn’t give up on me! He didn’t quit!!  But He holds the keys to death, hell and the grave! (Rev 1:18)

He went all the way for you and me!! Praise God! He rose again on that 3rd day!! Now, He is seated at the right hand of the Father making intersession for you and for me! (Mark 16:19)

SO, When is enough, enough? When do we stop sharing Christ’s love? When do we stop telling others about Him? When do we decide we should stop praying for our unsaved friends? We can we quit being the witness that God has called us to be and just focus on us? When do we get to do what we want to do and not have to think about anyone else but us?

I say the answer to all these, is Christ example! There is never enough! There is never enough reasons to stop calling on the name of the Lord for our loved ones and friends to come to know Him. Look at all He went through for us! He followed the specially design plan God had for Him and He has a plan for you to reach the people you love and care about too!

Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that His kindness is intended to turn you from your sin? (Roman 2:4)

So like Christ’s example! It is NEVER enough until we reach the other side and join our Heavenly Father in heaven.