My Imaginary Friend

My Imaginary Friend

When I was a little girl I had an imaginary friend, her name was Lindy. Now, because I was raised as an only child, It makes complete sense to me that I would need an imaginary friend. I would talk to Lindy and play with Lindy. Lindy went to the grocery store with me and my daddy,  and to his horror I would require my daddy to lift Lindy into the cart just like he had me, and place her beside me. I also would not rest until Daddy would put Lindy in the car beside me, and more than once daddy closed the door on her and had to open it up again and let her in. All of this was to his embarrassment as other adults looked on in whatever particular public place we were in at the time. Lindy was my best friend and this obsession went on for several weeks,  maybe even months I don’t really remember, I was just a kid living in the moment , but my mother used to tell the story. I am pretty sure that out of my parents exasperation one day, my mother must of mentioned her frustration to my Grandma Northcutt. (her mother)

 

So one day Grandma Northcutt sat me down and asked me exactly what did Lindy look like. As I explained to her that Lindy had long dark hair like me, and brown eyes, she wore a wedding dress sometimes and also had a red coat and boots. It wasn’t long before one day when I was at Grandmas house she had me sit down and close my eyes. As she laid something in my lap she told me to open my eyes I cried out “Lindy” with a loud shriek in my voice.  Because there in my arms suddenly laid Lindy!

 

My Grandma was an excellent seamstress and had taken the time to make me a doll just as I had described Lindy looked. She was even my size and Grandma Northcutt had even taken the time to embroider brown eyes and rosy red lips and attached long black yarn to her head for hair. She has stuffed the body with cotton so it was soft to hold and yes, she even made the wedding dress and red coat and boots I had mentioned. Grandma saw what I had imagined and made it possible for me to have it.

 

What are you dreaming and imagining today? Oh! It isn’t uncommon for children to dream and imagine things, from being super heroes to fireman or teachers and even having imaginary friends is a common thing for young children. From little children, we grow up and become teenagers and can’t wait to get our drivers licence, and from our drivers licence we want to grow up and have a family,  and as some point, some of us begin to dream about retirement and not having any of that, that they had we wished and hoped for, for so many years.

 

But somewhere along the way we grow up and we stop dreaming,  and by dreaming I mean we give up our greater hopes and dreams that are bigger than ourselves, that it would take a miracle to have and we start thinking about more realistic expectations we should have, but we stop imagining. Maybe it’s because we become wiser or some might just call it cynical. Maybe it’s because we have been disappointed so many times we just don’t want to risk it happening again.  But let me ask you something, have you stopped dreaming?

 

“Mann Tracht, Un Gott Lacht” is an old Yiddish adage meaning, “Man Plans, and God Laughs.” And I can’t totally disagree with that, nor can I totally agree with it.  See I believe God wants us to dream and plan. I believe He wants to give us the desires of our hearts. But the distinguishing factor is “What are we dreaming and planning?” Proverbs tells us “Desire without knowledge is not good, and whoever makes haste with his feet misses his way….” Proverbs 19:2-3 ESV

 

So I think the important thing we learn here is, what kind of knowledge do we need to have here? I don’t know about you,  but I think the best knowledge is God’s wisdom and guidance so we need to learn exactly what that is. What does God want us to dream?  If we look over in Matthew 5:6 ESV we see He says “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” So we know He wants us to is to seek Him, to dream of what we can do for Him. All too often,  people want to dream of winning the lotto or having a bigger home, whatever meets their physical needs but God is more concerned about our character than He is our comfort. In Psalms 145:19 ESV we find Him telling us “ He fulfills the desire of those who fear him; he also hears their cry and saves them.” We can trust that God will take care of us, when our desires and focus is on building His kingdom and growing in Him rather than our own selfish desires. He tells us this time and time again in His word but nowhere is it so clear to me as it is in Jeremiah 29:11 “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.’”  God wants good things for us, just like we want good things for our children but the direction He gives us says it all “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” Colossians 3:2 So let me ask you another question, where is your mind set? Is it more worried about what someone thinks of you or what you have to do tomorrow, then what God wants you to do and how you can bless Him with the way you live your life and love others. ‘

 

This past week our oldest spoke at his college alma mater and shared with the students some of the most basics of God’s love and how we as Christians should act if we are claiming to be Christ’s followers and living for Him. Jeff and I only got to view it on Facebook Live but after it was over I sent a text message to our son and said “ I have never been prouder of you son” to which he called me and said “Really Mom, Really?” He said “ After I have given you a grandson, I have graduated from college, gotten my Masters Degree and this is what you are most proud of” To which I replied “ Yes”,  and you know why it made me the most proud? Because it has an eternal purpose. What He was doing there had an eternal purpose and impacted those young people that will totally change their lives. To me, nothing else matters more. I believe that is the way God feels as well. He wants our focus and dreams and plans to be what can we do to make an eternal difference for Him. When our mind is focused on the things above, all this stuff on earth will come together. He promises us that in Matthew 6:33 When he said “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, then all these things will be added to you”  So how about this week, we focus on the seeking after God and growing in Him, because I bet if you do, He is gonna say He has never been prouder of you!

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Mommy, Where are Woo, Where are woo?

Mommy, Where are Woo, Where are woo?

In 2000 Jeff and I bought our first ever home, Chad was 3 and was pretty overwhelmed with the move. After all,  we were moving from the only home he had ever known, that was maybe 1200 square feet, with average ceiling heights to a now almost 2000 square foot home that was built in the early 1900’s,  and was the first doctor’s home in          De Soto Kansas with 10 foot high ceilings. I imagine to a little 2 and a half foot kid that seemed huge.

It wasn’t uncommon the first week or so as I was be going from room to room, unpacking and decorating our home that I would here this little cry “Mommy, where are woo?,  Where are woo? I would hear this coming from Chad, and I would go to him and reassure him that “I am here baby!” and he would , either follow me around scared he would get lost again in the massive place he now called home,  or ask his question and return to playing, but often times he just wanted to know where I was and be close to me so he could see me.

In Genesis 16 we pick up the story of Sarai and Hagar, Sarai has taken matters into her own hands and decided to have Abram sleep with her maid servant (not totally a uncommon practice back then) so they could conceive a child. But because it wasn’t God’s perfect plan, Sarai becomes jealous of Hagar and well Hagar isn’t too pleased with Mrs Sarai either, because after all she thinks she deserves a little more respect than she is getting from the bosses wife, so they both begin to have second thoughts, Sarai is then so mean to Hagar that Hagar runs away to the desert. We pick up the story with Hagar at a spring in the desert:

8 And he (the angel) said, “Hagar, slave of Sarai, where have you come from, and where are you going?”

“I’m running away from my mistress Sarai,” she answered.

9 Then the angel of the Lord told her, “Go back to your mistress and submit to her.” 10 The angel added, “I will increase your descendants so much that they will be too numerous to count.”

11 The angel of the Lord also said to her:

“You are now pregnant

   and you will give birth to a son.

You shall name him Ishmael,[a]

   for the Lord has heard of your misery.

12 He will be a wild donkey of a man;

   his hand will be against everyone

   and everyone’s hand against him,

and he will live in hostility

   toward all his brothers.”

13 She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.”

 

Have you ever felt like you were in a desert place in your life? Have you ever felt mistreated or unappreciated? Did you want to run away from everything?  I am pretty sure that is how Hagar was feeling, and not only that but now she was alone in a desert, not knowing where she would go or what to do, she just knows she doesn’t want to be in that situation any longer. She has made a mess of her relationship with her boss,  and well her boss didn’t handle things well either.

I believe this is a story of hope, hope that no matter where you are, no matter what is going on in your life, God sees you!  Just like I saw Chad in that big old house that was totally overwhelming to him, God sees you in this big old world that is sometimes terribly overwhelming to you.

Hagar suddenly had an epiphany, that the God of her masters sees her. Perhaps it was a revelation to her? After all, being from Egypt she was not raised to know the God of Abram.

Let me remind you that God also sees you, We have the advantage of being able to look back on these stories in the bible and learn from them. We have God’s promises that 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.” Deut 31:6

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jer 29:11

And there are countless more we can find in God’s word that says He cares about us. But I think the real question is the second part of what Hagar says to us “ I have now seen the one who sees me” Have you really seen the God who sees you? Or is He just a casual acquaintance that you know from a distance? Like Hagar, who probably had no relationship with God before this point. She had seen Abram and Sarai talk and even pray to this God they believe in,  but back then there was so many Gods, she might not have even thought there was a difference, she obviously had never had a god become so real to her until that day.

The question is, have you seen the God that sees you? Not just a passing by casual wave,  kind of sees, but have you really seen God. So many of us walk around in some sort of fog,  being tossed around like the wind because we have no foundation to stand on.

If the weather is good, then we will have a good day. If everything goes right at work, then it is a good day. If our finances are at a place we don’t have to worry about, then it is a good day. If we get our coffee, it is a good day.  We allow all these little g “gods” of this world to dictate our attitude and worst of all our hope.

When the big G “God and creator of this universe has already promised you that He is watching over you and cares for you! He tells us time and time again that He loves us.

“I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.  I will build you up again…..” Jer 31 3&4

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

Over and over again, we are reminded in God’s word that He loves us and cares for us. But yet somehow we still walk in fear, we are afraid,  this or that is going to happen. We look at the waves around us in this life, figure the probabilities of the circumstances of the situation and just know nothing is going to turn out right.

Because we do not see the God that sees us, we are like the disciples in the boat when we read the story in Matthew chapter 14. I image there was a fog, the wind was whipping around them it might have been raining so hard they could not see their hand in front of the face because the storm was raging all around them. You know how it is out here in this Kansas wind, even if there is not rain sometimes it is hard to even open your eyes outside when the wind is blowing.  Yet, one of them must of squinted his eyes looked off into the distance and he saw something. Was it a ghost? Was it one more thing that was going to make their day that much worst? I am sure some of them thought that. But there was one in the boat that saw Jesus in the midst of the storm and he called out to Him.

Can you see God in the midst or your storm. Do you see the God that sees you? Because God sees you and He asking you to trust Him. You don’t have to be afraid. You just need to trust Him. 1 John 4: 18 says  

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”

If you are walking around in fear today, let me challenge you that you are not seeing the God that sees you! You are not seeing the God who knows every hair on your head and loves you with an everlasting love and if that is the case, let me encourage you to get to know that God.

Attend church with bible believing Christians to get to know His word. Spend time in His word everyday learning more about the love and grace He has for you. Talk to Him all the time. Then begin looking for how He is working all around you. That is the only way you will come to know and see the God who sees you.

 

The Greatest Gift

The Greatest Gift

Well by now most of us have taken our Christmas tree down, and have packed up the decorations preparing for the new year ahead of us. As I pondered the Holidays, have you ever noticed that, there are 2 kinds of gift givers? One type, will give you what you want. They pay attention to what you talk about, they notice comments you might say throughout the year, just passing statements about what you like, or would like to have,  perhaps even some you forget about almost as soon as you say them. Other gift givers give you what they think you need. They aren’t concerned with what you want, and more often than not, they ignore any comments you might say even sometimes ignoring specific requests because they think they know better.

 

I think it goes without saying that the joy of receiving a gift from the gift giver who considers what the receiver wants is much higher than receiving a gift from the one who gives  you what you think you need.

 

I will never forget,  it was probably our oldest son’s third or fourth birthday. We didn’t have much money and were  doing everything we could to pull together a party for him at a famous pizza place for kids, when I suddenly remembered we didn’t have any way to video his party. My heart sank, as I had videoed every birthday party of his life up to that point,  but because our recorder was broken, there was no way that was going to happen. Somehow I felt like I wasn’t being a good parent if I didn’t record it. Deeply saddened , I proceeded on with the plans the weeks prior to the day, hoping to make my child’s day the best it could be, never telling anyone of my disappointment. After all, at Lee’s young age he wasn’t going to care about having a video of his birthday party, I told myself, he would still have a good party with or without the video recording. I knew the recording was more for me,  but telling myself this, didn’t seem to help my disappointment any.

 

It was the morning of the party,  as I was rushing around preparing the final details,  the phone rang, it was one of our guests, who called to ask if it was okay as part of Lee’s a gift, that they would video the party for us. My heart leaped with joy! The memory still brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it, because it wasn’t about the video anymore when that call came, it was about a God who heard my cry and answered my  prayer. I hadn’t said anything to anyone, and to be honest, I hadn’t even prayed about it. But my heavenly father, who knows my heart, knew my desire and put it on this family’s heart to do this for us.

 

You know as much as I love my child and wanted to give him the best party possible to show my love for him,  I have a heavenly father who cares for me, in fact we all do. The bible saysIf you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” Matthew 7:11

 

The Psalms also tells us Lord, you have seen what is in my heart. You know all about me”

 

Aren’t you thankful that we have a Heavenly Father who loves us and knows us,  I know for me I sure am. What a blessing it is to know we have someone who is watching over us and cares for us more than we could ever hope or imagine. The best part of our Heavenly Father, is that He isn’t just like any Father, He knows our beginning and He knows our end. He can see the future,, so He knows how to detour our paths,  ensuring we make it safely to where we need to be spiritually and physically.

 

I wonder today if someone reading this isn’t disappointed about something? Perhaps you had hopes and dreams of something happening and well, you have just given up that it will ever happen. I want to assure you that whatever the outcome of your situation is, that you can trust your Heavenly Father to guide you in the direction you need to go. You can trust Him to bring to you what you need and provide when nothing seems to be working out. Because the bible says “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

 

So, there are a couple of stipulations to that promise, it says, “those who love him” and “called according to his purpose”. So I have to ask, do you meet those requirements? I think,  for the most part, I can safely say you probably would claim to love God. So the next question is, is your life an example of that? Because that is kind of what the whole “called according to His purpose” means. We are all called to fulfill His purpose on this earth,  and the first requirement is to follow what His word says, and if you aren’t going to church and growing in His word how can you fulfill that purpose?

 

So, whether you are following Christ or no, it  is never too late to start. Yes, you may have to pay the consequences of your past choices,  but there is a opportunity for a new beginning, all you have to do is talk to Jesus, like you would talk to me,  and tell Him you want a new life in Him, that you are sorry for your past mistakes, and from this day forward you want to walk with Him.

 

There is nothing better than starting off the new year  new in Christ Jesus. Find a good bible believing church home that you can grow in His word in,  then you really will see the Heavenly Father that I know, who knows how to give good gifts, and works all things together for our good.

Standing on the Promises

Standing on the Promises

This past weekend was the Cotton Bowl football game, and if you know anything about my family you know we were all perched in front of the television watching it,  because Alabama was playing in the play offs to go to the National Championship Game. Now, as I have said , before, with this new empty nesting that has happened at our home, it is now my responsibility to watch all the football games with Jeff and although Chad was home for this game, I have come too far in this season with this team to turn back now,  and not watch them all the way to the end, so Amy and I sat with the boys and watched.

 

Now, I have to say,  as I have grown to love this game and the Alabama team, I still don’t know that much about the game. Oh! Sure! I know that the object of the game is your team needs to get the ball and run to the end of the field with it and get across that last little line called  the end zone. (or at least I think that is what it is called) and I also know if your team doesn’t have the ball, you want to stop the guy on the other team that does, so he doesn’t make it across that line, but pretty much past that, I am clueless.

 

So needless to say,  when my Oklahoma friends began to start saying things about the Alabama football team on Social Media I had to respond. Now mind you this is not the first time I have defended my team, but I have to be honest, I always hesitate before I start typing anything,  because I don’t really know that much about football and I doubt my knowledge, but then I remember Alabama has 17 National Championships, more than anyone else in this modern era of football, and they have more SEC Championships than any other team in SEC History at 28.

 

So yes, I hesitate, but then I remember what they have done. What the record  books say about them, and I type! Typically all I have to say is, “Tell me again, How many National Championships does our team have?” and whoever is talking about how awesome their team is, verses Alabama, quickly quiets down.

 

All that got me thinking….. Isn’t that a lot like our walk with Christ. We often feel, unworthy to follow Christ or tell others about Him, because maybe we feel we aren’t that knowledgeable about the Bible. But,  if we will just remember what the record says, remember what He has done for us already. We can go to the back of the book and God’s word says that we win. We don’t have to be scared to stand up for what we know is right and we don’t have to listen  when Satan tell us we aren’t good enough.

 

God’s record speaks for itself. Just like Alabama’s record. Just like I walk in confidence of that, we can walk in confidence of what God can do and has done. We don’t have to walk in fear, we don’t have to hesitate,  we can stand on the promises in God’s Word.

 

So,  as we start this new year, let’s do just that,  stand on what God promises, remember what His word says,  don’t hesitate in standing up for Him.

Philippians 4:6-7: Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done,  then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

Exercise, Politics and My Family

Exercise, Politics and My Family

This year my son did something extraordinary, in fact you might call him one of the bravest men alive. Our oldest son J. Lee Miller Jr. ran for political office in Oklahoma, which in our political climate could be nothing short of self manslaughter. But my brave son took on a bigger challenge than most of us are willing to do because he believes in the right of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness,  you know just that little thing, called the Declaration of Independence that our forefathers set forth as our “unalienable rights”, which the Declaration says has been given to all human beings by their creator, and which governments are created to protect, I guess that is why his campaign motto was Lee for Liberty.

 

So being the supportive family we are, Jeff and I headed to Tulsa to support our kid the day of the election. I thought we would all be sitting around resting just waiting for those polls to close, because I thought all the work was done. But nope! Not my kid! We were out the door as soon as he voted heading to the major intersections of the community standing on the corners holding signs and waving, now I feel I can safely say this was my workout for the day and probably for the year , since I am so athletic. In fact, I feel I developed an effective technique to sign holding and waving on street corners.  

 

The first position for the effective sign holding technique is:

  1. You have your arm stretched all the way out waving with the wrist,
  2. Once your arm gets tired doing that you lower it to halfway at the elbow and wave with your elbow
  3. Once your arm starts hurting from that you go back to fully extended arm waving the whole arm this time from the shoulder
  4. After about 15 mins of each of those positions you switch arms and do it all over again on the other side , all while holding a sign in the other hand and smiling.
  5. Smiling might be the most important part and all of this must be done by looking engaged, at the car coming at you as if to tell the person in the car from the expression on your face “Hey, What a surprise!!  I wasn’t expecting you to be driving down the street today” and this must be done with the same excitement as you would see on your face as if you haven’t seen an old friend in a really long time!

 

I honestly don’t know how the queen does it although waving from a car at people while being driven down the road is probably easier than standing on the street corner for 6 plus hours and  I am sure you are probably wondering, “Well why didn’t you just take a lesson from the Queen and wave like she does” and I honestly tried that too but it was such a little wave, it didn’t and , couldn’t really engage the cars coming at us well enough to get their attention so that idea had to be scrapped immediately, apparently you don’t need to grab people’s attention when you are the queen but you do when you need their vote for a political party.

 

This years election got quite a few peoples attention and set a record number for voters in a non-presidential election all over the country. Many woke up the next morning unhappy and frustrated that their candidate did not get elected. You know, frustration and unhappiness can happen a lot, if we put our faith and trust in man. It is all too easy for us to look to humans for , help when the truth is our only true help come from the Lord. Does that mean if we look to Him we will get everything we want? No! But what we have to remember about any election or difficulty that come to us in life is that God is still in control.

 

The neat thing about last Wednesday morning, God didn’t wake up and say “What?? How did they get elected?”. No God appoints every authority, even the ones we don’t like. He is in control. The children of Israel in the bible didn’t like the pharaoh who had authority over them, but his hardened heart only opened the door for God to show His mighty  power to the children of Israel through the 10 plagues, , which by the way, never touched the children of Israel.

 

You may not have liked what the results of the election were but that doesn’t dismiss your responsibility of what God calls us to do and that is to pray for our newly elected officials. I didn’t say pray against them.  I said pray for them. Because the God who is in control has given you Life and the Liberty to pursue Him which will ultimately lead to the Happiness you are really looking for if we will follow God’s plan.

 

It is time we declare our Independence against fear, and worry of what the future holds and it is time to hold on to the one that holds our future in is hands and I promise you His arms never get tired.

The Scariest Thing……

The Scariest Thing……

The scariest thing about Halloween this year, will not be the Ghost and Goblins running around town or even the Zombies for that matter. No! The scariest thing is what is in the heart of men and women everywhere. Last Saturday an armed gunman walked into the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh PA  screamed anti-Semitic slurs and began shooting, killing 11 innocence people and wounding 6

What does it take for that kind of hate to be in someone’s heart? It has been said that the problem with our world is not the presence of darkness but the absence of light. Many respond to this and other tragedies like it, by believing we need tougher gun laws. But I don’t believe the problem is the lack of laws. I just believe we have failed to follow the most important law given to us many years ago when Jesus told us “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”  

If we would all follow that one simple law there wouldn’t be a need for any others. What has happened to a society that will turn on it’s own kind? The problem isn’t gun laws the problem is a matter of the heart. Our hearts are broken, from a deterioration of a society that has turned its back on its creator and now believes it is it’s own God.

Like the children of Israel who cried out for a king to worship, we have become such an idolized society that we worship ourselves. We now live in a world where there is no absolutes, no right, no wrongs, if it feels good do it. Some of the newest phrases around are “You be You Boo” which is often said in innocence but at the same time is subconsciously telling us we don’t have to follow any laws, that there is no right or wrongs we can just be who we want to be and do what we want to do.

And where is the church in all this? Have we set silent so long that satan now has taken over, or is it totally the opposite that we have pushed this generation to where it is, because of the years of our own self-righteous attitudes or our own cynicism or perhaps it is even both. For so long and in some cases still today, we in the church judge people for what they wear, how they look, who they hang out with, in some places Jesus himself would not of been welcome in our churches because, he didn’t hang out with the right crowd or wear the right clothes. (after all he did walk around in a robe) all the while we sit in our self-righteous pews judging others for what they have done, and forgetting what we have been forgiven of. We are no different from the people in the bible days who stoned people to death, today we just use our words and our rejection of them and then wonder why they don’t want to serve God.  

It is this kind of attitude that I am afraid as pushed people away from the church looking for their own God which has then in turn cause them to look to themselves and thus we have become our own idols. So we don’t want any gender laws or anything that remotely states marriage is between one man and one woman, we don’t want anyone taking away our rights to choose, unless of course it is to defend ourselves then we have no right to that because defending ourselves means that we are standing up for what we believe, whether it be on social media or with a gun in our hands we have no rights to opinions only the right to follow the crowd but yet look where the crowd is taking us. We are headed to a Godless sin filled nation like in the day of Sodom and Gomorrah,  We have mayors and other government officials calling out begging for us to become a socialist nation that would take away our guns and pretty much any right to govern ourselves because we are looking for a savior. Like the children of Israel who cried out to Moses “Give us something we can worship” and while he turned his back and climbed a mountain to get the 10 commandments, they built themselves and idol of a graven image. We in America are crying out for a saviour and yet we reject the one who has already come. Why? Because we don’t want a God we serve, we want a God that serves us and if we don’t get what we want we reject Him.

No the scariest thing this Halloween is not what will be walking around in costume it will be what is walking around in the hearts of those in costume. Because we are raising a generation of children that are being trained to worship themselves, like an army of little sinners, we have defined direction, and absolutes as offenses and unlawful acts. We no longer direct our children to the Savior we allow them to roam free condoning their selfish desires to be the god in their own lives.

What will it take for all of this to change? Only one thing, that most important law that Jesus told us all those years ago to follow. “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ That means that we put Him first. We put Him and His ways, above what we want, what we feel, and what we think and until we do that, I don’t care how much you say you love Him, or how many times you sit in the pew. If you haven’t done these things you can’t say you are His child and expect to get to heaven one day. It is an absolute and I don’t care how many times you say it or want to deny the fact, that absolute is for all time and will never change. Our idea may change of it, but we can never change what it means because the one true and only living God makes it a fact.

It is only when we learn the first part of that law then we can fulfill the second part which is “And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”, Because we can’t love anyone else until we love God, it is in the love we find it God we realize the worth we really have and in that, we can love someone else, as we love ourselves and that is when the light will negate the darkness in this world. And there will be an absence of darkness in all the light and that is something that even the 10 commandments or any law we put into place can’t do. It is only in the Love of Jesus Christ we will change this world. So what do you plan on wearing in your heart this Halloween season?

 

 

Worst Parenting Fear!

Worst Parenting Fear!

Being a parent can be one of the scariest things anyone can do. You hope to you are doing it right. You don’t want to miss your kids up to bad, because you know you, yourself, aren’t perfect, and well let’s face it we all think we are a little messed up and our biggest prayer as parents is “God just don’t let me mess up my kids”.

I remember one particular time this was heavy on my heart as a young mom. My oldest had to be in about 1st grade. We were associate pastors in charge of children’s ministries in Iola Kansas. Our children’s ministry there ran about 80-100 kids each Sunday.  We had a bus ministry of 3 buses that drove around town every Sunday, picking up kids to bring them to church. To assure the kids would come, we would go around door to door every Saturday and knock on the doors of homes in the area reminding the parents we would be coming by tomorrow to pick up their children.

Often Jeff would take our son, Lee with him on those trips. In fact pretty much every part of our ministry Lee as well as all our children have tagged along and been a part of it with us. Lee however was our only child at this time in our life so not only was our weekly canvasing the neighborhoods part of his weekly agenda, so was summer church camps. For several years we spent a month at kids and junior camps in the summer not even coming home on the weekend in between camps. Because we were Children’s Pastors, Jeff and I were counselors each week and Lee got to tag along with his dad in the boys cabins.

Wheat State Camp is 4 weeks in the summer that kids from Assembly of God churches all over Kansas come together in Augusta at our district camp ground where a different age group comes each week to play games and sporting events, have fellowship with other believers and all go to church services together in the evening. It was one of those evenings I was down at the altar crying out to God because my heart was so heavy. I felt as if I was ruining my kid’s life. I was probably about week 3 of being at camp for us and I was believing all the negative thoughts satan was running through my head that said “Lee is going to hate church” or “You are pushing our religion down his throat by keeping him here”. “What kind of mother are you?”.

As I was pouring out my heart to God that evening, with young girls from my cabin,  praying all around me. I felt God say, Looked up over to the boys side of the altar area. There I saw Lee standing with his arms raised to his Savior, tears streaming down his face. It was as if God was saying,” He is okay.” Because God knows, more than anything I want my kids to serve Him.

That kid is now 33 years old and running for a seat in the Oklahoma House as State Representatives for District 68. He was telling me the other day of how his campaigning was going. You see every evening after he gets off work and on Saturdays, he goes canvassing door to door the neighborhoods of his district.

He was actually canvassing with another candidate recently when the candidate of the same party said  “Man you are good at this!, Have you done this before?” To which my son responded “Sure have, but not for political purposes”.  See, it was all those years ago, that Lee walked with his daddy canvassing the neighborhood for the churches bus ministry that taught him how to handle himself and approach people in that type of situation. But we didn’t take Lee out canvassing with the idea that this is going to be a lesson, or with any thought that he would use it later on in life, and we never had any idea he would actually run for a political office at that age. But, it was a lesson that gave him confidence where another person might have been hesitate to knock on a stranger’s door without it.

All this got me thinking…….  Deuteronomy 11:18 – says “Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds,…….. 19 Teach them to your children, speaking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 20 Write them on the doorposts of your houses and gates,… “.  In essence, it is saying teach your children about God as you go about your everyday responsibilities. All too often we expect the church to teach our children or we think I’ll just wait until they are older and let them decide for themselves what kind of faith they want to accept. But that isn’t what God tells us to do.  

Proverbs also tells us, “Train up a child in the way he should go [teaching him to seek God’s wisdom and will for his abilities and talents] Even when he is old he will not depart from it. (Prov 22:6 Amp) How do you train up a child, if you wait till they are older and let them decide? You don’t, this makes it plain that parents are instructed to teach their child in His ways. As a minister my dad use to say, it is better to build boys and girls for Jesus then rebuild broken down men and women for Christ. You may ask why is it better to teach them when they are young? Because we are creatures of habit. We get in good habits or we get into bad habits but either way they are habits and old habits are hard to break. I don’t know a better habit then going to church every week, reading your bibles, and praying every day.

As parents often times I think we negate the reality that our children are always watching and learning from everything we do and say. It is important that we keep in mind children learn what we live. I don’t care how old they are, they are like little sponges absorbing everything we say and do. So the question is what are we teaching are kids? It wasn’t our intention to be teaching Lee anything, on the days we canvass the neighborhood but we did. I also believe he has learned how to follow God by our example (habits) of going to church, reading our bibles and praying with our kids. Lee developed a relationship with Jesus Christ all his own and that has given him the foundation he needs to make good choices and why he cares enough to try to make a difference in this country.

Does he have some ideas that I have wondered about? Sure!  But the truth is we probably taught him that too. Oh! Not the exact ideas, but I believe his father and I taught him to not just go with the crowd. We have lived a life of entrepreneurship and pioneering new ideas since he was born. From being the first homeschoolers in Graham County, to deciding to start a church with absolutely no support except knowing God has called us. We have taught him to judge whatever you do to the word of God and in this day and age when there is more people just following the crowd of what has always been done or what everyone else is doing. It is not surprising, he choose to be in the libertarian party because he sees the present parties in place are not making any difference. Lee isn’t afraid to pioneer down a new path of politics and I am completely confident he will pave his own way down that path as well.  

So the question is, what are you instilling in your children and grandchildren?  What are you talking about as you drive around in the car, sit in your homes? What messages are you sending to them? The fact is, whatever you are teaching them, they will take it to the next level. They will push the limit of whatever you are doing, good or bad. Do you want your kid to do more of what you do? What legacy are you leaving?