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!  

 

Now What?  When life is uncertain but God isn’t!

Now What? When life is uncertain but God isn’t!

It’s that time of year when all the college students who are about to graduate are sitting around wondering if all the education and loans they have accumulated over the last 4-8 yrs have been worth it? At least that is what my daughter, is feeling as she is about to graduate, with a BFA in Graphic Design and a minor in Film and Digital Media. 

We have all had times like this haven’t we? Okay, maybe we haven’t been to school and accumulated loans and taken all this time to learn something that we’re afraid we may never get to use. But we all have been at a place of uncertainty. Maybe it’s uncertainty about your health? Maybe it’s uncertainty of how much the farm will make this year? Maybe it’s uncertainty of what will happen to our children or grandchildren? I am sure if you think about it, you can remember a time you were living in uncertainty, maybe you are even living in it now?

I remember when Jeff and I were at that place many years ago,  by saying that I don’t mean ,to sound like it has only happened to us once,  by any means. But this one particular time, before Amy was even born and before Jeff was in full-time ministry,  we were at a crossroads in life a place of uncertainty of what we should do next.

Jeff was looking for a job and there were none to be found in Alabama where we lived at the time. We were at a place we knew we needed a new start and so we thought Atlanta GA. would be a good option for us. At least we knew there were plenty of jobs available there.

So, Jeff picked up the Atlanta Journal Constitution Newspaper and began searching through the want ads. He found several jobs that met his HVAC experience and he applied. We prayed and we prayed hard for God to give Jeff a job. When Jeff finally got a call back from one of the owners for an interview Jeff was eventually hired. After working there for a bit, the owner told Jeff that he had been the only applicant to apply for the job.

Now, at the time Atlanta had 2.5million people in it. So the chances of Jeff being the only person to apply for a job was literally a miracle. Whether he blinded the peoples eyes to see that ad back then, or if he made it disappear for everyone else in Atlanta and the surroundings areas that took that paper. Because this paper did not only serve the 2.5 million people that live in Atlanta but at the time, this paper was delivered all over the state of Georgia and part of Alabama and Florida. Perhaps even further. When I think of the prayers we were praying at that time, asking God to open the right doors for us to walk through little did we know. God would go to such extreme measures to protect us and guide us.

You know I am reminded of a story in the bible where God protected Daniel. He was in the lion’s den. He had been thrown in there because he had stood up for what he believed and God closed the lion’s mouths so tight they didn’t eat Daniel. God protected Daniel that day. God watched over him. God provided a miracle for Daniel and kept him from harm.

I believe God still performs miracles today. I believe if we are following Him and trusting in and relying on God, he will be faithful to protect and provide for us. I know that is what God did that day for Jeff and I. 

There is no humanly way possible that Jeff was the only one that could of applied,  unless God had closed the eyes to everyone else to see that ad.

Time and time again, if we will only look we will see God’s hand in our lives. We don’t have to live in uncertainty,  because we know we serve a God that sees us and loves us with an everlasting love.

So no matter what the future holds, no matter if we don’t know what is ahead of us in life. We have to remember what we do know, and we do know that God knows all, He is watching over us and will take care of us,  if we will only ask, just like he did Daniel and Jeff.

God doesn’t leave His children hanging, He doesn’t leave His children alone. He loves us and if we are following after Him He will guide and protect us. So when those times of uncertainty and anxiety try to overwhelm us, what we have to remember is,  we serve a God that never fails, that can close the mouth of the lions, or blind the eyes of everyone else. He is watching over you, the question is will you trust Him?

Clean Dirt

Clean Dirt

I don’t know about your house,  but it has never mattered what home I have lived in or what brand of dishwasher is in that house.  On occasion, someone in my family has pulled something out of that dishwasher that, had just been ran, that still had some piece of food left on it, to which my family member will say something to this effect “The dishes are still dirty” and I will reply “ It is clean dirt, it has been washed” We will usually laugh and then wash the item by hand.

 

You know that little scenario got me thinking. How many of us think like that in our own life. We think the little bit of dirt in our life, is “clean dirt”,  after all we are good people. We don’t mean harm to anyone and are just doing the best we can. We justify what we see in our lives often times, all the while condemning what we see in others.

 

But the truth is,  what we think about ourselves or others really doesn’t matter, it is what God thinks that really matters. In fact,  His word is the ultimate authority. The question is how well do you know God’s word? God’s word is His son’s dying wishes for our life. Just think about it, the creator of the Universe left you a letter,  with directions He wants you to follow.

 

Oh! I know some people say “I have tried to read the bible, but I just don’t understand it” to which I would reply “That is why we have churches and bible studies” It is important that each of us read those true stories in the bible. Those are lesson we can learn through others lives that have lived before us. We also see Jesus as He walked this earth and can learn from His stories as well.

 

One thing we all need to remember, past the 10 commandments, there is 1 commandment we all must follow,  in fact Jesus said it was more important than any other, and that is found in Luke 10:27  “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'”

 

You know if you love someone with all your heart, and I mean REALLY love, then you want to please them, but there is no way to please God if we don’t know what His word says. So how about this week you do 2 things, take just 5 minutes and start reading the Psalms and Proverbs each day in the bible, then throughout your day,  show that love Jesus talked about in Luke to those around you.

 

Because if we don’t do these things, then can we really say we have surrendered our life to Him?  It’s really like saying you’re clean dirt when you don’t. We all know that doesn’t make any sense in anyone’s book,  and the fact is, we can’t wash ourselves on our own or by what we do. God’s love is unconditional and His grace is free ,but it is only when we receive that unconditional love that we realize how much He loves us,  and in turn wants to give that love back to Him, by living a life for Him and sharing that love with others. So let’s stop trying to hand wash our lives in our own ways and follow what the Jesus says.

” I Need to Go to the Bathroom, Get a Drink of Water and Blow my Nose!”

” I Need to Go to the Bathroom, Get a Drink of Water and Blow my Nose!”

Every family has their routines, anytime you have a family larger than 2 people, and you are planning on going together to an event somewhere, if someone asked anyone in that family, they could probably tell you which one, is going to be ready early, which family member is going to be late, and which one will be heading the group and getting everyone out the door.

 

When my children were at home, I have been known to begin a countdown about 30 minutes out. Now, of course I would have given the family plenty of warning well in advance before that , sometimes even days, but when it comes down to about an hour out, I would start mentioning  to my kids what they need to start doing to be ready, and about 30 minutes before we need to leave, my voice gets a little louder as I start walking around checking on where everyone is and how much longer it will be before they will be ready.

Then about 10-15 minutes out, I am going to start hollering out as I walk down the hall. “10 minutes, 10 minutes we are leaving in 10 Minutes”  which is the sign to my children and husband they better be getting their last minute things on and start heading for the car, then “5 minutes, 5 minutes we are leaving in 5 minutes” at this point my family knows they better be finding their shoes and start getting in the car, because if there is one thing I can’t stand, it is being late. I think it is disrespectful to the people who planned the event where ever we are going and personally, I believe in the old adage, “If you are 5 minutes early you are on time, and if you are on time you are late”, even if that means I arrive somewhere and sit in the car for 5 or 10 minutes before going in. That doesn’t bother me, in fact I kind of like the opportunity to not be rushed and just take a deep breath before going in somewhere,  instead of rushing in somewhere all disheveled .

My whole anxiety about being late probably stems from my mother. No, not that she ever cared about being on time, it didn’t matter how much notice we would give my mom about what time we were leaving.  It never failed, when the time came for us to walk out the door, She would say ”Okay, wait just a minute, I need to go to the bathroom, get a drink of water, and blow my nose.” I lived at home for 18 years before I moved out, and cared for her another 23 or so years before she died and it never failed the story was still the same every time except as she grew older, it took longer for her to go to the bathroom, get a drink of water and blow her nose,  the older she got the later we were. That is why I started telling her we needed to be where ever we were going 30 minutes before we actually had to leave, because I knew if I didn’t we would of been even later than we were. In fact momma was known for being late so often, that my father used to say we are going to bring her casket in 30 minutes late, just to keep up her tradition when she dies. (we didn’t by the way but it was tempting)

You know this got me thinking, my mom is a lot like a lot of people today. They have been warned that Jesus is coming back, they have been told that they need to live their life for Him so they will be ready to go,  but they procrastinate and don’t do it, just like my mom procrastinated getting ready to go somewhere. They are all busy just doing what they want to do, when they want to do it. Not concerning themselves, with anything but what they want. They can even see the warning signs that the bible tells us about, similar to me hollering out to the children and giving them the 5 and 10 minute warning, they ignore all the signs of the crazy weather, the brother hating brother, the world being more and more like Sodom and Gomorrah (Luke 17:26-30) , and all the issues happening in Israel.

All these are signs that Jesus is coming back again, to get His children,  just like He said he would in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 ESV “For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.” He also warned us “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour. (Matthew 25:13) Now I am not naming any dates or times because I know the bible says “ No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.: (Matthew 24:36) But doesn’t that verse alone tell us that we need to be ready because it could be any moment and He tells us in Luke “You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.” (Luke 12:40)

My mom always had an excuse why she was late, she always justified her reason, but when we stand before God excuses won’t matter He has given us ample notice. With many opportunities to get it right. It is time we stop making excuses.God isn’t looking for perfect people to come to Him, He is looking for people who are watching and waiting for His return.

Many times people think they need to clean up their act before they come to Him. But God told us in His word.  “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV)

God wants us with all our baggage disheveled mess we are in. He calls us daily to come to Him. The question is, will we come? Because the 5 minute warning call is about to come and unlike I did for my mother, God hasn’t given us an extra 30 minute cushion. Once He calls come to get us, that is it. There is no one let in late to heaven. We may get by down here with going to places in our own time frame, but we have no control of when Jesus will return to take His children home.

So won’t you get ready today? To make sure you are ready, all you need to do, is as simple as A, B, C,  Admit that you are a sinner, Believe in Jesus Christ and Commit your life to Him. start, going to a bible believing church, start making Him a part of your everyday life, by talking to Him in prayer and letting Him talk to you through His word.

That is what that scripture is talking about, If we will come to Him, and follow Him as 2 oxen in a Yoke, one more experienced than the other,we will learn from Him and we’ll find rest for our souls, And we won’t miss the most important event of our life, Heaven!

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!

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.