Worst Thanksgiving Ever!

Worst Thanksgiving Ever!

Well, the Thanksgiving season is upon us, many will soon be gathered around the table with their loved ones and friends reflecting on the blessings we have received this year. If your house is like mine, there will be a moment before we indulge in the food before us that we will pause and go around the table, allowing each one to say what they are thankful for.

Now in a house like ours some might choose to move this process along by simply saying all they are thankful for is God assuming He covers everything,  just to hurry up and pro take of the feast that sits before them. So, you may be surprised to find, at our house, it is made clear before this process begins that we know, God is responsible for all that we have been given and so, we want to hear what specific things that God has given you this year that you are thankful for.

Another tradition in our house at this time of the year, is I try to prepare all the foods my kids want. It’s a favorite dishes kind of meal. I ask everyone what they want to eat and since there is 9 of us and at least a couple of choices by each person, the amount of food can add up quickly and that isn’t limited to just the side dishes or desserts, but also includes what kind of turkeys we have, which can range from fried, roasted or smoked, there is usually at least 2 turkeys, (smaller ones) cooked different ways for us to enjoy!

Now although my kids are active in the meal preparation these days there’s still some dishes I make that they demand only from me and I in turn have favorites that only they can make. I have been working hard for many years to teach my kids how to cook, so that I know when I die they won’t starve. Essentially I want to work myself out of job of cooking on the holidays but I am no quite there yet but I believe the plan is on track..

You may have heard of people who do food prep and make all the food they are going to eat for the week in one day, then cook it throughout the week?  Well that is kind of what Thanksgiving is like for us, except we cook enough food for a week all on Thanksgiving day and then graze on it for the next 3 days while the kids are here. I like doing this because, I am not stuck in the kitchen the whole time the family is here and I can take pleasure in just enjoying my family.

You may think, my idea is crazy but let me tell you the reasoning behind my madness.  One of the most disappointing Thanksgivings Jeff and I ever had was after we were married and had moved to Kansas, we returned to Alabama for the big day anticipating eating my mother in law’s traditional thanksgiving meal.  

We were so excited to be going back to celebrate with Jeff’s family. My mother in law is an amazing cook, this woman who made biscuits everyday for breakfast when her husband was alive and homemade cornbread for every other meal had our mouth watering as we traveled the 14 hours to visit them remembering how good Thanksgiving is around my in laws house. So needless to say we had great expectations of eating her famous dressing, and enjoying all the other dishes she is known for. But to our disappointment, when we arrived it was announced that this year, Mrs Miller was tired of cooking and had decided to have the meal catered in.

Our hearts sunk, although we understood, it did not console our craving for her own cooking that we had missed so much, by living all those hours away and rarely getting to see them, let alone taste those famous home cooked meals she was known for.  So that is when I decided when my kids grow up, I was determined to make sure they never felt that disappointment after coming back home.

You know, if we are all honest with ourselves, there is that one dish for most of us that we remember as being our favorite from our mom or grandma, and it doesn’t matter if we follow their directions to a tee to make it, it still never tastes like it did when that person we loved made it. So, yes that is why I indulge my children when they come home. I never want my kids to walk away from my home on a holiday wishing I had cooked something,or we had done something, I want them to have that special memory of home.

Have you ever expected something, that didn’t happen the way you planned? Were you disappointed? We often have expectations. We ask God for something and believe and even have faith that He could do it,  then when the time comes and it doesn’t go the way we planned, we are disappointed, sometimes mad that we didn’t get our way.

There will be a lot of people who over this holiday season will reflect on this past year that have much bigger issues than Jeff and I did on that disappointing day. They may not have anything to eat at all, they may only be able to think about that empty chair where their loved one use to sit.

I read somewhere your tough job is an unemployed persons dream, your small home is an homeless persons dream, your annoying child is an infertile couples dream, and your smile is the dream of every depressed person. So be thankful in every situations.

Whatever the case, let us all remember that there is always someone worse off than we are. God has placed us here to bless others and you are blessed to be a blessing. Oh! You may not have as much as someone else, but is that really what God is looking for? No where in the bible have I ever read, you have to have this much money in the bank, or this much food in your house, or even your children act a certain way for God to love you.

God looks on the heart in 1 Samuel 16:7 God told the prophet Samuel … “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”

How about we do that this holiday season? How about we not judge ourselves or others on anything else, but what God sees. Let’s ask God to help us see others with His eyes,  love others with His heart. But most of all love yourself the same way. Give yourself a break! So what if this year didn’t turn out how you expected it? Tomorrow is a new day and the bible says God’s mercies are new every morning. So that means, every day there an opportunity for a fresh start and nothing is lost if we learned from it. Just like that disappointing thanksgiving vacation, Jeff and I had, you also can learn from whatever you are going through and because of that today two more generations reap that blessing. Perhaps God has allowed you to go through whatever you have dealt with this year so you can make a difference in the generations that are coming behind you. One thing is for certain tomorrow is a new day and the best is yet to come. So let’s focus on that as we sit around our table this week and thank God for what He has done and will do!

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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?

 

 

Wedding Elopement Turns into Fiasco

Wedding Elopement Turns into Fiasco

I did a little research project the other day. Oh! It didn’t start out as a research project but it certainly turned into one. See,  I love a party! I love planning parties and I especially love planning weddings. My love for all this started when I was just a teenager, I was coordinating weddings, by the time I was 16. In fact I almost went into the wedding business for my career.  Because of this, it might not come as a surprise to you that I am in several wedding groups on Facebook. Some resale things, others are just for support or advice. It is a lot of fun to see people’s joy and excitement, it is also a great resource to keep up on current trends and at the same time perhaps, share some of my experiences that might keep a disaster from happening at someone’s wedding.

 

In the wedding biz there has been a new phenomena happening, some might just call it a trend, but I think its a real, phenomena and it is that, couples are going away from their home and in some cases even families to get married instead of staying closer to home to have their wedding, they sort of take a vacation and get married at the same time. They are calling it an elopement, but that word confused me, because when these young ladies are describing their weddings, they are talking about their family having showers for them before they “elope”. Some are even having big parties before they go with their friends. As you might imagine, when they use the term elope or elopement to describe their wedding in this scenario. I was confused, I mean I know I am a little old school in some things, but when I started coordinating weddings all those years ago for someone to elope met that they secretly went away from their families and got married then came back and “SURPRISE” they were married.  

 

So in my curiosity of it all I decided to look it up. After all, if the definition had changed I wanted to know so I wouldn’t sound uneducated about this subject. I went to Webster’s Dictionary which is the absolute truth on definitions of words. It is where we all go to understand what any word means. It is a guide we can all use to direct us in our vocabulary. So, guess what I found out when I looked up the word elopement? I found out I was right, Webster says “to run away secretly with the intention of getting married usually without parental consent”  

 

So then I got curious as to what was defined as a Destination Wedding, which in my mind was what most of these brides were explaining on this site, but yet they called it an elopement or they were eloping. Guess what that definition was? Google said (and I had to ask google because Webster doesn’t define phrases) “A destination wedding is defined as marrying 100 or more miles from where they live. A destination wedding is a different way for couples to choose a beautiful place to celebrate marriage away from their home.”

 

After all my research I thought, well I will post this on one of these sites, just so people will start using the correct verbiage. To my amazement, this is where the research project began. Several brides got upset with my information. One commented “Then why does my venue call it an elopement?” As if by a venue naming something it, made it so. To which I responded, “perhaps they didn’t look up the definition or don’t know you are going to tell everyone you know?”

 

Another found information on the internet saying that eloping was a new trend and by posting this thought it refuted that fact of what the word elopement met by the dictionary. Yet, another was down right nasty to me and accused me of trying to steal these brides joy. To which I responded, “I didn’t write the dictionary, I am just making people aware of the correct terminology to use.” I was seriously flabbergasted at the amount of argument and energy put in to trying to refute the fact that the book says, that is what it means. The truth is, it doesn’t matter how many times brides use this word incorrectly, it doesn’t change the meaning of the word. It still means what Webster says and Webster is still the leading dictionary and guide to our english vocabulary.

 

All this got me thinking…. Isn’t that what we do, we decide that just because everyone is doing it, it suddenly justifies what we do even if the bible says it is wrong. We call living together okay while God calls it sin, simply because everyone else it doing it. Perhaps you hang out with a crowd that it’s popular to get drunk on the weekend, so it’s okay even though God’s word says drunkenness is a sin. Maybe you take office supplies from work because everyone else does, but the bible still says stealing is a sin. Maybe, you think you are a good person because you think your better than other people you know.

 

We have become a society that runs more by popular opinion then the absolute of God’s word. We have people running around with high anxiety, panic attacks, all because they are trying to meet the expectations of others. Instead of going to God’s word and judging our life, and ourselves by what God says we need to do and be. We refuse to realize what God word says about us and walk in it that with confidence.

 

It’s time we stop living by popular opinion and start living by the word of God, the absolute truth of what He has called us to do and we only learn that by being guided by the word of God. Because the fact is, when we walk into those pearly gates, we are not going to be judged by a group of our peers, God isn’t gonna say “Well, everyone else was doing it, so it is okay, I will let you slide” NO! He is gonna say one of two things, either “Depart from me I never knew you” or if you lived by His word and followed what He said in it, He will say “ Well done, good and faithful servant enter into your eternal reward” God has given us His word the Bible to guide us and He  His body the church to help us understand and encourage us.

2 Timothy 3:16 says “ All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:” You know what that word righteousness means, in short it means right living. That is what God’s word is. Some may ask “Well what makes God’s word the ultimate authority?” Truth is, when you are the creator of the Universe, you get to tell your creation how to live. The maker is the designer and there is a lot of things we do, that God never intended for us to do that is why we have so many troubles and issues in this life, not because He is punishing us, but because it is the consequences of our choices. So how about this week we stop letting other people’s opinions drive our actions and feelings and let’s follow what God says and know that in Him we are enough, remember that in the long run, that is where it counts, it only matters what God says no one else.  Alesa Lewis Miller is the Pastor’s wife of Lighthouse Worship Center, Greensburg Kansas, Mom, Mimi, Speaker, & Columnist. Find more of her stories at www.behindtheparsonagewalls.com

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?

 

You have the Right to Refuse Service to Anyone!

You have the Right to Refuse Service to Anyone!

So recently CNN and FOX news reported, there is a coffee shop in Oakland California that is refusing to serve the local policeman. The owners of Hasta Muerte Coffee says they asked the officer to leave their restaurant for the  “physical and emotional safety” of customers and employees. The officer who was refused service, walked out without any incident. CNN reports that “The coffee shop is accusing the police department of having a history of “corruption, mismanagement and scandal” along with a “legacy of blatant repression.” The owners also said the shop needs the support the community, not the police, to keep their business safe.”

News reports also stated that later the department tweeted that it “respects business owners right to serve anyone they choose” and that they “are reaching out to the business to have a constructive dialogues in an effort to unite their community” Now I don’t know anything about the accusations.

But I do know that I was totally shocked hearing something like this. (As I usually am anymore these day, it seems the older I get, the crazier this world gets) I mean the police are typically there to protect the community. These are the people we should be able to trust and should want around us. So hearing this story seems absolutely ridiculous to me. But as ridiculous as this story sounds what is more ridiculous is that we push God away. Just like these owners/employees,  only ours choice has eternal consequences.

We push away the Creator of the Universe, Who has given His only son for us to die for our sins. The one who wants the best for us and loves us with an unconditional love,  is often asked to leave our lives. Oh! Not verbally, but we leave Him out of our everyday life. We push the thoughts He places in our head away that tells us to change our ways,  for what some would say their “physical and emotional safety” It seems that these days anyone who doesn’t agree with us, or suggest we need to do anything less than what we want, is suddenly a threat. We accused God of trying to control us, we accuse Him of “mismanagement” of our life and “blatant repression” of our wants and desires. See, because we are unwilling to give up our will and our ways and follow God’s.

We believe that we are better off with the “The support of our community” than with the One who knows us best and knows what IS best for us. We’d rather hang out with the friends that our like us and agree with our ideas, than have to change and do what we have been told what is right,  from the book with the only absolute truth in it, which is the bible.

But see we have a God who is a gentlemen. He gave us a will of our own to choose who we will serve all the while “respecting our right to serve anyone we choose”.  He won’t force Himself on us. But all the while He is reaching out to us to have “constructive dialogues in an effort to unite us to Him”. Christ tells us in the bible that “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hears my voice, and opens the door, I will come in to him……” Rev 3:20 KJV . It tells us in Romans 5:8  that “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

So let me ask you. What are you doing to invite God into your life today? Are you inadvertently or purposely pushing Him away? Do you think He is to busy to worry about you? Have you just decided you don’t need Him in your life because you can handle it yourself? Do you feel hurt because He didn’t answer a prayer that you prayed so you have given up on Him? Or is it that you don’t want to be repress your feelings, wants and desires, because you want your own way! Maybe you think, God is only someone you talk to when you are in Church?

Let tell you that God is wanting a relationship with you. He has plans that are so good for you. He doesn’t want to harm you. So, yes it might require you to change somethings you do, but that is only because He cares about you and wants His very best for you. He reminds us in John that “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6 and He also tells us that, If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9

So won’t you choose to follow Him today? Won’t you decide to make Him part of your everyday life?  Because pushing Him away is as crazy as someone pushing the police away and simply choosing to rely on yourself.

Do you really want to be the God of your life? Or worst yet, follow another human being who is no wiser than you? If you are going to have a god, in your life don’t you want one that’s ways are higher than your ways.

His understanding is higher than yours. So that will mean that sometimes we may not understand Him but we can always trust Him.

Won’t you trust Him today?? Because pushing God away, makes about as much since as it would, if your house was being robbed and you decide to pull the robber/murder into your house while at the same time pushing the police who have come to save you away.

Don’t push Him away, don’t ask Him to leave and refuse to service to Him today.

Mary Christmas Week

Mary Christmas Week

As we sat in the doctor’s office, our oldest was about 3 yrs old, I will never forget it. We sat across from his desk as he told us the results of the battery of tests that I had just gone through.  When he just blurted out ” Well, You should have never had your first child and you certainly won’t have any more!” Our hearts dropped as it suddenly seemed that something Jeff and I had dreamed of since I was 13 and he was 16 was now gone forever.

Then imagine our surprise just about 6 years later as I looked at the positive mark on a pregnancy test. Our prayers had finally been answered.  Our dream was coming true. The 3 children we dream of having as teenagers dating, was about to come true. We believe it all began when we sat in a service and as the minister got up to take the offering he said ” I have a son that isn’t living for the Lord and tonite I am gonna give the best gift I can in the offering and write on the back of the envelope, “for my sons salvation” and if you are believing God for something I want to encourage you to do the same. Jeff and I looked at each other in that service and both knew what we had to do. We placed our best gift in the offering envelope wrote “Baby” on the back and dropped it in the offering plate. Over the next month suddenly out of the blue several different times just random people would show up and hand us money. Just saying “the Lord laid this on my heart that I am supposed to give this to you.” Jeff and I could not figure out what was going on. Then it hit me, I begin counting up the random acts of kindness that had been given to us and it was exactly 10 times the amount we had given in the offering, then it hit me and I thought ” Oh No!” God isn’t gonna give us the baby we asked for, He is just giving us back our money and then some” My heart was broken, but I remember thinking ” Okay, God If it isn’t your will for us to have a baby, then I am willing to accept that you have another plan”. I am sure God must have been looking down on me saying ” Oh! Ye of little faith.  “See what I didn’t realize was that this was just the beginning of God’s blessings. Because about a year later I was holding the little girl we had dreamed of having for so long,  But my mind couldn’t conceive what He had in mind.

Have you ever felt like that? Has God ever tried to tell you something that you just couldn’t imagine? See, I have a feeling that may have been the way Mary felt when and Angel told her she was going to conceive a baby and she had never even known a man. I think all too often we envision the people in the bible as some kind of superheroes with super powers and super strength. When they were really just human beings like you and me, with the same doubts, fears and questions and I believe we serve a God big enough that He can handle those doubts and questions.

The bible says, that as soon as Mary heard the news, she “made haste” or hurried quickly to her cousin’s Elizabeth’s house. (a 10 day trip on foot) Could it have been because the Angel had said that her cousin Elizabeth was expecting too?  Perhaps, Mary knew if she went to Elizabeth’s house and found out that Elizabeth really was pregnant as the Angel had said, that this all might actually be true? One commentary (Barnes Notes on the Bible) said “Troubled at his saying – Disturbed or perplexed at what he said. It was so unexpected, so sudden, so extraordinary, and was so high an honor, that she was filled with anxious thoughts, and did not know what to make of it.” I mean let’s face it if an Angel shows up at your house tomorrow and says you are gonna have the Christ Child, wouldn’t you have some questions, maybe even doubts?

Then there was the birth of Jesus, in Luke 2:17-20 Mary has given birth and the Shepards show up. I don’t know about you but with each child, I have had it has seemed like a dream to me. You are just in awe and amazed that this little thing came out of 2 peoples love. I can’t imagine, what Joesph was feeling then, and what questions were running through Mary’s mind. The awe, the amazement of it all and at the same time they had to be asking themselves ” Is this really the Christ child? If it is, why is He being born in a stable? Why, didn’t God take better care of us? Did we do something wrong? But perhaps it is just about this time that all this is running through their minds when these shepherds show up! Telling everyone this is the Christ Child and in verse 19 the bible says ” She (Mary) pondered all these things in her heart” Have you ever pondered something before?

Then there was the time at the temple Luke 2:20-33 Where Simeon and Anna both sensed by the power of the Holy Spirit that this was the Christ Child and the bible says, in verse 33 that Joesph and Mary were amazed at the things spoken to them. Have you ever been amazed at what God was doing and at the same time wonder why or what God was up to?

Then there was that time about 2 years later. I don’t know what mom of a 2-year-old doesn’t question what is going on with their child at one point or another. But, I just wonder if on the day the 3 kings showed up, what was going on in Mary’s heart? What battle was she struggling with? Were funds a little tight and they were wondering how they were going to make it? Was Jesus being an all-out human being 2-year-old that day and Mary was questioning “Can this really be the son of God?” I don’t know what was going on in her mind that day, but I do believe God had prepared 3 kings several months, even perhaps years before to show up on her doorstep that day at that very moment,  as a little reminder. God was in control. Because we know soon after that God tells Joesph to take his family and flee because Herod is about to have all the baby boys under 2 years old killed.

I don’t know about you, but I have questioned God, I have miss read His plan. I have even doubted what He was doing. But just like when we placed that envelope in that offering bucket, we had no idea what God was about to do and it certainly didn’t happen the way we planned, but God was faithful through it all. He provided more than we could ever hope or imagine and I wondered today if God doesn’t want to do the same for you? No, I know He does!!  He wants to do the same, Because His word says, “He is able to do exceedingly above all you can even ask or think”  (Eph 3:20) I am pretty sure Mary had no idea what she was about to get into when that angel showed up, just like Jeff and I had no idea what was about to happen when we place that envelope in the offering, but what we can rest assured on is that He is in control and we may question and we may even sometimes doubt but if we will continue to trust Him. He will see us through. Won’t you trust Him today?

 

 

 

Christ Our Sure Ground On Sinking Sand

Christ Our Sure Ground On Sinking Sand

Recently I was visiting my son’s and daughter-in-law’s home and while there, I was able to take the grands (grandchildren) to the park and play. Our youngest is about 19 months old and let me tell you he is one of our greatest prize possession. Perhaps it has to do with the fact he is our only grandson or the fact that he is named after not only his father but his grandfather and his great-great-great-grandfather. We love all our grands but this one is special in his own way just as the others are.

While at the park we ended up playing on one of those giant playsets. You know the kind with 3 or 4 slides, a set of monkey bars, some tunnels to play in and a bridge to walk across, this one even had ladders and a ramp to help the kids get on it. The whole thing was set in a giant pit of this soft rubber stuff, almost like ground up tires, but under it must have been sand because for this little toddler of ours who is already unsure on his feet, made it even tougher for him to walk on this mushy foundation.

So, as you can imagine I was right by his side the whole time. Because of course, he didn’t want Mimi to hold him. No, this little guy thought he could do it all by himself. He wanted to walk on his own, refusing to stay in the safety of Mimi’s arms. I also didn’t want to stray too far away from him because this park was extremely busy. There must have been several hundred people there that day so I didn’t want to get too far away for fear our little guy might disappear in the crowd.

He walked around on the unsteady, mushy ground, wobbling from side to side, as I followed just a step behind, there to catch him just in case he fell. Then he decided he wanted to get on this massive playset and be just like the other kids. Of course, because of the magnitude of this playset, compare to the small size of our little guy, and surrounded by this immense crowd, it was almost as if he couldn’t comprehend what the potential to play here was. So, I lifted him up to put him on the walkway, and guided him across the bridge, staying just a step ahead of him. I now on the ground and he above me, I called for him to take the next step and then another. He, slightly overwhelmed by the massiveness of his surroundings, unsure of just where to begin in this expansive play set. I put my hand between the rails that kept him from falling off the bridge just above me, patting the walkway calling, “Come on, walk toward Mimi”, Then he still unsure of his surrounding, would take a step or two, I would then move ahead again and called for him to take the next step. Time after time until he crossed the bridge and reached the other side.

As I called for our little guy to take step after step, it was as if God whispered in my ear. “See this is what I do for you”.  Suddenly, I saw that like this little guy, we are loved and adored by our Savior. A prized possession of the Creator of the Universe and although we are on this earth of unsure and mushy ground. We have a Protector who watches over us and is always right there in case we fall. The God of the universe who has been in our tomorrow and knows what we need before we even see it, sees the massiveness of the world around us, compared to our small size of this cosmos, He does not leave us alone, but He is our very present help in time of trouble. (Read Psalms 46) He walks beside us and leads us every step of the way if we will only follow Him when He calls.

It doesn’t matter how big the problems we face ours. He is there for us always watching, always guiding us. The question is, do we listen, do we hear His voice in the immense crowds around us. Are we listening to the still small voice calling us saying “Come on, follow me”? When this world just seems like it is too much to take in when we feel like we don’t know which direction to go and what to do next. Do we rely on the one who cares for us more than any other? Do we trust that He can see what we have even yet to comprehend?

I believe God wants to be our provider and protector but all too often we push Him away wanting to do it our way. We see His ways, that originated out of love and care for us, we see them as more of a hindrance, a penalty or punishment because it isn’t what we want. So instead of seeing the directions that God has provided to protect us, we resist them because we don’t like them. All the while forgetting that He knows what we don’t and we can trust Him.

Thankfully, our little fellow didn’t resist me and turn and run as I called him, but he followed me when I called. I believe God is wanting us to follow Him as well. He has designed a plan called His word and He asks us to follow it because He designed it with us in mind. Everything in it He wrote to protect and provide for us. So, don’t resist it today. Trust that the creator has seen the bigger picture of your life and adores you so much He cared enough to leave this book to guide and direct you. Trust Him! Deny yourself and Follow Him! Because life isn’t a playground, you only get one chance. Do it right and follow Christ, He is waiting for you!