24/365

24/365

Since my boys have moved away it is now my responsibility to watch football with Jeff. Football is Jeff’s favorite sport, and I am pretty sure it is the only sport he really likes. Of course for Jeff being born and raised in Alabama, there is only one team and you guest it, it is Alabama. What once was a time that I made snacks and went shopping while the boys watched the game. Is now my responsibility to sit with Jeff and watch the game and all sports related news because after all, he looks so lonely watching the game by himself, and he has since given in to watching Hallmark movies with me, since Amy has moved away, so you can see this empty nest thing has changed everything in our lives.  

In the process of learning to love this sport, I have watch a lot of documentaries of just how Alabama works because that is what I like, I like knowing about the administrative part of it. One thing I was surprised to learn was that the Alabama football players don’t just train during the school season. No! They school and train year round. Once you make the team, you are Saban’s and you do what he tells you to do. I was really kind of shocked to hear this because for some reason I just thought September through January is all the time they spent on football. But that is not the case.

If you have been locked in a cave somewhere, then you may not know that the Southeastern Conference National Championship game was this past Saturday. Where Alabama played Georgia and won 28-35. But it was not an easy task, Georgia was ahead all but just a little over a minute of the game. (the last minute at that)  Something that hasn’t happened to Bama at all this year. Up to this last game I believe the longest Alabama had been behind in a game this season was about 70 seconds.

It looks as if Alabama is on its way to winning it’s 17th National Championship and just won it’s 27 Southeastern Conference Championship. Unless you were raised around this kind of excellence you really can’t comprehend what Alabama football means to it’s fans.

But it really isn’t that different than being a follower of Christ. There is an standard of excellence that is expected from God from His creation and we as His followers are expected to train and follow Him 24/365. We can’t just expect that, showing up for church once a week thinking this is gonna get us to the level of relationship with God that we need to be, so we can tackle this day to day life we live.  

Alabama is known as a 2nd quarter team mainly for their endurance, not because they often come from behind in the last half, but because they don’t give up when they are ahead. They don’t quit. They play up to their potential all 90 minutes of the game, not their opponents abilities, but none of that would be possible if they didn’t train 24/365.

Our life of following Christ is a 24/365 choice. We don’t get to just pick and choose when to be nice to our neighbor because God already said “Do unto others as you would have other do to you” and  We can’t just tell God, I don’t have time for you right now, or when we get scared we run to anything but Him. Because He already told us that” we should have not other God’s before Him!”

Most Christians don’t know what God’s word says, that is why we are so easily deceived into doing things that aren’t true and we sure don’t either, know or believe the promises He made us like “All things work together for good to those that love Him”. because if we did, we wouldn’t get discouraged so easily.

The Alabama football team, was able to endure to the end of the game this past week because they train 24/365 and in the last minute of the game won. In fact it was sort of a restoration story as our 1st string quarterback, Tua,  got hurt and was pulled out and was replaced with the 2nd string quarterback, Hurts, who took us to the victory.

The funny thing is, almost a year ago the exact opposite happened. Last year Tua, who is our first string quarterback this year was our 2nd string quarterback, and a similar situation happened then in a championship game. These 2 quarterbacks have worked as a team this past year. They aren’t in a competition their goal is for the good of the teamWhen many people thought last year’s first string quarterback  Hurts, should leave Alabama football when he wasn’t put back in as 1st string this year. But Hurts endured and knew Saban had a plan and he trusted the process he was going through. Doing so, he was able to restore his name and now he is admired more than he ever was before because of the character it showed. Hurts is a better player by being on the second string this year, because he was able to work on the things he needed to improve on. Then, when the test came, he put that new ability to use and won the game for his team.

I wonder if any of you have ever felt like you were discarded to 2nd string in this life? Have you ever felt like you failed and there was no coming back? God wants you to know, that He is working on you and we are all just in the process of life. You may not feel like you are on the 1st string team right now, or maybe you don’t even feel like you are on the team at all.

But that is why we train everyday as Christs follower 24/365. We need to read our bible, pray, listen to God, follow what His word says, work out with His team (at church on Sundays)  Then when we play in this game called life, we are prepared, we know God’s word, we know who we are because of God’s word and because we know His promises. We endure to the end when we trust the process.

God took what Hurts thought might be the end of his career in college football and turned it around to a winning championship. Because over this last year, Hurts has been faithful to train, practice, and he didn’t quit.

I don’t know what you are going through today, but don’t quit, don’t give up! Trust the process. Just like the story of Joseph in the bible. He could of given up and turned his back on God when he was sold to slavery and the later, put in prison. But all the while God was using it for His good and God has good plans for you too – Just trust the process.

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Who do you know Part 2

Who do you know Part 2

The other day I was driving on 54/400 highway and as I was coming over the hill an 18 wheeler blinked it’s lights at me, as he was approaching me coming from the west as I drove east. I took it as a warning,  I didn’t need to slow down as I had my car on cruise control. I use the cruise partly because my legs are almost to short to reach the petals in our car,  so when I use the cruise control on long distances drives because, it just makes it easier than stretching my ham string for an extended period of time. The other reason I like using my cruise control is because I like making sure I am driving at a safe speed. Sure enough as I went over the hill, there were two state troopers sitting over on the side of the road.  That little scenario got me to thinking.

I appreciated the truck driver, being kind enough to warn me of the upcoming possible ticket. I mean after all he didn’t even know me, we have never met, nor will we probably ever meet. But I wander just as the driver was concern enough to warn me.  Are we as concerned with people enough that we do know to assure they don’t stray from what they should be doing?

In this offense driven society we can often be afraid to speak up for fear of offending someone. But the bible says

…… if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Galatians 6:1

…. if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, 20 remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins. James 5:19-20

Last week, we talked about “It isn’t about where you live, but who you know” Being that,  when we know Christ, we should want to be like Christ and what did Christ do for us, but gave himself for us. So that we might have eternal life with Him in heaven one day.

You know my husband and I have always had 2 different philosophies of ways to raise our children, one of us wants to protect them from everything and warn them from anything that might harm them. The other is happy to just sit back and them figure it out on their own. “After all that’s the way I learned” is the quote from the person who thinks it’s okay for their kids to figure it out on their own. I’ll let you figure out which one of us thinks what. Let’s just say it’s a good thing we have opposite opinions because we help keep each other balanced.

But my point here is, Isn’t that like a lot of us today as we see our friends, stubble in their walk with Christ? How many times have you sat back when see someone you know go down a road of life that they don’t belong. But because we didn’t want to “offend them” or “ruffle any feathers” we just sit back on cruise control and watch them as they are about to go in the ditch on this road called life.

See I don’t know about you but I believe God holds us accountable for those He has put in our life, we hold their eternity in our hands and yet instead of being like the driver who warned me of the impending troopers, We sit back and “let them figure it out for themselves” In fact in Ezekiel 3:18 says …. I will hold you accountable…

If we will pray to,  “See people with Christ’s eyes, Hear with His ears, and Love with Christ’s heart.” Then we will be more Christ like. Christ loved us enough to leave us a book called the bible that can guide us through this down this road of life and He left us here to share the understanding with others. In the loving caring way that Jesus did when He was on this earth.

That’s why, It isn’t about where you live, it is about who you know.  So, Who do you know that needs the love of a Savior? Who do you know that is hurting and needs a friend? The bible tells us that He loved the unlovable, He hung out with them so much that people began to accuse Him of being like them. It’s up to you to be that friend, it is up to you to come along side the hurting and be their friend. Instead of living your life on cruise control, so you don’t strain any extra unnecessary muscles. That may mean that others might not approve of you hanging out with “those people” cause they might not fit in your “group of friends”.  But that didn’t stop Jesus and it shouldn’t stop us. It is time for us to reach out beyond the imaginary walls we put up around ourselves and love everyone just like Christ did.  Keeping in mind, people don’t really care what you know until they know you care. So it may take some time to invest in the emotional bank of these people, (if you haven’t already) before you have enough in there to make a withdraw. That is why we have to be strategic in reaching out praying and asking God “Who can I bless today?”

Because it’s up to you to blink your light (Christ’s light) and warn the person coming toward you when possible trouble is ahead for them, and not leave them to just figure it out on their own, even if it is “how you learned” !

 

 

 

No!!! Not the Piggy!!

Many of us celebrated Thanksgiving last week. One of my favorite memories of Thanksgivings was in 2013, our granddaughter was 3 years old and at our house, it is a tradition to go around the table before we eat and say what we are thankful for. We always start from youngest and go to the oldest. I don’t remember what our granddaughters were thankful for, but as we sat around the table filled with Turkey, Ham, and all the fix’ins, I do remember what happened when our then, 17-year-old son shared what he was thankful for, with his shoulders held back, sitting up as straight as he could, he proudly stated  “I am thankful for the Pig that gave his life for our dinner” at that moment our 3-year-old granddaughter screamed to the top of her lungs in a high pitched tone of great despair ” NO! Not the Piggy!!!” and proceeded to get down from the table and refuse to eat the meal. We still laugh about that to this day.

This year we were blessed that our daughter came home from college and wanted to cook the majority of the meal. It isn’t her first time cooking a turkey, she has lots of experience in the kitchen and of course, it was fantastic. In the weeks before Thanksgiving Amy and I had been talking on the phone discussing what would be on the menu. We even created a spreadsheet and sent it out to the rest of the family asking if there was anything they wanted we had forgotten to list.

Each year, it seems our family talks about how we are going to cut back and not have as much food as we did the year before. You see when it comes to cooking and entertaining I am afraid my daughter is as bad as I am, we just don’t know what the word moderation means. Cooking and entertaining is our love language, it is a way we express our love to others. Setting the table is an art to us. With each plate that is set and napkin place in the napkin ring is an act of love of us. We ended up serving 13 people our Thanksgiving Day meal and I am embarrassed to say we had 23 items on our menu, that included appetizers and desserts. After the meal was all over Amy and I was discussing yet again, how next year we need to cut back. Amy made the statement ” I think when God hears us say we are going to cut back on the food we serve, He laughs at us” We both agreed that is probably true. Because by the time we make the menu then other members of the family want some of their holiday favorites and guest bring food and it just grows from there.

You know, all this got me thinking….  So many times we make plans and dream dreams only to be disappointed later when what we plan doesn’t come to past.  What we do when these disappointments happen tells a lot about who we trust.  The Bible tells us in Proverbs 19:21 that “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.”  My dad use to say “plan as if you are going to live forever but live as if you could die tomorrow”.  Just because God has plans for us doesn’t mean we sit back and do nothing. God wants us to live our lives but at the same time, we need to make daily choices in our lives that reflect what God would want us to do so when He does come back we are ready to go back to heaven with Him.  The way we make those daily choices that reflect Him is by making those choices according to what God’s word says. When we live our lives like that then when God comes back to take His children Home to Heaven, He will be happy to. See when things, don’t go the way we plan we have to trust that God has a better plan. Jeremiah 29:11 tells us that God knows the plans He has for us and they are for good and not to harm. Granted there are somethings we can never plan for, the lost of a loved one, the unexpected pregnancy, an illness that can’t be explained or that person that won’t call you back and you just don’t know why. But when those things happen we have to remember to trust the one who made us and know that He is in control and He loves us so much He will bring good out of what seems like it is bad if we will continue to follow what His word says, even when our plans don’t come to pass.  So God may be laughing at the idea that Amy and I  will ever cut back our menu, but that is only because He has plans to use that for His glory the key for Amy and I is to listen to what He wants to do through us as we show His love. So what will you do next time your plans don’t happen just the way you want? Who will you trust?

Getting to Heaven is no Popularity Contest!

Getting to Heaven is no Popularity Contest!

Nov 7th was election day. I questioned if there is even was an election because I couldn’t remember if I had seen anything anywhere around town about it.  I almost didn’t even go vote, but then saw a few of my friends post on Facebook they had voted.  I decided to do my duty as an American citizen and honor the right that I have to make a difference in my community.

As I entered the building I was greeted by the nice ladies there, it wasn’t busy at all and in fact, they looked a little bored. I showed my license and signed my name, was handed a ballot and proceeded to the voting box. As I looked over the ballot, I saw there was the nominees for Hospital Board, School Board, and City Council Members, elections

But what I didn’t see was many names that I recognized. I mean I have heard of a few but considering this was an election and typically people who want you to vote for them make it a point to go out of there way to make sure you know what they believe and what they will be standing for as they represent you.  I had no recollection of any of that. In fact, it hit me, as I stood there looking at the ballot, that I hadn’t seen a sign anywhere in town or any articles in the paper from candidates promising to do anything or standing for anything or for that matter even saying they were running.

Now I understand this is a small town and as I did further research I found that in most cases there was barely enough willing to serve the positions so I guess because of the lack of competition they didn’t feel they needed to campaign.

But all this got me thinking……. What if we lived our life, the way these people campaigned? I  guess what I am asking here is, what do people know about your life? Do they know you are a follower or Christ? I mean besides the fact they know you”go” to church? Is your life, and how you conduct your business, as well as how, you treat others an example of what God would do?

Because I am thinking that if we live our lives for Christ like these people campaigned for these positions we are in trouble. See, I couldn’t vote for most of these positions because I didn’t know the people running for them. Oh! I might have heard their name, I might have even met them once or twice but I didn’t know what these people stood for, what their hopes and dreams for this city were? In fact, to me, without that knowledge, it seemed more like a popularity contest instead of an actual election.

Of course, for some of those being elected, it didn’t matter if they had one vote or a hundred. there was no one running against them so they were a shoe-in. Well,  Let me tell you something, it isn’t about a popularity contest to get to heaven and there is no shoe-ins to get there.

The bible says that there is only one way to heaven.  John 14:6 (NKJV) Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. That means, going to Heaven doesn’t just happen because your name is on the membership list at the church.  Salvation only comes from surrendering your life to Christ. Then once, we give our lives to Christ, God calls us as His disciples to 15 …….“Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. Mark 16:15 (NKJV) You don’t have to be a graduate of a seminary to preach. Your very life is a sermon the only question is. What is it saying?

Your very life is a sermon the only question is, What is it saying?

 

When we are silent about our faith in Christ, and our lives don’t reflex Him. Then we have missed the very opportunity that God created us for. All too often we just fail to even show up, to what God has called us to do and we miss the honor of serving Him. Our community needs more people that will get involved and serve the local positions here because I am sure there is plenty that complains, but most are unwilling to serve. But just like serving as an elected official, we have an obligation as followers of Christ,  but not to the audience of the some 770 people that live here in Greensburg. Our only audience is for one. Jesus Christ, the funny thing is, when we really live for Him, then everyone is gonna notice because that means you are different than the world. So the question is, is your life, a living campaign for Jesus? Because if people don’t know what you stand for you are probably need to reconsider who you are working for, Christ or yourself?  God expects us to “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matt 5:16 (ESV)

I wasn’t aware of what these candidates wanted to do for this community, but we all need to makes sure that those around us can see the love of Christ in us. Because it isn’t a popularity contest to get to heaven and there are no shoe-ins to get there either. We must show up and show out God’s love if we are true followers of Christ. Because that is the most important campaign we will ever participate in,  and we are all running in that election but, thankfully if we follow God’s word we all get elected!

 

 

 

 

Throw Back of Thursday Thoughts—Obviously, You don’t know who my Momma is???

Throw Back of Thursday Thoughts—Obviously, You don’t know who my Momma is???

Originally Published in The Old Schoolhouse Magazine

 The phone rang and when I answered, it was my son. He was in college about 200 miles away.  He says ” You’re not going to believe what just happened to me?” I respond ” What?” He replies ” Well, I just came out of Wal-mart and I found this note on my car, it is someone accusing me of denting their car with mine, and it says I had better call him right away or he is going to come after me” Wow! I was taken aback, this was the first time that our son, after graduating from homeschooling had ever faced a challenge like this and so far from home. A little bit of fear came over me, so I asked ” Well, did you call him?” My son boldly replied ” NO! and I am not going to, because obviously he does not know, who I am or who my momma is, or who my friends are.” (my son has 3 friends that are lawyers) I was amazed by my son’s boldness. He never called and nothing ever came of the issue.

Since then, it is not uncommon for you to hear anyone in my family say ” Obviously, you don’t know who my momma is”… or “Obviously, you don’t know who I am.”. with our heads bobbing and maybe even a finger or 2 snapping. We mostly do it in jest, but the point is well taken.

My son could stand there in that parking lot, 200 miles away from his greatest support system (family) with a uncommon boldness, because he knew, I had his back no matter where he was, or what the issue was. He has seen more then once his momma go to bat for him in different situations. He also knew legally he has friends in high places that could take care of him if something came up and most importantly he knew he had a God that he served who loved him and would assure the truth would come out.

As I have pondered that conversation, I have asked myself “How often do we take that same stand, when trouble comes our way?” or when we are challenged with a new issue concerning our child?

Maybe, we suddenly find out our child has a learning disability or illness comes into our lives that we do have not answers for or there is just some subject that our child is not understanding and we have tried all we know to do and they still are not getting it. Maybe our husband has been unemployed for months and we’re not for sure how were going to pay the bills.

As homeschoolers we are typically very independent. If there was not some independence in us, most of us would not have had the guts to even start homeschooling. But what we have to remember in everything we do, we are children of God, our Heavenly Father owns cattle on a 1,000 hills.

John 1:12 Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of GodRomans 8:17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. And as much as you love and care for your child, God cares for your babies even more then you do. (no matter what their age) He has a plan for those children and even when we do not understand why God would allow these learning or physical challenges to happen, we can’t see the purpose in any of it and the thought of what will happen in the future for them overwhelms us with fear. It is at those times, we need to tell the devil. “You obviously do not know who my Heavenly Father is!.”

Jer 29: 11 Says. For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. He promised that before we were even born he knew us and has great plans for us.    Jer 1:5Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations. The question is who are we trusting? My son trusted enough to know that no problem could come his way that was too big to handle.  So if a 20 yr old kid 200 miles away from home can stand with that kind of confidence and faith, so can we!

We may not have all the answers, we may not be able to figure out what the future holds, but we know who holds the future, and that is Jesus Christ our Lord and Heavenly Father. A father who is not just a “father” but he is our “Daddy”.  He is in control and we can have the faith and confidence to know that there is nothing that is coming our way that he doesn’t know already about and  he has already figured out a way to get us out of it!.

1 Corinthians 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. So remember the next time the devil tries to control you by bringing thoughts of fear and uncertainty to your mind. Just stand up boldly and confess,

“Obviously, you don’t know how my Daddy is!”