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!  

 

Dishes and Jesus

Dishes and Jesus

If you have ever been to my home, you will immediately see my love for blue and white dishes. Some were gifts, many I inherited and a few I bought. If you follow me on Facebook you probably have also seen a table or two that I have set up for the purpose of entertaining people at my house for dinner. 

You see, I love entertaining. It is my love language to others. I love sitting out the dishes, days ahead of time, I will begin to prepare the table, ironing the table clothes (because I hate wrinkles on my tables) I plan for days ahead of time on what kind of theme my table centerpiece will be. I think about what dishes I want to use (and yes, I have more than one set). I carefully take out my goblet glasses and rewash them, I look over the silverware and assure there are no spots on it and when needed I will wipe it down to assure it is sparkling. As I do this I pray for my guests that are coming. 

Once the table is set, I will take pictures of it and post it on facebook, as I use facebook for my personal digital scrapbook. I also have several friends who live out of town, who also love to set tables so we enjoy sharing our photos to inspire each other. Capturing the moment also helps me remember what I have done in the past so I either don’t repeat it or can add onto it. 

It was in the middle of setting up one of my tables recently my daughter Amy said “ and this is why no one invites us over to eat mom” insinuating because they are intimidated by my table settings.  She thought she was being cute, by teasing me, but I know she enjoys setting a table up beautifully too. This wouldn’t bother me except for the fact that someone who my husband did not recognize stopped him in the grocery store shortly after my last dinner and told him “You can tell your wife I am never posting any pictures of my tables again” Jeff said she was joking and actually trying to compliment me because it looked so pretty as they both laughed about it. 

Many people don’t realize the reason I use my good dishes so often, when some will only take theirs out of their cabinets once or twice a year, I use mine at least that often a month. One of the reasons I use them so often is because I lived in the home where my mother was a hoarder and although she had everything she needed to entertain, I mean after all, I have all her dishes now. She never used them. I cannot remember once my mother every having guests over and getting out the good dishes. 

They sat uselessly in a cabinet year after year, or worse yet in some of our homes we lived in, she just left them in boxes we moved them into the house in and piled the boxes on the corner of the room. I determined in my heart as a kid growing up, I would never keep anything that I didn’t use so if I am going to have these dishes, I want to use them and what better way to do that, than to serve others. In this day and age where fast food or frozen meals are the norm in most homes,and the family table has almost become extinct. It is important to make our families and friends feel special and loved. No one should be intimidated by another person or by what they have,  because we are all valuable in God’s eyes and things don’t matter to Him because He looks on the heart. The real question is, where is our heart? Is our heart selfish and unwilling to take the time that it takes to do something for someone else?

I find eating off a china plate and drinking out of a goblet glass just makes things taste better, even if you did buy the food pre-made at the store. Taking the time to serve someone with pretty dishes just makes them feel special and that you care. It’s almost like when you were a little girl and had a tea party with your friends (or stuffed animals depending on the day) It was just fun! 

So what has happened to us? The bible tells us unless we become like little children we can never see the kingdom of heaven, now I don’t think God was talking about having tea parties, but I think He is talking about having that same joy and innocence, the same size faith as a child who sat around her little table and had a tea party with her plastic plates and stuffed animals. 

You know, there was someone else who sat around a table with His friends, it was Jesus. Many times He sat around a table just spending time with His friends and disciples, teaching them and sharing His heart. At the last supper He sat there as he was getting ready to leave this earth and with His twelve closest friends. 

No one knows for sure but it is believed that Nicodemus was the owner of the house where the Last Supper was held.  Here, Nicodemus served the creator of the universe and all they had was bread and wine, (okay maybe they had more we don’t really know)  if it was Nicodemus home they must of had some of the nicer things available at the time because Nicodemus was a fairly wealthy man and a leader in the community. But even if he hadn’t been wealthy, Nicodemus gave his best to the Lord. Nicodemus was a Pharisee and a member of the Sanhedrin which met he and Jesus were really on opposite sides, of the culture at that time.  

So one man had another man, who he would not of normally hung out with into his home and he blessed him by doing his best for him and it turned out that this one guy who Nicodemus blessed, was the Son of God the Savior of the universe.  

I mean in that day and age, that is better than having Superman over to your house or any of the Marvel characters.  

Hebrews 13:2 tells us “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing so some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” 

We never know what the person is going through that we sit across from sharing a meal. But everyone deserves to be shown kindness and friendship. Taking the time to sit down and just connect with them is priceless in the day and age where we are going 90 miles an hour.  

Jesus still desires to connect with us today. We can do that by sitting down and reading His words everyday in the bible and praying. We can also do that by sitting across the table from someone and sharing His love with others, because you never know, we just might be the only Jesus that person sees.  

Jesus never cared about what they had done in the past, in fact Jesus was known for hanging out and eating with the sinners. He never turned them away. His reputation got to be to the point those Pharisee called Him a drunkard because of who He hung out with.  

No where in the Bible do we see Jesus show people who are different than Him anything but love and hospitality. So how about we do that today. We make a pledge to ourselves and God that we will take this next step in being more like Him and love people they way He does.  

Lets bless someone today. It has been said that the greatest gift we can give someone it the gift of our time. So who are you going to bless today. Who will you invite to your home, or out for dinner, or maybe you will just sit around the grill this weekend. But whatever you do. Show Christ’s love just has He has shown it to us. Because after all “ While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” Romans 5:8.

Unashamed

Unashamed

There is this girl I know, she was conceived in unfortunate circumstances, raised by preachers, who did not tell her she was adopted till he was 16 years old, engaged to be married and as her father was about to go into open heart surgery. She was sexually abused not only by a young man who called himself a christian, but right inside the church walls. She was bullied and made fun of by her peers, people who didn’t even know her believed she would never turn out to be any good. Adopted at birth,  She herself suffered from infertility, for 10 years. Struggling with body issues she was bulimic for a time, just to try to conform to what she thought the world expected from her, and to fit into a family that would never love her.

It seemed every time this girl would get ahead in life, something would knock her back down. People in the churches she was raised in rarely acted like the God that she knew. Her dad, kicked out of 2 churches, himself, should of made her hate God, she herself was fired from three jobs in her life,  and each time her father was asked to leave, it was as she herself had been rejected again. How could people that call themselves Christians act like this? She not only faced emotional bankruptcy but financial as well. She lived in 5 different states, and attended 9 schools in twelve years, living in countless houses but never really having a home.

Just looking for someone that would find value in her, she searched everywhere,  including an emotional affair. She lost the only father she ever knew and loved, when she was only 23 yrs old, and became the full-time caregiver for the next 33 years to her handicapped mother. While, homeschooling all 3 of her children one being severely dyslexic she felt again she had failed and blamed herself for her child’s challenges. Early in her marriage she and her husband with one child to care for, found themselves homeless, her family has rejected her, her church has rejected her, and her own mother has even rejected her, she felt all alone.

 Exhausted and tired from all the circumstances of her life, it is no wonder that she locked herself in her house for a season and refused to leave or answer the phone for fear of what the world was going to do to her next.

She had seen a lifetime of hurt and pain that no one should see their whole life, let alone before the age of 30,  and once this girl finally got brave enough to leave the house again, she did so, but not without putting up some walls in her life to guard her from ever being hurt again. Especially around people that called themselves Christians, because all this girl had ever known was to be hurt by these so called people who loved God. This girl finally put on such a hard exterior that no one could get through, and it’s no wonder she decided that she didn’t care if the whole world would die and go to hell.

Her plan was to just follow Christ like a racehorse with blinders on, laser focus to the finish line, because suicide wasn’t an option for her but a natural death or the rapture would be her only escape. Because,  after all, God was the only one who had never left her. With her hard exterior and protective layer she soon went in straight survival mode, guarding what she said, and preferring to be alone. She was hesitant about anything she would say around others,  because all to often in this Christian world, like a puppy that would just barely stick its head, out of its cage, she had all to often been slapped back in before she barely got her nose out the door.

She felt whipped, beaten and alone. She felt unsure of who she was and what she could ever do. There was a battle raging within her of what she knew she could do, and what she felt like would be accepted by those around her in her life. Her mind tossed and turned contemplating, what she wanted to do, and what she knew she had been called to do. So all to often it was just easier to step back and do nothing. That is when again, she drew up into a shell, and just really wanted the world to pass her by.

Until one day the Lord begin to show her in her own prayer time that He had great plans for her, that her circumstances were not a punishment, but a badge of honor to wear. Not proud because of her mistakes, but a victory that she kept going and did not quit,  that she was a fighter and a winner. So slowly but surely this girl would attempt to stick her head outside the cage one more time, maybe it was just saying “Hi” to a person, maybe it was just inviting someone over. But just as quick at she stuck her nose outside that cage, she would pull it back in, for fear it would get swatted again like it had so many times before.  

Over and over again she tried each time sticking that wet, scared nose out of the cage, a little bit further each time, with the success from the last. With each attempt to let the world back in,  she would stay a little longer outside the cage, looking around a little more, till finally one day she was totally revealed to the rest of the world. She had come completely out of her cage.

All the while, her mind battling against what she wanted to do, which was crawl back in her cage and let the whole world die and go to hell, and at the same time realizing that God had bigger plans for her,  and those plans would mean stepping out of the comfort zone of that cage and allow the world back into her life. That process took well over 40 yrs and she still is working through it.

But that girl doesn’t hide in her cage anymore, afraid to stick her nose out for fear it would get smacked because she isn’t good enough. That girl, now looks back on her past, not with shame,  but with gratefulness of what the Lord has brought her through, that girl realizes that she is a child of God, and no matter what man may do around here, or think of her, it doesn’t matter, because God is her ultimate authority and He calls her His child.

Oh! Does she still battle with the fact life would be easier, if she just stayed hid in her house and let the rest of the world die and go to hell. Sure she does! But she also realizes that the very reason she was created, and the reason she had to walk through what she did, was because she needed to know there was a God that could bring her out  and there are many that she needs to tell of this goodness of God.

So when you hear  this girl talk about how shy she really is, when you hear her say she really prefers to be alone, believe her. Don’t be shocked when you see her laughing in a crowd or sharing with a group of people. Remember at those times, what the Lord has brought her from. Understand that the girl you see today has not always had this freedom. You need to know that there is still a battle that rages within her.

But also know that she has drawn a line in the sand and she as decided that she refuses to allow her feelings to abort what God has called her to do.  And I know all this, because that girl is me!

Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! Romans 7:25, But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on Him, and by His wounds we are healed. Isaiah 53:5 NIV

The Butterfly Effect

This past week was Easter Sunday, not only is it the day we remember the resurrection of our Savior but, it is the day that my life was changed. Oh! Not directly but indirectly. You see probably 70 plus years ago a young couple ready to throw their marriage away decided to give it one more chance and go to church before they filed for divorce. They said “If this doesn’t work we are throwing in the towel and this marriage is over”. That Sunday the man walked down that aisle at the end of the service and so did his young wife, neither one realizing the other had done so because,  if my memory serves me correctly of the story I heard, It is because they refused to sit together that Sunday.

But when they got up from that altar, they looked  at each other and knew their lives would be different because they had given their lives to Christ. 70 plus years later, we can all look back and see,  not only their lives were changed, but God used those two broken individuals to impact the lives of many people over the 40 years the couple were in ministry. That couple was the people I called mom and dad. The two took a baby into their life unexpectedly when my birth mother couldn’t raise me. They taught me that Jesus loved me from birth. All I have ever known is the love of God,  because one couple decided to give God a chance in their marriage. That small decision had a generational impact not only on me, but my children and now my grandchildren. Had they not made that decision I am confident I would not be who I am today. Nor would my children know about a loving God and my grandchildren would not know that there is a Jesus that loves them.

I wonder, what one small choice would you make that would make a generational difference on your family? Is there a choice you have already made that has changed your world? Maybe you don’t think,you are that important,  or nothing you would ever do make that big of a difference.

I have to tell you, you are wrong, in fact there was a study done called the butterfly effect. The butterfly effect is the sensitive dependence on initial conditions in which a small change in one state of a deterministic nonlinear system can result in large differences in a later state.

Just like my parents giving their heart to Jesus and surrendering their life to Him, had an eternal difference in my life, so does it have an effect on my kids and grand-kids, as well as every person’s life.  Just like me writing this article, to every person my kids and grand-kids lives touch, their choice, affected a larger change many years down the road. Not only did their giving their lives to Christ make a difference in their lives, but they went on to help others. Everything we do,. Every choice we make, every decision made  has a cause and effect.

Recently, I was re-reading the letters of condolences that was sent to our family when my mother passed away,  almost 7 yrs ago now, and when I read this one , it reminded me of this fact

Many years ago, on the Bowlus Center stage, a little lady limped onto the stage, sat on a stool and sang “When He Was on the Cross, I was on His Mind”. That song personalized His death and sacrifice for ME. That lady was Doris and I will never forget her even though I never met her.”  

See,  I don’t know this person who was so kind to write this on the website condolence page of the funeral home where my mother’s services were, but even at 70 something years of age, as my mother who could barely walk with a cane at the time,  decided to sing a christian song at a community talent show. Many would of written the old lady with a cane off, but all those years ago, she submitted her life to Christ and decided she would serve Him and tell others about Him till her dying day.  She stood before a community of people from all different walks of life and beliefs and again, made a difference.

As you go about your life this week, how about you think about what choices you are making and where they are leading those closest to you. Let me encourage you, if you don’t attend church weekly, start by making that difference in your life. Find a bible believing church and make sure you are there and take your family with you. Begin to make it a habit every week, where you can learn more about God and tell others what He has done for you. It doesn’t matter what you have done in the past, what matters is what you do from here on out.

You have a chance to make “ the sensitive dependence on initial conditions in which a small change in one state of a deterministic nonlinear system can result in large differences in a later state.” You can create a butterfly effect in your life. The truth is you are everyday anyway. Why not make it a positive one. See because, the sensitive dependence is only good conditions, it is bad too. If you choose to abuse alcohol or drugs your kids and friends see that and it has a negative affect sometimes for generations. If you choose to gossip or treat others unkindly, you are teaching your family how to to treat others.

So if you are going to create a butterfly effect in your life anyway, Why not do it right. Show up Sunday at a church somewhere and give your life to Christ decide you will live for Him, no matter what,  or go ahead right where you are now and tell Christ you want Him to come into your life, and forgive you of your sins, just like you would talk to me you can talk to God right now.

This can be the beginning of a generational effect for all those who come after you or you are around. Now get into church Sunday and begin to make a life that will forever be a blessing to others, like my parents,  we can make a difference and the bonus is, You’ll go to heaven too!

10, 2 and 4 Baby

10, 2 and 4 Baby

I have always been a night owl and hated going to bed. I think it is because I was afraid I would miss something. I remember my mom used  to call me her 10, 2 and 4 baby because I would wake up at 10pm, 2am and 4am. I think I finally wore my parents down because, by the time I got to be a teenager  my father made me a deal and told me that as long as I got up the first time he called me in the morning. I could stay up as long as I wanted at night. So as soon as I would hear my dad call my name in the morning I would jump up out of the bed as quickly as possible calling back to him “ I am up! I am up!” just so he would know that I was up,  and I wouldn’t have to go to bed early the next night.

 

I will never forget one night, as a teenager, my parents let me have one of my friends spend the night. About 2am we decided we were hungry so we started cooking. Of, course my parents had long been in the bed but I didn’t think they would mind. So, my friend and I looked in the refrigerator and discussed what were were going to have and we debated about eggs, but went with something else. I don’t remember what we decided, but whatever it was must’ve started smelling good, because my dad showed up from the other end of the house, in the kitchen half asleep and as he opened the door to the hallway that  separated the kitchen/family room from the rest of the house, he hollered out at us “ I am gonna break you from sucking eggs” and with that my friend and I looked at each other and said “ I thought we decided not to have eggs?” as we burst into laughter my dad turned around and went back to bed. I still believe to this day he must of been talking and walking in his sleep.

 

Of course, it was a weekend,  so I didn’t have to get up early the next day. But that didn’t stop me from making sure when my dad did call, I was right out of the bed as soon as I heard his voice the next Monday when it was time to go back to school.

 

All that got me thinking, Do you have your ear tuned in listening for your Heavenly Father’s voice? Are you looking for His return and ready to go as soon as He calls?  The bible tells us that Jesus will return one day to take us to heaven, but He will only be taking those who are looking and living for Him. The bible tells us 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.”

 

I don’t know about you,  but I want to always be ready to go when the Lord returns. I want to be listening for His voice. Just like I was listening for my father’s voice when I woke up every in the mornings. I wanted to be ready and not late because I knew if I missed it, there would be a consequence to pay. Just as there will be if we miss Jesus return.

 

But how do we make sure we won’t miss HIs return? Well, Romans 3:23  tells us that “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”It is as simple as A,B,C  Admit that you are a sinner, (Romans 10:9-10) 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.

 

It is only when we know, Christ then we will know His voice. We can’t hear Him if we don’t know His voice. I knew my daddy’s voice and I listened for it. We need to listen for our Heavenly Father’s voice so not only when He calls us to heaven, but every day He talks to us too and has a plan for our life and that plan is more than give your life to Him and go to Heaven.

 

There is something He has planned for us everyday. He wants us to be a part of our everyday life and has a mission for us here on earth before He comes back. For some it is to love others that can’t be loved, for some it is to give more to help others, for others, it is to make a difference in someone else’s life. We won’t know what He has in store for us until we get to know Him and we can’t get to know Him until we surrender our lives to Him and choose to follow after Him.

 

See, I knew  my daddy I spent time with my daddy, and I did everything I could to please my daddy. So, the question is, do we do the same for our Heavenly Father, If you haven’t I highly suggest that you do because you don’t want to miss His voice when He calls you to come to heaven. I think you want your answer to Christ to be the same as mine to my dad “ I am up! I am up!”

” 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!

I Hate Reruns!

I Hate Reruns!

I hate reruns! And I don’t mean just a little bit. There is almost a cold chill that runs down my spine like someone scraping their nails on a chalkboard kind of feeling I get if I have to watch a T.V show or movie more than once. There is also something that just gets under my skin about watching old shows or movies, even though I have never seen them before. I guess I  feel like I am missing out on something. To watch an old show,  I have to purposefully put out of my mind the fact it is an older show and pretend, it is new.

My husband loves old Western’s he doesn’t care if he has seen them before or not. He will watch them again and again. He also does that with old football games. He will watch a game he has already seen and knows the outcome of it. The other day we were watching a “Live” football game and some fans in the stands were holding up a banner that said, “National Champs 1996″ to which my husband turns to me and says ” They need to move on” and I replied to him “Oh! this from a man who watches T.V shows made in 1964” We both laughed but it is true.

I am not really for sure why it bothers me so much. My daughter and I have had this conversation a lot recently, it’s a debate over which is best, binge-watching old seasons of TV shows on Netflix or, watching them live on the network, but having to wait from week to week to see them.
I’ve noticed that a lot of the younger generations, they want to wait for the whole season of the show to be completed and a new one come out on network TV while they sit back and watch all of the old seasons a year/season behind on Netflix or Hulu. I don’t know what that says about all of us and I am sure some psychologist could tell us. But I will tell you what I think, For me, I don’t want to look back.
I don’t like looking back at the past mistakes of my life, see because for too long those past mistakes held me hostage. They held me down by depression, discouragements, and anxiety. For a season of my life, they held me captive in my home as I refused to leave it or even answer the phone because I would replay the mistakes I had made over and over in my mind. My mind lived in a state of reruns of my life.  That season taught me I need to keep our eyes on the prize! No runner will tell you they ever ran a race and won looking backward.
A scripture that has helped me more than anything is Phil 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.
All too often when we make a mistake, we focus on those mistakes or we allow what someone said to us to hurt us and we believe it as truth when it is a lie. We replay it over and over again. Or a tragedy happens in our lives and we get stuck there. At times we succumb to the lies and the fear,  they begin to take over and suddenly we are allowing our feelings to control us instead of what God’s word says about us. We forget to claim the promises that He will never leave us or forsake us, we forget that His word says He is working all things together for our good.
This reminds me of a person who is walking down the street in the middle of town, they suddenly fall down and trip then fall into a mud puddle. When that happens you don’t lay there and waller in it. No! you pick yourself back up as quickly as possible and you brush yourself off and keep on going, hoping no one noticed. So why when we fall, get knocked down or make a mistake do we get stuck, playing the reruns in our heads? It is the same as if we are laying there and wallering in the mud puddle.
God never intended for us to let circumstances like that keep us down. That is a trick that satan uses to keep us down.  Nothing makes him happier than if he can control our lives with fear, disappointments, and regrets that keep us wallering in the mud puddle.  The thing is God gives us directions because He knew this was gonna happen. He tells us in Phil 4:6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Did you notice that the scripture above Phil 4:6&7 is placed in the bible right before verses 8 and 9? That is intentional you know. That’s because they go together. God calls us to not be anxious about anything. But take our needs to Him in prayer and then focus on what is good and believe what God’s word says and His peace will be with you. ALMV That stands for the Alesa Lewis Miller Version just in case you didn’t know 🙂 I say that jokingly but also seriously because you see I have walked this life and I have been the person in the puddle and I had to pull myself up out of that puddle and wipe myself off and I am telling you that if I can do it you can too!
I am giving you the secret to when life knocks you down or when your world feels like it is crumbling around you.(and it will)  Think on these things. It is not the time to live by feelings, your feelings will lie to you every time and lead you astray but God’s word does not lie God’s word stands.
So this week, turn off the reruns! Keep your eyes on the prize (God’s Word) and dust yourself off don’t allow satan to play this game with you anymore focus on that is good and the peace of God will be with you!
Let them all Die and Go to Hell, I Don’t Care!! (but I should)

Let them all Die and Go to Hell, I Don’t Care!! (but I should)

girl-864392_1280Most people would never guess this about me, but I am shy. Oh, you don’t see it when I am in a crowd laughing, smiling, and cutting up with others!  But I am. No one feels the heart palpitations I feel before walking into a group of people. No one else knows the anxiety that rises up when I know I have to meet people. And, no one else but me can sense the fear I feel when I have to talk to someone. It often seems like the smaller the crowd the more anxiety! And, it has really risen since I have moved to a smaller town.  As soon as I walk out my front door, I feel all eyes are on me. No one, except for my immediate family, knows it takes everything within me to get out of my house and simply go shopping in this small town where I live.

 

Very few people know that the reason I have such big parties and invite so many people is not that I am such an amazing hostess; it is because my husband’s job calls for us to be sociable. However, it literally terrifies me to talk one-on-one to most people. So by entertaining several couples or large crowds, I just become the hostess; serving, while the group holds a conversation.

 

I have literally “gone blank” so many times, trying to think of what to ask people or say to someone in order to start a conversation, that, before I go to an event, I have begun to look questions up on the internet, so that I can be a good conversationalist. I have even gone to therapy for this problem!

 

I know most of you who know me will not believe a word of the above statements, but it is honestly something that I deal with on a regular basis and it happened again this weekend. You see, I am adopted and I have known my birth mother and siblings for only about 15 years now. In that time, I have had the opportunity – and pleasure – to attend about three reunions. Yesterday was one of these occasions, and as always my mind went whizzing with the same fears that hit me before any group event. What will I say? What will they think of me? How do I look? Will they like me? What if we have nothing to say to each other? On and on my mind will roll if I let it. There is no reason for this; I have NEVER felt anything but welcomed with open arms by this family that I was separated from for so many years, yet my fears continue.

 

When we look in the Bible, we find that God tells us fear is not from Him but is from the evil one, satan.  And, when I have looked back over my life, the biggest mistakes I have made have been when I was in fear. I have learned that if I allow myself to fear, if I allow fear to be the ruler of my heart, I can sabotage anything. But this isn’t news to God.  He knew this would be a number one tactic satan would use against believers! So God gave us a plan, a way out, and in His Word He tells us that we are to take every thought captive.

 

2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV “ We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

 

See, I have learned in this life, it is NOT about me. God has commissioned all of us to; first of all, “GO into all the world” . . . and, later on in His book, He says that people will know us by the love we have for our brothers and sisters in Christ.  So I am faced every day with the decision, “do I go…. do I show love”?? And every day I have to choose to either listen to the monkeys in my head and retreat into my own place, or to follow the commands that God has given us and do what I don’t want to do.

 

Christ’s crucifixion on the cross is a perfect example of what true sacrifice is. We read in the Bible that Jesus said, “If it be Your will , let this cup pass from me.”  See, Jesus didn’t want to have to do something His Father told Him to do either, but He did it. He gave the ultimate sacrifice, which was His life.

 

As for me, I know I have never been asked to give my life, in the literal sense, for anyone! But daily, in the spiritual sense of what I am to do, I AM asked to give up my life – my wants, my desires – especially when it comes to interacting with others. When I look back and see how Jesus was willing to be beaten and abused for me before He even knew me – the Bible says He died for me! – then how simple is it that I could give 20 minutes or an hour of my time to show the life that was given for me to others?

 

I hope you will accept my challenge today: step out of your comfort zone, your anxiety ridden situation, and fix your eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. In Him and only Him is where we find perfect peace.