Clean Dirt

Clean Dirt

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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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!

So close we can’t see

You know being raised in a ministers home and now being married to a minister, I have lived all over the country and each place my husband and I have lived, we have always made a point to get out and learn about the community. We always go see the sights. Sometimes we will just get in the car and drive, then stop in at the first little place we come up on and check it out,  we have been known to spend  the whole day just walking through a town and visiting every business. One of our favorite things to do is check out the local restaurants so we can experience the local cuisine, we may all be american’s, but there is definitely a difference in how and what we eat. From the seafood and down home cooking of the south to the fresh beef, sandwich spread and sauerkraut of the mid-west. One of our favorite things to do is go to those little, as some would say “hole in the wall” restaurants and experience the atmosphere of the community. Another fun thing that we feel helps us learn about our new community is check out the local museums and tourist locations in the area just to help us experience what others who have lived here for years or maybe even all their lives, already know.

We are always excited to share what we have learned with our present congregation where we are living.  Excitedly and almost proudly we share our recently new found knowledge and more often than not we are met with a “deer in headlights” kind of looks, even from prominent people in the community who should be aware of what is going on in their town and surrounding areas.  It seems to us more often then not, people who have lived in the same town for a long-time tend not to really actually know about the area they live. They are content to be in their own little world, mainly their home and work, without ever experiencing all that is available to them. They are so close they don’t even see what they have at their disposal.

This got me thinking……….

It seems to me that most people fall into the trap of just living their life, unconcerned about everything around them and all that it has to offer, or better yet, what they could offer to it. They have what some would call tunnel vision and I am not just talking about restaurants and museums I am talking about. The needs of others, or the very need in our own soul to grown deeper in a relationship with Christ. Perhaps we were raised in church and it is “just what you do” instead of it “being who you are” perhaps people know you go to church but they don’t see the loving, forgiving spirit that God gives us everyday,  in you. Often, we are so consumed with our daily to-do lists just to survive, we are forgetting what God has really called us to do. Oh! I have heard all my life, excuses like “Well, it’s just not in my nature to talk to people about God, I am not as out going as you” or “Its not my personality to raise my hands or clap in church” and you know I have really thought about this, and it was like the Lord said to me one day “They are right” “It is not their nature to do those things, because sin is the root of our nature.” It is only when we follow Christ we learn to die to our self and in the same way we turn away from sin, we also have to choose to turn and do the right thing. Even if that means we have to step outside our comfort zone. Because truth is our comfort zone is probably more on the selfish side then it is on the Godly side.

See God cares enough that He not only knows all the good places to eat in town, but He also knows your favorite food. 🙂 Seriously though, He does knows every hair on your head and knew every time you would say or do something to hurt Him and yet He still gave His life for you. He wasn’t inward focused but He was outward driven, driven so much that even though He did not want to hang on a cross where nails would be hammered into his feet and hands, where He would be stripped naked and beaten for you and me, even though He didn’t “feel” like going through all that, He did it anyway for you and me. (see Matt 26:39 & Luke 22:42 ) He loved us enough! He cared for us enough! That He left the comforts and home of heaven above and gave His life for you and me. So don’t you think you and I can step out of our comfort zone, can’t we look beyond ourselves, get involved in our community, reach out to our neighbors that live around us and most importantly, give Him ALL the praise and glory He deserves?Let’s not be so close, that we can’t see what is right in front of us.

In A Moment……

clock image

A phone call comes and a voice on the other end says that your loved one has been in a terrible accident. At that moment, your life changes.

A husband gets home from work and when he sits down to the dinner table to eat, what is sitting in front of him but a note that says, “You are going to be a daddy!” At that moment, his life changes.

The woman with the issue of blood comes to Jesus and touches the hem of his garment, and at that moment she is healed.

Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed, at that moment.

Time and time again, we see in our own lives, as well as in scriptures, that it only takes a moment for everything to change.

I want to encourage you that, if you have been battling something in your life, physical, spiritual, or financial, it can all change in a moment!

So many times in our struggles of life, we focus on the battle, on the challenge, instead of focusing on the moment; the moment when everything can change.

It only takes a moment, a second, and a word from God, and your circumstances can all change. Focus on the Father above who can bring that change.  Focus on the creator of the universe, the giver of life, and the Lord above.

Some of our lives are great; we are blessed far above what we deserve.  Does that mean we should look to the Lord any less? No! In the good and the bad, our focus has to be on Him. It is important that we focus on God for the blessings He has given us, because in a moment it can all change. We can always look around and see someone less fortunate than ourselves. God expects us to love them with His Love. We must be thankful for what God has given us.

When we feel like our world is coming to an end, we have to remember … in a moment, everything can change! Let’s not get so wrapped up in what we have or don’t have, but let’s get wrapped up in, and focus on, the moment: the moment that Jesus shows up!! Because, if we are looking for Him, He will show up.  Are you looking for your moment???

Change – Oh! What a difference 9 months can make!

1150610_10153099280955487_1585285912_o Oh what a difference 9 months can make!  As we come to the close of our only daughters first year of college, it has been exciting to see the joy on her face; to witness her eagerness to get back to the college after a weekend at home; to hear her tell about the fun times she is experiencing at the college, hanging out with her friends, and talk about her favorite teacher and how awesome he is! It makes a momma’s heart feel good to know her baby is happy and enjoying her life. In fact this last few days of school, all I have heard from her is ” I wish I could go to school all summer!”

But if we could hit the rewind button to just 9 months ago, we would see a scared young teenage girl on her parents couch, crying her eyes out because she wanted to stay at home. She stomped and snorted and even called her big brother, all to try to convince us that college was NOT the right place for her!  As hard as it was for us to see her miserable for that time, we as her parents knew it WAS the right place for her to be. Did we want to tell her to come on home and stay in her bedroom and never leave again? You bet we did! But we knew that was not the best thing for her. We knew that she couldn’t live the rest of her life shut up in her bedroom; that she couldn’t be at home with mom and dad forever. As much as we would love to keep her at the age she is now and have nothing ever change, we know that isn’t reality or what God wants.

Reality is – things change. Reality is – God expects us to grow up! Reality is – if we never change we never grow! Reality is – change is sometimes hard!

We know that a piece of coal becomes a diamond under pressure. A pearl is made by the irritation of rubbing up against a piece of sand.

What makes us think we can grow without some kind of pressure or irritation in our life? But we have to choose. We can choose to stay the course, and walk through the pressure that is placed before us, or we can choose to walk away from the pressure, go back to our bedroom, pull the covers over our heads and let the world go by us while we sit in the pit we have always been in. It is our choice!

This year as we have watched Amy grow and mature, it has been a joy to see her take on more responsibilities and excel in her studies. Has it all been easy? Absolutely NOT!! But is she now a stronger more mature person because of it? You bet she is!! Is she better for it? ABSOLUTELY!! Are we glad we forced her to stay and finish the course? Yes we are, even though we now see her taking the next steps that will eventually lead her out of our home for good. It brings us mixed emotions, but in our hearts we know that this is the best thing for her. So, we choose to give up our desire to see her be our baby for the rest of her life, and encourage her to grow and be all that God wants her to be.

If you are facing something that makes you feel like going back home and pulling the covers over your head, just remember: growth doesn’t happen inside your comfort zone. Some of God’s most expensive jewels are created under pressure.

God’s Word promises that if we will not get weary in well doing, we WILL reap a harvest! Before we know it, 9 short months later, we will be looking back and everything will be totally different! We will know that without us keeping on, with God, we would not have made it, and we will be able to say “Oh, what a difference 9 months makes!”  Praise Be To God!!

I Was Just Thinking…..

976437_10152857233020487_67834993_o           I remember when my oldest son was only about 2 or 3 yrs old, I had one of those moments where it hit me he was just growing up to fast. So, as I held him lovingly in my arms I told him (as any good mother would.) ” Lee mommy wants you to stop growing up, you are getting to big” As he squirmed out of my arms to get back to playing with his toys he complied and said “OK Mommy” I went back to what I was doing satisfied that at least for a a second I time had stood still. It was only a few minutes later he came to me with the most serious face and said “Mommy can I please grow up, can I please???” I consented and gave my approval, as if either of us could stop him.

That memory has repeated it’s self in my mind several times over the last few months as our family prepares to face some major milestones in our lives. Our oldest is getting married, and our daughter is graduating high school, and my baby is turning 16 and learning to drive. All in the matter or of about 60 days.

Oh! how I have wished I could stop them from growing up!! I don’t know why, I am thrilled at my son’s choice for his new wife, I love my daughter and the woman she has become, and Chad is an amazing young man that is going to do great things for God and is probably a better driver than either of the other two. I, the woman who’s mantra as been ” I didn’t raise them to keep them!” has been a ball of emotion. (just keep the tissue coming) LOL!!

In all of this I have been thinking, I wonder what God thinks about his children growing up? Not physically I mean, but spiritually. I have a feeling His reaction is quite different from mine. I believe He is jumping for joy has His children grow spiritually. I think He shouts and cheers like a parent in the stands at a sporting event when their child makes a point for the team. I think His chest swells with pride when we show kindness to a stranger or chooses to give of themselves and finances to others. I am confident that He counts the time as precious when we take the time to spend with Him in His word.

I guess the bigger questions is how are we growing? You know, when a person first finds Christ I have heard them called a baby Christians. But to often I have seen them stay right there and never grow. Unlike, my children as Christians it IS up to us if we grow or not spiritually. Depending on what we do, growing as a Christian is as simple as developing any relationship, it is with time. Whether you are stuck as Baby Christian, Adolescent Christian, or maybe you’re in your rebellious teenage years as a Christian. We should never stop growing in Christ.

We need to stay relevant to those around us and with a passion that compares to nothing else, we need to follow after God.

Because the reality is, there is a cheering section watching over us from heaven waiting for us to make the next point for the team. We have a heavenly father that can’t wait to spend time with us and brags about us, Because He is so crazy in love with us. Like us as earthly parents His chest swells with pride, when He sees us do what He has called us to do. He loves us so much that His heart breaks when we ignore Him, or feels we can do this thing called life, without him.

So today I want to encourage you, be His child, Make one for the team! Make your heavenly Father proud today. Because He can’t wait for you to grow up and the beautiful thing is, we never get old in Christ, we never get to a point we have reached it. We are always growing in Him if we choose and in that He is very pleased!