All Small Cars Don’t Go Around

My Mom celebrated her 4th anniversary in Heaven last month.  I am sure she and daddy are thrilled to be together after spending 25 years apart. They are  probably still catching up.

Momma left us many memories and phrases that we still fondly repeat today. One of our favorite quotes from momma is “It’s only a dollar!” which I wrote a whole story about on here a while back.

But one of the funniest stories we still tell today and the phrase that made momma the most famous in our minds was the time that she was driving as my two youngest children, along with myself was riding along with her in the car, when she pulled up to a stop sign. She was a little delayed in pressing the brake so we ended up with the front of her car about halfway out into the first lane of the 4 lane highway we were about to enter. I’ve had the same thing happen to me and I simply put the car in reverse and backed up to assure I wouldn’t get hit. So I didn’t think to much about it, until momma didn’t move. As the car approaching us grew closer I asked mom “Don’t you think we should back up a little?” to which momma looking at the car growing closer turns to me, says ” Oh! It’s a small car it can go around.

Needless to say that was the last time we let momma drive when we were in the car, because although she might have been kidding she never moved back but thank the Lord we all still lived and the car did go around!

This got me thinking……

Momma’s phrase “It’s a small car, it can go around” made me think, don’t we all to often do the same thing in our lives. Now I don’t mean literally. But we often put ourselves in positions that could possibly be harmful to us physically and more importantly spiritually.  Just like Samson in the bible, (if you don’t know the story you can read it in the book of Judges) Samson was born in a time when Israel was being held under the rule and oppression by the Philistines.  He was anointed with a special supernatural strength from God to help his nation for that time. Samson was a Nazirite but he fell in love with a woman who was a Philistine which basically met she had different beliefs and standards which were opposite of what God’s word says. His parents warned him of the possible problems but Samson was determined to be with her. Samson had gained an attitude that he was unstoppable. He forgot who had given him his supernatural strength and begin to get cocky, thinking more of himself than he should. Believing he couldn’t be tempted.

Don’t we do that today, we hang out with people that might lead us to temptation that might cause us to sin. Proverbs 6:17-19 tells us there are 7 things the Lord hate they are, a proud look, lying,  and hands that kill innocent people,  a person who devises wicked plans, people who are quick to do wrong and a dishonest witness, along with a person that stirs up conflict in their family.

Often we place ourselves in these situations and thus allowing temptation to take us over. Just like Samson who was finally so prideful that he ended giving doing exactly what God had told him not to do which ended in complete disaster for him.

My mom thought, “they can just go around, I don’t need to move” and whether joking or not there was a since of arrogance that she didn’t have to obey the law, that somehow she was above it and the rest of the world could just work around here.

We have to be careful not to think more highly of ourselves than we ought to. We are blessed only because of what God has done for us and when we begin to think in any way that we don’t need to first ask Christ before we do anything we are sorely mistaken.  So this week as you go about your day, be sure and ask yourself, “Am I  being sucked into the “Samson Syndrome”? Am I  acting or even giving off the idea that I might be prideful and continue to go down the list of what God’s word says He hates and assure you aren’t being tempted. Because you may not be as lucky as we were and that temptation that you have allowed yourself to be exposed to, may not “go around you” because there are no small sins nor large ones, but they all will plaster right into you if we put ourselves in situations that might temp us to do what we know we shouldn’t. See there’s another quote my momma was famous for. Well she didn’t really make it famous because the book of James is where she got it from, but she always told me “He that knows to do good and doesn’t do it, to him it is sin” So lets not be tempted, you now know. Don’t be deceived into thinking you can just put yourself out there and it won’t effect you because all small cars don’t go around!

 

A Passionate Pursuit! ( God…. I don’t want to die a Bachelor)

Originally written May 1, 2017
He was 16 yrs old and scared to death he might die a bachelor as his mentor and 80 some year old friend who he affectionately called Brother Toby was.
Brother Toby was a man in the church my husband grew up in, he was a bachelor all his life. My husband Jeff had looked up to him all his life and suddenly at the ripe old age of 16 my husband decides there is 1 thing for sure he does not want to follow Brother Toby’s footsteps in and that is, He doesn’t want to be a bachelor.
So the story I’ve been told is Jeff begin to pray ” Oh, Lord Please don’t let me be a bachelor! “.  It just so happened that Jeff’s home church was without a pastor and Jeff”s dad was the head deacon at the time and therefore, he had all the resume’s of prospective pastors. So, Jeff decides what better wife to have than a preachers daughter and since Jeff was on the hunt, because in his mind, time was a wasting. Jeff decides to sneak into his fathers office and search the family pictures sent with the pastoral resumes to find the pastor with the daughter that Jeff had decided he would marry. It just so happened my father had submitted his resume to the church and I am told, that Jeff narrowed the pictures of the preachers daughter’s down from the top 10, to 5 to, 3 and then you guessed it…… me!
To make a long story short, I guess you could say the rest is History! There were several sets of circumstances but my father ultimately became the pastor and 4 yrs later Jeff and I were married at the ripe old ages 17 and 20.
Jeff was determined that I was going to be his wife, and apparently God was in favor of that because of the circumstances that followed.
You know, this got me thinking……..
What separates those of us who are just attending church and those of us who are being the church? Jeff could of been the typical teenage boy who dated several different girls and refused to look for any kind of real commitment at such a young age. But Jeff was on a mission, He had a what I would call a “God given desire” that he would not let anyone or anything distract him from. The fact is when Jeff heard a group of boys from the church talking about trying to pursue me, he step right up and told them “She is mine, so don’t even bother” (and we hadn’t even met yet!) He often jokingly but rightly tells everyone that he and God are a lot alike, the both loved me first.
See Jeff was determined there was nothing casual about his persecute of me.  I think that’s what makes the difference from those attending church and those being the church. Just attending the church, is like casual dating with no expectations of commitment. Being the church is the expectation that God wants to speak to me so He can speak through me. There is an expectation of a commitment and a calling beyond ourselves when we ARE the church. If we are only attending the church we simply check it off our list, like knots on our belt in a dating relationship. We walk out the door after completing our weekly or sometimes semi or less weekly routine.  It is like you are saying “I have come and done my religious duty every Sunday and I am done” (ie going and sitting in a pew, then going home to wait to do it all over again whenever the next time that it is convenient)
Being the church is like an all in relationship, it is living a life of faith everyday expecting God to speak to you, so you can share Him with others. It was not uncommon for Jeff to claim his stake in our relationship before we had even met, the very first Sunday my father spoke at his home church. Jeff made it clear under no uncertain terms that he liked me. As my father shook hands with the people as they walked out the front door of the church. Jeff boldly proclaims before my father that ” You are gonna get this church if I have anything to do with it” When my father replies ” Oh yeah? Why?”Jeff confidently responds ” Because of your beautiful daughter” then he turned and walked away. It left my father speechless because I was only 13 yrs old at the time and still playing with barbie dolls.
If we are going to be the church, if we are going to follow in the abundant life God has called us to live. We need to approach it like an all out committed relationship, and in this day and age where, committed relationships are hard to come by. Let me challenge you to give Jesus your all. Like nothing you have ever loved before because He loves you like no one has ever loved you before.God wants to be your friend, He cares about every aspect of your life. In the book of Jeremiah, God tells His people, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness”See, He is in a committed relationship with you so much that He gave His life for you. (Which is what we just celebrated a few weeks ago) The question is, How committed are we to Him? Do we use Him like a vending machine and just call on Him when we need something or do we sincerely desire to know Him, are we committed to what His word says, we should do and are we so in captivated in His love for us that our gratitude towards Him pours out of us in the way we live our life?
Let me tell you today, that if you have only been an attender of church instead, of being the church. It is not to late. He is waiting right now with His arms out stretched. He so wants to spend more time with you and He, like my husband Jeff has never given up, even when I was not interested and totally unattracted to Jeff. Jeff never stopped loving me, he never stopped pursuing me and was waiting with open arms when I was ready. Christ is waiting on you today. There is more to this walk with Christ then just attending church and checking it off our list of things to do for the week.1 Cor. 3:16  tells us, “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?”  God wants to speak to you, so He can speak through you, We have a mission to share His love and life with others, but if we don’t really know Him, if we are not passionately pursuing Him. Then we aren’t being the Church, we are simply filling a pew. Go be the Church this week! Because God is passionately pursuing you.
The Love of a Father

The Love of a Father

I recently spent an extended period of time at my oldest son’s home
and you know what I noticed? I noticed he does the same thing his
father does every night before he goes to bed. What is it you ask? He
goes around and checks all the doors to make sure they are locked and
turns on his security system, turns off the lights in the house as he
walks through the house assuring everyone is in their bed and we are
all safe and sound in our home.

This is something that makes my heart flutter every time my man does
it, just to know he is watching over and protecting our family in his
own little way. It is a big deal to me and means a lot. Honestly, locking up the house
is something I have never thought of in all the years of our marriage.
He just takes care of it without me asking or saying a thing. I
believe my son has learned from his father. Not because Jeff took him
aside and gave him any lessons, but just because he knows what his
father did when he lived at home. So now my son follows after his
father in this way

Jeff has always been a protective kind of parent. He was the one that
always wanted to call and check on the kids if we were out on a date
and they were with a babysitter. He was the one that stayed up till
they came home from being out with friends when they became teenagers. All the while I was
sleeping in the bed without a care in the world. Jeff was waiting till
all his children came home and was safe in the bed.

The fact is we never had a curfew, with our kids, as long as we knew
what they were doing and who they were with and we trusted those
around them, we didn’t worry . We trusted our kids to come home at a
reasonable hour because they knew daddy was a waiting. Well, I say all
of them knew but our youngest Chad, apparently he didn’t get the memo
that daddy stays up and waits, because the first time he went out, he
stayed out till 2 am. We trusted him and was not worried so everything
was okay,  but not according to his sister. No! When she found out her
little brother had kept her daddy up till 2 am, she called him up and
gave him a tongue lashing. Informing him that “You never stay out past
midnight because daddy is waiting on you so you get home” See
apparently, that is what she had determined in her mind to do and
perhaps her older brother before her, because neither one ever stayed
out much past that.  So Chad has never done it again, we didn’t have
to say anything. Each of our kids knew, they were loved and protected
by daddy. And the last one learned it real quick after his sister gave
him a talking too!

You know all these fond memories got me thinking…….

Isn’t that just like God, He watches over us sometimes never saying a
thing just being there protecting us. In some cases I am confident we
don’t even know the disasters that He has averted from us. The bible
says in 2 Thes 3:3 But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen
you and protect you from the evil one. Just like Jeff who is there to
protect and provide for His children, So is our heavenly father.  Matt
7:11 says “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good
gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give
good gifts to those who ask him! See all my kids have to do is ask
their father and if Jeff feels it is best for them, then he does his
best for either help them get it or provide it for them. If my husband
who is a human man can do that, how much more will our Heavenly Father
do for us. The bible also says “How great is the love the Father has
lavished on us that we should be called children of God!” (1 John 3:1)
We are His children and we can trust that He is working all things for
our good.

I am sure there is some reading this, that could never understand the
love of a father. In your life, you may not of either had a father or
you were abused or mistreated by yours. Perhaps your father never knew
how to love, because he himself never received love. I want you to
know today, that no matter your background or what you have or haven’t
seen, There is a Heavenly Father that loves you with and ever lasting
love and nothing you ever do is gonna make Him love you anymore and
nothing you do is gonna make Him love you any less. Your worth isn’t
measured by what you do, but by the price He paid for you when He gave
His life for you on that cross, That was the ultimate father’s day
gift. He gave His life for you!

I hope today if your reading this you grasp just a taste of the
amazing love our Heavenly Father has for you.  I hope you will know
that you are loved with an everlasting love that none compares too.
But mostly, I hope you have chosen to live your life for this amazing
father that gave His life for yours. I hope somehow and someway, you
desire to want to reciprocate a little of that love back to Him for
all He as done for you. Just like our daughter who decided to inform
her brother of what her daddy had done for them, I hope you have heard
my hearts cry in telling you how much our Heavenly Father loves us.

If you have never accepted Christ as your Heavenly Father, I hope you
will say this pray with me, then get into a bible believing Church and
begin to grow in more understanding of all that He has done and will
do. Let’s Pray : Dear God, I never realized all that you have done for
me and I want you do know that today, I want to accept you as my
Heavenly Father, Help me in all that I do, I know that without you I
am a sinner but I know with you, my sins have been cast as far as the
east is from the west. So, come into my life and help me to love like
you have loved me. In Jesus Name Amen.

If you prayed that prayer, Know that this Father’s Day you have a very
special Father watching over you and caring for you and I hope will
honor Him with the life you now live for Him in everything you do.
Because just like my husband and son who watches over their families,
so is your Heavenly Father watching over you!

An Unexpected Surprise!!

An Unexpected Surprise!!

I’ve been spending a few weeks at my oldest son’s home helping with the grand-babies because of some health issues my daughter-in-law, Nicole is having. So needless to say, Jeff has missed me (and I have missed him as well). Last weekend was our 34th Anniversary and I was all buckled down totally expecting this would be the first time in 34 years we would not be able to spend our anniversary together. But I assured Jeff, we would celebrate later and it would be okay. After all, we are adults and we can do this, Right?

Friday morning as I was dressing for another doctor’s appointment Nicole was headed to, I thought it was strange that she told me we were all going. After all, it just made more sense for me to stay at home with the littles and Lee and Nicole go to the doctor. But not wanting to rock the boat too much, I began to get dressed to go out.

At about noon, just as we were expecting Lee to walk in the door so we could head out, I got a call from Jeff telling me, “Get in the car and meet me in Wichita.” Now, this news really set me back. I was totally confused. After all, I was in “mommy mode” taking care of everyone else. When I questioned Jeff he again said “Get in the car and meet me in Wichita. I will tell you where to go when you get to town.” He also assured me that everything had been taken care of and that I wasn’t to worry about the kids. Lee had it all figured out. So, as I stumble around gathering a few things I am questioning Lee at the same time and he also assures me, “Mom don’t worry we got it covered, go have a good weekend.” I confirm when I would be returning with Lee just to assure they are okay and then I got in the car and was off. Seriously, it took me at least an hour on the road to get my head wrapped around what was happening.

See, I don’t do well with change. I am a bit of a type A personality so it is very unusual I don’t know what is going on. But, this one had me thrown for a loop! I mean I realized it was our Anniversary, but I didn’t expect anything like this.

When I called Jeff and told him I was entering Wichita he texted me the address and there I went. When I arrived at this very luxurious hotel, Jeff was waiting for me. He had not only reserved a room but a suite, and he had bought clothes for me so I didn’t have to unpack a thing. Jeff had thought of everything! He took me out to dinner at Red Lobster which is the restaurant we went to on our very first date in Mobile, Alabama some 38 years ago. Then we saw the Wonder Woman movie, which he swears was made about me and he repeatedly told me so during the movie.

Apparently, I found out over the course of the weekend that Jeff had been planning this for over two weeks. It seems everyone we knew, knew it was happening except me. We had an amazing 46 hours or so together, before I headed back to Tulsa.

You know all this got me thinking…….

Isn’t that just like Jesus? I mean in the bible Christ told his disciples, When I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again and take you to be with me so that where I am there you may be also. John 14:3 (CSB)
ride,
Jesus is looking forward to the day when His Bride (the Church) will join Him in Heaven. He has gone to prepare a place for us so we can join Him. No one knows the day or the hour in which He will return. We only know that we need to be ready. Just as I had to prepare myself for joining Jeff, we have to prepare ourselves if we want to see Jesus and those of our loved ones who have gone on before us. Christ is looking for a Bride that is longing to be with Him; a Bride who is so in love with Him that she can’t wait to see Him and because of her love for Him, she is doing her best to please Him in the way she lives her life.

Did you notice I used a capital “C” when I wrote the word Church? That’s because there isn’t just one denomination that is going to make it to heaven. When I wrote that, I was talking about the Big “C” Church being the body of Christ. The Bible says several times, believe in Jesus Christ and you will be saved (Romans 10:9, Acts 16:31, etc) and do you know what the “believe in Christ” means? According to the Amplified Bible it defines it as,”Trusting in and relying on, recognizing His power authority and majesty as God.”

See, I can see a chair and believe it will hold me up, but until I actually sit in the chair and I actually rely on it, I am not trusting it. Believing and trusting in God is something totally different than just saying you believe in Him.

So, many times, we say we believe, but we don’t trust. We don’t give ourselves fully to Him because, like myself receiving that unexpected phone call to meet Jeff, I had to prepare myself. I was in “mommy mode” and if you are a woman you know just what I mean. I was totally focused on caring for my babies, cleaning, cooking, and all the things we do to make our house a home. I was not in celebration mode, I was in work mode so it took a little while for me to put all that aside and stop focusing on what I needed to be doing and begin to focus on the one that was calling me to him.

That is the same way it is in our relationship with Christ. It isn’t about a list of do’s and don’t. It is just about being with Christ not doing enough good stuff to get to heaven. See it is knowing how much Christ loves us that should compels us to want to follow what His words says. Not the other way around.

So as you go about your week, remember that we will all receive an unexpected call one day, whether it be us taking our last breath or when He calls us all Home to Heaven. So, it is important that we trust in and rely on God while we are here now. It is important that we keep our focus on what God desires for us to do and most of all let’s not forget, that if we as followers of Christ can’t get along down here, we with each other. We are not going to make it up there! (heaven)

Karma or Reciprocity?

Karma or Reciprocity?

My daughter recently quit her job. Oh! it wasn’t because she really
wanted to. She loves her job. But her lease was up on her apartment.
Her roommate was moving to another town for her next leg of school and
since the school year was over she decided to come home for the
summer, before returning to Kansas City next year for school and live
in the dorms to be a “real college student”.

Over the last 3 years my daughter has given 3 days a week and then
some to 8 little kids under the age of 11 as their personal nanny. She
has helped homeschool them, helped potty trained them, she has feed
them, bathed them and loved these littles like her own. In return, the
momma of these sweet littles has loved my daughter. She has bought her
lunches, given her raises and most recently took her out on a girls
night because she wanted to make her send off was super special.  I in
return have loved on this young momma in different ways, sending
special thank you messages and gifts as well. Why you say? Because she
has loved my daughter for loving her littles.

All this love being thrown around got me thinking…..

You know some people would call this Karma. The word Karma comes from
Hinduism and Buddhism religion meaning “The sum of a persons actions
in this or previous states of existence, viewed as deciding fate in
future existences. and all to often I see that term being tossed
around and some call it destiny or fate, following as an effect from a
cause. ” The over use of this word “Karma”  really drives me crazy
(but that is another story)

See I believe there is another word for it. It is called reciprocity.
The dictionary defines it as, “To give full, etc., in return, to give
receive interchange.” You know there is a verse in the bible that
talks about it too:
“Give and it shall be given to you. A good measure, pressed down,
shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For
with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” Luke 6:38

Give and it shall be given…. I believe that means the good bad and
ugly attitudes of our life comes back to us. The scripture goes on to
say, pressed down shaken together and running over. Often times we
hear preachers use this term in the financial realm when trying to get
an offering to take up a collection to raise some sort of funds for
something.  But, I believe it also happens in the give and it shall be
given kind of way with how we treat people, the measure of love and
grace we show to others or the lack thereof will come back to us
pressed down, shaken together and running over.

I liken it to a trash can, you put trash in it over and over again
till it gets full. Then because you don’t want to bother taking it out
right now,  you put your big foot up in there and step on the stuff in
the can. pressing it down to make more room for more trash. Then you
continue to fill it up again. You repeat the process again and again
until nothing else will fit and it can’t be pressed down any further.

It is at that point that I believe it comes back to you. It is an
example of Reciprocity. Imagine what that would look like when you
dump it out. It was pressed down, shaken and continue to fill back up
till it was overflowing. That is what comes back to us.

Just like when my daughter loves on those babies, the mother out of
appreciation for someone that she could trust her children with and
show love, loved my daughter. In return, because that momma loved my
daughter, I loved her back.

Its been said there is nothing like a mother’s love and if you’re a
mother you know there is nothing like knowing your babies are being
loved.

That’s why I believe we need to always be aware that what we do, what
we say, how we treat others will come back to us and not because of
some Buddist-Hindu religion but because God’s word said it first. God
is the ultimate authority.

God invented the Law of Reciprocity and it is up to us on how it comes
back to us.
So every time you go to throw trash away ask yourself ” Am I treating
others like trash?” or ‘Am I blessing others and showing them the same
grace and mercy God has given to me.” ?

By
Alesa Lewis Miller
Pastor’s Wife of Lighthouse Worship Center
Mom of 3 Mimi of 3 and Blogger.

The Ultimate Miller Kids Competition!

The Ultimate Miller Kids Competition!

Mother’s Day was just a few weeks ago, and I have to say it has always
been a big deal to my kids. Well, not necessarily because they want to
honor me on Mother’s Day. But I think they actually like to torture
me. Okay, torture might be to strong of a word. Perhaps a better word
is compete. Yes, my children have turned the last several Mother’s
Days and by several I mean about 10-15yrs. into a competition. See,
this competition isn’t about who can buy me the biggest gift, or the
grandest thing they can do for me. Nope! It is about who can make me
cry first.

Yes, they try to buy or make the most heartfelt Mother’s Day card
there is, then as they give me the card, each one sits intently
staring at me, their eyes wide open refusing to blink, while their
necks are stretched out, intently focused on my eyes to see if there
is the slightest bit of liquid that might flow out from them. It is
almost to the point these days, where it makes me laugh instead of
cry.

But then I begin to read each card, and slowly but surely, one of them
will touch my heart and yes, you guessed it. I begin to cry, as soon
as the tears fill my eyes, and almost before it has left my tear
ducts. Whichever child’s card I am reading at the time, lets out a
shout of rejoicing and sometimes does a little happy dance, while the
other two sigh in disappointment because they can’t claim the victory
for the year.

This year was no different and now even though they are going to be
32, 22, and 20 this year they still find joy in it. I have often
thought I am not so sure somedays if it is actually the heartfelt
response they want or just the thrill of beating their sibling. But
never the less they each one ends up touching my heart in a special
way every year.

This got me thinking……….

I wonder if that is what God was hoping for when He made man? I wonder
if He was longing for someone that would fight over who would love Him
more? I wonder if He is as taken with us as I am with my children? I
wonder if He tears of joy run down His face, when He sees His children
in worship to Him and singing His praises?

The bible says, If we delight ourselves in the Lord He will give us
the desires or our heart. (Psalms 37:4)

Now that doesn’t mean that we can use Him like a vending machine. No!
But what that does mean is that God wants us to delight ourselves in
His word. Psalms 40:8 says I delight to do your will, Your law is in
my heart and Romans tells us, “For in my inner being I delight in your
law.” If we choose to do His will and follow what He tells us to do in
His word willingly, not begrudgingly and not in a “I’ll scratch your
back of you scratch my back” sort of way. But out of the pure
gratitude we feel for all He has done for us. Then, God in His
infinite wisdom, like a parent of a child who would only give their
child good gifts. (see Matt 7:11) God only wants the best for us. Just
like myself, there is nothing I wouldn’t do for my children if it was
for their good. Now, do I expect them to follow my rules (which lines
up with God’s word) Yes! God in His “I created the universe and know
everything, past present and future” kind of perspective. Then decides
if it is for our best when we bring our requests to Him.

So, Let us remember this week as we go about our day, to delight
ourselves in God’s will. In other words, when you get up in the
mornings, ask yourself what God wants you to do today. When you go to
work, ask God what He wants you to do today, then do it. Your
obedience is a form of praise and as we give that praise to Him the
bible says it is a sweet smelling fragrance to Him and I am just
betting, like when I read those cards and hear my children pour out
praises to me. It might bring a small tear of joy to His eye too.