Green Acres

There was a famous American Sitcom on television back in the late 1960’s and early 70’s called Green Acres. It was popular back when we had commercials on TV and theme songs to our favorite shows that you actually went around singing throughout the day. The theme song to this show  was actually written by Vic Mezzy and went like this. 

 

It starts out with you seeing New York lawyer Oliver Wendell Douglas who longs for a simpler way of life. Singing in his suit and tie………….

 

“Green acres is the place for me

Farm livin’ is the life for me

Land spreadin’ out so far and wide

Keep Manhattan, just give me that countryside”

 

Then you see Eva Gabor, who plays, Lisa Douglas,his socialite wife, in her full-length gown trimmed in fur and wearing her ostentatious jewelry, standing on a baloney of a penthouse looking over New York City singing 

 

“New York is where I’d rather stay

I get allergic smelling hay

I just adore a penthouse view

Dah-ling I love you but give me Park Avenue”

 

Then they go back and forth singing, 

 

…The chores

…The stores

…Fresh air

…Times Square

 

Finally you see Eddie Abert who plays Douglas singing “You are my wife”

And Eva sings, “Good bye, city life” Together they chime in “Green Acres we are there”. 

 

It is a hysterical comedy where Oliver,  buys a farm, sight unseen, and moves there to live off the land, much to the chagrin of his socialite wife, Lisa. The collision of small-town life and Lisa’s sophisticated ways  where she insists on continuing to wear her full-length gowns and gaudy jewelry, while working on the farm, provides much of the humor in the show.

 

It is also a theme song that Jeff and I have sung to each other many times since he moved me to Kansas kicking and screaming 30 yrs ago this October. You see we were living in Atlanta GA. at the time, and through a series or miraculous events, God brought us to Kansas. Now, mind you I came because God said, not because I wanted to. Similar to Lisa on Green Acres I like my stores, I like the business of the city and the action and opportunities that comes with it. 

Jeff on the other hand “Not so much” He likes the slow pace life of a small town. So for many years he and I jokingly sung this to each other because we knew that the truth is really neither of us chose to come to Kansas. God brought us here and ultimately wherever we go, and whatever we do, we are God’s and we follow His plan for our lives not our own. 

 

So traveling and living in as many different places that I have lived has taught me a lot about people and culture. I went to 9 schools in 12 yrs so to say my family moved a lot as a kid is an understatement.

 

When Jeff and I moved to Kansas from Atlanta, GA. There were 2.5 million people that lived in the city of Atlanta at the time, when we came to Kansas there wasn’t 2.5 million people that lived in the whole state, let alone the city we moved to. So to me it was definitely like moving from the city to the country.

 

One thing I have noticed in living in small and large cities is there is a different perspective of how people view each other from city to country. In the city people don’t care where you come from, for the most part or who your family is. In the country, when people ask who you are, the last thing they want to know is your name, what they are really asking is “Who do you belong to?” and “Do I know them?” or “Can you be trusted?”

 

In the country people’s form of entertainment seems to mostly come from being in other people’s business, (example – owning police scanners and listening to it as a form of entertainment, when you are not a member of law enforcement or emergency management) verses in the City where everyone has their own business to attend to because they have places to go and people to see. 

 

Another difference is in the city people don’t just show up at your house unannounced. People call before they come and it is usually, a scheduled time. Now mind you the differences I am talking about, don’t make one or the other right or wrong. It is just different cultures, different ways people live. It doesn’t make one better than the other, or one worst. It is simply my perception of what I have seen and experienced.  

 

But there is another perspective I have seen too, I have often heard from people that have lived all their lives in small towns, “There is no way I could live in a big city, I couldn’t stand all those people looking at me” Or “I couldn’t stand all of those people in my business” 

 

Which that perspective blows my mind because coming from a person who has lived in the city, I couldn’t find that farther from the truth. The truth is most people who live in the city could care less what their neighbors are doing. Unless you are bothering them,or need help, they will pretty much leave you alone. Because they have plenty of other things to keep them occupied they are not worried about being in their neighbors business. 

 

But you know another perspective that blows my mind is people who believe that everyone is judging them, when they walk out their doors. Whether it is with their clothes, weight, or whatever.  Satan is the author of isolation and if he can keep up all thinking everyone is judging each other, he can keep us isolating ourselves from each other. 

 

Satan is the author of lies. In John 8:44 It tells us “…..for he is a liar and the father of lies.” when referring to satan. 

 

I believe satan tells us that so we hold people at arm’s length and refuse to get close to people for fear they will find out who we really are and they will reject us. But the truth is, everybody feels like they are not good enough, that everyone else is probably doing a little better than they are, at least in some area of their life. Satan has woven that lie into so many people’s lives so much so it keeps us hidden away in our houses for fear of getting out and going to church or hanging with certain groups of people. 

 

The bible says in Matt 18:20  “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” No wonder satan doesn’t want us coming together with believers. He doesn’t want us knowing the power there is when followers of Christ come together and worship God. 

 

It also tells us,  “Where there is no counsel, the people fall; But in the multitude of counselors there is safety.” Proverbs 11:14. Did you hear that? In the multitude of counselors there is safety. Now the bible is not talking about just hanging out in any crowd here. But a crowd of believers, who are further along in their walk with Christ than you. It is saying here, when we don’t know what to do, seek out those believers who are further in their walk with Christ and ask them for help. 

 

The truth is, satan doesn’t want us doing that because he knows we will find peace and understanding in that as well as be blessed and grow in our walk with Christ. So if satan can’t keep us all thinking we are all against each other, then he can keep us divided. He can keep us isolated and never grow in our faith. 

 

But you may be saying right now “Alesa why does that even matter, I am a good person I don’t need other people to get to heaven” and to that I would respond.”That is the biggest lie you could believe” You see good people are not going to get to heaven. It takes a relationship with Jesus Christ to get to heaven and He didn’t just come to earth to give His life for us so we would be good. Christ gave His life so you would be saved and you would then go and tell others about Him. He didn’t come to make your life better, He came so you would be better in this life and you can’t be better and do better if you don’t grow in your understanding of Him. 

 

As Christ followers we don’t just commit to living for God and then never learn anything else about Him. How can we live for Him if we don’t know who He is and how can we know who He is if we don’t learn from others who know more than we do? 

 

YouTube is one of the most popular sites on the internet, Why? Because for the most part it is people telling people how to do something. Even if it is stupid things like eating tide pods. Many people look to the stars and their horoscopes to find what they should do in this life, but why not go to the creator of the stars instead? God is asking you to come to Him and the church is the YouTube of God to get that message to you. It is the earthly form that God created and still the biggest tool He uses to make a difference in this world and help us get the understanding we need to know Him better. 

So what are you gonna do today? Will you allow the lies of satan to rule you? Will you allow those negative voices he is putting in your thought life to overtake you? How about you come out of the comfort zone of fear you are in, take the next step in your walk with Him and go to church, read your bible, begin to engage with others in a bible believing church who can help you grow in your understanding of Him and lets stop listening to the lies of satan and step into the green acres of a deeper relationship with Him. Alesa Lewis Miller is the Pastor’s wife of Lighthouse Worship Center, Greensburg Kansas, Mom, Mimi, Speaker, & Columnist. Find more of her stories at www.behindtheparsonagewalls.com

The 3 P’s of the Alesa Doctrine

The 3 P’s of the Alesa Doctrine

If you know our family you are probably familiar with our two younger children Amy and Chad, but you might not realize we have an older son Lee, who is 10 and 12 yrs older than his siblings. To say we have memories with our oldest son that we don’t have with our younger two and visa versa is an understatement. 

 

One particular fun memory we have is what my oldest son and his two best friends Joe and Ryan call the Three “P’s” of the Alesa Doctrine. You see Joe and Ryan practically lived at our house when they were 14, 15 and 16 yrs old,  so they were just part of our kids and because we treat everyone like family when they visited our house, they had to follow our rules. 

 

You see it was about 1998 when Pokemon came out. It was all the rage, especially to my 14 yr old son Lee, and his friends. Pokémon also known as Pocket Monsters in Japan, It was a Nintendo game, and eventually there was even Pokémon Trading Card Game and I don’t know what else but it seemed the world was taken over by the craze all except for me. 

 

It didn’t matter to me how cool it was to everyone else. I didn’t like it. I really can’t tell you why. All I knew was, there was just something wrong with it that made a check in my spirit. Others might call it our conscience or just a sixth sense but for me, I feel like it was God telling me not to allow my kids to play it. So I band it from my house, It was about the same time that I was on a health food craze and not allowing any processed foods in my house, I was making homemade everything, homemade baby food, I was canning food, and even feeding my family tofu (Okay, I tried but that didn’t go over very well) 

 

It was also about the time when Harry Potter came out. That set of books and then the movies, had way too much witchcraft in it for my taste and again I just felt in my spirit it wasn’t the influence I wanted my kids under.  

 

1 Corinthians 10:13 tells us that  Some of you say, “We can do whatever we want to!” But I tell you that not everything may be good or helpful. In other words God gives us a choice in everything in life, we have a free will, we are not like the angels or even the rocks that when God snaps His fingers, we must do what He says and obey Him. Nope! God gave man a choice and allowed us the freewill to pretty much do anything we want. But He warns us that just because we can, doesn’t mean we should. 

 

So Lee and his friends named my rules, the 4 P’s of the Alesa Doctrine. No Pokemon, No Potter, No Processed foods and No Pringles. Now of course the Pringles and Process foods are interchangeable and it really could be called the 3 P’s with the Pringles being dropped but our family and especially the boys like Pringles so much they felt it was worth adding in. It’s funny how teenage boys perceive things. The 4 P’s of the Alesa doctrine became quite the joke at our house. But although they teased me about being so strict they never defied me and did it. (Okay maybe a little bit on the processed foods, but Potter and Pokemon was out) 

 

Now don’t get me wrong if any of these things are something that you allowed your kids to participate in or you participated in yourself. That is totally okay with me. No judgement here. But I am just saying as for me and my house, I felt like it wasn’t right for us. 

 

You know, there is a lot of questions like that, can go unanswered in the bible. I mean no where in the bible does it say “Thou Shalt Not Read Harry Potter”. That is why we need the power of the Holy Spirit to guide us in situations like this. We find out about the Holy Spirit in the second chapter of Acts. He is who Jesus sent after He left the disciples here on earth to guide and direct them. Some people call it our conscience but I think God takes it to a whole new level, if you follow Christ and what His word says. 

 

In life we will come across decisions everyday that we don’t know what to do and If we search the bible for it, we either don’t know where to find it in the bible or it just isn’t black and white with a “Thou shalt not” tagged to it. 

 

When times like that arise in our life, let me encourage you to do 3 things. First pray about it and ask God to show you what to do. Second look in the bible for someone who may have dealt with a similar experience and Thirdly, Ask someone further along in their faith walk than you. 

 

Don’t ever think that God doesn’t care about every part of your life. He does and He wants to be included in everything we do. The guidelines He has set before us in the bible and how the Holy Spirit guides us is because He loves us and wants the very best for our lives. He cares so much for us. Yes, everything may be permissible, but we need to ask ourselves if everything we do is beneficial to our lives and pleases God when we do them. We need to ask ourselves, would Jesus do this?

So this week as you go about your days, why not ask Him to show you what you should do and ask Him if there is anything in your life, that isn’t pleasing to Him to reveal that to you and then be willing to follow what He shows you to do. Don’t forget to follow the 3 steps I mentioned earlier, if you don’t know what to do in any part of your life, God wants to help you through it. Alesa Lewis Miller is the Pastor’s wife of Lighthouse Worship Center, Greensburg Kansas, Mom, Mimi, Speaker, & Columnist. Find more of her stories at www.behindtheparsonagewalls.com

Mimi and Poppy Camp

Mimi and Poppy Camp

This past week was Mimi and Poppy camp at our house,  which means it is a week my husband and I get all of our grandchildren (which I affectionately call grands) to ourselves. Jeff and I picked our 3 grands up, on Sunday, at the halfway point between where they live and we live because they live 5 hours away from us. 

 

As our son and his wife dropped them off, I could tell he was nervous and as usual began giving us all the directions of what the kids needed and what not to do with them or let them do. Which the whole point of Mimi and Poppy camp is they don’t have to have any rules, because it’s for spoiling!  

 

For a minute I thought to myself “Doesn’t he know I raised 3 children already,  I got this!” but I let him continue to ramble and share his concerns after all they are his children. But the truth is they are our grands and I am pretty sure, if there was a gage to measure the love we both have for these kids, it would be a very close tie, and maybe even Poppy and Mimi’s gage would surpass mom and dad’s. 

 

The best part for me of the whole conversation was as my son hugged me goodbye, he told me. “But seriously mom they have been so excited about this, I think they about wet their pants” 

 

This is not the first time we have had Mimi and Poppy Camp. But probably the first one our youngest grandchild who is 3 years old can remember. My daughter in law texted me earlier this week and told me, they couldn’t find him around the house for a few minutes and when they went searching for him. They finally found him in his closet packing a suitcase because he said he wanted to get ready to go to Mimi and Poppy’s house for camp. 

 

All this got me thinking… are we as excited to spend time with our Heavenly Father? Do we look forward to reading His word. Do we make it a priority everyday to talk to Him in prayer and then listen to what He has to say? Do we get so excited we about pee our pants thinking of getting to go to church and worshiping Him with other believers? 

 

You may be asking yourself, what exactly is Mimi and Poppy Camp. Well, I am sure it is different for every grandparent but at our house. We spend 3 days of doing nothing but what the grands want to do. We eat nothing but what the grands want to eat. We have even been known to allow them to eat ice cream for breakfast and breakfast for supper just to switch it up. 

 

We do arts and crafts, go swimming, go fishing,the grands get to drive the golf cart around town. We do a lot of just hanging out and watching movies, while we pile up snuggling on the couch and eating popcorn. 

 

But probably the thing our house is most famous for, is our indoor water gun fights. That’s right I said indoor water gun fights! Now don’t get me wrong. We are not using super-soakers in the house. We have those little handheld water guns that our grands love to fill up and as we run all over the house the giggles and laughter erupt. Just who doesn’t have fun when a pair of water guns come out? (okay maybe 6 or 7 guns)  

 

But after talking to my grands this week, I have found the thing the like best about coming to Mimi and Poppy camp is they can just hang out and not have to go anywhere or do anything if they don’t want to. 

 

You see 6 years ago our lives were changed when our son married this wonderful young lady who had 2 little girls. We weren’t exactly ready to be grandparents, but since that day when our life changed, we have totally embraced those kids as ours. The thing is, their dad is still in the picture and every other day they get to hang out with him and his new family. Then their parents trade out every other weekend. So needless to say the girls are on the road a lot. They have a lot to deal with from school to changing houses every other day. 

 

So for them, just hanging out and not having somewhere they have to be is their favorite thing to do and it just so happens that Mimi likes that too. So there are some days we just sit around each reading or listening to something, all doing our own thing but still in the same room, just hanging out together being quite. 

 

That made me wonder, how much do we like just hanging out with our Heavenly Father. I am always with my grands during camp but we may not be interacting with each other. As I said, sometimes the one kids may be playing a game, another watching cartoon while the other is sitting at the table drawing a picture, and I may be typing on my computer writing a story for the newspaper. We are all in the same room all doing our own thing, but at the same time I may pause a moment and ask them a question or tell them a story about something, I might even give them advice. We are together but separate. 

 

You know the bible says to “Rejoice always,  pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thess 5:16-18 

 

That line there about praying without ceasing could be kind of confusing if you didn’t think about it, with the image of me and my grands in the same room. I am always aware they are there, as they are aware that I am with them as well. We are in constant communication when we are together because I can hear their sighs, I can see their body language, I pay attention to their facial expressions. They just know Mimi is here, and when they call you can bet I answer. Just like God who is always with us and is always watching over us taking care of us. 

 

There is something else we do at Mimi and Poppy Camp. We have nightly devotions with object lessons and games to reinforce the scripture that we are talking about. Last night was 1 Cor  10:13 that talks about there is no temptation that is given to man that God won’t provide a way out. To illustrate this verse we sat each child, one at a time in from of my curtains that has hundreds of blocks in the pattern on them. They then had to sit there and start counting the blocks. At the same time Poppy had a prize on the end of a fishing pole that he dropped in front of their face distracting them and tempting them. They would lose count of the blocks when they saw the prize and had to start all over again. 

 

We talked to them about,  that is how it is in life, satan will distract us with something that we want or think is good, just to get us to not follow God’s plan for our life. We warned the kids that even if that happens, as soon as they realized they messed up they can just start over again. Just like that started counting again. 

 

I don’t know what is distracting you, or what has taken your focus away from what God has for you, but I am here to tell you, you can start again. Because God is there, He has never left you. You can call on Him anytime and He is there, like I am with my grands, He is just waiting to help you. So just start over again with what you know to do. Read your bible, pray, attend church and I promise you, that is your way out of whatever has taken your focus away from the God that loves you even more than I love my grands. 

 

 

Trading Ashes for Beauty (the wedding story)

Trading Ashes for Beauty (the wedding story)

This week our church has the pleasure of hosting our first free wedding. It is a new ministry the church is offering in an effort to show our commitment to family values and the institution of marriage. With so many people living together for years before they get married, and often having multiple children before they even consider having a wedding. Our church wants to change that. Those couples often say it is because weddings are so expensive, that they wait to get married. 

 

So Lighthouse Worship Center is out to make weddings a reality for those interested. We offer to reimburse the couple for their marriage license. We provide a venue for up to 50 guests,  cake, punch and mint reception, officiant and coordinator for the day, decorations, and a few other things to complete this wedding. The only thing the couple has to do is complete 10 weeks of pre-marital counseling. 

 

This weekend as I was putting the finishing decorative touches on the tables, the morning of the wedding. The father of the bride was watching me and made the statement “It is amazing how such a little thing can make such a huge difference” He was referring to the honeysuckle vines I had trimmed from my yard that morning and placed around the candles on the table. My response to his comment was “and to think this is really just trash to me” See these vines under any other circumstance would of been tossed in the trash, but I had specifically allowed these vines to become overgrown so I would have them for this very day. What should of been cut back weeks ago, I held off because I knew this day was coming. Bruce was right those little vines made a huge difference on the tables. 

 

That conversation got me thinking. I wonder what else may seem to be a small thing but makes a huge difference? I am willing to bet most of my neighbors and friends didn’t even realize that the bushes in my front yard were a little overgrown and what a huge impact they would have in another scenario, when cut out of my yard. No one really noticed except the designer of the wedding decor. She had a plan and it wasn’t just a, thrown together at the last minute plan, it was a plan she had been working on in her head for months. She had drawn out a design on paper of the best way to set up the tables and chairs in the room, She had measured the tables and the space to assure the right amount of people could be seated in the space. She had searched endlessly for just the right decor at the best prices for this event to come together. That is a lot like our Heavenly Father nothing comes as a shock to Him. He has a plan and He sees into the future, Shoot! He wrote the future! The bible tells us that He is working all things together for our good (Romans 8:28)

 

But I am gonna be truthful with you, I know sometimes in life, it doesn’t feel that way. Sometimes if feels like our world is crashing down around us. It feels like we are never gonna get out of that hole we are in. Sometimes we just feel like trash that has been thrown away. But the ending of that verse says “ to them that love God and are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28) See the truth is, we all have a calling on our lives. We all have a reason to live because God has a plan for us. You may be wondering but “Who takes trash and turns it into beauty?” Well, I am here to tell you God does! Just like those vines that would of been thrown away under any other circumstance because they had grown wild and out of control. The designer of that wedding, saw a greater purpose and she used them for good. 

 

You may think there is no hope for you, you may think you have grown so wild and out of control that good will ever come out of you. Whether it is your lifestyle choices, your eating habits or just what comes out of your mouth. I am here to tell you if you will confess your love for God, He has a plan for you and just as Jeremiah 29:11 says that plan is  “for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” 

 

God is the great designer of our lives, and He takes what others deem to be trash and turns it into treasure everyday.  But, He is also a gentleman who will respect your right to choose to be left alone and if you say “Hey, God I got this!” He will step back and say “Okay it is all yours” and allow you to live the life you want without any interference from Him. The choice is always ours. 

 

Do you know someone today that may feel like they have been thrown away? Do you know someone who feels like their life is out of control and has just grown wild? If you do, you need to reassure them that if they will confess their love for God and decide to follow His plan, He is the one that turns trash into treasure. It doesn’t matter how other people see you, it only matters what God sees in you and the bible says He knew you before you were even born and He has a plan for you! (Jeremiah 5:1)

 

So whatever you are going through, whatever may seem to be out of control in your life. Trust that there is a great designer that has a plan for you, if you will only call on Him. He will be right there to help you. So, don’t be discouraged and don’t worry about what others say because the only one that matters is the one that created this universe and when He formed you He had a plan for you! Just trust in that plan today and give God a chance to trade your ashes for beauty (Isaiah 61) 

 

What to do when you don’t know what to do?

What to do when you don’t know what to do?

What do you do when you don’t know what to do? What do you do when your world seems to have fallen apart and all your hopes and dreams come crashing to the ground? Maybe it is the loss of a loved one. Maybe it is that special someone that you thought was going to make all your dreams come true. Maybe it’s an illness when the doctors says “We have done all we can do.” There is a whole range of circumstances that can bring us down. 

 

God never promised that everything would be perfect in this life. In fact He warned us that “In this world you will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33) And you know what else God said earlier in this verse,  He tells us this so that we will have peace. In other words He warns us. He warns us that life is gonna be hard but He wants us to know that we can trust Him because, if He knows the bad stuff is coming, He also knows what good will come from it also, and there is good in the bad if we will only look.

 

But the truth is, in many cases that doesn’t take the pain of that lost loved one away, or the lost of hopes and dreams you had. There is a saying that tells us “Sometimes you have to let go of the picture you thought life would be like and learn to find joy in the story you are living”

 

If we never had any problems how would we know when our life was good. I remember a few years ago,  Amy took a missions trip to California working with the inter-city. When she returned one of her first comments was “The weather was 70 and sunny the whole time I was there and I hated it!” Weather that most people would love, Amy didn’t enjoy because she is a born and bred Kansas girl where if you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes and it will change. It was different than what she expected and often times we expect things that are not always realistic and because of that our expectations can bring devastation.  

 

God wants us to have hopes and dreams but there is a certain level of flexibility and trust we have to give to Him. When things don’t go as we had hoped and prayed. We can’t give up. But we have to trust that He knows best and if we will look at each situation, asking  “God what do you want me to learn from this or how can I glorify you in this?” Then what seems like a horrible experience can be turned into something great! No! It might not be what we had planned but it can be God’s plan. 

 

Sometimes our tragedy takes us to levels in Him and places on this earth, that we would have never been otherwise. God sometimes allows us to meet people that would never of happened it is wasn’t for the disappointments in our lives. God often wants us to use these hard times to bless others. If we will only allow Him to use us in our times of distress. 

 

It is all about our attitude. When we choose to move ahead after disappointments and tragedies we can allow God to bless us in the way He had planned and turn our tragedy into triumph. It is all about if we get bitter or better through the storm in our life. 

 

The day my mother died I was at the hospital by myself,  she died just as the shift change was happening so there was an unusual amount of nurses and staff there. I being in healthcare for many years know what a downer it can be for nurses and caregivers when they lose a patient. Apparently, it was this particular hospitals policy that when a patient dies, the staff are to come in the room and give the family condolences as the final arrangements are made for the body. 

 

 As nurses and staff filed into moms room.  It all seemed like a waste, what were they standing there for looking at my mother, talking to me a stranger they had never met? Most of them had never even cared for my mom since she was there less than 8 hrs before passing. They were kind, and you could see visibly moved, but I didn’t want her life to be a waste. Not even the moments after she took her last breath.  See mom had hopes and dreams. You see, God had already lengthen a tendon in her leg many years earlier, that healed her of a limp she had as a result of her polo as a child. Fifty years later, she was still believing that God was going to heal the severe “S” curve of her spine also, from polio. It was the one thing that caused her more pain in her life than anything else. She believed God had promised her that one day He would complete her healing. 

 

Suddenly there was something that rose up in me as the room was filled with people.  I imagine it might have been a little like Peter on the day of pentecost. Because there before all these people I had never seen before. Something in my spirit rose up and I stood up and said, “Today I don’t want you to go around sad and depressed that you lost a patient, No! Today you walk around and as you do your job, you tell yourself and everyone you know that you saw a miracle today because this body you see here laying on this bed is healed. She has entered the gates of heaven whole and completely healed with no more sickness or pain. Her miracle has come!” I went on to encourage them, that if they wanted to know that God, they need to accept Jesus as their Savior. 

 

It was a few days later, I got a call from the Director of Nursing at the hospital saying how much she and the staff appreciated what I said and thanked me for sharing. Now I didn’t do it for applause, honestly I don’t know why I did it. Like I said something just rose up in me. But I could of been bitter and told them all to leave as I draped myself across my mother’s body crying uncontrollably,  but I didn’t! I choose to use what God had put at my hand and use it for His glory. 

 

Am I some super hero because of that? No! I am just a human that is totally reliant on Christ for everything she does and desires to please Him in every area of her life. To tell you the truth it has been a long journey to get to this place in life with many stumbles along the way. But each one as led me here. 

 

So, what has devastated you recently? What does God what you to use for His glory in your life? When we don’t know what to do, maybe we need to ask God “Help me see what you are doing here?” 

 

James 1:2-4 Amplified Bible (AMP)  Says “2 Consider it nothing but joy, my [a]brothers and sisters, whenever you fall into various trials. 3 Be assured that the testing of your faith [through experience] produces endurance [leading to spiritual maturity, and inner peace]. 4 And let endurance have its perfect result and do a thorough work, so that you may be perfect and completely developed [in your faith], lacking in nothing.”

As long as we don’t get stuck in the suffering part the testing part. if we get stuck there God can never use us to the potential He desires us to achieve. 

God works all things together for our good! We can never give up hope, never give up our dreams, I am sure my mom never thought, her dream would turn out to be that her healing would come in Heaven I am sure she had different ideas. But that is why we trust Him to know the best outcome of our situation.. Trusting in Him even when we cannot see! 

 

It Just Hit The Spot!!

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.