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

Unashamed

Unashamed

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Butterfly Effect

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now What?  When life is uncertain but God isn’t!

Now What? When life is uncertain but God isn’t!

It’s that time of year when all the college students who are about to graduate are sitting around wondering if all the education and loans they have accumulated over the last 4-8 yrs have been worth it? At least that is what my daughter, is feeling as she is about to graduate, with a BFA in Graphic Design and a minor in Film and Digital Media. 

We have all had times like this haven’t we? Okay, maybe we haven’t been to school and accumulated loans and taken all this time to learn something that we’re afraid we may never get to use. But we all have been at a place of uncertainty. Maybe it’s uncertainty about your health? Maybe it’s uncertainty of how much the farm will make this year? Maybe it’s uncertainty of what will happen to our children or grandchildren? I am sure if you think about it, you can remember a time you were living in uncertainty, maybe you are even living in it now?

I remember when Jeff and I were at that place many years ago,  by saying that I don’t mean ,to sound like it has only happened to us once,  by any means. But this one particular time, before Amy was even born and before Jeff was in full-time ministry,  we were at a crossroads in life a place of uncertainty of what we should do next.

Jeff was looking for a job and there were none to be found in Alabama where we lived at the time. We were at a place we knew we needed a new start and so we thought Atlanta GA. would be a good option for us. At least we knew there were plenty of jobs available there.

So, Jeff picked up the Atlanta Journal Constitution Newspaper and began searching through the want ads. He found several jobs that met his HVAC experience and he applied. We prayed and we prayed hard for God to give Jeff a job. When Jeff finally got a call back from one of the owners for an interview Jeff was eventually hired. After working there for a bit, the owner told Jeff that he had been the only applicant to apply for the job.

Now, at the time Atlanta had 2.5million people in it. So the chances of Jeff being the only person to apply for a job was literally a miracle. Whether he blinded the peoples eyes to see that ad back then, or if he made it disappear for everyone else in Atlanta and the surroundings areas that took that paper. Because this paper did not only serve the 2.5 million people that live in Atlanta but at the time, this paper was delivered all over the state of Georgia and part of Alabama and Florida. Perhaps even further. When I think of the prayers we were praying at that time, asking God to open the right doors for us to walk through little did we know. God would go to such extreme measures to protect us and guide us.

You know I am reminded of a story in the bible where God protected Daniel. He was in the lion’s den. He had been thrown in there because he had stood up for what he believed and God closed the lion’s mouths so tight they didn’t eat Daniel. God protected Daniel that day. God watched over him. God provided a miracle for Daniel and kept him from harm.

I believe God still performs miracles today. I believe if we are following Him and trusting in and relying on God, he will be faithful to protect and provide for us. I know that is what God did that day for Jeff and I. 

There is no humanly way possible that Jeff was the only one that could of applied,  unless God had closed the eyes to everyone else to see that ad.

Time and time again, if we will only look we will see God’s hand in our lives. We don’t have to live in uncertainty,  because we know we serve a God that sees us and loves us with an everlasting love.

So no matter what the future holds, no matter if we don’t know what is ahead of us in life. We have to remember what we do know, and we do know that God knows all, He is watching over us and will take care of us,  if we will only ask, just like he did Daniel and Jeff.

God doesn’t leave His children hanging, He doesn’t leave His children alone. He loves us and if we are following after Him He will guide and protect us. So when those times of uncertainty and anxiety try to overwhelm us, what we have to remember is,  we serve a God that never fails, that can close the mouth of the lions, or blind the eyes of everyone else. He is watching over you, the question is will you trust Him?

Pet Peeves

Pet Peeves

I have a pet peeve! I am not gonna lie, I have had it for a long time,  and I would be willing to bet, it is one of God’s pet peeves too, although I know He handles it with greater grace than I do.

When my children were younger, I like to think, I was like any mother, who would ask my children to do some things around the house, like clean their room, put their laundry away, general tasks  most moms would assign to their children. But I am sure, my children aren’t the only ones in the world to ever responded “Ok! I will be there in a minute”, to which I would respond, “If I wanted you to do it in a minute, I would ask you in a minute, but I want you to do it now!”

This frustration also coincides with people who promise to do something and then don’t follow through with their commitment as well. I think people should be a person of their word and I strive in my life everyday to do the same.

So, I can’t help but think God might have the same pet peeves as I do. I mean we can look at the bible and find Him getting a little frustrated with children of Israel, so much so that even after they had begged God for years to rescue them from their evil Egyptian tasks masters, when He finally did, they doubted Him and went against what He told them to do, and because of that, all but 2 of them ended up not getting to enter into the promised land. (You can read more about this in  the book of Exodus in the bible)

Then lets not forget Jonah,  who was told to go to the city of Nineveh and because he didn’t want to, he ended up being swallowed by a whale. (You can read all about him in the book of Jonah in the bible)

I promise, I would never let my kids get swallowed by a whale! But nevertheless I get frustrated. It has been said that delayed obedience is still disobedience.

So what has God told you to do? You may say “ Oh! He has never talked to me” But the truth is He has, we may have not heard His audible voice but He left His word for us called the bible. He gives men and woman, called Pastors, words to speak to us, every week, and we can hear it when we go to church. One of those things He told us to do in His word says, we need to go to, church (Heb 10:25)

Now when we go back on our promise to God, when we haphazardly live our life claiming we love God, but not following what His word says to do , It makes me wonder if God isn’t a little sad with our actions. If we aren’t being a little like those in the bible,  and I wonder what is yet to be.

See, we hear a lot about God’s love these days and some of us have come to believe, that love will just overlook the times we have chosen to ignore what we have known, and what we should be doing. But I don’t believe that. We are all allowed to make the choices we want, but we are not free from the consequences of those choices. Those consequences are not because God doesn’t love us, but it is because He does love us and wants us to choose what is best for us, but we often times believe we know best and decide we will do what we want to do.

I heard someone say recently “How can a book written over 3000 years ago relate to my life today”. Well, the bible can because the Creator of the Universe is the one who ordained the writing of that book and the one who inspired every word of it and the bottom line is, the Creator always gets to tell His creation what to do. 

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.

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!”

Who gets the Victory in your Life?

One of the first things I remember being a preacher’s daughter was my mom telling me, I couldn’t bring my baby doll to church with me on Sunday nights anymore. I was probably in kindergarten or first grade and being that services typically went long on Sunday nights. I always enjoyed  bringing my baby doll with me. I am sure it kept me occupied during the long night and I probably ended up cuddling with it and falling asleep at some point. I really don’t remember, but one thing I do remember is sitting next to the daughter of the deacon that night who had told my daddy I couldn’t bring my baby doll anymore to church. I sat there and watched as she played with her doll, wondering why the rules were different for her than me.

 

That would not be the last time I would be singled out as the preachers daughter and be expected to keep a standard higher than others around me,  but it will forever be embedded in my memory. I still deal with fighting bitterness and anger from that incident. Especially since I still have contact with the daughter and see how she now gets to care for her parents. I am not going to lie, I have wondered, why would God allow someone that was so mean to my father,  still get to live and why would a God that loves me take my daddy instead, and at such a young age. My daddy has been gone since I was 23 years old. He hasn’t gotten to be a part of my kids lives nor see his great grandchildren or see what kind of a woman I have grown into. My husband has missed the mentoring that my father could of provided to his ministry that would of been so useful especially in the early years.

 

But one thing is not different about me, I am still expected by God to forgive. Just like anyone else in this world. You may ask “Well what is expected of us”.  The bible says If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a fellow believer, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see?” (1 John 4:20) Then Matthew reminds us “But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Matthew 6:15

 

Oh! That isn’t the only hurt in the church that has happened to me, in fact I am pretty certain satan has instigated many opportunities for me to be bitter and angry at God’s people. It’s not important I share all the details of the opportunities for offence I have had. See,  I am not alone in this. Satan has been using these tricks to discourage believers since the beginning of time. Just look at the story of Job in the bible. We are told that satan and God are having a conversation. When God says “Have you considered my friend Job” In the conversation God basically tells satan, you can do anything you want to Job except take his life, and he will not turn his back on me”. So satan goes after Job, he ends up taking everything Job has expect his complaining and nagging wife, which if you read the story you realize, she was probably working for satan. Even in all that Job lost, his children, his home, Job refused to turn away from God. Job tells us that even if he dies, he will not stop trusting in God. I guess that is what I would have to say too.

 

See, my family has failed me, my friends has failed me, my church has failed me, my denomination has failed me, but one thing I can say is my God has never failed me. Oh! I lived in a season of my life in bitterness and anger and all it did was hurt me and the people around me.  And you know what? The people that hurt me so much and who I was so angry at continued on with their lives as if, nothing had happened. I was the only one hurt. I was letting my bitterness and anger hold me captive while the one that I wanted so badly to hurt went on with their lives.

 

I was a prisoner in my own world, a world I had created of bitterness, isolation and anger. I didn’t realize that I was angry at the wrong people. I, like all of us, needs to focus on the real enemy and that is satan. I,  like all of us also, needs to realize that with every opportunity for bitterness,unforgiveness and anger that comes my way, I need to remember that this also, like Job, maybe a test, Perhaps God has put so much faith and trust in me, He has told satan, “Go ahead, see what you can do to her”. Like a coach who puts his best player out in the time of the game that is critical to the team, he is depending on you to make that finial point for the team to win the game.

 

When we come to look at every opportunity for offence as an opportunity to rise above and be the shining star on God’s team. We will then let Christ’s love in us shine through and overshadow any root of bitterness. When we realize every opportunity of unforgiveness is just a trick from the enemy. We will begin to see a whole lot less opportunities for unforgiveness, bitterness and resentment. Because satan soon leaves stops using tricks that don’t work. It is important that we realize we are not a war against people but satan, its just that satan often uses people as his ploys. We can see from the beginning of time, satan as only used those things to slip us up and keep us from the life that God has called us. But Jesus died for us to live.

 

Christ doesn’t desire for us to just have life here on this earth but He desires for us to live an abundant life John 10:10 tells us that satan comes to steal our joy, kill our hope  and destroy our faith in God. But Christ came that we would have that abundant life, not just an ordinary life but an abundant life that is full of joy and peace, that is a comfort for those who are in need and a peace to those who are troubled. One of the ways we can receive that abundant life is the choice we make when we are tempted to refuse to forgive and live in unforgiveness, bitterness and resentment.

 

Make no mistake we always have a choice how we respond and that choice either glorifies God, or glorifies satan. So the question is, who are you living for? Who do you want your life to glorify? It isn’t the people that hurt us or our families we need to be angry out, it is satan himself and the sooner we realize that,  the best defense to his skeem is to not play in his hand. Because as long as we live in unforgiveness and bitterness satan wins and I for one refuse to allow him to have any victory in my life. What about you?

 

It Just Jumped Out of My Pocket!~

It Just Jumped Out of My Pocket!~

Last week we celebrated my youngest 20th Birthday. It’s time like these that always have me reminiscing.

One of my favorite stories I remember about Chad as a little boy is, the time when we were eating dinner at Pizza Hut in De Soto KS , I don’t think we had lived there very long so Chad could not of been more than 3 or 4 yrs old, The restaurant was fairly empty and so we allowed Chad out of his seat to play one table over, in a children’s section they had available, well within our view. As he played, we looked on. If I remember correctly I think we were entertaining some prospects for our potential church we were preparing to pioneer, so we were hoping everyone would be on their best behavior.

Chad came to the table and requested a quarter for the little ball machine over by the door. Chad has always loved taking the chance of putting some denomination of money in a machine only to see what comes out. He is much like his father in that way, they both love to take chances. I on the other hand, am the play it safe kinda person who likes to know what’s ahead.

Jeff agreed, and gave Chad the quarter since he also loves the idea of the mystery of what will come out of the machine or maybe it was so Chad would leave us alone to visit with our guest, whatever the reason it doesn’t really matter now. Because when Jeff said yes to that simple little quarter he failed to think ahead of the outcome that would come from his decision. Once Chad had the ball in his hand he wanted to bounce it all over the restaurant, in between the tables and booths following the ball all over and the more he bounced it the higher it went. Which doesn’t bode well when you are trying to impress someone. So Jeff  immediately tells Chad ” Put that ball in your pocket and I don’t want to see it out again!” Chad obeyed and carefully squeezed it away in his front pocket of his little jeans then went back to playing in the children section, it was only a few minutes later we suddenly saw the ball fly through the air  over the table where we were sitting with our guests. The whole table turned to look at Chad,when he looked up at us with a straight face and eyes as wide as saucers and said,

“It just jumped out of my pocket!”. The table roared in laughter!

To this day Chad loves what we call at our house “bouncy balls” we will never be able to look at one again and not think of that story.

All that got me thinking………

Jeff and Chad rarely ever hesitate to take a chance to put a quarter in a machine so they can see what surprise will come out. It must be the anticipation of what is to come.  I admire their since of adventure. I guess that is one reason why it is so easy for them to step out in faith.

The bible says that,  Faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. (Heb 11:1) Jeff and Chad don’t hesitate to put a quarter in one of those machines, in fact they look forward to it. They look forward to it because they believe something good will come out of it.

Shouldn’t we have that same kind of faith in God? I mean His word promises us so much, if we say we believe in Him, why wouldn’t we believe what He says? One of those things God tells us in His word is that He is working all things together for our good. (Rom 8:28)

Now that doesn’t mean we may always like His decision, or we can use Him like a vending machine. If we think at any time, we can just pray hard enough or if we work hard enough to do everything to please Him then we will get what we want, we will be sadly mistaken.

What Christ does for us is simply from the pure grace that we receive from Him. We don’t have to work or earn our salvation or anything else we pray for. God is our Heavenly Father who loves us with an every lasting love. (Jer 31:3)We don’t have to earn His unconditional love.  But it should be because of that unconditional love that He shows to us, that we out of our pure gratification for that unconditional love,  in return does what His word tells us.

It is because of that trust  for Him, that we can accept that if we ask Him for something and it doesn’t happen the way we want or expect, we can trust Him that it is for our own good. Not because He is some mean Judge in heaven sitting behind his desk with a gavel ready to hit us over the head with it when we miss up.

We have to remember when things don’t happen the way we expect or plan, it isn’t a punishment for what we “didn’t do” or because we weren’t “good enough” more then likely it is for our own protection. Now don’t get me wrong there is consequences to our actions as we learned about in my previous story “Where there is a will there is a way”

What are you hoping for today? As easy as it is to believe if we put a quarter in a machine something is going to come out. It is with that same faith we can stand on the promises of God and believe that whatever He says will come true. Because true faith doesn’t “just jump out of your pocket” but it has to be put into action by our trust in Him.

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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