Who’s knocking at your door? (The time I wouldn’t let my FIL in my house)

Who’s knocking at your door? (The time I wouldn’t let my FIL in my house)

As a young mother, life can be hectic to say the least,  between work, life and just wrangling a little kid the task can feel daunting. At least it did for me,  our little one must of been about 2-3 yrs old and between the depression of Jeff not having a job, and me carrying the financial load, I was pretty give out, add to that the fact, my mother never taught me how to clean or maintain a home much because of her physical disabilities. So,  lets just say there were some areas in my life, that I had to grow up quickly in, maintaining a home was one of those and obviously I was a little behind on that learning curve. 

 

So, it not might come as a surprise to you that one day when my father-in-law appeared at my apartment door I refused to let him in. Oh! I was nice about it. I just opened the door, stood in the doorway and said “Hello” and smiled. When he told me what he was there for I was polite and said “Thank you!” and added “I’d invite you in but Jeff isn’t here and the house is a mess” to which we both laughed and my father-in-law went on his way. 

 

Later, I found out that Jeff had mentioned to his dad, “You need to come see us sometime” to which Trammel responded “I tried and Alesa wouldn’t let me in”. Looking back, perhaps that is why I never remember my in laws coming to visit our home when we lived in the same town. I doubt that was the reason,but it is a thought. 

 

You know what else I have thought about, I was thinking, how many times do we do that to God. He knocks on our hearts, nudges on our hearts with a thought of “I want to help you, just let me in” or “If you would just do this or that, things would be better” and we stand in the doorway of our life saying “It’s to messy in here I can’t let you in”. 

 

We believe the lies that satan tells us that we will never be good enough and won’t ever make it or we have to clean up our lives before we can let God in. But the truth is God loves us right where we are. In fact is,  the bible tells us ‘While we were still sinners Christ died for us” Roman 5:8

 

The truth is we are loved with an everlasting love (Jer 31:3) Now does that mean just because God loves us we stay in the same mess we find ourselves in now. No! Once we know better we do better. The bible tells us that just because grace abounds doesn’t give us the license to continue to sin. (Romans 6:1-2)

 

When I got older, I got better with my housekeeping skills. I read books, and sign up for email reminders of what to do. I made the effort to do better and I did. Most people after seeing my home,  then and seeing my home now, wouldn’t believe it was the same person living there. I have even been admired for my home organizational skills so much so that some husbands have hired me to help their wives. 

 

It’s the same way with life, and living for God. We all have messes. The question is what will we do with our mess. Will we let it over take us and continue to live in it or will we decided we can do better and we will do better and step by step begin to change. 

 

I learned to do better by educating myself through books, magazines, T.V. shows and email subscriptions. I read and watched everything I could get my hands on to help improve the life of my family. I knew I couldn’t do it on my own. 

 

It’s the same way for us in our lives. We can’t change our life without God’s help and He is still standing at our door knocking asking “Won’t you let me in?”. He has sent the church, His Word and other believers around you to help you. He doesn’t expect you to do it on your own either. 

 

So what will you say? How about today,  you decide to let Him in, make the change? He already knows everything about you and loves you anyway. There is nothing you are ever going to do to make God love you more and there is nothing you will ever do to make God love you less. 

He promises that if you will open the door to Him,  He will come in. (Rev 3:20) How about you let Him in today, join a bible believing church that will help you grow and understand His word and just give Him a chance to make a difference in your life today. I promise,  you will never find anyone that loves you more than He does. 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

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Jesus and my Diet

Jesus and my Diet

You know most days I feel ill-equipped to be a Pastor’s wife or in ministry of any kind. The world we live in today is far from anything I was raised in or my parents prepared me for. Satan would want to tell me that because I have not participated in many of the so called big sins that plagues this world we live in today, means I am unqualified to help rescue those who are in the middle of those situations.  

Satan would want me to believe that there is no way I can relate to those who aren’t like me, raised in the church all my life and being introduced to Christ at an early age. 

Satan would also want me to believe I could never succeed at certain things in my life. Like, when I dropped out of High School my senior year. It took me 10 yrs to go back and get my GED and lets not even talk about what he said to me, when I went on to college.  Satan tells me I am a bad mother, He tells me I will never amount to anything and you know what the most recent lie he told me was. “That I could never lose weight.” 

You see, It didn’t matter what I tried, it seemed to me I could not lose any weight. Oh! I would read the latest craze and try whatever it suggested. I was determined I was going to do it myself! Eat healthy, eat clean, only eat organic, no processed foods, only things made from scratch. No sugar, no gluten, no fat, low fat, etc.  It did not matter what I tried, I could never seem to lose the weight! He had me believing that there had to be something wrong with me. I mean obviously if I had done all these things on my own surely there had to be something wrong with me physically to have not lost weight with everything I had done. 

Until January of this year,  I stepped on the scales in this 30 plus year long journey, finding out that I had hit the all time highest weight of my life. At that point you could have poured poison down my throat that day I would not of cared. I was willing to do whatever it took to get the weight off me. But instead of picking up the bottle of poison, I called a friend who I had watched weight melt off her. She told me about a doctor recommended  program that she was on and I told her to sign me up! I did not care what it took, that day I was done! I was done with my aching back and knees, I was done with not sleeping well. I was done with my clothes not fitting, I was sick and tired of being sick and tired and I hated what I saw in the mirror. 

So I decided to follow this step my step plan that was proven time and time again to work for others and you know what? It worked for me! This past week I hit my first goal of losing my first 50lbs. I am so excited I could dance! Well, actually I have done the happy dance around my house. I feel so much better, my blood work has improved. I am sleeping better, no more aching back or knees and I have more energy than I have ever had perhaps in my whole life! 

But you know what I have learned through this process, it’s a choice! I had to choose to change my old habits and embrace the new ones that would lead me to the goal I wanted to achieve. I also had to follow a plan that was time tested by experienced and knowledgeable people and you know what else I realized? I realized that wanting to lose weight is a lot like people who are not living for God and say they want to live a better life, they say they love God, but they have never totally surrendered their life to His time tested plan and because of that they continue to struggle and don’t understand why they are so miserable with themselves. 

See I had to choose to give up my will and my way and submit everything I had thought was right to follow this plan that was going to change my life, if I wanted to lose weight. Isn’t that what we have to do when we decide to live our life for Christ too? We can go around trying our own way, we can read the latest craze of the best psychologist self help book, in the country. But there is nothing that will beat the time tested, God given word called the bible. 

I knew I had to resist the temptation, if my life was going to change. I had gotten into the habit of seeing food and thinking, “I like it,I will eat it” My mindless habits were killing me! I had to resist the temptation to eat late at night. I had to choose to do things that weren’t comfortable to me because it was a new lifestyle I was choosing to live. In fact, one of those things was totally opposite of what you would think was the correct way to lose weight.  I had to start eating every 2-3hrs. This seemed ridiculous to me, after years of starving myself, to lose weight, because after all, you can’t eat to lose weight! But I did!  

You know that is a lot like our walk with Christ if we are really going to live for Him we have to resist the temptation to continue in the activities of our life that God is not pleased with. The stuff that is killing us, either spiritually or physically. When we make those changes they are not always comfortable because it is a new lifestyle we are choosing to live and often times we need to do the opposite of what we have done in the past. So it is uncomfortable at first to walk this new path. Because it doesn’t feel the same as living our old way.  

It’s uncomfortable, for some to accept that the creator of the universe, loves them with and everlasting love and gave His life for them even before they were born. (Jeremiah 31:3)

Satan wants us to believe something is wrong with us. That we will never be good enough, that we can’t ever change, that our lives will never be better. That no one could love us like that. He doesn’t want us to use the time proven plan in the bible because He knows it will change us and he is in a battle for our souls. It will not be until we get tired of the life we are living and we choose to make the change that change will happen. 

But for this process to happen, we often need someone to guide us. Show us the way. I know for several years I would ask my skinny friends what they were doing to lose weight, and they would give me vague answers, “Oh just eat clean”, “Cut out sugar”. Much like I have told many people “Just live for Christ”. Well because of this journey I am on, I now realize none of that advice makes any sense to the people asking it. We all need someone to come alongside us, take us by the hand and walk with us through this process, step by step. Because, to the fat person, eating clean is not going to change their life unless someone walks them through all the other parts of really changing your lifestyle to become healthy and to the sinner who has never known anything but living the way they are, they also need someone to walk with them through the process, step by step showing them exactly what it means to trust God and live for Him.

So maybe you’re reading this and thinking “Yeah!” I need someone to walk me through this life or, how many times have you just looked at someone and said “They should just live for God” and now realize they don’t have a clue of how to do that because no one has ever taught them. 

To the skinny person being skinny is what they know to do, and being a sinner is all many people know how to do too. Because we live in a world that doesn’t honor the Godly heritage that many of us grew up with. 

So how about today, we be that coach to someone, let’s take the hand of that one who wants to do better but just doesn’t know how. Let’s put an arm around someone and lead them, instead of pointing them in the direction they should go, like an employee at the big box store down the street, but let’s be like the professional customer service agent who when asked where something is, they walk you to it and assure you have everything you need before they go. 

I don’t know about you today, but that is my goal! I now understand how being lost feels and I am so glad someone showed me the way! I can’t wait to help someone who was like me! I have committed that I will be a different person after this because we all just need someone to take us by the hand and lead us to what we are looking for. 

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.