Feel the Love

Feel the Love

I love weddings. I have told you this? I just love, love! If you have hung out with me very much it doesn’t take long for you to realize that. I have loved weddings since way before I was married and almost decided to be a wedding consultant. I am creative as well as have the gift of organization. (remember my story last week on we all have a gift?) 

 

So putting any event together especially weddings is just fun for me and because I enjoy the decorating part and I have two single children yet. I have started collecting a few things for their “one day” wedding. I even try to stay on top of the latest trends and styles going on in weddings. 

 

One of the ways I do that was by following some wedding pages on Facebook. There they ask different questions about what to do at weddings. It was also there that my eyes were opened to a whole different world I didn’t realize was out there. Oh! I guess I knew it happened but I didn’t realize how much.  

 

It’s there I realized that we have an epidemic in the world and that is the institution of marriage is falling apart. It’s falling apart because we no longer value it anymore because many think it’s okay to just live together. In fact according to the U.S. 2010 census living together has never been more popular. There it was reported 7.5.million couples are living together before or instead of getting married. That is 15 million people.

 

Due to this great mass exodus of the realization of what God’s word says about being married there is a lack of having weddings. We have a generation of people who have never even been to a wedding. So you can imagine the questions that are being asked on this Facebook page. Some of the things that I think are the most basic knowledge are unknown to most. Why because they aren’t seeing it. They aren’t seeing it lived out in front of them so they don’t know what to do. 

 

Our church just finished giving its third free wedding away this year and as I walked around last night looking at the almost 100 candles we had lit on the tables,  towards the end of the evening most were almost completely gone. They were melted completely down into the candle holder.
As I looked at them a thought came to me, “Well at least we got our money’s worth out of them because they are done for, useless and over with” another thought came to me after that. “But they represent something that has just begun” 

 

As we walked around cleaning up after the wedding, table clothes were ripped. Drinks had been split on the table runners and the candles all melted. The place looked somewhat in disarray. But it wasn’t because the guest had been abusive to the property, but simply the natural wear and tear of the day. Kind of like life isn’t it? . 

 

All I could think about was doesn’t this just represent marriage. Everyday wear and tear on our lives, struggles come and life goes on. It was at that moment I was reminded “What looks like an ending here in this room, is just the beginning for that couple” and so I begin to pray for them. 

 

In that pray I believe God spoke something in my heart that every church going so called Christian needs to hear. “That is why it is so important for we as followers of Christ live out what He did in this world, what Christ did more in this world than anything else is, He loved. He loved people right where they were.”  

 

If we read John Chapter 4 we find the story of the woman at the well. Where God goes out of His way and against all customs and traditions of His culture to this city and believe because He went because he wanted to talk to this woman. He was on a mission from His Heavenly Father.

 

He wanted to meet her and live the love out before her. See if your read, she knew “about” God but she didn’t know the God. Because know one had lived it out before her. She had only heard stories of the God

 

But Jesus told her in vs 10 “ “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” and then she responds in vs 15 ““Sir, give me this water..” 

 

Jesus didn’t care that she had 5 husbands and was living with another. Verse 18 “The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband.”

 

He showed her love and because of that she came to know Christ and the bible says in vs 34 she said. “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.” 

 

Then it goes on to say” 39 Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. 41 And because of his words many more became believers.” 

 

Jesus showed love to a woman who wasn’t of his culture, sex or stature and back in those days it was unheard of and looked down up on by everyone for a man to even talk to a woman and for a Jew to speak to a samaritain was considered a terrible thing to do. 

 

But Christ stepped outside the comfort zone of the culture and even his friends and loved with the love of His Heavenly Father.  In most churches today, we still don’t condone living together outside of marriage. Because the bible doesn’t but that doesn’t mean we don’t love the people that do. 

 

In this day and age when it is such a common occurrence, we as the church must step up and be a light into a world that does not know. A world that has only heard of what marriage can be. 

 

If we have the gifts and abilities to bless others with this gift of a free wedding we need to do it. We need to use whatever gift God has given us to bless others and do it in love because that is what people will see in us. 

 

I heard a phrase the other day that “People won’t always remember what you say to them, but they will remember how you make them feel” Let’s make sure when people what away from us, just as that Samaritan woman did with Jesus, she feels the love she has never felt before.

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Our imagination is bigger than we think!

Our imagination is bigger than we think!

Recently, Jeff and I were privileged to be a part of my cousin’s daughter’s wedding. I say apart because, Jeff performed the wedding and I was the day of coordinator. Which is a fancy term, that basically means I told everyone what to do that day, but my family would probably say that was nothing new. 

 

There are two reasons why this was such a special occasion. The first is because it was kind of surreal going back home for this special occasion.  You see,thirty years ago, it would of been my mom and dad doing this, because that is just what their role was in the family. When anything came up that needed a preacher, my mom and dad were the ones the family called on. Because my parents were both ministers with the Assemblies of God for over 40 yrs. 

In fact it was 18 years ago my mom performed the wedding of my cousin and his wife, only because my daddy had already gone home to heaven. So to say we keep things like this in the family is sort of an understatement. It truly felt the mantel was passed on to Jeff and I, not only in ministry but by performing the wedding in the exact same church where my mom performed my cousin’s wedding, and now his daughter was getting married. 

Another neat thing about this special event is when we went back to this town I was born in (Iola Kansas) and where Jeff and I served in the church not once but twice, we not only got to see many friends from our church there. It was endearing as we drove around town remembering all the blessings God had brought us while we lived there.  

Now our life has never been without problems, so we were also reminded of the difficult times as well. But because we kept our focus on the good, the bad didn’t over shadow us, even going to the graveside of my parents was not a disappointment because I know where they are and it isn’t in that grave, but it is in heaven. 

One thing that was a surprise though was how much smaller things felt. As Jeff and I was driving to the park entrance, He even made the comment “I remember it being a lot further down this road” and when we entered the old church, where we had pastored, I made the comment “I remember these rooms being bigger”. 

Now had the street gotten any shorter or the room any smaller since the last time we were there? No, but our mind had made them much bigger than they really were. In the six years since our last visit to the town and the probably 20 plus years since we had been inside the church, nothing had changed about these places but in my mind they were so much bigger. 

Isn’t that what happens to all of us though, and I don’t mean just physical things but just about any idea we have in our mind can be blown up much bigger than what it actually is. For instance someone says something to you and you might not think anything about it right away, but if you sit and dwell on it, the longer you think about it the bigger the conversation can get and the more offense we can take. 

We often allow things to fester and grow in our minds much bigger than they actually are. Romans 12:2  reminds us “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will.”  Satan doesn’t want us to be happy and at peace, that is why he drops negative thoughts in our minds that we focus on. Because he wants us to focus on the bad in every situation.

Paul tells us in Philippians 4:8 …… Fix your thoughts on what is true and good and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely, and dwell on the fine, good things in others. Think about all you can praise God for and be glad about. (TLB) 

If we only dwell on the negative in our lives, we will end up magnifying everything we think about over and over again for an extended period of time and the truth is the situation or the issue often isn’t as big has our mind imagines it to be. 

I remember my dad telling the story of a church he pastored where there was so much offense between two families in the church that they refuse to speak to each other and sat on separate sides of the church. One day my dad brought the leaders of both sides of the family into his office and told them, “It is time this feud stops! Now tell me why you can’t get along? What happened between your two families that has made you so mad?” The two people thought for a moment and looked at my dad and said “We can’t remember” Here they had been mad at each other for 40yrs., refuse to have anything to do with each other, all while calling themselves Christians and they couldn’t remember what they were mad about? 

Satan had taken something that obviously wasn’t that big of a deal and magnify it into a family feud that lasted years and who knows how many countless people were turned off of the idea of knowing Christ because of these so called Christian’s actions. All because they had dwelled on something way to long and allowed Satan to make it much bigger than what the situation obviously really was. 

So what are you thinking about? What keeps you up at night? What has you so angry you are refusing to speak to someone? Whatever it is, try stepping back and focusing on Phil 4:8.  Because you aren’t doing it for the people you are upset with you are doing it for you, and because God asked you to, and God only asks us to do what He knows is best for us.

PARTY!!!

PARTY!!!

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I LOVE a party! I love planning a party; I love dreaming about a party AND making all the preparations for a party!

I have loved everything to do with a party for as long as I can remember. Before I was  even 16 years old I was helping plan and coordinate weddings. So it might come as no surprise that the photographer at my own wedding said, “This is the best planned wedding I have ever seen!”

My love for planning parties has even led me to organize city wide events. When I asked the city administrator, of the town I was living at, at the time, if I could plan a second event in the same year for our city, he voiced his concern that I would wear myself out. He was shocked when I told him, “This is like breathing air to me! I love it!”  To which he immediately replied, “You are CRAZY!”
All of my children are not like me though. My oldest has never wanted big parties or, frankly, a lot of attention about anything. He is that low-key kind of kid. If he didn’t look just like me, I would have him tested to be assured there was no mix up at the hospital! When he was told he had won a scholarship to his college of choice, he simply said, “Oh! That’s nice,” and walked away, leaving his father and I exasperated that he didn’t show more emotion. He is one of those kids who consciously has to think to smile and act happy when opening up gifts, etc. He is like a rock; solid, steady and dependable, but NOT expressive.
His sister, on the other hand, might be a little more like her momma. We are expressive in everything we do and nothing brings us more joy then planning parties and celebrating with others. We have been known to plan an adult tea party for girls just to celebrate the china we have. After all, if we have it we should use it – and celebrate! Right?
When Amy was told she had a choice: we would buy her a car, or, she could have a party for her 16th birthday, guess what she chose? ……. Yep, that’s right! The Party! – and she participated in every detail of planning it!  I will never forget hurrying around, putting the finishing touches on the party, as my eldest sat in the corner, just watching the hub-bub of it all. When I heard him say, “Mom, you finally got the child you always wanted,” At first, I was taken back, thinking he felt unloved because of the attention his sister was getting.  But he explained it was only because he knows my love for celebrating was being enhanced by Amy’s enthusiasm.
You know, the Bible talks about celebrations. The book of Leviticus is full of celebrations established by God through Moses for the Israelites.  There is the Feast of Weeks, Feast of Passover, Feast of Unleavened Bread, and the Feast of Tabernacles, to name a few. How awesome is it that we have a God who likes to PARTY!
John Orthberg, describes Jesus as the “Joy-bringer” in his book called The Life You’

ve Always Wanted, and I can think of nothing that brings people more joy than a good party! Let me clarify here, when I say “party,” I am not meaning one where you fall out on the floor from getting drunk or so high on drugs you can’t remember what you did. No! That kind of party only provides a momentary hilarity (mostly at your own expense!) that soon fades away and is mercifully forgotten.
When we read 1 Peter 1:8-9(NIV) it says:
“Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
It says that we are filled with joy! JOY! How awesome is that? And not only filled with joy, but filled with joy over the fact that, even though we have not yet seen our Heavenly Father, we are filled with an inexpressible and glorious JOY! Wow! If we are that excited about Him before we see Him, how are we going to feel once we actually see him face-to-face?
If we have truly received this gift of salvation and are in a relationship with Jesus Christ, shouldn’t we be as excited as a bride is, when she is waiting to see her groom for the first time on the day of her wedding?
Have you ever noticed that when a bride stands at the end of the aisle before walking down to her groom, the whole atmosphere in the place changes? No matter if it is held at a beach or in a chapel. The people around her stand; all eyes are on her; and the groom, waiting at the end of the aisle, looks in awe at his beautiful bride.
Isn’t that the way our lives should be, because of the relationship we have with Christ? We should be full of joy, aware that, when we walk into a room every eye is upon us, and Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, is watching every step we take as we walk towards Him!

Life should be lived with the same joy we have when we attend a great party. No matter what comes our way, or what distractions Satan tries to throw at us, we can keep our eyes on the groom, walking toward Him with inexpressible, glorious JOY!
I don’t care how many times I have been to a wedding, I have never seen a bride get distracted and stop, or turn around, once she starts heading down that aisle. Her eyes are fixed on her groom, and she is taking one foot and placing it in front of the other, as quickly as is customarily acceptable.
I think this is the way we should live our lives: with inexpressible and glorious joy, realizing this life is just a walk down the aisle! If we keep our eyes on Christ, there is nothing that will distract us; not the bill that comes in the mail, or the person at church who just hurt our feelings or even if our presidential candidate won or lost.  We can’t get distracted about such stuff! We must remember we are “atmosphere changers!”  The minute we walk into a room, it is our job to keep our eyes on Christ and keep walking the life he has laid before us.
I hope you will do that today, and do it with inexpressible, glorious joy! If we keep our eyes on Him, nothing will distract us or cause us to do otherwise.
Let’s Pray:
Oh dear, precious, Heavenly Father above, we ask You today to help us live our life as a party, with the joy you have put inside us. Too often, Lord, we have become distracted by the things of this world and have forgotten to keep our eyes on You. Lord, for that we are sorry and ask You to forgive us and fill us with that inexpressible, glorious joy that You give, again and again.
In Jesus Name we pray,
AMEN

 

 

My Wild and Crazy Side

303684_10151780519840487_356408458_n (1)It was the summer of 2013 and I did it! I went wild and crazy maybe it was the fact my daughter had just graduated from High School or my youngest son was about to turn 16 and would start driving on his own soon or maybe it was that my oldest son was about to get married and I was also going to be an instant grandma on the same day, but no I think it was just the fact that I wanted to look my best for the wedding and be as cool as possible since the wedding was outside on a hot summer June day in Oklahoma, But whatever the reason I did it! “Yes, I went and got a spray tan!! I know it was wild for me! (don’t judge) LOL!!

If you have been around me at all, you have probably noticed the numerous scars all over my arms that glow like beaming lights. I have a natural-olive completion, but after a severe case of chickenpox as a child. I was left with light colored scars all over my arms. I usually wear at least three-quarter length sleeves, if not long sleeves year round because if it.

But as I stepped out of the tent and looked into the mirror,  after I had been sprayed. My blemishes were all gone! My completion on my arms was perfect!! I almost cried, it was unreal the feeling of an unknown weight I had been carrying on my shoulders was suddenly lifted an overwhelming sense of joy filled me and I was flooded with unexpected emotions. I asked Amy to quickly hand me my glasses so I could assure that they were all gone. As I put my glasses on , just as quickly as they were gone, the blemishes returned. the view through my glasses revealed the truth that they had only been darken a little but it was clear they were still there, and just as quickly as the joy came and the weight was lifted it returned, perhaps even heavier than before. But never the less I will never forget the feeling of that weight being lifted off me, I had not realized how much it bother me until, suddenly I thought I would never have to cover up my scars again.

As my mom celebrated her first birthday in Heaven yesterday, I know she must be feeling that same freedom, from the weight of her sickness and disease as I felt those few seconds in the tanning booth. As she celebrated her birthday with my dad and her mom and many other friends who had went to heaven before her and then even some who have followed her in the short 7 months she has been gone. See, I don’t think it is by accident that I had that experience less than 30 days before my momma took her last breath here on this earth. I believe God wanted me to feel just a bit of the freedom and peace that she feels everyday since being in heaven.

So this one thing I am certain of, there is no way I would want her to come back and carry the weight of her sickness and disease, she no longer feels the shame of being handicapped she is truly, truly free!

Does it make me miss her any less, no but it brings me comfort to know she is ok. In fact she is more than ok, she is perfect! Does it mean I don’t cry, no but as I do, I focus not on my loss but on her gain. I rejoice in the fact I have the assurance that if I continue to follow Christ, I will see her again and I trust that not only I will see her again, but I will be bringing the generations yet to come in our family, to heaven with me. They will follow me there one day, because I too will tell them, like my parents taught me about the love and grace of Jesus and like my parents I will do my best to show them how to follow Christ by not just my words but my actions too. One day there will be a great family reunion in heaven, all because one couple chose one little girl who had nothing to give them and yet they gave her the greatest gift- Jesus

Happy Birthday Momma!