Thursday, August 30, 2012

The changing of seasons!

I can already feel it in the air. The winds have shifted. The temperatures are cooling. And leaves are starting to fade. It is almost time for the season to change. Summer is coming to a close and fall is approaching.

Some of us hate to see summer go. I, for one, am excited to see fall approach. It means cooler temperatures. Here in the south, summer has been very long and hot and dry. I am ready for a change in seasons.

Not everybody is like me though. There are some people who would like the summer to linger on. They like things to stay the same. Things can be predictable that way. If things never changed, we would know exactly how to dress, exactly what the temperatures would be and exactly what time sunrise and sunset occurred.

But just like in life, seasons will inevitably change. It is much easier to handle the change from summer to fall, or fall to winter, than it is to  handle the change of seasons in our life. It isn't quite as easy. Sometimes, it is even frightening and sad. In fact, some of us fight the change of seasons in our life, we hold on tightly to what we have, not wanting any change to happen.

I have experienced some life altering changes in the past few years. Some in which I did not want to let go of. For instance, when our oldest son left home to go to college. Who later got married and moved to another state. Life changing season.

Another life changing season...our second son, joined the air force and eventually was sent overseas for a year. He also got married and after he got out of the service, he moved to a city 2 hours away.

Our youngest son also graduated high school and he left home to attend Bible College ,7 hours away! A year later, he found true love and got married. My baby boy became a man and thrust me into yet another life changing season.

Currently, our youngest, and only daughter is a senior in high school. In just a few short months, she too will graduate, probably move away to college or get married and leave me and dad all alone in this house. She will make my nest to be empty. A completely new life changing season for me. One that I dread but cannot keep from happening.

Some other life changing seasons I have encountered besides the graduating, the leaving, and the getting married, are some happy and some sad seasons. Becoming a grandparent, a happy one. Losing a parent to death, a sad one. Sometimes life changing seasons catch us off guard.

But through it all, I have learned one thing and that is that the changing of seasons can be difficult but not as difficult when we learn to go thru these seasons with God.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 There is a time for everything, and everything on earth has its special season. 2 There is a time to be born and a time to die. There is a time to plant and a time to pull up plants. 3 There is a time to kill and a time to heal. There is a time to destroy and a time to build. 4 There is a time to cry and a time to laugh. There is a time to be sad and a time to dance. 5 There is a time to throw away stones and a time to gather them. There is a time to hug and a time not to hug. 6 There is a time to look for something and a time to stop looking for it. There is a time to keep things and a time to throw things away. 7 There is a time to tear apart and a time to sew together. There is a time to be silent and a time to speak. 8 There is a time to love and a time to hate. There is a time for war and a time for peace.

God has a purpose and a reason for every season! Right now every one of us is in one of His perfect seasons!

The tragedy is not that seasons change, the tragedy is that most of us do not see God's will in each season. There is a time to be born, and a time to die, but it is the in between that we much embrace... the living. This is the season each of us are in now, the living, so lets embrace it and see where God may take us.

Every new season is a new beginning! What season of life do you find yourself in?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

To forgive ...or not to forgive, that is the question!

All of us, at one time or another, have been hurt or betrayed by someone in our life. Perhaps by a childhood playmate, or a family member or spouse. Perhaps even by someone in church or at work. I would say that I personally have been hurt by all of the above at one time or another.

Often times our words and actions hurt others, sometimes on purpose but most of the time accidental. No matter what the intent is, the outcome is always the same. Hurt feelings, relationships divided and unforgiveness rooted.

Is it important to forgive others?

Forgiving others is often not even about that person or the offense that they brought, forgiveness is almost always about you! Forgiveness can never erase the hurt but it can ease it. Extending forgiveness doesn't always free the other person of their wrong doing, but it will free you. 
Free us from what?

Forgiveness will free you of harboring resentment in your heart, it will free you of turning around and hurting someone else just because you have been hurt. Forgiveness frees you of hate, malice and bitterness. Forgiveness brings freedom.

But it isn't always easy to forgive.

When I think about all of the times I have been wronged by someone I care about, I can't help feel like Joseph must have felt. Talk about a person who had been wronged, Joseph had his share of hurt and deception... and by his own brothers!

His brothers not only betrayed him, but then sold him into slavery. But as the story goes, God had a very unique plan in store for Joseph and after some amazing turn of events, Joseph became the second most powerful man at that point in history. But all the wealth, and all of the power still did not erase what his brothers did years past. Joseph had a decision to make.

Forgive or not, that is the question.

"Don't be afraid of me. Am I God, that I can punish you? You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people." GENESIS 50:19,20

Years later, when his brothers came face to face with him, Joseph had the power to have them thrown in a pit or worse, have their heads cut off. But instead of payback, instead of an eye for an eye, Joseph chose to forgive.

It wasn't because his brothers deserved to be forgiven. But Joseph recognized the hand of God on his life and when we get to that point that Joseph was, we cannot help but remember that we too did not deserve to be forgiven, but yet we were.

Do you need to extend forgiveness today to someone? Don't let hurt and deception FORM who you are, rather, let the forgiveness of God and the act of forgiving others TRANSFORM you!

What's it going to be today...forgive or not forgive?

Monday, August 27, 2012

LACED WITH GRACE...make your words count!

Today I have shared a devo entitled "Make your words count." with the readers over at LACED WITH GRACE. Please join me over there today!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

You are never too old!

With our 3 sons grown and married and our youngest (and only) daughter starting her senior year in high school, I can't help but feel my life is passing me by. I realize that to some, I am still just a whipper-snapper, but lately I have been feeling really old.

Have you ever heard the saying, "old age is a state of mind"?

Truth is, I know people much older than me (in age) that act way younger than their birthdays say they are. Aging for all of us is not an option. It is inevitable. But, even though everyone ages, not everyone gets old.

I know I am aging, the pains in the morning tell me so. How often I have to apply color to my hair also tells me. The fact that my children are not children any longer, but grown, married, working and starting families of their own also tells me that I am aging. Even though I cannot halt any of this in the aging process, I do not want to get old.

I don't mean that I don't want to get old in age, I don't want to get old in my spirit. I love spending time with elderly people who are still fresh in their spirit. Their birthdays keep rolling around but yet they seem to not succumb to hardening of their spirit.

What do they do to keep refreshed and renewed in their walk with God?

Many of the godly saints I know remain fresh in their walk with God because of what God has seen them thru. They remember the times that God brought them thru sicknesses, lost jobs and in extreme difficulties. They remember God's presence is such dire times and they reflect on the fact that if God did it once, He will do it again.

I want that kind of remembrance in my spirit! No matter what age we become, we are never too old to recognize what God has done and to look forward to Him doing it again and again.

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. (Romans 12:2)

Do you need a revived spirit today?

Ask God to renew your mind and rejuvenate your walk with Him. It will feel like years have been shed from you. Don't forget ,you are only as old as you feel.

God does not lie!

One of the most amazing things is trusting and believing someone whom we have never met. We will do the most interesting things based upon the word of complete strangers. If you have ever traveled abroad, you know exactly what I mean.

Five years ago, my husband and I went to Europe for our 25th Anniversary. The travel agent booked everything, and upon our arrival, the tour guide would meet us at the airport and shuttle us to our hotel and later, guide us on our tours of Rome, London and Paris.

Upon the word of our travel agents, around 25 of us travelers committed ourselves to the word of complete strangers...and believe it or not, their word came true. We were met at the airport like promised and we were whisked away onto the traveler bus and taken to our hotel. Everything that we had hoped would happen in a foreign land, happened.

Even still, it was still a pretty risky adventure. What would we have done if someone did not keep their word? How would we find our way in a foreign land?

We entrust ourselves to people we do not even know so easily sometimes, but yet, we struggle entrusting ourselves to God. We take the word of complete strangers but still do not believe the Word of God.

Isn't God more dependable than any man?

1 John 5:10 "Anyone who does not believe God, has made Him out to be a liar, because he has not believed the testimony God has given about His Son."

The Bible is the inspired Word of God, it is God-breathed. It is the testimony of His power and goodness written down by eyewitnesses that not only heard but saw the miracles of God. This combined with the seal of the Holy Spirit upon the Word gives enough evidence to me that the Word of God is indeed believable.

But can you exercise your faith based upon this?

According to John, if you don't, then you are calling God a liar. I don't know about you, but I would much rather entrust my life in His hands than the hands of a complete stranger, in a foreign land.

We can take Gods Word for face is the Truth, the whole Truth...nothing but the Truth! So help me, God!

Monday, August 20, 2012

A picture is worth a thousand words!

Some say that a picture is worth a thousand words. Never have I considered that to be true until this past week.

Many of you who have followed me for any length of time have read about my reunion with my earthly father after a 40 year separation. I had 7 years with him until God took him Home with Him last year.

There are so many blank memories that I have of him during those lost years. But last week, my Aunt sent me some old pictures of my dad. Pictures of him when he was a baby, a child, and a young man. She also sent me some pictures of me as a baby that I have never seen.

(my dad as a baby)

Looking over these pictures was like putting that missing piece back into the puzzle. There are no words (not even a thousand) to express my emotions of seeing these pictures for the first time.

Isn't it interesting the story that an old photograph can reveal? Even when those in the picture are no longer here to tell the story, the picture is surely worth a thousand words!

And if that is true, then we can hardly even begin to calculate the value of the pictures of Jesus I see in my old testament Bible. Every picture that I see points to Jesus in some way...creation, the stable, Jesus teaching, the burning bush, the last supper, the crucifixion. Each picture whispers the name of  Jesus!

"And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, He explained to them what was said in all the scriptures concerning Himself." Luke 24:29

These pictures are more than a thousand words to you and fact, they are our words of life to us!

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him, will not perish, but have everlasting life." -John 3:16

We can restore old pictures but if we think about it, old pictures can come alive, tell a story and restore us. There is restoration in the power of Jesus. Open up your Bible and let the pictures speak to you today!

Thursday, August 16, 2012


How far would you go to show your love for someone you never even met? or even for someone who has died?

I live in the Memphis area, and every year thousands and thousands of people come to show their love and support to the "king"...Elvis Presley. This week marks the 35th anniversary of his death, and tonight it was reported that 75,000 people camped out at his mansion to show their support.

I find it amazing that even after Elvis has been dead for years, that people still flock to his mansion and worship him like some kind of idol. They dress like him, they sing like him, and they comb their hair like him. They come from miles and miles, even from other countries. They camp out overnight just to see a glimpse of something that belonged to "the king".

I do not have a problem with people being a Elvis fan, I have visited the kings mansion before. I have seen his house, his jumpsuits, his cars and his planes. I did not camp out all night, and I did not drive more than 5 miles. There is only one King that I would do any of that for and unfortunately, we have lost sight of Who He is.

We must have, otherwise why would 75,000 people line up to see a king who is dead but yet the majority of those people will NOT attend a church service to worship the King that is alive!

Elvis may be known as "the king", but there is only one KING that died for you and me. And the mansion that He has prepared for us will not require you to camp out all night. You either have a entry ticket or you don't.

"They will wage war against the lamb, but the lamb will triumph over them because He is Lord of Lords and King of Kings - and with Him will be His called, His chosen and faithful followers."  REVELATION 17:14

When I cross over into glory land, I won't be dressed like Elvis, but I will be saying, "Thank you...thank you very much!"

I'm thankful for knowing the REAL King! How about you, who are you a fan of?

Today I am linking up with Iris for THANKFUL THURSDAY. We would love to hear your grateful heart today, link up with us!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Vitamins for the soul

Do you take daily vitamins?

My husband does, religiously. B-12, B-complex, C, E, Calcium, and Omega 3-6-9, to mention a few. The bottles are lined up on our counter, as a reminder for him to take them each day.

The funny thing about vitamins is that you cannot take them just one day and feel the effects, vitamins only do good if you take them over a period of time. One day, one pill, cannot give you strength, stamina and extra calcium or iron. However, over a long period of time, vitamins will strengthen you like never before. In the same sense, meditating on Gods Word is like taking a vitamin.

Do you remember when you first became a Christian?

I do, and at that time I could not get enough of His Word. Every scripture that I read came alive to me and each Word was like a flash of lightning straight to my heart. The less I read, the further the lightning feels. Just like taking a vitamin only once or twice, reading God's Word here or there will not give us the spiritual strength that we need.

PSALM 119:103 "How sweet are Thy Words unto my taste! Yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth."

The regimen my husband has for taking his daily vitamins takes discipline, and it also takes desire to have a stronger immune system. Getting into God's Word will not only strengthen our walk with Him, but it will build a stronger immune system against the fiery darts of doubt, depression and deception.

"So, then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God." (Romans 10:17)

God is looking for a strong army, not one that is bulked up but one that is obedient and disciplined. We all need to be spiritually strong for the battles that are brewing. His Word is the greatest multi-vitamin we could ever consume.

Have you had your daily dose of spiritual strength today?

Monday, August 13, 2012

What do you see when you look at the cross?

What do you see when you look up at a cross?

Do you see Jesus, as God's only begotten Son or do you see a man who walked and talked with His disciples? Most of us cannot look at a cross without seeing the blood, the nail pierced hands and the crown of thorns.

Often times, we forget that for 33 years, Jesus felt everything that you and I feel. He felt weary. He felt betrayed. He was talked about. Gossiped about. And He got hungry. He sweated. He yawned. He got the hiccups and He felt alone.

Isn't it difficult to think of Jesus like this?

Somehow, we feel uncomfortable remembering Jesus, the man. Thinking about the humanity side of Jesus almost seems irreverent, this is why when we think of the cross, we never picture Him walking, talking, hurting, or sleeping. We only remember Him bleeding, dying and resurrecting.

As thankful as I am for the blood, I never want to forget that Jesus also experienced what you and I experience. Before He could give His life for us, He had to live. Too often, we want to keep Him crucified on the cross instead of allowing Him to walk with us in the trials of our world. We forget that He has already walked where we are walking. He has endured pain before we even knew of pain. He had to deal with defiance, jealousy and betrayal just like we do.

Yes, the cross represents His love and forgiveness for us, not just in His death but also in His life. Remembering the hard times that He endured will make it easier for us to invite Him in the muck and mire of our daily is there, that He will reach down and pull us out.

PRAYER: Dear Lord, thank you for the Cross! May I never forget the sacrifice, not just the crucifixion but may I never forget what preceded and what followed. Your life, Your death, Your resurrection. Because You live...I can live. Thank you Lord, help me to never take Your sacrifice for granted. AMEN
"And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, event the death of the cross." Philippians 2:8 NKJV

Friday, August 3, 2012

What risk are you willing to take?

My husband works in the ER at our local community hospital. He works 12 hour shifts at night and he sees everything imaginable. Since he works on the weekend, the bulk of those seeking medical attention are drug or alcohol related. Most of these patients are not even aware of the commotion that they stir up, especially for someone who is just trying to help them.

Some patients are so out of control, it takes several nurses to hold them down so they do not hurt themselves or someone else. While trying to help, my husband has been cursed at, swung at and even spat at. Every night he works, he takes a risk, just to help someone in need.

Most of us would not be willing to do what he does. Most of us would not put up with what he puts up with. But despite all of that, he loves what he does and has a huge opportunity to minister to people who are lost and confused.

I would dare say that he does not meet the status quo. The status quo requires NO risk! "Nothing ventured...nothing gained!" But if we are going to do something EXTRAordinary...we have to pull away from the pack and shake off the mediocre and mundane, otherwise all we will have is ordinary and common.

Status quo is just staying in the middle of the road, not going right, not going left. And the only thing I have ever found in the middle of the road is a yellow strip and roadkill!

I've heard it said many times...
"If you always do what you always have done, you will get what you have always got"!

So, if you want something different, you may have to do something different. This will require you to take a risk. Perhaps your risk is not the same as the one my husband takes in the ER, perhaps your risk is more like:

Noah... He built a boat in the middle of the about taking a risk!

Or Abraham... He left home and had no idea where he was going...that was a risk!

Daniel... He prayed to God even though the king declared death to anyone who did...He was most certainly a risk taker!

How about Peter? He took a risk when he took the first step out onto the water.

Paul also took a big risk...when he declared Jesus Christ was Lord to Caesar!

What awesome men of faith that have led the way for us. They took HUGE leaps as they risked so much for their faith, but yet we are not even willing to risk being ridiculed at work by sharing the gospel with someone who is lost.

Acts 15:26 "Men that have hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."

There are plenty of people like the ones my husband encounters at the hospital that are crying out for help...but we have to be willing to take the risk to embrace them, even if it means being spat upon, or laughed at.

If our faith was tested...I wonder, what kind of risk takers would we be?

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Taking a CHICK-FIL-A stand...but is it enough?

Tonight we supported Chick-Fil-A, along with millions of others who chose to take a stand. All day long, the lines wrapped outside the doors, and even at times, cars lined up for blocks just to purchase a chicken sandwich that would clearly make a statement of faith. We joined this effort by eating chicken for dinner.

(My beautiful daughter posing at Chick-fil-a)

It pleased my heart to see so many customers of Chick-fil-a support the idea of traditional marriage with such long lines.

But is it enough?..what kind of difference can one chicken sandwich in one day make?

It may not change any kind of legislation but it is a good first step. Today was not at all about chicken or Chick-fil-a, however, it was all about taking a stand for what we believe God stands for. It was about standing up for Gods Word.

It is so rare in todays society to find people who actually believe in something. Today could possibly have changed that perception. Up to today, it was common for non believers to laugh when they heard someone say, "I believe this is right and I am going to take a stand". One reason I think non believers find this easy to ridicule is because often times, we as Christians, do not put our money where our mouth is. We say we believe in something, but we are not willing to do anything about it.

Even though people mock or laugh at such a proclamation, I think deep down, they are impressed. It is not every day that you find someone who has convictions and believes in something so strongly. Opposition that comes, (like the media coverage in the Chick-fil-a statement), isn't always disagreement as it is a test to see if we really believe as strongly as we profess to.

When a Christian wants to take a stand for something they believe in, it may cost them something. Today it cost us $5.89 for a chicken sandwich, but tomorrow the price may be greater. It may even cost us our life. Is that a stand that we are willing to take?

"But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the kings delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank; therefore he requested of the chief of the eunichs that he might not defile himself. Now God had brought Daniel into the favor and goodwill of the chief of the eunichs." DANIEL 1:8,9

Daniel ate vegetables and drank water instead of the luxuries of the king's table. It is time that we, as Christians, take a stand and refrain from some of the luxuries of this world. But it's going to take more than a chicken sandwich. We must step it up and put our money where our mouth is!

I'm linking up with THANKFUL THURSDAY today. Iris is our host this month, come share your grateful heart with us!