Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Enjoying the small things

I admit I am a bit amazed at the simplicity of child entertainment.  For the past 45 minutes I have been watching three kids, two of which have been entertaining us all with their antics.  The laughter is contagious and they have only had a blanket.

They were standing at the window.  Initially I suggested to work on counting.  This worked for "1 car, 2, car, 3 cars."  They then started jumping up and down screaming 'car, car, car" like it was the greatest thing since sliced cheese they had ever seen.  This went on for 20 minutes.

 I am not sure when in life we decide that those simple things can not bring us pleasure.  But I think there is something to be said about taking pleasure in small things.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NKJV)  In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.


I keep hearing on the news about the Walmart Associates that want to strike this week, on the busiest shopping day of the year.  Today, I hear that it is because of unfair wages.  I won't argue to Walmart's pay policies, what I will say is they need to figure out a better way to advocate for their needs or better yet, grow up.

In the economic environment that we live in, people need their jobs and while Walmart says they will not retaliate, I personally would fire them.  I feel like hitting the bottom line of the company you work for flies in the face of common sense when you are wanting a raise.  How about show them your worth and let them reward you for that.  Negotiating for an increase based on increase in sales, etc.  What if the people that have to fill your position do this because they want the job with the pay because it is better than the unemployment check that is fixing to stop?

And then I get a little bit more angry because many of the front line Walmart Associates still make more than those who are protecting our freedom - the police officers, fire fighters, EMT's and soldiers who get ZERO holidays off to spend with their family.  I know families who would be happy to have til 7 pm with their loved one on Thanksgiving Day.  How about if they strike and let you deal with opening the doors for the out of control customers, in over crowded stores, and treat the injuries that happen that happen in the madhouse of Black Friday.

Benefits, I know many who have served, came back with no benefits for the trauma caused to them on the job.  I think about the police officer in Missouri who share with me that not only is his wage low, he has to pay for most of his needed supplies out of his own pocket.  He doesn't have a sample store or 10% discount.  He signed on for the job, and is willing to do what is necessary because he values his job and role.  You signed on for your position, you accepted the job at the rate of pay you receive, no one forced you to do it.

The fact is, you have a right to stand up for yourself and ask for your needs to be met.  Striking hurts the companies bottom line that pays your paycheck and the customers who count on you for service.  Neither is a good testimony to your skills and abilities.  There are people who would like to have your job.  There are people with much tougher jobs who get less benefits than you, work longer hours, in terrible conditions.  Last but certainly not least, Walmart may be your paycheck, but they are not your provider.  God is your Provider and if you obey His Word you will always be covered.

Col. 3:17, 22-25 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. Bondservants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God. And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.  But he who does wrong will be repaid for what he has done, and there is no partiality.

Friday, October 12, 2012

In the Potter's hands

Isaiah 64:8  But now, O Lord, You are our Father; We are the clay, and You our potter; And all we are the work of Your hand.

I often here this verse in the context of "God's still working on me." We are clay in the Potter's Hand.  He is shaping us and molding us, cleaning up the cracks, making us into what He designed us for.

Lately verb tenses have really caught my eye in reading scripture.  We ARE the clay.  We ARE the work of Your hand.  These are present tense.  Where I am now, cracks and all ARE the work of His Hand.  

Several scriptures quickly came to mind as I really thought about this:

Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

II Corinthians 12:10  Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

And as I thought about these scriptures, I thought about how people share their testimony.  I realize that as much as I want to be "the perfect Christian,"  the testimony that draws others to Him, that compels  to grow deeper in  relationship, and that challenges to act is that of the cracked pot.

A perfect pot, even with a light in it, only spreads light in the one direction of its opening.  The cracked pot is the work of the Potter. In the Potter's hand, it spread light in the direction of the main opening, and light escapes in every crack.  

It is in the cracks of life I see the work of God.  It is in the weakness of man, that God's strength is shown.  It is in the hard times, that people are able to overcome that His purpose is made clear and His goodness is made known.  

So many times we are busy asking God to heal our cracks, to mend them and cover them so others do not see our weakness.  I am learning, that my cracks ARE the work of His hands.  I may have fashioned them, through my poor decisions and actions but He has put His touch on them.  He smoothed them over, so I could share light with others through that experience, what I learned, how He helped, how the victory was won.  I realize that the Bible has one perfect Man, and a bunch of cracked pots - they were our example.  God didn't try to cover the faults in the Story, His glory shined through their faults, made them people we could relate to centuries later.  He is writing our story now, will we be someone others can relate to, sharing our cracks, or just try to appear perfect.    

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Open the floodgates

As we were in praise and worship tonight singing "Let it Rain, Let it rain, open the floodgates of Heaven" it occurred  to me that typically I personally sing this sing talking about my open life.  Thinking "God pour out your Spirit in my life, open the flood gates of Heaven in my life."  It occurred to me, especially in the context of revival that the "Let it rain" part of the song is for the Church, but when the floodgates of Heaven are opened, our city, region, nation and world will be changed.

In the natural sense,  when the rain waters come down too hard and fast, or slow and over an extended time, floodgates are opened to lower the water level.  When the flood gates are opened, the land down from it is flooded.  Depending on how long and wide the flood gates are opened, makes a difference on the regions that get flooded. It also matters if the towns down river from the flood gates have set up sandbags and levees to deter the water.

As I let this sink down in my soul, I couldn't help but pray and sing a little louder that God would send the rain.  That the church would be so saturated that as the doors of the Church opened as people left, the floodgates of Heaven would be opened over this region and that lives would be changed.

Lives will be changed, not because someone was invited to church or to a powerful service, but because the Christian's leaving the building would be so full of God, that Heaven would be flowing in and through them to the lives of all they come in contact.  that the Spirit would overtake those, so that they would also be filled and overflowing with the Spirit of God, and so forth until this region is saturated, completely consumed with the flood of the flow of the Holy Spirit in and through us.  As the region is filled, the flood would continue on until the Spirit is free, flow in in every region under the sun. 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Journey of Grace

There is a song by Big Daddy Weave called "I am Redeemed".  It is a powerful song that has ministered to me every time I heard it over the past few months.  Wednesday, driving in my car, I had a revelation that I really am redeemed, it was if Christ was sitting in the car with me saying "Child, life up your head" and "stop fighting a fight that's already been won."  The song says:

 All my life I have been called unworthy
Named by the voice of my shame and regret
But when I hear You whisper, "Child lift up your head"
I remember, oh God, You're not done with me yet

Over the past year, I have shared bits and pieces of my testimony as I share about my job and the road that lead me there, and brought me to where I am now.  I know, that as moving as it can be for others, I barely scratch the surface of what God has done in my life.  I also know deep inside, that part of me doesn't share it all because, as this song says:

Bound up in shackles of all my failures
Wondering how long is this gonna last
Then You look at this prisoner and say to me "son
Stop fighting a fight it's already been won"

I realized, listening to this song today that I have been trying to fight a battle that was already won.  I am not the person that I used to be.  And there is no battle I have to fight to overcome it, because the day I accepted Christ into my life, the battle was one.  I became a new creature.  The old things passed away. 

There are times (when I have no time) that I feel led to write all that God has done in my life.   "The Path of Grace", as I know that it is only by God's grace I am even alive.  Then I reason with myself that it is not all my story to tell and that I am certainly not where I need to be.  I have no "right to share" because I have not arrived.

I continue to share as I feel led, with individuals and groups that can benefit from the reminder that regardless of where you have been, what you have done, or what others think and say about you, if you have accepted Christ, you are a new creation.I share to remind people that, people can change if given the encouragement and direction.

 I don't have to be the old man inside of me
'Cause his day is long dead and gone
Because I've got a new name, a new life, I'm not the same
And a hope that will carry me home

I am redeemed, You set me free
So I'll shake off these heavy chains
Wipe away every stain, 'cause I'm not who I used to be

I am redeemed, You set me free
So I'll shake off these heavy chains
Wipe every stain, yeah, I'm not who I used to be
Oh, God, I'm not who I used to be
Jesus, I'm not who I used to be
'Cause I am redeemed
Thank God, redeemed

Listening to the words of this song, maybe it is really the Journey to Grace.  It is the lessons that I am really learning along the way that help others along in their journey.   The path before me is God's Grace, the path behind me has been the Journey to stay on not who I used to be, I am redeemed.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Walking on the promises of God

Genesis9:13-16 I set My rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be for the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth.  It shall be, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the rainbow shall be seen in the cloud;  and I will remember My covenant which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh.  The rainbow shall be in the cloud, and I will look on it to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.

Friday as I was driving home from Cassville I encountered a really awesome sight.  Then as quickly as it was there, it was gone.  As I topped at hill coming down Hwy W out of Wheaton, MO I saw the biggest, fattest rainbow I have ever seen.  I reached for my phone to take a picture, drove down in the valley, and then it was gone and the rain was pouring down.

I quickly thought, it is in faith that we stand on the promises that God has spelled out for us in His Word.  I have heard believers and nonbelievers alike stand on God's promise to not destroy the world through flood.  They have faith as they see the rainbow of this covenant, even though they may not be followers of Christ.  

Yet, just as I moved towards that promise, and then was quickly overtaken by the storm as the sign of that promise faded.  How many times do we see the promise in sight, but get so caught up in the storm that we let go of the promise.  We know the promises of God, memorized them as children, but we fail to walk in them because of the storm surrounding us.   We must come to the point, that regardless of what we see, we stand on the promises of God.

I am reminded of the words of an old hymn by R. Kelso Carter 
 Standing on the promises I cannot fall, 
 listening every moment to the Spirit's call, 
 resting in my Savior as my all in all, 
 standing on the promises of God.
It is time that as Christians that we stop being pushed around by the storms of this world and stand on the promises of God.  That we not only stand on the promises, with a head knowledge of what the word says, but that we walk them out knowing that what God has promised is ours to have, it was given to us completely at the resurrection of Christ.  We can rest in that promise.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Wait on the Lord

Wait on the Lord;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the Lord!
Psalms 27:14 (NKJV)

 Our society has taught us that we should expect things immediately.  Three minutes for a meal for the family through a drive through is the goal for most chains.  Thirty minutes to have a pizza prepared, cooked and delivered.  Accelerated degrees to obtain your masters and bachelors at the same time or getting your bachelors in a shorter period, quick communication with texts, face time, instant messaging and quicker Christianity. 

However, that is not the way of God.  The word wait is mentioned 144 times in the Bible.  People waited on the same promises of God for seventy years.  We give up if it is not immediate.  Jacob wrestled with the Angel of God for an answer through the night.  We grow weary of after five minutes of prayer.

Preachers apologize if the service goes past an hour and a half.  People walked for days to catch a glimpse of Jesus, waiting without food to hear him speak.  I can remember being in services where God moved, and the four hours we were there seemed like five minutes.

When you are seeking God, it can not be rushed.  We must wait on Him.  

In the waiting....

I was reminded today of a song by Greg Long that came out around the time of 9/11 called In the Waiting.  It says:

The gift nobody longs for, still it comes
And somehow leaves us stronger
When it's gone away
I try and pray for Your will to be done
But I confess it's never fast enough for me
It seems
the hardest part is waiting on You
When what I really want
Is just to see Your hand move
I want a peace beyond my understanding
I want to feel it fall like rain
In the middle of my hurting
I want to feel Your arms as they surround me

And let me know that it's okay
To be here in this place
Resting in the peace that only comes
In the waiting
Time to let it go and just believe
Trusting in what no one else but You can see
Freedom from the fears that close me in
When I can't get beyond where I have been
But then again
The silence doesn't mean that I'm alone
As long as I can hear
That I am still Your own

I used to sing that song so much at church, as I knew that I was sitting in the waiting.  As I re-read  Answered Prayers  from 2008, I realized how quickly time can fly and that God truly does give us peace in the waiting when we let it go and just believe.  I have been trusting for my husbands salvation since 2000.   I am still holding out for that answered prayer.

There was a message preached back in Sept 2000 right before we moved out of Lee's Summit,  to this date it stays with me when I feel like giving up.  It was a service I really didn't even want to be in.  My children wanted to be in church, so I had dragged myself there, almost daring God to move me.  It had been a really rough month, my best friend from childhood had died after a short stint in the Children's Hospital leaving behind three children.  I just felt alone.

The story was of David, from I Samuel 30:1-19 and into II Samuel 2:4.  David had been in battle and he and his men came back to find Ziklag destroyed, women and children gone.  They wept and actually talked about killing David blaming him for the situation.  David however strengthened himself in the Lord.  God told him to pursue the enemy and that he would overtake them and recover everything.  He did, they won.  The Philistines battled Israel. Saul was killed.  David grieved for Saul and then was anointed King. 

The preacher made the point that David had already been anointed by Samuel to be the next king.  He had his promise, but in Ziklag he faced destruction.  It would have been easy to give up, but he didn't.  Three days later he received his promise being appointed into his anointing as King.    The preacher made this statement that has always been with me "Your promise is always closer than Satan wants you to believe."

Sometimes, God has given me little glimpses of that promise over the years, but next month it will be 12 years since I really started seeking God for that promise.  Other times, and more often, a preacher will make a comment that brings flooding back that message that has kept me going all these years.  I will be at that breaking point, broken before God crying out for it to stop.  Then, I have that little thought, if you give up now, what if your promise was to come tomorrow.  Sometimes it may take several days for me to be strengthened, but God does always come through.

I would love for my promise to come in three days, as David's did, or for it to even have been the years that went between his anointing and appointing.  But I know that God is faithful to His promise and it will not return void.  Joshua and Caleb waited 45 years for their promise, I will just hold on to my promise and look for the lessons God has In the Waiting.

Has given...

Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord,  as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, 2 Peter 1:2-3

Tonight, the word HAS stuck out as I read this scripture. Has given is a present perfect verb tense indicating that God gave it in the past and we still currently possess what was given. So if God has given us things, why do we not have them?  We must grow in our knowledge of Christ.  As we grow in our knowledge of God, we are able to understand all the gifts that he has already given us and can use those gifts to further His kingdom.

So what has God given to those who follow and obey Him, according to New Testament scriptures: 
  •  He has given us eternal life
    •  I John 5:11
  • He has given the Holy Spirit 
    •  Acts 5:32, I John 3:24, I John 4:13 
  • He has given assurance that there will be a judgement day
    •   Acts 17:31
  • He has given us the spirit of reconciliation  (to reconcile others to Him and the Body)
    •  II Cor. 5:18
  • He has given us authority to edify (instruct and lift up)
    • II Cor. 13:10  
  • He has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness (conforming to the laws and wishes of God)
    •  II Peter 1:3
  • He has given us an understanding that we would know Him 
    • I John 5:20
Having read these scriptures I am now aware of what God has given to me.  I must accept as fact what God has given me in order to walk in what I already possess.  I must not take for granted what Christ died for me to have.
  • I have eternal life, Christ died that I would have it.  
  • I have the Holy Spirit living inside of me, Christ ascended to Heaven so He might come and dwell on the inside of believers. 
  •  I have assurance that one day I will give account for my actions,  Christ was raised from the dead.  
  • I have the ability to reconcile others to Christ and each other,  God reconciled me to Him through Christ Jesus.
  • I have the ability to edify others and not tear other down,  Christ does not want His body destroyed. 
  • I have life and godliness, God and was called by his glory and virtue.
  • I have understanding, it continues to grow as I learn more of God and truth.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Don't be weary

King James 2000 Bible (©2003) Jeremiah 12:5 "If you have run with the footmen, and they have wearied you, then how can you contend with horses? and if in the land of peace, in which you trusted, they wearied you, then how will you do in the jungle of the Jordan?"

I realized today as I read this scripture, that the trials we face, have little to do with the earthly circumstance surrounding us.  Instead, they have a lot more to do with the Kingdom purpose God is preparing us for.

When we are going through the midst of a trial, it can seem overwhelming and many times we ask God to rescue us from it. Reality though: if we grow weary from these trials that are meant to prepare us, how then can we move on to the deeper tasks before us?

If in times of peace and comfort we are weary with life, how then can God move us into the deeper things of the Kingdom.  We must be content and full of God's life at all times, instead of allowing the weight of this world to bring us down.

 When we persevere and God takes us through the running with those tasks that our skills are equal to, and through those tasks that challenge us, and when we learn to be content in times of peace and comfort, then  we are then better prepared for the larger more difficult task that will take us deeper into things of Him.  God will be able to take us into the Kingdom purpose He has for us.

Monday, April 16, 2012


People tell me that I am strong and positive. Honestly, I am weak, but the Joy of the Lord is my strength. My world can be crashing down around me, and only those with a discerning spirit will know the hurt I feel and the burdens I am bearing.

I don't know when I started being that way. Maybe it was work. Maybe it was when the last person who really knew me and all my life died. Maybe as I changed and realized there were not people in my life I could share honestly with and trust. I am not sure, only that I realize I am tired of it.

Lately, I have realized how broken I am. The mask I have learned to wear so convincingly in the world, has only fooled the world about who I am. I realize that mask has greatly changed my personality, and kept me from making relationships with those God has placed in my life.

I long to be transparent, to share my life - the good, the bad, the ugly. I find it easier though, to share only the deep or the superficial. I can tell the darkest secret of my life if it will help someone. I can keep it superficial when I find it hard to trust, and I usually do. However, I never allow anyone in to the real.

But today, as I cried out to God in my brokenness, I realized He sees the real. He loves the real. He knows the real. He is the place where I can be honest and broken, and real.

I enter into worship, and almost immediately begin to cry before the Lord. I find there with tears streaming that I am free. I don't want to leave that wholeness I find in Christ. He brought me to this place, and He does not despise that sacrifice.

Psalm 51:17 NKJV. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart These, O God, You will not despise.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Bye Bye

The last few days I have really felt led to get rid of my Facebook. Not just fast it, which I have done several times, but to completely do away with it all together. Several times I have thought about it, but justified keeping it because so many people only post to Facebook and expect everyone will learn the news there. I mean my daughter made her engagement "Facebook official" before calling me. Yes, it made me cry, but it is the day and age unfortunately.

In addition, I try to be uplifting and positive in my posts, and have used it as a little ministry. I looked back at my years in review and the little photos that I have shared with sayings and although there are a few little cute ones in there, ultimately they are positive Christ centered messages. I will continue to post here on my blog, maybe even more frequently than I have as of late.

I realize in doing this, some things will have to change. My children will be more open to media checks than they have been. I will have to pick up the phone to get information, or better yet, go visit!

I think I will have more time to invest in other things. Writing, studying God's Word, and family and friends. So as soon as I get all my pictures downloaded - Bye Bye Facebook.

A prayer for the soldiers

Lord, on this day of memory I lift up our soldiers and their families. Keep a hedge of protection around them, strengthen them, encourage them. Lord pour out your blessing on those families who have given the ultimate sacrifice of life for our nation's freedom, wrap them in your arms of love and compassion.

Lord give wisdom, guidance and direction to our leaders and pastors on this day. In this time of battles for separation of church and state, let there be compassion and understanding. Lord, help each to extend their hands of love to help the other for the good of Your Kingdom and our Nation.

Lord place a hedge of protect around our emergency personnel. Lord each day, they offer thier service, we recognize they also offer their life not knowing what they will walk into. Guide their steps. Bless them for the work they willingly do.

Lord be with doctors and nurses who are helping people this day. Give them extra compassion for those they help. Let your healing mercies flow through them.

Lord, allow your arms of comfort and encouragement to surround those who lost loved ones in the tragedy of 9-11. Make Yourself real to them this day.

Turn our nation's heart back to you. In Jesus name. AMEN!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A Time....

I can't believe that it is already the 2nd month of 2012. Not sure where the time has went. As I look back on 2011, I see a year of change.

It started with my daughter finishing high school and moving out on her own. It was an unhealthy relationship that she moved in to, but I praise God that she is on the other side of that now. It was hard to let her go. As a mom it hurt so much to see her walk away from what she knew was right, but I did what I can do. I encourage her to get back on track, and I pray for her daily. I trust God will be faithful to his Word. Proverb 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. I know that she will come back to God.

Then in May she actually graduated. That was a whirlwind time. As we were celebrating her success at school, Joplin was being destroyed, as was my place of employment. Our guests had actually left before I knew of the devastation that would await me the following morning and for months to come.

Shortly after, I learned I would be a grandmother. By the time I was really coming to terms with it, she miscarried. It was enough to break the bond she had with the young man, but it is heartbreaking to have to go through and even harder because it was my baby in pain. I find comfort knowing that my grandchild will never have to face the life that he/she might have had and the struggles that would have surely come and that instead the child is safe in the arms of the Father waiting to meet those of us still here on the earth.

Then we hit some problems with our son. It completely took me off guard. It was amazing to see Tim come alongside and really support my position during that time. It really brought us closer together. Not that we saw eye to eye, but we supported each other.

In September, we decided to relocate back to Arkansas to save money since we were already spending more time there than anywhere else as well as the gas to get there. Mid-October we made the move to Centerton. The children changing schools from a small school to a class size similar to their old school's entire body.

In addition to the move, I decided to leave Mercy and return to a place that has deep meaning to me, but this time on the helping end instead of the receiving end. Havenwood, a place I stayed when my world was upside down - divorced, single pregnant parent of two children barely twenty years old. It is wonderful to be giving back. I know I am not where I need to be personally, but I have a testimony that can certainly encourage those there. I also am encouraged by them.

Then in December, my little girl got engaged. I know this new young man makes her happy. It is great to see her smiling again. I pray that they will take the steps to make their young marriage successful, and encourage that. I admit it is harder for me to not push my own beliefs and training in this area, so I have had to just completely step back from it.

This year has been a time....

Ecc. 3:1-8 Everything has its own time, and there is a specific time for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to pull out what was planted, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build up, a time to cry and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to hug and a time to stop hugging, a time to start looking and a time to stop looking, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear apart and a time to sew together, a time to keep quiet and a time to speak out, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.