Dancing in the Light

I John 1:7 "If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanses us from all sin."

Location: North Platte, Nebraska, United States

I am a christian wife, mother and grandmother. I am a licensed Social worker and a licensed Christian counselor. I am most proud of the relationships I have with God, my family and friends all over the world. I have been blessed beyond my dreams.

Saturday, June 30, 2007


My dauughter in law, Larissa, nominated me for this Rockin'Girl Blogger. She is very sweet and said some very nice things about me. Evidently now, I am supposed to choose five women for the award. Since I can't narrow it down to five and since I don't know how to put links in so you can check out their sites, I nominate all you women out in blogland who are trying to make a difference---both in and out of the blogosphere. Y'all rock!

Then my friend, Abiding in Christ Amen, tagged me to tell
Five Reasons Why I Dig Jesus.
1. He loved me before I was even born
2. He loved me when I was unloveable
3. He loved me enough to die when I was the one who deserved it
4. He loves me enough to help me get through life
5. He loves me and is coming back to get me to live with Him forever.

By the way, this list could go on and one---there are so many reasons to love Jesus, five just isnt enough. I liked it when Lisa tagged everybody and anybody who wanted to answer--so yall are it. If you want to answer, tell me five reasons you dig Jesus.

Have a great weekend, my friends,

Friday, June 29, 2007

Experiencing Church

I have been wondering what it is like to be a visitor at our worship services. What does someone off the street remember about being with us? What do they notice? What do they feel? What do they hear? Surely the sum total of their experience with God's people, is not the absence of a piano, no woman preacher and grape juice and crackers? Please tell me there is more! As I began thinking about this, I began praying, praying that when they walked through those doors, our visitors would truly experience church ---the kind of church God intended. As I prayed, I began to wonder what exactly God expected the "church experience" to be.
I love being with the church! Really I do! Sure I get tired sometimes and just need some alone time, and there are, at times, many demands on ministers and their wives, but generally, I love being with the church. I have been known to plan activities and host singings, etc. just so we could spend more time together. To be honest, there have been some negative experiences with church. I have known poor leaders, lazy brothers and sisters, wolves that came in trying to divide and devour. But those experiences are few and far between.
My experience with church happens both inside the building and outside, both in organized and unorganized settings. I love Sundays. Ned and I are both usually completely ready a full hour before it is time to leave---and then we pace and look at our clocks, anxious to be with our brothers and sisters. We practically run from the car into the building, no small feat in high heels. As I sit down for my class, I begin praying for the four and five year olds who will soon be arriving. I pray that they will come to love God with their entire being. I pray they will never lose their faith and always be full of courage. I pray that we will learn from each other this morning and that I will remember how important it is to love like a child. As I prepare to "march in the infantry", I smile and I want to clap my hands because I am "happy and I know it."
We sing, we pray, we cut, we color and we talk about God and His work. We talk about what it means to belong to Him. And we learn what church is all about.
When class is over, I hurriedly gather my things and walk into the auditorium. I am excited to be there. Greeting my brothers and sisters, seeing them smile, hug me and even sometimes kiss my cheek, is a wonderful way to begin worshipping together. As I welcome them all and they welcome me, I feel such a sense of peace and contentment. This is so right! This is what it should be. This is where I belong. The experience gets better and better as we share our prayer concerns and spend time talking to God together, petitioning His mercy for those we love. As the songleader steps up to announce the first hymn, my heart has already begun singing. I am excited to praise God in this way. The blending of the voices, the blending of hearts, the total harmony causes my heart to soar. I listen as God's Word is read and I am amazed how pure and true the text is, how applicable to everyday life and every Christian's walk. As we commune together over the Lord's Supper, I find my mind picturing the sacrifice, picturing the undying love on the face of a dying man. I am humbled and grateful and awed by His love.
My heart swells with pride as my husband makes his way to the podium. I whisper, "Preach the Word". I know he has been praying about this moment, praying God will place in his mouth and heart the exact words those listening need to hear. I am not worried that he will teach false doctrine for I know he is more than just my man, he is God's man. The worship service ends all too quickly and as we visit with our church family, I am thankful for the evening service because I know I want more. I am grateful for such an amazing church experience.
I have also experienced church outside the building. When my first husband was in the emergency room dying, approximately forty of my church family showed up in the ER to pray with us. Their prayers and their very presence gave me strength and courage. When I was a single mother, struggling to provide for my children, the gifts, the phone calls, the cards, even just the hugs made parenting much less daunting. The church helped raise my boys. Several men took them to do "man" things. They helped me with automotive problems and general repairs. When I decided to go back to school and get my degree, my church family rallied around me, offering encouragement and support and even help with college algebra. When I remarried, they celebrated with me. I was grateful for their example of church. Over the years I have experienced church in many ways, many places and many many times. If I chronicled all them, this post would go on and on. God has blessed me by placing me or allowing me to worship and live and work with incredible Christians. They are my family! We have laughed together often, prayed together frequently, wept together occasionally and will love each other eternally. I have realized over the years that experiencing church is more that a touchy feely subjective event, it is an everyday, every hour, every minute occurence. And until we truly experience church, we cannot understand love, we cannot truly grasp fellowship and we cannot really comprehend community. This is what I want for our visitors, this is what I want for my community, this is what I want for my world. Oh that we could all come to experience church!


Thursday, June 28, 2007

No More !

Have you ever reached the point when you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you have had enough? Have you been to the place when overwhelmed by circumstance, you have been ready to shout at the top of your lungs. "NO MORE, NO MORE, NO MORE !" ? No more tears, no more overwork and underpay, no more abuse, no more embarrassment, no more lies! Have you been there? I know I have. Several times in my life, I have decided that enough was enough, and felt like I could really not take anymore. I was angry, hurt, frustrated and tired and I'd had enough. Whether I suffered at my own hands or the hands of another, I knew that I didn't want to do it anymore.
Reaching the breaking point is usually a very unpleasant feeling, being on the brink of a meltdown, very scary. But those times and the emotions they bring with them are usually catalysts for change. When we have had enough and we finally say "no more", we inevitably begin building a plan, a plan to make a change. That change is our guarantee that we will not have to live like we have been. We will no longer wallow in the mess that has become our lives. Things are fixin' to change! We are excited about this and the adrenalin coursing through our veins propels us to lifechanging growth.
There was a time when I had made a mess of my life. What I thought would be fun, turned out to be both damaging and draining. What I thought I was entitled to, I became enslaved by. What I thought would make me happy, left me hopeless. The consequences seemed never ending. I tried to fight and I tried to swim against the current of the world. I tried to roll with the punches, hoping for a way out. But I was too lazy to put much effort into the search, I was hoping the way out would be thrust upon me. As the sinfulness of the world I created, threatened to stifle the life out of me and steal my very spirit, I became frightened. And my soul screamed, "no more". I'd had enough.
I Corinthians 6:19b-20a " . . .You are not your own; you were bought with a price."
Sin is no longer my master; I belong to the Most High God. While there are still consequences, they are not eternal and He gives me strength to deal with them. I am no longer afraid but confident that I will be with Him eternally. I am confident that nothing the world throws at me is too big for my God to handle. I know He will get me through it, He will carry me, guide me and protect me. I believe He will continue to bless me for I am His. He has saved my soul and now it is His love that overwhelms me. His love, His grace, His mercy----of these, I can never get enough!

"I am mine no more, I am mine no more, I've been bought with blood, I am mine no more . . . "

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Pain by Proxy

Have you ever found yourself watching a show like Americas Funniest Home Videos, and you see a large ball or tree limb headed right for someone's head. You notice you begin having sympathy pains. You start ducking and flinching and grimacing and even saying "owwwww" on behalf of that poor, poor victim. We cry at sad television shows depicting loss and grief. Very few of us enjoy the pain of others. Most of us are moved by news stories chronicling the death of a pregnant mother, the torture of soldiers, the unexplained killing of students. We are touched by these stories, we weep and our hearts hurt.

I believe God created us to be this kind of person, the kind who truly cares about and empathizes with the painful situations of those around us. Physical empathy is easy for us. It is both possible and probable that when we, as Christians, see others suffering, we hurt for them. He set the example for us. Matthew 9:36 tells us He felt compassion on the crowd because they were harassed and helpless. And although He was weary and in need of some time alone with His Father, His compassion compelled Him to stay with the people and provide the much needed healing for them. (Mt. 14:14). Feeling their hunger, He fed the five thousand. Sharing her grief, He restored life to a widow's son. Knowing his blindness, He restored sight to the blind man. Our God is a God of compassion. He feels the pain of others and is moved by that pain. The crowds followed Him, listened to Him and worshipped Him, largely because of His message of compassion and healing and that is indeed a big part of who He is.

In Matthew 9:9-12, we find the story of the calling of the tax collector, Matthew or Levi. Remember that Jesus finds him at his tax booth and calls him to follow. The Pharisees begin their smear campaign by attempting to instill questions and doubt in the disciples. Their own lack of compassion evident in their question, they ask, "why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?" The Savior answers with, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor but the sick. But go and learn what this means, I desire mercy not sacrifice, for I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners. "

Yes, Jesus had compassion and empathy on the sick and the dying and the crippled, but He came for those who were spiritually ill, came for those who were spiritually dying, came for those who were crippled by sin. These folks are the object of His compassion. Lost souls, sick and helpless, drowing in sin, enslaved by satan, hopeless and helpless: these are the ones He came to redeem. These are the ones who touch His heart and cause Him to weep. These are the ones He loves enough to die for.

When was the last time you wept over the spiritual condition of another? Can you remember watching as someone chose sin and satan over Jesus and justification? Did your heart ache? When you saw your brother embrace unrighteousness did you fight back the tears? Was the pain more than you could bear and did the very thought of it almost make you ill? The last time you witnessed a sister willingly walk into darkness, did the horror of it cause you to turn your eyes away, unable to watch even one more second? When someone you love chose death over life, did you hurt for them? Did you weep aloud with big deep gulping sobs, the sounds of a heart breaking? Or did you turn away so that you would not offend? Did you pretend not to notice so as not to intrude? Did you refuse to confront so as to mind your own business? Did you rationalize that the best thing to do would be to just let them learn their lesson the hard way? After all, you'd still be there when they came to their senses.

Our physical life is but a breath but our spirit lives forever. As we grow and mature in the faith, we must learn to see things through the lens of eternity. We then begin to see others as souls, rather than humans with bad behavior, men in dire circumstances, people caught up in tragic events. We see souls, souls who are lost and dying, crippled and sick. We see people in spiritual pain. We empathize with them, we feel their pain and we offer them the only effective pain relief available ---the message of Messiah.



Yall, I have started on a post for today but - - - - our sewer line collapsed and we have a man with a backhoe in our back yard already this morning, so my attention is needed elsewhere. I will be back to post later.

Please check back, I do appreciate your comments and visits.

BTW---today the man of my dreams, celebrates his birthday! He is a true gift from God and has blessed my life way beyond what I deserve. If you would, say a prayer for him today, ask God to bless us with many more years together, working for Him.


Saturday, June 23, 2007

A Life Disagreed

Ned and I recently watched the movie, "Freedom Writers". For those of you who don't know it is a true story about a young teacher and a classroom full of inner-city Los Angeles kids, kids caught up in the violent aftermath of the Rodney King beating and subsequent riots. Teacher, Erin Gruwell, played by Hilary Swank, fights for these kids. She fights the school system, other teachers, her father and even her own husband. Patrick Dempsey plays her husband and right in the middle of the film, he announces he is going to leave her. He explains his decision to end their marriage by saying, "I feel like I am living a life I just did not agree to."
I thought about that statement for quite some time. I think I can relate. I too, am living a life I did not agree to. I did not sit around as a teenage girl, writing in my diary, planning out this life. I did not write down burying my nineteen year old sister and her child or watching my parents' marriage break up. I did not dream about multiple miscarriages, sick husbands or single parenting. I did not fantasize about being a widow at age 34. And watching the disintegration of the marriage of my child and his abandonment of his faith as well as his family, well, that was never in my plans either. I didn't prepare to comfort a grandchild who just wants her daddy to come home. Nope, these were not in my plans. Like everyone else, I had plans, I had dreams, but these are not them. So, like the character in the movie, I too, am living a life I just did not agree to.
The more I thought about this, the more I began to understand that we all are living a life different than the one we planned. For most of us, the one we planned had happiness and sunshine and singing birds etc. It was truly more like a cartoon or a Hallmark card. It was not real. That kind of sterile, controlled life is only in movies, movies where the main characters are robots rather than thinking, feeling, mistake making people. The only way to have that eutopian life is to somehow be able to control everything and everyone, including yourself. This is not possible. As much as we try to believe the opposite, we are not in control! As Ned always says, "There is a God and we are not Him."
We live in a world teeming with mistake-ridden people, ourselves included. We can neither predict or control what any of them will do. Therefore our lives do not go as planned, and in fact, sometimes go completely contrary or counter to what we had in mind. Robert Burns was very astute in his saying "The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry". We can plan and plan and plan, and things will inevitably not go as planned. So why do we even bother?
Proverbs 19:21 says "Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails." Perhaps it is time we let go of our need to control our lives. When we let God and His Spirit control our lives, we will find He has even better things in mind for us, and while some may be difficult, they will provide opportunities for growth and increased faith. We are God's and He is caring for us, guiding us, preparing the way for us. If we live to please Him, He will take care of all the other details. Perhaps, just perhaps, it is not really important whether we agree to this life or not, it is only important how we live it.

"Lord, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance."

Friday, June 22, 2007

Second Verse

I am out again today--gone to get the grandkids. Will try to blog when I get back.
Have an amazing day!!!


Thursday, June 21, 2007

Living On The Edge

Recently, I overheard a conversation between two church members regarding an upcoming church event. The dialogue went something like this: "We are probably going to need more help." "We could ask the Peterson's or the Thompson's" "Yes, we could ask them, but I don't think they will help. They are always on the outside edge" "I know you are right, they don't participate in anything and don't even come all that often. Maybe we could ask the James's, they are here all the time" "Good idea, I will give them a call."

I have to confess that at first, I didn't think too much about the conversation. I just went on about my business. But, before long it began to bug me. I wondered how many of us feel this way? How many of us look at our Christian brothers and sisters and categorize them as "core" members and "those on the edge" or "fringe" members? Surely, we don't do that? Surely we see all our brothers and sisters as simply that, brothers and sisters. Don't we see them all as important parts of the body, necessary for body growth? Or is their attendance and participation so infrequent that we don't really notice when they aren't there? Do we dismiss their absence as just habitual and just accept it rather than checking on them?

I am ashamed that I do these things! It pains my heart to know that I have discounted their faith. I know that God paid the same price for them that He paid for me, the blood of His only Son. I know that! And I am always happy (and surprised) to see them and careful to say they've been missed. Ned and I even talk about how good it was to have them back with us. But in our minds we wonder how long they will stay, whether this was just their occasional foray into the worship service or would we see them more often. But then, as quickly as they entered my mind, the thoughts of them leave. I don't call them or drop them a note. I don't invite them over for dinner. And worst of all, I don't pray for them. Oh, I do generally, but specifically for those "fringe members", no, sadly I don't mention them to God. In fact, I shamedly confess, they do not cross my mind again until the next time I see them. I am not sure anyone else thinks or acts either. And then, we all wonder why they hardly ever come, why they seldom participate, why they don't seem to want to fellowship.

I have been thinking about what it would be like "living on the edge", feeling like a visitor when you are among family? I have wondered what thoughts would pass through one's mind when they were treated like a "temp" rather than a worker? Would I be willing to exert energy and time when I know I would be on the fringe? Would I gladly work at a project as an outsider? I don't think I would. I think I would fill my life with other activities. I think I would spend my time with other friends, building relationships with those in the world. I think I would give my attention, my money and my all to those who made me feel welcome and as if I belonged. I think I would come to worship only when I had nothing better do. I think I would eventually adjust to living on the edge. How about you?


Wednesday, June 20, 2007

"Because I Asked"

One of the greatest stories on prayer is found in I Samuel. You know the story: beautiful Hannah taunted by her rival, teased and mocked to the point of tears, unable to eat or focus on anything else but her empty womb. The woman stands praying and weeping before the Lord, (the text says she prayed in bitterness of soul). She wants only one thing, a son. God answers her prayer and she is blessed with a baby, whom she calls "Samuel". Verse 20 of chapter 1 says, "She named him Samuel, saying, because I asked the Lord for him."
What an amazing testimony on the power of prayer. The story teaches us all the essentials of prayer. We notice that Hannah knows who to turn to--she knows that only God can help her, even her husband does not understand and so, she prays persistently. She bares her soul and pours out all her anguish to the Lord. Her prayer is real and not a memorized, habitually the same prayer, she prays authentically. She does not seem to be afraid who knows about her prayerlife, she prays courageously. I love verse 18 because it says that once she prays and Eli speaks to her, that she goes on her way, her spirit revived, her faith in God and His ability to answer her prayer renewed. She obviously prayed believing. When God answers her prayer, she does not forget. She knows exactly who did this. She remembers the bargain she made with God. She remembers to thank Him, and she prays thankfully. What a great example Hannah is to all of us. She asks, believing. And she receives thankfully---all in prayer to God.
Each and everyone of us face many disappointments in life. We have unfulfilled dreams and unreached goals. We are often discouraged about what we do not have, what we have not done, where we have not been. We try and try and try again. We make and remake plans. We schedule and reschedule and we work and work and work, often at the expense of everything else. Many of us find ourselves living back at the "old drawing board" needing to regroup again and again. And unfortunately we have become a group of very frustrated Christians.
Perhaps we can take a lesson from Hannah. Maybe some changes in the way we pray are called for. What do you think would happen if we turned to God for everything, rather than trying to do it ourselves? What changes would we see if we prayed persistently? What would genuine, open and courageous prayers sound like? And would we see greater results, more powerful and more amazing, if we prayed believing----if we then went on about our business, already thanking God for His answers? And what would happen if instead of just taking the answers and getting on with life, taking them for granted, what if we continued to thank Him for His blessings in our life, for His responses to our request? Perhaps our lives, especially our prayer lives, just as Hannah's, could become a testimony of God's love. That is what we all want, isn't it? We want others to look at us and think of Him. We want our deeds and our actions to cause those around us to glorify the Father in Heaven. Do you think it is possible to become a walking and living testimony? Of course it is, but we cannot do it alone. We have a heavenly Father who loves us and who wants us to be His ambassadors, His messengers, His billboard. And our God can and will accomplish this in our lives--- we just need to ask.

James 4:2b " . . .You do not have because you do not ask God."

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Talking with Dee

Not too long ago, I was interviewed by my friend, Dee Andrews. She is posting that today and asked that I link to her site. So, if you don't already know more about me than you want to and would like to read the interview, link here:

Thanks Dee, I am honored.
Have a great day and I will see yall tomorrow.


Monday, June 18, 2007


I spoke at a ladies retreat this weekend and had a wonderful time! As I was working on one of the lessons, I felt myself continually drawn to the idea that there are no spiritual accidents. The creation of each one of us was deliberate and according to Ephesians 1, purposed by God in advance. Isn't that empowering? To know that our very being is deliberate? To know that God intended for us to be? That we were meant?
Eugene Peterson, in The Message, puts it something like this, Before we were even created, God saw us in His mind's eye and had settled on us as the object of His affection." Wow! We were not a haphazard or accidental creation. God knew what He was doing. He knew how we would look, how we would feel, how we would live.
I probably "preached" this too much at the retreat, but we have been so afraid we would be seen as pentecostal in nature, that we have dumbed down the very spiritual aspects of our lives. God providing a way of escape from temptation is seen as "coincidental". Our choices working out for our own good in the long run is seen as "accidental". We try to say we unintentionally sin and we make excuses. When God provides for us, we talk about just how "lucky" we are. All too often we live haphazardly, going with the flow, rolling with the punches. But God created us to be deliberate people, the kind that decide to live for Him and do so with all our hearts, minds, souls and strength----people with a purpose. I believe there are no spiritual accidents. We don't accidentally sin and we can't accidentally worship. Our relationship with God has to be intentional and deliberate. We cannot sit in formal worship services, going through the motions and hope God will be worshipped. Worshipping Him has to be our motivation. It has to be our intent. It has to be deliberate. We have to mean it!
Today, let's plan on living a life that deliberately glorifies God, a life that is a living sacrifice. Today, let's recognize that when God created us, when He purposed us, when He redeemed us, He meant it! And so, let's all of us will remember our promise and commitment to Him and live like we meant it.


Thursday, June 14, 2007

When Jesus Takes Your Hand

Mark 9:26b-27 " . . .The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, 'He's dead'. But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet and he stood up."
The story is that of the boy with the evil spirit. This evil spirit has endangered the boy's life, throwing him into water or the fire in attempts to kill him. His father laments his helplessness to save his child. He wants to spare his boy from the assault of this evil spirit. The disciples have tried to cast it out but have been unsuccessful. The crowd swarms the Savior. In their midst are the teachers of the law, the boys father and the disciples. None could heal this boy, none but my Messiah. Nothing is too difficult for Him, no evil too powerful, no one too insignificant for His touch.

This is one of my favorite miracles. You see, we all once lived with evil. We allowed it to live in us. We lived to please ourselves and evil was our companion. Evil thoughts, evil deeds, evil results. Like all sin, big or little, it put us in danger, threatening to drown us in the ocean of worldliness and possession anxiety. It threatened to burn us alive and consume us with selfishness, lust and hunger for power and fame. Loved ones lamented our condition. There were those who out of concern, tried to rid our lives of the evil we'd embraced. But they were unsuccessful.

But Jesus came, He gave us a reason, He gave us a way, He gave us Salvation. He reached out and took us by the hand. He lifted us up and now we stand. We stand secure in our eternity, courageous in our walk, single-minded in our lifegoals. We stand with the faithful, ready to heal, ready to teach, ready to save. Evil no longer lives within us. We are no longer dead, no longer in danger. We stand healed, whole and hand in hand with Jesus.


Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Living In A Jesus World

What would it be like to live in a Jesus World? Imagine a world where there was no arrogance, no cocky, entitled people demanding to be heard, demanding to be waited on. What if everywhere we looked everyone who had been grieving and hurt and wounded, was now no longer in pain, their heart no longer breaking. If we lived in a Jesus World, we would all feed on the Word of God until we were filled up. Where there was once vengeance and violence, there would be mercy and grace. There would be no one with evil in their hearts, no hearts blackened with impure and ugly thoughts. The world would be filled with peacemakers.
Wouldn't it be great to live in a place where no one attacked another's character? Where ugly words were not heard and no one was a verbal victim? Imagine a place where there was no adultery and no divorce, a place where a man was as good as his word and his word was always good. In a Jesus World, we would not seek revenge for past evils, we would forgive those who had sought harm for us, in fact, we would even help them, befriend them, love them. In this world, their would be no one in need for everyone else would have already reached out and helped with a generous and benevolent hand. We would be a group of praying and fasting people and our faith would be so strong that we would not worry about worldly things like our food, our clothes, our house. We would truly believe that God would take care of us, that is, if we lived in a Jesus world. If we lived in a Jesus World, we would not judge each other. (Matthew 5-7) We would lift one another up and encourage one another. We would give our brothers and sisters the benefit of the doubt. In a Jesus world, we would be aware of our purpose and our mission and we would choose to accept our assignment every single day. We would see people as lost souls rather than bad behaviors. In a Jesus World, we would be courageous enough to share the gospel. We would know the Word and be ready to preach/teach at the drop of a hat. Imagine living in such a place. Can you think of a better place to live? A better place to work? A better place to play? Wouldn't Jesus World be a great place to raise children? Who wouldn't want to live in such a world? Now the real question is, in this Jesus World, would I fit in?


Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Only A Child

Sunday evening after church, Ned and I went to the hospital emergency room. We had received word that one of our young families was there, waiting to see if their two year old had broken his arm. The arm was indeed broken, the result of a fall from the porch. Our emergency room staff splinted the little arm and made a referral to a pediatric orthopedist in Amarillo. Our prayer is that the specialist will look at this little boy, decide against any surgery or pins or any other extreme remedy and that little Colt will heal quickly. He is a precious child and was very brave and we know that he has good parents who will be able to get him through whatever the treatment. But Emergency Rooms and doctors are a bit scary for anyone, even more so when you are only a child.
I have a real soft spot in my heart for children. I love their forgiving spirits and their accepting hearts. I love their courage and tenacity. While I don't have any children who live with me, I love seeing the little ones at church, marching in the Lord's army and being so happy that their faces really show it. As we attended VBS in Childress last night and as we prepare for our VBS, I have been thinking about children. I am reminded that a dead boy was important enough to Jesus that the Son of God would risk becoming ceremonially unclean to touch this boy and give him back to his mother. I am reminded of a boy whose willingness to share his lunch brought sustenance to more than five thousand adults. I am reminded of a young shepherd boy whose courage and faith in God brought about the demise of a giant. In this story, the king tells the boy, "You can't fight the giant, he has been fighting his whole life and you are only a child. (paraphrased) I Samuel 17:33
There are so many things I want to accomplish during my days here on earth. There are souls I want to win for the Lord. There are lives I want to touch, changes I want to make, darkened souls with whom I want share the Light. I want to write something that will bring courage and inspiration to a reader needing just that. I want to comfort a soul that is hurting so that they might know they are not alone and that a loving Father cares for them. I want to teach about an amazing God, a compassionate Redeemer and a guiding Spirit. I want to rejoice with the angels over the return of the prodigal. I want to abide more fully in the Word and live a more prayerful life. I want to truly know God and to be able to more adequately discern His will for me. I know I have grand ambitions. And to be honest, there are times when I look at my list of goals and feel overwhelmed, incompetent and inadequate. I want to cry, "I don't think I can do this. After all, I am only a child." But, then . . . I remember, God also has a soft spot in His heart for children. Through His children, He does mighty works. I remember that I am only HIS child because He chose me, chose to adopt me and call me His own. Now, I can do anything because all things are possible through Him, even if you are only a child.

"How great is the love the Father lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!" I John 3:1


Monday, June 11, 2007

Excuse Me!

Have you ever wondered what people from past generations would think about society today? Do you think they'd be puzzled that now we pay to exercise at a gym rather than get it while working on the farm? Do you think they'd scratch their heads that we communicate electronically rather than with pen and paper? Would they be shocked that we can browse, shop and even pay online, without ever leaving the house? Do you think they'd be amazed at how we keep up with folks on the other side of the world but we don't even know our neighbors? Would it surpise them to learn that we can get an education, a college degree from the comfort of our own home? Do you think their jaws would drop when they entered a church building with coffebars and powerpoint and sound systems? I am amazed at how much we have, how many things we have, each designed to make our lives easier and allow us to do tasks faster and better----more efficiently. We have gadgets to make us smarter, drinks and memberships and machines to make us stronger, doodads to give us more time, thingamagigs to make us more mobile and enhance our communication.

Ideally, we should be stronger, faster and smarter, (or at least more educated) than past generations. We have more time, more energy, more money and more resources. So why do we make excuses about serving the Lord and keeping His commandments? How can we say we are "too tired" to go to worship? How can we say we'd be happy to participate but we just don't have the time? How can we say, we don't know how? Are we timid or lazy? If we are lazy, there is only one solution--STOP IT! Repent and get to work, the only true cure for laziness. If we are truly timid, we can increase our faith by looking at some examples in the Word.

Given all the advances of our society, these seem like nothing more than excuses. As a preacher's wife, I hear lots of excuses. You know the ones:
  • "I was going to come to church but I didn't hear my alarm go off" "I had a horrible headache" "My family was in town and they don't believe in church"
  • "I would teach a class but I am not really good with kids" "I am going to be gone alot this summer" "I used to teach all the time and I just need a break"
  • "I would like to convert someone but all of my friends are happy with their own faith" "I don't really know enough bible to teach someone else" "I hate to come off like a religious fanatic"

Sometimes excuses are so frustrating. Mine included. Looking back, I let excuses keep me from doing lots of good things. Things I know would have resulted in blessings for me and others. God has given me so much, He promises me He will not fail me, He will not leave me. He gives me power in His word, power in His church, power in His Spirit. Those are better than all the high tech gadgets and much more effective. And so I wonder, what would it take in this age of high tech, in the age of faster, stronger, smarter, to make us wake up and take the opportunities that come knocking everyday? What will it take? Think about the missed opportunities in your own life. Are there any? Are there many? What will it take for all of us to stop being "excuse me" people and become "git r done " people? We are robbing ourselves and crippling God's ability to bless us when we become so self-involved that we become uninvolved. There is an entire world out there waiting to know Jesus. There is an entire church family, longing to grow with us. Thre is Lord and Master sending us opportunity after opportunity. Why aren't we taking them? When God is with us, we truly have no excuse.


Friday, June 08, 2007


Gone for the day---taking kiddos back home. See yall tomorrow.


Thursday, June 07, 2007

In Need of a Do-Over

Have you ever been visiting with your friends, discussing life in general, when some topic comes up and before you think, you say something wholly ungodly? It may have been something that paints another person in an unattractive light or some crass or coarse statement meant to be funny. Whatever it is, it quickly slips out of your mouth and into the ears and minds of the group. Everyone laughs or smiles or makes some relevant verbal response, and life goes on. Later at home, while you are cooking dinner or mowing the lawn, you replay the day in your mind. Your smile quickly fades as you realize the possible damage resulting from your lack of self-control. At that moment, all you want is a do-over. You would give almost anything to be able to go back to that group of friends, stand in their midst, listen to the conversation and say something uplifting and encouraging. You just need a do-over.
Confession time: this happened to me just this week. We were at work, sitting in the Activity Room, discussing the day ahead. As is often the case when a group gathers, conversation changes from work and residents, to others. In a feeble attempt to be funny, (usually unsuccessful), I made a disparaging remark about someone else. Everyone in the group laughed and for a brief moment, I was a star. I was the life of the party. For two seconds. I was "one of them" and it felt good. The group dispersed and we all went about our day. Later that evening, as I was telling my granddaughter why it was important to not say ugly things about people, my heart began to hurt, the guilt of my earlier verbal spew began to stab at my conscience. To be certain, my conscience has been pricked before, but this was more like an assault, a full out stabbing and slashing. I felt like crying. I was so ashamed. Why do I do that? Why is it that the attention of others matters to me? When did hurting someone else become acceptable behavior? And when did it become funny? Why is my tongue so hard to control? Why don't I just think before I speak? I pray that if I did think, I would not say the same thing. If I engaged my brain before I opened my mouth, I hope I would not think it was funny to say hurtful or coarse things. I didn't feel like a star anymore. I didn't feel like the life of the party and I didn't want to be one of them. I wanted to be right in front of the Lord. I wanted release from the assault on my conscience. I wanted a do-over.
I begged God to once again wash me with His blood, to take away my guilt. I pleaded with Him to help me become more like Jesus, to teach me to be kind, to be encouraging, and to have self-control. As His peace swept over me, conviction overcame me. I knew what I had to do. The next day, as I returned to work, I knew I had to face that same group. I thought I would have to seek them out one by one to apologize for my behavior. Oh, how I dreaded reliving that humiliating moment over and over again. But my merciful Father spared me that --all but one of my co-workers were gathered in the same place, discussing the "day's business". I took a deep breath and waited for a break in the conversation. I apologized for my actions the day before. I told the group it had bothered me all night and I really wanted a do-over. They all acted surprised and even a bit irritated that not only had I interrupted a perfectly good gossip session but now none of them felt comfortable continuing the conversation. Sensing their discomfort, I excused myself and went to work. I found the one other co-worker and made my confession, noticing her blank stare and her seeming feeling of urgency to get away. I felt better but I knew my do-over was not yet complete. I had to apologize to the victim of my witty barb, even though she wasn't there and possibly hadn't heard what I'd said, I knew I had to speak with her. Again God showered down mercy, she was gracious and kind and forgiving. She said she had been told but she knew I was just trying to be funny and didn't really meant it. I thanked her for her forgiveness and went to bathroom and cried.
This was one of the most humiliating and yet humbling experiences of my life. I learned my lesson this week. Will I forget and have to learn it again? Probably. But I praise God that He created us with a conscience, and that He is able to use that conscience to make us better people. I praise Him for His mercy and grace, for the blood of His Son who washes away our sins. And I praise Him for sometimes allowing us to have do-overs.


Psalms 130:7 " . . .put your hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is unfailing love and with Him is full redemption."

Wednesday, June 06, 2007


My grandson has an affinity for milk. He does not want coke, or juice, or koolaid, he wants milk. At almost three, he can verbalize that milk is what he has to have. He will drink other liquids if they are placed before him in his sippy cup, but as soon as he finishes, he says, "I'm ready for my milk now." He will drink milk all day long and never grow tired of it. It is the first thing he wants in the morning, even before a hug and the last thing he wants at night, it is his dessert. He never, at least not once since he's been here, asks for anything else. I don't know if it is the flavor that he likes, or the nutritional value that his body craves or just the fact that milk is soothing and comforting and quenches his thirst. He just loves milk.
I wish I had that same kind of craving for the Word of God. The kind where I just had to be in the holy scriptures several times a day. The kind that made me need it first thing in the morning and last thing at night. The kind of craving that made everything else unsatisfying. Can you imagine watching a show on television anticipating the end credits so you could hurry and get into the Word. Going to a game or a race and hurrying home so you could study? Wouldn't it be great to really, I mean really, crave the flavor of the Word? Wouldn't it be wonderful if we found the Word soothing and comforting? If it was the only thing that quenched our thirst? If we wanted to partake in the spiritual nutrition offered by the Word? What if we just couldn't ever get enough?
I don't drink milk very often. Every once in a blue moon, if we are having chocolate cake with chocolate icing, a nice small, glass of cold milk sounds good. I don't like the taste of milk, I don't like the way it sits in my stomach or the way it feels on my tongue. I know I drank it when I was a small child. I probably even asked for it then. And yes, I know all the data about calcium intake and vitamin d and all the healthy advantages of drinking milk. But, I still don't like it. I forced myself to drink it when I was pregnant and breastfeeding. I even tried to set a good examply for my children by choking down a glass with them. I don't have a taste for milk and milk is not something I would crave. I know I don't drink enough milk. I have instead chosen to supplement my nutritional needs with vitamins and such. I should drink more milk but I would rather drink iced tea or Dr. Pepper or coffee, none of which are nutritious or have the benefits of milk.
Sadly, many of us have the same sort of consumption of the Word as I do milk. There was a point in our lives when we were new babes in Christ and we just couldn't get enough. Then we allowed the sweet taste of other literature, other entertainment to alter our desires. We then started supplementing our spiritual needs with groups and rallies and fellowships, with spiritual activities. These are great and important but they are no substitute for time in the Book. There may have been times when we were becoming parents or when our children were small that we really fed on the Word, realizing it was important to their spiritual well-being. And later, we started evening family devotions, ( many of us stopped and started this several times ) we let our children see us reading the Word, for awhile. But, we got busy and those times were the easiest to let go. Occasionally now, we still feed on the Word, but the time, the setting and everything else has to be just right, and even then we only want a small taste. We continue to substitute and supplement, hoping or almost expecting to mature spiritually healthy and fully functioning.
I love that little Kyle desires milk. I love that even when he is offered a choice, he chooses milk. I love that he looks forward to a glass of milk and seems to enjoy it so much. Oh, that I had the same affinity for God's Word. I know the Holy Scriptures provide all the nuturing, comfort and spiritual nutrition we need. I know time listening to God is important for long life, maturity and health. I know that there is a power in the Word, a power that will quench my thirst like nothing else. And just perhaps it is an acquired taste--------one that requires tasting!


Monday, June 04, 2007

A Time To Remember

June 19, 2001; April 4, 2002; September 3, 2003; August 4, 2004; June 3, 2005; and May 20, 2007. Six dates and to most of you nothing more than just that, six dates. But to at least one set of parents, two sets of grandparents, and several sets of great granparents, these dates are very important. Each of these represents the day our lives were blessed with a new child, grandchild or great grandchild. Those days were days of life-changing blessings and we will not forget. Lots of days and things are easy to forget but because these little lives are important to us, and effect us on a daily basis, we do not forget.
In my daily Bible reading, I have been reading the Minor Prophets. Whenever I find myself in these books, I think about the range of emotions the chosen people have to go through. At first they are consumed with sin, so much so, that they have pushed Yahweh right out of their hearts. Even while enjoying the fruit of His blessings, they have forgotten that He is the source. God sends His prophets in an attempt to remind them. I am sure the prophets were frustrated as we can almost imagine the blank looks on the faces of the people, "who us?" "the blessings God gave us?" "we are not doing what?". Then to see that look turn into recognition and then to follow in their father Adam's steps and begin blaming, "Well, the king . . . " or "you can't really blame us when the priests . . . " and even everyone's favorite, "Everybody else is . . . " And once again they would not repent and God would cause them to be taken into captivity, taken away from the land they were not grateful for, taken away from the temple where they had been too busy to worship, taken away from their families and cities where they were abusing and defrauding one another. They would be held there, in a foreign land, reminiscing about the good old days and remembering what it was like when God was blessing them. The remembering would lead to repentance and ultimately to rescue. But they would repeat this cycle over and over, not remembering what happened last time, not remembering God's promise to do it again.
If you are like me, you have a difficult time understanding how they could continually repeat this cycle. It is easy for us to look back at their history and wonder how they could fail to learn in spite of lesson after lesson after lesson. Imagine if our Christian walk was being chronicled step by step, written down in a book for future generations. In four hundred years, would Christians be looking back on my life and saying, "why could she not learn?" "Couldn't she remember what God promised? How could she forget where her blessings came from?" "Couldn't she remember her covenant with God for longer than just a minute?" How easily we forget! Without a conscious effort to remember, we fall, we stumble, we forget and we sin. We need to be a remembering people. We need to be the kind of Christians who have not "forgotten our first love", who "remember from where we have fallen", who remember Him and His sacrifice every hour, every day, every minute, not just during communion. We remember that which is important to us and when we place God and His things at the top of our lists, remembering is easier. We are a forgetting people by nature, but the old nature has been put to death and the new one---well this new one has a memory, enhanced by the blood of the Lamb. This new man, he knows that now is the time to remember.

Friday, June 01, 2007


I looked up the word "bother" in the dictionary only to find that one definition is "to concern oneself". The very definition made me think of the verse in Psalms 8 that says, "what is man that you are mindful of him?". What is man that God would even bother with us? God created a species for His own, He made man and knew that this creature of His needed a helpmate. All of the animals paraded before God and Adam, none were suitable. This bothered God--He found it worthy of His concern, and so God created woman. The relationship between man and woman would be one unequaled by any other relationship, surpassed only by their relationship with Deity. While God desired His creation to love Him, worship Him and glorify Him, He knew they would fail, they would fall prey to sin. This bothered Him and so before His creation had even embraced life, God planned a plan to redeem them.
We know what happened next---man, as in mankind, became so enamored with sin and the self-gratification that comes with it,that they supressed the nature of God inside them, desiring rather to please themselves than please the Creator. Again, this bothered God. He sent prophet after prophet, telling the people chosen by Him, to repent, to return to Him and His ways. He sent plagues and conquerors to enslave and carry away His very own people, taking them away from His place of worship, from His other people, from the very land He had chosen for them, promised them and indeed given them. And repent they did, if only temporarily. Once again, the pull of sin and selfishness pulled them away from the Savior.
Sin was powerful and its hold unrelenting but God still concerned Himself with His people, loving them more than ever, He sent His only Son to redeem the sinful man. This Messiah, sharing the Father's love, being one with Him, willingly stepped away from the glories of heaven to become like man, so that He might somehow cause man to love God again. This would most certainly require blood. But Deity was so bothered by our lostness that They (He) willingly laid down His life. Our sinful condition continues to bother God and He continues to work in our lives.
I once worked with a man who mocked my faith on a daily basis. He taunted me with phrases like, "I suppose you are going to go talk to your God about this." and "Do you really think faith makes sense?" "I think anyone who believes in God really needs medication and long term therapy." "You Christians are so busy fussing about all the God-stuff that you don't take time to live your life." Everyday for several years, he threw barbs at me. And every so often he made the comment that he could not be "bothered" by religion. Until one day, he didn't show up for work. He called in to say his wife had collapsed while they were on a day outing and she was in a hospital in a neighboring town. He asked to speak to me and the call was transferred to my office. I picked up the phone, not knowing what to expect. I heard a sob filled, choked voice, asking me to please pray for his wife, "if it wouldn't be too much of a bother". I assured him it was worthy of my concern and together we prayed over the phone.
I continued to pray for them as his wife made a full recovery and he returned to work a few weeks later. He never spoke of that day again, but the barbs stopped, the insults ceased and occasionally he smiled at me. I do not know what happened to this man. His family moved away a short time later, moving closer to family. I pray he grew to know that God is concerned for him and it is God's love that keeps Him bothered.
What is man that God is mindful of (bothered by) him? He is God's creation, the object of His affection, the man of His choosing. Everyday I am grateful that God is bothered by me, bothered by the sin in my life and that He continues to work to bring me closer to Him. I also pray that He instills in me a heart of compassion, a sense of eternity that keeps me "bothered" by the frailties and sinfulness of those around me, enough so that I may share His message and minister to those in need.