Monday, December 29, 2008

When The Buzzards Circle

Ladies and Gentlemen, Brothers and Sisters, WE are at war.

There is a war going on right at this very moment.

Ephesians 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

There is a war going on at this very moment, not necessarily fought on soil, but in souls. I see it all around me, feel the heat of the battle, cringe as the casualty list grows.

The story of Rizpah was mentioned yesterday. Out of all of the women in the Bible, this one shines a mother's love brighter than any other.

There is no indication of what kind of mother she was, all that is really know of her is that she was a concubine of Saul.

During the time of Joshua there had been a league made that the Gibeonites would not be killed. Saul ignored this and, along with his sons, broke this vow. Because of this the Lord sent famine unto the land.

When David entreated the Lord to end the famine he was sent to the Gibeonites to inquire as to what would bring restitution. The answer was seven of Saul's sons were to be given to them to be hanged.

David complied.

Two of these were the sons of Rizpah. There is no indication that she attempted to stop the hanging of her sons, but after their deaths she spread sackcloth on the rock where they were hanging and kept a vigil, night and day, to keep their corpses from being consumed by the birds in the day and by the beasts in the night.

And she did this through the whole harvest season, with people working around her gathering in the crops. She did this during the heat of the day, during the rain, during the cold of the night, until word reached David.

When he heard of this he had the bones of Saul and Jonathan retrieved along with the bones of these sons of Saul, and they were placed in the sepulchre of Saul's father Kish.

Only then was God entreated for Israel.

I lived many years trying to raise my children with an unsaved spouse. This lead to situations and problems that were difficult to face. It was a challenge to explain to young children why they could not do the things that Dad did without distorting his authority as their father.

There were times that I would lose, and they would take part in things that would break my heart and cause me to don my own spiritual sackcloth and mourn and lament for situations they were in that should have never taken place.

And there were times that I would wonder within myself if they would survive. I would see their interest in the things of God waining and overhead I could see the buzzards begin to circle, awaiting the death of their faith.

What the buzzards did not count on, what those beast did not foresee, was the perseverance of godly love.

I see others today, waving their hands, chasing the devourer away from the bodies of their children. While we work along in the field, bringing in the harvest, their sole focus is on keeping their remains intact.

How do you think David found out about Rizpah? He was not in the fields working, he was the king.

He found out because someone told him. Someone else went to the king because what they saw obviously touched their heart.

And the king was moved to act.

Do you know a Rizpah? A parent or loved one mourning right now?

Because if you do, let me remind you of something. For us today, the grave is not the end.

If they are lamenting at the spiritual death of their child, their hope can be renewed.

Won't you go to the King for them?

Oh, you can continue to work, pretending you don't see their arms waving, pretending you don't hear their voices raised. I am sure there were many there that did that very thing.

But if you can speak to the King on their behalf, He has the power to raise the dead, the power to resurrect the lifeless.

Are you wondering why there has been a famine, why your harvest has not been fruitful? Have you been ignoring the Rizpah's around you? Looking for a breakthrough?

Look no further than those empty pews that used to contain our youth. It may not be your child, but that should not stop you from being the first to bring the news to the King.

Look up, overhead the buzzards are circling the faith of our youth...What are YOU going to do about it?

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Memories

Another year is about to bite the dust. So, as I have time on my hands while caring for my injured son, I have been reflecting on the past year.

So many wonderful things have happened, and so many not so wonderful.

Back in February I got my current job. I was so excited and awestruck that God would trust me with such a challenge. He has helped me in every step I have made.

Dad and Mom have been through so much. I have cried until I didn't think I could possibly have any tears left. I have crawled in the bed with them, prayed with them, felt my heart break because of them, and shared joy with them.

My daughter graduated college and moved off and left me. I didn't think I would ever be able to live without her being near. But, God made a way. She has been though a lot and her faith has grown. I look at her and all she has accomplished and I am so proud of her. I have heard that I spoil my kids...guilty! I don't regret it, after all, I was spoiled too, and I don't think I turned out half bad, so to all the Nay-Sayer's I say "Button It!"

My son, my baby turned 18 and began his senior year of high school. I am in crisis!! Then he ends the year with a bang, literally!! But, his faith during the whole ordeal has been strong. He knows who holds his tomorrow and who held him yesterday. God will see us through this obstacle, just as he always has.

We have grown so much, changed so much, and been through so much!! We have had friendships grow and we have been so thankful for that.

And I am blessed to have my friends to share with. I have started posting some photos on my other blog, so check out sheriboulet.com to see what I have cooking in that department. I will post some more inspirational stuff soon! Right now, I think I am using up all my inspiration taking care of my family, but I will have more to share around the corner! Love to all!!!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Ethan Got Run Over By A Truck....


I can smile about it now...As I think about that stupid Christmas song about Grandma...but it wasn't funny in the least Tuesday night.

I have always had a fear of finding my child in an accident, or something of that nature. Tuesday night when I was sound asleep my son was being dumb.

Now, please don't think he is out running around, sneaking out and doing terrible things. He has this best friend, Logan, who is practically my kid, and he lives right down the road from us.

They are always getting together. Sometimes I will wake up and Logan will be over, or Ethan will go over there and spend the night. That is just Ethan and Logan.

Before I went to bed Tuesday night Ethan told me Logan wanted him to go over and skateboard at the church by his house. He said his stomach was hurting and he didn't know if he wanted to go. I told him he could just call Logan and say he was going to bed.

But he didn't. And at about 12:30 we got a call from Logan saying Ethan had and accident and had broken his arm.

My husband jumped up and so did I. Logan called again and said he had called 911.

My husband dressed before I did and made it down to the end of the road. I could hear the sirens as I ran outside while Bobby was pulling out of the driveway. I prayed the whole way down the road.

When I parked on the side of the highway I could see my husband and about 4 other people standing around a crumpled little form lying on the side of the road. I realized it was my son and my heart sank. All of my worst fears as a mother were lying in that heap.

We got him to the hospital in the ambulance and upon examination and x-rays he was found to have a broken ankle, fractured sacrum and his pelvis is broken in 2 places.

And I am SO thankful!! How blessed are we? Being hit at about 50mph and that is all that is wrong with him...How good is our God???

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Well, What Do You Know??

As of this moment in time....

I'm 42.

Man, where have the years gone? But, never the less, I'm no young girl anymore.

What would I tell that young girl of so long ago?

I don't know if it matters. She would have done as she pleased.

But I would tell her to hold on to it all. Store everything up. It doesn't last for long.

Thanks to my church family here in Douglas for the wonderful SURPRISE Birthday party!! I love you guys!!

Stay tuned for news of my ever changing life. Growing older has not meant becoming boring for me. I have some things in the works, some announcements to make. I think you will be as excited as me.

So, till next time.

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Green, Green Grass of Home

I have had an old song on my mind today, one that takes my back to my childhood. I am pretty certain it even out dates me, but, none the less, it has circulated in my brain for a better part of the afternoon.

I remember all too well what it was like being a young person. I remember lying in my bed in the grips of my own personal drama as I revelled in the certainty that no other person my age had ever been treated as unfairly.

And as I was pondering that today I set my mind in motion to follow the steps I longed to take at that time in my life. In my imagining I walked those paths to the conclusion.

It seems that every path I longed for, every direction I was certain would lead me to the life I dreamt of was in reality a dead end.

We are products of our decisions. What we do shapes our destiny. And those fleeting moments of youth were not worth the destiny they would have shaped for me had I been allowed to follow my own desires.

I can recall the times I have told my own children to be sure about what they are doing, because their actions are writing their futures. There is an old adage that says "If you play, you pay."

I could not remember the words to that old song, so I looked them up. I haven't actually heard it since I was a child. It seems a young man is returning home. There waiting for him is his family, his old sweetheart, the old home place. How wonderful it is for him to be there touching the grass of home once again.

The song ends like this:


Then I awake, and look around me
At four gray walls that surround me
And I realize, that I was only dreamin'
For there's a guard and there's that sad old padre
Arm and arm we'll walk at daybreak
Again I'll touch, the green green grass of home

Yes, they'll all come to see me
In the shade of that old oak tree
As they lay me 'neath the green green grass.... of home

I can remember being young and being so eager to leave behind what I felt was the prison my parents had built for me. Looking back it is easy to see that was not the case.

There is a poem that I love. It says so plainly what I cannot say here. Let me share it with you.

A Fence or an Ambulance
Joseph Malins (1895)

'Twas a dangerous cliff, as they freely confessed,
Though to walk near its crest was so pleasant;
But over its terrible edge there had slipped
A duke and full many a peasant.
So the people said something would have to be done,
But their projects did not at all tally;
Some said, "Put a fence 'round the edge of the cliff,"
Some, "An ambulance down in the valley."
But the cry for the ambulance carried the day,
For it spread through the neighboring city;
A fence may be useful or not, it is true,
But each heart became full of pity
For those who slipped over the dangerous cliff;
And the dwellers in highway and alley
Gave pounds and gave pence, not to put up a fence,
But an ambulance down in the valley.
"For the cliff is all right, if your careful," they said,
"And, if folks even slip and are dropping,
It isn't the slipping that hurts them so much
As the shock down below when they're stopping."
So day after day, as these mishaps occurred,
Quick forth would those rescuers sally
To pick up the victims who fell off the cliff,
With their ambulance down in the valley.
Then an old sage remarked: "It's a marvel to me
That people give far more attention
To repairing results than to stopping the cause,
When they'd much better aim at prevention.
Let us stop at its source all this mischief," cried he,
"Come, neighbors and friends, let us rally;
If the cliff we will fence, we might almost dispense
With the ambulance down in the valley."
"Oh he's a fanatic," the others rejoined,
"Dispense with the ambulance? Never!
He'd dispense with all charities, too, if he could;
No! No! We'll support them forever.
Aren't we picking up folks just as fast as they fall?
And shall this man dictate to us? Shall he?
Why should people of sense stop to put up a fence,
While the ambulance works in the valley?"
But the sensible few, who are practical too,
Will not bear with such nonsense much longer;
They believe that prevention is better than cure,
And their party will soon be the stronger.
Encourage them then, with your purse, voice, and pen,
And while other philanthropists dally,
They will scorn all pretense, and put up a stout fence
On the cliff that hangs over the valley.
Better guide well the young than reclaim them when old,
For the voice of true wisdom is calling.
"To rescue the fallen is good, but 'tis best
To prevent other people from falling."
Better close up the source of temptation and crime
Than deliver from dungeon or galley;
Better put a strong fence 'round the top of the cliff
Than an ambulance down in the valley.


So to those young people that I love so dearly, my heart is always burdened for you. I know you do not believe it, but I do truly know what you are going through. I can also see the after effects. It is not a prison we mean to build, it is a hedge to protect you. More than anything we know the effects of the fall. We have seen it, and in some cases, survived it.

One of my favorite sayings is "Sin will take you farther than you ever wanted to go." It will lead you on a path of self destruction that will forever change you. And in a parents love we want to prevent you from finding yourself in the hog pen, feasting with the pigs, when we have sweet, clean, green grass right here for you.

Someday, when you're older and wiser you will awaken to realize that the grass was never greener on the other side, and the grass was never sweeter than that green, green grass of home.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Ergonomics Of The Standards Of God

It seems there is a science studying everything. There is probably a science to study the science of science.

Several years ago another science emerged called Ergonomics. If you do not work in the business world you might not be familiar with this particular science. But since I do I have been forced into the acknowledgement of it, if not the actual participation in it.

So, let me expound on it for a brief moment.
Ehem...
Ergonomics is the applied science concerning human characteristics when designing things that people will be using. This is to make sure that the interactions between people and what they are using are safe.

What can happen if Ergonomics are not applied *according to the expert scientists* that have poured their life's work into the study of said science?

Any number of horrific consequences!! Slipped disks, torn ligaments, carpel tunnel syndrome, and the list goes on and on...

I must admit I was having some difficulties at one point when I was spending a good deal of time doing computer entry. I was having the worst pain in my shoulder. I ended up going to the chiropractor. I have never even had my back popped.

My poor son went with me and I looked up into his terrified face after my session was over.

"Mom! I thought he broke your neck!"

One of the first things he made me do was sit down as I normally sit.

So I folded myself into a chair with my leg tucked primly under my bottom.

"AH HA!!!"

It seems when you sit that way it curves your spine...and did you know you are not supposed to sleep on your stomach!?!?!

Well, I reluctantly followed his sage advise, and guess what? My shoulder quit hurting.

I believe God was the original expert on Ergonomics. He developed a standard for us to live by so that we would be able to interact with the world around us in a way that would not damage who we are in Him.

In the book of Isaiah there was a decline in the society of the day. It was visible in every aspect of that society, in the spiritual, moral and political environment. Isaiah 3:16-26 talks of the women of the time.

The commentary in my study Bible describes it so well: "In the midst of decline, the women of Judah were characterized by their devotion to all kinds of things related to fashionable and external appearance rather than to inward holiness and love for God. They were self-centered women, searching for sexual attractiveness and thinking only of their wants, but showing no concern for the oppressed, the poor, or the tragic spiritual condition of their families and people."

God demanded holiness in the women of that day. And He still does. He drew a line in the sand a long time ago. He is the one that made a distinction between male and female. And as society continue to decline in this present day, that line of distinction is becoming more and more dim.

How many times have I been off and looked at someone questioning within myself exactly what they were?

I enjoy being a lady, so it is hard for me to fathom. In some churches today you cannot tell the women sitting on the pews from the women in the streets. That sounds harsh, doesn't it? But it is no less true.

Isaiah 4:1 And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel; only let us be called by thy name (let thy name be called upon us) to take away our reproach.

In this day and age, no one wants to hear about what God may require of them. "We want to do our own thing, dress the way WE want to dress, consume what WE want to do, but we still want to be called by Your Name."

There was a price for these people in Isaiah's day. There were consequences for their actions and lack of concern for the things in God's Word.

So are there today.

When we love our children we set boundaries for them. There are certain places we don't want them to go, certain toys we don't want them to play with. We don't let the run around willy nilly sticking things in light sockets or play in traffic. We feed them nutritious food and dress them warmly in the cold.

We teach them right from wrong. Why?

Isn't that obvious?

So why should not our Father set guidelines for us so that we will be protected from the things of the world that could harm us?

Should we resent our loving parents when they did not allow us to run through the house with scissors?

Should we resent our loving God for the plan of protection He has laid out for us?

The Word of God is to teach us how to live in this world until He comes to take us back, and how to do that causing the least amount of damage to us that we can. It is designed to help us know how to deal with situations and not come away broken.

And I thank Him always for knowing my failings, my shortcoming, and setting up a plan to protect me, not only from this world, but from MYSELF.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Getting Through It

I have heard so many times the saying "If God brings you to it, He'll bring you through it."

And that is so true.

BUT, may I say, God doesn't bring you to every problem?

Some problems we bring ourselves to. There are times when bad decisions and willfulness cause us to end up in situations that we cannot get out of. We have to face the consequences of our actions.

But even when we cause our own problems, He still cares.

How many times I have had to go back and say, "OK, Lord, I messed up. Please forgive me, and help me to overcome this situation."

There are so many times I could have avoided problems if only I would have listened to Him. He tries to tell me sometimes...but I shrug it off.

Then, later, when I am standing toe to toe with the giant problem I have created, well, I always remember that He tried.

I think of Peter at those times with the Lord telling him, "You're going to deny me three times before the cock crows."

"No Way! Not Me!!"

As the rooster was crowing, the tears began to fall. Oh, how I have been there myself.

Then there are times when we are faced with problems that are caused by others, things we may not have even been involved in, but because someone else failed we are drug under the riptide of their calamity.

He listens even then.

And He urges us not to feel bitterness because the calamity was not our making, but ours to overcome. This is maybe the hardest of all. Because overcoming this type of problem usually involves humbling ourselves and forgiving.

Sometimes that can be more difficult than any other obstacle of faith we may ever face.

And it can also become a time of great faith building.

Problems come, but we know the Problem Solver. I know there are issues we face that are not the will of God, but that does not mean He will forsake us. He is ever faithful.

When problems come, He doesn't expect us to sit back on our heels and wait for Him to solve them. If we never had problems, we wouldn't need Him in the first place. Problems are some of our greatest opportunities to become who He would have us to be. But first, we must seek Him.

He has the answers. He is waiting to help us pass each test.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving

This has been a nice Thanksgiving for us. So let me give you a run down of my personal thankfulness.

First and foremost, I am thankful for my Lord. I am thankful that I know this Apostolic message. I am thankful for holiness and separation from worldliness. I am thankful for my church family and my Pastor and Pastor's wife.

I am thankful for my job. I LOVE what I do! How many people get to say that everyday??

I am thankful for my husband. I know that may seem hard to believe *smile* but I am. At the end of all of life's trials and conflicts he is the one waiting to help me get myself back together. No relationship is perfect but he did read the 5 Love Languages at my request, and he has been making the bed...how sexy is that??

I am thankful for my daughter. She has such incredible strength. When I was a young woman that strength alluded me. I see her face life's challenges and disappointments with grace. Even as I write this she is facing a trial and I am amazed at her! When our children first appeared in this world we were very young (I was her age) and we made a promise that we would get them through college. She has been mainly getting herself through will little help from us. She made a goal for herself years ago and she has stuck to the plan. I am so proud to know that she came from me! Do you know how awesome that is??

I am thankful for my son. In him I see a lot of myself. My beautiful girl is outgoing and never lacks for friends. My son is more like me. He has friends, but there number is not huge. He is honest to a fault and doesn't hold back what he thinks you need to hear. I see him when I am singing on the platform, I see his arms lifted and his face set. I watch his movements for a moment, that's all I can do and still sing. I am thankful God is dealing with him, setting a coarse for him to follow. I am so proud to say he is my son.

I am thankful for my family. I am thankful my parents were able to go to Louisiana and see that new Great Grandbaby. Even though Mom ended up in the hospital I know how much they needed to get away from the 4 walls in their house for a while. It has been years now since they have been able to go for more than a couple of days.

I am thankful that I managed to remember how to cook dressing. And I am thankful that it was good!! Everything turned out good, except for the turkey. I am thankful I didn't burn the house down when I burnt it up....And I am thankful there was still some good meat on it.

I am thankful that I have had a whole Holt's Coconut pie to myself. And I am thankful that Monday dawns a new day and my husband has agreed to start a new healthier lifestyle with me so that we can be around to enjoy our Great Grands if the Lord tarries.

I am thankful that I did not have Lymphoma like we suspected. And I am thankful I did not have a brain tumor. I know there is still an issue looming but I am confident that all will be fine. I am thankful the trails of waiting to find out are over.

And I am thankful for you...my friends. Life keeps rolling along, but you are still there. I love you all. Please continue to help me pray that my piano playing will improve. God has been dealing with me about the fact that I have not been spending enough time with it, but some things have moved out of the way and now I can. He always makes a way!!

I am also thankful for my cell phone and my Mac that allows me to share our blackened thanksgiving turkey with you!! ( and with my Mama in the hospital in Louisiana)



Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Beginning

"In the beginning God created...." Genesis 1:1

I have been saddened by events of recent days. Saddened, but not surprised.

For those of you that have never met me...let me introduce myself.

My name is Sheri, and I am a mother.

There are those that were born to be doctors, or lawyers, or zoologist. I was born for a purpose also.

I wear other hats that I also love. I am a wife, I am a nurse, a daughter, a sister, an aunt, and a friend. And I am a Saint of God. (at least I try to be)

My vessel is imperfect, the flaws are sometimes very notable. But those flaws have never stopped me from being able to carry this love I have for my family.

And through God's abundant grace I have been able to love others also, though they are not my own children by birth.

I have been given a charge, and I have put everything I am into fulfilling it. My children are PERFECTLY imperfect.

I sit here this morning with tears blurring my vision. One of my babies hurts. And, oh, how that hurts my heart. I would that I could erase every pain, every tear from their lives. But that is not what's best for them. And in my love, I want the best.

I have a very favorite quote. "There will come a time when you will think everything is finished. That will be the beginning." Louis L'Amour

For every beginning there is an end.

BUT, more importantly, for every ending, there is a BEGINNING.

I cannot take away your hurt this morning, my precious, beautiful baby. But I can give you something to hold on to...hope.

That is one thing that has not ended.

He knows where you are right now, knows all about the pain and the tears. But He knows much more than that concerning you.

"For I KNOW the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected END. Then shall ye call upon me, and yea shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart." Jeremiah 29:11-13

Remember your First Love, the One that will "never leave thee, nor forsake thee." (Hebrews 13:5)

HE KNOWS....HE KNOWS....HE KNOWS!!!!

I love you my precious Dumplin'. You are SOOO much like me. I see myself at your age in every move that you make. And you know what? I don't think I turned out half bad. Hold your head up...look unto the hills....Sometimes one chapter has to end, so the story can continue. And although the ending hurts, remember the sweetness of the beginning and don't begrudge the end. Let Him take control...He knows what is best. Even in the hurt, you can say "Even so, come, Lord Jesus." (Rev. 22:20)

This is for you, Baby. Mama loves you soo soo much!





Thursday, November 13, 2008

Working For Peanuts

When I was a teenager going to school in South Louisiana, I had some teachers with some interesting ideas. Now, granted, I was a *Newspaper Brat* which is akin to an Army Brat in that we moved around a bit.

My parents and my siblings were all born in South Georgia. Except for my mother who was born in Alma (in BACON County), the rest were born right here in Douglas, or COFFEE County. (Yea, I always loved telling people that when I was little :->)

My grandfather on my father's side was a sharecropper. I remember many things from those times, although he stopped farming when I was probably about 5.

When I was in 6th grade in Metairie, Louisiana, my teacher proclaimed to the class one day that *although* it was called Hog's Head Cheese, it was not literally made from a hog's head.

My hand shot up.

"Um, my grandmother used to make that and she used a hog's head."

The argument began. I ended up having my father call the teacher and she made him send in a recipe!

A couple of years later I was in class in Sulphur, Louisiana learning about the wonderful state that I was living in when the teacher began to tell those innocent, wide eyed kids about the peanut trees.

PEANUT TREES!!

I fell out of my desk! And when I climbed back in, my hand shot up.

(Please keep in mind that this was the year I was given the superlative of *quietest girl* so you can imagine how shocked and appalled I was to volunteer to speak)

"Um, my grandfather used to grow peanuts and they didn't grow on trees, they grew on plants. He would pull them up out of the ground and the peanuts would be at the roots. Then he would shake them off and sit them on the porch. My grandmother would boil them for us."

I don't know what shocked her more, the fact that they came out of the ground, or the fact we boiled them!

I was driving home from Gray, Georgia after a meeting Tuesday when I got behind a peanut truck. I started thinking about the peanut.

Some time in the past, someone walked by a peanut plant, and for whatever reason, decided to pull it up. Maybe it was thought to be a weed, maybe it was in the way, I don't know. But when they pulled it up out of the ground there were all of those little peanuts clumped in with the dirt. I suppose that caused them to investigate, and caused some brave soul to have a taste test (and probably a tummy ache if they ate many of them raw).

Thus the rise of the peanut began.

Peanuts have been shown to have many benefits to your health, from reducing the risk of cardiac related death to reducing the size of colorectal tumors. They are an excellent source of antioxidants and protein.

In my life right now, I am facing what appears to be a weed in my garden. It's unattractive and in my way.

What may seem to me to be a spot of ugliness in my life may hold something more for me, if I am prepared to "dig a little deeper." At the root of the problem may be sustenance I need.

That the way it is sometimes. God doesn't necessarily put things in our garden, but if a weed pops up, there will definitely be some blessing clinging to the roots.

To some who face the obstacles of life with bitterness in their hearts, there may be some moaning when the *weed* breaks free and they discover that all they have to show for their efforts and strife are a bunch of peanuts, but not me. I don't mind working for peanuts.

Boiled peanuts and a grape NeHi....it doesn't get much better for this former *Newspaper Brat* and present day *Spoiled Brat of the King of Kings!*

I've got my shovel today, Lord, instead of my sword. Let's start digging, I'm getting mighty hungry!!



~~~On a side note: The phrase working for peanuts is thought to have many origins. But the most interesting of all is that it originated with Harry M. Stevens, who is thought to be the original concessionaire at a sports park in New York. Also credited for popularizing the drinking straw which he handed out with sodas so the fans did not have to take their eyes off of the game, he began selling peanuts in 1895 when the New York peanut company, Cavanaros, paid for their advertising in the Giants program with, you guessed it, PEANUTS! Thus, Mr. Stevens stated he was *working for peanuts.*~~~

Monday, November 10, 2008

When the Heart Murmurs

When my nephew was born many years ago we were told he had a heart murmur. Immediately we became concerned, but the doctor was quick to reassure us that it was probably harmless and he could very well outgrow it in time.

I happened to be somewhat younger at that time, in fact, I was still in high school, but I can still remember the questions that I had. Looking at that amazing little baby, it was impossible for me to imagine something was not right.

In the years that have passed since then as he has grown into a man with a baby of his own, I don't think a lot about that long ago fear, although the murmur can still be heard in him.

One of my dearest friends had a baby girl a few years back. She also had a murmur. but unlike my nephew, hers has been worrisome and requires monitoring after 7 years.

When you listen to the heart, you should hear two very distinctive sounds, a Lub and a Dub. A heart murmur can be heard in addition to these sounds. It will more than likely make a whoosing sound.

And for the most part, heart murmurs are harmless, especially in children. But there are times when intervention must take place to correct the cause of the murmur.

Heart murmurs are not a disease, but rather an indication of a problem within the heart itself. And although the sound the murmur makes can help to pinpoint where the problem lies, the murmur is not the cause of the problem, but merely the effect of the problem.

On some occasions, surgery may be required to correct the cause of the murmur.

The children of Israel left Egypt riding on the miracles of the Lord. What triumph they must have felt, standing on the opposite side of the Red Sea, with the Promise Land ahead, and the bonds of slavery behind.

Moses sang of the glory of the Lord, of His greatness, of His faithfulness, while Miriam and all the women took timbrels and danced before the Lord with all the joy in their hearts.

What an awesome moment that must have been.

But it seems just three short days later they could no longer hear the joy in their hearts for all that the Lord had brought them through. They began to murmur and complain about the bitter waters that they were faced with.

We heard an awesome message last night from Bro. John Phillips as he spoke of this time. He noted that never, during the entire 40 years, did you hear anyone say, "Boy, I can't wait to see the Promised Land! It may be tough now, but when we get to that place there will be milk and honey flowing!"

No, the only sounds it seems they made were murmurings.

"The water's bitterrrrr....."

"We want some Breadddddd....."

"Why can't we have meattttt....."

"There's not enough waterrrrrr....."

"We want garlic and onionsssss........"

"The people are too strong, we'll never take the landddddd......"

God could no longer hear those two things He required from His people over the sounds of their murmurings.

He could no longer hear their praise.

He could no longer hear their worship.

He knew their murmurings were not the problem, but rather the symptom dealing with the condition of their hearts.

There are those today who are never satisfied. Even with His abundant Blessings, even with His neverending Mercy, they grumble, they complain.

They complain about everything, from the driver in the next car, to the checker at the grocery. They gripe about their Sisters in church and grumble about their Brothers.

It's always too hot, or too cold. The music is too loud, or not loud enough. The Preacher preaches too long, or too short.

And even though they have repented, they have been Baptized in Jesus' Name, they have received the Holy Ghost (Acts 2:38), even though their heart beats for the Lord, there is a sound there that covers the normal sounds that should be heard.

Their praise, their worship is drowned out by the drone of their heart's murmurings. And as the murmur increases other things are affected.

Gone is the joy, gone is the dedication, gone is the obedience, the submission.

What is the beat of your heart saying today?

LubDub..LubDub..I'mYours..I'mYours..

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Leaving Your First Love

During the period that Paul wrote to the Romans, there were those there teaching that because grace brought salvation it was not necessary to include obedience to Christ in that saving faith. They believed that you could live in sin, reject God's moral law, and yet possess eternal salvation.

Romans 16:17-18 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.

I can imagine that it would seem to be the path to follow to those that were presented this alternative to living by the Word. How wonderfully simple, believe and be saved, and you are saved forever from your future sins. So, you can receive grace and then return to life as usual.

Romans 6:1-2 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?

How indeed.

I have a theory. I believe that once you truly meet Him sin looses some of its appeal. I believe that when you REALLY spend time in His presence, you can never leave the same because you want more of Him and less of the world, less of the things in the world, and more of the things of God. You are buried in the water of baptism, and when you arise from that cleansing flood, those sins of your old man are dead. As your walk with Him deepens, your desires for the things behind you should become more and more shallow.

How do you live a holy life without leaving behind those sin weights and shackles? I know not how. Holiness is not transmitted by contact either. Sitting on a church pew does not make you holy.

The corrupting influence of sin can infiltrate your life from just the exposure to it, because the more you are exposed, the more desensitized you are to it. Sin will defile everything you do. If your life continues to be filled with sin, it defiles your worship.

What can eventually happen is God will give you over to a reprobate mind, which is a mind void of judgment. You can no longer determine the right from the wrong, can no longer see your own sin.

Suddenly you find pleasure in sin, not only your own sin, but the sins of others. Sin becomes entertainment. And even if you are not committing the sin yourself, you are placed in the same condemnation as those who are as if you are consenting with them.

If only the memory could remain forever for all that have received the Holy Ghost, that memory of falling in love with Jesus. If only all could keep their eyes on Him.

But some don't. You can even see them, still on the pews, going through what has become for them a ritual of sorts with no depth to their worship, no tears flow because no conviction is felt.

Revelation 2:4-5 Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.

Is your first Love calling to you? Is it getting easier to believe the message the world would like you to hear? Do you find yourself more ready to accept things that you would have never accepted before?

If you will listen, you can hear Him, calling out among all the voices of the day that would have your light snuffed out. His voice is still the same, because He is still the same. His Word, still the same.

Because He first loved you, because He will never leave you, nor forsake you, because now, more than ever, He is worthy, return to your first love.

There are those today that would have you believe the things in the Word are not necessary anymore. The world is waiting to deceive you.

But, He's calling you back. Today is the day. Return again.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Death Of Dreams

I had the opportunity to meet an extraordinary mother yesterday.

We received a referral for a 25 year old man who was in need of some help. His mother agreed to meet us at his apartment after she finished work, so off we went.

What we found was heartbreaking and as we completed our assessment, and listened to their story my thoughts raced and tears threatened more than once.

You see, this young man was a high school hero. He had received scholarships to continue on. His future seemed bright and successful, and listening to his mother talk about her *baby* made it obvious that she had been very proud of him.

One day, for no apparent reason, everything changed.

He started acting out, becoming angry, sometimes even violent. She would be called to school over and over again. He began hearing voices, and seeing things that were not there.

Finally came the diagnosis: Her bright and beautiful son, in his senior year in high school with seemingly everything awaiting him in the future that she had ever dreamed of for him, was a Bipolar Schizophrenic.

Everyday she goes to his home. He is unable to live with her anymore because he became a threat to other family members, so she goes to him. She fixes him a meal every day and brings it to him. She cleans his home and buys him new clothes and sheets every couple of weeks because he will not allow anyone to take anything out of his home and then bring it back, so she cannot wash his things.

He lived in filth. The coffee table was filled with a huge pile of cigarette butts and ashes, along with discarded cigarette packs. The couch was almost too dirty to even sit on. His clothing, what little he had on smelled, and his nails were long and nasty.

Yet, there she sat, this mother, looking at her *baby* with love shining from her eyes. While others were afraid of him because of his size and his unpredictability she remained faithful, giving up vacations, giving up time with her other children, because he needs her.

As we stood by her vehicle before we left she poured out her feelings.

"I told my church family that I had so many dreams for him, for his future, and now all those dreams are dead. I guess I had too many dreams for him, maybe that is what happened."

While we drove away I couldn't help thinking about my Father. You know, for a few years I turned away from Him, turned away from His blessings. And I became unrecognizable. My heart, my soul became filthy with sin and all of those things of God that I once held so close, all the things that I once wanted to do for Him, became a distant memory as I changed into a completely different person.

I do not know what kind of dreams He had for me, what He would have done with my life had I continued to walk with Him.

But in that mother I could envision Jesus. I could see Him looking at my filth with love in His eyes. There were so many things I should have done, I could have done, and through her eyes I could see how much it truly hurt Him when His dreams for me died.

"I just want him back," his mother said. "I just want him back like he was."

She said he told her once, "I could have really done something, before this thing got in my head."

My eyes filled with tears as I listened to her go into detail about just how he felt he needed to *remove* the thing that was there.

And then I remembered that day, almost 13 years ago when I stood again at the altar. And I thought of Him looking at my life before that day, and longing to have me back. And that day I removed that which was holding me back. I changed my filthy garment and reclaimed my place in His house.

Though those old dreams may have died, He has new dreams for me. One of those dreams is to help others, to reach out to those that are hurting. And as my mind replays yesterday, and recaptures the love I saw shining in the eyes of a parent, I am so thankful that, like this young man, my Father never gave up on me, never stopped wanting me, never let go of the possibility of dreams...for me.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Consider Your Ways

It can happen to anyone. That burning desire, that drive, that passion that was once consuming can wain in the face of the adversary, can dull with the humdrum of everyday life.

Have you ever suddenly realized that you have nothing left but some ashes from what once was the focus of your energy?

For 16 years the remnant that first returned from the Babylonian captivity forgot their zeal to rebuild the house of God. When the Samaritans came on the scene to mock and oppose their goal, they threw their hands in the air and said, "What's the use?"

And while God's house lay in waste, they proceeded to build their own houses, pursue their own interests, and forget their commitment to God.

But, God did not forget. "Consider your ways," He implored.

He said through the prophet Haggai (1:6-11), "You wonder why you have lost your blessings, why nothing you do will prosper? You have become self serving!"

There have been times when I have found myself in this situation. Things don't move as fast as I would like, or someone says something to discourage me, and I realize one day that I have let myself down, and, more importantly, I have let God down.

After Haggai spoke the people responded and obeyed. They committed themselves to rebuilding the House of the Lord.

And when they responded, God responded to their obedience by promising to be with them.

Today, I am responding to Him. I know I have been complacent in some things, perhaps letting the discouragement of things not happening in my time draw me into a relaxed attitude about something I should always have passion about.

I have considered my ways, God. I know that there are areas that I have become slack in. But I am ready to work today, I am ready to roll up my sleeves and put my shoulder into the task at hand. I want to see a work done for You, I want to see souls won, lives changed! I'm ready, I'm willing, and able, with Your help, to get busy!!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Let Me *STRESS* ~ Sunday Is My Favorite Day Of The Week!!

Every week I look toward Sunday. Through all the events of every day life I am able to remain focused knowing that Sunday is on the way.

I have some beautiful mornings in His presence, and I He is on my mind so much of the time that I feel so close to Him.

Plus Mid Week service is so refreshing to my soul.

But...there is something about Sunday...maybe because it has been set aside just for Him...that makes it my favorite day of any week.

Yet there is a shadow that overcast each Sunday Morning, so that by the time I reach the doors of the church my stress level has reached a high for the entire week!

I don't think MY family is alone in this. I look around on Sunday Mornings before service and see many faces twisted in the same stress-induced mask that I wear.

I honestly believe had my family been around 125 years ago it would be the same...I would be standing by the buckboard with my Bible waiting, then silently praying all the way to church that the mules would pick up the pace.

It doesn't matter how prepared I try to be, something happens. And this morning while driving to church, pushing the *horses* under my hood as fast as I legally could, and fighting the tears of frustration welling up in my eyes, I conversed with my Friend.

"I have tried EVERYTHING I can think of, Lord!"

"Nay Nay," He said. "You haven't tried ME."

How true. But no longer.

I bring the BIG stuff to Him, but...well...

This morning I had a revelation in the midst of my own catastrophe. It doesn't have to be this way. Because even though I can't figure out the solution, I can trust Him to help me to.

Sunday is my favorite day of the week, and with His help, I'm booting the stress to the curb, and I'm gonna hitch my wagon and ride on!!!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A Little Space Of Grace

God has always called for separation from His people. As part of the Law of Moses, He insisted that His people be holy and not to partake of the immoral ways of the world around them.

As Ezra returned with some of those that had been exiled to Babylon it was revealed to him that the people of Israel had taken wives and husbands of those that served other gods besides the One True God of Israel.

Upon learning this Ezra did not say, "Oh well, we will just overlook this. After all, they were living among those that did not believe, so naturally they would be affected by it."

Ezra rent his clothing, plucked out his hair, and grieved. He fell before God, not proclaiming *their* failings and transgressions, but the failings and transgressions became his own.

Ezra 9:5-6 And at the evening sacrifice I arose up from my heaviness; and having rent my garment and my mantle, I fell upon my knees, and spread out my hands unto the Lord my God. And said, O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face to thee, my God: for our iniquities are increased over our head, and our trespass is grown up unto the heavens.

He was mourning the fact that the Lord had delivered His people, just as He promised, only to find they had not lived up to their own promises to God.

He said; "And now for a little space grace hath been shown from the Lord our God, to leave us a remnant to escape, and to give us a nail in his holy place, that our God may lighten our eyes, and give us a little reviving in our bondage."

God had spared them, just as He said. He allowed a little space of grace for them to escape the bondage they had existed in all of those years.

Have you ever thought about that moment when you stood at the altar and He met you there, just as His Word said He would? His promises are always true.

We do not live under the law as they did in the days of Ezra, but we are still called to live separate from the sin around us. We are not to *marry* ourselves to the things of this world, and we should never allow ourselves to enter in to a relationship with sin.

Standing at the altar God gave us a little space of grace and broke the shackles that the world had on our souls. He gave us freedom. By allowing ourselves to be joined to the world in *relationships* contrary to the Word, we once again place ourselves under bondage.

And just as with His people so long ago, when we fail our failures affect others. Our own man of God mourns, taking on the weight of our transgressions against God.

As he comes before us with the Word of God we should find a place of repentance, set aside those things which are contrary to the things of God, and seek again that little space of grace God has allowed us.

Remembering His thoughts toward us, seeking His will, knowing His way, Thankful Always For His Grace!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Needful Thing

Luke 10:38-42 tells of two very different sisters, Martha and Mary.

"Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word. But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her."

Man, I can relate to Martha right now.

I have, over the years, always considered myself to be a worshiper. Recently I seemed to come awake in myself and realized that life has encumbered my worship.

I can remember many times in prayer, staying at His feet, letting my tears flow, and just loosing myself to my worship of Him.

But it seems my life has picked up pace, and I find my prayer time relegated to slots, and my mind racing as I try to get everything done in my busy life.

I don't know when Mary departed and Martha took over, but I miss the Mary in me.

Oh, I am sure no one else has ever been in this place. I know everyone else is perfectly able to juggle their homes, their jobs, their children, their church activities and even ward off world hunger and help devise plans to fix the floundering economy, and STILL bask at His feet!

Yea, I know I am the only one who feels overwhelmed and under prayed at this time in my life.

So, since it is just ME with this problem, I plan to attack it head on.

It is important to live in a clean environment and to take care of those I love. It is important that I am involved at church and that I give my all at work also.

There is certainly a place for Martha in my life. But I have let things trouble me and worry me that have NO place in my life. And it is time that I got back to what is the needful thing for me to make it.

HIM.

I am taking back my prayer time without the time limits. I am letting go of the things that have shortened my study time.

My love for Him has not lessened. My need for Him has not decreased. But somewhere down the freeway of my life I have taken an exit that has left me frustrated and discouraged with my never-ending obligations.

And I have lost sight of the way that once gave me my peace, my comfort, my strength. I know I cannot survive with constraints on my time with Him. So, I will subdue my Martha, and draw on the Mary side of me once again.

For it is in His Presence where my troubles vanish, where my heart is mended. In the Presence of the King.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Living In The Land Of The Lost

In Jeremiah 29 we read of the letter to the captives in Babylon.

29:4-7 Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, unto all that are carried away captives, whom I have caused to be carried away from Jerusalem unto Babylon; Build ye houses, and dwell in them; and plant gardens, and eat the fruit of them; Take ye wives, and beget sons and daughters; and take wives for your sons, and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters; that ye may be increased there, and not diminished. And seek the peace of the city whither I have caused you to be carried away captives, and pray unto the Lord for it: for in the peace thereof shall ye have peace.

God caused His people to be taken captive, as we read in verse 4. Taken from Jerusalem they were also removed from their places of worship, their way of life. And they mourned.

In Psalms 137 we read: By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion. We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion.

They found themselves surrounded by people who worshiped many gods, people who knew nothing of their traditions, people who wanted to be entertained by the songs of the heart of Jerusalem.

Psalms 137:4 says: How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?

How indeed?

Sometimes, in our walk with God, we find ourselves surrounded by circumstances. Through seemingly no fault of our own we wake up in what seems to be a strange land, in the very midst of our own captivity.

Our instinct at that time can be to withdraw, retreat into the safety and solace of our own pity filled thoughts, as we long for what we no longer have.

God certainly does not want us to forget who we are, yet in the days of captivity, He implores us to live.

It is during these times that we build our own empire of faith as we wait for our deliverance. We should continue to live, continue to love, continue to sing the songs of Zion! We should still rejoice, still praise, still worship, because He is STILL able, still there, still listening, still answering!

Jeremiah 29:11-12 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.

He already knows the answer, already has the plans for your release, already is listening for your call, already waiting to respond.

It may seem that you are living in the land of the lost, serving out your captivity, praying for your freedom. Those darkest days can be used to grow your faith to higher magnitudes than you ever imagined. And through your trial you can gain riches beyond measure, strength beyond reason, and peace.

Yes, even surrounded by those who would have you to fail, you can have peace.

In spite of the oppositions you face, live.

In spite of those that would see you fail, live.

In spite of the world and all its trapping, live.

In spite of the naysayers, and doubters, live.

In spite of circumstances and sorrow, live.

In spite of the darkness, live.

"And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart."

Even when it seems all is lost.... LIVE!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

I Have A Friend

"Oh Lord You know, I have NO friend like You."

I have been blessed throughout the years to have many good friends, friends that I could call on, no matter what, and know they would come through for me.

I received a phone call from my sister the other morning. It was so nice to talk to her. We have always been especially close, well, since we grew up to become women. Talking with her, always makes me smile, and even though so many miles separate us in the physical, you can't separate heart.

I have learned many things in the years since I left the nest and soared out on my own. Some lessons were sweet, some bitter.

I sat after prayer last night still feeling the sweetness of the presence of the Lord and suddenly He started to talk to me. It was like meeting a Friend over a cup of coffee and reminiscing about our past together.

Again and again He brought to my mind the times He has given me promises. And again and again He brought to my mind how He fulfilled every one.

We sang an awesome song Sunday called "I Have A Friend" and that song began to play in my heart.

I know there are people who call me "friend" and I know, without a doubt, that at some point I have let them down. I am positive I have not been as supportive, as thoughtful, as caring, as concerned, as in touch as I should be.

And as life has evolved and helped me become the woman I am today, I have found that I don't like to share some things with others, no matter how much I value their friendship. There are some things that are just better off not said.

But, see, I have this Friend that sticks closer that a brother (no matter how close I feel to mine). I have this Friend that I can turn to with every problem, with every situation. It is Him that I long to run to in times of trouble, and it is Him I want to rejoice to in times of joy.

I left my church family last night after a wonderful time of fellowship and headed to the store alone. And it struck me that I was alone. After years of noise and laughter it was just me and my thoughts. So naturally they shifted to my Friend.

Joshua 1:5 I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.

Isaiah 45:2-3 I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron; and I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou may know that I, the Lord, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel.

He knows who I am, and He has given me promise after promise to remind me of who He is to me. He knows me by my name, and I know Him by His.

He is Jesus, the love of my life.

Lord, I long for You today. I long for Your fellowship, just to be close to You. I don't know what I face in the days to come, but You know. And I am placing it all in Your hands. Thank You for the comfort, the shelter, thank You for the laughter and peace. Thank You for knowing me, and loving me in spite of myself. I love You, my sweet, sweet friend.


Saturday, September 27, 2008

An Ounce Of Prevention

As a nurse I deal with the effects of lives lived without concern each day of my life. And with my own extra *fluffy* state, I also live with the knowledge that I need to do a better job taking care of myself.

I sat yesterday outside of a conference where I was representing the company I work for at a vendor booth. I have a harder time with this aspect of my job because I became a nurse to care for people, not to "sell" the fact that I care for people, but I am getting better.

A group of women came in from a smoke break, all of whom were grossly overweight, and they made their way to the table to get a coke and return to the conference. 

I was struck by the whole thing.

Every time I shove an iced honey bun (mmmm) between parted lips I am signing my own death certificate. I honestly do make an effort to eat things that are good for me, but I know I could do much better. 

You see, I have a history to remember.

My father was diagnosed with Diabetes when he was 40 years old. He has high blood pressure, has had 5 bypasses, is on renal dialysis and is a below the knee amputee. 

My mother has an artificial heart valve, has high blood pressure, is borderline diabetic, has lost 1/2 of one foot and all the toes but 2 on the other.

Then there are my grandparents...I'm not even going there....

Seeing those women yesterday, though did more for me than any of the problems of my parents. 

These women were all about 10 years or so older than me, or so they appeared. They were all a great deal heavier than me, and they were all struggling to walk and huffing and puffing to get to the drink table. They came shuffling in through a cloud of smoke, literally. And I am glad that their backs were to me, for I know my face reflected my feelings.

*God, please help me.*

There is a point you reach when you have gone too far for the doctor to fix your misuse of your body. After so many years of abuse, the damage is basically done. You truly reap what you sow in this case.

I have got to do better, for my sake, for my husband's sake, for my children's sakes. 

I can prevent ending up in the same shape, but I have no time to waste.

I know there are many people who balk at holiness. I am faced with them over and over. Sadly, I even see it now among the ranks of Apostolics

I have never seen holiness and separation as a *bad* thing. Holiness is like health food for my soul!

It is that very separateness that serves as our prevention! What safety there is when we separate ourselves. We may never know how many unfortunate situations and outcomes have been avoided simply by obedience.

Just as living life without regard to our health will have an effect, so will living without that protection God has provided.

Sin never visits us without leaving its evidence. 

We can once again reach that place of repentance, but sin may leave marks that cannot be erased. 

Holiness is for the prevention of sin. Repentance is the cure.

But even with the cure scars may remain. 

Thank You for Your Word today. Thank you for instructing us how to prevent our souls from being sullied by the sins of this world. In 2 Corinthians 7:1 told us what we were to do after You received us and made us Your sons and daughters and after You became our God. "...let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the free of God." Thank You for loving me enough to show me how to live. I love You so very much!!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Idle Worship

There are very few things in this life as powerful as worship. 

Let me repeat that for you, because I don't know if you were REALLY paying attention..ehem...

There are very FEW things in this life as powerful as worship. 

With that being said, let me tell you a little about worship. 

Worship is adoration, to adore. Worship is focusing on that which you adore with everything in your being. When you reach that place of worship you lose focus on what is around you and your focus is centered on what is the center of you.

Have you ever really worshipped?

Let me ask that again...

Have you ever REALLY worshipped?

In the book of John in the forth chapter when Jesus revealed Himself to the woman of Samaria He went on to say, "Ye worship ye know not what; we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour cometh, and now is when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth."

Let me *break it down* just a wee bit.

He said "we KNOW what we worship." When you ADORE something you know it, like you know your own heart. When I say ADORE I don't mean you are fond of something, I mean you have a deep, abiding LOVE for something, a consuming love. 

The Jews knew about the One True God, but He said *the time is coming when the TRUE Worshippers will worship *the One True God* in spirit and in truth.*

And He said that this is who God is seeking to worship Him. He COMMANDED we worship Him "in spirit and in truth."

When that salvation came to you, when you were filled with that Spirit, you gained the ability to truly worship, for the first time in your life, you had within you the means to WORSHIP.

Now, I'm not talking about some weak, watered down, idle worship. 

I am talking about WORSHIP! I'm talking about laying aside every sin, weight and shackle and losing yourself in your adoration of the ONE you love. 

Have you been to that place?

There is a place in worship where your problem disappear, your troubles don't trouble you, your loneliness is gone, your heartaches, your disappointments, your trials, everything takes a back seat to Him. 

He WANTS that kind of relationship with you. He knows you have problems, but what He loves is to see you cast them all aside to be with Him. 

So to you tonight, I know things are tough, and maybe things haven't turned out the way that you would desire them to be. I KNOW because I'm walking that same road. I'm challenging you, and I'm challenging myself to reach that place again, that place where the TRUE worshiper steps in. That place where everything goes on hold, just so worship can go up. 

When we allow ourselves to reach that place we remember...

He KNOWS. 

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Back From Charleston!!

Bobby & I just got back from a wonderful Anniversary get-away to Charleston, South Carolina! It was more beautiful than I ever imagined and we had an awesome time!! I would that I could put all the pictures I took on here, because, you know me....I took a blue million!! But I settled for only a few. 

We had such a fun time. We did all the touristy things, like the carriage ride, the harbor tour to Fort Sumter, and we even went to see the Hunley.

Probably the most fun we had was dining last night at this very upscale restaurant. I would that I could say the food was my favorite part. I think laughing at the food was my favorite part. Guess I'm not cut out for gourmet. Give me good old southern cooking anytime!! (At least it's cooked....)

I hope you enjoy these few shots. The first shot is from the gardens of the Calhoun Mansion. It is the largest home in Charleston and was used in the movie "The Notebook" a few years back. The second shot is from "Rainbow Row" which was incredible. The colors were amazing all over Charleston. 

I may add some more shots later, but I hope you enjoy these few!!








Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Between The Miracle And This Moment

Do you remember your miracle? Do you remember when you realized exactly what had taken place?

It could be something simple like finding your car keys in the exact place you had already looked 12 times or seeing $5.00 on the sidewalk when you have no money in your pockets. What about the time you were running short on food and someone showed up with some extra groceries?

It could be when the doctors said there was no hope, then He took over, or when your marriage was beyond repair and He stepped in. It could be the child that has been so lost coming back home.

He is still in the miracle business, haven't you heard that said before? He still moves stones, still raises dead, still heals the sick, still supplies needs. He hasn't changed.

I remember with such clarity times He has moved in my life, in my situations, in my struggles. I remember the realization that He had answered my desperate cries, the joy I felt, the awe, the relief!!

And I felt like that eagle flying high over the mountains of problems in my life. But then, time eases in and stretches out, distancing us from the miracles in our life, dulling the brilliance and importance of all He has truly done for us.

As the miracle becomes a dim, faded memory, so does our ability to believe He can do it again.

I have challenged myself to remember. I have challenged myself to thank Him, daily, for the miracles in my life.

Keeping them fresh in my mind keeps them in focus. And as I am able to keep them in focus it encourages me!!

And if I am *ENCOURAGING MYSELF* then the next time I come up against a struggle it will be a whole lot harder to revert into the "poor pitiful me" mode!

I will be able to look my problem in the face and say "Problem, I see you, but time and time again I have seen the Problem Solver in action! No matter how BIG you may seem right now, I remember other miracles before this moment, and I'm not afraid."

Monday, September 15, 2008

Remembering The Miracle

I hope no one will mind as I indulge myself in a little reflective thought tonight.

When I was but a young lass I longed for a wee little baby of me own....

I had been blessed with my daughter who was an absolute perfect little wonder!! But, still, I wanted a son.

I went to the doctor thinking I was pregnant, only to find out that I was not, and probably could not be. That 30 minute drive from the doctor's office was one of the longest of my life. I remember gripping the wheel and begging God, "Please, just one more, just one more."

One month later I woke up on my desk at work and thought somethings not right here. A little test confirmed once again that He answers prayers.

I think as parents we tend to forget as the years pass by exactly what a miracle our children really are. When they are first born the miracle is so apparent, but the time gets in between the miracle and the moment and we loose sight of how precious our children are.

My baby boy turned 18 today. I can hardly believe it. I will never forget the moment I first saw him. He was so tiny and so perfect. I was afraid the whole time I carried him that he wouldn't make it, but make it he did.

He is the son of my prayers so long ago. The prayers of a young mother desperate for *just one more.* He is also the reason I serve Him today, the reason this backslider came back home. God in His mercy used my child to reach me. And that day I returned my son to the One who gave me my miracle.

I have laid him at the altar so many times, and I will continue to do so, no matter the years that pass, for I never want to forget my very own miracle, just as I never want to lose sight of the Miracle Maker.

So to my baby, *yes, you and your sister will always be my babies* I am so blessed. I don't know what I did to deserve you both. You have given me so much joy. There is not much better in life than laughing with you. You are so strong and even though you have only had 18 years of living *you have the brain of a 100 year old man!* I am so very proud of you, of who you are and what you stand for. I cannot wait to see the beautiful life ahead of you begin to unfold!! And to be able to hold your babies someday, and to see my big grown man hold his own miracle for the first time, well that will be the best of the best. I love you so so much!!!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Let Go Of The Stone

I must say that I always feel antsy during election time. I have always been an even-keeled kind of person that avoids confrontation at all costs *UNLESS* you are someone with their pants cinched underneath your posterior with that whole said posterior in full view...then I cannot contain myself.

I really try to stay away from listening to the news media. It kind of makes my stomach knot up to just listen to all the muck and ruck that flies back and forth during elections. It seems like it is getting totally out of hand with this election, more so than I recall, but then again, I have tried to block out all the garbage from before, so who knows.

But as this election has unfolded, I have found myself paying attention. For some reason this time, it seems particularly important that I remain somewhat in the loop.

I have observed the tossing back and forth of stones by each side. There is so much about politics that I don't quite understand by personal choice. But I understand enough to know that there is danger on the horizon, the danger lies in desperation.

And again I am drawn back to that familiar story of Jesus, stooping in the sand, quietly stopping all the accuser of this woman found in sin.

What if the candidates followed his example? What if they said I'm not engaging in that kind of nonsense?

I have always told my children when someone *shows out* really bad about something it usually means they have something they themselves feel guilty of and they are trying to get the attention on someone else's short comings to take the attention off their own. Time and time again that has proven to be true. The old favorite saying of mine "Right wrongs no man" comes to my mind again.

Let them stand on their experience, on their qualifications, let them drop the rocks they have raised to throw and use the platform of whatever they feel will make them the wisest choice.

Winston Churchill once said; "However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results."

What is the result of throwing stones? Jesus said while keeping His eyes from the accusers that the one among them without sin should throw that first stone, and as I have said before, since He was the only one without sin and He did not pick up a rock, who are WE to do so.


Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Message Of Your...um...Heart

I have spent a couple of days this week traveling around my area with the head of our Community Education Department. He is a terrific guy and full of idea, young and upwardly mobile, I have gleaned much from him.

Over the years I have spoken many times and if I am well versed in my subject matter, then I do really well and can be quite eloquent.

BUT...for some reason, with this guy standing over my shoulder, I tanked.

He told me, "You go ahead, and I will jump in if I see you drowning."

Well folks, I was about 10 feet below the surface of the murky pond of public speaking before he dove in with a life preserver.

When we left his only comment was "You say *um* too much."

Um, I never um really even um realized I um did that!!

I told him, "Give me a break, guy! You have the marketing degree!!! I'm a NURSE!!" :)

He gave me so many wonderful ideas, and I WAS excited about the in-service I had planned for today, until, um, Jason pointed out that I um said um too much!!

Needless to say, I was as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rockers (OK, lame, I know, but I'm tired, people...cut me some, um, slack!!)

Everyone was gathered around and I looked at them with my notes clutched to my chest and I said, "OK, I'm nervous," and I explained to them what had taken place the last time I had done this.

Just as I had hoped, everyone laughed.

"I am just a Nurse, but I believe in this program, and that's what I want to share."

And the rest, as they say, was history. I ROCKED!!!

I have been feeling pressured to obtain the goals set before me with my office. And I have let that pressure override every sane thought, at times. Since there are 2 other companies here that have been here and are established in the community I have felt that was a barrier to our meeting our goals.

But my God has a way of reminding me just WHO He is and that He is in control of little ole' me!!

As I stood there today listening to the staff in the offices I went to, the theme was the same. We want someone who will do what they say they will do...

And He spoke to me oh, so clearly, "What you thought was a stumbling block is a launching pad."

John Ford said: "You can speak well if your tongue can deliver the message of your heart."

It wasn't the fact that I was an eloquent speaker that made the difference today, it's that I delivered the message that I FELT inside of me. And when I opened myself up and gave who I really am, not who someone else may feel like I should be, I received the response I needed.

And, sure, there are other providers out there that have more than we do RIGHT now, but I believe in the promises I have set before me.

"Ability may get you to the top, but it takes character to keep you there."--Babe D. Zaharias

There may have been someone before me, trying to reach the same people, but something in their delivery was not up to par. That's where I step in.

There are also people out there who have been looking for Him, and have had others come to them with the answer to the longings of their hearts, or so they thought. But after a while it seems empty, and the need for more rises again.

That's where we step in. You don't have to be able to deliver an awesome speech, use words that are 10 miles long, just give them the message of your heart....

It gets them every time!!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

I'm Expecting!!!!

I can remember all those years ago when I found out I was pregnant with my children. Both times I was surprised. But it was the emotions that followed those pronouncements that I was going to be having a baby that I remember most.

The anticipation, the fear, the excitement, the joy, the expectation, and a million other emotions all bottled up inside of me. Each day brought that longed for event closer and closer. And each day brought changes within my body that prepared me for being able to fulfill that particular destiny, the moment when I would actually giving birth, the moment I would see the culmination of every dream I had ever dreamed coming true before my eyes.

I read everything I could about pregnancy. If the doctor told me to stop something, guess what? I stopped. If he told me to start something, I started. I KNEW that it was not only ME any longer. I knew that I had taken on the responsibility of another life, and in order to give that new life the opportunity to be healthy I needed to take care of myself, I needed to do whatever was necessary to protect my growing child.

And I remember with the clarity that only a mother can remember with the moments of giving birth. I can remember the excitement that accompanied the pain, the overwhelming joy and the inexplicable love. I can remember the release and the relief when those lusty cries reverberated throughout the delivery rooms.

Working as an Obstetrical Nurse for as long as I did I had quite a few occasions to *catch* a new life in my hands. I cannot even begin to explain what that feels like. Nothing I have ever done in my professional career compares to wrapping my hands around such a miracle.

Micah 4:10 Being in pain, and labour to bring forth, O daughter of Zion, like a woman in travail: for now shalt thou go forth out of the city, and thou shalt dwell in the field, and thou shalt go even to Babylon; there shalt thou be delivered; there the LORD shall redeem thee from the and of thine enemies.

Isaiah 66.8 Who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? or shall a nation be born at once? for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children.

When the church {ZION} travails children are born. And you know what, we may have to go out to our cities, we may have to seek them in the countrysides, We may EVEN have to go into the parts of town we would rather avoid, but GOD is calling to us.

Can you feel the excitement, the anticipation for what is about to take place? I can!

As I was praying this morning God spoke so clearly to me: "You're expecting."

I answered, "Yes, LORD, I am expecting."

I am expecting.

And I may have to stop doing certain things, I may have to start doing certain things, I will follow the dictates of the Word, because I understand the responsibility I have! I am part of Zion, and my time of travail is at hand. It is my responsibility to give birth. That is the whole point of my existence.

And as my time draws nearer, as the time of the church draws nearer, I am getting ready, preparing for the additions, expanding to make room for all that God is about to do.

Lord, I heed to Your call. I will go where You would have me to go, do what You would have me to do. I know that my time is at hand, but not only my time, YOUR time is at hand, isn't it Lord? Lead me, prepare me, use me. I want to give birth by reaching out to this lost and dying world.