Monday, November 21, 2011

In With The Old, Out With The New

I am an Apostolic Pentecostal. I make no apologies for that fact.

I believe the Bible is the whole Word of God and I believe it is something that I can build my life on, the Rock in my Foundation. I believe it is what keeps me from tumbling down because it is firm, solid.

And I believe if it is in the Word then it should be in my life. I am not a proponent of "Cafeteria Style" Christianity. I don't believe we can go through the Word and just "pick and choose" what we want to believe.

I can qualify that by saying I know it to be a fact that there is a blood line that runs throughout the Bible, from beginning to end. There are no contradictions in the Bible, none.

But, that is for another discussion.

As an Apostolic Pentecostal, I believe in the "Old Ways." I believe in holiness, I believe in living a separated life, I believe in listening to my Pastor who is my "Watchman on the Wall."

I don't expect anyone who has not tasted this life to see that it is good.

It has been so very good for me.

To my sadness, I have watched as those that I used to look up to in this walk of faith have taken those things that were once important and laid them aside for a "new" way of thinking. Things that the pioneers of our faith set up as boundaries of protection for us have been torn down and cast away.

There is a pattern I have seen in those that have taken these "bold new steps."

That pattern is destruction.

Destruction of children that had been raised to believe that something was important and are now given the message that never really mattered.

Destruction of families as these boundaries that protected our homes are torn down allowing those very things those boundaries protected us from to come in.

Destruction of our churches as I hear over and over that doors are shut, congregations are compromised and communities are left without someone to herald the Truth to the lost.

You know, satan hasn't changed his tactics. They are still the same. "Ye shall not surely die," (Genesis 3:4) he says to us as we begin to partake of the very things we have been warned against.

But, we are dying. We are dying......

I have not run across one instance, not ONE instance, where the new ways have been a benefit.

And, if you think our children are confused, our spouses are confused, our congregations are confused by this mix-message we have been delivering.....

What about that lost and dying world?

I have said it before, and I will, with all probability say it again....Sin is attractive.

I mean, would we give up the blessings of God if we could see it for what it really is?

Sin doesn't show up fat and nasty, driving an old clunker. No Sir!

Sin shows up dressed in its finest, cruising in the ride of your dreams.

But the promises of sin never deliver what you expected. Sin only takes, it doesn't give. Before you realize what has even happened that one little thing that you decided was no longer important has turned into one more little thing.

And that one more little thing has become another, and another, and another.....

Until you have developed amnesia, not even remembering who you were or what you stood for.

Today I saw a family that once was part of the ministry. They taught me much about this journey of faith that I am now on.

I hardly even recognized them. They were broken apart. And that broke my heart.

I still believe that sin will take you farther than you ever wanted to go. And, it will take you away from God.

I know that some of my family and friends do not understand why I CHOOSE to live the way that I do, why I am so passionately in love with living for God with my whole life.

This is why. I have seen the consequences of letting go of the old paths, of turning aside the old ways.

I don't need the new ways to bring me joy, I have joy. I don't need to let go to be free, I AM free. Because you see living for Him is freedom. Living outside the dictates of the world is where the joy is.

Jesus, I am so thankful today that You put a Pastor in my life that still preaches that there nothing wrong with living right. I am thankful for men and women who still live this way, who are still passionate. I am thankful for all the heartaches that my family has been spared because of a love for You and Your Word. Lord, I pray for those who have let go. Let them fall in love with the "Old Paths" again.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

An Underachieving Overachiever

I am the youngest child in my family. My brother, who is oldest, is a little over 6 years older than me and my sister is a little over 4 1/2 years older.

Until the day my parents died they still referred to me as "the baby."

Now, I am not complaining, by any means. I enjoyed being the baby of the family.

Up until my parents really started having health problems I was not allowed to drive their cars. It only happened then because I don't think they had any choice. Honestly, it was always like I just learned to drive.

And before it is mentioned; my early driving record wasn't the greatest, OK? I know this. Yes, I was in 3 accidents in less than a month. But I can assure you NONE of them were my fault.

Other than that, my record was good.

Didn't matter.

I think everyone was surprised when I went to college....and PASSED!

Not that they thought I was stupid, but it is almost like I was perpetually 14 years old.

I have found that I want to push myself. There are so many things I want to do, so many things I want to be involved in.

And I sometimes tend to load my plate till it overflows......

Then the goal becomes learning to carry the plate without it overflowing.

I was thinking about that today as I was riding along trying to shove as many errands as I could into my break. I was thinking that it is probably surprising to some that I can function at the speed I do. I know there are **some** who can't imagine I can run my own bathwater without scalding my skin off....(that is an inside joke)

Here I am, in school again. When I started I thought to myself, "I am going to make all A's!"

Eh, I have all B's.....that will do.

Once I got started I realized that my best bet would be to survive this without ending up on the brink of exhaustion....or on the brink, period.

In my head I can imagine myself doing all these great and amazing things. And then I end up doing ordinary and average things.

I have found this to be good.

This is the wonderful thing about being an *average* is set a little higher than the (cough) average average! (he he he)

So, even though I underachieve....I somehow break even.

Ah, well....this middle-aged baby is tired.....

Can someone please come pull down the covers and tuck me in??

Friday, November 11, 2011

Meant for Good

Last Thursday I received a phone call from my Regional Director. It seems that someone reported to our Corporate Compliance Hotline that I carried a loaded pistol in my purse and that I not only carried in to our member's homes but I also gave it to the Case Managers to carry with them into homes.

First of all, let me say I do own a gun. I have been raised with a healthy appreciation and respect for guns. I have a permit to carry a gun.

Most of the time my gun resided in my glove box of my car. But, a week or so before everyone was out of town and when faced with a night alone I decided to carry my gun inside with me for the night....and I forgot to take it out of my purse and put it back in my car.

So, when I received the call I could not lie. Yes, I had a gun in my purse.

I have nick-named my gun "Little Bertha."

Many times when my Case Managers were heading out for a bad area we would joke about "Little Bertha."

That's all it ever was, a joke.

Our members have never been in danger and I would never be foolish enough to give something that potentially dangerous that is registered in my name, no less, to someone else to use.

I mean, really?

But, obviously we joked in front of the wrong person.

I truly had no idea it would be a problem to have my pistol in my car. But, it was a problem. At the direction of my supervisor I left work and immediately brought my gun to the house where it now resides permanently.

And, that is really fine with me. I am all about behaving ethically so if this is a rule, I will gladly follow.

When I received the call I was more upset that something like this may affect my record at work than the fact that "Little Bertha" could no longer ride along life's highways with me.

From the time I hung up the phone I could hear God whispering to me....."But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive." (Genesis 50:20)

"OK, Lord," I thought, "I don't know what it is, but I know You are in control."

I left that afternoon on a little adventure with my daughter and one of the girls from our church. We were going to spend a couple of nights at an old hotel in a nearby town. This hotel is reported to be "haunted" and we were actually staying on a "haunted hall."

Across from our room was an old service elevator where almost 100 years ago a maid and her child were tossed to the bottom of the shaft to their deaths. The little girl supposedly still "plays" in the hallway.

About 2am that Friday morning we were awakened to a light knocking on our door. We all three sat straight up.

"What was that?" Denise asked.

"Sounds like someone knocking on the door," I said.

She got up and looked out the peephole.

Nothing....No one.....

She used the restroom and as she was coming out she began to joke about how it must be the "ghost children" playing in the hallway.

We all laughed.

About that time there was a huge THUMP on the door. Denise jumped into my bed leaving poor Alena alone in the other bed. We were all startled.

Again there was a huge bang on the door and I noted the top of the door bent in with the force of the blow. I jumped out of bed yelling "HEY!" while the girls began screaming.

We all began to call on Jesus as I looked out the peephole to find an enraged man standing on the other side of the door.

As I watched he backed up, put his shoulder down and rammed the door again. The door threatened to buckle under the blow. I placed my hands on the door and leaned my weight into it as Alena joined me.

Denise frantically called the front desk and in a shaking voice asked for help.

The man continued to ram.

Suddenly we heard another voice in the hallway speaking sternly to the man. I watched out the peephole as the desk clerk approached our door and knocked.

I opened the door while leaving the chain on. She apologized stating the man had too much to drink and was confused about his room. He was gone to his room now, per the clerk.

OK, we said.

Of course, we were all wide awake at this point.

But, I still felt uneasy.

I got up and looked out the peephole again, and there he stood, leaning against the opposite wall, peering down the hallway.

Then he came and stood in front of our door again. And he backed up, put his shoulder down and rammed. I yelled out, "You need to get out of here!"

Didn't faze him.

He backed up and headed for the door again. This time when he made impact I yelled through the door again.

"Sir! This is not your room! And if you continue to scare my girls I'm going to bust your face in!"

That seemed to get his attention because he immediately wandered off.

Of course, the girls thought that was hilarious after the threat was gone.

Denise reflected later that she wondered if it had not been the Lord who sent an angel by to knock on the door that first time to wake us up because there was no one there when she looked out, and as enraged as that man was he would have never just knocked.

We also wondered how this man who had just come from the bar could think his room was suddenly filled with women screaming for Jesus over and over.

And even more did no one else hear us? Why did no one else step out to see what was going on?

But, most importantly I heard His voice....

"But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive."

What if I had not received that phone call? What if I had still been carrying my pistol in my purse when this enraged man with the strength of a bull came and began ramming my door at 2am? What if I had been able to count on the "protection" of my firearm as my girls safety was being threatened?

Would I have opened the door to show him I was armed? What if he had managed to break the door down and find me there with a pistol in my hand? Would he have been able to overpower me and take the gun from me and use it on us?

I will never know because although I believe someone may have meant to hurt me (when they could have simply approached me directly and pointed out my wrong-unless of course, they thought me **mad** enough to use Little Bertha on them?) what they meant for evil against me, God meant for my good.

He meant it to protect me from a potentially dangerous situation turning into a potentially deadly situation.

That's the way He loves me.

**As a side note: I am not sharing this to garner your response concerning the right to carry firearms. You are free to believe however you would like to believe. I am not trying to change your point of view, so show me the same respect. Neither am I excusing myself for having my gun on my person when it went against the policies of my organization. I am not. I was wrong and I have corrected it. Nor can it be said that I bear ill feelings against the person who reported it. How could I? This is not to illicit a political response, merely to illustrate His love for me. Period. So, I implore you to take it in the spirit it is written.**

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

My Attitude....your problem....

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

This world is not my home....I'm just a passin' through....My treasures are laid up....somewhere beyond the blue....the angels beckon me....from Heaven's open door....and I can't feel at home in this world any more.

I have found many things to be true in life.

I have found it to be true that no matter how old you get, you still battle bullies. The only difference is they may be dressed nicer.

I have found that no matter how old you get, life still happens. But, it is the way that you handle those happenings that make the difference.

And I have found that I have an attitude.

Paul was writing to the church in Phillippi. During these cordial letters he managed to place some correction to deal with problems that were facing the church there such as discouragement, disunity, and disloyalty.

How relevant for today, huh?

If you will notice there is a word in there that is not heard much in our modern times.


What is virtue, you may ask?

I have taken the liberty of looking it up for you.

1 a : conformity to a standard of right: morality b : a particular moral excellence
2 plural : an order of angels
3 a beneficial quality or power of a thing
4 manly strength or courage : valor
5 a commendable quality or trait : merit
6 a capacity to act : potency
7 chasity especially in a woman

What happens when you "think on these things?"

Let's read verse 9:

"Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me (Paul), do: and the God of peace shall be with you."

Have you been searching for peace in your life? Maybe it is the things that are clogging up your mind that are also robbing you of peace.

If you continue on you will find Paul states in verse 11: "for I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content."

And THEN, in verse 13 Paul states: "I can do ALL things through Christ which strengtheneth me."

Paul is a particular "hero" of mine. He came by the Truth the hard way. And yet when he got it, he lived it with everything he had. Nothing stood in the way of his relationship with the Almighty.

I have found many things to be true.

I have found that when I truly live this LIKE THE WORD TELLS ME makes people uncomfortable.

When I spend my time thinking on "those things" instead of dwelling on the things that the world at large have placed importance on I am ostracized and misunderstood.



That is JUST what I was shooting for.

My Bible tells me that I am to "be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God." (Romans 12:2)

So, if the way that I am keeps you from wanting to be my bud....

If my attitude against the sins of this world rubs you the wrong way.....

If I talk about Jesus just a little more than you are comfortable with.....

That's your problem, not mine.

I have made my decision.....I have staked my claim.....I have drawn a line in the sand and I won't be ashamed....with the world BEHIND me and the Cross the grace of God I WILL SERVE THE LORD.

I have no intention of backing up or backing down.

I have made up my mind.

"Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.......Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in the time to come. She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. Her children arise up , and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth he. Many daughter have done virtuously; but thou excellest them all. " Proverbs 31:10-12, 25-29.

Virtue is still in fashion. This is what I strive to be. It may not be Hollywood's idea of who I should be, but it is God's.

Verses 30-31 say this: "Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her own works praise her in the gates."

Would you be able to eat your own "fruit?" Would the "work" that you do be a praise that would proceed you into the city where you live?

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

This is my attitude.....and if it doesn't suit you......well.......

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Wilt Thou Be Made Whole?

Growing up I had this big, strong, smart Daddy. I never even bothered with the whole "my Daddy can whip your Daddy" thing because everyone else knew it was true, too!

He was a man, I know that. He knew that, too.

My parents made choices, as we all do. As I like to tell my kids, "For every action there is a reaction." Some of those reactions are far reaching.

My parents both died young. They did. Far too young. I wanted them around a whole lot longer.

My Daddy, my big, strong, strapping Daddy ended up losing a leg, fighting just to keep the other one, losing his eye sight, and depending on a machine to rid his body of toxins.

I knew how intolerable it must be to him, but in my selfishness I wanted him around. All the sickness slowed him down so that I was able to really know him. He had much to give me.

He had become weak in his body there toward the end. My sister had shared that with me. When we went that last weekend and I had to physically pick him up and put him in the Yukon out of the wheelchair, I don't know who that hurt worse, me or him.

I saw John 5:6 the other day while looking for another verse and I thought of my Daddy.

I wondered if at that last instance he was there in the state he was in, and the Lord passed by.

I wondered if He saw the state he was in and had been for some time and said to my Daddy, "Wilt thou be made whole?"

And my Daddy said "Yes, oh yes!""

What a glorious moment that must have been! I can only imagine.

And to think just three months later He visited that house again where my beautiful Mama was waiting for the waters to be troubled.

"Wilt thou be made whole?"

"I will!"

Her feet, her heart, all whole. Her pain erased.

I have been grieving for almost two years.

I guess that is a lie. I have grieved for much longer. I watched them suffer and I grieved for them, for their pain and suffering.

Jesus asks a question in John 5:6. He gives a choice.

WILT thou be made whole? Because, you can stay broken.

You can continue to lay there beside that pool and wait for someone to come along and take care of you, or you can choose......

I have been praying that God would work in me, help me, make me whole again and ease some of the pain that I have felt at the death of my parents.

I realized the other day that I had taken up my bed and was walking through life again. There will always be pain, sorrow, and those moments where it seems like it is so fresh.

But I can laugh, I can smile. I can remember and I can take comfort in the fact that they are WHOLE.

My sweet, sweet Friend. Through you alone am I whole. I love You too much to fail You now.