I hope you have a wonderful, sunny weekend. It will be a big week for our country next week. Pray for America...
Friday, October 31, 2008
I hope you have a wonderful, sunny weekend. It will be a big week for our country next week. Pray for America...
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Satan offers us 2 lies: the forever lie and the never lie. He tells us the negative things in our life will be that way forever. And when we have positive things happen in our life, he wants us to believe that if they ever do change, we couldn't handle it. These 2 lies create fear in our hearts. The truth is, sooner or later everything changes. If we continue to believe God and place our trust in Him, bad things ultimately give way to better things.
When we do have good things going on in our life, they may not stay exactly the same forever. We might go through another hard time, but eventually through Christ, the difficulty will be changed into better times than the ones we had before. Have you ever taken a vacation and while you were trying to relax, you begin dreading going back to work? Satan wants you to feel that things will never change and if you believe his lies, then you won't be ready for the changes that God has coming to you.
Ecclesiastes 3:1 says, "To everything there is a season, and a time for every matter of purpose under heaven." Sometimes changes are exciting and sometimes they are hard. But Jesus never changes and as long as we keep our eyes on Him, we will make it through the changes in our life.
The psalmist warned, "if riches increase, set not your heart on them" in Psalm 62:10. And Proverbs 27:24 says, "For riches are not forever; does a crown endure to all generations?" When the Bibles tells us not to set our hearts on the things of this world, it means we are not to get too wrapped up in anything in this life. That includes not only our money like our assets, bank accounts, investments, or retirement funds, but it also means our job and our possessions.
We must not get too attached to things. We must always be free to move with the Spirit. There is a season in our lives and when that season is over, we must let it go. Too often we try to hang on to the past, when God is saying, "It's time to move on to something new."
Don't live in the past when God has a new season for you. If God is no longer in something, you will no longer be happy in it.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Even though at times it may seem agonizingly slow, later when we look back at that time, we can see it wasn't really as long as it seemed.
Isaiah 43:2 says, "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you, and through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned or scorched, nor will the flame kindle upon you."
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were thrown into the fiery furnace by King Nebuchadnezzar. But because they trusted themselves to the Lord, they didn't stay there to be consumed by the flames. They came through them to victory. Daniel was thrown into the lions' den but he came through that experience unharmed.
So while we're going through whatever has come our way, does God really care? Does He hear our pleas for help? Psalm 91:15 says, "When he calls to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him." The Lord promises the same protection and deliverance to all of those who put their faith and trust in Him.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
God makes 3 promises here: He will be with us, He will deliver us and honor us and, He will grant us long life and will show us His salvation. Pretty straight forward, isn't it?
If God could do a Star-Trek like appearance in front of us, I think He would say something like this, "No matter what you're going through at this moment, it will pass sooner or later. Someday it will be all over and done with. But in the meantime, put your cares and concerns on My back and trust Me to work out everything for the best."
Monday, October 27, 2008
The way we interact with other people--how we speak to and behave toward those we encounter each day--are rooted in our relationship with God. When you consider the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20, you may notice that they first describe the relationship between God and man. The commandments begin with loving God, having no idols before Him, not taking His name in vain, and keeping the Sabbath holy. Then the commandments go on to speak of the relationship between people. We are told to honor father and mother, not to murder, commit adultery, steal, bear false witness, or covet someone's possessions.
We see the same pattern in the Beatitudes and in Jesus' response when asked about the greatest commandment in Matthew 22:37-40, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and foremost commandment. The second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets."
How we treat others is obviously important to God or He would not have put it as a high priority. He is watching how we react to those we come in contact with every day because they are His children, too. And, yes, they are watching how we react to them as well.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
You have probably noticed a few changes to the blog this week. One blog reader last week posted that perhaps I should change my picture, so I obliged. And I wanted to share Lilly Faith's six month photo with you. You'll see it on the right hand side.
The commercial to promote our annual blood drive with Mississippi Blood Services will start running this weekend. I promised a sneak peek, so here it is.
This was shot at the Mississippi Agricultural & Forestry Museum's pumpkin patch. When I was asked to sit among the pumpkins on the ground, I didn't mind. But while we were filming, I began to feel something biting and stinging me. Little did I know, I had sat in a fire ant bed! The reason I didn't see the ant bed was because the pumpkin leaves are so wide and the leaves were covering up the bed. If you've never had "ants in your pants", it is a humbling experience and one I don't care to repeat anytime in the near future!
These t-shirts are the most colorful yet and they won't let you have one unless you donate blood. By the way, Marshall Ramsey will be joining me throughout the day at the blood drive on October 30. I bet he'll be willing to sign your t-shirt if you come and donate in the early morning or during lunchtime.
Philippians 4:6-7 says, "Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God. And God's peace which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."
In these verses, Paul doesn't say "Pray and worry." Instead, he says to "Pray and don't worry." So why are we to pray and not worry? Because prayer is supposed to be the way we cast our care upon the Lord. When Satan makes us worry, we are supposed to turn and give that care to God. That's what prayer is. It is acknowledging to the Lord that we cannot carry our burden, so we lay it at His feet. If we pray about something and then keep on worrying about it, we are mixing a positive and a negative. Both of these cancel each other out so we end up right back where we started---at zero.
Too many times, we pray and talk positive for a while, and then we worry and talk negative for a while. We go back and forth between the two extremes. That is like driving down the road going from one side of the highway to the other. If we keep doing that, at some point we are going to be in big trouble!
As long as we are worrying about our problem, we aren't trusting God. It is only by trusting and having faith and confidence in the Lord that we are able to enjoy the peace that passes all understanding.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
According to Hebrews 12:2, Jesus is the "author and perfecter of our faith" because he came to this world in human form so we could learn from Him, follow His lead in obeying God. After the writer tells us to run this life's race with perseverance and to throw off everything that hinders us in living the Christ-centered life, the writer tells us to follow the leader; the One who has already gone before us to show us the way. The Bible tells us to "fix our eyes on Jesus" (another translation says "looking to Jesus" in Hebrews 12). When you are in the zone running the race of life and you are focused, you aren't looking at everything else going on around you. You aren't looking at things that can trip you up.
So in this race we run as Christians, Jesus could be thought of as the author because He wrote the script; Jesus can also be thought of as the director because He shows us how to play our assigned role so that our actions conform to the author's original design. Are you playing the role that God designed for you to play for Him?
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
In Hebrews 12:1, the author talks about the all important race--the race of living the God-centered life. "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us." Who are those witnesses? I would imagine those are people who have gone on before us, people who have "been there and done that" and who are spending eternity in heaven now. How many times have you conquered something and you've told someone, "If I can do it, you can do it!" When the Bible talks about throwing aside every weight, I believe it is referring to things that hold us back or hold us down. Running a race and carrying 100 pound backpack would be excruciating! But when you throw off that backpack filled with junk, your load is lighter and you are able to complete the run without too much difficulty. And the last part talks about perseverance. When we persevere, we endure. We hang in there when the going gets rough, no matter how long we have to go in order to finish the race.
I asked my friend if she ran the whole marathon. "No," she said. "I walked some of it and I ran some it. But I finished it!" Our Christian walk is like that. We have periods in our Christian walk when we run. Some periods, we do a leisurely jog and keep our momentum. Then there are other times in our life when we just walk and it's all we can do to put one foot in front of the other; we have to take it slow.
But God has set a course for each of us to finish. He has his cloud of witnesses all along the race route cheering us on, telling us "I've been there and I know what you're going through. But you CAN do it!" The Holy Spirit whispers in our ear, "You're doing a great job. Keep it up. You're almost there!" Jesus chimes in from the sidelines and says, "I did it and you can, too. I'm with you all the way." And God meets you at the finish line and says, "Well done, my good and faithful servant."
So maybe the old saying is true: it doesn't matter how you start, its how you finish.
Monday, October 20, 2008
2 Chronicles 20: 1, 4-6, 10-12 says, "After this, the Moabites, the Ammonites, and with them the Meunites came against Jehoshaphat to battle. And Judah gathered together to ask help from the Lord; even out of all the cities of Judah they came to seek the Lord. And Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem in the house of the Lord before the new court and said, O Lord, God of our fathers, are You not God in heaven? And do You not rule over all the kingdoms of the nations? In Your hand are power and might, so that none is able to withstand You. And now behold, the men of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, whom You would not let Israel invade when they came from the land of Egypt, and whom they turned from and did not destroy. Behold, they reward us by coming to drive us out of Your possession which You have given us to inherit. O our God, will You not exercise judgement upon them? For we have no might to stand against this great company that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon You."
You can find 3 important statements that apply to us today just as much as they did to the people of Judah who were facing some giant problems:
1) "We have no might to stand against this great company that is coming against us."
2) "We do not know what to do."
3) "But our eyes are on You."
When we reach the point of being able to admit these 3 things to the Lord in complete and total honesty and dependence upon Him, He will be free to move on our behalf as He did for the people in this story.
Sometimes we wonder why it seems as though God is dragging His feet. The answer may be that we are still too full of ourselves and are busy trying to be independent and trying to figure things out on our own. The reason God may not be taking control of our situation is that we won't let go of it. That is what the Bible means when it says the battle is not ours, but God's
Friday, October 17, 2008
I've gone from being too big after having a baby, to having lost too much weight, to possibly running for mayor.
On another note, I'm grateful to my friend and editorial cartoonist Marshall Ramsey. As we are gearing up for our Halloween Blood Drive at Mississippi Blood Services on October 30, Marshall has once again worked his magic on this year's Halloween t-shirt. If you donate blood on Oct 30, you'll walk away with Marshall's new t-shirt design in color. I got to see the shirt yesterday printed in white, orange, green and black. It is a "must have" to add to your Marshall Ramsey t-shirt collection.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
After my speech, I always enjoy talking to those who take time out of their day to come listen to lil o' me. One gentleman came up to me afterwards and was assisted my a woman holding his right arm. It was obvious he was having trouble walking. He made comments about how much better I look in person and how it was good to finally meet me. We stood there and chatted for a minute or so. Then he admitted, "Actually, I can't see you that well," he said. The lady on his arm leaned over and said, "He had a stroke a few weeks ago and has lost alot of his eye sight." I told him how wonderful he looked despite his recent stroke. "The doctor said his eye sight will get better," she said, patting his arm. I agreed and told him I was sure his sight would be restored soon, especially since he was moving around so well. With a tear streaming down his face, he said, "But I don't have the kind of faith you do." I asked him, "Do you have any faith? Because that's all it takes. The smallest amount you can muster inside is enough according to the Bible." He replied, "I just don't know if the amount of faith I have is enough."
Faith has a voice. That voice is your voice; its my voice. If your faith isn't speaking out loud, then it isn't working. The spirit of faith will make a worm slap a bird. 2 Corinthians 4:13 says, "We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore we speak." The door to getting your prayers answered has one knob, and that knob is on your side of the door. And faith helps us open that door!
Friday, October 10, 2008
Thursday, October 9, 2008
The people with whom you spend the most time with, you act like. Moma always said it like this: birds of a feather flock together. Psalm 5:12 says, "For you bless the godly, O Lord; you surround them with your shield of love." I John 4:12 says, "But if we love one another, God lives in us." When Moses came down from the mountain from receiving the Ten Commandments, his face was glowing because he had been in the presence of God and had witnessed God's love.
When we spend time in prayer and fellowship with the Lord, we take His love with us. It becomes obvious who we have been spending time with. No, our face may not glow, but others will be able to see Jesus in us. And on the other hand when we have been neglecting that time with Him, it becomes obvious to others. When you've been with Jesus, you can't help but get a little bit of Him on you!
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
As I was bathing Lilly Faith last night, Will pulled up a chair to the counter next to the kitchen sink. "Can we sing our songs, mom?" he asked. "Sure," I told him and we proceeded to sing one of the songs he sings at church: Our God is a great big God. Our God is a great big God. Our God is a great big God and He holds us in his hands.
David was going through deep anguish, emotional pain and worry. He shared some of his feelings in Psalm 77:11-12, "I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. I will meditate on all your works and consider all your mighty deeds." David knew the only way he could give thanks in his toughest circumstances was to focus on God and not on what was happening all around him. When we remember who God is and what He has done for us in the past, we can't help but join David in songs of thankfulness.
As Americans, are we putting our hope in the recovery of the stock market and our retirement funds? One of the presidential candidates mentions the word hope quite often. So are we as Americans putting all of our hope in a presidential candidate? I remember the words in that old hymn, My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness!
Instead of worrying about how much I've lost in my retirement account or who our president will be, I'll thank God that He holds His children in His hands. That hope is all we need because He is a great BIG God!
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
One of the machines I work out on at the gym these days is a modified chin-up/pull-up machine. This machine uses weights to "assist" you in doing chin-ups. You simply subtract 40 from your current weight, climb up on the machine, and start pulling your body up. The point of the machine is to gradually build up the arm muscles so that you can dial down the weights used and gradually pull your body weight up on your own, without the assistance of the machine. I love that machine! After doing cardio at the gym, I immediately go to that machine now because I'm I'm building my upper body strength and the exercise is getting easier. Now I'm pulling up my own weight instead of looking like a beetle that has been flipped on its back.
Isn't that how faith works? The more circumstances God allows us to go through builds up our faith muscles. The more rocky roads we've traveled, the more faith we have for the next obstacle that is thrown in the middle of our road. Jesus is alive and because of that, our faith should be alive, too.
A man of great faith in the Bible was Abraham. Hebrews 11:8 says, "By faith Abraham went out, not knowing whither he went." The Bible makes is very clear--Abraham had faith first before he went out on the journey God had for him. Where did Abraham get his faith? Think back to some of the issues Abraham went through before God sent him on his journey. Abraham had already gone through several build ups of his faith muscles before God allowed other trials to come his way.
Go to any gym and look around. You can immediately tell who lifts weights because they have muscles to prove their endurance. Faith is doing what God wants you to do even when there is an element of the unknown. Has God been building up your faith muscles?
Monday, October 6, 2008
Have you ever wondered "Why doesn't God change so-in-so?" or "Why won't God answer my prayers for them to change?" I admit, I've prayed that prayer quite a few times. And I've even prayed it about myself, too.
Who can say why God makes us the way He does? He is the Potter and we are the clay. It is none of our business why He forms and fashions us the way He does. Not only do we question God about why He made us the way He did, we also question Him about why He made others the way they are.
Isaiah 45:9-11 says, "Woe to him who strives with his Maker! A worthless piece of broken pottery among other pieces equally worthless! Shall the clay say to him who fashions is, What do you think you are making? Or Your work has no handles? Thus says the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, and its Maker: would you question ME about things to come concerning My children, and concerning the work of My hands command me?"
As long as we argue with God and strive with our Maker, we are going to be unhappy. Once we accept God's will, then we can be used and blessed by Him and how He sees fit. In Romans 9:21, Paul asks, "Doesn't the potter have the right to take a lump of clay and make one vessel for beauty and distinction and honorable use, and another for menial or ignoble or dishonorable use?" That does not mean dishonorable in God's eyes. It means dishonorable in the eyes of people who do not understand God's purpose and ways, those who think some people are more honorable and some work more important that others.
Why have to remember that as long as we function in the position God created for us, His grace is with us. I Corinthians 13:12 tells us that we know only "in part". That is the best answer we can find to the question of why God goes anything the way He does. It isn't our job to question God, or even try to explain Him. It is our job to trust and obey Him and to cast our cases and concerns upon Him.
Friday, October 3, 2008
Joe Biden: We are to blame for global warming. We are causing it. We must do more to prevent it.
Sarah Palin: Global warming is caused by natural cyclical changes in temperatures weather pattern and not all of it is man-made, although there are some things we can do to help lessen it.
If there were political contests and reporters in the Old Testament, I wonder how they would have explained the parting of the Red Sea, the gale that was blowing when Jonah was hiding on the boat, the great flood that caused Noah and his family to stay inside the ark for 150 days, or the cloud that followed the children of Israel wherever they went? Would they have reported it as global warming and climate change?
Let's see what the Bible says about it.
Psalm 104:19, "God made the moon to mark the seasons, and the sun knows when to set."
Deuteronomy 11:14, "Then He will send the rains in their proper seasons, the early and the late rains."
Leviticus 26:4, "I will send you the seasonal rains."
I think the Bible answered this question long ago.
Thursday, October 2, 2008
Could it be that we're looking to the wrong things to make our life right? Jesus told us in John 4:14, "Whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life." Isaiah 55:1-2 says, "Ho! Every one who thirsts, come to the waters. Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and delight yourself in abundance."
Have you ever stood in a mall and watched the people looking, longing, desiring, and whipping out that plastic and buying? If we would just come to Him, then we would find that satisfaction we long for.
With the media giving us the gloom and doom reports about the economy and our retirement funds, does it wonder where we've put our faith? Are having faith in the fickle stock market or in God? If your problems and my problems can be fixed with money, then we don't have any real problems, now do we?
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
James 4:1,3 says, "What leads to strife and how do conflicts originate among you? Do they not arise out of our sensual desires that are ever warring in your bodily members? You do not have, because you do not ask. Or you do ask and yet fail to receive, because you ask with wrong purpose and evil, selfish desires."
We often get into struggles and arguments because we try to make things happen on our own instead of simply asking that God's will be done. The second part of this passage says that even when we do ask, the reason we don't get our prayers answered is that we ask with the wrong purpose or with the wrong motives.
When we ask God to settle a matter for us and we don't get our way, it isn't because He doesn't want to bless us or because God is holding out on us. Perhaps it is because He has something better in mind and we aren't spiritually mature enough to know how to ask God for it.
Last year, our church made a complete change to our worship music and I had such difficulty with the change. (If you have read my blog for some time, you know our 3 children are all named after old hymns.) Taking away my hymnal rocked my world! Even though I consider myself young, I just couldn't deal with the change in new music style. What? No more singing "Victory In Jesus"? So I prayed for the change to go away and actually thought about changing churches. My husband had to hear my opinion every Sunday after church and so did my close friends. Then I felt the Holy Spirit whisper, "You want the music to change because YOU want it to change. You are arguing because you think your opinion is right. What matters most to me when you worship is the state of your heart; not the music you sing. Your opinion is about you, not me. So does your opinion really matter?" Whoa, Nellie! Needless to say, God got me over my need to be right and have my way and I enjoy the new music style now more than ever!
With the disagreements that we have among churches, groups, families, political parties, countries and such, I wonder if God is asking us "Does it really matter?"