Monday, December 29, 2008

Barbie is away for a few days and will return on January 5.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

I remember an old country song that said, "Lookin' for love in all the wrong places" and it made me wonder: how many times do we totally miss God because we are expecting Him to show up in certain places? We structure our lives around the idea that there are certain places where God is to be safely confronted, while making other areas in our life "God-free-zones" (places we would prefer He not show, where we can do what we want, when we want). But God has a way of breaking free from the confines that we try to put on Him. He has a way of making His presence known in some of the most obscure locations. Take Bethlehem, for instance.

The Magi, or the Three Wise Men, were intelligent men who had been studying the ancient reports and prophesies concerning events that would happen in their world--most importantly, the birth of a new king in Israel. They had learned the timing of his birth would come at the same time as a bright star. When they saw the heavenly sight, they went first to Jerusalem, the city of kings, of course. When they got there, they were told the king wasn't there, but in Bethlehem, which had been designated by the prophets as to where the Messiah would be born. In many ways, Bethlehem was a small and insignificant town, yet it was the place God chose for the birthplace of His Son. Matthew 2:6 says, "And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, are by no means least among the leaders of Judah; for our of you shall come forth a Ruler who will shepherd My people Israel."

The prophet Micah had rebuked Israel, the people of God, for their rebellion. They had sunk to the lowest of low; their behavior was no better than the surrounding pagan nations. Micah confronts them in Micah 1:9 that they had been infected with the same sins that Samaria had been known for. But in the midst of this dismal setting, we are given this hope; for it is right here that God promises to raise up a King to shepherd His oppressed people.

I believe God purposefully chose Bethlehem for it's misery because it was the best place for God's glory to shine! In I Corinthians 1, Paul writes "but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, the weak things to shame the strong. The base things of the world and the despised, God has chosen...the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are." God chose to break out of the box, to reveal Himself where He wouldn't be expected.

Where in your life would you be most surprised for God to show Himself? A job loss...a spouse's layoff...among the conversation with your you pass a homeless man on the street corner...or maybe the cashier at the local store? God will not be confined and He is not predictable, but He is faithful. Therefore, we need to look for Him and make room for Him in all areas of our lives and at all times.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

What Is So Amazing About Grace?

I was reading the story of Jesus' birth the other day and thought more about God's grace.

After Jesus was born and was beginning to get older, the Bible says that Mary and Joseph moved back to their hometown. Luke 2:39 says, "When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him."

Do you think God gave Jesus all of the grace there was in the world while he walked on this earth? One thing you learn about God in the Bible, He does not play favorites, no matter who you are. If He did, He would've taken Jesus off the cross and not allowed the crucifixion to take place. So did He give Jesus any more grace than He gives you and me? If God did, there wouldn't have been any grace left for anyone else to receive, right? I believe God gave Jesus just as much grace to endure this earthly life and everything that comes along with it as He does with you and me every day. Think about that: we receive just as much grace from God as Jesus did 2,000 years ago (and Jesus is the Son of God). That will blow your mind if you get a hold of it! That is mountain-moving faith and grace, all rolled up into one. We have equal grace from God. It's how we use that grace that makes it so "amazing."

Monday, December 22, 2008

Shut Up, Get Up & Go!

I had a grand time last night singing and speaking at Prentiss Baptist Church in Prentiss. I had the chance to catch up with people I hadn't seen in a long time and meet many new faces. One of the things I shared with those in attendance was how God gives each of us a different mission every day for the Kingdom. And because we often have excuses as to why we can't follow through, we just need to shut up, get up, and go.

John 5 tells the story of the healing at the pool at Bethesda. The paralyzed, the blind, the lame--would all gather at the side of that pool and wait for the waters to move. From time to time, an angel of the Lord would come down and stir up the waters. The first one into the pool after each disturbance would be cured of whatever he had. Obviously, this pool was a popular place. One man had been lame for 38 years. Jesus heard how long he had been crippled and asked him if he wanted to get well. In verse 7, the man said "'I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I'm trying to get in, someone else goes down in front of me.' Then Jesus said to him, 'Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.' At once the man was cured. He picked up his mat and walked."

This poor man was whining and complaining that he couldn't move fast enough; that someone always got there first. He had the "woe is me" syndrome. I think if I had been there that long, I could have shimmied my way down into the waters, don't you?! And what did Jesus tell him--get up and go!

God is telling you and me to do something specific. You know what it is, you just don't want to do it. Don't compromise what the Lord is telling you to do. Shut up, get up and go!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Double Vision

Do you have a twin? I'm beginning to think I have at least one, maybe several, as I've been approached by viewers making strange claims here lately.

I received an email from a viewer who chewed me out for being "rude and stuck up" when her son came and introduced himself. She said her son met me at the gym and I acted like I "was too famous to even acknowledge him". She said if that is how I treat my fans, no wonder people hate me. I'm sure she was even more surprised when I explained to her that I didn't know who her son was, and that I had not met any man at the gym in years simply because I go to a ladies-only gym and have been going there for 10 years now. No men allowed. She emailed me back and genuinely apologized. Seems her son told her the girl he was attempting to meet was Barbie Bassett when it wasn't really me, so mom had to set him straight (unless he's been cross-dressing and trying to get into my ladies-only gym!).

A viewer wrote how ugly I was to her when she met me at a local restaurant. She called me several names I won't repeat on this blog. My mind is still wondering over that one because I haven't been to that upscale restaurant in quite some time. I always try to treat people with respect and kindness, so being portrayed as something totally different was a disappointment. I honestly don't remember meeting anyone at that restaurant, much less being anything but cordial to them (even on a bad day). I went ahead and apologized anyway.

Earlier this month while emceeing an event, a gentleman came up to me and insisted he owed me an apology. "Do you remember when you were building your house on Jefferson Street and you were pregnant with your first child right after the tornado? I was renovating a house next door to yours and your babysitter broke her leg. I carried her to your house and told you to call 911 for help. You said your husband was coming to take you to the doctor to have your baby and you didn't have time to deal with it all. I yelled at you and told you 'this girl needs help now'! Do you remember that?" No, I told him. I explained I have never lived on Jefferson Street and have lived in the same house since I got married 14 years ago; the tornado that hit my neighborhood was in November 2001 and I didn't have my first child until July 2003. "How old was the girl who's leg was broken?" I asked him. "She was a teenager; maybe 17 or 18," he said. No, I explained I've had the same nanny since my first child was born and she's over 50. Kind as though he was, this man continued to try and persuade me that the person he yelled at that day was me. After another 5 minutes of me going into further detail of how the pregnant woman couldn't have been me due to the timing, that I've never lived on a Jefferson Street, and the tornado didn't occur at that location, he relented. "Well, the girl who was pregnant told me she was Barbie Bassett and the girl who broke her leg that I carried said she was going to be Barbie Bassett's babysitter. Anyway, I wanted to apologize for yelling at you." So I accepted his apology on behalf of "Barbie Bassett".

I spoke recently at a Christmas banquet in which a sweet lady sat beside me and said she had recently met my new, baby niece. I told her that I was the only one in my family to have had a baby in the last year and I wasn't sure what child she was referring to. She said the baby's name and I told her that I didn't have a niece by that name. "Do you have a brother?" she asked. Yes, I told her, and he has 2 adult girls and 1 son, but no baby. "Does he live here?" she asked. No, I explained he and his wife and family live in north Mississippi. She kept asking me questions about my brother and I answered every one. "Is his last name Bassett?" she asked. "No, Bassett is my married name," I said. Looking more and more frustrated, her face turned red. "Well, my niece recently had a baby and she told everyone at Thanksgiving that Barbie Bassett's brother is the daddy which means you are the aunt," the lady told me. I didn't want to embarrass her in front of the table, so I just quietly whispered that the her niece's boyfriend and baby's daddy was not my brother. "Well," she said, "just wait til I see her at Christmas! I'm going to shed some light on this and tell her I know the truth!" Oh my....

I must have a twin, or two, or worse yet, I must get around....

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Turning Impatience Into Patience

We had just gotten in from the gym yesterday morning and it was time for me to start getting ready to start my work day. Lilly Faith was pacified playing with a chew toy on the floor and Will was busy playing with his train set. Gracie asked if she could watch "Curious George" on television. I clicked on the right channel and told everyone I was going to take a shower. While I was in the shower, Gracie came in to tell me that Lilly Faith had chewed on the tv remote and made it change channels. "I can't get Curious George back on tv." I yelled through the shower door which channel to punch into the remote. Gracie left, only to return. "But mom, I can't get Curious George back on!" After telling her once again which buttons to press, Gracie was getting frustrated with me because she wanted me to fix her problem right then. "Can't you just wait until I get out of the shower?" I asked. "I'll fix it then." She walked out of the bathroom and I had another minute of peace. I finished up, put my robe on, and heard a lady screaming bloody murder on the television. I walked into the living room and heard more screaming and looked at the television to see which channel Lilly Faith's chewing had made the tv had landed on---Discovery Health Channel. Gracie had landed on a show which was showing the joys of birthing a baby. "Sorry I got impatient, mom," Gracie said from the couch. "Since I couldn't find Curious George, I found something else to watch!"

Oh boy.

Sometimes, we want what we want, when we want it, exactly how we want it and we end up getting ourselves in trouble and can't have the patience to wait until God works it out for us.

When I think about patience, I think about Noah. At the end of Genesis 5 when Noah had his sons, he is 500 years old. It was at that point that God told him to build the ark. When the flood waters came, Noah was 600 years old. Do the math: it took roughly 100 years for Noah to build the ark, just as God told him to do. Do you think you would've run out of patience?

But look again. In Genesis 6 & 7, the Bible says something specific about Noah's diligence. Four times in those two chapters, it states, "Noah did all that the Lord had commanded him." That means even though Noah probably got tired of building the ark, putting up with the jeers from the townspeople, and waiting on God to make it rain, he stayed the course. He kept his faith, he trusted God had him doing this for a purpose. Instead of Noah throwing up his hands and saying, "You're crazy, God! I'm tired of waiting on you, so I'm just going to stop wasting my time and busting my knuckles on this #$?@ boat!", Noah trusted God's timing and didn't question it.

So the next time you think about taking things into your own hands because it isn't working out the way you wanted and you think God is dragging His heels, just remember..."impatient" can easily be turned into "I'm patient".

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Boldness of Prayer

I came across the prayer of Jabez yesterday while reading the Bible and saw where I had underlined it during a low point of my life. I wanted to learn more about this man, so I did some research. For someone who prayed such a passionate prayer, there had to be something special about him.

He is mentioned 3 times in the Bible. The first is in 1 Chronicles 2:55 where Jabez is the name of a town: "And the clans of scribes who lived at Jabez..." This town was apparently located near Bethlehem. Then Jabez is mentioned again in 1 Chronicles 4:9-10: "Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez, saying, 'I gave birth to him in pain.' Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, 'Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.' And God granted his request." The name "Jabez" means "he causes pain," so there must have been something painful about his birth, perhaps physically or emotionally. But Jabez apparently defied his hopeless name and dreary beginning to become a man who believed fervently in the power of God. He prayed with urgency, transparency and passion. His prayer to God was bold! His relationship with God must have been important to cause the author of Chronicles to stop and elaborate on this one man's life because Chronicles is full of boring genealogy. God had a purpose for Jabez and Jabez wanted God's blessing to be fulfilled.

The prayer has four parts. First, Jabez asks God to bless him. Second, he asks God to enlarge his territory or increase his responsibility. Third, he asks that God will be with him and stay close. Finally, Jabez asks that God keep him from harm so that he will be free from pain.

Jabez understood what many people don't get--God should be the center of our world and God wants to bless every life. We must first choose to invite God into our life and ask for His blessings on our life. Jabez wanted to succeed and wanted to increase the influence he had on others for God. Proverbs 16:3 says, "Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established." It is important to stay close to God and rely on His continued support and guidance throughout our life.

So what happened to Jabez? At the end of the verse, it is clear that God answered Jabez's prayer.

Life is a process and growing into a mature Christian takes time. In reading the Bible, it is obvious that God is faithful in caring for those who seek Him. Jabez was just a normal guy who wanted God's hand on his life. I don't believe he was trying to manipulate God with this prayer but he was earnestly seeking the blessings God had for him. This prayer only helped to pull those blessings from the unseeing realm to the seeing realm, so Jabez could experience them.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Viewer Comments & Emails

Now that I've lost just over 36 pounds (and still going), the "are you pregnant again?!" emails and comments have ceased. And just when you thought viewers were tuning in again to listen to the forecasts, in walks another edition of......"Viewer Comments and Emails".....

While I was speaking to a group of people a couple of weeks ago, one lady came up to me and made a comment about my hair. "I've been telling my friends, 'I wish Barbie Bassett would get rid of that poofy hair on tv', but now that I see you in person, it's not big at all!" Another viewer wrote that I looked like Peppermint Patty and that I needed some help in the hair department. For the record, I have been pushing my hair down lately so it doesn't look so big on tv. Remember, tv makes everything look big. Yes, even hair. (I can't believe I'm actually pushing my hair down now for viewers!)

I had just gotten a compliment from a viewer last night on an ivory duster/jacket I wore. That compliment didn't last long because another email followed right behind.

"The outfits that you wore last week really highlighted the effort that you are making on losing weight. The outfit you had on tonight does just the opposite! Please put it and all the rest made in the same style away! Really like your reports; just can't handle these types of outfits. Thanks." Signed Anonymous

I was gone for most of last week so I had a hard timing thinking about the outfits I wore on tv. I can barely remember what I wore to church Sunday, much less last week, and I wonder how some people can remember what I wore that far back! I took an armload of clothes home to my mother at Thanksgiving for her to take in and move buttons over; to try to tailor fit a little better. I wish I had an unlimited supply of money to spend on clothes and accessories to make all viewers happy, but that is not reality in the Jackson television market. Money is tight for everyone and I'm no different. When I have more money, I'll be glad to buy more clothes.

I think I'll do as Colossians 3:12 suggests, "clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience." Goodness knows, I need it!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Being A Slave To Depression

I watched "It's a Wonderful Life" Saturday night on WLBT. It is a Christmas classic and each time I watch it, I see or hear something different.

You know the story line, George Bailey is living the high life with a beautiful family and successful banking career. Then he gets blamed when $8,000 is found missing at his bank. He knows he is about to be run out of town by the sheriff and auditors. He goes to the local watering hole, gets in a fight, has a wreck, and thinks all is lost. He goes to a bridge with the intention of committing suicide. That's when Clarence the angel shows up to teach George how life would be dramatically different if he weren't alive--all while trying to earn his own angel wings.

After the births of my children, I went through horrible cases of the baby blues or post partum depression...whatever you want to call it. I tried my best to hide it from everyone around me because I'm normally a happy person. I didn't like being in public, I shuttered at the thought of going back to work and being picked apart again, I hated who I was. On many occasions, I would often wonder 'What would happen if I just started walking and didn't come back?' I didn't want anyone to find me and I didn't need sympathy. I just wanted to disappear and it seemed like a better option than living.

1 Corinthians 7:23 says "You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men." When we get down and out because of the circumstances surrounding us, we have become a slave to those thoughts, those words, those people, those choices. When we let those things control our emotions and how we feel, we have become their slave.

I am not belittling depression. I believe it is real and affects people in different ways. Getting into the Word will get anybody out of that "funk". When the Bible says that Jesus is the Great Physician, it doesn't mean He can just heal the body---Jesus can heal the whole being. If He couldn't do such and only specialized in one part of the body, then He wouldn't be referred to as 'Great', now would He?

However, I believe if God tells us not to become slaves of men, then He is the one who can set us free from depression, oppression and recession!

Friday, December 12, 2008

After The Storms & Snow...

I'm back in town and couldn't help myself--I had to find out how much snow you had and what you did to enjoy the day!

In looking at the weather records, never before have we recorded snowfall on December 11. When I told you earlier in the week how rare a December snow is, I wasn't kidding! But for most areas, if you look outside today there isn't a hint of snow left from yesterday (the only exception would be for those of you in the south and southeast).

I stayed behind Tuesday and went in to help Eric Law with our severe weather coverage Tuesday night. When we finally left, we got in the middle of that EF2 tornado that hit just south of Florence, near Star. We pulled to safety and waited for a bit. When we finally got back on the road, we ended up making a few medical calls. One to a guy who had just drove over a large tree that fell on Highway 49 and another to a family that had several trees fall on their house. It was a weird feeling being "in" the storm and being nervous for those who were possibly hurt and not being in a dry television studio trying to keep others safe.

We are in for a better weekend. So post here and tell us how much snow you received!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Snow: Could It Be?

I'm still away, but I'm keeping in close contact with the weather forecast for central Mississippi. As I told you in Monday's blog, the computer models were hinting at snow. Well, now it is coming to fruition!

An upper level low pressure system will move in from the south with plenty of moisture to bring. The temperatures have been dropping since the cold front pushed through Tuesday night. This is the classic snowfall set up for central Mississippi. Are you excited? Here is the graphic from the NWS. Look for your county and see how much snow you could be dealing with.

Although temperatures will be hovering above freezing at times, the snow will fall faster than it can melt. This will cause the snow to accumulate in some areas. Temperatures will be rising on Thursday morning, but some bridges and overpasses could be a bit slick (especially those that are in rural areas that don't get much traffic). Please exercise caution over the next 24-36 hours, slow it down on the roadways, and enjoy this December treat from above!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Severe Weather Update

Today's forecast isn't the best. Not much has changed since yesterday's blog entry. The storms look to form along a squall line and this could lead to a significant wind event as the line pushes through. Please don't put anything outside that you won't want to end up in the neighbor's yard! Hail, damaging/gusty winds, isolated tornadoes (especially south of I-20) and heavy rain will be possible. Here is today's graphic from the NWS.

What happens behind the cold front continues to be most interesting. A low pressure area will pass through central Mississippi with some moisture, combined with cold temperatures. Both of these together spell the possibility for snow. When I mentioned it yesterday on WLBT, the phones started ringing off the hook and I was kindly cursed at by those answering the phones: "Why do people go crazy when you mention snow? It's just snow, people!" was heard all over the building. Snow just isn't as frequent this time of year for our state. If this were January or February, this would be a classic set-up for snow. Therefore, my confidence in this happening isn't high right now, but things could change. Timing will be everything, literally, in central Mississippi receiving the white stuff. If so, this would happen Wednesday night through early Thursday. Here is the graphic from the NWS concerning this possibility.

Please be weather aware today and use common sense throughout this severe weather event and what could come afterwards. I'm hoping today's forecast is totally wrong and that I have a busted forecast (can't believe I'm saying that)!

However, I will miss all of this excitement. I'm leaving town today and won't return to the blog until next Monday. Meteorologist Eric Law will be in charge and will keep you all updated on WLBT.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Severe Weather Possible Tuesday

As Mississippians know, we have 2 severe weather seasons: one in the late Spring (April-May) & in the late Fall (Nov-Dec). Some of the worst severe weather we've had has occurred during these months. Tuesday is shaping up to be a day for severe weather.

With a Pacific cold front headed this way, we are expecting plenty of rain. Computer models are showing impressive wind fields and other parameters (I won't bore you with the numbers) which show a possibility for tornadoes. The rain should start entering the state late tonight and continue through Tuesday and Tuesday night. There will be several supercells forming as well. Please keep your NOAA weather radio on throughout the duration of the activity. Here is this morning's graphic from the NWS.

The weather behind this cold front gets even more interesting. With some leftover moisture hanging around and cold air surging in behind the front, we could see some snow. I hesitate to even mention the "s" word because just the thought of it gets people excited and sets people running to the local grocery store. It is a bit early to get snow in Mississippi, but it could definitely happen for Wednesday night and Thursday. Areas with the best chance look to be eastern and southeastern Mississippi. As you know, many things have to be just right in order for this to happen and the forecast can change hourly. I'll have more updates on WLBT tonight and on here Tuesday morning.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Stooping & Scooping

How much confidence do you have today that you have everything you absolutely need to be victorious in every situation that comes your way?

Hebrews 12:15 says to "see to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled." So what does it mean to come short of God's grace? You've probably heard one definition of God's grace as being 'unmerited favor' or 'God's riches at Christ's expense' and those explanations are right. Grace is God's favor towards those of us who did not earn or deserve it in any way.

I've recently heard another definition of grace: grace is all that Christ is, made available to me. So then if you fall short of God's grace than you fail to appropriate all that God has for you.

Romans 5:2 says, "Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God."

There's the answer! Everything you and I will ever need is made available to us. To fall short then of God's grace is to fail to appropriate that in which we stand. Its just a matter of stopping and stooping down and in faith, scooping it up because you stand with all the grace of God surrounding you. Have you stooped down and scooped up yours today?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Just Like Rudolph, You Have A Light Too!

It is the time of year again for the Christmas specials on television. Last night, "Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer" was on. Gracie and Will sat on the couch and watched Rudolph as I was cooking supper between newscasts. Just then, I heard wailing and crying coming from the living room. I walked in to find Gracie falling to pieces. It seems the part of the show where Rudolph gets teased for his red nose was upsetting Gracie a great deal. With tears streaming down her face, she said "Its just not nice for them to make fun of him!" I told her she needed to keep watching the rest of the show to see the end and that it would end much better than it started. She dried up her tears and after getting some hugs from her daddy and me, she watched the rest of Rudolph. After it was over, she came into the kitchen. It was the perfect time to teach Gracie a striking similarity in the show between Santa and God.

The story of Rudolph is a sweet one and I had always thought it was about the importance of being kind to others and not making fun of someone's unique qualities. But I think there is a deeper meaning there. Santa saw something in Rudolph that others didn't have the capability to see. Because Santa could see that special spark, he chose Rudolph to lead his sleigh.

God has chosen you for a purpose. That purpose is to share His light with others. 1 Peter 2:4 says, "As you come to Him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious." Matthew 22:14 goes one step further, "For many are called, but few are chosen."

Rudolph had a tiny light on the end of his nose, but that tiny light gave Santa and the rest of his reindeer just enough light to see through the fog and snow to make their annual trip around the world. We all have different sizes of lights to shine. Some people have much bigger lights while others only have lights the size of a nightlight. But a nightlight gives off an important amount of light in the middle of the night.

Don't ever discount the amount of light you have for Him. God knows what your purpose is; that's why He has chosen you!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Putting Life In Gear

While I was driving into work yesterday, I got behind one of those transport trucks that carries new cars and trucks to dealers. The back of the truck probably had 6 new, shiny vehicles on it. All of that potential energy really going no where because they weren't cranked and each one didn't have a driver.

You've probably heard of the statement "the light is on but no one is home". How many people do you know who just go about their daily life and routine with no hope for the future? You can see it on their faces. They just coast through life, living day by day, and their joy is gone. Romans 15:4 says,"For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope." That's what the Bible is for--to encourage us in our faith in Jesus Christ and to see how deep God's love is for us.

Being just a shell of a person isn't the joy-filled life that God created us to have. The hope we have in Jesus gives us the victory we need to face the day ahead. Don't waste your day letting someone else control your emotions. Take your control back and put joy in gear and not in park!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Feeling Out Of Place?

When I was in the 9th grade, our class was offered a hunters' education & safety course. Because I was born after 1971, I had to take the class in order to get a hunting license and the gun safety aspects of the class would be useful. I was the only girl to sign up for the class and I felt totally out of place. When it came time for the gun safety and targeting shooting portions of the course, some of the guys laughed and said I would "shoot like a girl". But on the range that day, I was the only one to hit the target with the rifle.

While we were visiting my family over the weekend, my husband and I went target shooting. We have never done this before together but have done it separately on several occasions. I placed the muffs on my ears and shot several rounds. He went to check out the targets and each round, I hit the target mark or hit within 2 inches above the target mark. He shook his head and admitted he thought I was going to "shoot like a girl". Now he knows...I don't shoot like a girl at all!

We've all heard the story in the Bible where Jesus feeds the 5,000 people. Although it was quite a miracle to feed that many with only 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish, I believe the real miracle is listed as only one sentence in John 6:9: "Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to Jesus "There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish." The other part we often miss in this great story is the nameless boy who offered his basket of food to Jesus. If it weren't for that one little boy, the miracle would not have happened on that day. He was surrounded by so many people, probably feeling out of place. So what was it exactly that the boy did? He stepped forward and spoke up. If he would not have told them what he had, I'm sure he would've gotten lost in the crowd of thousands.

I've felt alone in many cases, including when I was the only girl in hunters' ed class. Other times I've felt alone when I've been in a crowd of people engaging in conversation and the topic of religion, God or eternity comes up. If I don't speak up, no one knows what I have to share. It is the same for you. If we don't speak up and share from our heart, nervous as though we may be, no one will know about the hope we have been given; the hope we have to share with others. If we don't, we blend into the crowd and the crowd is left wondering who will step forward? Who will have the guts to talk about God's love for His children no matter who is around listening? For when we do, a much greater miracle could take place right before our eyes!