Friday, January 30, 2009

Camouflaged Christians

My husband loves guns and one of the activities we enjoy doing together is target shooting. So we found it interesting the other night when The History Channel had a documentary on challenging shots. It was amazing to see the skill at which some marksman can hit a target! One portion of the show was about the sharp shooter school that trains those will skillful eyes and trigger fingers. It showed how these guys go through weeks of learning how to take out a target from hundreds of yards, all the while making themselves hidden. These guys were trained on how to put on camouflaged makeup and how to use their surroundings to "blend in". It even showed how they were taken to a forest with a gun, then told to disappear. These sharp shooters could be next to you, and you would never know it.

I wonder how many people I encounter on a daily basis who would have no clue that I'm a Christian? Do I blend in to my surroundings? When I open my mouth and speak to the girl in the check-out line, do I sound like everyone else? When I talk to the man who takes my groceries out every week, does he know I'm different than the other people he's helped who have just turned their nose up at him? What about that kid that cut me off in traffic and pulled out in front of me, almost making me have a wreck with my 3 children in the back seat? Did he see the anger on my face or was he able to tell I'm a Christian?

Proverbs 14:25 says, "A truthful witness saves lives, but one who breathes out lies is deceitful." When we aren't being true to living the Christ life, not operating in the Spirit, then we are being deceitful and we aren't being true to who God created us to be. Instead, we become like our surroundings, blending in, no different than anyone else in a world where people are begging for authenticity. The Bible says we have been "set apart", not made to do, act and speak like everyone else (Leviticus 20:24).

Don't be a camouflaged Christian.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Barbie will be away from the blog for a few days. She will return on Friday!

Friday, January 23, 2009

I Always Feel Like Somebody's Watching Me

I was coming back from the gym this week when I turned into the subdivision and saw where officer friendly had pulled someone over. I pulled in behind the patrol car and noticed there was no space for me to go around them as the person who had been pulled over had stopped in the middle of the subdivision's entrance. I pulled to the side a bit to see if anyone was driving through the exit side of the entrance. It was clear. So I backed up and drove through the exit side of the subdivision entrance so as not to bother the officer and the person he had blue lighted. A couple hours later, my husband called me. "Why did you drive on the wrong side of the road?" he asked. I had to think about what he was talking about, having forgotten about the officer and car who had blocked the neighborhood entrance. I explained what had happened and of course asked, "How do YOU know what I did this morning?" He told me, "The officer told me he saw my wife this morning driving on the wrong side of the road. He said he would let you off the hook.... this time." I can't do anything without somebody watching!

Although the officer was telling my husband that in jest, it made me think about how you and I are constantly being watched by others: our children, our family, our co-workers, fellow drivers, church members, total strangers, you name it. When they are looking at us, what are they seeing? Are they seeing someone who has mercy, someone with a forgiving attitude? Do they see someone who looks like they have a chip on their shoulder or someone who may chew them out on the spot? Or, do they see someone who has the joy of the Lord on their face?

Paul wrote in Colossians 3:23, "Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverance for the Lord." It is easy to show God's love when we know someone is watching us. It is much harder to show God's love when they aren't showing any love to us, right? But Paul said to do it with sincerity of heart and reverance for the Lord.

It is important that we show the love of Jesus through our everyday tasks, actions and words, because you never know who's eyes God is watching you through.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Fuel For The Christ-Life

Every time I drive past a gas station, I look at the gas prices. I've taken great delight in the lower prices, haven't you? My car uses the 93 octane gas, so when prices were soaring, my wallet was moaning. My daddy used to have a Chevy that used diesel fuel. It seemed like we could go 2 weeks on a single tank without having to fill up. When I go to the heliport to fly in Skycopter 3, I can always smell the jet fuel that is used to fill up its tanks. When you use the kind of fuel required for an engine, you get better use out of the machine. Put any other type of fuel in the engine and you will have a mess on your hands, and a hefty bill to pay.

2 Corinthians 1:21-22 says, "Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come."

When you and I operate under the anointing of the Holy Spirit, as we were created to, God's light in us can't be contained. But if we aren't operating in the Spirit, we are wasting our time and aren't living up to the full potential that God created us to be. We don't have any time to waste because this life isn't a dress rehearsal.

You and I can continue to do what we've always done and hide from some changes God is wanting us to make. Or, we can trust the Holy Spirit and live under the anointing, knowing we are doing what God has called us to do (even if we are a bit nervous about it). Don't compromise what God has called you to do.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Bearing Good Fruit vs. Being Sour

I love a good salad and seeing now as I'm able to actually eat one low calorie meal a day now, I usually pick a small salad to indulge in. If a salad has fresh veggies in it, it can be so enjoyable. The other day, I pulled into my favorite fast-food place and ordered a grilled chicken salad. I was almost finished eating and got to my favorite part---the cherry tomatoes! I took a bite and thought I was going to spit it out. That cherry tomato looked so red and plump on the outside, but the truth was, it was sour. Yuk!

Waiting on the Lord will try your innermost patience. While you and I are waiting on the Lord to answer our prayers, we need to be about the business of bearing good fruit. We should be like a tree planted by the water, drawing strength and life from its source because its roots go down deep into the ground. Even in the dry times, a deeply rooted tree will continue to bear good fruit.

If you and I are firmly rooted in Jesus and His love, even though we may have all sorts of issues in our lives, we will still bear the fruit of the Spirit described in Galatians 5:22-23: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.

Sometimes we seem to think because we are going through a hard time, we have "a right" or a license to be miserable and ugly to other people. Acting that way won't bring God's answer to us any faster. The Bible tells us we are not to give in to such evil tendencies, but to continue bearing good fruit, giving thanks and praising God even in the middle of the difficult circumstances.

And you know, there isn't anything that tastes worse than a sour piece of fruit!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

You Are Too Friendly!

Have you ever been accused of being "too friendly"? I never knew there was such a thing, but apparently for some, its a real turn off.

We received a complaint from a viewer regarding our 4pm-5pm newscast on WLBT. Here is the complaint:

“I think it is so unprofessional for your people to be so chatty with each other while broadcasting. Rob Jay and Maggie Wade tease each other; Barbie Bassett, Maggie and Stephanie Bell-Flynt talk about their families on TV, what they think about a subject, etc. I just get so tired of it. I turned to Channel 12 yesterday because they are VERY serious, as they should be. I learned in my mass communications education that one does not talk about oneself to the public: no one wants to hear it.” ---a viewer from Hazlehurst

Maggie, Steph and I spoke about this on yesterday's show. We really are good friends; what you are seeing isn't a result of any acting class. When Rob Jay and Maggie poke fun at each other, its genuine (you should see and hear what they do during the commercial breaks!). With the personalities at WLBT, what you see is what you get. Granted, the 4pm-5pm show lends itself to a more relaxed atmosphere, and any subject goes, especially when the medical professionals show up. When its time to be serious, we are; when its time to have fun, we do it in a big way!

So we asked yesterday's viewers what they thought: should we be "VERY serious" like the other channels or should we continue to do what we're doing and be ourselves? We asked our viewers to send emails to the show and vote. As of last night, the vote was overwhelming---2 for the "VERY serious" approach and 77 for the "be yourselves" approach. We'll be sharing these results with our viewers today on the show. Here is what the viewers who wanted us to stop being ourselves wrote:

"I agree with the emailer about the professional conduct of the three noisy, cackling, news women you have!" Signed, Anonymous

"Please, Please loose this entire format! I don't understand what WLBT was thinking anyway. There is nothing in this time slot that won't be repeated at 5, 6,and 10. Nobody wants to hear the weather repeated for the 99th time. You must be going for the ad revenue. There is already a doctors program on the air at 3:30. This program takes me back to my youth when my grandmother had chickens, about the same time of day they would all cackle while laying eggs. Boy, you really laid an egg with this one!" Signed, Anonymous

Isn't that the wonderful thing about remotes? You can press a button and it changes the channel instantaneously! Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go sit on my nest.....(I'm smiling)....

Monday, January 12, 2009

What Would Your Heart Say?

We had put the children to bed and sat down to channel surf for a bit before turning in for the evening. We landed on a show called "True Beauty". The contestants are vying for a spot in People magazine's "100 Most Beautiful People" issue. They were taken to a doctor who claimed to be a beauty expert. The doctor measured their faces to determine what their beauty factor was and each contestant was scored. Some contestants were glad to hear, according to the numbers, they are beautiful. Others thought they were beautiful, but were disappointed when their numbers didn't reveal it on their faces. Although I know this was a "reality show", I thought to myself how sad it must be for people to concern themselves only with their outer self.

Last week, my husband brought his stethoscope home with him and laid it on the counter. The next day, I saw Will put the ear pieces in his ears as he walked over to Gracie. "Gracie," he said, "I need to listen to you." Gracie stood still in front of Will as he put the stethoscope to her chest. "Gracie! Gracie!" Will shouted, "I hear Jesus in dare!" (in his 3 year-old dialect). "I know," Gracie told him, "that's where Jesus lives, silly!"

1 Chronicles 28:9 says, "Acknowledge God and serve Him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches every heart and understands every motive behind your thoughts." God knows our heart and His x-ray vision sees how dirty we really are. But by His grace, He only concentrates on the prettiness of our heart. When He lives inside us, His grace turns ugly into beauty.

Will's experiment got me to thinking....if a stethoscope was put on my heart, what would others hear? Would they hear someone who is bitter, accusatory, judgemental, and always complaining? Or would they hear a giving attitude mixed with mercy for others and a love to see the unsaved saved?

Friday, January 9, 2009

Would You Intentionally Leave Someone Behind?

Last Sunday, our interim pastor spoke about the 7 things you should know if you're left behind (he was preaching on the rapture). It was intended to get us thinking about not only our own salvation, but the salvation of others. He pointed out there are no more "signs of the times" that are yet to be fulfilled, which means Christ could come back literally at any moment. I was moved to pray even harder for people I know who aren't Christians. I wanted to shout a hearty "Amen!" at times and weep in other parts of his talk. The whole issue of praying for others took on a totally different meaning for me. I thought I was serious about praying for the salvation of some friends and family but apparently, I hadn't been serious enough.

If God could suddenly confront and change the apostle Paul, He can confront and change anybody. Didn't He confront and change us?

We must never get tired of praying for the salvation of others because sometimes God works suddenly and sometimes He works over a period of time. But He does work in response to our prayer and praise. Acts 16:26 tells what happened when Paul & Silas were singing praises to the Lord in jail: "Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the very foundations of the prison were shaken; and at once all the doors were opened and everyone's shackles were unfastened."

As soon as the jailer head the noise and saw what had happened, he attempted to kill himself with his sword because the prisoners had escaped. But Paul called out to him, "Don't harm yourself, we're all still here!" When the jailer brought Paul and Silas out of the prison cell, his first question to them was in verse 30, "Men, what is it necessary for me to do that I may be saved?"

What a big change! The same man who had them beaten, chained and thrown into a dungeon of a prison was now asking them for salvation! Once he became a believer, the jailer took them into his own home, bathed their wounds, and served them food. The Bible said he was so excited he "leaped for joy and exulted with all his family that he believed in God." (verse 34).

God may be moving in a supernatural way for you or for your loved one or in an ordinary way. He may move "suddenly" as He did for the jailer.

If the rapture were to happen today, is there anyone you love whom you believe would be left behind? Do you WANT them to be left behind to deal with what they will be forced to face here on earth? If not, what are you and I going to do about it?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

A Question From A Blog Reader

Barbie, would you comment on your experience with the liquid diet? My doctor has asked me to consider going on a medically supervised liquid diet at St. Dominic's diet center. I'm not opposed to it, but a liquid diet seems difficult. Well meaning friends are telling me that they think this liquid diet is totally liquid - no solid food at all. Did you find this to be true? They are also telling me that they have heard it is very expensive. I'm also wondering about what happens when I loose the unwanted weight and return to eating regular food. Have you found it hard to keep the weight off? Thanks for your input. I do not know anyone else to ask as I do not know anyone else who has done this.

I'm sure there are different liquid diets out there. I'm on the liquid diet that Baptist Health Systems has. They actually have two: one which is all liquid (shakes, puddings and soups) and another one which has the dieter eating two liquids and one low calorie meal each day. I chose to do the all liquid diet because it is faster and when I set my mind to something, I do it with no looking back. The diet at St.Dominic may be all liquid, but since I'm not familiar with their program, I can't comment. Even though I have 10 pounds to go until my personal goal, I have started to incorporate some food back into my diet and I haven't gained any of my weight back. However, I watch my food intake very closely. A friend of mine went from 238 pounds down to 135 pounds with this same diet. She has gained back 25 pounds, however she will quickly admit that she is eating anything she wants and doesn't exercise one bit. Doing 1 hour of cardio everyday has not only improved my health, but I believe it keeps me from gaining back the 37 pounds I've lost. When you incorporate food back into your diet, you have to make sure the meals are low calorie. If not, the weight will pile back on doubly fast!

Any "diet" starts with your mind first. If you aren't wholly and fully committed, you will waste your time and money. I had to find my motivation for doing what some would call drastic and I had two of them: 1) the pressure people have put on me to lose the baby weight fast and look perfect (you've seen the emails, letters and messages on this blog so you know what I'm talking about) and 2) I needed to lose the weight for my own health. With the heart problems that have surfaced in my family over the last year, I don't want to find myself in my brother's shoes just because I chose not to get rid of some leftover pregnancy weight.

In addition to the liquid diet, I've also been doing a Bible study on my own using the "First Place 4 Health". This study digs into the reasons why God wants us to be healthy and how our relationship with food can be directly related to our relationship with God. Those books can be found at any Christian book store.

Liquid diets can be pricey and some insurance companies will pay for it (my insurance carrier will not). So I do without some things, keep a tight budget, and make it work. The Nutrition Center at Baptist is having a discounted deal at this time so if you are interested, call 601-973-1624 and they will gladly discuss all options with you.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Severe Weather Possible

Are you ready for more rain? Well, it's coming. Since last Friday on WLBT, I've talked about the possibility for some of the viewing area to receive strong thunderstorms and heavy rain. That will be the most pressing for today. Areas in southeast Mississippi could see the possibility of isolated tornadoes, hail, and damaging winds. In western and central Mississippi, we could see periods of heavy rain. Take a look at this graphic from the National Weather Service and see what your threat level looks like today and tonight.

Of course, have your weather radio on and I'll keep you posted throughout the afternoon and night on WLBT.

(A reader posted a question on yesterday's blog. If you have any questions, let me know and I'll be happy to answer them along with the other on Wednesday.)

Monday, January 5, 2009

The Start of 2009!

Everyone is back to work and the kids are back to school as the Christmas holidays are simply a faded memory. I hope you had some time away from your busy life and got to spend quality time with your family. I had planned to be off through Christmas and New Years for a full week as I had promised my children we would do some things, and this was to be Lilly Faith's first Christmas, but that didn't happen. My work schedule changed at the last minute and I worked through all of the holidays. I was able to travel to see my family and spend a quick 24 hours with them. Here is our yearly Christmas candid that we traditionally take.

On the back row, left, dressed in red is my sister Rhonda. On the back row, right, dressed in a white shirt is my sister Melody. On the floor sitting is my brother Doug, who will be having another heart procedure this month. I'm on the floor opposite of him. And my parents are sitting in the middle of their grandchildren, all smiles of course! Doug's wife, Avril, is not pictured as she was in Atlanta visiting her family from Honduras. My other brothers-in-law are picture next to my sisters and grands.

Have you made your resolutions for 2009? I've made a few. I want to lose another 10 pounds which will get me back to my high school weight; I will shower heaven with more thankfulness for everyday blessings; and I want to finish writing my book. With that said, I'll need to back off just a bit on this blog.

Between teaching at Mississippi College this semester, homeschooling, being a mother and wife, work at WLBT, and a packed calendar of speaking and singing engagements, I have to find some time to write. So for now, I'll commence to writing on my blog on Mondays and Fridays. If there is something significant weather-wise during the week, I will share that with you here. But I hope to start the week sharing my thoughts and ending the week doing the same. Hopefully, you will find some encouragement here.

And as I get closer to finishing the book, you'll be the first to know!