Monday, November 30, 2009

Barbie will return next Monday!

Friday, November 27, 2009

A Thanksgiving Lesson

I'm always trying to teach my children how God has truly blessed us. But sometimes, it's an easier lesson to teach when they see it for themselves.

Wednesday morning I told the kids we were going to do something different. We were going to buy food for the homeless and take it to a local shelter. I called Stewpot Community Services and asked what food they were needing for their Thanksgiving meal. "We could really use turkeys and canned vegetables," the lady said on the other line. We drove to Kroger and all piled out of the car. As Will and La-La rode in the shopping cart, Gracie and I picked the cans of food and put them one by one in the cart. We moved La-La over and placed several turkeys in the buggy beside her and bought the food.

As we drove to downtown Jackson, I asked the kids what did God give them that they were thankful for? Will piped up with, "My Lighting McQueen car, my clothes, you and daddy." Gracie chimed in with her list, "My shoes, my toys, my bed and my family." I explained what being homeless means and why some people don't have places to live. "You mean some people won't be eating with their families on Thanksgiving?" Gracie asked. "Why not?" I gave her various reasons: maybe they are embarrassed for their families to know they are homeless, maybe they don't have a family anymore or they don't know where they family lives, or maybe their family doesn't want them anymore. There were probably other reasons even I couldn't explain.

We pulled up to Stewpot and parked the car. A man with no legs rode by our car in a wheelchair. "Is he homeless, mama?" Will asked. I didn't know. Gracie noticed men and women sitting outside the center. "Are they waiting to eat?" Gracie asked. Yes, they were and I told the children the homeless in this area only eat one meal a day, if that much.

Some men came out to get the food out of the trunk and took it inside. As we drove off, Gracie became more aware of the people standing on the sidewalks. "If you're homeless, I guess the only friend you have at night are the bugs outside," she said.

As Christians, Jesus commanded us all to go and make disciples of others. But I'm always struck by what He didn't say. For example, Jesus didn't command, "Go when you're ready" or, "Go if you're in professional ministry," or, "Go, if it's convenient and if you've been given the money to help others."

Proverbs 3:27 says, "Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act."

Here's the amazing truth: what Jesus commands you and me to do is nothing less than what God created us to do and will empower us to accomplish. When you and I make a priority of multiplying in the lives of others what God has given us, we will find personal fulfillment and fruitfulness that we can't experience any other way!

Monday, November 23, 2009

I did something this weekend I haven't done in a long time--I competed in a pageant. I had made a personal pact with myself a year ago when I started losing the baby weight: if I lost the weight, I would enter a Mrs. pageant. Keep in mind, the last title I won was Mrs. Mississippi International 2000 (almost 10 years ago, before I had children).

The last couple of weeks leading up to the pageant, the Lord keep telling me to pray for my competition. Pray for my competition? I thought. This goes against everything that is expected in a pageant. The purpose is to beat your competition, not pray for them! When the Holy Spirit wouldn't let me be at peace, I relented and began praying for the other women I would be competing against. I bought each contestant a small gift, wrapped it, and wrote "You are being prayed for" on the tag.

The competition began early in the weekend and I made new friends. As the day wore on, I learned more about each of the Mrs. contestants. One woman had colon surgery ten days ago and still had a line of stitches to prove it on her belly; one contestant was dealing with opening a new business and was stressed to the max; another had just lost a family member. Yes, my competition was fierce but there was a definite reason why I had been prompted to pray for them.

Much to my surprise at the end of the night, I was named Mrs. Magnolia. There were a total of 80 contestants vying for the Jr. Miss, Teen, Miss & Mrs. titles. As I returned home, pulled off the pantyhose and fake eyelashes, I was reminded of Proverbs 31:30, "Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised."
When God prompts us to pray for someone, could it be that He has a blessing for us on the other side of that prayer? Perhaps..

Friday, November 20, 2009

A Man Named Robert

Last week, I received a call from a viewer who said her brother is a big fan. "He suffered a stroke earlier this year and he would love to meet you," she told me. I listened closely to her rave about her brother and how much loved him. "It would just make his day if you could come by the rehab hospital and see him." I explained that I don't normally make house calls as I have several stalkers. I find myself trying to be sensible about where I go and my surroundings. She seemed to understand and said, "If you could drop by at 2pm, I'll make sure he's in the lobby with his nurses." The Holy Spirit gave me an assurance that I would be safe at this visit.

But, my day started off a busy one. Homeschooling, gym workout, trip to the grocery store, and fixing lunch for the kids. As I hopped into the car that afternoon to drive to the rehab hospital and then on to WLBT, I noticed my car was on "E". My day had already been busy, only to be topped off by my empty car and fighting tears. I had been emotional all day long as I had looked at the calendar and realized it was the fourth anniversary of me losing our second child in late 2004. I was stressed, emotionally unstable, and worn out.

I pulled into what I thought was the rehab place. When I walked in, a lady at the front desk told me I was at the wrong place. I had missed my turn and walked back to my car. I just need to go back home and start all over again, I thought. It really won't matter if I don't show up to see this guy. I'm not in the mood. But the Holy Spirit said 'Go'. I found myself back in the car and pulling into the driveway of the rehab hospital.

I road the elevator up to the third floor. The doors opened and standing in the doorway was the lady who had called and asked me to come see her brother. "We are so glad you are here!" she said. "We didn't tell him you were coming, just in case you didn't show up. Follow me!" she said with excitement. As I walked past the nurses station and rows of chairs in the waiting room, I saw the back of a man in a wheelchair sitting in front of a large bay window.

"Robert, look a here!" she said as I turned and faced him. "It's Barbie Bassett, from WLBT! She came to see you!" Robert had suffered a stroke and is on a breathing tube, feeding tube and is completely paralyzed. The only movement I could see was his eyes. I noticed his index finger lift slightly. "He's trying to shake your hand," his sister leaned over and explained. So I picked up his hand and put my hand inside his. There, in front of the window, I had a one-sided conversation with 45 year old Robert. I told him about the weather outside, I told him about my children, and my co-workers at WLBT. "Robert just lights up when you come on tv every night," his sister said quietly. "His wife left him after he had the stroke and is with another man now. All he has is his daughter and a few of us family members who come to see him." When it was time for me to leave, I patted his hands one more time and noticed large tears streaming down his cheeks. Robert knew who I was and I could tell he was happy I came to visit.

Isaiah 49:16 says, "See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands." How easy it is to forget the Roberts of this world--to get so caught up in our own life, our hectic schedules, our obligations and our own sorrows. We may forget the hurts others have, but God doesn't. We are a constant reminder to Him, inside His hands.

I didn't know why the Holy Spirit was nudging me to go forward on this day and why Satan was trying his hardest to make my life too full and my emotions get the best of me. When I left the rehab hospital, I knew why. God wanted to show me a world outside of myself and how He works to make little miracles like Robert happen every day.

Monday, November 16, 2009

You Are The Body

Having been raised in the church, I had always heard how we are the body of Christ. Even after numerous explanations, I still couldn't fully grasp what that meant...until this weekend. I had one of those 'wisdom and revelation' moments. As I had shared with you before, I've been praying Ephesians 1:18-23 for myself and the Holy Spirit continues to show me things I'd never seen before. It is unfolding and opening up.

Ephesians 1:20-22 says, "Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under his feet." Most churches will talk to you about Jesus, but some make it sound as if Jesus is way up there and you are here on earth, just struggling to get along.

Ephesians 1:22-23 says, "And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all." Paul is saying here, "Christ is the head; we are His body." Your head and your body go together, right? Jesus is not decapitated! His head and His body go together, too. So if He is seated, you and I are seated. If He is blessed, then you and I are blessed!

Your head and your body go by the same name. You do not have one name for your head and a different name for your body. When you go into a bank, you do not open up different accounts for your head and your body. No, you are one. So whatever belongs to the head belongs to the body.

Ephesians 2:1 says, "And you hath he quickened..." The word quicken means He made us alive together with Christ.

The devil is afraid of you whenever you find out that you have the same things in you that Jesus had in Him and has in Him right now. The Gospel is not the good news that God wants to help you. The Gospel is the good news that God has already helped you. He has already done something for you and it has already been accomplished.

You can't be defeated in life when if you have the same identity in Christ.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Ah...The Things That People Say!

Perhaps it was the full moon earlier in the week, but viewers have been on a roll with their comments...funny, although they may be. Here are some of the comments I've gotten this week.

"Forget the camera adding 10 pounds. The camera adds 45 pounds to you!" Gosh, thanks.

A viewer called our front desk receptionist and wanted to speak to a meteorologist. The receptionist told the man that I was at the television station and he was more than welcome to speak to me. "No, she has 2 children fathered by Paul Williams!" The receptionist explained I had 3 children fathered by my husband, not by Paul Williams.

"Is all of that YOUR hair?" Yes, last time I checked.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Whom Do You Serve, Really?

Our pastor preached on the reality of hell yesterday. It seems as if we don't hear much about hell these days as churches are so afraid of offending. To keep the people in their seats and to draw more in, preachers talk about God's love, His blessings and forgiveness. Our pastor had us envision someone we knew who most likely didn't have their eternal life nailed down. As he explained what all hell would encompass, you couldn't help but keep that person's picture in your mind. It was a powerful sermon in how each of us are called to share God's love with others, yes. But we are also to state the cold, hard facts about eternity, as there are only two choices.

So I've been reading more about Jonah lately and saw some things I've never noticed before. You probably know the story pretty well yourself.

Jonah was a prophet in Israel, so we know he was already telling others about God. God asked him to go to Nineveh (the capital of Assyria) with an important message: repent or God will destroy you. The Assyrians were a rowdy bunch. They worshipped idols and were old enemies of Israel. I'm sure Jonah thought the world would be a better place if God made good on His promise and destroyed them anyway! So when God asked Jonah, he said no and ran in the opposite direction.

Jonah climbs aboard a ship and a huge storm stirs on the water. After throwing cargo off the ship, the crew finally throws Jonah overboard. The seas calm and three days later, a big fish deposits Jonah onto dry land. Although Jonah didn't do what God asked him to do, God did a miracle for Jonah anyway. Think he got the message? Nope. So God tried again.

"The Word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying, 'Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and preach to it the message that I tell you.' So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord."--Jonah 3:1-3

Jonah obeys this time around and preaches to Nineveh. All 120,000 people in the city repent and God spared them from destruction. Everyone was happy, except Jonah. You would think Jonah would see the importance of doing God's will and telling others about Him. You would think Jonah would be motivated to continue serving whenever asked, but Jonah wasn't. It says in, Jonah 4:1, "It displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he became angry."

Right down the end of the chapter, Jonah argues with God about His plans and motives for Jonah. He's sure God has made a big mistake in his life. It boils down to this: Jonah cannot accept God's mission for him is to show God's compassion to people he doesn't like.

Do you see the horrible sadness in this story? I've never seen it before until now. Jonah knew he was born to serve God. He knew he had been sent by God, but he didn't let the reality of hell get to him. Jonah refused to love others the way God loved him. If you are running from the mission God has given you, God will patiently pursue, right up to your last self-absorbed complaint.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Is Your Past Haunting You?

Just before Halloween, my co-workers and I were talking about the pranks some people pull. Some of them admitted to their antics and one friend said, "I just hope the crazy things I did as a kid to people's yards don't come back to haunt me!"

When we are made righteous in the eyes of the Father, old things are passed away. God brings our old identity and old influences to an end. Isaiah 26:12-14 says it best, "Lord, You will ordain peace for us, for You have also wrought in us and for us all our works. O Lord, our God, other masters besides you have ruled over us, but we will acknowledge and mention Your name only. They are dead, they shall not live and reappear; they are powerless ghosts, they shall not rise and come back. Therefore, You have visited and made an end of them and caused every memory of them to perish."

Have you ever had your past come back to haunt you? Satan is a master of deception. When you think your old ways and habits are gone, he will make you think they're still there. But Isaiah said the tyrants of your past are "powerless ghosts; they shall not rise and come back." There is no vacancy in you for them to live.

God can bring those things to an end, even if they have been there for years. We need to challenge every attitude, every kind of thought that comes against our mind that contradicts who we are in Christ.

And even better the next verse, Isaiah 26:15 says, "Thou hast increased the nation, O Lord, thou hast increased the nation; thou art glorified." Do you see what God did? He brought increase!

Sometimes before God can bring increase to you, you have to allow Him through the Word and the Holy Spirit to deal with things that keep coming in your soul and in your life.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Are You Ordinary?

Isn't it disappointing to order something you've seen in a magazine or on television, only to find it arrive at your house not looking the way you remembered? I do a fair amount of ordering clothes from magazines because it isn't always convenient for me to clothes shop for myself with three little ones underfoot. It is frustrating to see a beautiful suit in the magazine, order it, receive it, only for the material to look thin, cheap or haphazardly made. I wonder how many of us as Christians are the same way?

In Gracie's home school lessons, she's been learning about antonyms. Remember those? An antonym is a "word of opposite meaning". The Holy Spirit convicted me on the importance of not being an ordinary Christian. The world is full of 'em--people who go to church on Sundays and agree with what the Bible teaches. On Mondays, they blend in to the world around them. You would never know they were any different. When politicians say something contrary to their spiritual beliefs, they keep their mouth shut as not to offend; when a co-worker is gossiping on another, they quietly listen without pointing it out; when the weekend comes, they're partying with the rest. But on Sunday morning, you'll find them walking through the church doors. They are ordinary Christians.

The antonym for ordinary is extraordinary. Extraordinary is defined as "going beyond what is usual, regular or customary; sent on a special function or service". What would happen if ordinary Christians turned into extraordinary Christians? What would happen if we made a conscience choice to keep the same convictions, beliefs and attitudes all throughout the week instead of Sundays? I believe our marriages would be transformed, our relationships would be fulfilling, our children would grow in the Lord and our spiritual lives would be phenomenal!

Paul said to the Sanhedrin in Acts 23:1, "I have fulfilled my duty to God in all good conscience to this day."

So, I am making the choice to be an extraordinary Christian--'to fulfil my duty to God with a clear conscience'. I want to be 'sent on a special function or service' for the Lord. Because when I cease to do so, I become ordinary.