Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Pharisee or the Sinner: Which Are You?

Gracie has a small gift box in which she keeps sheets of small paper with her writings on them. She has termed it as her "Jesus box". Will took it from her room yesterday and she had a fit. "Will has my Jesus box! It has all of the things I've given to Jesus!" she said. After scolding Will to give Gracie's box back to her, I found him sulking on his bed with tears streaming down his face. "I want to give Jesus a present, too, but I don't have anything. And Gracie's not gonna let me use her box!" Will said. Needless to say, it was a grand opportunity for me to explain to my five year old son how giving his heart to Jesus is the best gift he could give.

In Matthew 26:6 we read the story of a lady who entered the house owned by a Pharisee named Simon. She had an alabaster box made of marble with perfumed oil in her hand. Wordless and with many tears, she cleaned the feet of Jesus with the oil and wipe his feet with her hair. "Why this waste? This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor," the Pharisee said (verse 8). The disciples were just as shocked. But Jesus said ever since the lady walked into the house, she had been ministering to him while Simon had done absolutely nothing. Simon was too busy pointing out the lady's faults.

There are 3 noted in this passage: the Pharisee (Simon), the sinner (the lady) and the Savior. The Pharisee is happy with their religion; they are comfortable and don't see the need to change. After all, they take great pride in looking like they have it all together and pointing out the negativity in others. The sinner is tired, broken and ready for change and realizes their need for the Savior.

Of the two, which one are you? Are you content in your relationship with Christ and have just enough of the Savior to get by or are you ready to give up everything you have to get more of Jesus?

Monday, July 18, 2011

That's What Friends Are For

I want to say a sincere 'thank you' to all of you who posted comments on this blog, posted on my Facebook page and sent emails regarding last Friday's blog. I won't share some of the negative comments sent to me in regards to last Friday's blog, but know that Satan is hard at work. However, I appreciate each and every one of you basically letting me know "you are not alone"!

I traveled to my parents over the weekend for a short visit. It is always good to get away and I look forward to disappearing for a while in the coming days.

While visting my home church, we sang a song I've sung for years growing up in Crowder Baptist. This time, the words made more sense to me than they ever have before:

Jesus is all the world to me;
My life, my joy, my all
He is my strength from day to day
Without Him I would fall.
When I am sad, to Him I go.
No other one could cheer me so.
When I am sad, He makes me glad.
He's my friend.

Jesus is all the world to me,
My Friend in trials sore.
I go to Him for blessings and
He gives them o'er and o'er.
He sends the sunshine and the rain,
He sends the harvest golden grain.
Sunshine and rain, harvest of grain,
He's my Friend.

Jesus is all the world to me,
I want no better Friend.
I trust Him now, I'll trust Him when
Life's fleeting days shall end.
Beautiful life with such a Friend,
Beautiful life that has no end.
Eternal life, eternal joy
He's my Friend.

(Barbie will be hosting a summer blood drive at Mississippi Blood Services this Thursday, July 21 called M*A*S*H in honor of our troops. Lunch will be provided free of charge from 11am-1pm by Applebees. Please come out and donate blood in honor of our military!)

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Hurt

I have cried so much, I don't think I have any tears left.

Every day this week, I have received anonymous voicemails, letters, emails and Facebook messages from viewers commenting on my clothes, my hair, my weight and even my jewelry. Just when you think viewers have "moved on", they feel the need to share their critiques. I shared with my husband how I'm getting to the point of not wanting to go out in public for fear of what someone is going to say to me, not to mention having to pray myself into work every day. For just one day, I'd like for what I look like to NOT matter.

Several have told me how I need to develop thicker skin, ignore them, or delete them. That is so much easier said that done. Even the big name celebrities have assistants who read all of their fan mail and throw about 99.9% of it, so the celebrity doesn't have to read what is written to them. I don't have that luxury. In fact, we are encouraged to respond to every communication we are sent.

Why do we feel the need to give an opinion about something as mindless as superficial things? Jesus said in Matthew 12:36, "I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgement for every empty word they have spoken." This convicts me knowing the things I've said or emailed about others in the past and Jesus makes it clear how God feels about it.

Satan can't demand any changes from you. When you are being criticized, he's just a gnat in your ear trying to get you off course and distract you. The only one who can demand any changes in your life is Jesus Christ because he paid the ultimate price for you.

Monday, July 11, 2011

God's Leading Hand

William and I had only been dating for 2 months when he asked if I would like to come spend a few days with his family at the Neshoba County Fair. I had always heard of the Fair, but thought it must've been some sort of raunchy gathering. I was nervous just in thinking of all of the infamous stories I'd heard about the Fair over the years. I just knew there wouldn't be anyone there I knew. But because I was in love and willing to do whatever I could to spend time with William and officially meet his parents, I agreed to go. There was one condition---I wanted reassurance he wouldn't leave me in a place I didn't know much about or with people I didn't know.

When Israel faced a serious threat from their enemies, Moses asked the Lord in Exodus 33:15, "If Your presence does not go with us, do not lead us up from here." Moses knew the value of having God lead him and the Israelites forward. In fact, Moses wanted to stay put if there was an outside chance that God was not going to go with them.

Obedience to God's will for our life teaches us to want the same thing as God wants. We want to be in God's will and not off on some winding trail that leads to serious trouble and disappointment.

If you aren't sure about the direction you're about to take, pray as Moses, "If Your presence does not go with me, then do not lead me up from here. Block my path and guide me so I will be in the center of Your will."

Friday, July 8, 2011

Fall Into Grace

I've always liked the word "grace". It has a pretty sound to it, if there is such a thing. Growing up in the church and singing "Amazing Grace" for many years, we named our first child in honor of it.

We've witness famous preachers and celebrities make detrimental choices in their personal lives and have often said they fell from grace. I've made my share of unwise decisions over the years and had to deal with some of the same questions. However, I believe if you're a Christian, you don't fall OUT of grace but you fall INTO grace.

The book of Galatians is all about grace. Paul wrote to the Christians in Galatia, which is modern day Turkey, and tried to get them deprogrammed from the spirit of religion they had been caught up in. False teachings had convinced the early Christians they had to keep the ritual laws of the Jesus. Not to mention, many of them were having a field day throwing personal attacks toward Paul, but Paul chose to exhibit grace.

Galatians 1 & 2 tells of the history of the gospel and the opposition of the gospel. The true gospel is always opposed and will always be offensive. That's one way you can tell if it's the true gospel. The gospel will always slap a non-believer in the face and the Christian in the behind!

Galatians 3 & 4 tells of the doctrine of the new covenant through Jesus Christ. Paul even tells them in Galatians 3:1, "You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified!"

Galatians 5 & 6 tells how we can apply what Paul has shared in the previous chapters. Paul was encouraging them to get ahold of the freedom Jesus brings and to walk in that freedom.

Proverbs 24:16 says, "...though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again, but the wicked are brought down by calamity." The world doesn't understand grace. Why? Because they don't have it. You can't give away something that you don't have as a non-believer.

When I fell out of grace, I found out I've got help. There was no need to stay on the ground wounded and depressed. The crutches God uses to get you walking again is grace.

(Barbie will be the guest speaker and singer at the Woodville Methodist Church's women's conference Saturday.)

Friday, July 1, 2011

Shake Off The Dust

Our oldest, Gracie, turns 8 years old today. Someone asked me yesterday if I ever spank Gracie? Very rarely....she's a very obedient child, has a tender heart and seems to think through the consequences before she acts. This person was shocked that "I" spank and told me how horrible corporal punishment is and the damage I've done.

Not everyone will agree with your beliefs, convictions or calling. Nevertheless, you must move on just as Paul and Barnabas did.

Persecution followed these men everywhere they went. There was nothing they could've done to make their opponents believe their message of hope in Jesus Christ. But that didn't stop them from pressing on. Acts 13:51 says, "So they shook the dust from their feet in protest again them and went to Iconium." That means they didn't let their enemies stop them from preaching, but they made the choice to move on and not linger in a place filled with hatred. Did they leave bitterly or with disdain in their hearts? The answer is no. Acts 13:52 says they were "...filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit." They didn't let their opponents break their spirit. They saw moving forward as an opportunity to experience new blessings, not failure.

Maybe there is a situation you need to leave behind you or perhaps it is an unfruitful relationship. Don't look back with hurt feelings and unforgiveness. See this as your chance to enter into a fresh season with a new opportunity ahead. But you won't know until you shake the dust off!