Friday, March 30, 2012

Giving In, Giving Up or Given Out

I overheard a conversation this week between my 3 year old daughter and my 6 year old son:

Lilly Faith: "You ALWAYS win! You cheat!"
Will: "No, I don't cheat. I just keep playing and finish. You quit too soon."

So many times when the criticism and hard times come, we give in. Oh, we say we're in it for the long haul and our faith is strong. But what we actually do is contradictory to what we say. Why? Because it's so much easier and less stressful to give in. We don't like pain; we don't like hard work; and we're not known for receiving an "A" on our spiritual report card in the subject of patience.

Romans 12:11-12 says, "Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer." James 5:11 says, "We count as blessed, those who have persevered. You have heard of Job's perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy."

When you break it down further, those who have hope, patience and faith in God's provision will be blessed; not cheated.

So the next time you feel like giving in, giving up or given out, be reminded that the finish line never moves. It's in the same place it was yesterday. You just can't quit too soon!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Are You Root Bound?

A couple of weeks ago, I planted close to 150 marigolds and periwinkles. But in my calculations, I realized I had bought too many and quickly ran out of ground to put them in. So, I put them aside, keeping them in their small flat until I had time to transplant them into larger pots. Time has slipped away...

Yesterday while sitting on the back patio, I noticed my leftover plants and how they were beginning to droop. They are wanting to grow, eager to develop deeper roots but they're root bound. The only thing that will allow them to do what they were created to do is to plant them where they can thrive.

2 Peter 3:18 encourages us to "grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ". Growth is pivotal in not becoming root bound.

However, we must have a desire to grow as a Christian and to maintain that growth. Growth is always needed and learning how to deal with life's circumstances through God's Word is a great place to start. It is our spiritual food. But exercise and practice is crucial to flourishing in a deeper relationship with Christ. 1 Timothy 4:7 says, "Exercise yourself towards godliness." That means if you aren't living it, you aren't moving forward. You're stagnant. But growing into a deeper communion with God doesn't happen overnight. It takes time and patience. Children don't grow taller over night and neither do we.

The story of the little boy who fell out of bed reminds me so much of our Christian growth. When asked what happened he said, "I guess I stayed too close to the gettin'-in place." How true that is for many Christians; we stay too close to the gettin' in place and never persevere in allowing our roots to develop deeper in Christ.

Friday, March 23, 2012

A Stranger in the Dark

It had already been a long day and it wasn't over. Between newcasts Monday, I had an event to speak at and knew my dinner break would be taken. Driving back to the tv station at 9pm, I decided to swing in the drive-thru and pick up something quick and eat in the break room before the 10pm newscast. With food in the car, I pulled into the WLBT parking lot. BING! Someone sent me a text. With the parked car still running, I type out my response and gathered my belongings to head inside. Then someone tapped on my window and startled me. There standing before me was a stranger in the dark.

"Please don't shoot me, please don't shoot me, ma'am. I'm sorry I startled you. Please don't shoot me!" he said apologetically. "Can I help you?" I asked. He proceeded to tell me how the downtown Jackson soup kitchen was closed for the night and how he was trying to get to Meridian. "But I'm hungry," he said. "Well, how do you plan to get to Meridian?" I asked as I was convinced all he wanted was money. "I'm walking down here to the truck stop and gonna hitch a ride, but I'm hungry," he explained.

Well, I am, too, I thought. I looked at the unopened food I had just purchased, grabbed it and gave it to him through the window. "Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you! God bless you!" he said. And he walked away.

Before you give me "kuddos", I don't deserve them. I came very close to pulling out a couple of dollars and telling him to move on. And when that thought came in my head, I realized it was after 9pm, he had obviously walked a ways to get to Jefferson Street and there were no restaurants nearby. But I knew the Holy Spirit was watching me. What I did first determined what God would do second.

I've found myself lately praying Jeremiah 17:7-8: "Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. And it has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit." I tell the Lord every day: I devote my day to you. It's no longer mine but Yours. I will deliver your blessings whenever and wherever and to whomever You choose.

We're just God's delivery agents if you think about it. God is the ultimate giver. He arranged the encounter and the fast-food. I was just carrying it around! God deserves the credit for lovingly bringing me and a stranger together as the person God had in mind. The stranger was immediately swept up in a natural outpouring of profound gratitude to God for His mysterious and wonderful provision in remedying his hunger.

Each time you give to others, all of Heaven cheers you on as yet another downtrodden heart is filled to overflowing with God's care.

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Smile of Protection

A viewer said the other day, "You just always seem so happy. You're always smiling. It used to get on my nerves to watch you on tv because I thought there's no way someone can be that nice all of the time. I just KNEW you were faking it!"

I'm not immune to flat tires, unexpected changes in my schedule, frustrations with my family and even anonymous letters of criticism. No one is exempt from trials and stress. How we handle those real life plops says more about our faith than anything else I believe.

Psalm 89:15 is one of my favorite scriptures: "Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, O Lord." The word acclaim means "to welcome or salute with shouts or sounds of joy and approval". To be blessed is to happy! The people who know the joyful sound are the ones who get into the presence of God and walk in the smile of His protection. This joy comes from heaven and isn't dependent upon what people say or what circumstances life throws your way.

Where there is joy, the presence and glory of God will come in and run Satan off.

Go about your day walking in the smile of God's protection!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Barbie will be away from the blog until Friday, March 16. Feel free to browse her blog!

Monday, March 5, 2012

A Fresh Anointing

We were talking about the coming of Spring and the longer days when our children began lamenting why they didn't like Winter: the days are shorter, it's cold and not as much time to play outside. While I agree with their sentiments, the conversation almost became a "bash Winter" contest while I said, "How about we say the things we like about Winter instead of saying the things we don't like?" Things like Christmas and seeing family more were brought into the conversation. Isn't it interesting how things we think are curses can turn into blessings?

In Mark 8:22, Jesus and his disciples were traveling then they came to Bethsaida. Verse 22 says, "And some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man's eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, 'Do you see anything?' He looked up and said, 'I see people; they look like trees walking around.' Once more Jesus put his hands on the man's eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly."

The word "anoint" is a verb and verbs show action. Anoint means to "smear or rub with oil".

Jesus anointed the man's eyes and then he saw. Before that time, he couldn't see. He was blinded by the negativity he was living in. He had lost the ability to see the blessings in his life and could only recognize curses. But Jesus gave him fresh eyesight.

The devil sees the anointing on your life! Calvary cancels out the curses the devil is trying to get you to focus on. It's time for a fresh anointing. But just with the blind man, the anointing comes first and then you see!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Severe Weather Tonight

If you've been watching the weather, you're aware of what a volatile week it's been. With tornadoes, damage and deaths in the plains states, March is certainly coming in like a lion!
We had our own share of tornadic Wednesday with several tornado warnings issued. Now it's time for a final round before the week is over.
The cold front entering the state tonight is quite potent. We've been socked with warm, muggy, unstable air for the last few days. This cold front has cooler and drier air behind it; thus, the clashing of air masses.
The storms are expected to enter the western half of the state sometime after 3pm today and continue developing as the system pushes east. The storms should be exiting the WLBT viewing area by 2am Saturday. All modes of severe weather is possible. This means large hail, damaging winds and strong tornadoes cannot be ruled out. Here is the NWS's graphical depiction of what is possible. Click on the photo to make it larger and find your county.
With the possibility of power outages and "rain fade" happening for those of you who depend of satellite, I can't recommend enough that you purchase a weather radio before this afternoon. This operates not only on electricty but on battery power as well (we recommend one that has S.A.M.E. county code techonology). It will alert you should a tornado warning be issued for your county.
I'll be tracking the storms on WLBT, Twitter & Facebook so you can follow my posts there.