Sunday, May 18, 2014

New Beginnings

Before my feet hit the floor this morning, I knew.

With every fiber of my being, I knew. The rubber would meet the road today. 

Today would be a day of a "new" beginning. 

Sounds great, right? What' s not to love about new?

New is exciting. 

New is fun.

New is exhilirating. 

Yes, yes and yes ... new can be all of those things. 

But as anyone who has ever walked in anything "new" knows ... 

New can be very risky. 

New can be very costly.

New can be very scary. 

I'm a pretty adventurous girl and have walked with Jesus a long time but ... there are times when "new" shakes me to my very core. How about you?

Father God, as women, we are often driven by our desire for safety and security. Help us to remember in times of "new beginnings" true safety and security are found only in You. Give us the strength and the courage to say "yes, Lord" when You bring us to something new. No matter the cost. Amen. 

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Sunday Celebration - A Father's Smile


“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples (John 15:5-8 NIV). 


These verses are some of the first verses I memorized without the promise of a candy reward. I remember they were fairly easy for me to memorize because they spoke my language.  

You see, my dad was a recreational gardener and he could grow anything. Like most little girls, I thought everything my daddy did was amazing. As I shadowed him, and he shared his love for gardening with me, I caught his passion. From the first time I planted a seed and watched it grow - I was hooked! 

I'm my daddy's girl ... I have his green thumb. 

I say that not to brag. Because, it has nothing to do with me. The skills I learned - came from my father. He taught me. He invested in me. When I would say, I have my dad's green thumb, he would smile ear to ear. 

Who doesn't want to see their daddy smile????

Did you know your Heavenly Father smiles?

Yep, look at verse 8.

It brings glory to our Heavenly Father when we (His children) bear much fruit. 

How do we do that? 

We shadow Jesus. Watching and learning from Him, we catch His passion. Our love for Him gives us a desire to be like Him. We begin to see people as He sees them. We begin to love people as He loves them. We bear MUCH fruit. 

That makes our Heavenly Father smile. 

Again I say, who doesn't like to make their daddy smile? : )

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Sunday Celebration - No More Suffering


 As my pastor so eloquently said today ... each of us is either:
  •  in a storm right now
                        Or
  •  just coming out of a storm
                        Or
  •  out on the horizon, a storm is brewing, and it's headed our way

A book that has brought me great comfort in the midst of a storm is: Heaven, My Father's House. Anne Graham Lotz, the author, asks the following question:

In what way are you suffering? Are you suffering ... Physically, Emotionally, Mentally, Financially, Materially, Relationally, Socially, Spiritually. She then offers these words of exhortation:


One day, God Himself will take your face in His hands and gently wipe away your tears as He reassures you there will be no more suffering in My Father's House. No more ....

  • pain, or hospitals, or death, or funerals, or walkers, or canes, or wheelchairs

There will be no more ...
  • suicide bombers or fiery infernos
  • broken homes or broken hearts 
  • broken lives or broken dreams

There will be no more ...
  • mental retardation or physical handicaps
  • muscular dystrophy or multiple sclerosis
  • blindness or lameness
  • deafness or sickness 

  There will be no more ...

  • Parkinson's Disease or heart disease
  • diabetes or arthritis
  • cataracts or paralysis

NO MORE ...
  • cancer or strokes or AIDS

NO MORE ...
  • guns in schools
  • car bombs
  • terrorists
  • missiles
  • air strikes

NO MORE WAR! You can look forward with hope, because one day there will be no more separation, no more scars, and no more suffering in My Father's House. It's the home of your dreams.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Sunday Celebration - Remain In My Love


As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. 
Now ... Remain in my love. John 15:9

One would think after making it through Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the New Year ... Valentine's Day would be a breeze. Right? Not necessarily. Enduring the expectations of the 'holiday of love' can be torture. Especially, if you are grieving the loss of a loved one.
  • Perhaps, your loved one is now in heaven. 
  • Perhaps, your loved one is now living across town following a divorce.
  • Perhaps, your loved one is lost to an addiction. 

In times like these, we don't feel loved. Our loss or rejection may even spill over into how we see God. We might begin to question if He can be trusted. In times like these, we need to be reminded ... 

Circumstances change, but Jesus never does.
People will let us down, but Jesus never will.

Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. He is love. He can be trusted. Hear that again ... God is love. God can be trusted. 

God is good and His grace is sufficient. Yet, there will be storms of life. 
The pain is real. The grief is real. The heartache is real. 

So, how do you make it through the storms of life? You remain in His love.

Resist the desire to withdraw or run from Jesus. Run to Him. 

Remain in His love. Remain in His love. Remain in His love. 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Sunday Celebration - Both Good & Necessary

 As a believer, it's good to gather together in unity for corporate worship. 

It is good ... to draw strength from one another.
It is good ... to have fellowship with one another.
It is good ... to hear a message from the Lord.  
It is good ... to use our spiritual gifts while encouraging one another in the faith.

As good as those things are, and they are very good, 
they can sometimes cause us to miss that which is necessary.

Seeing Jesus. 
Holy and Exhalted. High and Lifted Up.
Seated at the right hand of the Father. 
The One Who Paid It All. 

I truly pray you enjoyed the 'good' of corporate worship today. 
Whether you were distracted or not, 
I believe you will be blessed by the video link below:

Happy Lord's Day. 
  




Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Would You Please Just ... Grow Up!

We have all thought it ... Yes, even you. : -)

Pushed to our limit, and desperately in need of a nap, we have become so frustrated with the thoughts, actions and misconceptions of others, we have thought ... Would you please just grow up!

Some of us may even allow our thoughts of frustration to take flight. With the force of an incoming 747, our words land on the person pushing our buttons. Or worse, we unload on an unsuspecting and innocent bystander. We southern girls have to be extra careful about this because we have become experts at "venting" in prayer requests. Something like, Would ya'll pray for Sally? Bless her heart, she needs to grow up. In Jesus name, Sally just NEEDS to grow up! Help her Jesus. Amen.  

While it's certainly true Sally has a need to grow up ... it's equally true we do too. Ephesians 4 says all believers need to grow up.

We need to grow ... in unity.
  • Being completely humble and gentle; and patiently, bearing with one another in love. v.2
  • Making every effort to keep the unity of Spirit through the bond of peace. v.3
  • Remembering there is one body and one Spirit, one hope; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. v. 4-6
We need to grow ... in maturity.  
  • Christ Himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers to equip his people for service ... v.11 
  • As His people, once equipped, we are to offer our works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. v.12
Before you say, I'll take maturity but I'll pass on the unity. They're tied together. And so are we. Like it or not, as believers, we need one another to grow. 
What's the result? 
  • We will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their decietful scheming. v.14
  • But ... Instead, speaking truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of Him who is the head, that is, Christ. v.15
  • From Him (Christ) the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. v.16
  
Did you catch the last part? The part that says, as each part does its work?

Each of is to do his or her part. Working together ... in unity. Bearing with one another ... in love.

One body, the body of Christ. Go .... : -)  


Sunday, February 3, 2013

Sunday Celebration - Title Does Not Equal Relationship

Out of choice, not necessity, my hubby and I were snowed in yesterday. We curled up on the couch and watched movies. One of which, chosen because it was a comedy, turned out to have a pretty heavy and thought-provoking scene.

A daughter (well into her teens) was thrust into her father's life out of necessity. The father, sadly had done little (if anything) to cultivate a relationship with his daughter over the years. Yet, he assumed because he had held the title of dad, he and his daughter would hit the ground running. His daughter saw this very differently.  

His perspective: He was dad. That was the relationship.
Her perspective: He was distant. There was no relationship.  

This was a very small scene in what was mostly an upbeat, and silly movie. Yet, it is what held my attention. My heart broke. First, for the dad. Then, for the daughter. 

Not because I had a distant dad. I was blessed to have a present and active dad until the day he was ushered into heaven. And not because I was a distant daughter. By the grace of God, I have been a present and active daughter to my earthly mother and father. 

My heart broke because, I have (at times) been a distant daughter to my Heavenly Father. 

  • Times when I have neglected to stoke the fire on the altar of my heart. 

  • Times when I have turned away from my first love, Jesus.

  • Times when I have drifted ... and selfishly gone my own way.

  • Times when I have confused my title (christian) with my relationship with Christ. 

Title does not equal relationship. Our relationship with Jesus is ongoing and daily. 

These are not my words ... Jesus said:

Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. Luke 9:23

It's daily. No matter how long we have been a christian. It's daily. 

We must empty ourselves (of our pride, of our selfishness, of our ambitions, of our desires, of our agenda, etc.) daily ... and follow Him. That's relationship. That's Discipleship. That's where purpose is found. In Jesus.