Monday, February 28, 2005

With Friends Like These...

Hello, gentle readers!

First, I have to say that I did not call the tele-witnessing folks back. I was sorely tempted, though! LOL Bless their hearts, they think they're doing a wonderful thing for God. With the way our society views telemarketers, one would think they would realize how their "concern" would be received. Ah well. On to other things.

I've been reading the Book of Job the past couple of days. I'm sure we all know the story of Job. Job had it all: a great family, houses, land, livestock. God was holding counsel and the angels came before Him, with the evil one dragging in from behind. Now, granted, it was God who first mentioned Job. It has to make you wonder if God was trying to test Job or make the evil one realize he was fighting a losing battle against those who truly worshiped Almighty God.

Job's life went downhill really fast. In an instant, all he owned and his entire family (with the exception of his wife) was gone and he was stricken with horrible disease. Now, Job knew he was a faithful follower of God. Job knew that all of this hit him not because there was sin in his life. Job knew he was a righteous man. But, Job's wife didn't make matters any better. She certainly wasn't a help-mate to Job. She told Job to simply curse God and die.

Three of Job's friends come along and continually banter with him over repenting for his sin. But, again, Job knew he was a righteous man. And, as the saying goes, with friends like these who needs enemies? It's not that Job didn't cry out to God in his anguish. He most certainly did. Job was miserably sick and destitute. Job's three friends mocked him, called him cursed, and worse. They certainly didn't have the gift to encourage! They immediately assumed this was all Job's fault and they tore into him for it. They JUDGED him!

But, in all of this Job did not curse God. He says an interesting thing in Job 23:10, "But He (God) knows the way that I take; when He (God) has tested me, I will come forth as gold." Job had his eyes on God, not on the circumstances. Job knew that God could change the circumstances. Job, though, wanted God to change him in the circumstances.

This is the true measure of a man or woman of God: will they stand the test and come out in triumph knowing that the God of their circumstances has their best interest at heart? Job found out really quickly who his true friends were. Job was so well-aware of his own heart, he knew there was no sin in his life. That would have to mean that Job lived a life of piety, repentance, care for others and for his family. He was quick to obey!

So, when difficult tests and trials come your way (and they will), be sure you are in the place of right standing with God. Be quick to listen to God's leading. Be willing to obey at the time God says to do so. Be open to the hand of God and surrender to the lesson to be learned. Then, when you are judged by others, you can dispute them just as Job did when he said in Job 23:12, "I have not departed from the commands of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my daily bread."

May God bless you this day and show you the lessons you must learn. And, be assured that when you come through the test, you will come forth as gold and God will bless you more abundantly than you ever thought possible.


Friday, February 25, 2005

I really thought I'd heard it all...until now

Hello dear readers,

I must admit that I started writing a really "spiritual" column. I put it to draft and went about my evening routine. The phone rang. I didn't recognize the number on the caller ID, but it was local so I thought I'd be polite and answer. I shouldn't have.

"Witnessing" has reached an all-time low, in my opinion. The caller was someone in our town doing telemarketing witnessing. Yep, you heard me right. Telemarketing. It started with a slick script to get your attention and then, boom, right into the scripture quoting. Good grief! We're not even safe from christian telemarketers! And, of course, it was right at dinner time.

Now, don't misunderstand me. The Bible is very clear about being able to give an answer to someone who asks you about your faith. I think the operative word here is asks. Can anyone honestly believe that they will endear themselves to the listener by kamikaze phone witnessing? PUHLEEZ! Since they interrupted my dinner, I am considering calling them back at breakfast tomorrow to convert them to lesbianism.



Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Condemning the Weak of Faith

Hello, gentle readers...

First, your prayers are appreciated and requested as God continues to work in my earthly body. I am believing that healing (progressive and true) is already on the way from the throne of God to work wholeness on my behalf. Your prayers for my bout with chest pain are appreciated!

That being said, let's look at our text for today's consideration: Romans 14:1-13. Let's look at a couple of things that the apostle says.

"(1) Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment..." How much more clear can this instruction be? Don't pass judgment on others because you feel their faith is weaker than your own! Do you not understand that by doing so you heap coals of condemnation on your brother and cause him to stumble in his already immature faith? Also, have you considered that by looking down your nose at your brother for not attaining your level of faith that you may be negating a very serious lesson that the Lord is trying to teach, thereby becoming an obstacle to God's work?

"(10) You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God's judgment seat." We will all stand before God's judgment seat. Yes, Jesus will advocate on our behalf because of God's great mercy shown in the sacrifice of Jesus, the Messiah. But...I believe the apostle is trying to remind us that we are responsible for our own lives in the Lord and it is on that which we should focus. It is challenge enough, while bound in these earthly bodies, to maintain a spiritually-focused life. Why must we condemn, look down upon and otherwise sneer at our brother? It is our earthly body's fleshly need to be superior. Yet, Jesus came teaching that the servant will be the leader.

So, I would encourage you this day to take your eyes off your brother and put them back on Jesus, where they belong. Focus on being the best for God that you can be this day. Put the positive back into your life. Live a life of purpose, focus and excellence. It is this life that will draw you closer to God. It is this life that will cause men to wonder about what makes you confident in a world of insecurity. It is this life that will bring you into the throne room of Almighty God.

Colossians 3:2 says, "Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things." When your mind is set on things above, earthly things have no hold on you. So, gentle readers, set your minds on the things of God and worry not about how God works in the lives of others. Belong to Him...and Him, alone.

I proclaim blessing over your spiritual, emotional and physical health; your families, friends and associates; your pets; and over all that with which you will come in contact today. May God richly bless you and may you know the fullness of the calling which you have received.


Saturday, February 19, 2005

Suffering...God's Weight Room

Hello, gentle readers...

Do you belong to a denomination that believes in "name it and claim it?" I do...and I find myself at odds with that teaching many, many times. Recently, someone suggested that they have no menopause symptoms because they cast it away and told the devil to leave them alone. Is it possible? Of course. Is it probable? Probably not.

I Peter 1:6-7 says, "In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith--of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire--may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed."

We will have temptations and trials in this life. It isn't all rosy and sticky sweet, my friends. How else would one keep a muscle in top fitness but to stress it and exercise it regularly? And, so is God with us. He puts on us burdens and difficulties that we might flex our faith and examine our fitness for the kingdom. In so doing, we gain insight and spiritual prowess allowing us to mature into that follower who truly can bring the ministry of God on earth: to heal the sick, cure the lame, bind up the brokenhearted, and show affection for the sheep. That is true ministry. And that truth is only seen in those who have been refined in the fire of the difficulties this world brings.

So next time you are eager to cast something away, check with God first and see if it isn't there to teach you some lesson even greater.

May God richly bless you this day and may you learn strength, patience and compassion.


Monday, February 14, 2005

Happy Valentine's Day

Well, of course we start off with a Happy Valentine's Day wish to all you romantic souls blessed to have a covenant partner with whom to share your life! (Of which, I am one!) I cannot even remember what life was like without my precious partner, Patti. I've always wanted someone with whom I could share my faith and my heart, and God answered my prayer. For that, I am eternally grateful.

While we're pondering love, let's talk about love and the church. I have been disappointed by the lack of love expressed in our churches. Oh, we talk about it. A lot. But, we don't seem to have the actions that back it up. I cannot begin to number the times I've seen God's people do ungodly things to each other. And, were I truthful, I would have to admit that I have been among them.

God has been speaking to my heart about love and those that cross our paths daily. How difficult is it to offer a smile to a store clerk who's had the worst day at work? Not difficult at all. As a matter of fact, that's just what God expects of us. KINDNESS. You can show more love in a single moment through a very simple act of kindness.

Let's take that same kindness into our churches. How are we at this in our churches? In my opinion, we play at this and fall way short of God's ideal. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 13:1-7 all the things that describe love. It is patient, kind, not jealous, not boastful, not proud, not rude. Love is not selfish, irritable, nor does it remember when it has been wronged. Love is never glad about injustice but love rejoices over the truth. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful and endures through every circumstance.


Can we really claim to love our brothers and sisters? Can we really claim to love those outside of our church? Not unless we meet all of the criteria, we cannot. So often, we smile at people in church and then turn right around and talk about them behind their backs. Is this love? It is such a huge problem. We don't take time to truly listen, truly care about those who may be unattractive, of a lesser social standing, or any other myriad of excuses. We even use prayer as an excuse to gossip about others. How petty! How difficult is it to smile and sincerely care?

I can give you an example. I have a dear friend who is going through such an emotional battle right now. She has been thrust to the side by the church leadership, who have pidgeon-holed her into a less than flattering category. They think she has less faith because she questions. They think she has invalid needs and comments because she isn't like them. Quite simply, they have by their actions and words put her outside their social and church circle and completely marginalized her. And, she's not the only one. I've seen it over and over again. If you are weak in faith, well you're not invited into the "privileged" few. If you are weak in body, then you are pushed away as being a "less than."

Dear friends, that is a disgusting stench in the nostrils of an holy God! I cannot stress it enough. I know this is a tough lesson, a hard thing to take in. But...know that it is from the heart of a hurting Father! Our Father longs for His children to not just get along, but to truly and wholly live in love in this world. We cannot affect change as long as we're busy shooting our own troops! Friendly is God's ideal...not friendly fire.

If you are the one who is (even if unaware) being unloving and marginalizing others, then please get on your knees and ask God for forgiveness and go make it right with your brother or sister. I have done so. I must trust that God will change my heart! It is my goal to make everyone in my circle of influence feel loved by God and to know that I care for them sincerely. If I cannot do this, then everything else I offer in sacrifice to God is unacceptable.

The last of chapter 13 says, "...and the greatest of these is love." Please, hear the words of Jesus speaking about the greatest commandments in Mark 12:29-33, "Jesus replied, 'The most important commandment is this: Hear O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength. The second is equally important: Love your neighbor as yourself. No other commandment is greater than these.' "

Hear, dear child of God. NO commandment is greater than these. On the premise of love hangs the entire New Covenant. On love hangs grace. On love hangs our entrance into eternity! On love hung our Savior.

Reach out. Love deeply. Love well. Love in deed. Love in word. Love with abandon and extravagance!

May God richly bless you this day and give you a deeper revelation of what LOVE truly is.


Saturday, February 12, 2005

I am with you...

Hello, gentle readers...

Forgive my absence for a couple of days. I'm fighting a pinched nerve in my neck that is affecting my computer time. Ughh. Isn't it an inconvenience when our bodies hit the downside of 40? But, life goes on and we move along the current through each season knowing that all things, when put in the light of eternity, bring us closer to God.

Have you ever experienced a difficult time where you wondered where God was in all of it? I think were we honest, everyone would raise their hands to that one. Yes, of course there are times when we feel that our prayers hit the ceiling of our closets and bounce right back. We wonder where God went. We wonder if we've done something so horrible that He would turn His back.

Matthew 28:20b says (NLT), "And be sure of this; I am with you always.." Jesus says He is with us always. He is promising, according to the original text, to be with us thoroughly, whatsoever, wholly and completely, in every way. WOW! Doesn't that light some fire in your spirit? Jesus, right before He ascended to Heaven to sit at the right hand of God Almighty, promised His presence always.

So, who is that presence? Luke 24:49 tells us it is the Holy Spirit. "And now I will send the Holy Spirit, just as my Father promised. But stay here until the Holy Spirit comes and fills you with power from heaven." (NLT) Enter the Book of Acts. Acts 2:4 says, "And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit..." Notice the Holy Spirit filled everyone who was present. This speaks to my spirit. One must follow the instruction of Jesus to receive. Jesus instructed them to wait where they were. He didn't tell them to go someplace else to find the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit came down in power where they were!

Dear friends, God meets us where we are right now. He doesn't need us to go someplace, or do something before He can empower us! So, today as you walk through your life, remember that Jesus promised to be always with us. And, choose to submit to the empowering of the Holy Spirit, the presence of Almighty God in our lives. I believe you will find that this transforms your prayer time into power time.

May God bless you richly this day!


Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Happy Mardi Gras....Huh???

Hello, gentle readers...

Happy Mardi Gras to those who participate in that celebration. It's not my idea of fun, but to each his own. If you are not familiar, on the Gulf Coast there is a big battle as to where the idea of Mardi Gras came about. It's celebrated in grand fashion in New Orleans, but everyone along the Coast gets into the act. There is no shortage of cheap plastic beads and corny dubloons, and silly floats pulled by trucks you can buy on the cheap after the parades. In deference to my friends in Mardi Gras land, the tradition began in Mobile, Alabama with a celebration by Joe Cain. Joe decided to parade in the streets and it quickly became tradition. So, to those with a party spirit, Happy Mardi Gras.

It's interesting to me that we can put on our happy clothes, string ourselves with beads, and parade like complete idiots through the streets hollering for Moon Pies. Yet, we cannot get outside ourselves to allow the joy of the Lord to inhabit our worship and praise. Hmmm. It seems we are missing something, doesn't it?

Think about it. Why can we not worship with such complete abandon? What a relief it would be to worship our God with such joy and excitement. But, instead, we sit in our pews with our stone cold faces and try to seem pious. Dear God, deliver us from our stuffy, arrogant spirits!

1 Chronicles 16:29b says, "...worship the Lord in the splendor of His holiness." Psalm 100:2 says, "Worship the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful songs." Psalm 100:4, "Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise..."

Ever drive around and see people singing along to the radio in their cars? They sing with such gusto, regardless of their singing talent. They joyfully belt out every tune that their brain remembers. So, why can't we do the same in our churches? Let's take time to sing out, belt out a song to the Lord. Hey, He said to make a joyful noise...He didn't say to whom it had to be joyful!

So, today when you pull out your Bible and take some quiet time before Him, try singing a joyful song to Him at the top of your lungs. You'll be surprised. Not only will it bless the Lord, it will bless your heart.

Psalm 100:1, "Shout for joy to the Lord all the earth!"

May God richly bless you this day...and may you richly bless God!


Monday, February 07, 2005

Of Patience, Prayers and Computer Woes

Hello, gentle readers...

Well, I'm sure you've been wondering what happened to me. We'll get to that in a minute. First, have you ever considered the general rules of PATIENCE?

Rule #1
Patience is part of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23)

Rule #2
Don't ever pray for patience


Rule #3
The only way to get it is to be tested beyond human strength!

So, if you continue reading in Galatians 5:24-26, you see that to obtain the fruit of the Spirit, we must put to death the sinful nature we carry and allow God's Spirit to reign in our lives. Now what about the sinful nature? Were we born with it? Or is it simply a byproduct of the life that we live here on Earth, always scraping to get by and fighting the nastiness that comes with being in the world? I guess there are compelling arguments for both sides. Me? It really doesn't matter to me HOW it got there. What matters is WHAT I do with it now that it IS here.

That saying, "crucify the sinful nature" seems so drastic. But, I suppose it is the only way to deal with it. I mean, were you fighting a flesh eating bacteria, wouldn't you rather lop off the body part than die? This is what is offered to us by learning to be self-controlled. Because, really, isn't that the true nature of dying to self? When you look at the fruit list in Galatians, it doesn't take long to realize that the entire foundation of the fruit of the Spirit is self-control.

That being said, on to the computer woes. Our computer decided to be less than cooperative the past week. Now, you must understand a big part of me is that I am completely techno-impaired. Just like the light switch runs the electricity in the house, so should the little green button run the computer. I know I don't get how it all runs. I don't have to. It just has to do it's whirly-gig thing when the light comes on. Then, I'm pretty much good to go.

Well, I guess that's why the writer of James tells us to consider it a blessing when we face trials. Apparently, this is God's way of telling us to learn patience. Oh, and I can be such a slow learner! Eegads!! So, I have spent the week messing with this monstrous piece of metal until my thinker is sore. Somehow, it started working. On to the next part...

My dear friend, Erny, told me the story again of his aunt (I believe) who had an old beater of a car. It just wouldn't run for anyone...except her. She faithfully prayed and trusted God to bring that beater to life for her daily comings and goings. And, wouldn't you know it? God put the putter in that car each day she needed it. What made the difference? Her prayer of faith! Yes, the prayer of faith.

God's not bound by machines. God's bound only by our lack of faith. I figure, if He can create the worlds and the universe as we know it, then a silly little machine should be a piece of cake. Made sense to me. So, I finally stopped trying to fix it on my own and asked God for His help. I admitted that technical stuff wasn't my strong point and it certainly was His. I finally...yes, finally...decided to ask God for help. How backward and self-determined can I be? Well, enough that I lost five days to a machine that only took God a second to fix and get running.

So, lesson learned. God even cares about the machinery in my life because it's important to me. So, I would encourage you today to look at whatever it is in your life that is taxing your brain and trying your patience. My guess would be that God is trying to teach you something: patience. Patience and prayer are always the correct response to troubling times.

May God richly bless you this day and show you the way to maturity in the Spirit and exemplifying His fruit in your lives.


Thursday, February 03, 2005


Hello dear friends,

I really had no idea what to share with you today. I accepted writing this blog as a responsibility of stewardship to God. And, as usually happens, much gets in the way when you commit yourself to God in a matter of importance. I'm sure you've had the same experience if you've walked with God for any length of time.

We all make mistakes. We all sin and most often without meaning to do so. But...all require forgiveness. It is the forgiveness of God through Jesus that makes our lives worthwhile. Without that forgiveness, we would drown in guilt and despair. I John 1:9 is familiar. It says (NIV), "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." Now, here I see a couple of important truths to be learned.

First, God has already provided the means for righteousness (right standing with God). By accepting Jesus' death and resurrection, God has provided for Himself a way of salvation and forgiveness to all believers. God knew that we would never measure up to all of the requirements of the law and that a sacrifice needed to be made. So, God provided that sacrifice through the lineage of Abraham (according to God's promise) so that all of His creation would have access to the throne room of grace. That, in itself, is reason enough to holler hallelujah!

Second, in order to access this forgiveness we must be open and honest in confessing our sins, faults and failings to our Heavenly Father. God wants to hear from us. Plain and simple. I think of my own earthly father who, when I messed up just waited for me to come to him and tell him how I failed and ask him for help. I think any good earthly father would do the same. Well, so much more so our Heavenly Father wishes for us to come to Him with our scrapes and bumps and ask for His help and forgiveness. There's nothing more touching to my heart than to see a young child say, "I'm sorry." to their daddy and have him scoop the child up in his arms for comfort and correction. This is the love your Heavenly Father has for you as His child.

Understand that if you refuse to forgive yourself, even after accepting the forgiveness of God, you are not accounting for the blood of Jesus; the precious gift that was used up for your benefit. We cannot continue to disrespect God with our unforgiveness of ourselves and our unforgiveness for others. It is an affront to Him, truly. Our hearts should be so completely humbled that God, Himself, would sacrifice His only Son for our forgiveness that we cannot help but share that forgiveness and unconditional love with others.

So, as you go about your day, remember God's forgiveness. It was purchased at an astounding price. And be sure to pass that forgiveness and unconditional love on to others. You might be the only Jesus that person sees today. And wouldn't it be a shame if they failed to see His love and forgiveness?

May God richly bless you this day...

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Is Scripture Inspired??

Hello gentle readers...

I was beside myself today about what to share with you. But, my spirit turned to 2 Timothy 3:16-17. It says (NLT), "All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It straightens us out and teaches us to do what is right. It is God's way of preparing us in every way, fully equipped for every good thing God wants us to do."

So, is Scripture inspired? Yes, of course. Just as we share with our brothers and sisters the impressions which God lays on our hearts, so the writers shared with us their inspired thoughts and prophecies. So, what are we to think of this Book? It was written as an historical and theological document to help us walk through our lives and live life with integrity. It is a guide book for us as to how we are to live, love, bring peace and comfort to this world.

We must remember that even though God is immutable, His servants are not. They certainly made mistakes, many of which are included in the Bible. So, can we therefore assume that the written word, through all of its translations, has been maintained as a perfect document? I don't think so. How many hands have changed a word or meaning here and there to suit their interpretation of Scripture? I would think as many as have had the opportunity to interpret it or scribe it. Also, we have received in later years other scrolls that would make a difference in translation.

What about different versions? Which is right: King James, New International, New Revised Standard, New American Standard, New Century, New Living, etc.? We tend to pick Biblical translations based on how easy they are for us to read and understand. What makes one better than the others? I would opine that it is the accuracy of translation based on how easy it is for us to read and understand. Agreed?

So, here's my thought: it matters not which translation speaks to your heart because it will be the Holy Spirit who brings that Book to life for you. And it will be the Holy Spirit who takes it, applies it to your life, and prepares you in every way for every good thing God wants you to do.

The Bible is our fuel for the fire that compels us to reach others and do good in this world. So I would encourage you to read your Bible, and not just for kicks. Truly spend time understanding what God has for you in this Word so painstakingly translated for your use.

May God bless you richly this day and prepare you for all the good He wants you to do.


Tuesday, February 01, 2005


Hello gentle readers...

I was reading the February edition of "Guideposts" magazine. To be honest, I don't normally read it. My partner gets the subscription and enjoys the sappy happy stories they print. But, today while flipping through it, I ran across a section called The Up Side. It's a place for positive quotes, etc. There was one that struck me.

"Leap, and the net will appear." by Julia Cameron.

Isn't that a good description of faith? Someone once said it's like walking to the edge of darkness and then jumping knowing that the lights will come on. Faith really is believing in and hoping for things we cannot see.

Hebrews 11:1 (NLT) puts it this way, "What is faith? It is the confident assurance that what we hope for is going to happen. It is the evidence of things we cannot yet see."

Our faith must have a bold quality to it. If we are quiet and not bold in proclaiming our faith and declaring the Word of God, how can we believe that God will come to us in answer to our faith. Think of the woman with the issue of blood. The Bible says she was healed because of her FAITH.(Mat. 9:22) Gentle readers, it is FAITH that drives us spiritually. It is FAITH that brings us healing. It is FAITH that causes mountains to move. (Mat. 21:21-22)

I would encourage you today to check your faith level. Are you walking daily in confident assurance that what you hope for will happen? Are you walking daily assured that the evidence of things you cannot yet see is there and working for your benefit? That faith exists in the promises of God. And God never, ever breaks His promises. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. (Heb 13:8)

May God richly bless you this day and rise up in you a heart of faith that will move the mountains in your life.