Monday, August 6, 2012

I'm NOT Religious!

I pray that when others see me, they DON'T see me as religious.   Yes, yes.....I'm a Christian, but I DON'T want to be religious!  Especially after reading this verse this morning in the Bible.

Matthew 27:1 (The Message)
In the first light of dawn, all the high priests and religious leaders met and put the finishing touches on their plot to kill Jesus.

What kind of religion is that?!??!?!  You're a "religious leader" and you're plotting to kill a man.  What?!??!?!

And if you read the complete chapter of Matthew 27 you'll see that the high priests along with the other religious scholars and leaders mocked Jesus while He was dying on the cross.  That really hurts my heart.  Here are the leaders of that day and a man (we know to be God with us) is dying on a cross and they mock him.  They have no compassion.  They don't feel sorry for him, or the family he may be leaving behind.  They basically say, "sock it to him".  Even if He were guilty, and He was not guilty, shouldn't they as leaders be saddened by the situation?

So now do you see why I say, "I'm NOT religious!"  I don't want anyone ever to see me as one that studies God's law and then beats people up with it.  I don't want anyone to ever think I don't have compassion for others. 

So how do we live as Christians and not become religious in the process?    I think the key is LOVE and GRACE.  We have to love unconditionally.  We have to be known by our love for others.  (John 13:35).  We also have to extend grace and mercy to others because of that love.  You know, love covers a multitude of sins.  I know that to be true because my precious little kids have told little white lies to me, talked back to me, disobeyed me and rolled their eyes at me and I still love them.  (-:  Love does cover a multitude of sins.  (1 Peter 4:8)

This week I saw love in action through Chic-fil-a.  They were be persecuted for standing on their faith, and they actually took drinks to those protesting in their parking lots.  Why?  Because it was the right thing to do!  They LOVED on the people that were...that were...well, that were lost.

The next person that asks me if I'm religious I'm going to reply, "NO WAY!", but then I will follow that with, "but I do have a personal relationship with Jesus."  I'm also going to commit to loving those that don't believe like I do.  As a matter of fact, I think I will pray for those people!

Let's all get rid of religion!  Let's not be associated with our faith, but yet let's live it out!

Lord help me!  Lord help me to not be religious.  I want to know your Word, but NOT so I can beat people up with it.  Help me to love better and forgive more.  Help me to have compassion on others.  Help me to point others to You and Your Love.  Your Love is truly amazing.  I mean, You love me and I'm the last person that deserves Your Love.  Thanks for grace and mercy.  - Amen

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Living It

Today I went for a walk.  Although it's supposed to be raining most of the next two day, this morning was cool and beautiful.  As I walked I listened to praise music.  I sang along in parts, and prayed through others.  It was such a sweet time alone with the Lord.  And, it took my mind off the fact that I was exercising!  HA!

I've been thinking about worship a lot lately.  I don't sing very well, so when I worship with songs it is typically when I'm all alone (my shower and car work best for that!).  But is singing songs the only way to worship?  I was thinking about the best ways to worship God after my walk, and I came across this verse:

Romans 12:1  "And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him."

A "living" sacrifice?  That sounds weird!  I mean, in the Old Testament an animal was sacrificed.....killed and cut into pieces......and placed on the alter before God to pay the debt for our sin.  So when I think of the word sacrifice, I think of death.  But John 3:16 reminds us that God sent His Son to pay for our sins.  So for us, the sacrifice has been made. Then why in the world do we need to be a living sacrifice?  Well, as Romans 12:1 says, because of all He's done for us.   It's not because we have to but because we WANT to.  It is out of gratefulness that we live a life sacrificially unto the Lord.

If I chose to live sacrificially unto the Lord, then my speech just might change.

If I chose to live sacrificially unto the Lord, then my actions just might change.

If I chose to live sacrificially unto the Lord, then my attitude just might change.

If I chose to live sacrificially unto the Lord, then my plans for each day and how I spend my time just might change.

If I chose to live sacrificially unto the Lord, then my relationships just might change.

If I chose to live sacrificially unto the Lord, then I will be worshiping all the time.  And as Romans 12:1 says, that is truly the only way to worship!

Lord, forgive me for when I have not lived a life pleasing to you.  It is with all my heart that I want to bring glory and honor to Your Name and Your Name only!  You died for me so the very least I can do is to live for You.  I pray you will help me through your Holy Spirit to live a life of WORSHIP and not just worship every now and then!  In the precious name of Jesus ~ Amen

Monday, March 26, 2012

A Party & A Visitation, All In One!!

Last Friday we took our kids to a funeral home visitation for the first time.  We had explained to them that they might see a body laying in the funeral home, but that was only the shell of the person that had passed away.  We further explained that when a person dies, their spirit lives on and leaves the body.  We had talked to them before about all this, but going over it again seemed to be the right thing to do since they we fixing to be in a room with a casket.

As we approached the funeral home my son said, "Is that where the party is going to be?"  I quickly replied, "It's not a party!  It's an opportunity to pay our last respects!"  I was so concerned that he and his big sister would not know how to act.  After all, this was their first visitation.  We gave them a list of things to do and not do, to say and not say, but I have to say I was holding my breath when we walked in!  I was uncertain of how things would go.

When we entered we saw our sweet family friends we were there to support.  After hugs and kisses, we all started to talk.  This particular family knows Jesus, so even at the funeral home there was laughter.  We heard them telling stories of precious lady that had just passed, and who's shell was laying at the front of the room.  She had lived a long life (over 96 years) and her daughter, granddaughter, and great-granddaughter were all there in the room along with all the other family and friends.....each a little weepy, but each smiling.  We heard stories that brought out loud bursts of laughter from the crowd.  Honestly, it come to think of was fun.  I sincerely enjoyed being there and paying my last respects to Mama (that's the only thing I've ever called her and what most people close to the family called her).  Everyone knew she was with Jesus, and everyone was celebrating her life well lived.

Since then I've thought about our visitation experience. When the Lord decides to call me home (and He will one day because statistics show 1 out of every 1 person dies) then I want a fun funeral.  I want to live a long life like Mama, but whenever I go, I want the funeral to be fun.  I want there to be laughter.  I want people to celebrate my life.  They can be weepy, but only if they are smiling for me.  I want people to tell funny stories about me and talk about the good times.  But most importantly, I want people to know without a shadow of a doubt that I'm in heaven with my Savior.  I think that is what makes a visitation a party!

Jesus, thank you so much for dying on the cross for me.  It's because of Your love that we can celebrate at funeral homes.  It's because of Your love that death has lost it's sting.  Thank you so much for the joy of having known Mama.  I know she is enjoying being in heaven with You, and I look forward to seeing her again one day.  She would be proud of the "party" that was held in her honor this past Friday.  Please bless the family left behind here. Surround them with Your love and peace during this time.  ~ Amen

Monday, February 13, 2012

Don't Get Derailed!

Have you ever set up a toy train track?  I've done it a million times or more with my little boy.  He LOVED toy train sets when he was a toddler so we have owned quite a few of them. I could probably set them up with my eyes closed.  I love putting the tracks in different configurations.  And once the tracks are in place, the most important part of the set up is making sure the train stays on the tracks.  If the wheels of the train are not in line with the tracks, the train will fly off the tracks and crash.  And if you've got more than one car on your train, then everything behind the first car will crash as well.  But, if the train is set up correctly on the tracks, then it is fun to watch the train dance around the tracks through the different places it should go.

God brought this to my mind this morning as I was thinking about His purpose in my life.  There have been times in my life when I didn't line up with God's tracks (plans) for my life.  And guess what happened?!?!?!   I derailed and crashed.  It was not a fun experience, but I have to say it's because of my own choices and not by God's design.  And, when I crashed, everyone walking behind me crashed too.  YIKES!  My own poor choices affected others.  That really stinks!

I'm thankful that God is a grace-giving God.  Even if we've derailed, He allows us to get back on the tracks.  Today I feel like my wheels are on the right tracks. I am seeking Him daily.  I am asking Him what His plan is for my day rather than just going about my plan.  I am reading His Word, and trying to avoid the words that the world is trying to pour into me.  I'm trying to surround myself with godly mentors to help me grow in this daily walk with the Lord.  Life is not perfect, but I know when I climb up a hill I will get to the other side as long as I stay on the right tracks.

What's your train track looking like today?  Is it the right track you are own, or are you headed in the wrong direction?  Do you have only one wheel on God's tracks, or do you have all four wheels focused on Him and His plan for your life?  God is a grace-giving God.  Why not stop and ask Him to get you on the right track today?  He loves you so!

Jesus, thank you for your love for us. Jeremiah 29:11 says You have a plan for our lives, and it's a good plan.  Help me to stay in line with Your plan so I don't mess up my life and the lives of those around me.  Help me to keep my eyes focused on You and Your holy train tracks for my life.  Thanks for letting me get back on the right track when I have taken my eyes off of you and crashed.  I am amazed by the grace and mercy you extend to me.  I simply love You, Lord. ~ Amen

Christmas 2005.  Nate saying, "Choo chooo!"

Monday, February 6, 2012

From Your Heart

Have you ever seen a teakettle when it gets hot?  I love cooking instant grits, so I get to see this quite often.  You pour water in the pot, put the lid on the pot, and finally put it on the stove on high.  Then you just wait.  When the water gets boiling hot, steam gushes out the top and it starts screaming to let you know it's had enough heat.  Water was put inside the pot, and now it's coming out of the top of the pot in the form of steam. 

We're like that you know.  We scream out things when we're over the heat and we've had enough.  You know it.  You've seen it.  You've experienced it.  You do it.

This last week this is what I've seen come screaming out of people when they've been put over some heat:
  • anger
  • rage
  • resentment
  • sarcasm
  • laughter
  • prayer
  • kindness
  • consideration
  • tears
  • bitterness
  • humbleness

Why is it that all these different emotions and attitudes can come screaming out of us when we are over the flames?  What makes us respond differently to heated situations?  Well,  it goes back to what we put in our personal teakettle, which is really your heart!  Whatever we fill up with will ultimately be what we scream out when we are heated up.  If you are filling up on junk, then it's likely junk will spew out of you.  If you are filling up on godly things, then it's likely that godly things will flow out of you. 

Think about the last time you responded in a heated situation.  Did you yell?  Did you demand your own way?  Or, did you try to understand the other party better? Did you consider the other person's feelings or wants? 

We are all given OPPORTUNITIES to pour into and onto other people.  I have to tell you that I want to pour Jesus into and onto the other people I come in contact with.  Sometimes it's hard, but I would much rather them see Jesus than the ugly old me.  And honestly, the ones that make me the hottest are the ones that need Jesus more!!! 

Whether you communicating face to face, email to email, Facebook message to Facebook message, text to text, or blog to blog,  think about what is pouring out of you. 

Matthew 15:18 says,"But the words you speak come from the heart—that’s what defiles you."
Lord, help me to fill my heart up with You and Your Word.  When I'm giving opportunities that present themselves as heat, please help me to pour into and onto that person Your Words....words of love and patience and kindness.  Thank you for loving me.  Thank you for putting up with me.  Thank you that you have been merciful to me.  Help me to be merciful to others.  In Your Son's Name ~ Amen

Sunday, January 22, 2012


I am so glad that I live in a day where we have wonderful technology!  I am so glad I don't have to wash clothes by hand!  I'm so glad I have a phone in my purser that helps me navigate when I don't know where I'm going and also gives me games to play while I'm in the carpool line at my kids school waiting for my turn.  I love my microwave that help me prepare a quick meal on baseball practice days.  I feel so blessed to live in this day and time!

I have a friend named Pat.  Pat is a precious sister in Christ and in her early 80's.  I'm sure if you sat down and asked her about the progression of technology she has seen over her lifetime she would amaze you with her answer.  From no TVs to TVs in our cars.  From ice boxes to refrigerators.  From no phones to phones in our cars.  Wow!  The changes she has seen.

Along with the positive changes, there have been some negative changes... changes you and I have noticed but maybe have become immune to.  Changes to stuff like what we watch on TV, changes to how we value the Word of God, and maybe changes to what commitment looks like. 

It's the change in our commitment standards that's really bugging me today.  I see people leaving marriages for lack of commitment.  I see people volunteering but not following through on their commitment to help.  I see people committing to things and then for whatever reason just not keeping their commitments.  That really bugs me.  Where is the integrity in our words if our words don't really mean what we say?  Can someone consider me honest if I tell you I will do something but don't follow through?

This past week we had a gentleman in his 60's give us a bid for some repairs around our home.  Not a big deal other than he showed up when he said he would and he got us the bid back in writing sooner than he agreed to do so.  There's a younger guy that supposed to give us a bid.  It's now 1:30 and he was supposed to be here at 12:30.  Isn't that interesting.  It looks to me like a lack of commitment.

And then there's my friend Pat that I mentioned.  This week she watched her husband of 62 years leave this world and go to his eternal home in Heaven.  She stood by her man in sickness and in health, until in death did he depart.  Were all of their 62 years amazing great with no struggles and no fights?  I bet not!  But she honored her commitment.  She is a woman of integrity and honor and grace and, well, a woman of commitment. 

What are you committed to?  Are you keeping your commitments? 

Lord, help me to be a woman of integrity.  Help me to honor my commitments.  Thank you for blessing me with a friend like Pat.  Please bless Pat as she mourns the loss of her husband.  Thank you for the example they set for the rest of us as they walked together as husband and wife.  ~ Amen

Monday, January 16, 2012

Livin' the Dream

Today we remember Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  I can't think of him and not think of the words, "I have a dream."  Our lives were changed for the better because Dr. King, along with countless others, had a dream that the world we live in would consider all people equal.  Although we have a ways to go worldwide, I do see that dream coming true.

Dr. King was not just a any dreamer, he was a Christian dreamer.  You see I believe there is a difference between those that love Jesus that dream, and those that don't love Jesus that dream.  In Psalm 37:4 it says that if you delight yourself in the Lord, He will give you the desires of your heart.  So, for those that do not follow Jesus, their dreams may or may not come true.  But for those of us that follow Jesus, for those of us who call Him "Lord", I strongly believe He will allow our dreams to come true.  In His timing, He will give us that believe and delight ourselves in Him the desires of our hearts.

Ok, so there's a few of you that might be thinking this is just not accurate.  There are some Christians, some of them my friends, that have prayed for months and even years to have children, or to receive healing, or something major, and it has not come to pass.  I don't pretend to know God's ways.   I don't know what He has planned in all our lives, but I do know one thing.  I know that if we delight in Him, He will give us our dreams.  It will just be in His timing and not our own.  And, I also know that if we delight in Him, He will cause our desires/dreams to change to line up with His plan for our life.  I know both of these from personal experience. 

I dreamed of having kids, but in 2000 was pretty tired of praying for a family.  After two miscarriages and lots of tearful nights, I wasn't sure that God's timing was good.  I wasn't even sure God heard my prayers!  Looking back now I can see that God's timing was perfect.  I did get those kids I prayed and asked God to give me, but it was in His timing and not mine.  I remind myself how much I prayed for kids every time one of those little answers to prayers smarts off to me or rolls their eyes at me!  HA!

And I'm so glad that God changed some of the desires of my heart as I've delighted myself in Him. The closer I've gotten to Jesus, the less important my business has been to me.  The closer I've gotten to Jesus, the more important women's ministry has become to me.  I no longer am concerned with what my net income looks like for my company, but yet I am more concerned with reaching souls for Christ.  I'm so glad God is changing my desires!

Today as we think about "I have a dream", I pray that each one reading this will think of their dreams.  I pray that each one will think about delighting themselves in the Lord so their dreams will come true!  He is the Giver of all things good!  He does make dreams come true!

Jesus, thanks for giving me the desires of my heart.  Thanks for making my dreams come true.  You are an amazing and gracious God.   ~ Amen

Monday, January 9, 2012

"On Your Feet. Get Moving!"

Monday and it's raining. There's nothing else I'd rather do on a Monday when it's raining than to just stay in my bed and sleep.  But there's work to be done.  There's laundry that won't wash itself.  There's dishes that just don't jump out the the dishwasher into my cabinet.  There are kids that want to eat, and like three times a day!! There's no time to rest. Mondays seem so harsh.

After starting all my chores this morning I sat down to read from the Message Bible.  I've decided to read the entire Message version of the Bible this year.  (You should consider this.  It's a great way to read the whole Bible!)  Today I was reading about Abram who was later called Abraham.  I can't wait to meet him and his wife when I get to heaven.  We know from scriptures that Abram was a man of faith.  In Genesis 12 God promised Abram that he would be a great nation.  Abram had faith in God and did what He said.  When God told Abram to move, he did.  God wanted to bless him, but to get that blessing he had to move.  As a matter of fact, God told him in Genesis 13:17, "on your feet, get moving!"

"On your feet.  Get moving."  God had blessings for Abram but in order to get those blessings he had to get moving.  He couldn't sit still.  He had to do as God said.  He couldn't just sit there and wait.  He had to go get them.

I think it's interesting that on a day that I want to crawl back in the bed, I read, "on your feet, get moving!"  Nothing will stop if I stay in bed all day.  I could do there laundry tomorrow and my kids could fix themselves cereal to eat.  But if God has blessings for me today, I don't want to miss it!  I don't know what they are, but I hear Him whispering to me, "on your feet, get moving!"  I want those blessings from my Savior. 

Now I'm fired up about my day.  I can't wait to see what God does in my life today and this week.  It's giving me a new perspective about Monday.  Today is the day the Lord has made and He has a blessing waiting for me.  Now that I think about it, He has already blessed me.  My family woke up healthy and got off to school and work safely.  It is raining and we sooooo desperately need rain in San Antonio.  My son gave me some extra hugs this morning.  I'm so glad I didn't miss that to stay in bed and rest! 

Lord, Bring on the blessings!  I'm ready for this day Lord.  I'm ready to walk through this day and the rest of my life for you.  Sometimes in my humanness it's tough to get going.  But I know you have great things in mind for me Lord.  So today I choose not to lay around but to get on my feet and get moving.  Today I choose your will for me, Lord!  Thanks for the many, many, many blessings this day will bring! ~ Amen

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Watch Out 2012! Here I come!!

It's 2012 and I am excited.  I know my God has GREAT plans for me and I can't wait to see what He does this year.  I began 2012 in Mississippi with my family there.  If you haven't been to Mississippi you should go.  It's beautiful.  The people there speak funny, but it's so sweet.  And, they have grits everywhere!  There's grits for breakfast and there even shrimp and grits for supper.  YUMMY!!!

My parents house in Mississippi is always a fun place for my kids to be.  My daughter, Leanna, loves to be there because she loves horses and my parents board horses for some friends.  As soon as we arrived at "The Mims Ranch" my daughter kisses her grandparents and rushes out to the field to pet the horses.  She spends most of her day talking to those beautiful animals. 

This time we got a little surprise the last day of our visit.  Leanna, now 10 years old, bridled a horse and road it bareback across the field.  Now, that's really not a big deal except for the fact that she did this without asking/telling us that she was gonna do it!  I could have passed out when I saw her out the window.  We were all inside and there she was, riding like she was a professional.  I was ready to tar and feather her because that was a dangerous thing to do!  But she was riding so well and really knew what she was doing. (She's had a few lessons in the past.) When she finished her ride I asked her what she was thinking when she was climbing the fence to then climb on the horse.  She said she was scared but prayed to God twice for help.  She said she knew He was watching her.

Faith like a child!  Jesus said we should have faith like a child, I just had never thought of it like this.  I would much rather my daughter stay up under my wing for the rest of her life and never take risks.  But if she does this, she will never get to experience life as God intended.  She has to grow up.  She has to take chances.  Doggoneit!! 

As we drove back to San Antonio yesterday (10 hours for the love of Pete!!) I thought about my daughter's adventurous side.  God has been giving me a verse this morning as I continue to think about her adventure and what other adventures He has for her and for me in the future.   Romans 8:31 says  "If God is for us, who can ever be against us?"  And really, if God is for us, then who in the world could be against us?!?!?!  Who or what can harm us if God is our Protector?!?!??!  Psalm 91 says He sends His angles to watch over us so we won't even hit our toes on a stone if He doesn't allow it!

Knowing that God is for me makes a difference.  It makes me want to be adventurous.  It makes me want to have more fun.  It makes me want to put God first.  I want to be on His team.  I want Him to be my coach.  I want to live an adventurous life.  I want 2012 to be amazing.   I want to...I want to...well, I want to be a little more like Leanna this year.  She knows God is for her.  She has faith like.....well..... like a child.
Jesus, thanks for watching out for me. Thanks for protecting my Leanna and my family.  Thanks for giving us a beautiful world to live an adventurous life in. I love this adventure I'm on with You. Help me to show the world how wonderful life can be when You are what we put first.  I love and adore you my King, my Savior and my Friend. ~ Amen