Archive | October 2016

Shoeboxes


Luke 11:9-10 – “And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.”

It was a beautiful day. We went yesterday to create our offerings for the Operation Christmas Child shoebox drive. We have participated in this event for three years now, I believe, at our church. Our little youth group pigs out at a local pizza place and then heads across the street to the One Dollar Store to fill our shoeboxes with goodies of all sorts. 

At first, the kids packed their boxes with toys and candy. Then we talked about where the boxes would be going – places where food was a premium and they had absolutely nothing. The perspectives changed. They removed most of the toys and candy and replaced it with bowls and spoons and soap and toothbrushes and tooth paste and wash clothes – things we all take for granted. 

Our youth groups looks forward to this each and every year. In fact, when we plan for the year, it’s the first thing that’s mentioned that we HAVE to do. 

So, I’m sure your wondering what these verses have to do with all this information. When we create these boxes, we ask that God guide our hands and help us to provide whatever the recipient of our box will need. Each box is different. Each box has character. Each box has a story and a memory behind it. 

We pray over our boxes before we send them on their way. We know that before a child will receive our gift, they have to go through a series of lessons and learn about Jesus. They hear the plan of salvation. They are offered THE MOST WONDERFUL GIFT – salvation. It’s the gift that keeps on giving. The batteries in the flashlights we send will run out. The pencils will become nubs. The soap will disappear. But salvation will never disappoint or disappear or run out. No, this gift that only God can give will last throughout eternity. 

And all they have to do is ask. 

How beautiful is that?!

So let me encourage you to participate in an opportunity to present the plan of salvation to someone somewhere in the world through Operation Christmas Child- https://www.samaritanspurse.org/what-we-do/operation-christmas-child/

It has truly blessed our hearts. I know it will bless yours as well.

Devil B Gone

Psalm 68:1 – “Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered: let them also that hate him flee before him.”

Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to the latest and greatest of temptation getter-outers – Devil B Gone. You gotta problem with sin – Devil B Gone. You gotta problem with temptation – Devil B Gone. You gotta problem with that pesky neighbor or overeating or lack of self confidence – Devil B Gone. It’s your one-stop-shop for all problems, situations or ethical questions you may have. Devil B Gone.

Are you laughing yet? Trust me, when it popped into my head, I laughed too! 

But it all started when I heard a Crowder song – “Run Devil Run”. Love. That. Song! It’s upbeat, full of truth and likely to get your hands clapping in praise. Just sayin…

If you had access to something guaranteed to make the devil take off runnin’, don’t you think you would use it? You’d be crazy not to, right?

Well, David wrote the first “Run Devil Run” song right here in Psalm 68. The devil hates God, right? The devil wanted to take His place. You can’t care about someone and want them to be gone. By reason of deduction, the devil must hate God. That makes him an enemy. David says that His enemies flee before Him – “Run Devil Run.” 

So, you, being a child of the King, have God as an ally. So guess what. The devil hates you. He wants to attack you – hence the need for the Devil B Gone. And you have it – Jesus Christ – the Ultimate devil repellent. You walk with Him, you have less problems than if you don’t. Notice how I worded that – I didn’t say you would have no problems. I said they would be less. You see, in the Light of God’s love, problems and temptations look different. Jesus gives you exactly what you need to reject and conquer them. 

But all this hinges on one very important detail – you must be with Him. You can’t be off looking at other things. You can’t be dinking around behind Him. You have to be right there beside Him. It’s the only way this repellent works. 

So, don’t be fooled by the world’s attempt to help you take on something as dangerous as the devil. No, this calls for big guns. This calls for an all out assault on the spiritual realm. And you have just the thing to make it run – Jesus Christ. 

The Encourager

Deuteronomy 3:28 – “But charge Joshua, and encourage him, and strengthen him: for he shall go over before this people, and he shall cause them to inherit the land which thou shalt see.”

Encouragement. We all need a good, hefty dose now and then. We need someone to come alongside of us, wrap their arm around our shoulder and hear those words, “It’s okay. You got this.”

Too often, however, sometimes I find myself looking at that encourager and laughing at them. I want to say, “Seriously? Do you SEE what I’m up against?”  I don’t allow the one trying to lift me up to do so. Whatever good they are trying to build up within me, I’m tearing down just as fast as they build. 

Why? Why is that? Why do we reject emotional and spiritual and, sometimes, physical encouragement? 

Pride. “I don’t need no body’s help!” (Yes, I know it’s horrible grammar but it paints a more realistic picture. Work with me here!)

Pride is a horrible, ugly monster that creeps out of us at the most yucky of times. Here we are, wallowing in the mud and someone offers a hand to help and we push it away by trying to convince them it’s a spa treatment and we like it. When in truth, we are bawling our eyes out on the inside. We want their help but pride keeps us from accepting it. 

In these verses, God is telling Moses to go and have a few words with Joshua to build him up. He needs to be encouraged. He’s about to take over as leader of the children of Israel. I underlined “children” because that’s how they acted most of the time. You know, kinda like us…..

Joshua needed all the encouragement he could get. And know what? He took it. He gobbled it up like a Thanksgiving turkey! He knew he needed all the wisdom and encouragement Moses was willing to offer. 

We can learn a lot for Joshua. When someone tries to encourage you, take it. Gobble it up! Don’t be stubborn about it. Don’t try to be all cool about it. Take it in! God knows something you don’t know and He is using that encourager to get to you and build you up. 

Listen. Listen well. God is speaking. He wants you to hear. 

Uniqueness 

Psalm 139:14 – “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.”

When my son was born, he had a really long fingernail. And with it, he scratched his newborn face. This left a permanent scar on his face – just below his right eye. And there is the case of his freckle on his bottom lip. 

Sunday, we were sitting around and I commented on the scar. His response, “It’s what makes me unique.” 

We all have things that make us unique. I have been blessed with hair color that looks like a copper penny in the sunlight. My daughter has the cutest button nose ever. And my husband has dark hair and a red tinted beard. We have all been “fearfully and wonderfully made.” 

There was a time when I wished my hair was any color but red. But God uses this to remind me all the time that I am different. I am unique. 

And you are too. You are “fearfully and wonderfully made” as well. Your life has been created with a purpose and meaning that is only for you. No one else can live your life. No one else can contribute to the world like you. God has put you here for a specific purpose. 

This week, embrace your uniqueness. Let it make you special. Let it encourage you to shine The Light. Life is so much better when you are unique. 

Life after today

Revelation 22:1-5 – “And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads. And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.”

I was driving along the other day and I heard a guy on the radio make this statement. Now, the guy that said it, I wouldn’t trust him as far as I could throw him. But, the statement in and of itself is really good. 

How will you live life after today? You have no idea what today holds. You have no idea if you will even wake up tomorrow, let alone follow through with the plans you have made. Yet, all week we think and plan for the weekend. It’s our time off (for some). It’s when we are “free”. 

Do you ever stop and consider eternity? Do you think about what it will look like, who will be there or what you will do? Some of my family is already experiencing eternity. They are living life after today. 

I don’t have a ton to say on this today. I’m just planting seeds. 

Let me encourage you to take some of that “free” time and consider eternity for a bit. If you don’t understand or know where you will spend eternity, go check out my other page for the plan of salvation. It’s so easy and so worth it. Don’t think about life after today without Jesus in it. 

Pineapples


1 Corinthians 16:13,14 – “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong. Let all your things be done with charity.”

Don’t you love my new shirt?! I saw it and had to have it!

Pineapples are one of my most favorite fruits. I could eat them everyday! Traditionally, they have been used to indicate hospitality. But I love what is being expressed here!

“Stand tall” – Don’t let the world try and get you down. I know it’s hard. I know you feel beat down. I know that the days are getting longer and you are weary. I am too. But we MUST stand tall. We have to show the world that Jesus has given us a backbone that will not bend to the whims of this world. 

“Wear a crown” – Remember, you ARE a child of THE King! Act like it!

“Be sweet” – Words can make or break people. Let yours always be seasoned with love. Be the one that everyone wants to be around every single day. And remember, pineapples get sweeter with age, not more and more sour. 

So the next time you see a pineapple, remember – God put them here for our enjoyment and to occasionally remind us to stand tall, wear a crown and be sweet. Life is too short to be anything less than a pineapple. 

Hmm…how about that?

John 12:42,43 – “Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.”

When I read this the other day, I though to myself “Hmm, how about that?”

Many people believed on Jesus but they were afraid to confess Him because of the fear that they had in what others would think. 

Sound familiar?

How many of us today keep Jesus tucked in our back pocket for emergencies and fail to put Him in the spotlight? It’s all well and good to express our gratitude and thanks and praise when we are in the walls of our church building, but what about when we survived a tough commute to work? What about when the weather miraculously changes in our favor? What about when we somehow have more than enough money to pay the bills this week? What about when we go into the doctor for something terrible and somehow or another it is gone?

Jesus said in Matthew 10:32,33 – “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.”

Don’t you think that Jesus meant that just as much now as He did then? 

This is serious stuff. We are neglecting to share Jesus with others because we don’t want to offend or we are afraid. And I am just as guilty as the next person. I have a tough time with this. But do I, for one minute, think that those lame excuses will fly at the Judgment Seat? Nope. They won’t. And I know that. 

So what is to be done? Be brave. Don’t be a scaredy-cat when it comes to Jesus. Don’t hide Him in your back pocket. Wear Him on the front of your shirt where everyone can see Him. Hey, I’m speaking as much to my heart as yours. 

Just look around you. Do you see the wind moving the trees? God is doing the same thing to our hearts today. He is stirring and churning and trying to poke us into service. He wants us to share. He wants us to brave. He wants us to, at the very least, try. Let’s never let it be said of us that we loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.