Archives

Church family

1 Corinthians 12:12-14 – “For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many.”

When my family and I started going to our church, we were a bit puzzled. Everyone was identified as aunt or uncle so-and-so. How could all these people possibly be related? True, it has been around for 120+ years and dating someone in our church requires a careful analysis of both people’s family tree, but still..all of them related?

We quickly learned that these were terms of endearment. 

My church is far from perfect. We have problems. We have challenges. But above it all, we have love. 

And there is no better place to see love than at a funeral. Now, I know, that seems weird. But hear me out. 

One of our ladies passed away this week. She had fought long and hard against an illness that rarely gives up – cancer. It was sad. And it was a blessing. She had been ill for so long and endured so much. She was ready to see Jesus. 

And as we sat and listened to the pastor give his words of encouragement, the common theme was “amen”. He talked about her faith; her dedication when she was ill; her love for her family and her Jesus. Amen. She isn’t hurting. Amen. She wants her family to share in her joy. Amen. Her family was not only flesh and blood but also the blood of Jesus Christ. 

I have a plaque in my home that was given to us by one of our church family. It says “Friends are the family you choose.” 

And no truer words can be spoken when I think about my church family. 

I love my family dearly, blood of my relatives and blood of my Jesus. They are all precious to me. And yesterday, as we laid to rest one of our own, my heart was sad for the ones left behind but happy for her. It was bittersweet. 

So I would encourage you to go home to your church family this weekend. They would love to see you. They would love to hug you. They would love to tell you how much they have missed you, because they have. Don’t let the devil steal away the family that God has given you. Treasure it and thrive within it. 

What love is…

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 – “Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.”

Yesterday, I visited a couple who has been married 56 years. He is vibrant and swam a 1/2 mile that morning in the pool. She, on the other hand, is failing. Her health is less than good and her mind wavers. Yet, as she needed attending for whatever reason, he did so without complaining, without harshness and with loads of compassion. He encouraged her when she successfully completed a 30 second stand without grasping her walker. 

People today don’t always understand and appreciate that kind of love and devotion. When things get tough and they feel their needs aren’t being met, they leave. 

This couple encouraged me with stories of their time apart when he was away doing his job. I can see him leaving home to get on a plane in the 60s while his wife stayed home with the children. I can see her opening the door with a smile on her face when she sees him walking up the front sidewalk. I can see him watching her cook dinner while the children run in and out the door and they talk of what all has gone on through the week. And as time passes, I can see him sitting by her bed holding her hand while she struggles to understand why she just can’t remember. 

Love. Love is something that is challenged every day. It is a choice we make every day. I choose to get up in the morning and love my husband no matter if he is beside me or on a trip for his job. I choose to stand by him when he is sick and when he is happy. I choose to love him when he carries out the trash and when he makes me madder than a wet hen. 

Love isn’t about warm fuzzy feelings and thinking like you are the center of his world. Love is knowing that when you just can’t remember, he will be there. Love is knowing that when you can’t stand by yourself, he will be there to hold you up. Love is a choice. 

I truly believe that we can’t love our spouse without loving Jesus first. You see, He is love. He shows us how to love. 

So this weekend, love. Choose love. Always, choose love. Happy Friday. 

Rotten bananasĀ 

1 Corinthians 15:33 – “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.”

Sometimes in life, we have to stop and evaluate the people with whom we spend our time. 

Especially as adults, we don’t want to think or consider that our “friends” are really not a positive influence in our life. It’s a lot easier to hand out a bucket of excuses than to say “Yep, these people are the rotten bananas in my fruit salad!”  Admitting that people in your life are a problem is tough because we care about them. We see that we are a positive influence in their life. We know that without us, who knows where they would be. 

But what we fail to realize is the yuck they are bringing into our life each and every day. They bring problems. They bring speech patterns that fail to glorify God. They bring hate and discord. And as much as we think that we can resist these negative influences, eventually they will have an effect on us. If you are around a negative person all the time, there’s a good chance that you too will start to see things negatively. 

Children are especially vulnerable. They just want people to like them. They want to be popular. They want to be accepted by the “cool kids”. But as a parent, it is my responsibility to guard them from times like these. And just like I have to monitor my own relationships, I have to monitor theirs as well. When I see that it may be time to walk away, I need to be there to provide whatever they need to make that tough decision. 

The One thing that we as followers of Christ can give ourself and our children is the gift of having Jesus with us every step of the way. We don’t have to make those determinations ourself. We can let Jesus show is the rotten bananas. We don’t have to have the words to explain our decision. We can allow Jesus to give us what to say in those situations. We don’t have to feel alone when we do walk away. Jesus promised to never leave us or forsake us no matter the age, no matter the situation, no matter the level of hurt. 

So let me encourage you to evaluate your circle and the circle of people surrounding your children. Make sure that the influences in your life are wholesome and bring honor and glory to God. 

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. 

Report card

1 Corinthians 11:32 – “But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.”

Yesterday in Sunday school, I presented this task to my class. 

Get a piece of paper and write “Report Card” on the top. Then make a list: Conduct, Bible reading, Church attendance, Witnessing and Prayer. Now, grade yourself. Be honest. No one will see it but you and God. 

It hurts, doesn’t it. We can look at this list and think, “oh, I’m doing okay with this.” Then you think about your attitude and your focus and your genuineness. That’s when things get muddled and ugly. 

I know when I thought about this yesterday, my heart was convicted. And all areas were affected. I couldn’t say in my heart that I did a really good job with anything. 

We all have room for improvement. We all have areas in our life that need daily attention and quarterly checks. 

But you know, these checks are for our good. They hold us accountable and make us better. God has provide His Holy Spirit to keep us on His path. He wants us to be successful – closest to Him. He wants us to live a good and happy life – closest to Him. But we are sometimes like an animal, we get distracted easily – squirrel! And once we are distracted, we are headed down a path that leads us away from Him. We need God to yank the chain now and again. 

So this week, let me encourage you to fill out this “Report Card”. Pray about it. Ask God to show you ways that He wants you to improve and change. 

Every. Little. Thing

1 Corinthians 10:31 – “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”

I was driving around yesterday, listening to the radio and this song came on that I have heard a million times. Sometimes, however, God can use the familiar to bring to mind a truth long forgotten. And that’s what He did yesterday. 

Have you heard Steven Curtis Chapman’s song “Do everything”? Here is a sample of the lyrics:

Little stuff
Big stuff
In between stuff, God sees it all the sameWhile I may not know you, I bet I know you Wonder sometimes, does it matter at all? Well let me remind you, it all matters just as long As you do everything you do to the glory of the One who made you, Cause he made you To do Every little thing that you do To bring a smile to His face, Tell the story of grace With every move that you make, And every thing you do.

(I copied it off a lyric website and smooshed it together for space – that’s why the letters are weird. I’m too lazy to fix it!šŸ˜Š)

Every. Little. Thing. 

Do you do every little thing for the glory and honor of God? Changing the tablecloth? Filing your paperwork? Pumping your gas? Getting your coffee at the coffee shop? Picking up the mail? It can all be done for the glory and honor of God – if you want it to. That’s the kicker – “if you want it to”. Are you changing the tablecloth because you want to provide for your family a desirable and pleasant environment to enjoy a meal? Are you filing your paperwork with obedience in your heart? Are you pumping your gas and praising God in your heart for the funds to pay for the gas? Are you smiling and showing God’s love at the coffee shop when the barista gets your order wrong? When you pick up the mail and see all the bills mixed in with the credit card offers do you thank God that He gave you the wisdom to know which ones to keep and which ones to throw away?

Every. Little. Thing. 

I think more often than not we dismiss these opportunities as just things we do. We don’t see the opportunity in each and every moment. I know I’m guilty. I rarely thank God for the wisdom to sort my mail. I usually don’t consider the reason I change the tablecloth other than it is dirty. Filing my paperwork is usually just a task I have to hurry up and complete. Pumping the gas is an opportunity to clean out the car. I don’t think about thanking God for the ability to pay for my gas. As far as the coffee shop goes, I’m usually my own barista – and yes, sometimes I muck that up. 

Anyway, my point is this – we have so many missed opportunities every day to make our little things important in His sight. When God looks down on my day, I want Him to smile when He hears me praising Him for the little things and doing all that I do for Him. I want Him to see a life richly, fully and praisingly (not sure that’s a word but it should be!) lived. Live out Every. Little. Thing. 

My Life’s SculptureĀ 

1 Corinthians 3:11-15 – “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.”

So we talked about these verses in Sunday school yesterday. I was trying to get the kids to understand what these verses really meant. Now, I know that these verses were written in regards to service within a local New Testament church, but I feel that they also have a personal application. 

Every sculpture has a base – something it is built upon. Your life’s sculpture is built upon Jesus when you accept Him as your Savior. You build your sculpture with all kinds of things – silver, gold, precious stones, wood, hay and stubble. The actions, thoughts and words you speak that are positive and glorifying to God build parts with silver, gold and precious stones. The actions, thoughts and words that you speak that are self-glorifying and negative build parts with wood, hay and stubble. We build with all those materials every day – all of us. 

But at the end of your days when you stand before the Judgement Seat of Christ, what will your sculpture be built of primarily? You see, at this Judgement, all of our works will be tried by fire. Our life’s sculpture will be placed in God’s holy fire and only the good stuff will come out. 

What will your sculpture look like? Will it be beautiful and abundant or will it be small and puny? 

You see, this is what your gift to God will be. It will be a life’s work that will show Him how you truly lived your life (not that He doesn’t already know). This sculpture is how you will be rewarded. It shows what really went on. In this life, you can make your actions seem pure and righteous, but God sees what you are really building with. And in that fire, so will you. 

So, what are you building your life’s sculpture with? How will it withstand the fire? What will your gift to Him truly be?