Thursday, August 16, 2007

Well...He's Gone

My niece Nan's son Josh flew out this morning to follow his heart on the adventure of a lifetime. This journey will take him to India, where he will be doing volunteer work in a hospice until December.

This is one seriously courageous young man.

Please pray for him and the group he is traveling with. Also his family, who are so proud of him and his commitment, but whose hearts are heavy at his departure. We will surely feel a void until he returns safely to us.

On his blog, there is a video of Mother Teresa speaking about the poor and suffering of Calcutta, India. She also says, "Stay where you are -- find your own Calcutta. Find the sick, the suffering, the lonely, right there where you are -- in your own homes and in your own families, in your workplaces and schools."

We don't all have to climb on an airplane to find our mission field. We might just have to drive across town...or walk next door. Imagine our world if we all ministered to our own hurting soul at a time.

"If we are the body
Why aren't His arms reaching?
Why aren't His hands healing?
Why aren't His words teaching?
And if we are the body
Why aren't His feet going?
Why is His love not showing them there is a way.
Jesus is the way."
If We Are The Body Lyrics Artist(Band):Casting Crowns

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Don't Fret

From The Eagles Wing - written by me several years ago. BTW...this is one that I should probably reread everyday as a reminder.

Philippians 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me--put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. (NIV)

You don’t have to look very hard today to find people who are worried and stressed, and just about at the end of their rope. (Sometimes we only have to look in the mirror!) God’s word is a clear guideline for having the peace in our lives that we all desire.

I struggle with this myself. I will hear teaching on trusting God, and someone will say, “Well, how do you know if you really trust and have faith in God until there is a problem in your life that is so big that if He does not solve it, it won’t get solved?” And because it really is my heart’s desire to see God working in a mighty way in my life, I will think that the next time a crisis arises it will be my opportunity to really believe God to come through for me. The problem is that when I am right in the middle of a storm, for some reason I tend to forget about all of that and start trying to figure out how I'm going to fix the problem. Usually I have worked myself into a good stressed-out mess before I get really desperate and call out to God. He is always so faithful, and even though He doesn’t always answer in the way or time that I would have chosen, I know that His way is always best.

But how much better for all of us if we can learn to follow the guidelines in Philippians 4:6-9:
-Don’t worry or fret about anything, no matter what your circumstances look like.
-Come to Him with a thankful heart--for who He is, for what He has already done for you, and for what He is going to do for you.
-Be specific in your prayer requests.
-Continue to make your wants known to Him.
-Exercise your will to choose to think about good and true and pure things.
-Practice what you have learned and received from God, and model your way of living after it.

The promise of God is that His peace, the peace that nobody can even understand, will then guard our hearts and our minds in Jesus. There are many ways that He imparts His peace to us. I have felt a supernatural peace that just enveloped me like a heavenly hug. I have also experienced peace through a word from a friend, an anointed song that touched my heart, and memories of how God has brought me through hard times in the past. I believe that these are some of the ways that the Holy Spirit ministers peace to us.

How it must grieve Him to see us suffer with the cares of this world when He has made a way for us to experience His peace and rest. And of course the enemy of our souls just loves to get us stirred up and get our focus off God. Satan will use any trick he can to divert us from pressing on toward a closer relationship with our Father. The battle is in our minds, and the choice is ours.

Let's be challenged this week to make a fresh start and to look at the problems that are facing us through spiritual eyes, knowing that our God is loving and faithful and is well able to meet our needs.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Update On My Son

Thank you to those of you who prayed for my son. He ended up with several different diagnosis, but he saw a new doctor today and we are hoping that he finally knows what is wrong and can be treated.

Simple Joy

Check out BK's magic bean stalk.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Nine days ago this was a bean that BK planted at the Farmer's Market. Every time I pass by and glance at the plant, I cannot believe how much it has's almost creepy.

I wonder how much bigger the thing can get.

BK wonders how we can climb up once it gets big enough.

Simple joys of childhood...this time in the form of a bean in a cup of dirt...mixed well with a healthy dose of imagination...both hers and mine.

Sunday, August 12, 2007


You haven't lived until you have on.

I think I believed that those days were over for me...oh no. Baby girl has been sick this weekend. She was fine when we put her to bed Friday, then she woke up around midnight with a very high fever (103.7). I was holding her a short time later and...well...I saw it coming, but there was nothing I could do...she got me, my bed, and the floor. This was a first for her and she was very upset. It takes a lot of strength (not to mention a strong stomach) to stay calm in those situations...but I did...and I managed to calm her down too. After getting her cleaned up and making sure she was okay, only then did I get a shower.

A mother's love is funny like that. No matter how selfish we may have been pre-children, something happens to our hearts after they are here. Their well-being takes priority.

The commercial is right...having a baby does change everything.

P.S. She is feeling much better today...right now she is dancing to a Wiggle's song. Oh...the resiliency of youth!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Count the Cost - Eyes Wide Open

One half of knowing what you want is knowing what you must give up before you get it. ~Sidney Howard~

This quote came in an email this morning. The strange thing is that I just read the same quote somewhere else in the last few days. Hmm…could someone be trying to tell me something?

Life is full of choices. What we tend to forget is that there are always consequences to our choices.

In the passage in Luke 14:25-35, Jesus is telling a large crowd of people who are following him to count the cost. He seems to be telling them that it would be better for them to take some time to think about what it will require to be a disciple before they embark on the journey, than to only begin and then find that it is too hard.

26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters--yes, even his own life--he cannot be my disciple.”
33 “In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.”
34 “Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again?”
35 “It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; it is thrown out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” NIV

These were strong words for the crowd. It must have been hard for many of them to accept. The love and charisma that had to exude from Jesus caused many to want to follow Him. However, I don’t think it was ever a numbers game for Him. He did not have pews to fill or a building fund that needed members to contribute. He required much more than a few bucks in the offering plate. He wanted it all…all of their money and possessions, along with their total and absolute devotion.

Where did we ever get the idea that He expects less from us today? Some may think Jesus is asking too much, but we are still called to be His disciples. Not only are we called to be disciples, we are called to help others become disciples as well.

Discipleship is not easy and not everyone will be able to meet the requirements. Maybe we all need to spend some time reevaluating our lives and counting the cost of following Him. It may cost us everything we have. The things we hold on to are the things that hold us back. Can we afford to give it all up?

The bigger question is…can we afford not too?

Ragamuffin Diva

A friend introduced me to a blog site. The writer is full of wit and wisdom...grins and grace...with a healthy dose of reality mixed in. Check it out:

Please Pray For My Son

My grown son is having some potentially serious health problems...with no health insurance. In our country, unfortunately, that can be the kiss of death. Please pray that he will be able to find the health care he needs and that the doctors will be able to help him.

I Shall Not Be Moved

I have decided to post some devotionals that I wrote several years ago for a weekly newsletter called The Eagle's Wing. Here is one:

Don’t you love the glorious time that we have with the Lord and His people on Sundays? It is so encouraging and uplifting. And then the alarm screams in your ear on Monday morning, and you realize with a sinking in the pit of your stomach that it’s back to the “real world” - the real problems, the real pain, the real attitudes, the real traffic. YUCK!

I realize that the Lord desires for us to have stability in our lives. We are “up” one day and “down” the next. Riding that emotional roller coaster. Please know that I am not pointing a finger at anyone, because I stand in line and buy tickets for that ride way too many times. The stability comes from a growing intimate relationship with our Lord.

The difference between dead religion and a real relationship with God is whether or not we can use it in the “real world”. The Bible tells us that the law kills, but the Spirit brings life. The reason that the law kills is that we can never keep it perfectly. It was not given for us to keep, but rather to show us that we cannot keep it, and therefore need the Lord to make us righteous. Dead religion teaches the law. The rules. The dos and don’ts. All the right hoops to jump through to make yourself look like you have it all together. But they neglect to tell you what to do with the empty void inside you that nothing ever satisfies. That longing of the heart to be loved unconditionally and completely - to be known and accepted, just as we are.

It is the Father’s desire for us to have an intimate relationship with him. In fact, that is why we were created. When we are involved in that kind of relationship with our Father, a lot of the “stuff” that would otherwise blow us away is put into perspective. That is why I say that the Spirit brings life. He brings His life into our lives. See, the ultimate goal is not just to die and go to heaven, although that will be glorious to spend eternity praising God. Jesus came to give His life so that we can have life, and life more abundant (see John 10:10) right here, right now.

This abundant life is not a carefree life with no problems. I don’t see that promised anywhere in God’s Word. Quite the opposite actually. We are promised trials and tribulations and persecution. But even with all of these troubles we are told that we are more than conquerors! (Romans 8:37)

So the stability does not come from living a problem-free life. The stability has to come from Who we know to be in control of all the circumstances that surround us. I want us to look at a passage of scripture in Psalms which you may be very familiar with, and see if we can learn anything about the stable life: “Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.” (Ps. 1:1-3 NKJV)

In the natural I can’t think of anything more sturdy and stable than a big old tree, with its roots down deep in the earth. It reminds me of the old hymn that I used to sing as a child, “I shall not be, I shall not be moved. I shall not be, I shall not be moved. Just like a tree planted by the water, I shall not be moved.” This is the stability that I long for, and if you care anything about going on with God, I know that you do too. So let’s look at the verses in Psalms to see what we can learn together.

We see that God considers us blessed when we:
*Do not seek the council or advice of ungodly people
*Do not spend all of our time fellowshipping with sinners
*Do not join in with those who scoff or mock
*Delight in God’s Word
*Think about His Word day and night

The scripture goes on to say that we will be like that tree planted by the water, with our leaves lush and green, and producing fruit; the sweet-smelling, precious fruit of the Holy Spirit. And look at the promise in the last line: Whatever we do will prosper! What a blessing!

I will be the last one to argue with you that life is hard. Sometimes it seems unbearably hard. And our emotions are very fickle. We can be swinging from the chandeliers one minute and sucking lemons the next. These are the times that we must move beyond what we feel, and look inward to see what we really believe. The stability and security come from knowing that even though everything in this world is subject to being “shaken”, the God in whom we put our hope and our trust cannot be shaken. Nothing takes Him by surprise, and nothing slips by Him unnoticed. A few verses down in Ps. 1:6 it tells us that “The LORD watches over the path of the godly...”. He knows right where we are and what we are going through.

So even on Mondays, when we face the thought of heading back into our chaotic world, let us take courage and strength from the fact that it’s not dead religion that gives us a reason to face the challenges of each new day, but rather the knowledge of Truth that comes only from our love relationship with our Savior and Lord. Join me in my new battle cry, “I SHALL NOT BE MOVED!”

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Is Customer Service Dead?

I am not kidding you when I say that the last week has been an eye-opening experience in the lack of good customer service. Whatever happened to "the customer is always right?" Here are just a couple of examples:

Case #1

Mike's laptop got broken this week when BK accidentally knocked it on the floor. It seemed like a simple repair, but the place we took it had to ship it to Memphis. Once there, they diagnosed the problem and just needed a small part to repair it. Unfortunately, it was a brand-specific part, so they called the manufacturer to see about ordering the part. Not only would they not sell them the part (they want to be the only ones to repair), but they said they would not just replace the small part, rather they would replace the whole mother-board!! Mike tried calling them himself and they were SO RUDE to him. So basically, the laptop is trash now because I'm sure it would cost as much to fix as to just go buy a new one. We do not have the money to buy a new one, so he will have to do without for now I guess. He really needs it too, because he's a teacher and the computer in his classroom has been broken since last year and the school won't fix it.

Case #2
I went to order new glasses at EyeMart Express. Because of the high index prescription, I ended up waiting almost two weeks for them to come in. When I went to pick them up, the first thing they told me was that they had broken the frame I had picked out, so they were giving me temporary frames (ugly) to wear until they could order a replacement. Then when I put them on, I realized the lens were very thick, even though I ordered the thinner ones. They insisted that this was the thinnest they could get them. I told them to look at the ones I was wearing and the prescription had not changed. Instead of being apologetic, they acted as if I should just accept them the way they were. I told them I wanted my money back. Now I have to order them somewhere else and wait another two weeks.

Case #3
We went to the Pizza Hut in Pearl last night. We ordered baked spaghetti, bread sticks and a personal pan pizza. When I went to get our salads, there were no plates and I had to ask three people before I got some. I got back to the table and realized we had no forks, so I had to ask for some. We ate our salads and waited for our food. After we were there about 45 minutes, I got the waitress' attention as she was walking by and asked her if she could check on our order. She said, "Oh...we are out of spaghetti." I asked her why no one let us know so we could order something else and she said, "Do you want to talk to the manager?" and walked away. So the manager came to our table. "What's the problem?" she said...without a smile or greeting. I was so aggravated, but I kept my cool. I explained that someone should have told us 45 minutes ago that they were out of spaghetti. She said, "Well, if you could see the orders that are stacked up back there, you would understand." (There were very few folks in the place at that time - the couple behind us had been waiting just as long.) I asked her about the rest of our order and she told us it had just come out, so I said to please just have someone bring it to us and we will go somewhere else next time. She turned around and walked apology...nothing. We waited another 10 minutes and no order, so we paid for our salads and drinks and left. I'll never go back there...and that's a shame because I like their pizza.

Is this just a sign of the times, or is customer service truly a thing of the past?