Saturday, October 29, 2011

Looking for love...

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Looking for LOVE? 


Yes. 


And as I wrote earlier, looking for a king. It's inside us. No matter the age. No matter the gender. No matter the color or how tall or how short or how big or how tough or how tender. From little girls to older ones. We long to be loved. We long for a prince. We long for a king.


We long for a kingdom. For real-live dress-ups. And for real live forever happily-ever-afters!


We're made for that, you know. It's engraved inside our souls. We don't have to be taught it. We don't have to be told. There's something inside that truly just knows!


So.... 


We spend our lives seeking. Looking. Longing. Desiring. Knowing. And feeling lost or hopeless and empty when not finding it.


It's as Ecclesiates 3:11 has told us. It's eternity set in our hearts!


What makes us know that life's not fair? That it's not right? That it's not all as it should be? 


What makes us know that death and dying isn't supposed to be? That sickness robs us? That evil is wrong? That we're not made for sadness, but instead, we're made to sing, we're made for a song? What makes us, no matter where we are, long for "home"?


Back to the verse. "God has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end."


He has set, He has given, He has put, He has made, He has entrusted......... eternity, for ever and ever, everlasting, continuous existence, unending future............. in our hearts, in our minds, in our understanding, in our conscience, in our memory, in our souls, in our knowing, in our innermost parts.


""For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart. I will be found by you," declares the Lord...." (Jer 29:11-14a).


What makes us look?


Maybe it should rather read this way: WHO makes us look?


God does!


Wow! He thought of everything! What a Savior we serve!


For as much as we long to find, He... longs even more to be found!
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Friday, October 28, 2011

Once... too tender to share.

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Goodness, several years ago (I can't remember just how long now), an old high-school sweetheart got in touch with me again. It had been almost 30 years! The throb in my heart after hearing his voice beat just as hard for him then as it once did. I was mesmerized. It took my breath away! I was flattered. I was dumb-founded. Everything in me swayed!


We talked back and forth for a little while. Mostly emailed, rarely voice to voice. I've always wished we could be friends, despite the warning from my mother that said we never could. She was right, you know? It didn't take us long to both see it. The tie was too strong. The feelings too deep. We'd shared too much. We have too much fun. We enjoy too much our cute-ness together. A surface-friendship won't ever be enough.


So. When we realized the danger, we both backed off. Dreading the parting that had to come, it tore at both of our hearts. Before closing the door to our communication, he sent me the video below. I cried like an idiot while watching it. It had captured every feeling I'd felt! The picture voiced what my words would never be able to say. The wouldn't-let-go-ness of the lion in his happy over the reuniting, was the same didn't-want-to-let-go-ness in me all over again in our own reunion. And, too, the song.... I don't know if he had realized in advance the meaning of the song that sang as it played. But it, too, was a yesterday's memory... a yesterday's feeling that never went away. Wildly, though it's different, it still fits today.


I told him at the end that I'd heard a guy say something in a movie that reminded me of him. He said, "I think I'd miss you even if we had never met." Yeah, I said, I know that feeling. But mostly, I know that feeling that misses you not because we didn't, but because we once did.


I don't know why... but I was thinking about him today. The memory of his sweetness made me cry. Crazily, I thought I was past that. After wallowing in sorrow for quite a while after our parting, I thought that I'd toughened up. I thought I was past this. I thought I'd grown hard. Today.... just now... bringing it all up again, made me realize that my tough-ness wasn't tough at all... my "tough" was a masquerading lie. Some things you'll never forget. Some things you'll never not love........... 


And some things........(because of all that)???? You stay very, very, very far away from! :)






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Aiming for the 2%! Focusing on the sliver!

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I was reading this article [Chef Without a Stomach] today and felt the need to share a part of it... Not the whole article, just the part that was so powerfully correct and encouraging. I love the message and hope that it shares. It reads:

In the summer of 2005, chef Hans Rueffert, of the Woodbridge Inn in Jasper, Ga., had reason to be optimistic about his future in the culinary world.
He'd just finished participating in the first season of The Next Food Network Star, and things were going well at the Woodbridge Inn, the hotel and restaurant his parents had bought when he was four years old. His father had taught him to cook there at age 18, when he wanted to impress his then-future wife Amy with his chops in the kitchen; since then, he'd taken over the kitchen as head chef. He was gregarious and telegenic, so more TV appearances were by no means out of the question. But then, out of the blue, disaster struck. He was diagnosed with stomach cancer.
When Rueffert heard the awful news, he immediately thought of his two small children. His sister had died of breast cancer not long before his own diagnosis.
"When I was diagnosed, I thought back to how my wife Amy and I had explained cancer to our kids; we had painted it as this awful boogeyman," he explained to the Huffington Post. "Now I had to tell them, 'Daddy's going to be OK,' when I wasn't even completely sure I was."
Doctors told Rueffert he had a 2% chance of survival.
"When they told me that, what I thought about was the fact that, if you look at a wall with a door, most of the area is occupied by the wall, and only a tiny little sliver is a door," Rueffert told the Huffington Post. "I thought, if I concentrate on the wall, I'm going to hit the wall -- so I have to go through the door. I'm aiming for that 2%."

You know... God doesn't even need a "door"... He can make a door where there's never ever been one. And yet, when there is a "door" people so often miss it. In their concentrated focus on the wall, they miss the sliver of the opening that's been given to them. 

May we never forget that there is light hidden behind the darkest darkness!
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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

We laid his body down right next to my daddy's.

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Today, we buried our friend. I kept thinking that five and a half months ago when we laid my daddy's body down, Joe had no idea that we'd soon be laying his down right next to it. 


I know we say so, but we never know when our time is up. Regardless of our health or our age, on this side of Heaven, we're never guaranteed tomorrow. I know if anyone had suggested such to Joe, I know what his reaction would have been. I can see him now. Stepping backward. Head down. Lopsided grin. Shuffling his feet. Shaking his head. Re-screwing the cap on his Dr. Pepper drink that he'd been drinking upon. Saying, "Nah. Not me. I'm not ready to go yet."


But wow, he did. We never do know when we'll be taken.


It was one of the sweetest funerals I've ever attended. One person after another were all consistent in sharing the same (but different) stories. Joe was a doer. He didn't just talk the talk, he walked it. After my daddy died, he went to my mama's house every day looking to see what next he could do. I promise, it seemed that he mowed the yard every day. Or else, he was sweating out there weed eating. He brought food. He kept mama stocked in her faved Diet Pepsis. He brought her tons of her cheese curls craving. Or he came just to offer company if he felt she might need it.


He heard me complaining one day about the broken off door handle on my daughter's car. Without saying a word he simply slipped out to fix it. After a little while he came back in. When getting in the car to go home that night, there was a cut off belt nailed into the door for a temporary make-shift. :) It was awful! But it worked. And the gesture sure was awfully sweet. And today, because Joe used his hands and his heart to fix it, my daughter tells me it'll always be treasured.


I told the preacher when he called, that Joe didn't always do the "right" thing, but Joe always did something. Too often we say we want to do, but can never find the do that we need to be doing. He looked! He searched! He sought to find the do... and then did it! 


In the opening prayer his son-in-law said that we all have things in our houses and on our cars that work better now because of Joe. We all laughed when he said it... or cried all the harder, because he was right. We do... because he did!


I told the preacher something else too... that in all reality, I didn't realize until I heard myself saying it. I told him that Joe didn't talk head-talk. He didn't talk fluff. He didn't talk about the weather. He went straight to the heart. He could be annoying in his attempt to pull stuff out of you. But then I realized the reason why. Just as Joe looked to find something that he could do or help fix around your house... He looked for something that he could do or help fix in your spiritual house also. He was searching to find what he could help you with... what advice he could give.... what encouragement he could share in hopes to uplift. 


And now, upon realizing all of that, it's made me to not want to talk fluff anymore. It's made me want to not waste precious time talking about the weather. It's made me want to quit talking surface talk. It's made me want to talk to the heart like he did. 


........ It's made me miss his probing. :)


I suppose my uncle's letter about him summed Joe up best. He wrote, "Joe was the most aggravating best friend I ever had."


Joe was Joe. He was different. Yes, indeed, he could be aggravating.... annoying.... someone at times you wanted to run from. And too, he was a sweet-heart. He loved. And he loved big. He just sometimes was irritating in the way that he showed it.


Joe had a very hard life. He was born with so much against him. And then, he made a lot of bad choices. He paid a hard price for most of them. But Joe never gave up. Joe kept going and allowed God to work out "good" because he was a guy that loved Him.


I can't help but admire him more, now that he's gone... now that the funeral did what often funeral's do. It's made me see him deeper. It's made me admire him more for what he was. It's made me thankful for all he did. It's made me want to be, in some ways, more like him.


As God put it in His Book, "It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of every man; the living should take this to heart" (Ecc 7:2). Birthdays (or feasting of other kinds) are fun and enjoyable, but funerals reel you back to the focus of what we're here for, what we're doing with it, and what we can do different to better ourselves. It's a sober time for reflecting. I want to use the rest of the time I have in this body I'm given seriously serving and using it for the Lord.... "being about," as Jesus said, "my Father's business" while I'm still left here.


We'll miss you, Joe! Thanks for the impact you've made and are still making!
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Sunday, October 23, 2011

16 hours, 32 minutes and counting down....

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I wonder when the countdown began? Well, never mind. Because if I think about it, I already know when it did. It started the day they went in. It's just today, right now, the countdown is way smaller than the number they first started with! One initially started with 5 years. The other girl, with 15.


The countdown is in hours now. Not years anymore. Not months. Not weeks. Nor days even! A clock on the wall ticks... and two people watch while their hearts greatly anticipate each tick and tock that the second hand is making.


I don't know the girls. We've never met. I know their names though. I know the length of their sentences. And their Monday's destination. But nothing more than that. And yet, I don't have to know more. I, myself, am super excited! I can't wait to meet them! I love the excitement that I'll get to share with them upon our meeting.


I wonder where they'll want to go and what they'll order to eat? It'll be breakfast time, so the options are limited. Maybe the Huddle House? That's the closest. Or Shoney's is next. There's a McDonalds. A Hardees. A Waffle House further down. And if they want to first drive, a bit farther down than that, there's a Cracker Barrel not too far away.


The eating is always such fun! Food, surely, has never tasted so good! They enjoy their food so tremendously that you can't help but enjoy yours in a way you've never thought to enjoy it before! Mmmm.... every flavor will be savored! Every bite wonderfully tasted. Every morsel delighted in. I love to watch their faces then.


We'll probably find somewhere to stop on our way to buy little things that they won't have packed in their bags. Little things that we take for granted. Little things that make up a lot. Plus, they'll need a few clothes, some undies, socks, shoes, a brush, some toothpaste, maybe some makeup, etc. When leaving a prison the only thing you leave with is the things on your person when you were arrested, and anything you accumulated while you were incarcerated. Seriously, it's usually not much. And it'll all fit in either a grocery or trash bag that they'll be caring.


I'll be taking them to Birmingham to a place called Lovelady. A two hour drive from where we'll begin. I sooo look forward to our conversation! What a reward to me they are! What a tremendous blessing!


Why?


Because... who can explain in words what freedom feels like????..... And though words cannot describe it, I get to watch and see a glimpse of the wonder of it on their faces! I get to be a small part of their new felt freedom for a second! I get to share a little bit of Jesus! And pray for them. They'll be free on the outside after 5 years... and 15! And for some crazy reason (because God's blessed me with such), I'll get to be a tiny iddy-biddy part of their journey!!! If they haven't yet, may they meet Jesus and find the eternal freedom that they're really seeking. And then, may they spend the rest of their days soaring with our Savior and sharing their testimony of true freedom with others! 


P.S. Meet Lovelady (the place where I'm taking them): 
The Whole-Way House by Logan Talbot and Nejla Harris from Digital Community Studies on Vimeo.



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Saturday, October 22, 2011

Or, more rather, it looks like he did!

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As the song sings, "This world is not my home. I'm just a passing through, my treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue. The angels beckon me from Heaven's open door. And I can't feel at home in this world anymore...." 


And, even though we sing that, or say that, or talk about that, and we really know that.... there's something about it in our minds that is hard to really, really, really know, to really grasp, to imagine, to understand, to fathom, to make it in.


This is not it. Here is not it. Here.. this life.. this world is just the part of the journey that takes us to our final destination. It's a road. It's a passage. It's an avenue. It's a trip. This... is simply just part of it. It takes our 'here' to get us to where we're going.


If you'll notice, I entitled my earlier post, "It doesn't look like my friend's gonna make it." But perhaps, I need to reword that? Because, instead, it looks like he did!


He's gone. He left. He's no longer bound to this earth by his earthly body. He's now where our hearts are longing for! He's now made it to where so many songs sing about. He's made it! He's now seeing our Savior! He's now seeing our God, our Father, the One that's created him! I know he never dreamed when my daddy died, that he'd be soon on his way to seeing him again!


I can picture my daddy smiling so big as he walks to greet him. I can hear him asking Joe what brought him here. And I can hear Joe's answer in his distinct voice laughingly telling my daddy, "My truck turned over." For after all, we never know the avenue that'll be used to send us there.


Hmmm, it's wild, but I continue in my mind to hear the song sing, ".... and I can't feel at home in this world anymore...."


Good for you, Joe! You DID make it!
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It doesn't look like my friend's gonna make it.

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A massive stroke turned my friend's health late last night from 'probable'.... to probably won't. And so now...  my words don't know what to pray. I find my word bank left shocked, stunned, silenced in great want, and frustratedly speechless.


In the impossibility I keep remembering that we have a God in which all things are possible! Nothing is too hard for Him. He is a great God that still performs miracles. There's nothing on this earth that He cannot do.


Lord, You are the Great Physician. Jehovah Rapha, please heal my friend!
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Friday, October 21, 2011

"He introduced me to my downfall."

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I was listening to a friend talk the other day. She was describing her years of bondage. The prison she'd lived in. Its slavery. The wandering and wallowing so long in her pigpen. The places it took her. The things that it robbed. The devastation it left. The people it hurt in its wake. 


And then, she went back to the beginning. Of how and when and 'who' it all started. She told me about Bill. And how Bill had introduced her, she said, to her downfall.


Woe!


Woe, at the visual! 


Woe, at the impact of how those few words hit me! 


Can you imagine being the one that made the introduction? Woe, that we could "introduce" another to a something that will forevermore be a battle against them without even knowing the scheme and the plan of the enemy of what we've just introduced them to. That we would introduce someone to something that the enemy plans to use to steal, to kill, and to destroy them. And woe, too, to those that introduce us to ours!


Wow, at how often we don't at first recognize something as our "downfall"... or see it as our future "stronghold"... when it's first introduced. Usually, it looks appealing, enticing, interesting, fun, exciting. It promises adventure. Satisfaction. Excitement. Fulfillment. But, instead, it brings bondage. It robs. It hurts. It wounds. It kills. It might thrill for a moment, but its purpose is to devastate and cause havoc and chaos and bring destruction for a lifetime. It means to be our undoing and land us in ruin. Its hope is to defeat us and wreck our lives, and those lives of our loved ones around us.


"He introduced me to my downfall."


It could be drugs. Or drinking. Or smoking. Or a person! A website. Gambling. Or.... well, anything that a person can lose control over. An introduction to anything that will one day cast a strong hold over them that will be almost impossible to one day break loose from. 


It all starts... with an introduction!


The introduction can be by sight... or a smell... and sometimes (a lot of times!... maybe most of the time!) by a word spoken.


I heard someone once say that the affair that started between him and the girl that he fell for started with her nonchalantly saying, "Wonder what it would have been like if we had married." He'd worked with the girl for years. He'd never been attracted to her. Never thought of her romantically. Never considered such. It had never entered his mind. BUT! Once the "introduction" was made with those simple words... he said, it was like the gates of hell burst open and all of the devil's army came up against him. He was held fast immediately.... and he couldn't pull himself away from the enemy's snare until he bottomed out and was totally broken. He lost his wife, his children, his home, his business, his family, his character, his reputation, his influence, his respect. Before it was over, the downfall / the stronghold robbed him of everything.


And again, wow... it all started with a mere introduction.


As horrible as that is... especially when it's US that's doing or has done the introducing................ how about this? On the flip side of all that, this is a zillion times better! Speaking of "introductions".... what about when we are the vessels used to introduce another to their Savior and it leads to their salvation! For after all, when you think about it, we're all always introducing something of some sort to someone!
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Thursday, October 20, 2011

I have a dream.

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I was sitting in the very back of the chapel. The chapel sits in the very back (very, very back!), in the furthermost part (in the very, very, very, veriest waaay back!), part of the prison. (It seems like the walk is 10 miles through a hall of dorms and guard huts to get there.) There was a chapel full (80+ men) of prisoners. They all sat listening.


We were filming one of our Re-Entry Programs. The speaker, a big-time football player... twice himself incarcerated, was giving them hope in sharing his own story... of where all he'd been, and where he miraculously was now. As the speaker was speaking he said, "Everyone has dreams. We all have dreams. Tell me some of yours...."


One guy raised his hand. "My dream is to be a model." I was surprised at his honesty and his boldness to dare say such in the audience in which he was sitting. He was good-looking black guy, though, I could see why he said it. I watched the other guys to see their reaction. The thing that surprised me is that they didn't react to it... they were captivated by their own dreams that hammered loudly inside them.


They continued...


"I want to be a good role-model for my kids."


"I want to be successful."


"I dream of being released."


"I dream of being free."


"Be a good dad."  


One guy, "We," as he pointed to several guys grouped around him, "want to be professional singers one day."


That's when I almost lost it. I fought the rest of the time to hold the tears that pooled to roll down. I did everything I could to regain and keep my composure.


I prayed silently then asking, "Oh God, please let them make it! Please help them. Please one day let their dreams come true. Let them sing to others on the out to encourage and keep others from going in...."


They had just sat down from singing the song, "Amazing grace how sweet the sound... that saved a wretch like me... I once was lost, but now I'm found... was blind but now I see....... My chains are gone... I've been set free... My God, my Savior, rescued me... And like a flood, His mercy rains... Unending love, amazing grace......." Did I already say, it was all I could do to keep from crying?


Oh, how hard I prayed for those guys. They'll never know how hard I prayed for those guys (for everybody in there). They'll never know how much I'll continue to...


Dreams. 


I keep thinking of what our God has said, "I know the plans I have for you. Plans not to harm you, but to prosper you. Plans to give you a hope and a future." And too, "Delight yourself in the Lord, and He WILL GIVE YOU the desires of your heart."


(Big smile!)


I saw those guys "delight"ing in their Lord as they had earlier sang of Him! I saw the wonder on their faces. I saw the love for Him in more than their words that were spoken!


He knows the plans HE has for them! Isn't that wild, that God truly has a "plan" for each of us! He's thought it out! He's planned it. He knows what He wants. And it's good! It's more than our eyes have seen, more than our ears have heard, better than our minds can imagine (1 Cor 2:9)!


They have a dream..... And our Savior does too!



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I miss this!!

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How fast it goes by! How quickly "little" things grow UP! These things are now 17, 18, and 21 years old. And they're still as sweet now as they were then...



















Monday, October 17, 2011

He probably won't remember

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My friend... the one I recently posted about... the one in the truck accident....the one that turned the 18-wheeler over.... He's still sick. He's still in the hospital. He's still in ICU. He's still listed as critical.


He has a long list of things hurt, or pierced, or bruised, or broken. The most worrisome is his brain. He has a pea-sized aneurysm there that the doctors aren't super worried about. Their biggest concern is the swelling and the brain's bleeding.


We were told today that they do think he's got a good chance of survival. But... he may lose most of his memory.


My daughter was horrified over that thought. And I almost was too upon my first hearing it.


I was surprised by the "almost." Perhaps you are too? But in the craziest ways I can't help but wonder if it won't be a good thing? If perhaps that is the greater mercy?


You see, he's had a hard life. A very hard one. And with that hard, a lot of bitterness. He's been places that my mind cannot relate to. He's done things he's hated. And others have done things to him that he's hated back. 


I think there's a lot of resentment and, if we're honest, loads of bitterness. And so... if all that's washed away and he can start over.............???? I don't know, but I can't help but wonder............???


I'm not suggesting it'll be easy. Nor do I think he'll like it. It has to be scary. I cannot begin to imagine! I'm sure I'd hate it. Like my daughter said, it has to be horrid! But knowing that God "works ALL THINGS out for good those that love Him"..... I just believe this can be a working-out of a kind to his advantage.


Don't hear me wrong, my prayer will continue to be that the doctor's predicted possibility is wrong and Joe wakes up with his memory. Because I KNOW that God's greater glory is renewing and redeeming the memory Joe's already got. But this I know, too, that whatever happens God can use it for good and for His glory.


Bless his heart... he's got a long hard road ahead of him. Wow, life's such a journey! Lord, please show him Your miraculous wonder and let him be a tremendously testimony to tell more of Your story.
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Sunday, October 16, 2011

Go! I am sending you.

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"Go, I am sending you...." (Luke 10:3). 


Just as God commissioned and sent the disciples.... He commissions and sends us today. And just like Moses and Joshua and Jeremiah and so many others, I'm just as scared as they were when they went.


What's the fear, I wonder? 


Failure... 


Wow. That popped out fast! So fast, in fact, that after I'd typed the answer to the question it stunned me. So much so that I just stopped a minute and found myself stayed starring at it. I wasn't expecting it. Or, maybe, I was expecting more. I didn't know I knew the answer. And I guess I didn't,  until my fingers typed it for me.


What's my fear? Failure! Failing! I so love the Lord! I so love His Word! I so love those girls that He sends me to minister to! What if I fail them? What if I can't get the Word across? What if I don't present it in such a way that they can hear it? What if I mess it up???


I'll be speaking for this coming up Wednesday night service in the women's prison. And I'm torn, I'm not sure what to say. Actually, a subject has been placed on my heart and hounding me for months. But in my sureness of it, I'm unsure of it. I guess, I'm unsure of how to present it. And unsure, also, of how they'll take it.


And yet, I know that with the sending, with the commissioning, with the command to go, God is faithful to equip me with the Word He wants told! I know this! I tell it others this! And yet when it's me, my insecurity peaks and does its dead-level best to make me miserable in my doubtfulness.


"Go. I am sending you"..... Well, wow! When You hear HIM! And really realize it's really HIS voice! 


Funny... I had typed this yesterday, and today, He reminded me TWICE with HIS sending again! TWICE, I heard the "go" and the reminder that HE is the One sending! And with that twice, I was reminded both times, too, that with the sending He ALWAYS equips the sender!


I LOVE His kindness! I love His love! I love His patience! I love His reminders!


And... speaking of His reminders..... without MY meaning for HIM to, look what He just happened to have me land upon today: Dreaming of the vehicle she'll drive (click on the blue link to take you there). Wow, an old post... but woe, at His point in His reminding me in it!
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Meanness is so mean.... and thus, Mean needs mercy!

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You know... meanness is mean! Anyway you color it, slice it or dice it or try to excuse it... it hurts, and it isn't right!


And yet..........


My heart hurts for Mean tonight. For the one that's bitter. For the one that rages. For the one that lately has been causing all kinds of havoc for my family.


I hate her hurt. I hate her lonely. I imagine in the dark of the night (and even when it's light) that she's scared. I think that's why she growls so much. And for that I'm sorry.


I hurt for her today. I feel for her lots of days... but today, especially, my heart hurts for hers. My heart seriously sorrows! It aches. It mourns. It hates it for her! I wish I could help, but I don't know how to. I don't think she'll hear me right now in the midst of her rage. But, Lord, I'm sad for her. Please help! Please bless the Mean.


I usually tell God that ("Please bless the mean..") when evil has been done to me... or when someone has for some reason insulted me. I say that to Him, meaning it... but meaning it because He's told me to: "Don't repay evil for evil. Don't retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and He will bless you for it." - 1 Peter 3:9.


God has been so gracious as to engrave deeply that truth into my heart and my head and my mind. But today... it goes deeper than truth, it goes deeper than obedience, it's heart-felt! My spirit is grieved! I beg for His help! I want her healed! Please bless her life someway that she can feel it. I don't how to help. I don't know what to pray for. I don't know what to do if there's something You'd like for me to. I put her in Your hands tonight, Lord. Take care of her. Comfort her. Give her peace. Grace her! Give her mercy! Love her greatly! May she feel Your Presence and Your nail-scarred hands of love wrapped around her!


Send her some joy, Lord! Please hear me! Please act quickly! My tears cry her heart's hurt tonight. I sorrow so for her sadness........
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Saturday, October 15, 2011

What is love?

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What is love? Love? What, really, does love mean?


Is it real? Does it honestly exist? Does anybody truly know what it feels like?


Is it painful? Does it hurt? Do you wear it? Or is it deeper than that? Does it run out? Is it only so much? Is it conditional? Can it end? Can it give out? Does it give up?


Does Love still love in misery and mean and madness? Does love still work when Love gets hurt?


Does it stop after a cruel word is said? Does it quit when it's been punched? Does it keep holding on when the other one don't? Does it still stay when the other one leaves? Does it still Love after it's been betrayed? 


Can love get fixed? Or, does it ever get broke?


Love?


Love does get hurt. Love bleeds a lot. But Love keeps loving despite the blood! Love forgives. Love fights. Love's persist. Love gets knocked down. Love gets beat up. But love never quits! Love never gives up. Love always remembers. It always tries. It always forgives. Love comes. Love dies to save. Love does whatever it takes. Love is real. There is real love. Love has a face. I know Him. His name is Jesus. I know... I've felt... I've got that Love!
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Love is kind.

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Love is.... kind. 


Not only when it's in a good mood. Or when things go right. Or when people are nice. Not only when it's convenient; but sometimes, even when it isn't.


Love is kind. 


As Strong's defines it: Loves shows itself mild. It's kind. It uses kindness. 


It's pleasant (as opposed to hard or bitter). It's better. It's beneficial. It's useful. It's easy. It's good. It's gracious.


It isn't mean. It isn't bitter. It isn't vengeful.


Love (no matter what's done to love), Love (no matter what) is always still kind.
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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

On second thought, maybe I'm glad He didn't.


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That's me! And when I'm at home, that's mostly the look that I wear. Leaned over, glasses on, bangs too long, studying something profoundly said by God in His Book on my computer while still wearing my jammies. Matter-of-fact, that's my very look at this moment.


I found myself reading today one of my favorite passages. I read again words that I've often read but love and am deeply touched each time that I read them. They're found in Matthew's 3rd chapter. They tell of a man called: John the Baptist. 


When opening your book to those third and fourth verses in the chapter just mentioned, you'll see what my eyes just saw for the umpteenth time just now: "This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: "A voice of one calling in the desert, 'Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for Him.'" John's clothes were made of camel's hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey."


John the Baptist, a forerunner that told of His Jesus! John. His name is Ioannes in Greek and means, "Jehovah is a gracious giver." Indeed, I too, can testify and tell of that grace that He gives and He's given!  


I wonder, though, as I read those verses again.... If those verses had told of me, what would my Savior have said? If it told of me, how would they read?



I suppose that this is why I am wondering. I love the phrase that says of John that he is "a voice of one"!!! One! Just one! A voice of one! "A voice of one calling in the desert." And then, after telling what he called out, it so sweetly stops a moment to tell of what he wears and what he eats to give us a glimpse and visual of his description! 


How wild that the Word (as limited as it is in its wording) would take the time to tell us of such minor details!


Again, I can't help but wonder again.... what would it tell if it had told about me? Mostly, I, too, would like to be another "one" with "a voice" ("a voice of one") that "calls out" and tells of Jesus! And people are still very desperate and despairing in their deserts! I pray that God sees me as such a "one"... and that I'll go and call out to them there!!!


Maybe, just maybe, perhaps if told about me, mine would say something like this: "A voice of one calling in the prisons, 'Jesus came to bind up the brokenhearted! He came to proclaim freedom for the captives! He came to set the prisoners free! Jesus came for both you and for me.' Sharon's clothes were always a little bit odd and a little bit different, and her feet were always shod in the highest of heels or some boots. The inmates called her Barbie. Her most favorite faved food ever... was the eating of the manna of God's Word!... because it's the only real food that ever truly, truly, truly filled her!" 


But then again!


He could have written of me as He did of the woman "caught in the very act" of adultery or some other horrendous sin. Woe! He, at times, could have told of me being one of the ones holding the stones ready to cast and condemn another. I could have either been the one that needed the stoning... or at other times, been one of the ones needing the reminder to put my stones down. I've been the blind man needing sight to see! And sadly, too, I've been the Pharisee! I've been the one that promised "never to" leave Him even if everyone else did, and then in the very next few minutes denied Him beside a fire when His enemies questioned me. I've been the one that's murdered like King David (even if only with my words); or like Jacob, I've frauded my identity pretending, as he did, to be somebody else. I've been the one He's called forth from the grave and raised from the dead. And I've been, too, the one that hammered the nails in His now nail-scarred hands.


Woe....What if He had told my tale and painted it a tad bit more graphic than I'd like for Him to tell? Maybe I'd rather He didn't mention me specifically... because it seems He's told of me in so many others that He's already told about. I see myself pictured in more faces than I've ever meant to see me.....
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Please pray for my friend!

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The man that was driving this truck that is pictured is a friend of mine. Joe used to work for my daddy. We've known him for years. After hounding the stew out of him week after week after week for months and months, I finally twisted his arm enough to get him to come to church with me. Soon after, he asked my husband to baptize him. That was several years ago. By the grace of God, today Joe is no longer battling his spiritual life, but now, in this very moment, he's battling his physical one. Please pray that God will help and heal this man. So many of his loved ones are hurting, and they're not ready to let him go yet. Knowing the recent pain in the death of my father, I hate for them to have to suffer such.


The Clanton Advertiser writes: A truck driver was critically injured Wednesday in an accident at the intersection of Interstate 65 and U.S. 31 in Clanton. Fire Chief David Driver described the man’s injuries as potentially life-threatening. The tractor-trailer was the only vehicle involved in the accident, which happened around 2:15 p.m. on the Exit 205 off-ramp. The truck, which was carrying wood chips, turned over and landed on its cab. 



The side of the truck said it belonged to Wadsworth Trucking and Farm out of Wetumpka (my cousin's). The accident remains under investigation. The driver was transported to Chilton Medical Center by ambulance and later airlifted to another area hospital. The southbound off ramp was closed for a short time after the accident.

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"To Do" List

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I feel good.... na-na-na-na-na-na-na. The way that I should now.....
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You know you're gonna have to pay for that!

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I was talking to my sister today. Mostly we were talking about a war that's going on all around us. A war that is doing its best to invite us into it. I keep reminding everyone in the war to: "Please, keep your nose clean. Don't say anything you shouldn't. Don't do anything you know not to. Let the other person dig their own grave. Turn the other cheek. Don't return evil for evil, or insult with insult, but bless 'em... because we're "called" to! Love your enemies! PRAY FOR them! Do all that God has told us to, so that you can stay under His protection!" I keep reminding everybody of that, because I know that if we jump in the fight, as well, that God will remove His hand from us... and instead of fighting the battle "for" us... He'll leave us to fight our battle alone. And oh no, tis NOT where I want to be!


In talking to my sister she said, "If we all could always realize that we'll have to pay for everything we do......" In other words, there's a price tag with that (whatever that is!)! There WILL BE consequences! Is the price worth the retaliation that you're planning? 


The good. The bad. The ugly. And the all in-between. They all carry a price tag! Everything costs! Everything has a price!


Doing good costs. It's cost is not getting to act and do what your mind and furiousness first wants to do.


But doing the wrong... sure costs a lot more! And it's cost isn't gonna feel good in the long run! You'll hate that you did it, because the consequences and the discipline is painful!


That garment you're about to put on..... check the price.... and see just how much it'll cost you to walk around in it! If you're gonna have to kill to wear it.... maybe you ought not put it on. It'll cost you more than their life... it'll end up also costing you yours, as well!


I only want to be found wearing the garments that are the most expensive! Those clothes with the ultimate cost! Those bought and paid for by the blood of The Lamb! May I throw every other garment off and out of my closet.... cause none of those are worth the price it'll cost me to wear them.


You know all those "put off"s and "put on"s?? God tells us and warns of those for a reason! We're mighty wise to heed to His warning.


You'll "pay" for that... whatever that is. Think before purchasing. Be careful what you're buying!
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But would you be scared if you knew the end?

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Life may be mean! You may find trouble in it. Trouble may come to you. Or. You may have, at times, been the one taking trouble to someone else. It's the world we live in. Life's a fight. There really is a Kingdom. And with that Kingdom, there really is a war! There really is a battle. And it's not just mean we're fighting, we're up against true evil! I'm sure that the main reason that our eyes are not unveiled to see the spiritual war that rages around us, is because our hearts couldn't take it. We would be gripped with fear. It'd probably scare us to death... and I do mean "dead".. as in literally.


But!


What if we knew the ending? What if we hadn't just heard of it, but that what we heard really did make it deep down inside of us? What if we knew?! What if we really believed it?!


I was reading Max Lucado's new book: God's Story, Your Story. In it Max tells of when he was young boy in the children's choir. The local community theater was putting on the play The Wizard of Oz, and they needed some Munchkins. So, they invited the children in that choir to play that part. Lucado says, "We learned the songs and practiced the dances, but our choir director overlooked one detail. He never told us the story. He assumed we'd seen the movie. I hadn't. As far as I knew, Toto was a chocolate candy, and the Yellow Brick Road was an avenue in Disneyland. I knew nothing of Kansas tornadoes or hot-air balloons. I didn't know how the story started or ended, but I found myself in the middle of it. Dress rehearsal nearly did me in. A house crashed out of the sky. A queen floated in a bubble. A long-nosed witch waved her stick, "I'll get you, my pretty..." I was wide-eyed and wondering what I'd gotten myself into. Life in Munchkinland can be a scary thing. Unless you've read the screenplay. Unless you know the final act. When you enter the stage equipped with a script, everything changes. You know in the end the witch melts. So let her cackle all she wants; her days are numbered. In the end, good wins. Everything changes when you know the rest of your story."


"In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I've overcome the world," said Jesus! 


So let the witch cackle all she wants. In the end the witch melts!!!!!!!


In the end, good wins!


It really does end right. It really does end good! Our King really is coming! And satan and all of his evil will be cast eternally far, far, far, far, very far away from us! Don't let dress rehearsal do you in. Know the Script! Then, when you do, everything changes!
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