Monday, April 30, 2007

Is What You Have Pure?

I bought milk at the grocery store. Now I guess I'm not too particular about the brand of milk that I buy. If the store brand is on sale for two for $5.00, that's the one I'll buy especially if the 'brand' name is almost $4.00 for one gallon.

So as I was putting my milk in the car to go home, I saw some water bottles in the back of my car. Generic, of course, as they are much less expensive. This reminded me of shopping for water many years ago and the person we were with was astonished that we didn't buy a particular brand of water. They wanted to know where the water we were getting was bottled. They were appalled that it was bottled in Tampa and not in some artisan well place in Arkansas or something like that.

That was the first time that I realized that "water is water" wasn't a true fact. Now I know tap water varies from place to place but this is bottled water.

The best water I ever tasted was back home. Home being the place where I spent my teenage years. Back home we had the best water. Why? Well. Yes Well. You see we had well water but not just any well water. We had well water that apparently is plugged into a natural underground stream that provides pure, great tasting water. No city chemicals added. You didn't need bottled water when you had the real thing from this stream. No purification was needed as it was pure in its natural state.

Our Loving Lord provides all things pure and good. Not just water but also pure homes, pure finances, pure ethics...purity. We can shop around for the cheapest religion that lets us mold into society or we can stand on the Word and mold into His image. We can shop around for the cheapest religion that doesn't require us to get involved in any ministry or we can be His hands and His feet to the world. We can buy the books on sale in the discounted 'world religions' section of the local bookstore or we can pick up the one Book that is always the Brand Name. We can find our own religion filled with new ageism, cultism, free love, and more, or we can go to the Source of all religion, the pure spring of life, and find the Way, the Truth and the Life.

What will you drink today? Will it be the chemically altered religions of the world or will it be the pure Word of our Loving Lord? Will what you drink be pure? Will you come home to the pure water?

Jeremiah 2:13 (New International Version) "My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

What Tailgater Is Putting You At Risk?

Driving to work one day this week, as I turned onto a two lane road, I checked my rear view mirror and saw this person tailgating me. I can't stand tailgaters. They make me want to slow down just because I'm ahead of them and I can.

Anyway, when we got to the stop sign, I was in the left turn lane and the tailgater was in the right turn lane. Good! Now he won't be on my tail.

So I turn and look in my rear view again. Another tailgater! Arggghhhh! And now we are on a six lane road and I'm in the far right lane. If he's in such a hurry, why doesn't he go around me? So I keep driving. Finally Mr. Tailgater the second prepares to turn and since I am going straight, I am relieved.

So I go continue through the intersection and check my rear view mirror. WHAT?!?!? Another tailgater? Where ARE these people coming from? Do I attract people that "drive hazardously close to the rear of another moving vehicle"? (Dictionary.com definition) All I want to do is safely drive the speed limit and obey the traffic laws. These people seem to want me to drive faster or break some other traffic law.

Isn't that how temptation is? We are going along the path of life, minding our own business, following the rules, when we look up and see temptation in our rear view mirror. Temptation saying "go faster", "try this", "swerve off the straight path and do that"... And what do we do? Do we do what is right ignoring the temptation? Do we have the strength to avoid temptation's calling? Or do we yield and let temptation have it's way? Do we speed when we know we shouldn't? Do we give in to our desires instead of following the commands of our Loving Lord?

What will you do when you see temptation in your lane? How will you avoid it? What weapons of the faith will you use to defeat temptation?

1 Corinthians 10:13 (The Message) No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he'll never let you be pushed past your limit; he'll always be there to help you come through it.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Have You Read All Of Words?

Mail.
We get mail.
Ads, bills, magazines, and occasionally we still get a card or letter.

I'm usually the one that gets the mail from the mailbox and opens it. Or I should say opens what looks interesting or important.

I open the bills and flip through the magazines. The ads and other junk mail I just set aside for another time. Once I return to the 'other junk', sometimes weeks or months later, I have actually found real live checks and other valuable items in what I thought was unimportant.

Email.
I get tons of email.
I have multiple email accounts and get many valid emails in each of them every day.
Like many of you, I also get junk email but that gets deleted as soon as possible.

Contrary to the 'snail mail' items, I can't stand to have unread or undeleted emails. I check each email account morning, noon, and night. Yesterday I was in a hurry and checked one of my accounts and saw that I had three unread messages. I didn't have time to read each one so I had to let them go. It about killed me to know had emails that I had not yet read.

This got me thinking. Mail and email are words. Information. And so is the Bible. Our Loving Lord sent us words in His Word and gave us the information we need to live our lives. So...

So how do I treat His word?

Do I treat it like I treat the snail mail? Only picking out the parts that interest me or the parts that I think are important? Do I set the rest aside and think "I'll go throught that part some other time"?

Do I treat it like I treat my emails? Checking it several times a day? Making sure that I open every book? Making sure I read each and every word?

How will you read His Word? Will you decide to start today out by checking the Word? Will you daily check it out until you know you have read each and every word?


Revelation 1:3 (The Message) How blessed the reader!
How blessed the hearers and keepers of these oracle words,
all the words written in this book!

Time is just about up.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Are You Going To The Reunion?

An online 'friend' of mine that I met through her blog recently and suddenly lost her uncle. She has had several posts (http://learningforlifetime.blogspot.com/) about how her family is dealing with the loss. Much like my family, it sounds like her family makes funerals into family reunions.

There are many of my relatives that I have not seen since the last funeral or the one before that. Thankfully the funerals are few and far between ... except for the family reunion part, I don't particularly care for going to funerals. Now I love all of these family members but I just don't get to see them very often. I live here in Texas and they live in Alabama or Tennessee or North Carolina or Virginia or somewhere else like that.

So the bad news might be that someone passed away and the good news is that family gets together.

The passing away of a relative might not be bad news... if ... if they knew our Loving Lord as their personal Lord and Savior then it's good news for them because they are now in His presence...and it's good news for us... if ... if we know the Lord too. Why? Because we know we will see the relative again when we all get to Heaven. Right? Won't that be one happy reunion? No sorrow of a funeral, just joy of the reunion?

Are YOU going to the reunion? Will you meet me in Heaven someday? Who will you bring with you through your witness? If you haven't signed up for the reunion, will you call on the name of the Lord today and be saved? If you know you are going to be there, will you share the Good News with someone today and invite them to join you there?

Hebrews 7:25 (Amplified Bible) Therefore He is able also to save to the uttermost (completely, perfectly, finally, and for all time and eternity) those who come to God through Him, since He is always living to make petition to God and intercede with Him and intervene for them.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Are You Doing What You Know To Do?

Remember recently when I told you about the storms that blew through our area? Well, they threatened again last night.

Last time, while watching the weather on TV as I was home alone, I was told the tornado sirens were going off in my county. I couldn't hear them inside my home. So I went to the door and opened it and sure enough, if I listened hard enough through the wind and hail, I could hear them.

This time dear hubby was home and he took on the responsibility of watching the weather warnings on TV. He said that it looked like the storm was moving our way .... again! So I did what they always tell you to do ... I went to take a bath! Well I guess they actually tell you to get IN the bathtub for protection not to TAKE a bath.

Anyway as I was getting in the tub, I heard this wail outside. A siren? A tornado siren? That I could actually hear in my home? So I called dear hubby to check it out. Sure enough this time I could hear the siren. So I went ahead with my bath and asked dear hubby to get the flashlight and weather radio so we would be ready (ready after I finished my bath of course) and to keep watching the news to see where the storm was going. Fortunately for us, we just got some wind and rain. No hail this time. And again, with much thanks to our Loving Lord, no tornado in our area. (And for anyone who is concerned, we also had no lightening in our area so I probably wasn't at risk of electrocution.)

Two storms. Both with warnings. Both needing me to take the actions I know to take. And what did I do?

The first time I gathered my supplies and continued to stay in harms way as I watched the events unfold outside my window. Heavy hail and wind and rain with a tornado warning (the tornado touched down just about 8 miles away) and instead of moving to the interior of the house, I stood and watched from my glass door.

The second time I let dear hubby gather the supplies and I took a bath instead of getting in the tub for safety. Heavy wind and rain and a tornado warning and I leave it to someone else to get our preparations together and I take a bath.

Do I know the warning signs? Yes! Do I know what I am supposed to do when sirens wail? Yes! Did I instead do what I wanted to do like watch hail like I've never seen before or take a bath because that's what I had planned to do? Um, Uh, yeah....

So what are YOU going to do? Are you going to continue doing what you want? Continue doing what pleases you? Continuing letting others get prepared on your behalf? Or are you going to do what you KNOW to do? Are you going to prepare for the storms ahead of time by getting in His Word and staying in constant communication with Him?

2 Timothy 2:20-22 (New International Version)
20 In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble.
21 If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.
22 Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

How Far Will You Go For What You Are Searching For?

Recently on another blog that I read, Learning for a Lifetime, I learned about the book "Same Kind of Different As Me" and it sounded very, very intriguing! Oh the Little Lessons I could write so far about this but let me start here...

This book sounded so interesting and from what I had read about the book, it seemed that the story took place not far from where I live...that made it even more appealing ... to know it was a 'local' story.

So I decided I had to read this book.

After lunch on Saturday, I went to LifeWay to buy it. They didn't have it.

Went to Family Christian, told me without even looking it up that the publisher was having a hard time keeping up with demand.

Hmmm...tried the library. Our library didn't have it so the librarian looked it up at other libraries...all copies were either checked out or on reserve. Phooey!

Called Half-Price Books to see if someone had sold it there...no luck!

I couldn't get the book and now I wanted it more than ever before!

So after church on Sunday we drove up to the outlet mall to see if Books-A-Million had it. Nope! They could order it but they didn't have it in stock.

We then decided to go to the Bible Book outlet in the mall to see if they had it. As we approached the door, we saw that there were "Store Closing" sale signs. Oh Bother! If they were going out of business, I was pretty sure they wouldn't have this apparently 'hard to find' book. HOWEVER if they were going out of business, I was pretty sure I could get a good deal on SOMETHING that I wanted to read. Their books were all 70% off! So in we went. I found two books on the first shelf that I had wanted to read so I picked them up and kept shopping.

Wandered around for a while. Checked out several types of books. Then I looked down on this one shelf and there it was! There it was! Correction: there THEY were. Not just one copy of this hard to find book but SEVEN copies of "Same Kind of Different As Me!" YES!!!

So of course I bought two copies so I can read it twice.


Nooooo... I bought two copies to give one as a gift.

I was ready to give up looking for this book when we approached the last store and saw it was going out of business. Ready to wait until I found it online or ran into it somewhere. I was sure glad that I went just a little bit further. Glad that I went in where I was sure there was defeat and found victory.


What are you searching for today? Where have you looked for it? Have you looked for people to lead you instead of following our Loving Lord? Have you read books instead of reading His Word? Have you avoided going somewhere where you could face defeat and thereby missed the victory He had waiting for you? How far will you go today in your search for a deeper knowledge of our Loving Lord?

Jeremiah 29:13 (The Message) "When you come looking for me, you'll
find me. Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than
anything else, I'll make sure you won't be disappointed." God's Decree.


Monday, April 23, 2007

How Accurate Are You?

Over the weekend, I received a voicemail message on my cell phone from someone I did not know. The caller had obviously (obvious to me but not to her) misdialed and left the message on the wrong phone. Maybe her finger slipped just to the left or to the right and she hit a wrong number.

When I was taking a telephone survey over the weekend, I had to press 5 for excellent, 4 for pretty good, etc. I had to keep feeling for that little bump that is on the 5 key to be sure that my finger was starting on the right key as it navigated to the 4,3,2, or 1. As long as I started at the right point, I could get to the right key without having to look every time. But if I started from the left or right of the 5 key, then the wrong response would be recorded.

As I type this and other documents, I must keep my left pointer finger on the F key and my right pointer finger on the J key or else instead of getting something comprehensible you might hry dp,yjomh ;olr yjod (uh excuse me my hand slipped...I meant to type 'get something like this'). See what having your hands just one letter to the right can do when you are typing? However, I know that if I start in the right place with my hands on the 'home row' and on the right key, I should be able to type coherently with very few mistakes. And I know that I'm on the home row because of the raised bump on the home keys of J and F.

When you dial up our Loving Lord, if you dial through the blood of the Lamb you won't reach a wrong number. However if you slip and try to dial Him through any other name like Buddha or Mohammad or Moon, you will be leaving a message on the wrong machine. If you slip off the home keys towards other focuses like self-actualization or theistic views that are not Biblically sound, you will find yourself not sending the correct message.

If you start out your day in the right position with prayer and scripture reading, you will be less likely to make typos in your day. Less likely to send the wrong message.

If you are part of a solid, Biblically based church that preaches from the scriptures instead of preaching from the written works of modern day authors, your foundation will be secure and with your hands on the home row, you will be able to share the truth with accuracy.

Are your hands securely on the home keys today or have you slipped off course? Are you dailing up our Loving Lord with your fingers on the right keys or you trying to do things your own way? If you have strayed away from Him, will you return home to Him today?

Matthew 7:13-14 (The Message and New International Version)

13-14"Don't look for shortcuts to God. The market is flooded with surefire, easygoing formulas for a successful life that can be practiced in your spare time. Don't fall for that stuff, even though crowds of people do. The way to life—to God!—is vigorous and requires total attention. (The Message)

13"Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. (New International Version)

Friday, April 20, 2007

What Food Do You Beg For?

Every time food is being prepared in our kitchen,our cats Tiger and Tigger come in to see what is going on. Tiger, the bigger cat, will even try to stand on his back paws to see if he can actually see up on the counter and find out what exactly is being made. Tigger just runs around under your feet making sure you know she is there and she doesn't want to be left out should you decide to 'accidentally' drop something on the floor for their consumption.

Then when you go sit down to eat and there they are again!

If you are eating on the couch in the family room, as we often do, then they jump up on the couch and sit there and stare at you! Stare until you share with them. They watch so you so close that they don't miss one single move you make. Sometimes if it smells good enough to them, especially Tigger, they will walk right up to your plate and see if they can just get the food themselves. Fortunately for them, neither one has actually taken food off of our plates or they may have found out whether or not cats can fly when tossed off of furniture.

These cats know where the 'good' food is and they desire it and go after it!

I wonder where the world would be if every follower of our Loving Lord acted this way when the pure milk and the meat of the Word was being prepared or consumed. What if we were so eager to eat what the Word had to offer that we wanted to watch as our pastors prepared their sermons? What if we sat so attentive in church that we didn't miss one single word the pastor said? What if we gobbled up ever Good Word that was served up?

Will you approach feeding time with a strong desire? As you end your week and prepare to go to His house this weekend, will you go with a strong hunger for the pure milk and the meat of the word? And each and every day will you sit at His side and beg for the best He has to offer you?

1 Peter 2:1-3 (New International Version)
1 Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit,
hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind.
2 Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so
that by it you may grow up in your salvation,
3 now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.

Want to win a Photo Frame?

OK. For the second day in a row I'm doing something a bit unusual...not only is this a second post in one day but it is also not my usual post. I promise this is not going to become a habit. :-)

I've started reading a lot of other blogs and today I found out about a cool contest. Checkout 5 Minutes for Mom for a chance to win Phillips Photo Frame.

Of course, if you win, ya gotta give it to me 'cause I told you about it! Ha! Not!

See ya next blog!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Rare 2nd Post In One Day

I usually don't post more than once in a day.

However today will be different.

Thanks to the Morning Crew over at KCBI (90.9 in the DFW area or www.kcbi.org online) I just found out that today is "National High Five Day". To learn more about National High Five Day go to http://www.nationalhighfiveday.com/

This is coinciding with A Million Acts of Kindness in the DFW area (http://www.onedfw.com/) which is set to start on May 7th but I think many people are already participating.

Anyway...

Since today is National High Five Day I want to send out some High Fives of my own...
  1. To the KCBI Morning crew for telling me about this and for being there each morning to help prepare me to face the day.
  2. To Teena who first encouraged me to create Little Lessons
  3. To my parents who have always encouraged me to do and be my best for His glory
  4. To my dear hubby who always keeps it real for me
  5. To my son for reminding me that I'm not perfect but I can do all things through Him who strengthens me
  6. To my brother who is another one of my encouragers
  7. To Rene', Lynn, Rose, Connie, and Laura who read this blog regularly and let me know that this is what God intended for me to do.
  8. To the all the bloggers out there that use their blogs to spread the Good News.

Who will you High Five today?

Luke 6:38 (New International Version) Give, and it will be given to you.
A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured
into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."

Are These Free?

It's not often you have a memorable experience at your local wally-world.

However I recently did.

When I was growing up and shopping with my Mom, whenever we would get to the register and something didn't have a price tag on it (before the days of scanning UPC codes) she'd look at the cashier, smile, and say "It must be free today".

We'd all chuckle and the cashier would find out the price and Mom would pay and we'd be on our way.

Of course, I shop almost exactly like my mom today.

So when I was in line at wally-world and the cashier was trying to ring up an item that wouldn't scan, I said "Hmmm they must be free today". I was surprised almost speechless by her reply. She said...

"Girl you know ain't nothin' free except salvation and even that was bought with a price!"

Wow! What a witness! She didn't know me at all and sure didn't know whether or not I was a believer. Imagine if that would have been the first time that I had heard the good news! She just slid that witness right in there smooth as butter.

I quickly composed my surprise and answered "And what a price He paid!" I can only hope our conversation was overheard by the people behind me in line.

How many of us are willing to share our faith that openly in the course of doing our everyday jobs? How about you? Will you commit to find the opportunities to slip in the Good News of our Loving Lord as you go to work this week? Will you let those around you know that you are not ashamed of the His Word?

Romans 1:16 (The Message) It's news I'm most proud to proclaim, this extraordinary Message of God's powerful plan to rescue everyone who trusts him, starting with Jews and then right on to everyone else!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Do You Have The Right Tools?

There was an article recently on MSN entitled "The 15 tools every homeowner should own" and it caught my eye. I wondered what tools would make their list. Hmmmm.....

The tools they listed were:
  1. Toolbox
  2. Hammer
  3. Pry bar
  4. Vise-grips
  5. Needle-nose pliers
  6. Screwdrivers (mixed set)
  7. Wire cutter/stripper
  8. Tape measure (16-foot)
  9. Electrical tester
  10. Reversible drill with bit set
  11. 1/2-inch steel chisel
  12. Utility knife
  13. Handsaw
  14. 9-inch torpedo level
  15. Safety glasses
The article found at
http://realestate.msn.com/improve/article_bankrate.aspx?cp-documentid=1251153&GT1=9002
gave the approximate price for each item and the reason that you needed it.

This got me thinking.

What tools does every homeowner really need? Let me propose the following list of 20 tools that every home needs...
  1. Wisdom
  2. Mercy
  3. Grace
  4. Understanding
  5. Knowledge
  6. Trust
  7. Faith
  8. Hope
  9. Love
  10. Joy
  11. Peace
  12. Faithfulness
  13. Gentleness
  14. Patience
  15. Goodness
  16. Kindness
  17. Self-control
  18. Respect
  19. Prayer
  20. Christ-Centered focus

If you want to know the cost of each of the above items, it's this: Paid in Full! Our Loving Lord paid the full and ultimate price for you to be able to have a home filled with the all of the above tools. If you want to know why you need each tool and how to use each tool, then go read the Manual. Grab a concordance and your Bible and find out how our Loving Lord wants to demonstrate the use of each tool in your life. If you don't have a concordance, then visit the Topical Index at www.biblegateway.com.

What is tools are missing in your home today? What steps will you take to ensure that you have all the tools in working order? How will you share these tools with the members of your family?

Galatians 5:22-23 (The Message) But what happens when we live God's way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Have You Been Through A Storm? Part 2

So the storm passed through our neighborhood. Wind, hail, and rain. Wind and hail leave behind a lot of debris. After a storm, the cleanup must begin.

By the time I was able to start cleaning up our yard, one neighbor had almost finished clearing the debris from his yard all by himself. Another neighbor was making great progress with hers. These two had come through the storm and where calling on their own strength to get the mess cleaned up.

One neighbor baffled me because I didn't see any activity at their home and they are conscientious...then a truck pulled up and out climbed the husband, son, and another man and all three went to work immediately and cleaned that yard up immaculately.

Another neighbor was out with his wife and they were working together to get through the mess. Then the husband continued his cleanup process into another neighbors yard...even offering advice on how to make it easier for this neighbor to get her yard cleaned up. That adviced helped so much that the helped neighbor went across the street to help another older woman who was trying to get it done by herself.

There are many ways to clean up after a storm. You can try to do it alone. You may HAVE to do it alone. You can call on others to come in and help. You can reach out and work with a neighbor.

The storms of life are the same way. When you go through rough times, there is usually clean-up to be done. If you have a financial storm, you'll need to reorganize your finances. If you go through a health storm, you may need to change your eating/health habits. If you go through a marriage storm, you may have to start over alone. Whatever storm you go through, you'll need to address the debris the storm leaves behind.

Where will you find your help to clean up the debris? Will you continue to rely on yourself? Or will you reach out to those that our Loving Lord has placed in your life to help you make it through? And most of all, will your recognize that our Loving Lord is the ultimate helper that can help you clean up any mess that the storms have left behind?

Deuteronomy 31:8 (New International Version) The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged."

Monday, April 16, 2007

Have You Been Through A Storm?

I grew up in Florida. In Florida we get hurricanes. When I was a small child, they tell me that a hurricane came through and I was sound asleep. The eye of the hurricane was passing through and my parents didn't think I should miss this experience so they woke me up. I have a memory of looking out one slat of the jalousie windows that were on the door on the side of the house...jalousie windows are those windows that have slats that open out with a crank handle...as I recall every other window in our home was boarded up, as you do when you are expecting a hurricane. But, by my memory, this one slat seemed to be our window out to see what was going on in the midst of the storm. Somehow as a small child in the comfort of my loving home, I felt safe and secure enough to want to sleep through a big, bad storm.

Through my years of living I have experienced many other weather related storms. Rain storms, snow storms, sleet, lightning, etc. Each storm had its own intensity. When we lived in Pennsylvania we had hail in some of the storms. Hail that caused some dents and dings in the siding on our house.

So when we moved back to Texas, I was prepared for the storms that can hit in this area. I was aware of the potential for tornadoes and aware that hail storms were possible. I am old enough and experienced enough that I could handle whatever storm came my way.


Or so I thought.

I thought that until this past Friday night.

All day they called for storms in our area. Hail likely, tornadoes possible. I was safe in my home when my husband called from work to say that the weatherman was reporting that the storm was heading my direction fast. Rain, hail, and possibly tornadoes coming toward my home. So I went into safety preparation mode.

I grabbed the flashlight, weather radio, my purse, a soft-drink and some chips and took the radio and my purse to the innermost hallway in our home. (OK. I was hungry thus the inclusion of the drink and chips...and if the worst happened to our home, I'd need what was in my purse.) Still no rain in our area so I stayed on the phone with dear hubby and watched the news reports to see where the storm was. Then...

Then.

Boom! Crash! Pop! What was THAT?!?!? I had never heard anything like that before. So I looked out the back window toward the pool. Splash! No splish just splash! From the size of the splash, it looked like bowling balls were being bombarded into the water. And little white balls were pummeling my back yard turning the yard white like snow. And it was LOUD! Louder and harder hitting than any storm I have experienced in the past. I continued to look out and saw the hailstones failing and the small branches being removed from the trees thanks to the force of the hail. Although I have been through many, many storms in the past, I had never been through anything like this.

This was indeed the worst hail storm I personally had experienced. Several of my neighbors that have lived in our neighborhood for decades say it was the worst this neighborhood has seen. And yet, I know that it could have been much worse. Less than 10 miles from my house, a tornado touched down and damaged a grocery store, destroyed a church building, and ripped up a car wash. Many homes were severely damaged as well.

I took inventory. No structural damage to our home. Everyone made it home safely. The storm was bad but it did not destroy us.

In my life I have experienced many kinds of storms...emotional, psychological, physical, spiritual, relational...As many storms as I have been through, one would think I have experienced the worst there is to experience as storms go. Yet I know the storms can be much worse. I know that others have had the tornadoes actually touch down in their lives. Others have lost a young child. Others have battled with cancer. Others have lost everything they have to the point of homelessness and joblessness combined. As bad as the storms were that I have lived through, I know there are storms that are much worse. And just like when I tried to sleep in the safety of my home as a hurricane blew through south Florida, I know that I can rest in the arms of my Loving Lord even in the midst of the worst of all situations.

What kind of storm are you caught up in today? Do you think your storm is the worst possible storm you could experience? Today will you open your eyes, take inventory, and see what you DO have in the middle of this storm? No matter how bad you think your storm is, will you reach up to our Loving Lord and let Him guide you safely through it? If you are not in the middle of a storm right now, will you take the storm safety steps that you need to be prepared for the next storm? Will you make sure that you are regularly in the Word and constantly in prayerful communication with our Loving Lord?

Psalm 107:23-32 (The Message)
Some of you set sail in big ships;
you put to sea to do business in faraway ports.
Out at sea you saw God in action,
saw his breathtaking ways with the ocean:
With a word he called up the wind—
an ocean storm, towering waves!
You shot high in the sky, then the bottom dropped out;
your hearts were stuck in your throats.
You were spun like a top, you reeled like a drunk,
you didn't know which end was up.
Then you called out to God in your desperate condition;
he got you out in the nick of time.
He quieted the wind down to a whisper,
put a muzzle on all the big waves.
And you were so glad when the storm died down,
and he led you safely back to harbor.
So thank God for his marvelous love,
for his miracle mercy to the children he loves.
Lift high your praises when the people assemble,
shout Hallelujah when the elders meet
!

Friday, April 13, 2007

Have You Forfeited?

I play games on Yahoo! Games. Sometimes the other player just quits playing. Right in the middle of the game, they quit playing. So I have to sit there and wait. And wait. And wait.

Eventually a window will pop up and say something like "The other player has left the game. Would you like to wait?" And then I have the option of clicking on "Wait", "Quit and Cancel", or "Force Forfeit". Any time that I choose "Force Forfeit" I automatically win the game and my rating for the game goes up.

So last night, it was getting late, dear hubby was surprised I was still up and playing dominoes online. I said "I'm going to bed right after this game" and so he sat down to wait on me. The other player slowed down a bit but not enough to cause the window to pop-up. Finally the game ended and I said "I won!" Dear hubby said "Did you forfeit?" I was stunned. I had said that I had won and he wanted to know if I had forfeited. Doesn't the silly boy know that I would have LOST if I had forfeited? So I said "No! I won...The only time that I can win by forfeiting is when I forfeit my life to Christ" .... I even surprised myself with that one. I said "Wow that's so going to be my blog" And so here it is.

If I decide in the middle of a game that I don't want to play any more, I can click "Stand Up" and I will get similar options. They are Quit and Cancel, Quit and Forfeit, and Never Mind. There is always an option to get out of the game.

Are you trying to win in life on your own? Are you trying to decide between "Wait" and "Never Mind" (just hanging around hoping something good will come along), "Quit and Cancel" (ready to give up, wondering if you can go on, not really concerned about the consequences) and "Quit and Forfeit"(ready let our Loving Lord take the game, ready to forfeit to His will so that you can win the ultimate victory, eternal life)? Today will you give up your right to control your life and forfeit to His control?

Matthew 10:39 (New International Version) Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Are You What You Say You Are?

A few years back, I accepted a position as a Technical Writer at a major corporation. For years prior to that time, I had written technical documentation for other major companies. Way back in the dark ages when I was in college, we did not have a the option of majoring in something called "Technical Writing". I guess it was possible that you could have majored in English with a Business minor or something like that. In the early part of my career, technical writing was 'caught' not 'taught'.

In recent years, most universities have added this new major. You can even get a Masters in Technical Writing or, as some schools call it, Technical Communications.

So when I went to work with the title of Technical Writer, one of my co-workers who was also a Tech Writer came up to me and said "Are you a Technical Writer?" To which I replied, "I have written technical documentation for many years." And she said "But are you a TECHNICAL WRITER?" and I again said that yes my past jobs have required me to do a lot of technical writing. And again she asked "But ARE YOU a TECHNICAL WRITER? See we (and she waved her had around to indicate the other two members of our Tech Writer team), we have all been to school and studied Technical Writing and we all have a degree in technical writing. So are YOU a technical writer?"

Stunned, I answered, "Well, no I do not have a degree in technical writing. However I have more real world experience than the average recent college grad would have and I do know what I am doing and I have accepted the responsibilities of technical writing and my title is Technical Writer, so YES! I am a Technical Writer."

So in reminiscing about this recently, I got to thinking...what qualifications do we require of others who call themselves Christians. Do we call someone a Christian just because they grew up in the church? Do we call someone a Christian just because they attended a Christian college or seminary? Do we call someone a Christian just because they have studied the Bible as a book and can quote some scriptures? Do we call someone a Christian just because they live a good, moral life?

We can only call someone a Christian when they have the real world experience of accepting our Loving Lord as their personal Lord and Savior. They may have the education but if they haven’t had the encounter, they don't have the evidence of eternal life.

Are you following our Loving Lord today? Have you accepted His free gift of salvation? Or are you relying on your education without ever having experienced an encounter with His saving grace? If you have never accepted Him as Lord and Savior, will you do so today?

1 Corinthians 1:20-25 (New Living Translation) So where does this leave the philosophers, the scholars, and the world’s brilliant debaters? God has made the wisdom of this world look foolish. Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never know him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish preaching to save those who believe. It is foolish to the Jews, who ask for signs from heaven. And it is foolish to the Greeks, who seek human wisdom. So when we preach that Christ was crucified, the Jews are offended and the Gentiles say it’s all nonsense. But to those called by God to salvation, both Jews and Gentiles, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God. This foolish plan of God is wiser than the wisest of human plans, and God’s weakness is stronger than the greatest of human strength.


Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Are You Still In?

We went to our first Texas Rangers game of the season last night.

A great night for baseball in Texas. Our boys came to play! By the end of the 3rd inning, the score was 10-5 Rangers! At the end of the eighth, it was Texas 12, Tampa Bay 6. In spite of the score sounding like a football score instead of a baseball score, it looked like we had this game wrapped up.

As soon as the eighth inning ended, most of the fans packed up and went home. It was over and the Rangers had won.

Someone forgot to tell the Devil Rays that, in the minds of the fans, the game was over. They came out in the top of the ninth ready to fight to the bitter end. And fight they did. The first batter gets on base on a fielding error. The second, out on a fly ball. The third strikes out swinging. The Devils, um, I mean Devil Rays are down to their last out. Rangers are up by 6 runs. Surely the game is over now for real.

Dear hubby and I decide to walk to the concourse and watch the last out from there. Strike one. Strike two. On the third pitch, the batter hits a double to left field, the base runner scores. 12-7 Rangers and still playing. The next batter hits a homer and two more runs score...12-9 Rangers. These Devils, um, Devil Rays won't give up. Next batter, single to left field. One runner on first, two outs. While the next batter is at the plate, the runner on first advances to second on "defensive indifference". The batter takes the pitch and lines out to right field.

Finally!

Finally the game is over. Rangers win. They had to stay in the game until the end but they won. Final score Rangers 12, Devil Rays 9. It may not sound close but during that last inning you could feel the concern, the doubt, the fear. Fear that we may have done so well, come so close but still lost.

What about your game? Where are you in the 'game of life'? Are you just starting out, not sure where it is going? Or are you midway through, feeling that you are winning...winning and sure you will make it to the end victorious? Or are you near the end, ahead of the competition but tiring out and wondering if the enemy will come up and try to snatch your victory away?

Wherever you are in life, the 'other team', the enemy, wants so bad to steal your victory. He wants you to feel defeated. He will not give up just because you are currently sitting on top of the world. He will not give up just because you are ahead by six runs in the top of the ninth. He is going to try to steal every base hoping for your defensive indifference. Choose today to stay on top of your game.

Your Manager knows how to call the plays. He know how to coach you to the victorious end. That doesn't stop the opposing team from trying with everything he has to bring you down but you have the Coach of the Year, Coach of the Decade, Coach of the Century, Coach of the Millennium, Coach of Eternity on your team.

He is giving you signals from the dugout everyday. Open His Word and you will see them. He is coaching you during practice, open your heart and hear Him.

How will you play today? Will you play by the play book of our Loving Lord? Will you take time in prayer to listen to what He has to say? Will you stay in the game as long as you have breath and not sit out the last few innings just because you've played long enough? Will you defeat the enemy by bringing your "A" game?

1 Corinthians 9:24-25 (The Message) You've all been to the stadium and
seen the athletes race. Everyone runs; one wins. Run to win. All good athletes
train hard. They do it for a gold medal that tarnishes and fades. You're after
one that's gold eternally.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Has Your Warranty Been Extended?

I have a good vehicle made by Honda. Honda's have a very good reputation for low maintenance and high reliability. My car came with a 3 year/36K mile warranty. Last summer, as I was leaving the grocery store in the middle of the Texas summer heat, the air conditioner went out. The car was about 2 years and 4 months old. Definitely still under the manufacturer's warranty.

So the car went back to the dealership's service department. Some main part of the air conditioner had gone kaput. This part needed to be completely replaced. Not repaired, replaced. Because the car was still under the manufacturers warranty, the repair was completely covered. Parts replaced, nice cold air flowing, no pinch on the pocketbook.

The Sunday before last, driving home from lunch after church, a yellow light came on on my dashboard. Consulting the manual, I discovered that this light was the check engine/emissions light. The book said continuing to drive with this light on could do damage that was not covered under the warranty.

More importantly, my book said that I had bought the car...exactly three years ago...three years ago the day BEFORE the light came. The light came on the first day that my car was no longer covered under the manufacturer's warranty.

That was the sad news.

The good news was that we had purchased an extended warranty. So into the shop it went. And the computer identified that the problem was with the throttle (or something like that). Car was fixed, parts replaced, very little pinch on the pocketbook. Without the extended warranty, this repair could have been a financial nightmare.

When we are born we come with a limited time/mileage warranty. It pretty much reads that we will live until we die. It does not guarantee any repairs on any broken parts. Any repairs along the way may indeed be costly. This warranty is in effect until the day we die.

However, an extended warranty has been purchased on our behalf. We reap the benefits of this warranty but Someone else paid for it. It has been bought for us at a price all we have to do is accept the free gift that it is. We can not buy it on our own. When we accept this free extended warranty on our lives, we are guaranteed all repairs starting with the day we die on this earth and these repairs last throughout eternity.

Have you accepted the extended warranty that our Loving Lord offers you? Do you fully realize the reason that we just celebrated Easter? If not, will you accept His offer today? If you have accepted Him, will you share Him with someone else today?

1 Corinthians 6:20 (King James Version) For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.

Monday, April 09, 2007

How Do You Approach?

Warning! Today's entry may be TMI (too much information) and if you lack a sense of humor you could consider the comparison to be slightly sacrilege. I mean no disrespect and apologize in advance to any that may be extremely sensitive. On to the Little Lesson...

Last week, I introduced you to our cats: Tiger and Tigger. They are both, obviously, cats but have very, very different 'person'alities. As you know, they enjoy visiting me in the bathtub. But they also enjoy visiting me when I am, um, on the bathroom throne.

Tigger, always full energy, has a sixth sense that lets her know, no matter where she is in the house, that someone is in the bathroom. Once she is aware of that fact nothing stops her. She comes running full-speed ahead until she, literally, slams into your legs as you are on the bathroom throne.

Tiger shares the sixth sense but not the energy. When Tiger figures out that I'm in the bathroom, he begins a slow leisurely approach filled with cool confidence and sometimes gets to the bathroom just as I am preparing to leave. Sometimes he almost misses the event altogether.

Both have their own way of approaching. Both come with their own emotions. Tigger, high-energy, enthusiastic, on the run. Tiger, more calm, more focused, more relaxed.

I love when either or both find their way to me.

We all are called to approach the throne of our Loving Lord with confidence. You can come with quiet confidence or energetic confidence. He just wants you to come to Him. He wants you to come quickly enough that you don't miss the event.

How do you approach His throne? DO you approach His throne? Will you take the time today to discover your style then confidently approach His throne with praise and adoration?

Hebrews 4:16 (New International Version) Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

What Are You Expecting?

This is Easter weekend. Happy Easter!

Here in this part of Texas, I've been told, there has never been any measurable snowfall officially recorded in the month of April.

So when Easter falls in April, most people expect to be able to wear spring attire to Easter services.

Not this year.

We woke up to very cold temperatures ... and snow today. Still no 'measurable accumulation'... just flurries ... but still it snowed today... in North Texas. And snow is possible throughout the night. At church time on Sunday morning, it will be cloudy and upper 30's. Not spring weather by Texas standards.

Who would have expected us to have snow in North Texas in April? Not most people that I know.

Over 2000 years ago, our Loving Lord died on an old rugged cross. From what people knew at that time, when someone died ... they were dead. Gone. Their life on earth was over. Oh, sure, our Loving Lord had raised Lazarus from the dead but this time our Loving Lord was the one who was dead. Who could raise Him? Most people would not have expected our Loving Lord to come back from the dead. Most people were not expecting Resurrection Sunday.

What are you expecting this Easter season? Are you expecting the obvious or are you expecting the unexpected? Are you open to the blessings that are possible when you leave room for the unexpected? Or are you holding on so hard, to tradition and the way you think things should be, that you leave no room for the unexpected, no room for a resurrected Lord to work His will in your life? Will you choose to expect, and be blessed by, the unexpected?

Isaiah 64:3 (New International Version) For when you did awesome things that we did not expect, you came down, and the mountains trembled before you.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Are You In Pursuit?

Our cats love it when I take a bath. They make frequent visits to me while I lay there soaking. Recently our boy cat, Tiger, was laying half-way between the door and the tub when our girl cat, Tigger, realized that her 'mommy' was in the bath and she wanted to be right there too.

So she comes running into the bathroom, full speed ahead, all full of excitement, eager to see her 'mommy'...

She comes running through the door and gets almost to where Tiger is laying and Tiger turns to her, gives her the evil eye, and hisses! Hisses the message "Just where do you think you are going and what do you think you are doing?"

She stops in her tracks. Takes a few steps back. She assumes a very weak position, almost one of "shame on me".

She was in pursuit of one she loves when someone she knows well stops her in her tracks. Tiger killed Tigger's enthusiasm, her zest. She meekly turned away.


Have you been there? Have you been excited, filled with zest for our Loving Lord and running excited toward the point that He wants you to be? Running, only to be stopped in your tracks by someone sitting by the way? Someone who doesn't share your sense of urgency to do what you need to do? Have you been stopped from your pursuit by someone who thinks that just showing up is enough? What was your next step? What was the rest of your story?

Tigger was stopped by Tiger...but not permanently. After she backed up, she looked up. She looked up and saw that the one who she loves and who loves her was still in her sight! She sat there, stared down Tiger...and chose to continue on her pursuit in spite of the well-meaning people (cats) in her life that would hold her back. She stared at Tiger, then ran right past him. Ran past him and on to the edge of the tub. When she reached the tub, she looked up at me as to say "I'm Here! I'm Here!!!" And of course I smiled at her, petted her head and welcomed her with love.

Our Loving Lord is waiting to welcome you as well.

Today will you stare down whatever 'thing' is holding you back from living for Him? Will you stare it down, stand to your feet, and run back into the arms of our Loving Lord? Will you refuse to be held back by the naysayers in your life? Will you ignore the cats that hiss at you as you run by?

1 Timothy 6:10-12 (The Message) But you, Timothy, man of God: Run for your life from all this. Pursue a righteous life—a life of wonder, faith, love, steadiness, courtesy. Run hard and fast in the faith. Seize the eternal life, the life you were called to, the life you so fervently embraced in the presence of so many witnesses.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

What Are You Hiding?

Don't you just get so frustrated with those people?

Don't they just 'drive' you nuts?

You know the ones...the ones that talk on their cell phones while they drive. Oh I know...we all do it at some time.

I even do it everyday on my way home from work. BUT! BUT!

But I have a hands-free device...a blue tooth...and when I call my Mom on my way home from work, I always dial before I drive. Then, in my mind, it's no different than talking to the people in the car with you. It's just a normal conversation, right? My hands on the wheel and my eyes on the road.

Then while I'm driving, some 'other' person, talking on their cell phone, swerves in my lane...good thing I have both hands on the wheel, right?

Both of my hands are on the wheel since my phone is 'hands-free'...on the wheel until I get a call on my cell phone call waiting. Then one hand goes off the wheel and my eyes go off the road so I can see who's calling on my other line.

Sometimes when I'm driving I need to make a call. I'll have my blue tooth on. I need to make a call but I don't want other people thinking that I'm one of 'those' people who dial and drive. So what do I do?

I dial low.

I keep my phone below the window line on my car. If no one sees me dialing then no one knows I'm on the phone, right?

Do we ever do that with life? Do we get mad at people who don't follow the rules then break those same rules in our own home? Do we openly criticize people who {drink, smoke, cheat, lie, steal, etc} then 'hide' our own {drinking, smoking, cheating, lying, stealing, etc) by doing it in such a manner that we think "since no one can see us, no one will know"?

Do we?

If so, who are we hiding from? Really who do we think we are fooling? Don't we know that our Loving Lord hears everything we say and sees everything we do?

Will you accept the challenge today to live a consistent life? To let your words match your actions and your actions match your words?

Jeremiah 17:9-10 (The Message)
"The heart is hopelessly dark and deceitful,
a puzzle that no one can figure out.
But I, God, search the heart and examine the mind.
I get to the heart of the human.
I get to the root of things.
I treat them as they really are,
not as they pretend to be."