Thursday, August 30, 2007

Better Than The Original?

I just read a story online about a man that had to have the top of his head replaced with a plastic prosthetic because his scalp was not kept well during a surgery. (You can read it yourself at http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20495967/wid/11915773?gt1=10316.)

The story ends with a statement that "The experts consulted by the court concluded the new skull roof was better than the original," ... REALLY???

As a society, are we really of the opinion that we can make parts better than the Original Maker? Are we of the opinion that a plastic prosthetic is better than the flesh and bones that our Loving Lord used to create us in the first place?

Oh, I get it!!! Since most 'scientist' think that we are accidental formations of an evolving species, surely their inventions are better than something that resulted from a big bang in the sky, right?

It is so easy for the world to discount the marvelous work of our Father when He designed mankind. I do, however, recognize that modern medicine is a gift to us. That many people's lives have been enriched because of replacement parts. But I also know that if plastic had been the best way to make us, God would have used it! Amen?

How will you stand for our Loving Lord and His Word's truth today? Will you stand or will you simply agree with the teachings of the world? Will you share with some one today that the 'orginal' version of you is so much better than anything this world can create? Will you remember that you are indeed 'fearfully and wonderfully made'?
Psalm 139:14 (New International Version)
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Are You In Good Times Or Bad?

This week I get to work in my actual office. Well...most of my time will be in the training room with my team but at least I'm working 'locally'...and I don't have to count on the shuttle bus for a ride back to where I will lay my head for the night. Times are good for me.

As of this past Saturday, my young adult son is no longer employed. This week he will be job hunting with a vengeance. We spent most of the weekend applying for jobs and 'networking' where we could. He still has bills to pay. Times are not so good for him.

My dear hubby is fretful about a vote that is underway with the union he must belong to at his work. He is spending a great deal of energy trying to discover the future results of this vote. One day it looks positive and he thinks things are good. The next it looks negative and he thinks things are bad.

Are things good for you today? Or are they bad? Are you trying to discover your future? Take a look at today's verse...Our Loving Lord has indeed made each! Either way, will you take time to thank Him today? (And while you are at it... on a personal note...will you pray for His provision for my son to quickly find a new job? Thanks!)

Ecclesiastes 7:14 (New International Version)
When times are good, be happy;
but when times are bad, consider:
God has made the one as well as the other.
Therefore, a man cannot discover anything about his future.

Or as The Message says it:
On a good day, enjoy yourself;
On a bad day, examine your conscience.
God arranges for both kinds of days
So that we won't take anything for granted.



Sunday, August 26, 2007

Is Your Power Weak Or Strong?

Last week, I was once again at the hotel where the hair dryer was unplugged. So, of course, before I started to dry my hair, I checked the plug to see if it was connected to the power ... It wasn't ... So ... I plugged it in. (Ya rarely have to tell me something twice ;-))

Each morning, I used this hair dryer to dry my hair. It did the job just fine.

Then I came home.

When I came home, I was once again able to use my own hair dryer (which I leave here for dear hubby and son to use when I travel).

That's when I noticed the difference... My hair dryer at home is much more powerful than the one in the hotel.

If we are truly saved, when we are away from the "church", we still have the power of our Loving Lord. He still can and will work in our lives. Yet when we come "home", come back to the church, come back to the "assembling together of the saints", when we study and fellowship and learn and grow together...we are stronger and able to experience more power.

Does your connection to our Loving Lord seem weak today?
Or is it as strong as it has ever been?
Have you wandered far?
Or are you at home in His loving arms?
Are you plugged in and operating at His full power?
If not, will you come "home" today?

Romans 12:11-13 (The Message) Don't burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don't quit in hard times; pray all the harder. Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality.


Monday, August 20, 2007

Are You Taking It All In?

My Mom and Dad have always managed their money very well. They rarely spend money that they don’t need to spend. Because of this they are able to provide special treats for themselves when they want to. One of their favorite special treats is going on a cruise! I couldn’t agree more.

Anyway, one of the ways they ‘save’ money is to drink water when they go out to dinner. They like water. It’s good for your body. And it’s generally free when you dine out. So it’s a win all the way around.

When they were in Texas visiting us recently, one night we went to the Incredible Pizza Company. At the IPC, your drinks are included in the price of admission. So whether you drink Tea, Coke, or water, it all costs the same. My parents enjoyed the change of pace and did not drink water that night. Why? The drinks were included. It didn’t cost more to drink Tea or Coke than it would have to drink water.

Guess what? All the benefits and amenities and blessings listed in the Word of our Loving Lord are included in one price…the price He paid on Calvary. There is not one single promise that that is not part of the whole deal that He provided for us.


Are you using all the Power that has been granted to you? Are you living fully under the grace that has been given to you? Or are you only skimming the surface and leaving some of the free stuff on the table trying to save some of your talents, money or time?

James 1:17 (New International Version) Every good and perfect gift is from
above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change
like shifting shadows.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

More On People In Chains...

Recently I blogged about "What Do You Do With People In Chains?" and a friend asked me to share more of my thoughts on this topic.

I can not say that I have personally been tangibly involved in a prison follow-up ministry. I have been a prayer supporter for several though. I have also been closely involved in situations where family members have had to deal with the arrest of a loved one and the results of such a situation.

At one point in my life, I did want a 'sterile' church home. Oh, it was OK if you were a 'saved' ex-con that came to my church and gave your testimony then moved on to your next speaking engagement. I loved it when we learned about Teen Challenge, Nicky Cruz, and David Wilkerson...but I don't think I wanted any of Nicky's friends in my local church youth group.

Then I grew up, got married, and had a son...and over the years my world has been rocked in ways that I could never have imagined. And I realized that we all have our chains...

If we are going to have a sterile church, the church would probably be empty. Let's see who could not go in because of their chains...

How about those that are addicted to food? Or simply overeat on a regular basis?...gluttony is a set of chains...

How about those that overspend their budget? Isn't debt a strong holding set of chains?

How about those that talk about others? Oh, surely you agree that gossip is a hard set of chains to break free from, right?

What about those that fail to give their first fruits faithfully to our Loving Lord?
...those that envy the clothes that others wear?
...those that lust after the pleasures of this world?
...those that have ever been drunk?
...those that are sloppy, messy, disorganized, unclean?
...those that are slave to anything?

Each of us comes with our own set of chains that we have worn at some time in our lives. With God's help, we have broken free or we can break free.

I once heard a lady say, when asked why so many young Christian boys were housed at a juvenile detention center, that it was the work of the enemy... "Cause Satan done got those other boys where he wants them, he wants these boys too." The enemy wants us to continuously wear chains that affect our witness. But our Loving Lord paid the price to free us from all of our chains!!! And if He accepts us just as we are, who are we to judge those that come to our church having had their past chains removed? Regardless of what their chains were...were they in jail?... were they a drug dealer? ... were they an adulterer? ... were they an embezzler? ...were they a prostitute? .... were they a liar? a cheater? a thief?

If Jesus forgave the thief and invited him directly to Heaven with Him, how can we do less than forgive the person who was once in chains (weren't we all) and welcome them into our church?

2 Kings 25:27-30 (New International Version)
Jehoiachin Released
27 In the thirty-seventh year of the exile of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the year Evil-Merodach became king of Babylon, he released Jehoiachin from prison on the twenty-seventh day of the twelfth month. 28 He spoke kindly to him and gave him a seat of honor higher than those of the other kings who were with him in Babylon. 29 So Jehoiachin put aside his prison clothes and for the rest of his life ate regularly at the king's table. 30 Day by day the king gave Jehoiachin a regular allowance as long as he lived.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Are You Sharing Your Adventure and Trip Stories?

I'm still in Madison and my boss is up here this week as well. We also have two other employees with us. So last night we gather to go out to dinner and my boss just starts driving. No directions. No particular place in mind. We get on the freeway.... and realize after a time that we are going in the wrong direction for the area we think we want to end up. So we turn off of the freeway and head toward what we think will be downtown. We get to the downtown area ...and turn away from town instead of toward town.

My boss keeps saying ... "We're on an adventure. We need to have a trip story to tell."

We eventually get into downtown, park, and start walking. We find a great restaurant in a theater that was built in 1927 and has been reformatted as aCheck Spelling restaurant. It was beautiful!

After dinner we realize that their is a Shriner parade going on around the Capital. My boss says "I need to see me some funny cars!" So we watch the parade for a while. Then she says "Now we have our adventure (downtown) and our trip story (funny cars)"

What a cool perspective on traveling on business.

Are you on an adventure in your spiritual walk? Are you collecting trip stories along the way? Are you sharing your Loving Lord adventures and trip stories with others?

2 Kings 18:5-6 (The Message) Hezekiah put his whole trust in the God of Israel. There was no king quite like him, either before or after. He held fast to God—never loosened his grip—and obeyed to the letter everything God had commanded Moses. And God, for his part, held fast to him through all his adventures.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

What Do You Do With People In Chains?

Today I want to do something a bit different.

I subscribe to some of the Heartlight.org features. One feature is "Today's Verse"

And today's verse is "May the Lord show mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, because he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains. -- 2 Timothy 1:16"

And this got me to thinking...

These people were not ashamed to have this prisoner/former prisoner in there home. They knew where he stood for Christ. They knew his 'conviction' record and they still refreshed him and were not ashamed of him.

And that got me to thinking...

What if we were more like Onesiphorus? What if we refreshed the former prisoners of this world and we were not ashamed of them? Prisoners that either really served time or prisoners of their own sins that turned to Christ and choose to follow him. What if we welcomed them into our churches without judgement? What if we helped them to re-adjust? What if we treated them like friends instead of avoiding them?

What do you think would happen? Perhaps the Lord would show mercy on us...what a thought.

Be blessed.

{{{{HUGS}}}

Monday, August 13, 2007

Will You Act On A Good Idea?

Years ago when I was in college, I needed to stay awake late at night to study and prepare for classes. Everyone else drank coffee to remain alert. I didn't/don't like coffee. So to make coffee drinkable, I asked for a scoop of vanilla ice cream in my coffee when we went to the 24 hour restaurant. Little did I know that such drinks could sell in a coffee shop for four bucks a cup.

As a newlywed, I used to make cheeseburgers by putting shredded cheese in the middle of the hamburger meat. In other words, the cheese was in the middle of the hamburger, not on the hamburger. This week I received my latest copy of Guideposts Magazine. Guess what? It had a recipe in it for 'Inside Out Cheeseburgers'. Little did I know that such a recipe was worthy of being published in a magazine.

Had I acted on my idea for iced vanilla coffee drinks, I might be Starbucks today! Had I submitted my recipe to a magazine, I might have been published years ago!

What idea do you have that you should act on today? Has our Loving Lord planted a desire in your heart to work with kids? Will you act on it or let someone else reap the glory for 'your' idea? Perhaps our Loving Lord has given you a gift to share time with senior citizens...will you get involved today or will you forgo the rewards that He has waiting for you? What seed has been planted that you need to water? When will you start?

Acts 17:20 (New International Version) You are bringing some strange ideas to our ears, and we want to know what they mean."

Sunday, August 12, 2007

What Little Things Do You Need To Do?

I wish I could honestly tell you that I have not had a spare moment to write the Little Lessons on the days that I have missed over these past few weeks. I can't honestly say that. Each night that I did not write, I'm sure I watched at least a few minutes of television. If I had time to do that, I probably had time to write a Little Lesson.

But I didn't think many would notice. Oh, I know that some people read each entry on-line everyday and some people get them in there email (...when I don't forget the step that 'pushes' them out like I forgot on Thursday...sorry subscribers...) but it's not like I'm Beth Moore or Max Lucado with their reach and influence.

So today at Sunday lunch with the family we were discussing my new job and the traveling and I heard these words "We noticed that you blogs have slipped off."

I said "Yep!' ... What else could I say?

What is that you do that other people appreciate and would really miss if you stopped doing it? Are you the person who calls the people in your Sunday School class when they are out? And if you didn't do it, they would not know they were missed? Do you arrange the chairs for your Bible study even though no one has asked you to? If you arrived late, would people wonder what happened, why chairs were not set up? Do you bring the snacks for the youth group with no thanks from any of the teens? Would there be an uproar if you 'got busy' doing other things and didn't bring them?

We never know who we are touching with the little things that we do. Even if most of the people that we touch never say a word to us, we need to remember that God is using us in the little things we do.

How will you say 'yes' to our Loving Lord today? What 'little' thing will you make time to do? How will you share His love this week?

Luke 16:10a (NIV) "Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be
trusted with much..."

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Are You Plugged Into The Power?

Once again I am on the road with my new job. So of course I'm staying in another hotel.

The good news is, so far, no bites in bed.

Yesterday, I got up, took my shower, and wanted to dry my hair. So I took the hairdryer off the wall, pushed the 'on' button expecting hot air to rush out... and ...

Nothing. Nothing happened. I thought "Oh, my! I need the hairdryer! I can't go to work with my hair air-dried.

I pushed all the buttons On. Off. Hi. Low. And nothing happened.

Then I noticed it.

I noticed the plug was not plugged into the source. So I plugged the hairdryer into the power outlet and, yep, you guessed it. Hot air came rushing out.

All I needed was for the drier to be plugged into the source and then I was able to experience it's full power.

Many of us go to church for years and we never feel the power. Never experience the heat of excitement that comes from serving our Loving Lord. Why? Because we have never plugged into the Source. We've never connected with Him. We've never really accepted Him as Lord and Savior.

Have you plugged in? Are you experiencing His power? If not, will you get plugged in today? And if you are plugged in, will you share His power with someone you meet today?

Exodus 9:16 (New International Version) But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.



Monday, August 06, 2007

Are You Hostage Or Free?

Remember I told you about my recent flight "Around 2:30, I think, we boarded the plane. Then around 5:00, yes Five O'clock, we took off. We were supposed to arrive originally at 4:45. We arrived around 7:00."

As we sat on that plane, waiting for the weather to clear, we were allowed to use our cell phones to make calls and let those waiting for us know what was going on. It was fascinating to me to hear all the different perspectives as people spoke with their families.

One (very loud talking) lady made a call and told the person on the other end of the line about how we were delayed and then said "we are being held hostage on this plane." I seriously had to slap my hand over my mouth to keep from laughing out loud. Here we were allowed to make calls, allowed to get up and use the restroom, allowed to use our electronic equipment, being informed whenever the pilot got new information, being served water, and waiting on ATC to release us to take off and this woman considered herself being held hostage.

What were the alternatives? We could go back to the gate and loose our place in line, the crew could possibly 'run out of time', and our flight could be cancelled and we would not get to our destination until the next day or later. Sitting on the flight for a blip on the timeline of eternity was a small inconvenience to get to where we were going.

I think this is how some of us view our time in the pew each week. Some of us sit there and think that the pastor should hurry things up. That when he preaches too long we are being held hostage. Some of us think this while others of us participate and get refreshed by the living water that our Loving Lord serves to us.

Are you a hostage in the pew or an active participant in worship? How does your attitude affect your worship? Will you release your frustrations to the Lord and ask Him to forgive your 'hostage' mentality and ask Him to lead you to the full worship experience that He has for you?

1 Corinthians 7:23 (The Message) All of you, slave and free both, were once held hostage in a sinful society. Then a huge sum was paid out for your ransom. So please don't, out of old habit, slip back into being or doing what everyone else tells you. Friends, stay where you were called to be. God is there. Hold the high ground with him at your side.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Does It Bite Or Bless?

So after my long day Tuesday, I was so ready to get in bed Tuesday night. I slept great! I woke up Wednesday morning to little pink spots on my legs.



OK. I went to bed with bite free legs and woke up with bites. I'm sure you are thinking what I'm thinking. So the question was what to do about it.



Off to the front desk I went,"um, excuse me, I'm actually embarrassed to ask this but...have you ever had anyone complain about bedbugs?"



"Uh no, why?"



"Well look at my legs" (I raise my pants leg on my right leg)



"Oh my! Let me check into it while you are at work. We may have to move you."



So off to work I went and when I got back, sure enough, they had moved me and placed a letter of apology in my room. And in the envelope was a gift card to Johnny's Italian Steakhouse. So of course, off to dinner I went...I had zucchini strips, melt-in-your-mouth petite fillet minion, loaded baked potato and, oh yeah, creme brulee!!! And Mackenzie, my server, was great, wonderful, terrific!



Now at the end of the day I think the bites may be spider bites not bed bugs but still acquired in bed...and still bites.



Things that I did not want (bites on my legs) brought something I didn't know I desired (steak & creme brulee).



This reminds me of a recurrent theme from the Bible. One example, Joseph didn't want to be sold into slavery but it brought him something he didn't know he desired, a way to take care of his family years and years later.



What is biting you today? What might it be preparing you for that you don't yet know that you desire? Will you trust our Loving Lord to use it for good?




Genesis 39:2-6 (The Message) As it turned out, God was with Joseph and things went very well with him. He ended up living in the home of his Egyptian master. His master recognized that God was with him, saw that God was working for good in everything he did. He became very fond of Joseph and made him his personal aide. He put him in charge of all his personal affairs, turning everything over to him. From that moment on, God blessed the home of the Egyptian—all because of Joseph. The blessing of God spread over everything he owned, at home and in the fields, and all Potiphar had to concern himself with was eating three meals a day.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Where Will You Find Yes?

Yesterday I arrived at the airport around noon for a 2:00 flight. I checked my bag and went to find some lunch. I arrived at my gate before the specified time. Then I waited.

Around 2:30, I think, we boarded the plane. Then around 5:00, yes Five O'clock, we took off. We were supposed to arrive originally at 4:45. We arrived around 7:00.

Now I think I have several Little Lessons to share with you from that flight but today I want to share with you something from my dinner which I finally had around 9:00 last night.

I went to Friday's a very short walk from my hotel. As I was sitting there eating my food, I looked around and some of the wall paper caught my eye. It had large print quotes .... or at least parts of quotes... on it. The one that caught my eye said:

"I am not afraid of tomorrow for I have seen yes" And yes it stopped right there. Now I'm sure you are thinking that in the original quote that the last word was longer. However, I love it just the way it was on the wall.

"I have seen yes" I know what a positive attitude can do. I know how great it is when I have seen my Loving Lord say Yes! I have experienced great things when I have said "Yes Lord".

Where will you see yes today? In what situations that you face today will you look to our Loving Lord and ask Him to say "Yes I am here. I know what you are going through. Yes I will help you through"?

Exodus 24:7 (The Message) Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it as the people listened. They said, "Everything God said, we'll do. Yes, we'll obey."