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Monday, May 30, 2011

A Good Four Letter Word

I ran into an old friend on Saturday. She is a former co-worker. She's the type of person you love running into and wonder why you don't run into her ON PURPOSE more often! Her name is Kathy and her daughter is married to (cue foreboding music... DUN-DUN- DUUUUUN) a pastor! He is the worst kind I'm afraid. He is a church planter (says the wife of a church planter). :)

Kathy said, "Debbie, I told my daughter your crazy donut lady story (check blog post with similar name), and now I have a story for you!" Kathy then tells me that her son in law had a church member that wanted to meet with him. When the lady arrived she told the pastor that she had been wanting to leave the church. There were several things she didn't like, and there were certain things about his sermons that she didn't care for when he spoke.

At this point in the story I am sure you think she went on her way... not so fast. She told Kathy's son in law that she had- had a change of heart and now felt she should stay because she now realized that she had a ministry at this church. She realized that she had (and I quote) "the spiritual gift of correction." Yes, that is right. The Almighty himself had blessed her with the "gift" of correcting others. By the way, I hope you are not slouching as you read this (just flexing my spiritual correction gift)! It is true, I went to seminary, but I don't claim to know everything. I am pretty sure correcting others toward your comfort zone doesn't  qualify as a spiritual gift. In fact, Christ had something to say about that very topic.

Matthew 7

Judging Others
 1 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.    3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

Now, TD Jakes has a good saying. He says, "Your misery is your ministry." He means, the desire you have to see something done well, inspires you to serve. I think if you can't respect your leadership, and enjoy (for the most part) where you serve, your misery is just that... misery... for everyone. You can never find the good four letter word that is HOPE when you are holding onto the bad.

 Let's hear it for hope! It is one of the top three hits of the "love chapter" (1 Corinthians 13). Faith, HOPE, and Love, and while the greatest of these is love, hope isn't a bad consolation. I think that the other good four letter word, love, is how you get to hope. Love puts you in a Jesus state of mind. Love enables you to find the good and that allows you to find the hope.

What about you? Got any non-spiritual gifts weighing you down? The "gift" of complaining, or the "gift" of worry? Psst, they ain't gifts and they for sure ain't spiritual. Filter your life through God's love and you will find the hope that alludes many in both the good times and the hard times. 

Philippians 4:8 (NIV)
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things.

Monday, May 23, 2011

WARNING! The End of the World is May 21s.... Oh, Never Mind

Perhaps you do not live near I-35 in San Marcos Texas. So you were not aware of the impending doom that was awaiting us this past Saturday. You see, someone had bought a bill board add on the highway that said the end of the world was May 21st. In fact it was to be at 6pm. Now, he wasn't sure if it was going to be six o'clock our time, or six in Jerusalem. 30 plus hours have passed, and it is safe to say he was incorrect. God could end the world as we know it at any moment. I am pretty sure He will wait at least five minutes from any time someone has determined. Which leads us to our verse. This is what Christ said about the day the Lord comes.

The Day and Hour Unknown Matthew 24:36-42
    36 “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son,[f] but only the Father. 37 As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; 39 and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. 41 Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.    42 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.

I must say, all that end of the world talk made me roll my eyes. Not because I don't think it will happen, but because someone spent all that time trying to determine and then incite others to believe his "findings". There was a positive side effect from this man's bill board. It made folks in San Marcos talk about the end of the world. College folks at my church did not like the bill board which led them to post verses like the above on their facebook page. It caused discussion about the end of the world as we know it. The check out lady at my grocery store brought it up. Her's was more of a nervous laugh. Everywhere I have gone the past week it seems to be someone's joke, or someone's worry. 

So, for all you folks who do not live near a bill board of prophecy, I have a prediction of my own. THE END OF THE WORLD IS NEAR! Nearer than it was yesterday anyway. How do you feel about that? Are you ready? Have those you love (and don't love) been told about Christ and his amazing love? 

I don't like that - that man created fear, and made one of the biggest events to come a "joke" to some. I do like it made Christians think and proclaim our faith. If rapture happens when I am here on Earth, I hope the person I am next to goes to heaven too. I hope as I am leaving I don't regret not telling someone about Christ's amazing love. In the end, which we don't know when that is, everyone will have made their own choice. We need to tell whoever will listen how much God loves them. I am thankful for the reminder of why I should tell even if it came in the form of a crazy bill board on I-35.

Check out this video. How messed up is this? The women of  The View weigh in. Still, it is really interesting to listen to their ... view. I am sad that to most it was a joke, and to almost all on the show it seems out of their grasp at this time. I think it is interesting that it merited a segment. Truly, if God can save me, and help me understand, ANYONE can come to know him.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Back from the Wilderness and I have a Word...

Wow! Has it really been that long? My last post was on March the 7th. For the past 10 weeks I have done my best to stay away from the computer, and the radio in my car. No radio is torture for a girl who scored a 10 on the extrovert test! Just me alone in the car... WITH MY THOUGHTS... ME, MYSELF, AND I just thinking and praying EVERYWHERE I went! Very little Facebook, just checking my email a few times a week with minimal surfing the web, and no writing! I was on a quest of sorts. I hate to admit this, but my 40 plus year mid life crisis did not come in the form of a little red sports car (although God, feel free to send the car). No, it came in a more powerful way; for me anyway. I was face to face with the biggest question of all. Who am I?

After all this time guess what, or should I say, guess who I am? GOD'S CHILD... always was. Not only am I God's child but he has me just where he wants me. My "fast" has been great. I needed to hear from God. Frankly I was in that pit. Do you know the one I am talking about? It is that Psalm 40:2 pit that says, "He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand." Life has had a lot going on, and God has been so good to answer me. I hope some of what God said to me helps you in your journey.

The largest thing that has changed is my outlook. I teach music at my son's MDO. My boss gave out to each preschool teacher a word that best described them. She gave me the word passionate. She attached the verse Job 8:21 that says, "God will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy." I think she is onto something! I am a party! I get excited about something and as long as I know you love it too, I will climb a mountain in the snow while juggling fire for you. I lost my passion for a while. I have been in a "I've fallen and I can't get up" kind of mood. But these past months God has shown his grace over and over. He reminded me of something. HE TOLD ME to honor others even if you do not feel they are honoring you. Church life has its highs and lows. I felt forgotten. So God led me to 1 Samuel chapter 4.

"...a cave was there, and Saul went in to relieve himself. David and his men were far back in the cave. 4 The men said, “This is the day the LORD spoke of when he said[b] to you, ‘I will give your enemy into your hands for you to deal with as you wish.’” Then David crept up unnoticed and cut off a corner of Saul’s robe.
 5 Afterward, David was conscience-stricken for having cut off a corner of his robe. 6 He said to his men, “The LORD forbid that I should do such a thing to my master, the LORD’s anointed, or lay my hand on him; for he is the anointed of the LORD.” 7 With these words David sharply rebuked his men and did not allow them to attack Saul. And Saul left the cave and went his way.
 8 Then David went out of the cave and called out to Saul, “My lord the king!” When Saul looked behind him, David bowed down and prostrated himself with his face to the ground. 9 He said to Saul, “Why do you listen when men say, ‘David is bent on harming you’? 10 This day you have seen with your own eyes how the LORD delivered you into my hands in the cave. Some urged me to kill you, but I spared you; I said, ‘I will not lay my hand on my lord, because he is the LORD’s anointed.’ 11 See, my father, look at this piece of your robe in my hand! I cut off the corner of your robe but did not kill you. See that there is nothing in my hand to indicate that I am guilty of wrongdoing or rebellion. I have not wronged you, but you are hunting me down to take my life. 12 May the LORD judge between you and me. And may the LORD avenge the wrongs you have done to me, but my hand will not touch you. 13 As the old saying goes, ‘From evildoers come evil deeds,’ so my hand will not touch you.
 14 “Against whom has the king of Israel come out? Who are you pursuing? A dead dog? A flea? 15 May the LORD be our judge and decide between us. May he consider my cause and uphold it; may he vindicate me by delivering me from your hand.”
 16 When David finished saying this, Saul asked, “Is that your voice, David my son?” And he wept aloud. 17 “You are more righteous than I,” he said. “You have treated me well, but I have treated you badly. 18 You have just now told me about the good you did to me; the LORD delivered me into your hands, but you did not kill me. 19 When a man finds his enemy, does he let him get away unharmed? May the LORD reward you well for the way you treated me today. 20 I know that you will surely be king and that the kingdom of Israel will be established in your hands. 21 Now swear to me by the LORD that you will not kill off my descendants or wipe out my name from my father’s family.”"

Honor allows God's goodness to shine through. Honor says, "hurt, you will not reign." I will live a life that honors not because someone does or does not deserve it, but because Christ honored me. Honor frees you because it places the judgment of right and wrong back into the hand of God and allows you to "love your neighbor as yourself."

Maybe you have been hurt by someone you never thought would hurt you, or someone didn't live out what they had promised. Live a life that honors God. This reminder has freed me. It reminded me that I live for the Lord, not man, and the Lord never lets you down. He always walks you beside the still waters.

Your children will thank you. They need a mom they can admire and see smile. You know, that Proverbs 31 woman is always making it tough for the rest of us with her rising early, and her making this or that. Although, I must say that I would love to have a housekeeper or two to buy fine linens for sometime. Read Proverbs 31 today. As you read it see it from the perspective of how she honored those around her. That was her greatest gift to those she loved.

How are you going to honor others today? How are you going to honor even those who have hurt you?