Back To The Throne

Every evening before I go to sleep and every morning before I rise I ask God to show me what He would like me to share. To write. If I hear silence I don’t write. This week I have heard a lot. I’ve waited for Him to help me express it but the words just haven’t come. I can tell you that if the words aren’t His I won’t write it.

This week two topics have been placed heavy on my heart. The first is our time here on earth. The second is our children. I will be honest I am somewhat of a coward. I know exactly what He wants me to write and I haven’t done it. I will say time is short. Oh so very short. There is an urgency to bring all luke warm Believers back to the Throne. To become entrenched in falling in love with Him again. To be Awake. Ready. Actively seeking Him.

The second is praying for our children. Seems simple right? Well it is not. I have prayed for our children their whole lives. I know they are each His.  One of our children has a very strong walk with the Lord.  Another one of our children has the most miraculous testimony. But she doesn’t see that  yet. I know that she will come back to Him. My fear is that our time is limited. As a friend told me earlier this week “You can count on that promise! It is fact, God’s word tells us  if our kids have been trained up in the way that they  should go? They will come back. God is a man of His word. Period. (Proverbs 22:6)”.

I think in previous decades and generations our parents turned a blind eye when we were in college. They trusted our judgement. They knew we had been raised in the church. They knew we would be back when we married and had children. This generation is different. Much different. Traditional biblical values are no longer the thread of our national upbringing. Everything is immediate. Everything is about Me. This generation is not learning how to have a relationship. There are no social skills. I really believe that plays a huge part of the enemies plan to destroy our children. When your child is faced with immediate gratification monetarily, mentally, sexually, and morally why in the world would they want to take the time to read and learn the bible? To develop a relationship with Christ? When every child in this nation is pushed to be a winner? Or handed a trophy for making it to class? Why would they need a Savior? They’re being taught to be their own saviors.

The book of Joel, Timothy, Peter, John, Mathew, Luke, Revelation all tell us that we are living amongst the last generation. People, Christians specifically, do not want to hear this. I will tackle the scripture for this at a later date.

Back to our kids. We must be obedient, diligent, and deliberate in our prayers for our children and grandchildren. Here are some pretty great promises from our Savior.

1) Pray that they will come to know Christ at an early age. (Timothy 3:15)
2) Pray that they will recognize sin and have a hatred for it (Psalms 97:10)
3) Pray that they will be caught when guilty (Psalms 119:71)
4) Pray that they will be protected from evil in their emotional, spiritual and physical areas of their lives (John 17:15)
5) Pray that they will have a responsible attitude in all of their interpersonal relationships (Daniel 6:3)
6) Pray that they will respect those in authority over them (Romans 13:1)
7) Pray that they will desire the right kind of friends and be protected from the wrong friends (Proverbs1:10-11)
8) Pray that they will be kept from the wrong mate and saved for the right one (2 Cor. 6:14-17)
9) Pray that they will learn to submit totally to God & resist satan in all circumstances (James 4:7)
10) Pray that they will be willing to be sold out totally to Jesus Christ (Romans 12:1-2)

The most powerful tool that we have as parents is to pray for our kids. Pray for their hearts. Pray for their decisions. If need be? Pray for them to be broken of the chains of this generation.  It is in our depths of despair that we cry out  and turn back to God.  God hears us! He is not going to leave a single one of His children behind.

Time is short. Pray for the ones you love. Cry out to the heavens. Be prepared to witness miracles.

“He learned obedience through the things he suffered”-Hebrews 5:8

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Live Like You’re Dying

What do you do when someone confronts you with untruths? Do you defend yourself? Are you simply silent? Do you believe them? Do you laugh it off? If you have the privilege to live long enough someone is bound not to like you. And it is likely that, if you live long enough, somebody will attack your character.

 

I’ve known people in the past that have character assassinations on a pretty regular basis. They are so grounded in who the Lord says they are. The attacks don’t phase them.

 

I grew up with a friend who thrived on daily drama. Seriously upset if she wasn’t the topic of conversation. She loved stirring the pot. She thrived on controversy.

 

I have another friend who has spent her whole life trying to make sure that everyone likes her. Her fear of being disliked is akin to my fear of the stomach bug. She subconsciously does everything in her power to assure no attack ever comes. To never ever have confrontation in her life. But good gracious she’s exhausted.

 

David Jeremiah once said:

“How we respond to problems in our life exposes our values, priorities, and especially our spiritual beliefs. Our goal in life shouldn’t be to eliminate problems–that will never happen. Rather, our goal should be to keep them in perspective and respond in a biblical fashion”.

 

I love this quote because it is truthful and it is easily applicable. If we respond from our emotions we most surely will rely on our feelings. If we respond based on God’s word we can rest in undeniable truth.

 

My mother in law gave me the smartest advice I’ve ever received. When we first moved back to my husbands home town, almost three decades ago, she lovingly advised :

“never talk about anyone unless it’s in the confines of your own four walls. Your home is your confessional between you, your husband, your children, and God. What is said inside your four walls is sacred and should remain there. Whatever opinions you or your family have that are unkind need to remain in the sanctuary”.

This is also the same lovely woman who told us “No matter how poor you are buy one piece of art or antique furniture that you love each year of your marriage. When you reach middle age your home will contain only things you love and lots of beautiful memories”. In other words, my mother in law is one wise woman.

 

My husband and I have followed her advice on suggestion #2. Unfortunately, through my late 20’s and probably early 30’s, I didn’t heed her #1 advice. I gossiped. Probably more than I’d care to admit or remember. I most probably hurt some precious people. And ultimately it hurt me. It was a painful lesson. It was a necessary lesson. Immaturity, insecurity in who I was, the need to feel liked, the need to appear more than, and the need to ward off confrontation were what drove my poor decisions. And boy did I pay the price!

 

Just as David Jeremiah stated we must respond to attacks and controversy from a biblical position. What does that mean? Hopefully you are bonded with friends with whom you no longer need to gossip and cause controversy. But in the event that you are accused of any kind of social wrong doing gossip, lying, etc. you must approach it from a biblical standpoint.

 

First and foremost you must be right with Jesus. You must repent of your sins. And I don’t mean throwing Him back up on that cross in the name of the law. I mean just as your children will come to you periodically “Mama, I really wasn’t at Jane’s I’m so sorry for lying please forgive me”. Likewise that does not mean you intentionally sin knowing that you will be forgiven.

 

If you obey Him you can rest in His peace in all of your decisions. Our goal as a sinful people is to let Jesus mold us into who He says we are. That involves sometimes being silent and sometimes it involves discussion. Jesus wants us to approach one another in humility and forgiveness. Matthew 18 is an incredibly powerful chapter on inclusiveness and reconciliation.

 

Tim McGraw’s song Live Like You Are Dying could truly have been an anthem for the church. If we live like we are dying? Well, we speak sweeter. We offer forgiveness where none is due. We literally die to our sinful nature in anticipation of our heavenly home. We acknowledge our past and present sins, conscientiously live in the here and now, and anticipate our heavenly future. We treat each other the way Jesus treats us, Amen?

“If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back. But if you are unsuccessful, take one or two others with you and go back again, so that everything you say may be confirmed by two or three witnesses.”-Matthew 18:15-16

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More Than Enough

What is it in our nature that causes us to want what we think is better? Even when what is in front of us is enough? More than enough? What is it that creeps up from the depths of our soul causing us to wander? Even if it’s not good for us?

Yesterday morning it was cold here. I mean like 26 degrees cold. I got the leashes out for our 8 year old lab and her conniving 8 year old corgi counterpart. They were so excited they about knocked me over. Bella the black lab–the contented four legged child– wagged and waited patiently. The moment my daughter opened the door? Tucker the corgi took off.

We started on our walk with Bella the black lab thinking we’d just catch up to mister cantankerous corgi. We walked. And walked. No sign of Tucker. The wind was chilly and Bella seemed to be satisfied to head home. I just knew Tucker would be sitting at the back door. He wasn’t.

My daughter had to leave to go pick up her students. I had a ton of errands to do before my husband got home. At this point I was mad. I couldn’t just leave the dog without a leash wandering the neighborhood. Oldest daughter left and I waited. Basically my afternoon had been put on hold for a 45 pound short dog with gigantic ears. Not happy at all.

Almost an hour later Tucker shows up at the back door. He was covered in dog poop. Smiling and shaking at the same time. He was proud as punch that he broke out. He also was smart enough to know he was in trouble. Big trouble.

Corgis are brilliantly clever. For the life of me I can’t figure out why, being so smart and all, they insist on rolling in dog poop. In fact, I’ve never met a corgi owner whose dog doesn’t do it. I mean when your legs are six inches long it’s not like you can get away from your own stench.

Did I mention that it was cold? I couldn’t bring the dog inside. I couldn’t get the hot water to turn on in the outside spickit. So I put the little sawed off dog in my husbands outside storage building. I opened the door and put a baby gate up so he could at least see outside.

All Tucker had to do was wait 2 minutes (tops) for his leash. He would have had a nice long walk. He could sniff, smell, and explore to his hearts content. But that wasn’t good enough. Nope. He thought he could have more fun galavanting around by himself. Frolicking and rolling in dog poop. What he failed to realize was that it was cold. Poop means bath. Poop means there is no way in Gods green earth you are coming in my clean house. So in the storage building he went until my husband came home from work and could fix the hot water.

Think about Eve. She had every creature comfort within arms reach. She was in paradise. She was in the presence of God. She had Adam. Life was absolutely perfect. Yet she let Satan convince her she could have more. Even though God had provided exactly what she needed in that moment.

How many times have you wanted something that you knew in your heart of hearts you didn’t need? Regardless of the social or monetary ramifications you ignored that little voice in your head (Holy Spirit)? You did what worked best for you in that moment despite the consequences. We’ve all done it. We’ve all regretted it.

God has a perfect plan for our lives. It is because of the garden that we battle with our sin nature. As we grow and mature in our walk with Christ we become more in tune to His whispers. A true sign of mature faith is the Christian who dies to fleshly temptations and adheres to the calling Christ has on our lives.

Until we turn our back on sin? Discipline ourselves? Trust that God knows what’s best for us? We will make the same mistakes over and over and over again. The consequences of our prideful actions can leave a path of destruction in our lives.

Tucker the corgi endured an outside bath in 45 degree weather in February. I knew, ahead of time, his nature. I knew his tendency to roll in poop. I knew he would have to have a bath. I knew it was cold. I knew he could get sick. I knew he needed to be on leash. I knew he’d have a long walk and still be able to enjoy it and stay warm.

Likewise God sees our big picture. He knows what will best benefit our lives.  I can guarantee not listening to Him will create a mess . Our pridefulness effects not only us but everyone around us. 9 times out of 10 we find ourselves scooping up the poop. Cleaning up the results of our decisions.  Wouldn’t life be far easier, and less of a mess, if we just listened to Him?

“Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted”-Matthew 23:12

 

Oh, Sweet Jesus!

I really enjoy cooking. Lately I’ve been on a kick of recreating all of my mother’s 1960’s, 1970’s, and 80’s recipes to gluten free. Usually turns out quite well. I love seeing Jane Condrey’s perfect penmanship on the recipe cards. Sounds weird but I feel a kinship to both she and Cornelia (my nana) when I see their handwriting . My husband, for whatever reason, always praises me for these little cooking extravaganzas. The whole process teaches me a lot, makes me feel good, and in turn makes him happy.

 
Wednesday two of my appointments were rescheduled so I found myself free for the afternoon. I decided to make some casseroles to freeze. Then I had the brilliant idea to make the Pioneer Woman’s cinnamon rolls to freeze for bible study next week. Have you had them? Oh, sweet Jesus! You must make them. They are a religious experience.

 

Baking is a whole different animal. My mother could bake anything. Me? Not so much. But I was feeling confident so I plunged ahead. I pre measured all of my ingredients. I neatly placed them on the counter in the order that they would be used.

 

I then started the lengthy 24 hour cinnamon roll baking parade. The very first snag came when the recipe called for “proofing” the yeast. “Huh?” No idea. So I just threw the packet of yeast into the heated milk and butter. I then let it sit for 10 minutes like the back of the yeast packet said. I was suppose to hear a foam sound. “What?” Well, it was bubbling a bit. So I dumped it into the mixing bowl with the already prepared flour, salt, sugar, and eggs.

 
The recipe then called for me to mix the dough until well incorporated. Done. Then I was to kneed the dough for 5 minutes until it was dense and smooth. Can do. I attached my dough hook, set the timer for 5 minutes, let the mixer kneed away for 5 minutes. Next I was to put the ball of dough into a greased bowl, cover with a cloth, and let it rise in a warm spot for one hour.
 
Well, I bet you know what happened. Bingo–didn’t rise. Like not even a lick. Ugh. Wasted ingredients. A whole bag of flower, three eggs, a stick of organic butter, and a lot of time. Geeez was not in the mood to start over. First I had to go back and retrace my steps to figure out what it was that I messed up.
 
One of my favorite scriptures is Matthew 7:15:

 “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing,
but inwardly are ravenous wolves”.

They look good but they will ultimately destroy you. Kind of like my dough that didn’t rise. I had all the seemingly right ingredients. All looked perfect. However I used the wrong kind of yeast. Even though the package looked like yeast, smelled like yeast? Ultimately it was the wrong kind of yeast. The end result? I corrupted my recipe. I killed the dough. It didn’t rise.
 
When I figured out the problem I started again. This time with the correct yeast. The perfect ingredient. And as Jesus explained in the parable of the leavened bread just a small amount of yeast grew my dough. It got fluffy, happy, and it expanded.
 
Jesus forewarned us in Luke 13 that if we let anyone come into our churches (or lives) and distort the truth we will be corrupted. One tiny speck of sin will distort the truth. We will not rise. Ultimately we will fall just like my contaminated dough.
 
Following my grandmother and mothers old tried and true recipes work. Just like reading your bible does. Just like walking with Christ does. It is a recipe for life. The more I use those inherited recipes the easier cooking becomes. I feel drawn to them. As ridiculous as it sounds I feel connected to my nana and my mother by seeing their handwriting and reading their directions. Your bible is your inheritance. As you read it you will feel the Lord speak to your heart. You will see all of the directions for your life. You will find that life just makes sense.
 
Maybe it’s my age but I find that we often make the simple more complicated than it really is. Restaurants taking wonderful traditional southern fare and “infusing” it to make it “new and exciting“. The reality is there is just no replacement for good old fashioned southern food.

Likewise you can change the terminology in the church. You can be seeker friendly. You can preach love. You can preach inclusiveness. God’s word does not make room for our interpretation. Oh, you can spin it to make religion more friendly. Sin will creep in. Our churches become corrupted. Our lives a mess.
 
The Good News (see what I did there) is that Jesus Christ died and rose again for all of us. When we mess up? When we mix sin with flesh or the wrong ingredient in a recipe? God’s grace is readily and abundantly waiting for us to try again.

“And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock,
and it will be opened to you.”-Luke 11:9