Tag Archive: saved


Baby talk

A co-worker of mine just had her first baby.  When she was pregnant, she read all the pregnancy books, searched all the baby websites, talked with all sorts of moms, and knew every inch of the topic.  It actually became quite aggravating because all that was ever discussed was baby this and baby that…how big he was going to be, what his name was, how the dog would accept him, what sports he was going to do, what diapers were best, what crib she bought, what outfit he’d wear going home, blah blah blah.

Now, I understand the excitement of being pregnant and having babies, I have had four of them myself, but this time it just bugged me that “baby” seemed to be the only topic of conversation around the office.  I, quite frankly, was so looking forward to her having that baby so she could be gone for nine weeks on maternity leave and the baby conversations would end.

God actually answered that prayer by bringing baby a bit sooner than expected, and giving me a much needed reprieve from all the baby talk.

That was very nice of Him.

Although interestingly enough I noticed I was sounding a lot like the whining and moaning Israelites when they didn’t like God’s plans for them…

in the food God was providing…

Numbers 11:4-6   Now the rabble that was among them had a strong craving. And the people of Israel also wept again and said, “Oh that we had meat to eat!  We remember the fish we ate in Egypt… But now our strength is dried up, and there is nothing at all but this manna to look at.”  

Numbers 11:18b  “Therefore the Lord will give you meat, and you shall eat.”

or the leadership already in place…

1 Samuel 8:19-20  But the people refused to listen to Samuel. “No!” they said. “We want a king over us. Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles.”

1 Samuel 8:22  The Lord answered, “Listen to them and give them a king.”

But I took the reprieve and enjoyed the peace and quiet and actually was looking forward to her return without the added baby talk.

I was obviously in a state of severe denial.

Isn’t it interesting that God can get fed up with our whining, selfishness and pride enough to actually give us what we think we want just to prove His point that His plans are best and He wants us to learn something here??!!

God answered their prayer and gave them meat.  But…

Numbers 11:19-20  “You shall not eat just one day, or two days, or five days, or ten days, or twenty days, but a whole month, until it comes out at your nostrils and becomes loathsome to you, because you have rejected the Lord who is among you and have wept before him…”

God answered their prayer and gave them a king.  But…

1 Samuel 8:11-18   “…the king will take your sons and make them serve… to plow… and to make weapons…  He will take your daughters to be perfumers, cooks, and bakers.  He will take the best of your fields…  a tenth of your grain…  Your servants and the best of your cattle he will take for his own use.  He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves.   When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen…”

You’d think I would’ve caught on more quickly that there was something God was trying to teach me.  But all I could see was that God answered my prayer and gave me “deliverance” from the baby talk…

for a time…

My co-worker came back a new person.  Calmer, skinnier (which I actually wasn’t too thrilled with), more settled and happier.  She fell into the work routine easily and all was going well.  Of course there was the initial talk of baby, birth, and sleep (or, lack of) but it was nice to have her back.

The second week of her being back, I noticed the baby talk starting up again.  She talked constantly about her son to anyone and everyone who would listen.  The last straw for me was when she was making an appointment on the phone with a total stranger and she easily swayed the conversation to her baby.  She went on and on about how she has a newborn at home, she’s not getting enough sleep, he’s so cute, life is so wonderful… it irked me to no end.  She could turn every conversation she had to her baby…

…then it hit me.  (yeah, yeah…you knew it was coming)

Isn’t that how we should act??  As followers of Christ, shouldn’t every person who comes into contact with us leave knowing that we love God and follow Him?

When you see a pregnant woman, you know immediately she’s pregnant; protruding baby belly, “What to Expect” book in hand, maternity clothes, glowing face. When you see a new mom, you know immediately she’s a new mom; diaper bag on her arm, a slightly different “What to Expect” book in hand, spit-up stained shirt, hair pulled back and lack-of-sleep-bags under very tired eyes…even her car screams it; “Build Your Baby’s Brain” plays through the speakers, car seat in the back, “baby on board” and sun visor in the window.

When people see us, they should know immediately that we’re a Christ follower; joy on our face, kindness in our actions, love toward others, peace in our countenance.  They should see it in the books we read, the music we listen to, the clothes we wear and yes, even on our cars.

“By this all people will know that you are my disciples…”   John 13:35a 

“For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.”   1 Peter 2:21 

“whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.”   1 John 2:6  

When a pregnant woman or a mom opens her mouth it’s all about her baby, the plans she has for it, and the excitement and hope she has for the future because of it.

When we open our mouths, it should be all about what God has done for us, the peace and joy He gives us, and the hope we have for the future because of Him.  We should be able to sway every conversation into a conversation about God the way my co-worker talks incessantly about her baby.  He should be always in our mind and on our tongue.

“Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God,”   Romans 1:1

“For the love of Christ controls us…”   2 Corinthians 5:14a 

“My mouth will tell of your righteous acts, of your deeds of salvation all the day…”   Psalm 71:15 

“And the Lord said to Paul one night in a vision, “Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent,”   Acts 18:9 

When people look at you, who do they see?  When they hear you talk, what do they hear and who do they hear about??

Matthew 16:24  “Then Jesus told his disciples, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.'”

Galatians 2:20  “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

Are you truly a follower of Christ?

Are you a sheep or goat?

As I was spending time in the Word this morning, I read in Matthew where Jesus was speaking to the disciples about the end of days; (Matthew 25:31-46)

“Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.’”   Matthew 25:32-34
Oh, I praise God that I am one of His sheep. How sweet it will be to stand on my Lord’s right hand. What a joyful thing that will be.
Then it hit me…
I know without a doubt that I will be standing on the right side of my God, but I will also be standing face to face with those who are not.  I will be eye to eye to many of my friends and family, separated not only from me, but from our God – with the other goats.
“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”   Matthew 25:41
Just imagine the pain of that.  The sound of it.  It will be unbearable, and it will be my fault.
“If I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, in order to save his life, that wicked person shall die for his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand.”   Ezekiel 3:18
What in this world is keeping me from witnessing, or continuing to witness to the people that I love?
[IMAGE CREDIT]
What in this fallen world is more important than spending eternity in paradise with our Lord and Savior?
I think we all know the answer to that.
I can not bear to hear Him say to my dear friends and family; “depart from me, I never knew you.”
“And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”   Matthew 25:46
Oh Lord, I pray for forgiveness.  I pray that You give me a burden and drive to reach out to the lost… to those You have put into my life to share Your truth and Your love with…

I Spy a runner

I often say that I am not a runner.  I know how to run, have been known to run, and will run if absolutely necessary, but I prefer only to run when chased.

A friend of mine works as a dental hygienist.  She is in close contact with each patient for about 45 minutes while she cleans their teeth.  She had a patient the other day who, when she sat him down in the chair and asked “What’s new?” responded with, “I got baptized this weekend.”

He’s a runner.

I love that, I envy that.  The boldness some new Christians have.  The excitement, without regret or second guessing, about the decision they made for Christ.  They long to run out and share the gift they received with anyone who will listen and even those who won’t…their faith and belief is pure and child-like.

That is what God wants from us!

“Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”  Matthew 18:3-4

“Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”  Luke 18:16-17

I love the story of the woman at the well, although I don’t totally “get” her…

You see, she’s a runner. (John 4)  Jesus was exhausted, sitting down by the well, and like hundreds of times before, this Samaritan woman comes to draw water, but receives so much more this time around…

Isn’t that just how God works?!  Using the routine, ordinary, nothing-special-times to get our attention!!

Jesus called the woman out… He spoke of her sin, her deepest secrets, and because He knew her so personally…she believed and immediately ran to tell the people of the city about Him!

“So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, ‘Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did…’ Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony…”   John 4:28-29, 39

One summer several years ago at VBS, I had the privilege of speaking to a young girl about Jesus explaining the sacrifice He made for her.  I used the Bible to show her how sin separates us from God forever … but through the price Christ paid for us, we are able to spend eternity with Him should we choose to follow Him and give Him our heart.  She prayed to accept Christ as her Savior and as soon as she finished, without a word she got up, ran into the church and came right out pulling on the arm of her sister, again…running, straight out to me and telling her, “you gotta’ hear this!”

Did I run to tell others after Jesus called me out??

No.

I didn’t run and tell people.  Don’t get me wrong, I was thrilled and excited about my decision, but I was more in awe of what God did for me, than concerned about the loved ones who didn’t know.

I wasn’t a runner.  I just couldn’t wrap my head around how…

He protected me so many times when I acted foolishly.

He loved me while I was, and still am, such a selfish wretch.

He waited patiently when I walked my own path and followed my own desires.

He gave His life for me while I rolled my eyes and shrugged indifferently.

After Jesus’ crucifixion, Mary Magdalene went to His tomb to anoint His broken body with spices.  When she arrived and saw the stone had been rolled away, His body “taken,” she was beside herself.  She couldn’t think straight…  Jesus stood directly in front of her talking to her and she didn’t even recognize Him.  She was so focused on her problems…on herself.

For so long I lived like that.  God spoke to my heart, but I didn’t listen.  He faced me and I didn’t see.

Like Mary, I was blind and turned my own way…until He opened her eyes…

“Jesus said to her, ‘Mary.’ She turned and said to him in Aramaic, ‘Rabboni!’Jesus said to her, ‘Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ Mary Magdalene went (and I’ll bet she ran) and announced to the disciples, ‘I have seen the Lord’”  John 20:16-18

Although she’s a runner, I do “get” Mary Magdalene.

… He went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God… and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out,”   Luke 8:1-2

Ok, I can safely say that I’ve never been controlled by demons, although if you ask my parents, my husband, or my children they might say the jury is still out!!

But, how often am I under their control?  How often do I allow fear and doubt to control me and keep me from running to share my faith?!   Sure, I try in my meager, failing way, to live my life for Christ, but is that enough?

One Halloween a couple years after I was saved, one of my dearest friends from high school who had moved out of state called me.  The first words out of her mouth were, “Are you saved?”

She was a runner.

When the opportunity arises, and it always tends to…especially at the most inopportune time to share Him with others… do I?

Although he wasn’t a runner…yet… I totally “get” Peter.

“While Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant girls of the high priest came by. When she saw Peter warming himself, she looked closely at him. ‘You also were with that Nazarene, Jesus,’ she said.

But he denied it. ‘I don’t know or understand what you’re talking about,’ he said, and went out into the entryway.

When the servant girl saw him there, she said again to those standing around, ‘This fellow is one of them.’

Again he denied it.

After a little while, those standing near said to Peter, ‘Surely you are one of them, for you are a Galilean.’

He began to call down curses on himself, and he swore to them, ‘I don’t know this man you’re talking about.’”   Mark 14:66-71

God calls us…

“And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.”   Mark 1:17

God commands us…

“Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.”   Mark 16:15

God equips us…

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses… to the end of the earth.”   Acts 1:8

God teaches us…

“…just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”   John 13:34b-35

Are you a runner?

Powerful YouTube Video

This powerful video illustration presents a creative and artistic worship experience from spoken word poet, Amena Brown. This reverent video illustration recounts Gods plan of salvation for us all:

The Easter message is one that needs to be heard in every season and in every culture. Amena Brown’s poetry and mixture of scripture, combined with the cutting edge video illustration technology will bring you to a point of worship with Almighty God.
http://Jesus.net
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AMAZING.

I received an email from a dear friend of mine yesterday.  In it, she mentioned that she wanted to send out an Easter story to her Awana youth ministry kids.  However, she revealed, she’s not a writer…but I am, so she asked if I might be able to come up with something that could be read, potentially, by both the kids and their parents.

My first response was, “no” essentially… I do have many stories that center around the cross, which is what I first think of when I think of Easter, but I don’t think I had any that really related to Easter as a holiday.  But, my friend asked for my help, so I would see what I could do.

I prayed about it…and prayed about it…and with it being a Saturday, I decided to lay down for my afternoon siesta (don’t naps sound more sophisticated in a different language?!!) and God woke me with a start!  I began thinking about the story, and I immediately had an idea.

“…do not worry beforehand about what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour; for it is not you who speak, but it is the Holy Spirit.”   Mark 13:11

I quickly sat up, grabbed a notebook, and began writing (much to the chagrin of Jax who had been sound asleep until I started thrashing about!).  My squiggles were practically illegible as I wrote, trying to get all of the ideas down as fast as I could, then bounded out of bed and nearly ran down the stairs to get my thoughts on the computer.

I prayed, as I always do before writing, but especially because this would be a stretch.  I write about how God works in my life, not fictional stories.  I asked God to intercede and make this His own…and I am in awe at how God guides my hands and thoughts.  Oh, I praise Him for using me.  What an honor and incredible blessing!

The story that follows is what God allowed me to write.  His answer to my feeble prayer does not disappoint, and has absolutely nothing to do with my first obscure scrawls; praise Him for that!!  🙂  Enjoy!

The Hunt

“Hurry up; we’re going to be late!!”  My heart’s pounding so hard in my chest I can feel it in my throat. 

“All the kids are lining up… come on, Mom!!”

I’m desperate to get to the edge of the parking lot along with the other kids, and when I finally reach the grass my eyes survey the landscape.

“Where is it??  I can’t see it!”  I think to myself as my eyes dart from one tree to the next…

“I have to find it!!”

I scan the horizon; flecks of red, blue, purple, and pink dot the plush green canvas… I can almost hear them laughing as if taunting me from where they lie.

I look at my competition lining up around me; tall, short, snotty noses, long hair, sparkly pink and green Easter baskets…

I turn my eyes back to the expanse of grass before me and let out a breath as my heart pounds excitedly.  

Everyone is quiet now…

“On your marks!”  A voice calls out.

I swallow hard.

“Get set!

I hold my breath and wait…

“GOOOOO!!”

There’s a flurry of motion, kids running this way and that.  We dash out into the cool wet grass, and I stay in a straight path headed toward the outer edge of the grassy field.  Kids cross in front of me running to the left, while others sprint to the right… but I stay the course.

One little kid falls and lands on his belly…

“Mooommeeeeee!!” he cries.

“Yes!  One down…” I smile as I pass.

I dodge kids bending over to pick up eggs, and hurdle others.

Greens, blues, and yellows polka dot the grass as I continue running…

“Hey kid!  You’re passing all the eggs!”  Someone yelled to me…

But I didn’t listen. 

“There’s one special egg” the announcer had said, “a golden egg.”

That thought kept me going… “It’s gotta’ be out there.”

Now, I have done enough Easter egg hunts to know, that a colorful egg filled with 3 jelly beans or a chocolate isn’t enough for me.  The prize, the one worth seeking, is the golden egg.  That egg leads to the real treasure.  The huge, gleaming, basket set aside for that lucky kid that finds that one lucky egg.  The basket filled with limitless treasure… countless joy… inexplicable happiness…

Then I saw it. 

Not 20 feet away, it glimmered in the sunlight. 

My heart skips a beat and I pick up my pace.  I hear footsteps behind me as I run toward that glistening orb.

10 feet…

5 feet…

“It’s almost mine!!”

I feel the brush of wind as someone runs past, leaps in front of me and grabs the beautiful golden egg.

I stop dead in my tracks. 

“It can’t be,” I gasp.

I stand perfectly still and stare at the kid that beat me to my prize, his face radiant as he carefully cradles that precious gift.

I turn back to see all the other kids walking back to their cars, smiles on their faces, hand in hand with their moms and dads, baskets brimming over with their alluring rainbow eggs.

I look down at my basket… nothing.

As my eyes fill with tears, I notice a golden glow surrounding me.  I blink, clear my eyes wiping the tears away, and notice thousands of golden eggs at my feet.  I bend over, stunned, and pick up one of the gleaming eggs. 

I look at the boy who beat me to my prize.  Our eyes meet, an egg in his hand an egg in mine, and a knowing smile on his face.

I instantly turn toward the other kids…where are they going?  There’s one for each of them, and more besides…  I call to them but they continue walking, satisfied with their haul and blind to what they really need.

I look down at the wonderful gift I’m holding and realize it had been there the whole time, I just wasn’t looking.  

 

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”   Matthew 7:13-14

Like children at an Easter egg hunt, drawn to the promise of sweet satisfaction within a brightly colored package; jelly beans, sweet tarts, chocolate…  Things that satisfy but only for a moment, until we are left searching again for the next empty promise.

But that one golden ticket, if found will not only fill our every desire, but will quench our thirst and satisfy our hunger…

“Then Jesus declared, ‘I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.’”   John 6:35

The one prize; unimaginable until revealed, unbelievable until eyes are opened, unacceptable until understood. 

The gift so fulfilling, the prize worth seeking, and the promise so real it can only be found when searched for…

is Jesus.

“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, ”   Romans 3:23

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”    Romans 6:23

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”   Romans 5:8

“If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”   Romans 10:9

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