Birthday Message 2018

It’s my Birthday! God has allowed me to see another year! I have joined the 50 club!¬† I Am Grateful!

If you know me well, you know that I love to gift gifts – so my 50th birthday gift to you is to share 18 things I learned in my own life or in dealing with others that I will carry into 2018.

  1. I’m not responsible for anyone’s actions but my own.
  2. Better to preserve a relationship than to hold on to my right to be right.
  3. Failures are not optional; they WILL happen. Learn from them and move on.
  4. Family … be grateful for the and show them love/support every chance you get. They won’t be around forever.
  5. Not Santa Claus or M&Ms that can walk and talk – but … Stupid people – they do exist! ūüôā
  6. Don’t let misunderstandings fester. Work it out.
  7. Take care of your body. Do what the doctor says. Eat Well. Exercise.
  8. Learn something new.
  9. Expect miracles.
  10. Be you! Find out your life purpose and pursue it.
  11. Invest in friendships that matter.
  12. Practice Sabbath. Rest and reflect. Enter God’s presence. Quiet your spirit so that you can hear His Spirit.
  13. Love.
  14. Face fears. Facing down fears gives you super powers!
  15. “No” is not a bad word!
  16. Pay attention to your money. Manage your debt and be intentional about your giving.
  17. Love Jesus more this year that you did last year.
  18. If you’re married, your spouse is your true ‘linkedin’ partner. Walk instep. Trust. Adore. Be grateful.

OK 50 — Let’s do this!!

but just as it is written,‚ÄúThings which eye has not seen and ear has not heard,And which have not entered the heart of man,All that God has prepared for those who love Him.‚ÄĚ

1 Corinthians 2:9

Contentment in Him

1Timothy6At this ‘most wonderful time of the year’, America is marked by extreme consumerism and materialism. But is that who we really are? American is noted around the world as being gluttonous at Christmas, but is that who we really are? The pundits say that we all spend much more than we can afford at this time of year, but is that who we really are?

When Lloyd and I were young parents and young marrieds, our resources were almost nothing (they are not much more now, but we know how to manage better!) – when Christmas came, we would buy our children¬†so many presents that you almost couldn’t see the bottom of the tree; it was ridiculous! One year when the kids were 3, 7 and 11 we realized that they could care less about the gifts after just a few days. They were quite content with the one favorite toy AND with being together AND being doted on by their parents.

As Christ followers we are that same way. Our souls are truly satisfied in communion with our King, but our flesh deceives us into thinking that we must have more than that. We fill our lives with the comforts of this world – a bigger house than we need; a car with bells and whistles we’ll never use; people that make us feel important; relationships that help us pretend we’re not lonely; positions that make us feel meaningful — and yet at the end of the day, when we lay on the pillow – we find we are still in discontent.

Our enemy, the Devil, wants us to believe that we have to have it all! Well, the truth is – we do have it ALL! As followers of Christ, we are adopted into the family of God; we are joint heirs with Christ; we have the indwelling Holy Spirit of Promise within us! I would say we have all that ‘and a bag of chips’! We have it all! We have given Lordship of our lives over to a benevolent and loving King who ensures that we have all that we need and much of what we want. He only asks that we love Him and be devoted to serve Him. And truly, if you really think about it, when we are living in service to Him we tend to be quite contented.

Yes! It is good to want your circumstance to improve, but it is a powerful thing to know that just living according to His will for you will cause your heart to be content. Things will go out of style; beauty fades; people fail you; situations change — but God, He remains the same!

Paul challenges us to be content no matter the situation, and encourages us that God will give us the strength to walk in this contentment; Jesus admonishes us to seek God’s kingdom and rest in knowing that God will provide all other things that we seek; In Hebrews we are reminded that He is ours and will not leave us or forsake us; in Romans we are reminded that He will work our circumstances out for our good and His glory.

As the year ends many of our most popular print media outlets remind us of notable people that we lost during the year; the most notable people of the year; the most beautiful people of the year; the worst people of the year; etc. I watch as people read the magazines in the check out line (trying not to act interested); and they are captivated by the lives of these success stories; and success stories gone wrong! But my eye catches the front cover of one of the magazines – and I begin to wonder if these stars/celebrities/notables are happy and satisfied in their lives. I wonder if they, with all that they do have, have the One thing that matters in life. I wonder if who we see, who they allow us to see, is who they really are.

Do not be deceived! It is not riches or popularity that will satisfy your need to feel fulfilled or your need to feel that your life has value.  Satisfaction will come when you decide that He is enough and then take the step to live a life in humble submission to a King who can and will keep every promise He ever made to you! He satisfies! He is satisfying! He will satisfy! I am a living witness!

But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment.

1 Timothy‬ ‭6‬:‭6‬

Grace .. for His glory!

He extended grace to us – not for our own sake – but for his glory! His unmerited favor was meant to send us on a passionate quest for the lost among every nation, introducing them to the truth of the gospel and leading them to become disciples of Christ – not replicas of us!

His grace is amazing indeed – so spread the word! The nations live all around you – tell someone who doesn’t know so that they too might believe and walk in obedient faith and abundant life!

“through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles for His name‚Äôs sake” Romans 1:5

He’s Under Your Feet!

Romans 16 20I was just talking to my spiritual mama and she said to me, “If the devil is in your ear you need to tell him he’s up a little bit too high because the Lord has placed him under your feet!” That might make you chuckle – but it reminded me that sometimes as Christians we are just a little to timid with our enemy, Satan. Put that joker in his place!!

Have the presence of mind at all times to encourage yourself with the truth that God will act on your behalf. Yes – Satan might seem to prevail, but don’t let that make you lose heart – have faith and be patient because God’s promise is that Satan¬†cannot prevail against you!!

Romans 16:20 – “And the God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.”

 

Oh, be careful little eyes what you see

be carefulSome of the shows that intrigue me most on television these days are filled with images of sin. ¬†Some of them have gotten so raw that I stopped¬†watching because of what they make me feel. ¬†A friend of mine challenged me not to stop watching but rather use what I see in my teaching of the Word of God. ¬†I’ve taken that advice to heart and decided to study a bit.

You see, I grew up watching and LOVING cartoons — Popeye, Tom & Jerry, The Road Runner & Wile E. Coyote, Foghorn Leghorn, Daffy Duck, Bugs Bunny (my personal favorite!), Elmer Fudd, etc. ¬†When we moved to Ghana I even took DVDs of my favorites with me so I’d have something light to watch on heart heavy days. ¬†I made the comment to my children that the cartoons of their day were just not as good and wholesome as the cartoons of my day. ¬†So, a couple of Saturdays ago I was watching the Bugs Bunny/Road Runner movie and decided to pay attention to what I saw – Ahem … let’s just say I was surprised to note: ¬†greed, covetousness, disobedience, laziness, cheating, deception, anger, rage — and then I stopped listing because I knew without a doubt these modern writers had to have put those things in there after I had already grown up! ¬†Surely those things were not in there when I was a kid!

I decided to do the same thing for the most popular shows of¬†today. ¬†So I sat down the other evening and watched – but instead of merely watching I took note of every sin¬†that was blatantly highlighted. ¬†I’m sure I missed plenty, because I got tired of writing them down – but here’s what I saw: Idolatry, greed, covetousness, love of money, gluttony, complaining, tempting God, high-mindedness, disobedience, cussing, careless¬†use of God’s name, laziness, filthy talk, dishonoring parents, murder, anger, hate, enmity, rage, brawling, rioting, unforgiving, wrath, spitefulness, stealing, dishonesty, lying, slandering, extortion, fornication, adultery and MORE!! ¬†I decided they should call some of these shows How Not To Live As A Christ Follower. ¬†The list was longer than my cartoon list for sure — but my conclusion is that a worldview that espouses the satisfaction of our own desires has always been the way of media.

I’m not trying to make you turn the television off – and I am certainly not calling watching television a sin. I enjoy a good television show after a stressful day, it is one of my favorite escapes. ¬†But don’t fool yourself into believing that you can watch sin filled¬†images¬†(or listen to sin filled¬†messages) all of the time and not be affected by it in any way. Be careful not to be fooled into believing that what you see on that screen is merely entertainment. ¬†Be careful about the last image you¬†see on that¬†screen; do you really want that to be the last thing that enters your mind before your head hits the pillow? ¬†The world’s job is to lull you into a false sense of what sin is and to convince that you should take advantage of the grace extended to you as a follower of Christ – but the word says different (Romans 6:1, 2).

In 1 John we are admonished not to love the world; the world’s ways; the world’s things because we squeeze out the Father when we do so. ¬†When we begin to schedule our lives around these images that have nothing to do with our Father or His ways – I think that means that we are coming to ‘love’ these images. ¬†Just my opinion. ¬†Truth is that¬†once an image is on television or in a movie, we begin to believe falsely that the image is¬†mere entertainment. ¬†Be careful, my brothers and sisters. ¬†These images are not our reality and they are not our truth. ¬†God did not send His son to die for us and free us from the bondage of sin so that we could enslave ourselves once again to our enemy, Satan. ¬†Ensure that you are filling your mind with the Word of God and with the Truths of God and take care to call the sin you see what it is!

Go ahead — watch your favorite shows, but ¬†let it be entertainment and not what fills you up. ¬†I encourage you today to make a covenant to fill¬†your eyes, your mind and your ears with things that are genuine, honorable, upright, trustworthy, crucial, and¬†compassionate. ¬†Make the choice! ¬†It will change your lifeview – it will make you walk lighter – it will help you to be joy! ¬† Be careful – our enemy is doing a great job; lets not make it easier for him…

1 John 2: 15 – 16 ¬†Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world‚ÄĒthe lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life‚ÄĒis not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.