Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Stinking Chicken Skins

The garbage only runs once a week. If I cook chicken early in the week, I can’t throw the chicken skins in the trash because they will be stinking within 24 hours. So I wrap the chicken skins in a bag and put them in the freezer until garbage day. I don’t tie them to my arm and carry them around with me. Everyone understands that chicken skins quickly begin to stink and salmonella breeds quickly in room temperature chicken. They belong in the trash.

Yet while we cringe at the thought of carrying around rotten chicken skins, we carry a different stench and poison without giving it a second thought. The poison’s name…un-forgiveness.

We are approaching a new year-don’t carry the poison of the past into your new year. No one can make that choice for you. Forgive! Turn loose of the wrong that was done to you. God will help you! God’s grace is sufficient. Take your pain to the cross. Ask God to forgive you for insisting on your right to hold onto the wrong that was done to you. Ask God to help you forgive. Allow God to pour in His healing.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Best Gift

This morning hundreds and thousands of presents will be opened. Beautiful paper will be torn, wadded and discarded as each gift is un-wrapped by its recipient. The most wanted gift lists will vary from individual to individual according to age, gender and personal taste. There will be fun gifts, practical gifts and wonderful gifts under the tree this morning. There will be cheap gifts and extravagant gifts. But the one gift that is absolutely essential for life and eternal life didn’t make it to the top ten list this year or any other year. That gift is a priceless gift. But a limited pocket book isn’t the reason you won’t find it under the tree at your house. Jesus was and is the Perfect Gift sent to be Emanuel- God is with us. Yet He must be recognized as God and received just as a little child will receive presents around the tree this morning. Unwrap the gift of His love and begin to discover in your everyday life the joy and peace that come from believing. I am so thankful that He continues to be Emanuel and that age 4 I opened God’s Best Gift!

Romans 15:13 Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Living the Light

Sunday morning on our way to Jacksonville we stopped for church in Pensacola. It was delightful to see dear, old friends and see their Christmas musical. The musical’s message was clear and relevant. I really enjoyed it. I jotted down a quote from the musical. I am sorry but I don’t even know the name of the musical but this is the quote concerning the light of Christmas. “The shepherds experienced it, the wise men followed it and we must live it.”

I emotionally staggered at the thought of what that really means? Walk out the light in my everyday life? What would that look like? How would that change my responses to frustrations and irritations? How would that change my attitude toward injustices?

I came to one conclusion I cannot live the light unless I have on a regular basis what both the shepherds and the wise men had. The wise men followed because they had direction and they made a choice to follow the directions. If I am going to live out the light I must have the direction and insight that comes from the Scriptures. They didn’t just hear about the Messiah. They experienced Him. Only as I experience His grace and His presence energizing me and enabling me can I live out the light in my life.

Our culture is bumbling around in the dark. But the Light has come. We just need to live it!

Luke 1:78 KJV Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us,

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Dumpster Diving

When we are in North Carolina, we are about 20 minutes away from town and about 45 minutes away from a large city so we don’t make the trek into town very often. We had errands to run and a desire to see our new granddaughter so Asheville was the perfect place to do both. We made a quick run to the garbage dump…that right we don’t have garbage pick up in the mountains. So Wayne tossed the bags of garbage into the dumpsters while I worked on my laptop and then we hurried toward Asheville.

Once we were on the interstate I asked Wayne for his phone. I never have mine, just one more thing to keep up with. It was then we discovered his phone was missing. As quickly as possible, which wasn’t very quick, we found an exit and returned to the garbage dump. I began to search and Wayne went to the little shed on the property to talk with the attendant.

The small, wrinkled faced man walked back with Wayne toward the dumpster where we had tossed our garbage. “Was it a heavy black thing?” the man questioned. Wayne nodded feeling his first wave of relief. “It’s my fault,” the man began, “I thought it was trash…I didn’t know what it was…I threw it into the dumpster.”

“Which dumpster?.” Wayne questioned as his eyes scanned 7 big dumpsters lining the fence..

“I think I threw it in one of these two,” the old man answered while peering inside.

One dumpster only had a few bags in the bottom, so Wayne found a stick and began to look for his precious I-Phone. It was obvious. The phone wasn’t in this dumpster.

I stuck my head in the other dumpster. There was a lot of garbage in the second container. Wayne took his stick and tried to move the garbage around. It wasn’t working very well so he rolled up his pants and crawled inside where he began to search through the bags of garbage. It was at that moment I really wished I had his phone to take his picture. I’m telling you, it’s a sight you don’t see often. It wasn’t funny then, but it is now. Once Wayne sorted through the garbage to see the bottom of the dumpster he found his valuable black I-phone sitting in six inches of rain water from the storm the day before. He plunged his hand in the water, yuck, and retrieved the phone.

We were thankful that someone hadn’t found the phone and taken it with them and we were thankful to God for helping us find it. But with all that water, was it ruined?

When we got in the car Wayne removed the Otter case and handed the phone to me to dry it off while he pulled out the hand sanitizer and began slathering himself with it. As I dried the phone the phone came on. Because the case was so water tight there was no water inside the case. The phone was dry and worked perfectly. Double praise God! What a relief.

A couple days later I was dealing with stuff, just the junk that comes with life, aggravating, discouraging stuff when the Lord reminded me of Wayne in the dumpster retrieving his phone. He reminded me that the phone was protected because of the case that held the phone. He remind me that He holds me in His tender care and that I have a case that protects me even better than the one on Wayne’s I-phone—the whole armor of God. What is that armor? It’s the Word of God and prayer. That’s what I needed--more of the Word and more prayer; Not after the storm comes, but daily so my emotions and attitudes are wrapped in the faith that God’s promises are sure and He will not fail me regardless of what I am going through!

Maybe you feel like you’ve been tossed in the dumpster. Your value is not recognized and people seem to mindlessly toss you away. That is the message of Christmas. God is the God that pursues. While we were sinners, God sent His Son into the world to seek and to save the lost. He loves you and wants to encase you in His love.

The dumpster wasn’t really that icky because everything was enclosed in plastic bags. But Jesus came into this world, to seek and to save the lost. He not only stuck his hand into the garbage of this world, but He became sin for us so He could pay the penalty of sin. That is amazing to me. Absolutely amazing. The message of Christmas to me is the message of redemption. Love...peace… joy…become the result of receiving that Redemption through the person of Jesus Christ.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanks Giver Menu

My Thanksgiving Day menu is important. I want to be sure to include every one's favorite, which actually isn't too hard--they all want my cheese bread. It is sooo good!

But thanksgiving is much more than a day or an event it is a life style, so I have put together a Thanks Giver Menu that can be used all year long.

Lettuce- Squash- Taters- Meat- Rolls- Beets- Thyme- Dressing

Lettuce- Let us give thanks
Squash- squash ingratitude and greed
Taters- become a par-tater (participator)
Meat- Meet God with your gift of thanksgiving
Rolls- Roll all your cares on Him
Beet- Beet the temptation to skip the thanks and move to just asking
Thyme- Give Him some of your time
Dressing- Dress in the garment of praise- don't leave home without it

Every good cook knows the secret ingredient is love- express your love to Him.
I hear the first of my grand children awake. I don't want to miss a minute with them. Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Caring for the Golden Goose

Aesop tells of an old farmer with a very special goose. This goose looked like any other goose, but she laid eggs unlike any other eggs. The eggs were solid gold. The farmer and he wife were thrilled, they had never owned much. Their lives had been filled with endless work in the hot blistering sun. Now they were blessed with this incredible goose that laid pure golden eggs. You can imagine their excitement as they waited each morning for the mother goose to lay yet another golden egg. But the farmer and his faithful wife grew weary of waiting for the daily one egg to be deposited in the feather lined nest. They wanted more gold and they wanted it now. So they decided the goose must be made of gold inside. In order to get the gold, they decided to kill the goose and remove all the gold so they would be rich now instead of later. So they killed the goose but inside they only found goose organs and not a single ounce of gold.

The moral of this story is “Don’t love the gold more than the goose!” Take good care of the goose that lays the golden eggs. In ministry terms that means take care of the workers that God gives you.

Now if the old farmer was very wise like most farmers are, how do you think he would have cared for his goose? If that goose was mine I would protect it. I would watch over it carefully, feed it the best food money could buy, see that all of its needs were met. Are you getting the picture? These volunteers that God has trusted you with are the ones that are doing all the work. They are the ones that are teaching the kids, making the visits, on and on. They are making your vision of reaching children possible. You just can’t do it without them unless you have a very small ministry or plan to have a very small ministry soon.

Do you value the workers and team that God has sent you?

Then show them!
Need some ideas? Go to our website for ideas.