dec 30Today may not mean anything special to you, other than another year is passing too quickly, but it holds a great deal of significance to me. My father passed away on this day in 1980. The date also marks the anniversary of my mother’s death in 1990.The end of each year can be rather somber if I allow the grief to become too strong. Instead, I try to focus on the good memories and the beautiful way God has led me from there to here.
As we venture into another year, we’re going to witness wonderful moments and heartbreaking disappointments. There will be new babies to kiss and old friends to bid farewell. We’ll see evil in this world but we will be encouraged by those who aren’t afraid to proclaim Christ as our Lord.

Many will give their lives to Jesus this coming year and sadly, some will walk away from him. There will be those who begin their futures together in beautiful weddings and those who will end theirs in bitter divorces.
Love, faith, and hope will be readily available to drown out the failures, difficult moments, and tragedies that we might experience.
As those around us are making grand resolutions for the entire year, let’s resolve to live life one day at a time, starting with this day.
Today, be a servant.
Today, encourage God’s people.
Today, refuse to let your past, your pain, or your problems keep you from your Savior.
Today, meditate on what is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, and commendable (Philippians 4:8).
Today, remember that you are chosen, holy, and deeply loved.
Today, walk with the Lord.
Making plans for the entire year is futile. We don’t know what tomorrow will hold. We may find ourself in the pit. We may stand on the mountain.
What we do know is that today brings us one day closer to seeing Jesus. So chose this day whom you will serve (Joshua 24:15). Use it to glorify him, and remember, the same God who loved us so much that he sent his only son (John 3:16), can get us through any day we face.

2 comments Posted in  Uncategorized December 30, 2015

He Knows My Name

Nearly three months into a school year and halfway into a class period that she has had every week; this sweet little first grader raised her hand and said, “Mrs. Art, could you help me?’ I could and did and still smile every time I think about Mrs. Art.

I thought about that the other day when this song started to play. Aren’t you glad the world doesn’t call us by what they think- Mrs. Stressed Out, Mrs. Failed at the Important Things, Mrs. Looking for a Fight, Mrs. Change Agent, Mrs. Broken &  Needing to Be Healed, Mrs. Unwanted and Unworthy?

God has set a new name upon us. A name truer and greater than anything the world could place upon us. He calls us child. He calls us holy, chosen and dearly loved. Before you took your first breath, he loved you. Before you took your first steps, he loved you. Before you made your first mistake, he loved you. He will always love even if you choose not to love and follow him.

This life is too short and too difficult to do it alone. You weren’t created to. So choose God. Choose life. Choose joy, peace and hope in a miserable, war-torn and desperate world. Choose life because the one who created life knows your name.

“Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you.  I’ve called your name. You’re mine.” Isaiah 43:1

 

2 comments Posted in  Uncategorized October 11, 2014

Be Successful

2 comments Posted in  Uncategorized October 7, 2014

Looking Past the Struggle

Add comment Posted in  Uncategorized October 5, 2014

From Pilot to Passenger

delta

 

 

I love to fly Delta. I’m always checking their site first but not because they have the best rates or service. I’m sure they’re great because I continue to use them, but honestly, I haven’t really noticed. I use Delta because nearly 40 years ago, my grandfather came to visit me (I’m sure he probably wanted to see the rest of my family, too) and he flew in on Delta.

We met him at the gate because back then you could and he gave me a small, white, plastic toy Delta plane. Grandpa Penny was a giant of a man. A retired police officer by the time I met him; he was kind and gentle and always wore a smile. I deeply loved him and think of him every time I fly. I kept that plane for years and I’ll never forget that visit.

I used to treat God like I do my airline. I had a connection with him but if something else came up, I didn’t have a problem being negligent. If he became inconvenient, I’d go elsewhere. If he desired too much out of me, I went in the opposite direction. I sought him when I needed that dose of religion. I went to him when I collided with life. We talked a lot, but I wasn’t listening.  I choose God, basically because my parents and grandparents did.

Kyle Idleman in his book, Not a Fan, talks about the time in a relationship when you have to DTR or define the relationship. Where do you really stand? Is this exclusive? Are you totally committed? It’s not an easy discussion because you have to be completely honest with yourself and with the one staring back at you and you always run the risk that the other person doesn’t feel the way you do but every relationship needs this moment.

God was good when I was a part time Christian. He always smiled on me. He held me when I asked. He ran to meet me every time but I never stayed long. I kept taking the wheel out of his hands and assuring him that I had everything under control and I would for awhile. I could manage on my own for a span but I always came limping back. Life is difficult anyway but split the running of your life with God and life becomes unbearable.

I finally took the time to sit down and define my relationship.  I was broken, worn and finally tired of wavering. I was exhausted from being in on Sundays and out on Mondays. I was done with doing church because my family did. No more pew warming. It was time to get serious. It was time to put it all on the line and make the decision that would influence every thought, action and reaction. It was time to stop pretending I could do this on my own.

Isn’t it time that you had a good sit down discussion with the one who knew your name when he created the world? Be advised, when you get serious about God some will think you’ve lost it. You might get called radical, liberal or a religious nut. People may tell you that you’ve gone off the deep end. When and if that time comes, just smile and love them because God will know that you’ve finally come home and that’s all that matters.

Let this be the day you resign from your position of piloting your own journey and realize that God is in control. Life is too short to do it alone. Go all in with God. He’s already committed to you.

(And somebody tell Delta I love them so maybe I’ll get discounts  🙂

1 comment Posted in  Uncategorized September 19, 2014

The Bethlehem Road

bethlehemroad

 

I was parked in a crowded lot at a Paducah, Kentucky Lowe’s store and couldn’t stop wiping tears away. Before moving my Kindle into the backseat, I had opened it for a second and the first few lines of Michael Whitworth’s latest book, The Bethlehem Road, had captured my attention.

 

In a matter of minutes, I was engulfed in a story that I had known for years but never had I seen it so clearly that it brought me to tears. I forgot about my shopping list as I quickly swiped the screen taking me to the next page of the newest commentary on the book of Ruth.

 

Whitworth’s style of writing is refreshing and many times I forgot that I was reading an actual commentary. He transports you into the story while explaining culture and word origins. He includes events from his own life as he relates, explains and offers you every chance to see your own life in the beautiful story of Ruth and Naomi.

 

Whitworth begins the book by asking that life altering question many of us have uttered in a dark and disparaging time, “What do you do when your dreams are shattered?”  And then he tells us what he did. Sharing the story of his father’s life and death brought the water works as I thought about my own father and his battle with ALS.

 

As you begin the study of Ruth, you will learn the beauty of the word hesed and what it means to your life. You will smile as you remember how God has and will continue to turn your own “heartbreak into Hallelujahs” and you will be blessed by the way our Father watched over and cared for his two beautiful daughters in a time not too long ago from ours.

 

I’m thankful for a God who works behind the scenes and refuses to give up on any of his children. And I’m thankful for Michael Whitworth and his writing abilities. If you are looking for a great commentary on Ruth or just looking for an encouraging book for yourself or your Bible study group, pick up this book. You’ll be glad you did.

 

 

Add comment Posted in  Uncategorized September 4, 2014

When Doubt Met Divine

 

The Compadres blog tour is making a quick stop here and I’m glad you stopped by.

The topic is “The Glory of the Son” and when asked what I would like to focus on, I immediately thought of Mark 9:14-29 and invite you to join me there for the next few minutes.

 

 

 COMPAdresblogtrou

 

 

 

Why does a story that seems to highlight doubt more than divine grab my attention so quickly? Because too often, I’m the one needing help. The one standing in the middle of stress and negativity begging truth to rebuke my feelings of doom and hopelessness. The one who knows that joy is out there but blinded by the injustice, pain and despair that seem to have taken up residence in front of me.

The father in Mark 9 was forlorn. The son tormented by demons since childhood.  Some of us know the misery of having a sick child. Letting the fear of what might happen steal our hopes and dreams for the future. The boy’s father had exhausted the doctors in town. No one could help. Not even those closest to the Rabbi from Galilee. And when all hope seemed lost, enter the Christ with the compassion to stop and ask about this man’s story. And the desire to get involved even when chaos swirled around him.

 

“If You Can?

Verse 21 offers a glimpse into our own lives. Too often we approach Jesus with reservations.

If you can offer peace?

If you can get me through this?

If you can work this out?

If you can calm my fears?

If you can heal my child?  My  parent?  My marriage?

 

“If I can?”

Jesus answered initially with a question. And then I wonder if he smiled. Or sighed. Or rolled his eyes.  Or all three.

 

“Everything is Possible for the One who Believes.”

If believing is the epitome of the Christian faith, then it would be so simple. But there is more. Jesus wants belief but he also requires us to follow. And there’s the catch. That’s the part that will change this world. Do it like I did. Love, forgive, teach, help. Get involved in your community. Change lives because I changed yours. Believing is the start but following necessitates more than my mind. It requires my heart, my actions and worse, my reactions.

 

“I believe. Help my unbelief!”

And here is where I am.  With more questions than answers.  Believing but not understanding.  But praise the Lord above that our doubts don’t diminish his glory.

 

“Jesus Took him by the Hand and Lifted him Up”

Jesus didn’t tell him to believe more. He didn’t ask if he was a church member.  He didn’t ask his views on doctrinal issues.  He didn’t schedule a Bible study or have him recite the Sinner’s prayer. He didn’t sign him up for a Bible correspondence course or point him in the direction of the nearest synagogue. He didn’t ask the church to vote or pray. He didn’t call for a committee meeting.  He didn’t consult the Greek text to make sure he really said what he just said. He just stopped what he was doing, listened to someone who was hurting and got involved in their lives. And he calls us to do the same thing. Even if we don’t have all the answers. Even if we face days of doubt. Even if we’re broken and hurting and tired. Even if all seems lost. Believe. Follow. Make a difference.

6 comments Posted in  Uncategorized August 5, 2014

#SummerBlogTourIsComing

COMPAdresblogtrou

 

BLOG TOUR ITINERARY

3 June – Leaving the Noise Behind by JEREMY SCHOPPER –www.ephesians411.wordpress.com

5 June – DANNY HOLMAN

10 June – CARL JENKINS

12 June – LES FERGUSON Jr

Add comment Posted in  Uncategorized June 5, 2014

Sleepless Nights, Game of Thrones, and Doubt

i belive

 

 

I love Spring Break. I’ve gotten some studying, writing, and relaxing accomplished. It’s been a good week, but last week was one of the worst. Without giving too much information or being too vague let me try to explain:

I thought life was going to go one way. One great, much needed way. A way I had been praying for. A way I needed. A way I expected. A way that would be very beneficial to those I love.

However, life did as life sometimes does and went completely unexpected. It wrecked me. I cried one night and then went sleepless for the next three. I was aggravated at some, grieving for others. And I was frustrated with God. How could he let this happen? I sought counsel from the wisest man I know. We talked, cried, laughed, banged our heads against the wall and knew everything would work out in the end. Still, my stubborn soul was weary.

I know God doesn’t conduct the misguided orchestra of our lives. I also know that he doesn’t sit back and laugh as we beat our 1959 Gibson Les Paul Standard of a life into smithereens on our stage. But above all of that, I know he is involved and faithful. I know that all things work out for his children. I’ve read it. I’ve seen it. I’ve lived it. But. Still. It took me a few days before I accepted the fact of what I already knew, he grieves too. This wasn’t the way he wanted it to go either.

So, when will I quit expecting him to rip open the sky and set things right? Hopefully, never.

I continued to pray but my prayers were weaker. My voice distant and strained. Instead of diving into Scripture and study, I went the opposite direction and watched the entire first season of Game of Thrones.

Doubt seems to be a steady companion but if only I could be more doubtful of my ability to fix this world instead of God’s. When will I stop realizing that life doesn’t go as planned or even as purposed?  It just goes and we’re to deal. Sometimes it full of grace and resolve and sometimes I’m a train wreck.

Too often, I fall to my knees in tears, fearful and furious and cry out, “I’m not cut out for this! I can’t handle it!” And that’s when Jesus smiles and replies, “No. You can’t. But I can and I will.”

It’s a beautiful dance. But I really need to stop stepping on his toes.

 

Add comment Posted in  Uncategorized April 12, 2014

Tulsa Quotes

I was blessed to speak at the Tulsa Workshop this year. I have attended before and love the fellowship, great lessons, and the encouragement that comes from being there.  I took my youngest with me this year and I think she said it perfectly, “It’s like a VBS for adults!”

I hope you’ll make plans to attend next year. Here are some of my favorite quotes. There are some that I loved but couldn’t write down quickly enough. If you want, please add yours to this list.

God wasn’t worried about Saul’s past he was concerned with Paul’s future. -Can’t remember who said it. I take lousy notes. Ask any of my college professors.

Don’t go out “for” God. Go out to “join” God. Rick Atchley

What defines us? Out ability to argue or our ability to make peace?  Doug Young

Some of the most evil cities of the 1st century now have books of the Bible named after them. Because God didn’t give up on them. Josh Ross

I’ve never heard my black friends say, “We need to go back to the 1950s when this was a Christian nation.” – Josh Ross

It’s easier to do the law thing instead of the love thing. Patrick Mead

We preach to the converted instead of going to the lost & loving them. Patrick Mead

I want to die without stones in my hands, empty hands & open arms. – PMiddy

My agenda is to approach all people without stones. Fearless love. PMiddy

He put on skin & took the most common name of that time. God said, “Just call me, Joe.” PM

We should ruthless in opposing & calling out sin but ours no one else’s.  Luke 6:41-42 PM

Salvation is free but will cost everything you have. Pm

Following Jesus means you move. He didn’t call us to stand still

One of the cost of following Jesus is he gets to define your terms.

The closet you get to the Light, the better you are the dirt on your own hands.

I am willing to walk with anyone who is willing to walk with me. PM

Refuse to let anyone take away you love. PM

Luke 6:37 how much grace do you have with you & how much do you give out? Whatever you give put will come back to you. It’s not Karma! It’s Christ. PM

 

 Check out my friend, John Dobbs’, blog for more.

 

Make your plans now to attend next year, March 18-21 when the theme will be ‘Aflame‘!

Add yours in the comments section. And have a great day 🙂

2 comments Posted in  Uncategorized March 24, 2014

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