Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Who Can You Trust?

As our world seems to be falling apart around us, it's scary.

I sat with my almost fourteen year old Sunday night and we talked about the shape of the world...the terrible happenings in Orlando that day, the state of politics, ISIS, agendas and the breakdown of morals and values (AKA...sin...but no body really likes that word, do they?) She asked me, with tears welling up in her eyes, "How much more has to happen before Jesus comes back? I'm scared."

And isn't that the question we are all asking? How much can more can we take? Could this be the end? Who can we really trust?

And as I sat there watching my girl struggle with fear and anxiety I felt my own self getting angry. Angry that our world isn't safe. Angry that the political scene is unstable and immoral. Angry that there are so few people who are trustworthy. Angry that my kids are growing up very aware of ISIS and terrorism. Feeling helpless and if I am honest a little fearful myself, I heard the whisper.

Trust me...

I alone am the fail proof trustworthy one. You can't depend on your government, your servicemen, your guns, your husband or anyone or anything. This is a time to trust in me alone. Trust your kids with me. Trust your safety with me. Trust your cares with me. Trust your government with me. Worry isn't going to get you anywhere. Frustration and fear will only make you anxious. Do not trust in anything but me. You're not in control. You're job isn't to take care of the world. That's mine. I'm the moments that feel scary and out of control....I am there. I am with you. When you don't understand, I am still trustworthy. When you can't see the next step, I am still trustworthy. When you aren't sure, I am still trustworthy. You can trust. You must trust. In me. 

Psalm 20:7 - Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we will trust in the name of the Lord our God. 

I Corinthians 1:25 - For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength. 

Isaiah 41:10 - So do not fear, for I am with you, do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. 

And sitting there with Savannah, I reminded us both what God was whispering to my heart. Trust God...He is in the middle of all our messy world. He gave His son to die for this...for ISIS, for every politician, for the LGBT community, for you, for me. Trust in your history with Him. Trust in His strength and His wisdom. Don't live in fear...that's what the enemy wants. Trust His grasp...He's holding you in his right hand.

But the enemy wants you to think that this is shallow thinking. That this all sounds so pie in the sky happy and that it doesn't solve the world's great problems. The enemy wants you to think that trusting God is for the good kids, the weak mommas, the naive, the simple, even the lazy. The enemy wants you to think that only the real life changers get out there and do anything, that only the real movers and shakers are in the middle...shouting their beliefs high on the mountaintop of social media, blogs and Fox News. But let me remind you....God makes the weak strong, God says fight the fight in your war rooms. God says put on your spiritual armor. God says get on your knees and fight the battle. God says, pray believing...pray trusting me...pray having faith that I am going to take care of my my way. Pray knowing you're not going to understand everything. Pray humbling yourself in gratitude that you don't have to have all the answers....Pray and defeat the evil. Quit believing that others have the answers. Start believing. Start trusting. In Him.

So when you kiss your little ones or teenagers or your spouse goodnight tonight...and you feel that apprehension hover over you for a God. When you send your kid off to summer camp and you wonder if they will get hurt or be homesick or be God. When you send your 18 year old off to college, war or their first job ...what other choice do we have??? Trust Him!!! We need to drill it into our hearts and minds that the safest place we can be is a trusting place. We've got to believe that trusting Him is always the first best thing to do. We need to believe with unwavering belief that He is our best resource, our best defense, our best confidant and our best first choice.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Easy Crockpot Ribs Recipe

If you are looking for something super easy to make for dinner, check out this yummy rib recipe:

Ribs (I used 2 packages of boneless pork ribs)
2 quarts apple juice (or enough to cover the ribs in the crockpot)

Place the thawed ribs in the crockpot. Cover generously with apple juice. Set crockpot on medium for 4-6 hours. They will be close to falling apart. Using tongs, take them out of the crockpot and place on a cookie sheet. Preheat oven to 350. Slather those ribs in your favorite BBQ sauce and place them in the oven to crisp up a bit. About 20 minutes.

Remove from the oven and enjoy the goodness.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Tucker's Dating Advice

Our church is hosting a Parent's Night Out for Valentines. 

Tucker (age 10) has some dating advice for those men who will be taking their lovely ladies out...I thought I'd share ...more for my enjoyment (and memory) than anyone else!

1. Drop the kids off at church.

2. Go out to eat someplace nice. Not McDonalds. 

3. After you eat...if the meal was good...give each other a hug.

4. Then go to someplace like Braums for ice-cream. 

5. If you are not married this is when you have to take your date home. 

6. If you are married, go home, get in your comfy clothes, sit on the couch and watch a romantic movie. You should pop some popcorn too. Try not to fall asleep.

7. Don't forget the still have have to pick them up from the church!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Part of Your Story

There are a few things in my past that I hate to include as part of my story. Things I am not proud of. Things that embarrass me. Things that I know have hurt me and those around me. I am not talking about sneaking and watching Children of the Corn when I was 11 or wearing culottes skiing in high school or even the time I wore my moms dress to school when I was in the 7th grade (she was out of town). While these are all things I would like to forget and certainly weren't among my shining moments, they pale in comparison to other shame-filled parts of my story.

Recently as I was reading the genealogy of Jesus, I noticed that both Tamar and Rahab were mentioned by name as part of Jesus' lineage. Both were harlots, prostitutes. And I wondered about why God would want them included in His Word and especially in the beautiful gospels telling of His precious son's birth.

Was it because He knew there would be those of us who were so spotted that we would need to know that God uses all kinds of people to accomplish His purpose? Was it so we would understand that flawed and imperfect people can be redeemed? Was it so God could prove that no one has done too much or strayed too far to be touched by Jesus? Was it so Jesus could share His story with others who had sinned the same way?

I don't know why...but I am sure glad that God found a way to included these women and that in His Word He didn't hide their names or gloss over their portion of the lineage. It was part of Jesus' story. It challenges me to find a way to share all of my story...not just the parts that are pretty and put together...but the parts where Jesus pulled me out of the trash of this world and let me know life with Him is more...more beautiful, more fulfilling, more adventurous, more peaceful, more honest, more loving....more than I could ever imagine.

Instead of letting Satan tell us we aren't good enough because of our past, let's find ways to bring glory to God by telling others how He saved us from ourselves! Satan and his forces have robbed us of enough..God ordered your story and although those parts that we are ashamed of can drag us down if we focus on ourselves, those same parts can lift our Lord up by sharing with others what a compassionate, long-suffering, faithful God we serve. We don't have to live in shame anymore! We have victory because of what HE has done! Now that's worth sharing!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Flying Birds and Wafers

Can you imagine if God said He was going to supply your nourishment needs by sending flying birds in such abundance every morning that you'd be able to reach out and grab them? And that He'd send wafer like crackers to fall on the ground every morning so that you had enough for food for the day? You might have a hard time believing Him. But that's exactly what He did for the Israelites. He provided for them daily...every single time they needed food or water, He made a way. He used Moses' rod as an instrument to turn bitter waters to sweet and rocks to dessert streams. What an amazing God!

And you'd think after He'd done all that the Israelites would have been in awe...that they'd be overflowing with praise and worship of their God. That they'd be convinced that He was the real deal. Faithful. Loving. Present. Provider. And yet, time after time after time, guess what they did? Yep, they complained.

Complained that Egypt was better. That God has brought them out of enslavement to leave them in the dessert and die. They complained that the food was better, the water was cleaner, pharaoh was a better leader and that the pasture was greener in Egypt. And don't you know Moses and God were tired of hearing it!

I wonder if God ever tires of hearing His children whine and complain. Our houses aren't big enough, our bodies are not pretty enough, our children are not good enough, our bank accounts are not large enough, our cars are not nice enough and the list could go on and on. And yet every single day He provides figurative quail and manna for us...He gives us everything we need.

Complaining goes hand in hand with discontentment. Two ugly sins that influence other areas of our lives. If I'm whiny...I'm giving others around me permission to whine. If I am discontent, nothing will ever truly satisfy...there will not be a house big enough, a car nice enough, a husband smart enough. Because I am looking at others as if they are the problem when really the problem is me. I am not satisfied with God's provision for me. I am not content with the quail and manna He has chosen and provided for me. When I complain, I'm telling God I don't think that He's orchestrated my life correctly...maybe I don't think He knows what He's doing.

But His Word tells me differently. He has provided for my every need. He knows my steps. He desires good things for my life. He has made a way. Every good and perfect gift is from Him. He places value, not in things, but in people. He is sovereign. He knows what He's doing. All I need to do is trust. He's got this. Today, tomorrow and forever.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

17 Seconds of Obedience

Our Australian Shepherd , MAKS, keeps things lively around our house. Between his infatuation with our calico cat and his fake starvation techniques, the dog keeps us hopping. There's also the little fact that he's huge and that normally his breed enjoys the outdoors way more than veggin' on the couch.

This week Savannah decided to try some obedience training with MAKS. Until now, MAKS has been regulated to the sun room, kitchen and dining room area. This is largely due to his urge to pee inability to refrain his excitement when anyone new enters the house. We've crate trained him and taught him to sit but "stay" has been a challenge. So Savannah decided to really work with him on Wednesday. So we took the baby gate down and told him to stay and then she walked to the piano room at the front of the house. The first time MAKS lasted 7 seconds before we heard his paws tippy toe down the hallway. The second time it was 13 seconds. We were so proud of him. And the third time, 17 seconds...and that time he was so reluctant to disobey. He peaked around the corner and made eye contact with me...and he knew he was guilty! 17 seconds...that's it..that's all the dear pup could muster...just 17 seconds of loyal obedience.

And before I could stop shaking my head, I thought of how I am so often the same way. I can walk in obedience for about 17 seconds and then God must shake his head at me and wonder what in the world I am doing. 17 seconds of obedience. 17 seconds of being loyal to the one who cares for me regardless of how I behave. 17 seconds of keeping my eyes fixed on Jesus. 17 seconds of unabandoned fear and timidity. 17 seconds of bravery...completely free to obey.

And then I get distracted...much like my dog....something comes my way looks like a better option, or someone calls for my attention, or I focus on something that makes me feel better or more fulfilled or more important. 17 seconds more or less is all any of us obey if its not complete obedience. Because not obeying is disobeying and we are all experts from birth on that.

But He is full of grace and patience for me. He knows my heart and how I truly want to be obedient and loyal. But how often I become like Jonah or the Children of Israel who also had trouble getting passed those 17 second marks of obedience. And in like fashion, He corrects me, and sets me back on the right track and loves me unconditionally. Just like He does for all His children.

So if you ever find yourself at the 17 second on...the test is worth passing! But in case you've already crossed over the line of obedience, know that with arms wide open He wants you back. In a heartbeat. And He says, try, try again...with HIS strength you can do better!

Monday, January 11, 2016

FB- You don't know me.

So Facebook posted this cute little greeting to my feed tonight:

And I immediately laughed out loud....

Because, I'm allergic.

I don't mean "I don't like football"...I mean "I don't watch it...ever". Like never. EVER. I haven't managed to stay awake or interested in a football game in my entire life....not a playoff, not a Super Bowl, not a Georgia game or a TN game or a TX game, not a pee wee or high school game. Not even the snacks could keep me interested.

I've attended many functions that football was the focus...parties and playoffs...but most of the time I was in the kitchen chopping up some veggies to go with some kind of awesome dip or I was holed up in the stairwell reading a book or hanging out with the toddlers in the toy room.

I don't understand the rules, the costumes uniforms, the urge to be body slammed on the ground, the pay....I just don't get it.

And that's ok because there's always gonna be the need for someone to be in the kitchen, check on the kids, put the toilet paper on the holder properly and refill the chip bowl. I can be that person.

I know...I know...some of you are about to can't fathom that I could be content to stay in my football free bubble. You think I am missing something important...But it's good here...people aren't chest bumping, over celebrating, getting concussions, sharing locker room stories or smells....I'm good, really.

So Facebook...thanks for the 411. You're too kind to invite me into the football madness. Thanks for including me with the masses. But, I'm not going to be checking the scores or watching replays or listening to commentary tonight...Maybe one day (probably never)....but for now...I'm allergic.