Sunday, July 15, 2018

Repurposed


Do you recycle or upcycle? When I think of recycling, I think of placing my paper and plastic in a container on the curb for someone else to pick up and make suitable to use it again. When I think of upcycling, I think of taking something and making it into something else. Upcycling is using something in a way that is better than the original. It’s like being repurposed.

I’m at a point where I have decided to change some things in my life. I love my husband, children, and grandchildren, so I’m keeping them. But I have decided to recycle my weight by throwing it out (down 19 pounds so far). In this case, I don’t want to see it again. Someone else can have it.

More important I’ve decided to upcycle or repurpose my blog.    

At a conference this past weekend, God spoke to me about practicing what I preach or what I believe.

Every Sunday, our Connect Group (newfangled term for Sunday School) has a time for prayer requests. There are also praise reports of answered prayer, but by far, the prayer requests outweigh the praise. I have long thought that our praise should take more time than our requests, but we tend to take our blessings for granted sometimes. 

We also have fellowship time. I believe this is important for Christian friendships and encouragement, not to mention the great food each week. But some days our conversations don’t amount to more than a passing, “How has your week been?” “Oh, fine, and yours?” “Fine.” Shouldn’t our lives as Christians have more to show than a passing, “Fine”? Why not ask, “What has God done in your life this week?” If we don’t have an answer, why not? If asked this question each week, we would either come prepared with God stories or attendance would diminish. 

With this in mind, I am repurposing my blog to share what God has done in my life each week and to ask about yours. If I have nothing to say, something is wrong. I may share a scripture that came to life for me, how God showed up in a situation, or what God showed or taught me from His word. It will be what God has placed in my spiritual jewelry box that week. 

You are my accountability partners and Christian life partners. Hopefully my stories will inspire you and cause you to look for how God is working in your life each week. If you don’t see Him, why not?

If you haven’t already, please subscribe to my mailing list and help hold me accountable. Join me on this adventure to see how God will adorn our lives with His treasures. Why not start now? Your turn. What has God done in your life this week? 


Monday, March 5, 2018

Are You Invisible?


Do you ever feel invisible?

Last weekend I played hide and seek with my grandsons. I hid under a desk in my upstairs office, and even though they walked right by, they didn’t see me. After the second time they came in the room without noticing me, I moved to the couch in our upstairs living area.

When they came upstairs again, they wanted to know where I was hiding. I told them I had been on the couch the entire time, but I was invisible. Well, of course, I wasn’t serious. The younger one was totally on board. He asked me what words I said to turn invisible. Oh, my! Too much television? So I hid again in the same spot until they found me.

While I was never invisible, even when under the desk, they didn’t notice me. I used to feel like this in high school. There were times when I thought if I got up and left the lunch table or didn’t show up to a class, no one would notice. They didn’t see me anyway. I was invisible. If the teacher called the role and someone else said here for me, would they have known I wasn’t really there?

Do you ever feel this way? I ran several errands this past weekend and was amazed how many times another car pulled out in front of me causing me to hit my brakes. Didn’t they see me? Was I invisible? It happened several times and suddenly brought back memories from years gone by.

I don’t currently struggle with feeling invisible (at least not most days). I have learned that if no one else in the world sees me, God does. In the Old Testament, one of the names of God is El Roi, the God who sees me. It is first mentioned in Genesis 16:13 by Hagar, the mother of Ishmael. On the days that I do feel invisible, I know that God sees me.

Do you ever feel invisible? Remember that God sees you. And the God Who Sees is all that matters.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Three Questions to Ask Each Day


It’s Friday. I hear the same thing again every week.

TGIF. Thank God it’s Friday.

We can’t wait for the weekend. The weekend is almost here, and I have two days off from work.

Let me ask this? What will we do with those two days? More important, what did we do with the last five? If our workdays are spent each week just getting by and living for the weekend, then we have wasted five days that we can never get back. That time is lost.

As I get older, I’m thinking more about the fact that I have more years behind me than ahead of me. I don’t want to waste a day (definitely not five of them).

What can we do during these five days each week that will make us glad to live for each day? Let’s start by asking three questions. 

? ? ?

1. Ask God a question each morning. Start each day in prayer asking God what He wants you to do this day. Then live for the day at hand anticipating God’s presence and direction.

2. Ask the first person you see (not family) how you can pray for them that day. Take time throughout the day to pray as God brings them to mind. The opportunity to be a part of someone else’s life is priceless.

3. Ask yourself a question too. What can I do today that will bring me a sense of accomplishment? When we focus on things that will fulfill our purpose, even if it is just a small step toward a larger goal, we impact the world around us.

Three questions. Ask God, ask others, ask yourself. If you want to live dangerously, you could even ask these questions on the weekend.

Don’t live each day waiting for a future moment. Live for today’s moment and see what God has in store. I’d love to hear your experiences this next week.

“This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it” 
(Psalm 118:24).

Monday, February 12, 2018

A Pig's Life

The story is told of a royal breakfast feast to be prepared for the King. Every person and animal was asked to contribute. Three stood out. A chef, a chicken, and a pig.

The chef came forward and offered his culinary genius in preparing food. He would give the talents which had been gifted to him and use them for the King who took care of the people and animals of the land. He would also gain the accolades and earn the respect of all in attendance.

The chicken came forward and offered a part of herself. She would selflessly dedicate her days to giving effort to lay the best eggs for the feast. This would be how she gave back to the King for the wonderful farm where he had placed her. After the feast she knew the profits of the farm where she lived would increase.

Then the pig came forward. He was also thankful for all the king had done and wanted to contribute to the royal breakfast.

The day of the feast came, and the chef prepared a meal unlike anyone had ever known. The king stood to give thanks and accolades to everyone that had been involved. The chef took center stage for giving of the talents he had. The chicken was then praised for her dedication to providing enough eggs.

Then the king turned his attention to the sausage and bacon that had been expertly prepared. He took special note to bring everyone’s attention to the fact that the pig was not there to acknowledge the appreciation for his contribution. The pig had not just given his talents or his best. The pig had given his all. He gave his life to the king.

While it’s only a story, it reminds me of our lives as Christians in the Kingdom of God. We are quick to note how we use our gifts for God’s glory. We volunteer at church. We teach, we greet, we pray. We are also quick to note how we give our money, our time, and our possessions. Both are a correct response to our King.

Yet all of it means nothing if not done with the correct heart. God wants our whole heart, everything we are. Not that we die in service, but that we die to self. We give up our lives and our plans for the life He wants for us and His plans.  

Are you a chef, a chicken, or a pig? Never thought I’d say it, but I want to be a pig. 

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Don't See Me


Don’t See Me!

My son used to say this when he was little. He was shy and didn’t like to have attention drawn to him. His first season of soccer, he refused to walk up and get his trophy, he wouldn’t take an individual photo because everyone would be looking at him, and he had a huge scowl on his face for the group picture. It’s as if in some way his pouting would make him less visible in the picture.



I carry some of those same feelings. While I may want to be recognized for an accomplishment, I am very uncomfortable with attention drawn to me in a group setting. I don’t like the spotlight. It’s another way of saying, “Don’t see me.” Notice my accomplishments, but don’t put me on display.

There are differing ways we say don’t see me.

Don’t see me because I am shy. I am uncomfortable in the spotlight.

Don’t see me doing what I know is wrong, or at best – not best. If no one sees me eat this candy bar, then it doesn’t count. We are hiding from what others think and hiding from our own acknowledgement of what is true.

Don’t see me in church and ask me to volunteer. If I don’t make eye contact, they will see someone else.

Don’t see me when I don’t want to be called on in class. If I don’t make eye contact with the teacher, she won’t notice me and won’t call on me to answer a question I might get wrong in front of others. 

If we can run from it or ignore it, we can pretend it doesn’t exist. But others do see us.

Don’t see me, God. Don’t notice when I do things my way. Don’t notice when I ignore Your promptings. If I don’t look at God, maybe He won’t look at me. 

But that’s the whole problem, isn’t it? When I don’t look at God, it’s then I am most likely to tell Him, don’t see me.

Don’t see me, don’t see me, don’t see me.

Lord, search my heart. Wash me, and make me clean, so I no longer want to say, “Don’t see me.” 

Monday, May 29, 2017

Where Do I Go from Here?

I remember playing follow the leader as a child. One child was the leader. The next person in line had to do what they did and then on down the line.

As adults we still play follow the leader. We have mentors, those we admire and aspire to be like. If we truly want to be like them, we follow what they do. Sometimes we follow the wrong leaders resulting in the wrong actions. So who do we follow, or do we follow at all?

Throughout the New Testament, Jesus said, “Follow Me.” Each time, He had a specific purpose in mind.

There are two Greek words used in the gospels when Jesus says, “Follow Me” (or sometimes translated “Come”). One is used in the sense of urgency, such as follow now or come now. The other is used for inviting someone to follow as a disciple, much like we think of following a leader and imitating their actions.

The first is used with a sense of urgency in three ways. 

1.      A new purpose
Matthew 4:19 - Then He said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
Jesus set forth a new purpose for these men. They would no longer be fishermen to satisfy the physical, but they would follow Him and become fishermen to satisfy the soul. 

2.       Rest
Matthew 11:28 - Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Mark 6:31 - And He said unto them, “Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.”
Jesus knew the need for rest, and sometimes that rest is an immediate need. It’s okay to need rest. 

3 – Refresh and restore
John 21:12 - Jesus said to them, “Come and eat breakfast.”
Following this meal Jesus reaffirmed His purpose for Peter three times just as Peter had denied Him three times. He was refreshed with a meal and restored to ministry. When we stop and refresh by spending time with Jesus, we walk away reaffirmed and ready to move forward.

The second is also used in three ways. 

1.      Leave others
Matthew 9:9 - As Jesus passed on from there, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, “Follow Me.” So he arose, and followed Him.
John 1:43 - The following day Jesus wanted to go to Galilee, and He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.”
In the gospels, the disciples were called to leave behind their former lives and follow Him. We may not be asked to leave our homes and family, but we are asked to leave behind what hinders us in our walk with Him. 

2 – Leave self
Matthew 16:24 - Then said Jesus to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.”
Mark 10:21 - Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.”
Jesus loves us. Because of His love, He does ask us to leave self behind. Our desires are replaced with His desires as we follow Him. 

3 – Follow His voice where He leads you
John 10:27 - My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.
John 21:22 – Jesus said to him, “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me.”
When we spend time with Jesus in prayer and in scripture, we come to know His voice. Where He leads us might not necessarily be where He leads someone else.

Jesus still says, “Follow Me.” He still has a specific purpose in mind for each of us. Come now to learn your purpose, find rest, and refresh. 

Follow Jesus. Leave the world and selfishness behind. Follow His voice, and His specific purpose for your life. 

The call is to follow Jesus and discover His purpose. Fill your spiritual jewelry box with the treasures that await as you follow Jesus. 

Friday, May 12, 2017

A Tribute to My Mom

This will be the third Mother’s Day without my mom, but I am thankful for the 32,420 days she lived and the influence she had on my life. 

She met my dad on a blind date when he was stationed in California while in the Navy during WWII. My oldest sister, Carolyn, was born there while my dad was overseas. After the war, they moved back to my dad’s home in Arkansas where my two middle sisters, Tricia and Eileen, were born. 

My dad worked for Sears for 30 years which brought them to Texas, where I was born. After 4 girls, they gave up on a boy and named me after my dad, Don. My sisters tell me my mom wanted to name me Donnie Sue. Thankfully they convinced her otherwise, and she settled on Donna Jean. 

I am thankful for the Christian home that my mom and my dad provided for all of us. 

I am thankful that when I accepted Christ as my Savior at a young age, she took me to meet with our pastor to be sure I understood, so that today I can stand on that rock of assurance. 

I am thankful for the memory of my mom reading her Bible every night before she went to sleep. 

I am thankful for my mom’s gift of service and hospitality. From inviting church visitors to our home for Sunday lunch to caring for the elderly in her church when some might have said she was elderly herself, she served. I am thankful for the example she set in providing for the needs of others. 

I am thankful that after 88 years, my mom was still a sweet, innocent woman with a childlike faith, despite the world we live in. If you think living in this world makes it impossible to retain a sweet innocence and love, then you never met my mom. While there were times I believed she needed to see the world more for what it was, the truth is -- I probably need more of her sweet innocence, outlook, and childlike faith in my life. 

I would be remiss if I didn’t also let you know there was a certain stubborn streak that she had that she passed on to each of her daughters (as I’m sure each of our husbands can attest). While some may consider stubbornness a weakness, it is a great strength when directed toward our faith and stand for Jesus Christ as evident in my mom’s life. 

I am thankful today for the picture I have of her in my mind. I picture her with an intense look of concentration on her face as she plays her violin in heaven.  Then I see a smile spread across her face as the angels sing along. 

I am thankful for my mom. I am thankful for the assurance that I will see my mom again. 

Psalm 31:24 says, “Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the Lord.” My hope is in the Lord, and a great deal of the credit for that is my mom. 

Thank you, God, for giving me my mom. 

Thank you mom for being my mom. I love you and miss you.