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. 

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Fake News

We hear a lot about fake news today. Stories that are made to shock and grab your attention, but not necessarily true. It’s nothing new really. Fake news surrounds us every day, and we don’t even know it. We are absorbed into a culture of fake news passed as reality. So how do we know the difference?

Some say there are many ways to happiness. Some say there is one way, but the roads are varied. Some say there is only one way, but depending on who you ask, the answer will vary as to which one way that is. So how do we know the difference?

Fake news says you can have it your way. Do you really think this is truth?
Fake news says you just need to try harder. How is that working out for you so far?
Fake news says success is a big house, nice car, and expensive toys. Do you really think that’s the answer?


What is truth?

Truth is good news. Good news is the gospel truth.

Truth says you are a sinner. You know it’s true.
Truth says there is a price for sin. You know anything else is fake news.
Truth says you must pay the price. From experience, you know this must be true.

Good news says God loves you. He really does.
Good news says Jesus died to pay the price for you. He really did.
Good news says Jesus rose again for you. He lives today for you and for me.

The truth of the good news is that you can be set free.

How do you know the truth?

Jesus said three things. Abide in His word, then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.  And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. Therefore, if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.” (John 8:31-32,34,36)

Fake news or good news? You have a choice as to which one you believe.

“If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9).

Thursday, March 16, 2017

The Struggle is Real

So my word for this year is discipline. I struggle with discipline in some areas. I love to be in control, but I’m not always in control of myself.

One struggle I have is eating right. I ate bad yesterday and had a piece of candy that I was going to eat this morning in the car. Yes, it was chocolate. “God, what do I do? Why is this such a struggle for me?”

I had two impressions right away. One, you need to obey me in small things first. Two, I love you just as you are even if you eat the candy. So which one was from God. Both? I know they are both true.

I could immediately remember reading books where the authors told of times when God impressed on them that they were loved regardless. I could also remember books where the authors told of times when God said they had to take this first step in order for Him to show them the next one.

So, God, what are you really saying to me?

Okay, here it is – totally not what I was expecting or even asking.

God: You read too much sometimes.
Me: What? What does this have to do with anything?
God: Shouldn’t you be immediately remembering what my Word says instead of what some author says?
Me: Conviction.

How many times at a Bible study is my memory triggered by something I read, and I share something I recently read about what someone else said about this situation that really impressed me. Shouldn’t my memory be triggered by something I recently read in scripture and what God says about this situation.

Yes, I am writing, and I want others to read my books; but first and foremost, we all need to be reading God’s book. If you are reading this and have not yet read from God’s book today, stop here and go read it now. NOW!

Pick a book of the Bible and read it as if you have never heard it or read it before. Imagine it is a book off of your book shelf, and read it with no preconceptions of what anyone else has ever said. Ask God to help you do this. Enjoy the read. Don’t try to analyze it. Just read for pleasure, and see what God reveals to you.

My takeaway is to spend as much time or more reading God’s book than books other people write about it.  

Your thoughts?

Monday, February 13, 2017

My Love Story

I’m sure you are expecting to hear my love story with my husband, so I'll share it.

My best friends in high school were those from my church youth group. Many of us have kept in touch on and off over the years. There was a guy named David in my youth group that I dated once, but he went out with one of my best friends more than me. After high school, we lost touch.

Fast forward twenty-something years. I had gone through a divorce, my children were at their dad’s for the weekend, and I still had difficulty with them being away. I was home alone watching “You’ve Got Mail” when I remembered an email I had received from this David guy through I had replied to him and never heard back. So much for past friendships. For some reason (God) I went to my computer, pulled up his email, and reread the bottom telling me not to reply but to redirect my response to a different email address. His email address on the Classmates site was no longer current.

So I replied to this David guy and immediately heard back from him. We started talking and organized a reunion of our church youth group. As you may have figured out, this David guy is now my husband. I guess it was love at second site.

We emailed and talked a lot during the time of planning our reunion and got reacquainted. As things progressed, we both agreed that love is a decision. It’s a choice. While we fell in love, we knew the feeling might not always be there but our commitment to each other would be. I am still in love with him, even on days I might not feel like it. I can’t always trust my feelings, so I choose to love him on days when I might not feel like it.

I have another love story that makes the one with my husband possible. I found the one who loves me more than I could ever love him. I learned as a child that God loved me so much that He sent His Son Jesus to bridge the gap between us when my sins were separating us. This Jesus guy paid for my shortcomings with His life, and then God raised Him from the dead. You guessed it. Jesus and I have a love relationship.

I love Jesus, but He loved me first. My love is a decision I made as a child and a choice I continue to make today. Some days I don’t feel loved, but His love letters to me assure me that I am.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

“We love Him because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19).

So what is your love story? Do you have a love story with your spouse? More important, do you have a love story with Jesus?

Monday, January 2, 2017

Resolutions, Goals, Commitments

Something struck me during church yesterday morning about my New Year Goals. Instead of making New Year resolutions, I have set goals. But who are those goals for? Are they for me? Where is God in all of this? 

My pastor asked, “Is God the center of your life around which everything revolves?” So who am I setting goals for? Of course, the answer is me and my family. 

What if instead of resolutions or goals, I made commitments. Not commitments to myself, but commitments to God. Whoa! I don’t take commitments lightly. And since my word of the year for 2017 is discipline, that ups the commitment level.

So this week I’m going to review my goals and decide to make commitments. Not to me, but to God. So I have to do some praying and soul searching. Isn’t this something I should have done anyway? 

So what resolutions or goals have you set? Or have you? 
  • Do you want to lose weight? Why? Is it what God would want? Probably. 
  • Do you want to get organized? Why? Is it something God wants you to do? Maybe, maybe not. 
  • Do you want to finish that book you have been writing? Why? Is it something God has called you to do? Possibly.
I challenge you to do the same soul searching. Pray, and then make a commitment to God. Start with one, or be brave and go for two or three. But be sure it is a commitment, to God, which is something to be taken seriously.