And You Call Yourself A Christian?

We see it everyday. People that are angry, rude, and impatient. Some steal the parking spot you have been patiently waiting for, then flip you off when you honk because they almost hit you to get it. Others talk out loud to themselves, making sure we all know they have better things to do than wait in this stupid line and then are rude to the sweet woman checking their groceries because somehow it was her fault they are now going to be late. The list goes on and on. I am sure we can all recall numerous examples of things we see everyday that fall into this category.

These people aren’t breaking the law, they are just spewing their hurts and pain onto the rest of us because they haven’t met Jesus. At least that is what I used to tell myself, until a few days ago. I was standing in line at my local drug store, waiting to drop off a prescription for my daughter. There were two older women in line in front of me and they were talking about Jesus. My ears perked up because it is rare to hear two strangers striking up a conversation with God as the subject. Their discussion was inspiring and I thought to myself that I need to be more bold in my walk with Christ and do just as they were, talking about Jesus in casual conversation with strangers. Not only could doing so impact the person I am talking to, it could potentially impact others standing within hearing distance.

What happened next rocked my world. The younger of the two women kindly told the other it was a pleasure meeting her and took her turn at the counter. She told the pharmacy tech she was picking up a prescription and provided her name. The tech walked over to the cabinet to retrieve the prescription, returned, scanned the package and then walked around the cabinet to grab something. She was not gone more than two seconds, but two seconds too long for the customer. She rudely asked why she was disrespecting her time by going behind the cabinet. The tech explained that due to the prescription she was picking up, she had to scan something in order to ring it up. The woman got annoyed. She started getting louder, explaining they had never had to do that before. The poor girl remained calm, apologized and what she required next sent the woman over the edge. She was asked to enter her phone number into the keypad on the counter. “You expect me to touch that filthy thing? How stupid do you think I am? I could catch ebola. I refuse to touch it. Go find me a stylus to use.” The poor girl looked horrified. She went to go get help and the women told her not to walk away again.

The older of the two women in front of me then explained how unhappy the poor girl working there looked. I agreed and then the 80+ year old woman said, “It must be because she is so fat.” I couldn’t believe my ears. She went on to say that if she were that fat she would be miserable too. I simply explained to the old lady that I use to work in a pharmacy and it was the hardest job I ever had due to unhappy customers. They would be upset because of the long wait and then blame me for issues with their insurance. She said, “Oh, I never thought about that.” At that moment, the woman at the counter turned to leave, cussing to herself as she left the pharmacy.

The old lady took her turn as I stood there, shocked by the events that I had witnessed. Both of these women were just talking to one another about their Heavenly Father and a few minutes later, revealing what was truly in their hearts. I wanted to cry. No wonder we live in a world that is lost. How can we expect people to trust God when those who claim to love Him are no different?

I left there that day praying for the girl behind the counter and the two women. I prayed that the old lady would leave there that day, unable to forget about what I had said and that God would use this incident to change her heart. I wish I had said more than I did but I know God can use even a few words to share wisdom.

As Christians we must always remember that God calls us to be His hands and feet to our lost and hurting world. That means we must be plugged in to Him at all times, letting Him change us so we can help change the world. Do you bear a cross? A ring, a necklace, a tattoo, a fish symbol on your car? Anything that tells strangers that you belong to the King? If so, know that others are watching you. Don’t sabotage your witness by defiling His Name.

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Face In A Book vs. Facebook

With New Years fast approaching, the time has come to start thinking about what I can work on in 2015. Every year I set a goal to read a certain number of books. My goal for 2014 was ten, but I fell short and only completed five. This got me to thinking about how many more books I could have read if instead of wasting time on Facebook, I put my face in a book. So I did a little research.

The average person can read one to two pages per minute. To make the math simple, let’s say I read a page a minute and spent thirty minutes a day on Facebook. In the amount of time I spent browsing through my news feed, I could have read thirty pages!
Take thirty and multiply that by three hundred sixty-five and the product is 10,950. I went to my personal library to determine how many pages the average book contains. Two hundred and fifty was the outcome. That’s 43 books I could have read in one years time.

Does that number shock you? Well, it should. It puts into perspective how much time we waste reading useless information when we could be using our time wisely, gaining knowledge and wisdom.

My goal for 2015 is to limit my Facebook time to half of my norm, giving myself fifteen minutes per day to browse and fifteen minutes to read.

If you are like me and ready to make some positive changes in this area, join me on this challenge. Let’s make 2015 one where we put our faces in a book at least as much as we spend on Facebook.

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Choosing Love

Christmas Day is a day to celebrate the greatest gift we were ever given, Jesus. Today as I reflect on the depths of the importantance of God sending his son, I realize that everything he places in our lives is always given with a devine purpose in mind. Jesus was sent to be the hope of the world and save us from our sins, giving us eternal life. Every Christian has heard this hundreds of times but today God put it on my heart that sometimes the things we see as a burden are actually put in our lives to refine us. As I meditated on this, it made me think about specific people and stressors I have dealt with in my life. Some of my greatest accomplishments in my walk with Christ are the result of a very trying situation. He has used those trials to benefit me in the best way possible.

So as I think about my relationship with the mother of my bonus sons, I have to stop and try to see things from a godly perspective. I never dreamed of blending two families and wanting to take on the hurt and anger that would follow from their mom. No woman ever imagines that the blessing of a second chance at love will be the source of so much hurt from someone on the outside. But by choosing to love a man and his children from a previous marriage, this was my reality. I now realize that by choosing to love the boys and my husband, I was also choosing to love her. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t want to love her. I actually hated her for her choices and hurtful words. But then a few years ago, God gave me insight to her heart. Ever since that day, I have prayed for wisdom and guidance when issues arise. I have prayed that I would guard my tongue and take my hurts to Christ instead of spewing them onto her, adding to her pain and suffering. Today I now see that learning how to love like Christ requires us to be put in a situation where we are taught how to do so. I am not perfect and I am guilty of hurting her, blaming it on her behaviors. But if I am honest with myself, it was my choice to choose hurt over love. She is not my enemy. She is a daughter of the King just like me and she deserves my love because I love God.

It is no accident that God chose this man, his children and their mother to add to my life. Just like the birth of Jesus brought us eternal life, the birth of my new marriage and new children brought with them the birth of a new heart.

Jesus,
Thank you for placing each and every one of them in my life. Your ways are definitely not my ways and I am in awe. You turn the worst situations into something beautiful everytime I choose to listen and follow you. Please continue to mold me into your image, even if it means I have to suffer in order to become more like you. Amen!

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One Day Your Prince Will Come…

We live in a day and age where most women are anxiously awaiting the day she meets her prince charming, has the wedding of her dreams, and lives happily ever after. I will be the first to admit that my dreaming about that started as a young girl. I was in love with Disney movies that portrayed the beautiful young girl meeting the handsome young boy and falling head over hills in love at first sight. I never saw the harm in that thinking until I was divorced and those thoughts crept into my mind again. I was given a second chance to choose more wisely and this time I was going to be smart, or so I thought. Lucky for me, God intervened before I had the chance to make another not so wise decision. In the midst of my delusional thinking based on fairy tales from my childhood, I found myself actually looking for “My Prince Charming” or “My knight in shining armor”, depending on the fairy tale I wanted to partake in at the time. At one point, I even met a man that I called “My Prince Charming” after only knowing him for a few days. So it is no surprise that when that relationship never really began, I was heartbroken. But it wasn’t long until Price Charming #2 and I crossed paths. Needless to say, that one didn’t last either and I found myself alone, confused and done with looking for a man that didn’t exist. That is when I met Jesus face to face. There I found the man I had always been longing for. The one who would love me unconditionally, treat me like a true princess and never leave me or forsake me. I believe that God puts that desire in each and every heart of every daughter of The King, but we don’t even put him in that category because we want someone we can see, hear, and touch in the flesh.

I share all of that because I run across people all the time that label their significant other their Prince Charming. Girls, there is no such man that exists. All men are human and all men will disappoint you at some point, leaving you hurt and confused because you thought he would be the perfect man like the ones you grew up watching in movies. The only perfect man was Jesus and he longs to sweep you off your feet and spend the rest of your life showing you just how much he loves you. So why settle for less than the best? I promise you this, once you give Jesus your heart, he will guide you to the man he created just for you. Until then, don’t be surprised when each and every man you meet falls short of the man you envisioned in your mind. Because no man can fill the space in your soul that only God was meant to fill.

Audience of One

I have spent lots of time over the past few years in the word, learning about God, and building a personal relationship with him. This type of dedication came after hitting rock bottom and having no where else to turn. I now share my story with others when my Heavenly Father puts it on my heart to do so and I strive to follow his path for my life.

A few days ago, someone I love told me that they de-friended me from Facebook. I was at first confused so I did what most of us would do and asked why. I was told that it was due to my content. My heart hurt. I strive to only share content that will help others and I share my past because that is what I know God has called me to do. It was others being raw and real about their struggles that helped me when I was going through Hell on earth and those types of posts lift me up when life throws me a curve ball.

I spent a few days in prayer over the situation, trying to figure out what I said or did that would cause this person to delete me. This morning I woke up still confused and hurt, then God showed up. Through a radio program, He reminded me that I serve an audience of one. It is not my job to try to understand why this person feels the way they do. My only job is to go where he leads and use my past hurts and lessons to help others. God helped me see that not everyone is going to understand why I do what I do, but that shouldn’t stop me from doing it. His opinion is the only one that matters and He is the one I answer to. This area has always been a struggle for me. I desire to be understood. For others to see my heart and true motives behind everything I share. I reached out to someone I look up to that is using her past to write and reach those going through similar circumstances. Her response was, “You are not the manager of your reputation. Jesus was silent before his accusers. God is the manager.” That was exactly what I needed to hear.

I thank God everyday for giving me a second chance at life and the least I can do is use it to lead others to him! From this point forward, I will rest in God’s reminder that his is the only opinion I need to care about and as long as I keep my eyes fixed on Him, nothing else matters.

Signs-Part 2

I believe that God speaks to every single one of us all the time. The question is, “Are we in a personal relationship with him that ensures we can hear?” Many people will read this story and not believe or be skeptical. For me, God has shown me so many crazy things in the past that can only be explained as a God thing that I know what was revealed was from him.

In my last post I shared how God was speaking to me through signs. He continues to do so and although I can’t explain why, I know in my heart that he shows me things I would never have known without him. He has shown me visions of twins and confirmed his infinite knowledge through a sonogram that revealed two babies. As I laid watching the screen that day, seeing my unborn child for the first time, I was filled with joy. Seeing the miracle of life in the womb puts me in awe of our awesome God. But this sonogram was unlike any other. As the sonographer was navigating, we saw the first baby and I immediately noticed the second. I was brought to tears. There is nothing in this world more moving to me than witnessing a dream God put in my heart coming to fruition. It is in those moments that I experience a love unlike anything here on earth. What he shared with me next has rocked my world. I am completely in awe. Although my heart aches for what was revealed, my soul is full of joy because he personally shared something with me that he shared with no one else. I may not know his plan, but I do know it will be more magnificent than anything I could ever imagine.

One week after seeing a sonogram with two babies, I came across a story someone shared through Facebook. The picture attached to it was what caught my attention. It was a sonogram picture of a baby that looks exactly like a sono picture of my baby. I was immediately excited to read because I know God meant for me to see this. As a read this woman’s story, I could feel God’s presence. The baby in that picture had died and that was the only pic she had of her sweet unborn child. My heart sank as the reality of what was possibly going on hit me like a ton of bricks. Were there two babies growing inside me and one of them didn’t make it? I knew that God would never share something with me that wasn’t leading me towards a clearer understanding.

A second sonogram confirmed one healthy baby and one empty sac. Even as I type this, my heart aches at the thought of one of my babies dying but I feel so blessed that God chose to share with me what was going on inside of me when even the doctors had no clue what was taking place. I may have lost a child but in the process God reached down, knowing my heart and hearing my prayers, revealed knowledge to me that I never would have known without him choosing to show me. Until I get to Heaven where I can meet that baby for the very first time, I know we have a guardian angel watching over us and a loving God that cares so much about me that he would share his knowledge and wisdom so that I can gain a deeper understanding of his heart and his character.

God is definitely at work here. Last week I decided it was time to start a new book. I went to my bookshelf to choose something I haven’t had the chance to read yet. The Shack caught my attention. I had no clue what this story was even about, so as I read and discovered it was about a man losing his child I realized this was yet another divine appointment. That book has revealed things about God I have misunderstood my entire life. I have gained a deeper understanding of God’s heart and his love. God uses what we may see as a tragedy on this side of heaven as an opportunity to draw us closer to him.

As if that was not enough for God to get my attention, I receive messages periodically with things that God wants me to know and this is what mine said this month…God wants you to know that he is creating something beautiful inside you that is dying to be heard, birthing something that only you can share. What is it that God has put on your heart that you need share with the rest of the world? That message was no accident, no irony involved. It was God reaching down to me, his child, sharing his heart so that I would share what he put on mine.

I may not understand what is going on most of the time, but I do know this…God is all knowing, all loving, and more complicated than we could ever imagine and he desires to share with us the deepest parts of his soul. All we have to do is plug into him and he will do the rest, leaving us in awe of him every step of the way.

Signs

Back in February of this year, I was leading a bible study by Beth Moore titled, “Sacred Secrets”. There was one specific video that brought me to tears. Beth mentioned that even with all of the advances in science, God still reserves the right to be the only one to know that we even exist upon the first 7-14 days of conception. Jeremiah 1:5 says, “Before I formed you, I knew you.” Although I have heard this verse, I never truly grasped the meaning.

Fast forward to now and I am almost fifteen weeks pregnant. There is no doubt in my mind that God shared that with me when He did as a sign of things to come and to prepare my heart to see things from His perspective.

From the moment I discovered I was expecting, dreams of twins have been present. Upon telling both my mom and mother-in-law, they both said, “It is going to be twins.” Last week my husband and I attended my first doctor’s appointment. While my doctor was listening for the babies heartbeat, she asked if twins ran in either of our families. Was this another sign? She ordered me to go get a sonogram that same day. As the ultrasound tech began, he immediately asked if I had two uterus’. Then I saw it. Two sacs, two babies, a miracle none the less. After much confusion on his part, he proceeded to tell us that he thought it was just a mirror image of the baby reflecting off of something. He mentioned that he had heard of this before but had never seen it in his ten years in this profession. He called a fellow tech in for a second opinion. She too had never seen such a thing. After about forty-five minutes of studying the screen, they called a doctor in to take a look. Both babies were moving at the same time, in unison, so although they couldn’t tell us wether it was one baby or two, it seemed they had come to the conclusion that it was one. We were told we would have to wait for our doctor to deliver the results after the radiologist reviewed the findings and submitted them to her office. So the wait began. I have to admit that I am a little skeptical. God doesn’t give us signs for no reason. There is a purpose, a pointing to something bigger.

A sign is defined as an event whose presence or occurrence indicates the probable presence or occurrence of something else; an indication or evidence of what is happening or going to happen; a gesture or action used to convey information or instructions.

On Sunday at church when I read what the pastor was going to be discussing I thought to myself, “Great, a story that I already know so well I could get up and talk about it.” I should have known that God was going to teach me something that day because just when I think I have something figured out, He shows me something new that changes everything. As the pastor began speaking, he said two words that caught my attention and brought tears to my eyes…A SIGN! I already knew God was at work in our lives through the life of our unborn child/children so He used that to get my undivided attention. The pastor went on to explain that when God turned the water into wine at the wedding in Galilee, he was pointing us towards a new creation that was coming into the world. His sign was revealing something significant beyond the “wow” factor of what on the surface was the first of many miracles. Every time I have heard this story in the past, I thought Jesus was just doing this to reveal that He could meet our needs, even if they were insignificant in the big scheme of things. I thought it was His way of revealing His heart towards His children. Boy was I wrong and God blew me away that day. 

I went straight to my study bible to see what other insights I could gain from this story and this is what I read…Through this sign, Jesus revealed His “glory.” John 1:14 “We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” Radiating God’s presence, Jesus reflected His glory. 

I believe that God used the appearance of two babies in our sonogram to remind us that He is and will always be the one we need to turn to for understanding and clarity. No other human or doctor will ever have all the answers. God will reveal everything to us in His timing. Until then, we were blessed with a sign that reflects His glory and the amazing things He is doing in our lives. 

 

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